Thursday, January 27, 2011

Solar Power Experiment - Results

OK, it's been two weeks now with my Solar 12V Battery Maintainer and I have to say, I really think it is working.  While I'm not at the point yet were I am supremely confident in the starting power of the battery, it's started consistently and reliably since I installed the device.  And by install, I mean sitting loosely on my dashboard when parked or in the seat next to me while driving.  They provide suction cups to mount the device, but my dash is textured and uneven and my windshield is small enough already I don't think I should block any of it.

My only complaint is that there is no indicator on the device that it is "doing" anything.  When not plugged into the lighter socket, there is an LED that indicates 1) insufficient light - dark, 2) sufficient light - flashing, 3) abundance of light - solid.  Once you plug it in, however, the LED is meaningless.  The instructions state that it could be in any of the three states, but that it means nothing.  I'd like to know that it was sending a trickle charge to the battery, but I guess I have to trust that it is every time the car starts.

BTW, I'm not sure I'd recommend this solution to anyone else, but for now it is working for me.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Free La Choy Creations at Food Lion

Wednesday is stir-fry night at our house and I was picking up some veggies at Food Lion.  I scanned my MVP card as I entered and was surprised to find a coupon print for a free package of La Choy Creations.  We've never tried them before, but I thought it was worth a shot.  The container comes with rice and a can of seasoning, all you do is add the meat.  We decided to go with the Teriyaki Chicken (I wanted Sweet Sesame but my 6yr old made the final call).  I won't be following the instructions completely -- I plan on stir-frying the meat (beef instead of chicken) and will probably throw in broccoli as well.

I'll let you know how it compares to our normal fare.

UPDATE:  Well, it was a hit.  Usually we have leftovers from our stir-fry, but tonight every last bit was enjoyed at the table.  I suspect we'll have this meal again...


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year, New Blog Direction

This blog started as a weekly e-mail comparing the specials at Kroger and Martins.  Martins had recently come to town and my family was temporarily living with my sister-in-laws family.  We were feeding eight of us at the time, trying to be frugal and this was a small step to take.

Up until that point, I hadn't really paid attention to trying to save money at the grocery store.  Once I started comparing prices and realizing how much more I'd been spending than I really needed to I was a little ashamed at the waste.  This led me to start investigating other resources designed to save money and to start sharing my findings via this blog.

So now I get hundreds of emails and tweets each week relating to saving money and I've been sharing them as I have time and find them interesting.  It didn't take long to realize that I am just one of many voices in a very large crowd saying largely the same thing.  It's fascinating to watch deals propagate through twitter.  While I believe each of the different sites I follow has unique and interesting content (otherwise I wouldn't follow them) the core of what most of them are saying is similar.

Going forward, instead of posting so many "me too" posts, I will be pointing out the excellent resources available from these original sources.  I'll also write about my personal shopping / saving experiences in an effort to entertain as much as educate.

Happy (belated) New Year!

Solar Power Experiment

About a year ago I foolishly ran the battery down in my car.  It's not been a big deal until this winter.  I don't drive much and it seems that the battery isn't holding the charge as well as it once did.  There have been a few times when it took more than one try to get the engine to turn over and the poor starter sounded like The Little Engine That Could approaching the top of the hill.

I was about to bite the bullet and purchase a new battery when I had to stop by Home Depot for something or other.  They had a display at the front of the store for a Solar 12V Battery Maintainer by SunForce Products.  I have always found solar power fascinating and hope to one day supplement my daily electrical power needs through solar or wind power.  (No, I don't have altruistic reasons, I just think it's cool technology and I like the idea of potentially getting a check someday from a utility company...)  Anyhow, the device helps maintain the battery charge when the car is not in use.  It may not work, but if it does, it will hopefully extend the life of my tired battery.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Sale on HP Ink, Buy One Get One 40% off through 1/15

HP is advertising a Buy One Get One 40% off sale on HP ink along with free next day delivery from their website.  The code to enter at checkout is INKSAVE40.  Doing some quick math and an Internet search, the 40% discount puts the ink I use on par with the re-manufactured cartridges.  Might be worth a look if you have an HP printer.