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Winter Prep Checklist: Stop Wasting Your Money On Lost Heat

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snow covered house

As temperatures drop and days get shorter, you may be fearing the impending winter season based on last year’s unusually frigid weather. Luckily, a recent forecast from the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) expects temperatures to be warmer this season compared to last winter. This piece of news doesn’t just mean you’ll save your fingers and toes from frostbite — you’ll also save yourself some money on your home energy bill. In fact, heating takes the biggest bite out of your monthly utilities, accounting for a whopping 43 percent of costs.

While Mother Nature is going easy on you this winter, it’s important to prep your home and ensure your heating system is functioning properly to avoid wasting money. Most homeowners can’t afford a complete overhaul of their HVAC system, but there are simple ways to make sure your system heats efficiently. Follow this checklist to prep for winter and save on those monthly bills.

Filters
The easiest way to maximize your heating system’s efficiency is to change your air filters every two months. Depending on the brand and model, this is a minimal cost ranging from $4 to $20. Set a reminder on your phone to complete this task regularly, as it often falls under the “out of sight, out of mind” category of oversight!

Ducts
To heat your home, hot air generated by your HVAC system circulates through ducts to deliver comfortable temperatures in each room. However, according to the EnergyStar.gov, 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks. Ultimately, that lost air translates into lost dollars. Examine any exposed ducts in your attic, basement, and crawl spaces and plug up any leaks.

Windows and Doors
Doors and windows represent the biggest culprits for air leaks in your home, so check for drafts! And if you find any leaks, apply caulking between the frames and walls both inside and outside to prevent precious heat from escaping. If you’ve never caulked anything before, don’t be intimidated: it’s easy! Follow these helpful tips from Dummies.com.

Fans
Most people don’t think to use their fans during the winter, but switching them to a clockwise rotation will blow warm air down to the floor. Heat rises, so this is an important step in keeping your home comfortable and maximizing the use of your heating system. Energy Star recommends keeping your ceiling fans on a low speed and adjusting your thermostat down to further save on energy costs.

Window Units
If you use an air conditioning window unit, it’s important to remove it before the winter to prevent drafts of cold air coming into your home. If moving your unit is too much work, you have other options like covering them with insulated liners. Ultimately, you don’t want any drafts that will let hot air escape or cold air enter.

Thermostat
If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you’re likely wasting unnecessary energy and money to heat your home when no one is there. Using a programmable thermostat can save you up to $180 a year on your utility bill. Devices that contribute to the “smart home” trend are costlier than basic thermostats, but do allow maximum control via smartphone. If you’re in the market for one of these gadgets, look for coupons to offset your costs. For example, you can find coupons to Home Depot through sites like CouponSherpa.com, or deals for a host of other home stores to help you save.

Professional Help
Some HVAC problems require the help of an expert who can review your system. Before you hire someone from the yellow pages, contact your energy company; many offer free home audits to help identify where your home is losing heat. If you do require professional assistance, be sure to get multiple bids and ask about any new customer offers or promotions.

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized shopping expert for Kinoli Inc., who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such as Good Morning America, NBC’s Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

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Space

SpaceX Is Sending A Japanese Billionaire On A Trip Around The Moon

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BFR Stage Separation

A few days back, SpaceX tweeted that they had signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard their BFR launch vehicle, with a cryptic Japanese flag emoji providing the only clue as to who the passenger might be.

Today, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to the stage at a press event at SpaceX’s headquarters and announced that Japanese fashion magnate Yusaku Maezawa would be the first person to make the journey around the moon. The BFR Lunar Mission will last an estimated four to five days and will take place as early as 2023.

Maezawa is the 42-year-old Japanese billionaire founder of the custom clothing online retailer ZOZO, with a reported net worth of $3.6 billion. Needless to say, he’s got the wherewithal to afford such an extravagant expenditure.

BFR Passing The Moon

“Ever since I was a kid, I have loved the moon,” Maezawa said during the press conference. “Just staring at the moon fueled my imagination; it’s always there and has continued to inspire humanity. That is why I do not pass up this opportunity to see the moon up close.”

But that’s not all. Maezawa is inviting six to eight artists from around the world to join him on this mission to the Moon. The billionaire said he will invited painters, sculptors, musicians, and architects from around the world. Upon their return all he requests is that they create a work of art using their stellar trek as inspiration.

“These artists will be asked to create something when they return to Earth,” said Maezawa. “These masterpieces will inspire the dreamer inside all of us. Needless to say, we’ve always been inspired by the Moon. Take for example, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and The Beatles’ Mr. Moonlight.”

BFR In Flight

If successful, Maezawa and the people who join him will be the first humans to travel to the Moon since the final Apollo mission in 1972. But before history is made, the BFR needs to be constructed, and they’ve got five years to do so. An ambitious time table, but Musk and team believe they can do it.

The BFR Lunar Mission is the first step in Elon Musk’s master plan, as he wants humanity “to become a multi-planet civilization as soon as possible” and that he hopes to “make people excited about the future.”

Mission accomplished Elon, 2023 can’t get here soon enough!

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How Cool Is This

You’ll Never Run Out Of Power Again With The 20,100 mAh Novoo AC Power Bank

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This is a sponsored post on behalf of Omars Electronics, but all thoughts are our own.

Novoo AC Power Bank

How many of you suffer from charge anxiety, worried about one of your devices (phone, tablet, laptop, etc) running out of juice when you’re out and about? We’ve all been there, frantically searching for a free outlet to plug into and get charged up.

As someone who travels frequently, this is something I constantly struggle with, as it’s easy to drain your battery on a cross-country flight while playing Candy Crush or watching movies… especially if the airplane you’re on doesn’t have a USB port or power outlet.

To combat this, I always travel with a “pocket power bank”, which can charge up my phone or tablet in an emergency. But they’re not good for much else, as these little power banks simply don’t have a lot of juice, not to mention the fact that you can’t charge other devices, like your laptop (assuming it doesn’t draw too much wattage), DSLR, Bluetooth headphones, or drone.

Novoo AC Power Bank

So what’s the alternative? The 20,100 mAh Novoo AC Power Bank is your energy solution to keep your laptops, tablets, smartphones and other digital devices charged anytime, anywhere. Not only is that a CRAZY amount of battery capacity (enough to charge a smartphone more than five times), but you can charge multiple devices at once, and it supports three different types of ports: USB, USB-C, and an AC outlet.

It’s that last one that had me perk up and take notice, as I am rarely able to get through a long flight without my laptop running out of juice. With the Novoo AC Power Bank, I can plug in my laptop when I’m running low on juice and keep on going. It’s also handy if you’re traveling abroad and don’t want to buy a power adapter, or if you’re camping out in the woods. Simply charge this bad boy up before your trip, and use it to recharge your devices instead.

This actually would have been a lifesaver when I visited London last year, as I totally forgot to pack a power adaptor in my haste. Both my laptop and GoPro ran out of juice while I was out there, and I had no way of charging them back up. But if I had the Novoo AC Power Bank with me, I would have been good to go. Talk about a rookie mistake!

Novoo AC Power Bank

Best of all, the Novoo AC Power Bank won’t take up a lot of room in your backpack, as it’s only a little bigger than a soda can, measuring in at 80mm x 80mm x 155mm and weighing just 2.12 pounds. So what are you waiting for? If you’re constantly worried about running out of power, pick up the Novoo AC Power Bank (using coupon code NOVOOESS for 15% off) and leave that charge anxiety behind.

While you’re at it, make sure you check out the other sweet gear that Omars Electronics offers for power users, like their Omars 10-Port Hub (use coupon code OMARS10P for 15% off) and the Omars Beast – a crazy huge capacity 26,800 mAh 90 watt AC power bank (use coupon code NOVOOTPB for 10% off).

Last but not least, you can enter to win your very own Novoo AC Power Bank:

Win an Omars Electronics 20,100 mAh AC Power Bank

Good luck!

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Guy Stuff

Here’s Your Chance To Shop Local While Giving Back To A Worthy Cause

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IndieDoGood

There’s no question that online retailers like Amazon have changed the game, allowing people to purchase virtually anything with the simple click of a button, and have it delivered within a few days. It’s super convenient for sure, but at what cost?

Over the years, we have seen these massive companies put the little Mom & Pop shops out of business. But fear not, because today’s younger generation is looking to change of all of that, all while giving back to some worthy causes.

Currently, 75% of millennial consumers consider it very important to support brands that give back to society, and 37% of those same consumers are more likely to buy items associated with a particular cause. And they want to support the Maker Movement by purchasing unique and innovative products made by inventors, designers, engineers, artists and true craftsman.

One company helping to facilitate this movement is IndieDoGood.com, which helps connect small businesses with consumers through their website, with tons of unique and innovative products to choose from. And best of all, they donate 5% of your total purchase price to your favorite charity. Seriously, how great is that?

You can check out this video to learn more about the IndieDoGood story.

The company was founded by Ron and Sue Otten, driven by their passion for giving back to charities and local communities along with their desire to provide an environment where entrepreneurs can tell their story, quickly go to market, and bring high-quality, artisanal products to shoppers around the world.

Here are a few products on IndieDoGood.com that caught our attention:

Shore Boards

IndieDoGood - Shore Boards

Shore Boards started by building hollow-wood paddle boards, that can even be customized and are gorgeous pieces of art. These top-quality boards are handmade for all types of board sports including Stand Up Paddle Boards, Longboards, and Wakesurf boards. This video gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the way these boards are made and provides some insights to this home-grown artisan company.

MotionWise Standing Desk

IndieDoGood - MotionWise Standing Desk

Studies have long shown many health disadvantages of prolonged sitting, they call it “Sitting Disease”. As someone who spends most of my day sitting in front of a computer screen, I could definitely benefit from MotionWise’s creatively-designed standing desks that provide improved blood flow throughout your body, increased energy, better posture, while actually helping you to burn more calories while working.

Hammer Head Swim Caps

IndieDoGood - Hammer Head Swim Caps

Hammer Head Swim Caps is the world’s ONLY protective swim cap. Did you know that water sports have more ER visits than football, rugby, and hockey? Hammer Head swim caps protect swimmers thanks to a patent-pending layer of honeycomb material inside the cap that helps to absorb and dissipate the shock of impact with the wall and other swimmers.

These are just a few examples from the ever-growing catalog of unique products available for purchase from IndieDoGood.com. So what do you say, who’s ready to support the Maker Movement while doing some good for your favorite charity?


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by IndieDoGood, but all opinions are my own.

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