Save Money & Resources

Top 7 Secrets To Commuting By Bike

 

Do you wince when you fill up your gas tank? Don’t expect the pain at the pump to end anytime soon. That makes it the right time to grab your bike and use it to get to work and run errands. You’ll save money and Do Your Part for the planet at the same time. Here are my ‘Top 7 Secrets to Commuting by Bike.’

1) Ride the Right Bike

The right bike will make all the difference in the world. There are simple mountain bikes or ones made with commuting in mind. You can find ones which will have everything from chain guards to fenders to hardwired lights. There are even bikes with skirt guards so you can wear your favorite dress or skirt without worry.

2) Ride Responsibly

In places where there are no designated bike lanes, position yourself as far to the right as is practical. And, be on the watch for the so called “door zone” with cars parked on the street. That’s the space where drivers open up their doors which can cause serious injury to cyclists. Try not to ride on sidewalks which are for pedestrians or on the left side of the street where drivers may not see you until.

3) Select Safety Accessories

A bike mirror mounted on your left handlebar will be your best friend. You can use it to scan traffic behind you. Another good idea is a set of lights for the front and rear. If you’re going to be riding early in the morning, at dusk or at night, lights are mandatory as it is almost impossible to see a bike clearly during these times. You’ll also want to invest in a bike lock.

4) Research Your Route

Your usual way of getting someplace by car may not be the safest way to go by bike. A higher level of comfort will only come with time and experience so if you are new to commuting by bike, plan your route carefully. Google maps offers a fantastic tool for this that factors in your mode of transportation and will filter out bike unfriendly roads.

5) Stash Your Stuff

You’ll also need some way to carry your stuff. Backpacks or messenger bags are good options especially ones with a waist strap. You could also use a basket or rear racks. You might be surprised to see how much you can actually transport with the right equipment.

6) Use Your Helmet

Make sure your helmet fits properly. It should be snug but comfortable and the bottom edge of the helmet should be two finger widths above your eyebrow. And remember, ones with more vents are better in the summer and less vents will make you more comfortable in winter.

7) Stay Strong

At some point, somebody is going to tell you that you are crazy for using a bike to get around. Keep in mind that they are the ones paying those shocking gas prices. You, on the other hand, are Doing Your Part by reducing your dependence on foreign oil and contributing less pollution to our planet.

Top 7 Secrets to Commuting by Bike

Do you wince when you fill up your gas tank? Don’t expect the pain at the pump to end anytime soon. That makes it the right time to grab your bike and use it to get to work and run errands. You’ll save money and Do Your Part for the planet at the same time.

Going Green Goes High Tech

We’ve all heard the excuses about going green – it’s too time consuming, too expensive, and just too difficult. Now, some high tech tools are making it downright easy to be energy efficient and save money. Do Your Part to find out which ones you can incorporate into your family’s life to make a powerful impact.

Concentrated Juices Will Save Money and Resources

Does your family go through several cartons of juice each month or dozens of juice boxes? The problem is that both can create a lot of waste. Instead, Do Your Part and buy concentrated juice.  You’ll create less trash and you’ll even save some money.

Concentrated juices simply mean that the water has been taken out. Then, you rehydrate it at home by adding a few cans of water.
So, one can can produce the same amount of juice as a much larger jug of juice. The concentrated varieties also take less energy to store and ship because they arrive without all the extra water.  And, its packaging is easily recyclable.

It’s also more economical. You’ll save about a nickel on ounce.  And that adds up.  If someone in your home drinks 12 ounces of juice a day – you’ll save more than 200 dollars a year. You’ll save even more if you swap out juice boxes for concentrated juice you can put into a reusable container. If your child uses one of these a day, you’ll save more than a hundred dollars a year. Plus, juice boxes a tricky to recycle and will be tossed into the trash at most schools.

Do Your Part when shopping for juice. You can go easy on the planet and your wallet by making a few better choices.

Hurry! Earn Tax Credits Before 2012

We’re in the season of shopping but don’t forget, this is also the time to make improvements to your home to make it more energy efficient. That’s because certain upgrades made in 2011 will earn you a federal tax credit. Some tax credits will be given for new insulation, roofs, HVAC units, water heaters, windows, doors, and more. For a complete list possible tax credits, click here.

A Kids Craft To Bring Crayons Back To Life

Here’s an easy, craft idea that will help your kids understand the power of reusing things. It’s a way to Do Your Part and get more life out of your stash of broken crayons.

All you need for this project are:
•  Old pieces of crayons, wrappers peeled off
•  Aluminum tins to melt the crayons
•  A candy mold, soap mold, candle mold, or muffin pan (optional)

First, pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees. Then separate the crayons by individual colors or other combinations of your choice and place them in the aluminum tins. Next, put the tins in the oven for about 10 minutes. Once the crayons are melted, remove the tins. If you’re using a mold, pour the melted wax into the selected mold, otherwise let the tins sit on a flat surface to harden. You can also put the molds in the freezer to cool down faster.

And there you have it. Crayons that are brand new to the kids and perfect for art projects. It’s another easy – and creative way – to Do Your Part with the youngest members of the family.

Shopping: Less Is More

You probably don’t go to the grocery store saying, “I think I’ll buy some trash today.” But depending on which products you choose, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Do Your Part to pick items with the least amount of packaging…or the kind that’s easily recyclable.

Appliances: Repair or Replace?

With any appliance, there comes the day when you ask yourself should I repair it or replace it? Do Your Part and make the best choice for you and the environment.

The best rule of thumb for appliances like your dishwasher, microwave, fridge, stove, washing machine, and dryer is to fix it – unless it’s already well past its life expectancy. Worried you can’t handle the job? You might be surprised just how simple some of the fixes are!

When Terri’s dryer stopped working she was really worried. She thought it would be an expensive and time consuming fix. But, the replacement part cost less than $10 and took minutes to install. The dryer was running again in no time.

Don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself handy. The ‘Virtual Repairman’ tool on PartSelect.com can not only help you figure out what wrong, it’ll show you exactly what you’ll need to make the fix and step by step instructions. That way, you won’t just be saving money, you’ll save a whole lot of time.

If one day you do decide that you need to upgrade, make sure to responsibly recycle your old appliances. Many contain dangerous components that should never be dumped in a landfill. Earth911.com will help you find recycling resources near you.

Do Your Part when making decisions about your appliances because sometimes a little elbow grease can make all the difference in the world.

Top 5 Ways Chemicals Sneak Into Your Home

Everyday we bring dangerous chemicals right into our homes. It could be from our shoes, a new piece of furniture we buy, or even the type of shower curtain we pick out. Here are ‘Terri’s Top 5 Ways Chemicals Sneak Into Your Home’ and the solutions you need to make a healthier home for you and your family.

Use Your Sprinkler System Wisely And Save!

Do Your Part and conserve water outdoors. If you maintain your yard with an irrigation system, then almost half of the water used in your home every year is used outdoors.

First, get a rain gauge. An established lawn only needs around an inch of water a week and that includes rain. Any small container can help you monitor the rain that falls and then only water if you need to. If you need to run your irrigation system, then do it just once or twice a week. Set your system for one long nighttime watering. The wind is lighter and the evaporation rate is lower at night and there’s less demand on the system so the water pressure is higher. Plus a long slow watering encourages deep roots and that makes your plants more drought resistant when we inevitably get that dry spell over the summer. If you do it just once or twice a week you won’t get brown patch or any other fungus in the yard.

Lastly watch the weather forecast. If it looks like rain then turn your system off. Too much water on your lawn encourages brown patch and the excess water that runs off your yard carries lawn chemicals, clippings and sediment into the nearest storm drain, polluting our drinking water supply.

An irrigation system can definitely help protect your investment in landscaping, but if you don’t use it wisely then you’re wasting water and money. Tread lightly on our planet by using your sprinklers at the proper time and only when needed.