Monthly Archives: May 2007

Network To Host Carnival And I’m Going On Vacation!

The No Credit Needed Network will host next week’s Carnival of Debt Reduction. Head over to the No Credit Needed Network for more information.

My family and I will be going on vacation, starting Friday. We are headed down to Saint Augustine Beach, Florida. We are staying in a condo that our friends own. My kids are excited about going to the beach and swimming in the pool. Me? I’m ready to relax, read, and chill out. As I’ve mentioned before, my kids don’t really enjoy “theme parks” or “water parks”, so our vacations are always pretty “chill”. Rest and relaxation.

I’ll be blogging while on vacation. For me, blogging isn’t really “work”. I enjoy blogging, writing about my day-to-day life and personal finance. So, the laptop goes to the beach!

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The “Once A Month, Check It” Technique For Avoiding Expensive Repairs And Saving Money

Edit: I’ve received several emails and comments with suggestions for more “Once A Month, Check It” items. I’ll add those suggestions to the bottom of this post. If you have a suggestion, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list. If you write a similar post, contact me and let me know!

We live in a “ranch style” house. The air condition intake is located in the hallway. Once a month, I check the air filter and replace it. I’ve been using those use-once, throwaway air filters. I buy 12 of them in January. At the end of each month, I throw away the old filter and replace it with a new filter. For some reason, doing this gives me a great deal of satisfaction. I feel as I’ve improved air flow, reduced the dust in our house, and lessened the strain on the air conditioning unit.

We live on a dirt road. (Actually, we live on a clay/sand/dirt road.) We are constantly battling the dust that is stirred up when cars drive by our house. So, the air filter is always ‘clogged’ at the end of the month. During the summer, it gets very warm here in Georgia, so the a/c needs to be functioning at full capacity. To function properly, the a/c needs a clean filter.

According the Energy Star site:

Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool — wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system — leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.

Changing the air filter in the house got me to thinking about changing the oil in my car:

Over at Gen X Finance, Jeremy wrote this really interesting article about changing the oil in your car in your car. Jeremy questions the need to change your oil every 3,000 miles. My favorite snippet from the article is:

New oil is generally an amber type color, not black like most people picture. Oil turns black over time in the engine as it picks up debris in the engine and as it breaks down from heat and wear. So a good practice would be to check your oil occasionally once you hit the 3,000-4,000 mile mark. If you notice it is very black you may want to go ahead and have it changed.

See, with your oil and oil filter, there are so many variables to be considered when determining when or if you should change them. With an air filter, it’s as simple as looking at the filter, checking to see if it is dirty, and replacing it. But, on the flip side, there’s no little red button that will light up to let you know when to check the filter. That’s why the “once a month, check it” technique works so well.

Here’s a list of things around the house that I check at the end of each month:

Air Conditioner Filters

Tire Pressure

Gas Cans For Mowers / Trimmers

Locks on Windows / Doors

Automobile Fluids

Smoke Detector Batteries

So, how about a little feedback? Any ideas about other items to check once a month?

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2007 Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday Florida June 1 – 12

Hurricane Season (June 1st – November 30th) starts Thursday. If you live in Florida, take advantage of the 2007 Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday. From June 1 – 12, the following items (and more) will be available for purchase, sales tax-free:

Reusable Ice
Self-Powered Light Source
Battery-Powered Flashlights
Battery-Powered Lanterns
Gas-Powered Lanterns
Gas / Fuel Containers
Batteries (Including Rechargeable)
Cell Phone Chargers / Cell Phone Batteries
Tarps / Plastic Sheeting
Ground Anchors / Tie-Downs
Portable Generators
Radios / Weather Band Radios
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Storm Shutter Devices

For a complete list and more information, view this PDF file.

For more information, visit

I never realized that Hurricane Season lasted SIX months.  Wow.  If you live in Florida, now would be a good time to ‘stock up’ on these items.  If you shop smart, you should be able to find some great bargains AND prepare yourself and your family for the hurricane season.  Win, Win!

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