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Summer time is a great time to get out and get active. Many people go on vacations, go camping, or go somewhere exciting  during the hot and hazy days of summer. That usually takes a little cash though, which sometimes pinches the pocket-book. I too like to get away and relax, so have found a few ways to save money in other areas. Try these money-saving tips this summer to save your cash for more fun pastimes.

Summer Savings

Plenty of room for sheets


Hang your clothes outside to dry. Clothes lines use the power of Mother Nature to dry your clothes and cost NOTHING! All you need is sunshine, plus it is easier on your clothes than the tumble of your dryer.



Quick, hand that kid some laundry to wash!


Wash your clothes in cold water. Today’s laundry soaps clean your clothes quite effectively in cold water, which saves you on your hot water bill.


Or pick up reasonable priced plants at the Gathering on the Green this weekend


Expand your garden by sharing divisions with your neighbours. Everyone wants to save a few bucks, and the garden is the place to do it. When it is time to divide plants (like hostas, grasses, columbines, day lilies, black-eyed susans and other perennials), get in the neighbourly spirit and make some trades around the block. Those perennials keep coming back year after year, reducing the need to drop a small fortune on annuals every year.



Ceiling Fans cool you down, plus add style


Use a ceiling fan instead of the air conditioner. We all know that air conditioners are a godsend in the middle of heat waves, but that cool air comes with a price. A ceiling fan (depending upon its wattage) will cost you about 2¢ an hour to run. Take a look at last summer’s bills to remind you what you paid for your a/c. Plus, don’t forget to switch the blades to running in a clockwise direction to direct that cool air down to you.



How do you like your steak?


Plan your meals for after dark, and take advantage of the barbeque. Not only does the oven cost more to run, but it also heats up the house. Plus, your appetite is usually smaller in the heat of the day, so do yourself a favour and wait til the sun goes down.



How do you save money in the summer?


The short days of winter are upon us. While hibernation is an option for small, furry animals, it is a dream for those of us who have to head into work every day. The busyness of the holidays are behind us and the lack of natural sunlight might have some of you scanning the tropical getaway sites for a break. Not an option for everyone though, so it is best to fill those hours with something. How about cuddling in front of fire place, tackling those to-do lists that you ignored all summer while you were at the cottage, or brightening up your home with a fresh coat of paint. If you are running low on wood, or still not quite ready for the paint brush or honey-do list, then what about some old-fashioned cleaning? Today I thought I would suggest some green ways to clean your home that will also help your hemorrhaging pocketbook (since the holiday bills should be hitting the mailbox right about now).

Five GREEN Cleaning Products For Your Home

    • Baking Soda: Baking Soda is a cheap and overall fabulous product for so many cleaning projects around the home. Mix it with vinegar to freshen and clear drains. Sprinkle it in the kitty litter pan to eliminate odours. Dump it on a grease fire to quickly extinguish it. Toss a box in the fridge and freezer to absorb food smells. Sprinkle it on your carpets, leave for 15 minutes, then vacuum away unpleasant odours. Add it to the laundry to boost cleaning power. As illustrated in this video, you can even clean your silver with it. The options go on and on for this versatile product that can be found in any home.
      • Vinegar: Right up there with baking soda is vinegar. Vinegar is another cheap and versatile product that can be used for so many handy projects. Mix it with water, fill a spray bottle and clean your windows with it. Throw some in your mop bucket for a shinier floor. Soak shower heads to watch them gleam. Don’t forget the taps while you are at it! Vinegar will even help to clean your wooden cutting boards, if you wipe them down with it. At pennies a capful, you won’t mind pouring it down the drain with that baking soda or into the coffee pot to help eradicate those coffee stains.
      • Lemon Juice: Similar to vinegar, lemon juice is a handy cleaning aid that doesn’t cost a lot. Add it to your whites in the washer and you can forget about bleach. Pour some into a sink full of dishes and watch the grease disappear. Cut a few slices into a bowl full of water and nuke it for 30 seconds. You will find tough stains easier to wipe away. Leave expensive wood cleaners at the store and instead mix 1/2 cup lemon juice with 1 cup olive oil to polish your fine hardwood furniture. If you can handle a minor sting, you can even drip a little lemon juice on minor cuts and bites to disinfect the wound.
      • Coffee Filters: Grab your coffee, then grab another filter and start cleaning! Coffee filters can be a lot more useful then just for your morning cup of joe. Instead of reaching for the paper towel, use your unbleached coffee filters to wipe the windows without leaving streaks or lint behind. In fact, you can wipe your computer screen, TV or even your glasses without fear of scratching those delicate surfaces. Pour a little baking soda into a filter, secure it with a twist tie and voila, you have a natural room deodorizer. Stash them in your drawers, shoes or beside the litter box. Anywhere that you want to absorb those nasty household smells that creep in. You can also pop a coffee filter on top of your food in the microwave, instead of exposing yourself to the plastic in cling wrap.
      • Toothpaste: It’s not just for teeth anymore! Take that tube of toothpaste and eradicate stubborn crayon marks on your walls left behind by Junior. Dab a little on that zit that is threatening to take over your face and watch it heal almost overnight. Take the sting out of bug bites with a smear on the spot. Scrub the offending stink from onions and garlic on your fingers with your favourite minty paste. Get the stench out of jars or baby bottles with toothpaste and a bottle brush. Heck, you can even defog your swim goggles by giving them a quick polish and rinse with toothpaste.

Does anyone else have any favourite natural cleaning products that take the bite out of your cleaning budget? Share your tips here!


drip, drip, drip…

“What’s that sound?”


“Mail call! Oh, bills, bills, bills! How can anyone ever get ahead, when the bills just seem to keep piling up?”


Relax, Jim is here with some helpful tips for you today. Would you care for a suggestion for one way to reduce some of those bills? How about repairing that leaky faucet that you keep doing your best to ignore. While you might just have a drip or two a minute, a leaky faucet can waste up to 10,000 gallons or 38,000 litres of water per year. When water restrictions loom in hotter months, you might notice more, but why not attack the problem now, before all that money just slides right down the drain. Today, I am going to share a few tips on how to repair that leaky faucet and save some money in the process.



While the easiest solution to fix a leaky tap may be to call in a local plumber, I know there are more than a few handy folks out there that refuse to turn down an opportunity to tackle a DIY project. If you fall into that category, this is a relatively easy project that can potentially save a significant amount of money on your water bill.

First off, you will need;

  • screwdriver
  • adjustable wrench
  • new washers
Before you start the project, make sure to turn off the water to the faucet. For most taps, there is water shut-off valve located under the sink. If that is not the case in your home, you may have to turn off the water to the entire house.


Next step is to assess where the leak is coming from. If the leak is in the handle, then carefully pry off any decorative covers to give you access to the screws that hold the handle in place. Grab your screwdriver and loosen the screw, then gently slide the handle off.  Inspect the washer and replace if it is worn or broken. Then simply reassemble the handle and tighten the screw holding it in place. Turn the water back on and check to see if the leak is gone. Easy!


If the leak is in the actual faucet, you follow very similar steps. Again, make sure that the water has been turned off before starting. There will still be a minimal amount of water when you take the taps off, but nothing like the geyser you will get if you forget this critical step! FYI: Taping the ends of your wrench is also an easy way to ensure that you do not mar the finish of your faucet while you are working on it. So, with your adjustable wrench, gently loosen the nut at the base of the faucet and slip it off. Carefully pull the faucet off and inspect the washer on the base of it. Again, if it is worn or broken, go ahead and pry it off, then replace it with a new one.


Just a note, make sure that you replace any washers with identical sized ones or else that leak that you are working so hard to eradicate will still more than likely be there.


Last steps are to replace the faucet, tighten the nut at the base of the faucet, then turn the water back on and check for leaks. Hopefully any leaks that you had before are now gone! If not, grab the Yellow Pages and start dialing.


For further tips and a brief walk-through of the process, check out this helpful video from eHow. And happy plumbing!


Its downright COLD out there! Brrr… Good thing I finished the raking the leaves last week. Time for some inside projects today I think. So what kind of torturous tasks have I thought up for you today? Well, let’s step into the kitchen, shall we. You might want to put on a pair of gloves while you are at it, as things might get a little dirty today. It is time to clean your kitchen appliances!



Let’s start with the stove, shall we? When was the last time you cleaned your oven? Do you have people coming over for dinner at all over the holidays? Do you want them to catch sight of the filth that is breeding in there? Or perhaps you would rather just have them smell it, as last week’s casserole that bubbled over has now permanently soiled the bottom of your poor oven. Do yourself a favour and turn on the self-cleaning function! Take out the oven racks first and wipe out the worst of the crumbs and other food debris, then close the door and find something to do for a few hours. Self-cleaning ovens  incinerate anything within them at temperatures up to 900 F or 500 C and take about three hours to complete their cycle. When it is done, all you have to do is wipe out any remaining ash and pop your clean oven racks back in, so that you will be good to go to stuff your turkey in there on Christmas.


How about some of the other appliances in the kitchen. If you can take the heat, then perhaps while the oven is cleaning, you can tackle the fridge. While you might protest and tell me that the inside of your fridge is spotless, how about the outside. More specifically, have you cleaned the condenser coils or the compressor area of your fridge? I didn’t think so. Don’t think I’m picking on you, as most people only clean these areas once or twice a year, if ever. Keeping those areas clean and free of dust, pet hair and debris will help your refrigerator to run more efficiently and ultimately save you money though. Here’s a quick video that gives you a couple of handy hints of how to go about doing it;


Now, another area that I am always slack in remembering is the dishwasher. You would think that it would be a clean item, just by its very nature, but you would be surprised what gets left behind after a wash cycle. While most debris is washed away, it is important to check and clean your filter trap about once a month. While you are at it, check your hot water tank’s temperature setting too. The dishwasher needs temperatures of 140-160 F to effectively clean your dishes or else they will just be dirty when you take them out again. The spray arm should also be inspected to make sure that it is free of clogs and spinning properly. One last tip is to run your dishwasher with one of the cheapest and best cleaning products I know – vinegar. After you have checked and inspected your filter and washing arms, place 3 Cups of vinegar in a bowl on the bottom rack of your dishwasher and run the washer for one complete cycle. You will have a fresh and sparkling dishwasher in no time!

And please don’t ask me when the last time mine was done, as I will kindly refrain from answering. You better believe that it will be done before you know it though. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think that I have a little bit of cleaning to do. Can you hand me those rubber gloves? Have fun cleaning!

Well, it looks like it might be a bit of a drab weekend in the Forest City this week. Forecast calls for rain, rain and more of it. Certainly nothing like the 20+ Celsius weather we had last weekend, but no matter. There is still plenty to fill the hours with.

For starters, you can catch up on our FOLLOW THE FLIP! The house on Charlotte St. is coming along. What have we been up to, you wonder? Well, see for yourself;

Back to the Bare Walls in the Kitchen



Do you know how much filth was in that kitchen? A little elbow grease would have gone a long way, but we used a crow bar instead!



New Windows in the Living Room




Let the light shine in! It doesn’t look like much yet, but those big, new windows will see tonnes of bright light pouring into the living room all winter long. It will be cozy and snug in here, no matter the weather outside.



Deconstructed Bathroom




Who doesn’t love a sparkling new bathroom? Doesn’t this room just invite you to unwind and relax? Well, maybe not quite yet, but after my team puts some blood, sweat and tears into this bathroom it will be ahhh-some!



Arctic Exhibit at the London Children's Museum

Now brush the dirt off and jump into the rest of your weekend. Here’s a family friendly suggestion, if you are looking to get out and about this weekend. Have you been to the London Children’s Museum recently with the kids? Did you know that they recently reopened their new and improved Arctic exhibit? That’s right! It is fresh, fun and interactive. You can hear native singers, watch the Northern Lights and read words in their local language. Plus you can practice your kayaking skills or crawl through the Umingmak seen to the left.

The Museum still has all your other favourite exhibits too, like the sands of Jellyfish Junction, the caves of Dinosaurs and of course Sifton Street! This weekend, they also have “THE EARTH RANGERS BRING BACK THE WILD™ SHOW ” on Saturday October 15th, from 1-4pm with live animals that you get to MEET AND GREET at the end of the show. Don’t worry if you can’t make it this weekend though, as you can catch the show again on October 22nd too!


What about you slave drivers out there that are trying to get to the bottom of your to-do list before the snow flies? Do you need some suggestions of other DIY projects that you can tackle around the house? Let’s see, have you changed your furnace filter recently? For those of you with 1″ filters, you should be changing them once a month. They run around $10 and up at your local big box stores, but if you are willing to buy in bulk you might find a good deal ordering them through If you have a 4″-5″ filter you can get away with changing them less frequently (once or twice a year), but they cost a little more. In the grand scheme of things, they do a better job of cleaning the air though. Regardless, it is important to change your filter on the suggested schedule, as filters remove dust, pollen, animal dander, smoke and other allergens from your home. Plus, a furnace filter actually extends the life of your heating system, as then it does not have to work as hard. So why not head down to the basement, slide out the dirty filter and pop in a brand new one right now. It will save you money and improve your overall health, which is more precious than any money in the bank.


And what am I going to be doing this weekend? Well, maybe I will rake some leaves if the sun peeks out. I better change my furnace filter too, but really I am leaning towards just relaxing with the kids. Down time is important, don’t you know! Whatever I get up to, I will be around the neighbourhood though. Have a super weekend!

Welcome to In Your Neighbourhood!

Allow me to introduce myself. The name is Jim. You want to know more? Well, check out my "About Me" page! Don't forget to take a peek at my "Local London Listings" while you are here too! I update it regularly. Enjoy your visit and drop me a line to let me know you were in the neighbourhood!

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