Sunday, November 28, 2010

Clothesline Questions Answered

Here are a few of my most common clothesline questions answered for you:

#1 - How much does it cost to dry a load of clothing in the dryer for 1 hour?

Ok, this one takes some calculation, but here we go: 

The average electric clothes dryer burns 6000 watts per hour of use (check yours for a more accurate figure).  Our cost per kwh (kilowatt hour) for electricity from October to May is 8.928 cent per kwh (7.227 base rate + 1.701 fuel charge), From June through September the base rate is 8.330 making the total 10.031per kwh.  So, the 6000 watt per hour dryer is burning 6kwh.   In the summer, that equals 60.186 cent per hour and in the winter that is 53.568 cent per hour.  Now, let's assume your family only creates 1 load of laundry per week.  That equals $4.21302 per week in summer and $3.74976 in winter.  That is $205.18 per year!

Of course that is only if your family creates 7 loads of laundry per week, and if each load only runs for 1 hour.  You will have to adjust your calculation based on your family's use to figure out the cost. 

There are a couple of things that figure doesn't include.  For instance, in the summer, the heat from the dryer makes you house hotter so that your AC has to work harder.  In the winter, the extra heat from the dryer is helpful, so it costs a couple of cent less. Another thing - How many of you turn the dryer on "for just a couple of minutes" to de-wrinkle your already dry clothes?    that 'just a minute' is usually about 20 minutes and repeates itself because most of us don't even get the clothes out then, so we do it all over again.

#2 - I don't like the stiff feeling clothes get on the clothesline.

First of all, be thankful that you did not live 60 years ago when no one had a dryer.  Secondly, that stiff feeling goes away after about 5 minutes of wear.

There are a couple of practical solutions to this problem.  One is to take clothes off the line when they are just slightly below dry (very slightly below) and put them in the dryer for 5 minutes (set a timer so you don't forget), and your clothes will not feel line dried at all.  Another option is  to add some fabric softener to your load.  My husband likes Gain and so we use it - of course I only use half the recommended amount, but it still does the trick.

#3 - How much does it cost to put up a clothesline?

Mine was about $25, but I also went ahead and got the green line that is a piece of wire coverend in green plastic.  It is heavy duty and has no problem holding up my laundry.  The cotton line dry rots and breaks after a couple of months

All in all, lines cost as much as you want to put into them.

#4 - That's a lot of work.

Hogwash.  It takes between 5-10 minutes to hang a load of laundry on the line, and 2 to take it down.

#5 - But how about those new 'high efficiency dryers' that don't use as much electricity?

Look at the price tag, they cost a lot more.  There is no way they save money.

#6 - I don't have the time, I have 6 children.

If you have 6 children, then you have children old enough to train how to help you.  A 6 year old can help with the laundry.  My 4 year old is able to help with laundry somewhat.

#7 - I work full-time so it doesn't fit into my schedule.

I have always found this reason to be interesting.  Partly because I have heard it from people who are 'out shopping', or always doing leisure activities.  Take horseback riding for example.  If you have time to care for and ride one of those creatures, then you most certainly have time to hang your clothes out.  Of course if you're in debt and have horses, send me an email so we can discuss how to prioritize and the difference between wants and needs.  Same thing with golf, going to a weight watchers meeting, reading trash novels, sitting on your bum in the sun doing nothing, etc.

#8 - It's not good for your clothes.

Air drying is best for your clothes.  It's the hanging part that some clothing can't tolerate, so there will be some things best to lay flat to dry.  But that is the case whether you use a line or the dryer - there will always be things too delicate for a dryer.  Another thing is that a high heat dryer actually wears your clothes out faster becuase it shrinks fabrics and pulls at the stiches.

#9 - What do you do about all the lint

Lint is not a big problem with line drying becuase there is no heat and tumbling around creating lint to begin with.  The little bit of lint created can easily be removed with a 3 inch pull of duct tape.  I have only had to resort to this maybe 3 times, ever.

#10 - I don't want to

Now this is an honest response.  No excuses, no nothing.  Just an honest "I don't want to".  Okay, so keep looking around and find another way to save money, there are plenty of options out there.

But if you find yourself in debt still or getting worse, send me an email so we can talk.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Christmas List

Okay - so it's that time of year again, and you have your list of those to buy for and there's your personal list for you, because someone is going to ask "What do you want?"

So this list is dedicated to the things that would help a mom save more money:

  1. A mixer (KitchenAid, Bosch, Hamilton Beach), this is one of those items, that once you have it, you really don't know how you did without it.  It kneads bread dough for you to save you lots of time and arm use while at the same allowing you to ease more homemade items into your repetoire.  If you want to save people money, tell them a second hand machine is fine with you too.
  2. An immersion blender, this is on my list.  It makes smoothing out sauces a breeze without having to break out the entire blender.  It also doesn't take up a lot of space
  3. Sewing machine, and maybe a how-to book to go a long with it
  4. Books, I have a personal recommendation to help keep you in check and inspired in your frugal journey:  The Tightwad Gazette I, II & III or The Complete Tightwad Gazette (3 in 1) a word of caution here, the tightwad gazette is for those really wanting to make every cent count, and it's a great read!;
  5. Dishes & Cookware, some very useful pieces include a cast iron skillet (10in or 12in), bread pans, 9x9 square baking dish, glass mixing bowls in various sizes, a stockpot and 1/2 gallon size canning jars

Look around your kitchen or other areas and try to visualize what would be a helpful addition!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mineral Oil

This is great stuff.  If you have a wooden cutting board, you use a little of it once a month to keep your wood moisturized and smooth.  However, you can use it on other things to.  For instance, I have some pampered chef bamboo utensils.  After a few months, the nice satiny finish begins to wear down leaving it looking dry.  So, give all of your bamboo a nice bubbly spa bath (in your sink), and towel it dry.  After you towel it dry, allow it to air dry for a while too just to make sure.  Then, rub it with a very thing layer of mineral oil.  I used a small piece of parchment to do this since it doesn't absorb the oil.  After you rub down each piece, go back to the first tool you rubbed down, and buff for a few seconds with a clean towel to remove any excess oil.  Then store as usual.  If the suface is rough at all, sand it a couple of minutes first with a very fine grain sandpaper.

If this sounds time consuming or boring, then just do in when your sitting in front of the TV not moving anyway.  You'll never notice the time was spent doing something constructive.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Wrap

Some folks buy their Christmas wrapping paper the day after Christmas to save 50% on it. I don't.  I buy it at yard sales and thrift stores.  On Saturday, I bought a total of 5 rolls of Christmas Wrap; 3 were used but very thick on the roll, and 2 were still in the plastic sleeve.  Total Christmas wrap investment - $1.10.  And I won't need any more than that this year!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Need extra counter space?

If you are in the middle of a project, and find yourself in need of somewhere to sit items...look to your laundryroom! Grab the ironing board and put it to use! This works for hot pans straight out of the oven...or for scrapbook/school projects. It is the perfect place for putting kids' painting or glue projects until they are dry. This can even be used as a sidetable at Thanksgiving, just throw a pretty sheet or tablecloth over it first.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saturated with Soy - Yuck!

I am not a fan of putting soy in everything.  Actually, I am not a fan of putting soy in anything except soy products.  If you are buying hamburger, you should get beef, if you are buying turkeyburger, you should get turkey.  You should not be getting added soy. 

Today, I was reading the back of a package of Food Lion Sandwich bread.  First of all, it contained too many ingredients for me,secondly, it contains soybean/cottonseed oil (aka vegetable oil - and by the way, who actually eats cottonseeds?? NO ONE!!  They are not a food, much less a vegetable!), soy lecithin, and soy flour.  SOY FLOUR!  REALLY! 

Soy is pretty cheap, and because of that, it has infiltrated our food supply disguised as health food.  I have heard countless 'experts' talk about the health of the Japanes and other Asian cultures, and 'it must be the soy' so they put it in everything.  Well, let's talk about the soy and the Asian cuisine.  Tofu and soy sauce.  Both fermented soy products - in fact, I have never seen any fresh soybeans or other soy products served to the Asians, and you also don't see it in their restaurants.  Why would that be?  Probably because they already know that fresh soy has chemicals in it that pull nutrients out of the body - when it is fermented however, those same chemicals become neutralized, so that you can get the good stuff out of it - like in tofu.

What does this have to do with saving money - well, when you buy your food, make sure you are getting what you pay for and not lots of unhealthy filler - that'll cost you in the long run.

By the way - the asian cultures are probably healthier than us because #1) they don't eat a lot of processed junk, #2) they eat plenty of fish, both raw and cooked, #3) they don't overeat like Americans, #4) they walk a lot more than Americans.  I bet if we as Americans did those 4 things more, we would be a lot healthier even without all of the soy and soy by products.