Out and About – Week of October 17th

Fewer and fewer things are FREE anymore. Advice is usually free, but in most cases it’s not worth much. Here are five things that aren’t FREE anymore, unless you’re lucky to know someone.

Grocery Bags: It used to be, “Would you like paper or plastic?” Some states are banning or reducing the use of plastic, especially in grocery stores. Plastic is bad for the environment. You are better off bringing your own reusable bags, otherwise you can pay for one of their’s.
Seat assignment on an airplane: If you want a particular seat on a flight, you’ll probably have to pay extra for it. Delta Airlines charges $15, on average, for seat selection. Frontier charges the most, at an average of $12 per one-way flight. Some airlines don’t charge for this service.
Filling your car tires at gas stations used to be a free. Because of legislation enacted in some states, gas stations are required to provide motorists with access to compressed air, but while the air is free, gas stations are allowed to charge you for the use of their compressors.
Some hotels tack on a fee for amenities that used to be free. These might include the use of the pool or the fitness center. When making hotel reservations, it would be wise to check on these added fees.
Some restaurants require you to provide credit card information when making advance reservations. If you fail to show up, or don’t provide enough cancellation notice, the restaurant may charge you a fee. The fee can range anywhere between $20 to $40 per person. Some high-end restaurants require you to pay for your meal in advance.
Along with the rise in the price of gasoline, our energy costs are also increasing. We all need gasoline for our vehicles and we all need gas and electric energy to cook our food. Check out these three hints on how to save money when cooking:

For energy-efficient stovetop cooking, try to match the size of the burner to the size of the pot or pan you are using. If you have an electric stove, you could save $36 a year. Using a gas stove can save you $18 a year.
Keep your stovetop clean and shiny. When those metal pans around the burners become blackened by charred spillover, they absorb heat. If they are kept clean and shiny, they reflect the heat. As a result, it requires less energy to cook your food.
Use a toaster oven for baking. If the dish you are using will fit in a toaster oven, it would cut the cost of cooking in a full size oven. A toaster oven preheats faster than that full size unit.
Here are two more uses for a coffee filter:

Apply shoe polish. Wad up a coffee filter into a ball and use it to polish your shoes. It’s lint free. I don’t know many men who still polish their shoes. If you have tennis/running shoes, just wash them with your laundry.
Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter. My mother used to keep an old Crisco container on the kitchen counter. Bacon grease smelled great.

See you Out and About!

Submitted by Norm Stutesman

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