10 Tips for Maintaining Your Front Load Washing Machine

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

10 Tips for Maintaining Your Front Load Washing Machine

Front loaders are becoming pretty standard these days.  In fact, if you are in the market for a new washer, chances are, you will end up with a front loader.  Top loaders are harder and harder to come by, the choices are few, and the general trend is to steer everyone toward front loaders for their lowered water usage and efficiency ratings.  If you are new to the front-loader game, maintaining them is a bit different than a top-loader {which required almost no maintenance}.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Leave the door open when not in use.  Smelly machines is the biggest complaint when it comes to front load washers.  The key is to allow the drum and the door to dry out completely between washes.  Giving the rubber door seal a quick wipe down aids the process significantly.  Don’t give mold the slightest chance to grow.
  2. Use High Efficiency detergent.  Seriously, these are not just guidelines–regular detergent will have too many suds and confuse the heck out of your machine.  Remember that your front loader is basically a computer–if it senses something is amiss, it goes haywire.  The HE soap is more expensive, no doubt, but it goes a long way. {If you want to save to moolah, consider making your own detergent.}
  3. Rinse the detergent/fabric softener dispenser regularly, and then leave it out to dry.  Mold can build up in your dispenser and then end up swirling around with your clothes.  Rinsing out residue and trapped liquids pretty much stops it from growing altogether.
  4. Inspect the rubber seal on the door regularly.  Socks like to hide in them.  Wet socks left long enough can cause, drumroll please…mold!
  5. If you use bleach, remember to cut waaaaay down on the amount.  Front load washers use so much less water that you can potentially ruin your clothes with too much bleach.
  6. Clean your front loader at least once a month.
  7. Use a hot water wash every so often.  Most detergents can now do the job with cold water–which is awesome, it save money and energy, but residue builds up in your front loader and it can benefit from a regular hot water rinse.
  8. Plan for extra time.  There is no such thing as a “quick load of laundry” when it comes to your front load washer.  They flat out take significantly longer–one of the downsides of them using less water.  For some, this fact requires a shift in how they manage their laundry.  On the plus side, though, drying time will be significantly less.
  9. Make sure the machine is perfectly level.  Again, your machine has a computer on board, so it functions best when it is level.  Take the time during set-up to make sure it is level, and check it regularly to make sure it stays level.  If it gets off, it can throw off the cycle, because the washer will try to recalibrate.
  10. Clean out the drain pump filter regularly.  Your machine {in a different location in every machine, check your manual} can get clogged by bits of lint, hair, etc.  Make sure to clear it so that your machine can drain properly.

Front load washers are definitely a little more work than top-loaders, but the maintenance {once you wrap your mind around the fact that they have to be maintained} is really pretty quick and painless.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Should You Tip the Hotel Maid?

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Should You Tip the Hotel Maid

I ran across an article the other day about Marriott and Maria Shriver launching a campaign to educate people on the customary etiquette of tipping hotel maids.  Marriott will now be placing an envelope in each room, with the attendees name so that patrons can leave a tip.

There are obviously two sides to this tipping coin {pun intended}.  First, the tipping pro’s:  Housekeeping is a pretty gritty job, and totally goes unnoticed, since the whole allure of staying in a hotel is that when you leave, people quickly come in and make your bed, change the towels, clean the bathroom, etc.  When you return, like magic, your room is refreshed and clean.  The article made a pretty good point in that most people usually tip the bell-hop and the shuttle driver, but don’t tip the maid because, well, they are not standing right there in front of us.  Cleaning hotel rooms would be a horrible job {in my opinion}, so I am sure receiving a tip for time and service is totally welcomed by staff.

On the flipside, it is really irritating that while the hotel workers pay minimum wage {and more in larger markets}, they pass the obligation of making the staff’s wage a living wage through supplemental tips onto the consumer.  The room is already quite expensive, and to add additional dollars here and there can really add up to a potentially already tight budget.  There is the idea/mentality that the hotel should pay the workers a decent livable wage in the first place so that tipping is not necessary.

Rather than even give my own opinion on the matter, I want to know how all of you feel.  Do you feel obligated to tip the hotel maid?  Did you even know it was customary to tip?

~Mavis

***Interesting sidenote:  If you do plan on tipping, the article offered a standard guideline of $1-$5 per night of stay, depending on the cost of the hotel room.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

The Secrets to a Successful Bake Sale

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

The Secrets to a SuccessfulAre you back in the swing of school again? It normally takes me a few solid weeks to fully adjust until we find our scheduling rhythm again. We’re over the hump now and so that means I’m ready to tackle another aspect of  school being back in session: fundraising.

If we lived in a perfect world, schools would have an unlimited amount of money and resources at their fingertips. But sadly, that is not always the case. So awesome parents get together to raise much needed funds for schools. How? Well there are a lot of different options, but the most popular by far is the bake sale.

how to transport cupcakesAnd I just happen to be the bake sale master; the Queen of Cupcakes if you will.

Now I’m sure you’ve either planned, baked for or eaten treats from a bake sale at some point in your life. While they do take a little work, I’ve got the bake sale down to a science. I’ve probably baked so many cupcakes for bake sales through the years that I could legitimately give tips to a baker. I’ve also eaten so many of those cupcakes that I could legitimately support a baker single-handedly if I was buying them in his shop. Good thing I’m not!

Seriously though, I’ve learned a few helpful morsels of wisdom along the way that can help you execute your next bake sale perfectly. Use this bake sale bible and you’ll probably just be cleaning up crumbs.

Nutella Hazelnut CookiesPlanning:

1. Have a purpose. What are you raising funds for? “The children” just won’t cut it. Field trips? Awesome. New books for the library? Perfect. Instruments for the music teacher? I’ll buy your cookies for that! If you are specific about what you are supporting, you’ll see wallets open a lot faster. 

2. You need help. Don’t try to do this alone or you will never want to look at another sweet again. On second thought, that’s a great diet idea. Seriously though, recruit help. You need to be specific in what type of volunteers you need. You’ll need bakers obviously, but you’ll also need help organizing, bagging, tagging and manning the sale. Send out sign ups early {I use Sign Up Genius and it has seriously changed my life!} and often. Don’t feel like you’re over-asking if you ask for help repeatedly. Busy parents won’t mind the reminders!

cupcake decorating ideas3. Consider a theme. If you’re hosting a sale around a holiday, having all items decorated in line with the holiday theme might be a great option. If you’re looking for a fresh idea, you could also do strictly a “Cookie Sale” or a “Cupcake Sale” and then go crazy in that dessert genre. We’ve had great success with just a “Pie Sale.”

4. Locations, location, location. Setting the date is important {day after payday anyone?}, but the location is the key to your success. If you can set a table up at the entry to a busy grocery store or a crowded sporting event, you’re already a step ahead. Think outside the box and don’t be afraid to move the sale off campus if necessary.

cheesecake-brownies5. What’s cooking? Determine some baking parameters and form a list of accepted items. Having these guidelines might seem harsh, but you don’t want a bunch of fruit cakes showing up at drop-off.  Brownies, cookies, rice krispie treats and cupcakes are historically the best sellers. Parents are welcome to get creative and make crazy cupcakes or cookie sandwiches.  You’ll still see a lot of variety, but they’ll be items you’re sure to sell. Also, think of assigning a few gluten free or vegan items to someone. Food allergies are everywhere these days!

bake sale signExecuting:

1. Advertising or bust. It might have worked for Kevin Costner, but trust me when I say you can’t rely on the motto, “If you bake it, they will come.” Because they won’t unless you tell them to. Send out fliers to all students, post it in your local paper or on your local news station’s free calender. Make huge obnoxious signs and post them all over town, at the school and directionally in front of your sale {make sure you remove everything you put up!}. The more you talk about it, the better your turnout will be!

2. What, when and where. Parents need specifics on how to package their items, what items are acceptable and exactly where and when they should drop them off. Make sure you leave plenty of time between the drop-off and the sale, because bagging and pricing those little brownies takes more time than you think!

3. Price to move. Sure that pie is awesome, but no one is going to pay you $20 for it! Set reasonable prices because the end goal is you want people to buy them without taking out a second mortgage. We never price anything over $2, and the $1 price point sells like crazy. $1 for a large cookie or a cupcake is perfect. Package small cookies together so they think they’re getting more for their money, and price those a bit higher.

4. Make ‘em drool. We like to package all the products at the same time and not have the parents do that beforehand. That way things will look consistent and their won’t be uneven portions. This will also allow you to package them correctly. Humans are visual. Make sure what you’re selling can be seen through the packaging and you’re more likely to see those goodies fly off your table.

how to transport cupcakesThe Finishing Touches

1. The table. Presentation is everything here. A nice tablecloth goes a long way! Make the items visible and arrange them so they’re easy to get to. Also make sure your table has napkins and utensils if necessary. Plus, an easy to read price list is essential.

2. Mo’ money, mo’ problems. Be prepared for someone to hand you a $100 bill. It’s happened and you need to have the change ready. Most people will pay with small bills, but a large supply of change will keep you from turning any customers away.

And that my friends should have you on your way to a successful bake sale! Now here are some easy bake sale recipes to get you started:

the best chocolate chip recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Kid’s Classroom Party Treat Alternatives

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Kids Classroom Party Treat Alternatives

I was talking to my friend Jen recently about her daughter’s upcoming birthday and she said something that blew my mind. Her kids’ school now bans birthday sweets.  I mean on the one hand, I get it. But on the other hand, I can’t tell you how many hundreds of cupcakes I baked for my kids’ parties at school. And they were some good cupcakes!

So if you are in the same boat and not sure what to do to help make their birthday celebrations at school sugar-free but equally awesome, here are some of my suggestions:

scholastic1. The $1 books from Scholastic Books. Every month they feature a $1 book available online or through your child’s class book orders. There are some great titles, and when you order, your child’s class receives free books. Double score!

aprons2. Children’s Artist Aprons. These run as low as $.50/apron and can be decorated with fabric markers so the kids can customize them!

Playdough3. Mini Play Doh packs. Play Doh is always a hit {unless you ask the mom or janitor trying to get it out of the carpet!}.

mustache whistles4. Mustache Lip Whistles. Okay so I know every teacher on the planet will hate me, but I also know almost every child on the planet will love these!

paddle ball games5. Wooden Paddle Ball Game. I played a version of this for hours on end growing up. I know with all the gadgets kids have these days, they might not be quite as exciting. But I still think they’ll get some great use out of them!

beach pail6. Sand Pail Beach Play Sets. These are perfect if your child has a summer birthday, and they can be purchased for under $1.

lego crayons7. Lego Crayon Sets. Any little box of crayons will do, but these little Lego guy crayons are too cute for words!

516IxOTnJeL8. Sticky hands. These things feel totally gross, but I’m always seeing kids play with them for hours!313ru8EeN5L9. LED Finger Lights. Of all the items listed, these are the only ones, as an adult, I’d actually want. They are so fun!

61I3qFzPKDL10. Fun Pencils. Sometimes it really is best to keep it simple!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Provide Fresh Air and Vitamin D With Baby Cages

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Holy Cats!!  I almost didn’t believe it when I watched this video.  It makes the back of my legs hurt just watching her put that baby into that cage {and then when the older child climbs in, I was sure it wouldn’t hold}.  According to this article on treehugger.com, though, baby cages were all the rage in London in the 1930′s.  People that didn’t have access to outdoor space took note out of the wildly popular parenting manual, The Care and Feeding of Children, and “aired out” their babies in cages suspended from their apartment windows.

Dr. Holt, the author of The Care and Feeding of Children, felt that kids do better when they are exposed to cooler temperatures.  He suggested that allowing babies to acclimate to the weather in a “bonnet and light coat” for short periods {gradually working their way up to 5 hours a day} in the cages provided a defense against them getting sick.  He even offered a temperature guideline for the nursery at night:  Not below 65 degrees for the first 2-3 months, after that, drop as low as 55 degrees.

After a year of age, you can go between 45-50 degrees.  {Ummm, obviously my kids have been spoiled, I could have saved a fortune over the years if I set our thermostat to 45!}

The idea is not all that crazy according to the same article, because years later, Dr. Spock {the childcare guru} agreed with the sentiment that children are healthier when exposed to the elements.  Even I can totally get behind a little vitamin D and cool air, but jeez-o, I don’t know if I would trust the structural integrity of those cages?

What do you think, any apartment dwellers out there ready to trade in their playpens for a baby cage?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Can Experiences Buy Happiness?

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

northwest-trek-challange-zip-line-course

Everyone has heard money can’t buy happiness, but according to research, using money to buy experiences does seem to have a lasting effect on happiness.

London Tardis Dr Who Blue Police Box

Researchers cited several reasons they believed experiences provided longer lasting happiness than purchases in an article I recently read.  One, when people buy experiences, they often spend a lot of time planning the experience {i.e. trips}.  They spend time being happy “anticipating” the event, not just enjoying the event itself.  Secondly, there isn’t really a barometer for the amount of money you should spend on an experience, so the whole keeping up with the Jones’s doesn’t really drag the experience down {where when you purchase a thing, it is easy to compare features, cost, etc.}.  Finally, experiences typically provide a way for us to connect socially–which we already know makes us happier in the long run.

#nycwff new york city wine food festival

It’s no secret that I love to travel–so for me, using my money to buy that experience does make me happy.  I know a lot of people who LOVE live music, and use their money to buy that experience–some love the outdoors, so a pair of hiking boots is the only real investment they make to “buy” their experience.  Either way, I totally agree that experiences are where it is at.

wicked ticket london

What do you think?  Has the money you’ve spent on experiences been worth it?  Have experiences outweighed physical purchases, in terms of your happiness?  What is the BEST experience you’ve ever spent money on?  Can you remember how much it cost?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Clean a Front Load Washing Machine

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

How to Clean a Front Load Washing Machine

It seems like everyone has a front loader these days.  I’ve heard total horror stores of them stinking and then ruining your clothes. While front loaders are more efficient, they definitely are a little higher maintenance than their top loading parents.  They need regular maintenance to avoid the dreaded smell–and by regular, I mean at least once a month, if not every two weeks.

heinz vinegarYou’ll need:

  • Vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Rags/Cloths

How to Clean a Front Load Washing MachineDirections:

Start by running an empty load on the hottest setting with vinegar instead of detergent.  After the load is complete, repeat the process using bleach.  Then, open the doors {it’s really best to always keep the doors open when the machine isn’t in use anyway} and using the rag or cloth, wipe the rubber door seal down with vinegar and warm water. Dry completely.  Pull out the detergent drawer and rinse it under hot water.  Allow it to soak in vinegar for a bit if it still has detergent build-up.

Overall, the whole process is pretty quick and painless.

How do you clean your front loader?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Square Watermelons

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

My friend Heather from Massachusetts sent me this video about Japan’s production of square watermelon.  What a waste.  Growing the watermelon takes up water, nutrients, etc. that could otherwise go to growing actual consumable food.   As much as 1/3 of the food produced in the world each year goes to waste.  They grow these watermelon knowing full well they are not going to be eatable, so they instantly become part of that statistic.  I get that they look cool, but do we really need to spend $100 to have a square inedible fruit conversation piece.  I don’t get it.

Anyway, you all know how I feel about food waste.  The average American family throws away nearly $1500 worth of groceries each year.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather have that $1500 to, I don’t know, fly someplace new.

What do you think?  Cool or wasteful?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Prevent Freezer Burn

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

How to Prevent Freezer BurnThere is nothing worse than going to all of the trouble to prepare and freeze food, only to pull it out with freezer burn, though.  Here are a couple of really simple ways to prevent freezer burn and get your through the winter:

  1. Don’t skimp on the freezer bags/containers.  Make sure, at the very least, the bags are labeled “freezer bags”.  I personally like Ziploc and have no problem spending the extra money for them.
  2. Make sure your food is completely cooled before you put it in the freezer.  The cooling process can cause condensation on your food, if you throw it straight into the freezer still warm, it will lead to faster freezer burn.
  3. Consider buying a separate freezer, if you don’t have one already.  The freezer on your fridge really is designed for items that will be used up faster, because you open it and close it more frequently.  All of that opening and closing causes temperature fluctuations, which lead to…yep, you guessed it:  freezer burn.
  4. Consider double wrapping  items that are more prone to freezer burn {think:  meat and bread}.  Wrap the item with freezer paper  and then put it into a ziploc bag.  It’s double the protection.
  5. Make individually sized freezer bags portions.  If you freeze all of your items in one large bag, everytime you get it out of the freezer, use some, and then return it to the freezer, you create a fluctuation in temperature.
  6. When you load your freezer, make sure to put the newly added items toward the back, so you can use the items that have been frozen the longest first.

How about you, how do keep your frozen food fresh?

~Mavis

How to Freeze Soup, Sauce, and PureeYou might also be interested in How to Freeze Soup, Sauce, and Puree.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Zaycon Bacon: Fun Rhymes and Even Better Deals

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

zaycon-foods-chicken-across-americaBACON BACON BACON!! Bacon is the best. For breakfast, on sandwiches, in any side dish recipe on the planet. Bacon makes everything better. That’s why I’m so excited that Zaycon Bacon is BACK! 

Zaycon Foods is offering Hickory Smoked Bacon at $3.29 a pound.  I was able to split a case of this yummy bacon with my neighbor Girly Girl last time they offered this event and we both loved it.

baconThat famous Zaycon Bacon is still just $3.79 per pound. Plus, they have their Pork Link Sausages for just $2.89 per pound and their brand new, totally awesome Maple Chicken Patties for $3.79/pound.

These sales events are scheduled for November but you can reserve your products now so you have plenty of time to order. Head on over HERE to find out if this deal is available in your area.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel