What Would You Do With an Extra 35 Hours a Week?

The last place I worked at had a lot of hard core TV watchers. The talk around the water cooler (actually the lunch room table, since we didn’t have a water cooler) would always include what had been watched the night before. When the subject would come up I pretty much was left out, half listening to excitable talk about plotlines and shows I had never watched. These people were pros, and if they were home the TV was almost always on and they were watching it for hours and entire evenings at a time, night after night.

I’m not some kind of an anti-TV snob; I will plop down from time to time and mindlessly watch reruns or spend an afternoon cheering or booing pro football games. Truth be told we got basic cable so that we could get better reception of our NFL games in the fall and winter. My wife likes the news shows like 20/20 and Dateline and will, when she remembers to, try to catch an episode of CSI or Glee. So we do watch TV, but it is usually not our first choice when deciding what to do. My guess is we watch around 2 to 5 hours of TV a week.

Years ago when TV was getting popular part of the population accepted it as a novel and exciting part-time diversion from the hardships of the daily grind, a way to sit back and relax for a while. Others saw it as a mindless waste of time, a destroyer of character and family traditions.

There is no doubt which viewpoint won. A recent Nielsen report states that, on average, Americans watched roughly 35 hours of TV each week. That staggering amount of time just spent being entertained is almost equal to working another full time job.

Maybe people that are stressed out because they are pressed for time and can never find enough hours in the day to get everything done should reexamine what they do with those 35 hours a week. Turning off the TV could be a life changing step.

Related Reading:

Center for Screen-Time Awareness

Turn Off Your TV

Sacrifice Boredom


Weekly Roundup

FedStats provides statistical profiles of States, counties, cities, Congressional Districts, and Federal judicial districts. You can find links to over 100 statistical agencies as well as a multitude of research and search options.

Free Stuff Times posts links to free stuff every day and is “one of the biggest and most frequently updated Free Stuff sites on the internet.”

Post of the Week – A personal finance post I found to be exceptional.
Here is a list of 50 important financial tips for young adults.

Traffic “is the #1 U.S. traffic-only website for online and mobile traffic information.” Check out this free site to see how they can help with your daily drive.

Check out Flamingo World for online coupons for thousands of stores.

Weekly Reminder – A reminder of a useful article you might have missed.
Here is an article on how to camp on the cheap.


Bucks Guide to Making Side Cash

This is the second installment of the “Bucks Guide” series, which consists of previous posts grouped into topical guides. When I read other blogs I like I’m sure there is older content I might want to read, but usually I don’t have the time to dig through the archives. This is my attempt at making subject matter easier to find here. To that end here is:

Bucks Guide to Making Side Cash

Survey and Reward Sites

Mystery Shopping

How I Sell on Craigslist

Selling Through a Consignment Shop

Selling Your Books

Selling on Zazzle

Make Money by Watching Commercials?

Selling on Cafepress

Sell, Trade or Cash In Those Gift Cards

Offer Your Services for Barter or Cash

Sell Your CDs and DVDs

10 Interesting Ways to Make Some Side Cash

10 Craft Selling Options

Sell Your Old Electronics to Harry Poster

Survey and Reward Sites Update

Sell Your Old Electronics on Gazelle

Sell Your Stuff Online – Some Other Options

Six Online Options to Sell Your Cameras and Gear

Five Alternative Sites to Sell Stuff Online

Can You Turn Your Hobby Into Income?

Best Sweepstakes Sites

How to Make Money with a Booth

Ten Ways I Have Made Money Since Loosing My Job

How to Pick Up Cans for Fun and Profit

How to Make Money from Vacant Houses

Make and Save Money with Scrap Lumber

Make Money Selling Vinyl Records

How to Make and Save Money with Pallets

Make Money Selling Exotic Fish

Make Money Selling Plants

Save and Make Money by Curbing

Make and Save Money House Sitting

The following sites and their descriptions appeared at other places on The Buck List:

Have some old electronics you need to recycle? Check out My Bone Yard

Spare Ground helps you to “make the most of your space.” Rent out everything from parking spaces to unused gardens to spare rooms.

Looking to sell some vintage or newer video games? Consider listing them on Chase The Chuckwagon.

Work in My Room offers money making ideas for high school and college students.

Buy and sell homemade food using Book of Cooks.

Looking for some alternative money making ideas? Check out Unusual Ways To Make Money for some great, and different, ideas.

Have you ever considered direct selling as a way to make money? Direct Selling 411 says that not only cosmetics can be purchased through direct selling “but add to that countless other product categories including kitchen products, jewelry, clothing, organic gardening supplies, spa products, scrapbooking supplies, rubber stamps and much, much more.”

Interested in starting a home based business? Begin your research with the huge database of resources and information found at Direct Sales Moms.

Internet Based Moms “is the leading community and knowledge center for work at home moms or anyone else who has or wants to have an Internet based business.” Check out the site for networking opportunities, marketing information and how to build a money making website.

I have reviewed my fair share of work from home sites, and I have to say Home with the Kids ranks among my favorites. Think it’s hype? Go see for yourself!

Check out Flipswap to find out how much your old cell phone is worth. If they want it they even pay for shipping.

Got an excess of golf balls lying around? Head over to We Buy Used Golf Balls and see what you can get for them.

Have extra produce from the garden, or are you looking for something a little different or out of season? Register for free with Veggie Trader to buy, sell or trade homegrown produce.

This might be the most obscure way yet that I have found to make money online: sell your Fruit Crate Labels. If you have any of these lying around, or come across some in the future, it looks like there is a market for them.

Looking to borrow or rent an item rather than buy? Look around your area on Borrow Me for what you need, or consider some things you could rent out to make a little side cash.

If you have any old electronics sitting around the house gathering dust why not take a couple of minutes to find out if they still have any value. Go visit You Renew to see what they are worth. Hey…free shipping!

Wouldn’t it be nice if all that time you spend on social networks could make you some money? Spiff Box might be what you are looking for. They have a points system that could earn you money by “responding to emails, chats, friend invites and sharing photos!”

cashURwheels is “the only marketplace that connects private vehicle owners with advertisers directly.” If you have ever thought about plastering your vehicle with ads to make some extra money visit this site to see how it works.

If you have something unusual to sell or are looking for an item that is a little off the beaten path, Bonanzle might turn out to be a helpful site. You can also import your items from both eBay and Craigslist to the site.

If you enjoy sweepstakes take a minute to check out HFMUS Sweepstakes. It’s a running feed of all sweepstakes offered by Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.

Here is an interesting potential money maker for both photographers and online publishers. Fotoglif embeds ads in stock and editorial images that earns money for everyone involved. Check out the site to see how it works.

If you have some time on your hands and like to click around on the net you could try Bux3 to make a little extra money. By clicking on a link and viewing a website for 30 seconds you earn $0.01. They also offer a referral plan. The minimum payout is $10.00.

Check out Contest Bee for a large collection of free online contests, sweepstakes and giveaways. I have looked at dozens of these sites and I like how clean and streamlined this one is.

This one could be used by a serious angler to find a guide, as well as a possible money making opportunity for you if you are a fishing guide, charter or outfitter. Check out Hire a Fishing Guide for details.

Several stores have partnered with Gazelle to give gift cards in exchange for used electronics. Visit Sears, Costco and Walmart for details.

Related Reading:

Bucks Guide to Finding Work


What Financial Advice Would You Give to Future Generations?

I got to thinking recently what ancestors of mine would think about the U.S. economy and the overall personal finance situations of the population.

A great, great grandfather from my mother’s side of the family was a successful self-made businessman who raised cattle. He was so involved in his business he would even ride the train in one of the cattle cars from Iowa to the Chicago Stockyards, to assure they arrived safely and so he could deal with purchasers face to face. He took up smoking cigars to cover up the smell as he rode with his cattle.

My grandmother on my dad’s side lived a very frugal life, making do with what she had, conserving her resources and always planting a vegetable garden.

My mom’s dad worked as a bank teller for very little pay during the depression and beyond, moving his family to where the work was. He slowly climbed the ranks and finally retired as president and chairman of the board of a small town bank.

If they could I wonder what kind of financial advice they would have for us today. I imagine they would all have something to say about the enormous federal deficit and government bailouts of huge corporations, along with questions about how it happened. On the home front the fact that 37 million people currently are receiving food stamps, the personal savings rate was recently in negative numbers and that there were over one million bankruptcies last year might raise some eyebrows.

While they can’t comment, we can. What do you think about the way things are going, and what advice would you give to future generations? Before I gave any advice I think I would first have to offer an apology.


Save Money With a CSA

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a way for consumers to buy local food directly from a farmer. When you join a CSA you receive a box of seasonal produce each week while the farming season lasts. You get to eat very fresh food while it is in season, possibly including vegetables you have not yet tried. Some farmers also offer eggs, cheese, fruit, herbs, preserves, meat, and about anything else that is grown or made on a farm.

If joining a CSA sounds like something you would like to try here are a few sites to learn more about it.

Local Harvest has “the most comprehensive directory of CSA farms, with over 2,500 listed in our grassroots database. In 2008, 557 CSAs signed up with Local Harvest, and in the first two months of 2009, an additional 300 CSAs joined the site.”

Use the Rodale Institutes Farm Locator to find farms that sell directly to consumers.

Wilson College also offers a searchable database of CSA farms.

The Eat Well Guide is an “online database for finding fresh, locally grown and sustainably produced food in the United States and Canada.”

You can also perform an online search using your location and “CSA farms” as search options.

Related Reading:

Six Great Gardening Websites

Food Banks, Pantries and Soup Kitchens: How to Find Food in Times of Need

Roadside Stands vs. Farmers Markets


Weekly Roundup

Careerjet is a huge employment search engine of job offerings available on the internet. They scan over 58,000 websites daily and link to the original job listings.

Shopping around for electronics? Retrevo “uses artificial intelligence to analyze and visually summarize more than 50 million real-time data points from across the web to give shoppers the most comprehensive, unbiased, up-to-date product information they need to make smart, confident decisions about what to buy, when to buy, and where to buy.”

Post of the Week – A personal finance post I found to be exceptional.
I enjoyed this post asking the question what do you truly value most.

The Old Farmer's Almanac has been around since 1792. They offer “tide tables for those who live near the ocean; sunrise and planting charts for those who live on the farm; recipes for those who live in the kitchen; and forecasts for those who don't like the question of weather left up in the air.” They also have an Almanac for Kids.

Weekly Reminder – A reminder of a useful article you might have missed. Here are some ideas on how to save money by salvaging.


Frugal Lessons From The Past: The Art of Gardening

History can provide some of the best lessons to help us figure out solutions to today’s problems.

Concerning our finances, thrift, frugality and simple living there are tried and true bedrock principals that we should never forget.

This post is part of a series that focuses on some of those principals by going to source materials for inspiration.

The following was written by Iowan and Pulitzer Prize winner Frank Luther Mott (1886-1964). It is taken from the January, 1962 issue of The Palimpsest, where he reminisces about living in small town Iowa in the 1890’s. He reminds us not only that gardening is a great frugal option to save money on groceries but also names some of the joys that come with growing your own food.

“Many of us were, in a way, small farmers. We surely raised big gardens. In my family, each of us had an individual section of the family garden for his own; and though the general plan came from our parents, each child had his own responsibility and his own pride in what he got out of his plot. I acquired at that time a passion for gardening that has been with me all my life. I came to regard the raising of vegetables as a creative art – something dreamed up and followed through from seed catalog to dinner table. To see the seeds I have planted breaking through the ground has for many years brought a new excitement with every recurrent Spring and Summer. Hoeing in my garden has seemed to me a calm and philosophic exercise, useful and healthful, and mildly relaxing and satisfying. And picking the first succulent green peas, bringing to the house the first fat red tomatoes, snapping off the first roasting ears: these are the climax of the year for the kitchen gardener.”

Related Reading:

Frugal Lessons From The Past: Frugality in the Spiritual Life


Make and Save Money House Sitting

Would you like to travel the country, live rent free and possibly make some money doing it? Consider house sitting. What’s house sitting? It’s when you live in and maintain a person’s house during the time they are away. House sitting jobs are available all year long all over the world, can last from a weekend up to a few years, and many times involve taking care of pets as well.

There are opportunities available in this field just working a few gigs a year or you can dive in head first and become a full time professional house sitter. You save money by living rent free and can sometimes make money by charging the homeowner fees for special tasks. There are quite a few house sitting service websites that you can register with that will, usually for a fee, try to match up homeowners with house sitters. Before you sign up with one or send any money make sure to perform an online search for reviews of the house sitting website you are considering joining.

If you are thinking of a specific area that you want live in check the town community web site for house sitting jobs, as well as the Craigslist postings for the area. You could also place ads on virtual bulletin boards advertising your services. You will need some good references and also be willing to submit to (and pass) a criminal background check.

Still interested? Here are some sites to explore.

The Caretaker Gazette - This site offers “a unique newsletter containing property caretaking and house sitting jobs, advice, and information for property caretakers, housesitters, and landowners. Published since 1983, it's the only publication in the world dedicated to the property caretaking field.” Subscriptions start at $29.95 per year.

HouseCarers – They provide “the most comprehensive information available on house sitting. We guide you through the process of successfully matching homeowner with sitters. Housesitters list their preferences through a simple registration process. Homeowners communicate with sitters through our confidential message system to preserve privacy and security.” Membership is $45 for 12 months listing.

House Sitters America – “Whether you need to find someone reliable and experienced to watch your home and pets or are looking for lucrative house sitting jobs that involve exciting travel, free rent, and extra income opportunities - House Sitters America is for you.” Cost is $30 for 12 month membership.

Luxury House Sitting – They say this site was “created with one idea in mind -- to help luxury homeowners locate responsible house sitters and to give house sitters the ability to build a trustworthy profile.” Membership is $10 per year.

House Sit World – “An international service for house sitters, Caretakers & pet sitters since 1999. House sitters wanted for House sitting in U.S.A, Europe, London, England, Australia, Canada, Paris, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Germany, Portugal, New Zealand.” Payment options are by various currencies via PayPal, including $40 for 12 months.

Related Reading:

How to Make Money from Vacant Houses


Weekly Roundup

Elder Law Answers – This site provides information about crucial legal issues facing seniors and a network of elder law attorneys nationwide. Use the site to find an attorney and take advantage of their Resources and Elder Law 101 sections as well.

WIFE – “The Women’s Institute for Financial Education is the oldest non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial education to women in their quest for financial independence.”

Post of the Week – A personal finance post I found to be exceptional.
This post offers
10 tips to negotiate your rent.

National Gardening Association – They offer a plant finder, weed library, gardening articles, How-To projects and videos, message boards and several free newsletters. And that’s just for starters!

Free Campsites – Use this site to find free campgrounds and boondocking locations in the United States and Canada. A search of my state of Iowa produced 46 results, but not all were free. The site is worth a peek anyway.

Weekly Reminder – A reminder of a useful article you might have missed.


Five Great Catalog Shopping Sites

Catalog shopping has been around for a long time, but the internet has made it possible to now shop without the catalog. The following sites offer a large variety of catalogs in both print and online formats. Regardless of how you choose to view them make sure to check out the clearance items many of them offer and some of the different options to pay for the products.

Catalogs – This site offers access to over 500 online and print catalogs, all for free. You can order a print catalog from the site or go directly to the catalog company's online catalog.

Buyer’s Index – This is a huge directory of catalog and coupon websites that offer all kinds of products and services to choose from. Use the quick search option or click the browse by category button.

The Best Catalogs – This is an easy to use, well laid out site offering 50 categories to choose from.

FlipSeek – They specialize in retailers’ online catalogs that you can flip the catalog pages just like the real thing.

Cyber Catalogs – They bill their site as a global mail order directory, where you can “search, compare, request and download over 1000 of the top premier US and international mail order catalogs.”


Frugal Recipe: Kielbasa Skillet

This recipe was pieced together from several others found in various magazines. We have been making it for several years now and are still occasionally tweaking the ingredients. One of the original recipes called for great northern beans to be added, which my family wouldn’t eat, so I haven’t tried that version. Here is the basic recipe.


One rope (16 oz) of cooked kielbasa, sliced

4 medium sized potatoes, cubed or sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes, or dice a couple of fresh tomatoes

1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies

2 cups water

Spice to taste. We have used, in various combinations, black pepper, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, thyme, garlic, rosemary leaf, ground mustard, cumin and crushed red peppers.


Over medium heat in an electric skillet or on the stove top add all of the ingredients and simmer until done, usually about 20 to 30 minutes. Add desired spices during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve with mixed vegetables as a side.

Related Reading:

Frugal Recipe: Breakfast Pizza


Other Uses for Petroleum Jelly

While petroleum jelly is famous for lubricating babies bottoms and chapped lips there are many more uses for this inexpensive, multipurpose ointment. Some other uses include the following:

If you dye your hair rub some around your hairline to protect your skin from the dye.

Rub some on wood furniture water stains, leave overnight and then wipe clean.

Apply petroleum jelly along the bottom of a sticky drawer to make it open easier.

Rub a little onto your dry hands and feet to keep them smooth and moisturized.

Smear a little into candleholders to make it easy to remove spent candles.

Remove lipstick stains on clothing by applying some petroleum jelly to the stain and washing.

To easily unscrew light bulbs coat the threads before screwing it in.

Use it as a face cream.

Coat it on bolts, nuts and screws to prevent rusting.

Lubricate squeaky hinges.

Lubricate jar caps or lids with a fine film to keep them from sticking.

Apply some to car battery posts to prevent corrosion.

Rub it on the skin around your nails before applying nail polish so mistakes can be easily removed.

Smear a little on the shaft of a key and insert it into the lock to lubricate the tumblers.

Use it as a make-up remover.

I’m sure this list doesn’t cover all of the uses for petroleum jelly. What have I missed?

Related Reading:

The Many Uses of Mineral Oil

The Power of Peroxide

Why You Need WD-40

Other Uses for Rubbing Alcohol

Vinegar: Is There Anything It Can’t Do?


Weekly Roundup

Several stores have partnered with Gazelle to give gift cards in exchange for used electronics. Visit Sears, Costco and Walmart for details.

Side Step is a travel aggregator that searches over 200 websites to find the best travel values on the web.

Post of the Week – A personal finance post I found to be exceptional.
I like this helpful post on how to financially help family without giving money.

Check out how to videos on Howdini to help you “solve your career issues, your parenting problems, your money troubles. We want you to be more glamorous, healthier, and less stressed out. We want you to check Howdini every day for fun, interesting, useful advice from experts you know and trust.”

If you are looking for a good deal on tickets or are looking to sell some check out StubHub, where you can buy and sell concert, sports, theater and Broadway tickets.

Weekly Reminder – A reminder of a useful article you might have missed.


Throwing Starfish

I have mentioned Loren Eiseley in passing on this blog before as being one of my favorite writers. Here he shares a lesson he learned on putting into perspective how one can make a difference.

"While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, "It makes a difference for this one." I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish."