Getting Ready for Winter 101: Banking Your Home

The winter months are close at hand, and we are all looking for ways to save money while preparing for this cold time of year. Many homes will benefit from banking this winter. By performing this task, you will save money on your heating bill and prevent pipes from freezing.

Banking your home is easy, but expect to spend a good portion of a day on the task. Be sure to have all the materials necessary on hand before beginning, and have a coat and gloves handy in case you get cold.


measuring tape

utility knife

banking plastic


wood slats


rocks or other items to place around the bottom.

Before you begin, measure around the bottom of your home to determine how much plastic you will need. Also keep in mind that you will have to overlap each section of plastic, so add another foot of needed plastic for each section. Also remember that you will need extra plastic at the bottom for placement of rocks.

If the area at the base of your home is low enough, you will be able to cut the plastic in half length wise. For added protection from the cold, you can fold the plastic in half for a double layer.

It is okay to allow a space of a foot or two in between slats. You will need enough to go around the home once, and to nail straight up and down where the plastic sheets meet.

Use 3 nails per slat, one at each end and one in the middle.

Take a sheet of plastic out and do any cutting necessary, if going that route.

Line the plastic up the way you want, securing it at the top with with slats and nails.

Overlap each section of plastic by 6 inches, nailing an extra slat straight up and down where the two pieces of plastic meet.

Continue in this way until done.

Place rocks or bricks over the bottom of the plastic to keep the wind out as much as possible. Bagged leaves with a rock or brick in the bottom will add more insulation.

To save money on this project over the years:

  • Store slats in a large plastic trash receptacle when not in use.

  • Pull the nails each spring and place them in a canning jar or an old coffee can until next fall.

  • Reuse the plastic as many years as possible. When tears occur, cut off those sections and keep the rest, replacing the plastic a little each year rather than all at once.

  • Invest in sturdy plastic, rather than the cheap alternative.

Small Business Ideas for Single Moms

(This is article was first published on, September 27, 2009. I hope you find it useful, and maybe find a career you would like to try. ~ Shannon)

September is Small Business Month. What better way to celebrate this than by considering what small business you, as a single mom, would like to run. Is their something that you have always wanted to do? Is there a business that would work well in the Bangor, Maine area? Maybe now is your chance. This article will list some possibilities and provide you with some resources.

Why might a single mom choose to start her own small business? Here are some possibilities:

  • She has always dreamed of owning her own business.
  • She is tired of her current work situation.
  • She wants to be able to be home for her children.
  • She needs a more flexible schedule.

There are, of course, other reasons. But these are representative of many peoples’ thoughts.

Here are some options for small businesses that single moms may enjoy:

  • Tax preparation
  • Scrapbooking
  • Making and selling jewelry
  • Childcare
  • House sitting
  • Personal attendant
  • Housekeeping
  • Painting
  • Tutoring
  • Teaching dance or other classes

This is by no means an exhaustive list. What can you come up with?

Help in the Bangor area for single moms looking to start their own business:

Other helpful resources:

Maine has two Women’s Business Center’s. Though they are not located in Bangor, they would be helpful. One is in Wiscasset and the other is in Portland.

Single moms have the ability and drive to be successful at their own businesses.

NOTE: Are you a single mom with her own business? If so, please email me at to have yourself and your business featured here. This is great exposure for your business.

September is Mold Awareness Month

(This is an article that was first published on, September 26, 2009. I hope none of you have this problem, but I thought I would post it just in case. ~ Shannon)

Does your home have a mold problem? Single moms in the Bangor area should be aware that September is Mold Awareness Month, and that they should inspect their homes for mold.

Here are some facts about mold:

  • Molds are very common in homes and other buildings.
  • Molds can cause serious health problems.
  • Damp areas usually have mold issues.

It is important that single moms take steps to rid their homes of mold. If it becomes necessary to have someone else remove the mold from your home, then you have options. This can be costly. First, if you rent, call your landlord. It is their responsibility to remove mold once it has established itself. If you do not rent, then look to your insurance company. Are they responsible for paying for the removal of the mold?

Mold Inspection Services

Northeast Test Consultants

Simple Crafts to Honor September 11

(This is another article that was first published on, September 11, 2009. I hope you find it useful. ~ Shannon)

Single moms understand the importance of happiness in the home. They do not want to visit sadness upon their little families. They want to see their children happy and eager to love others. September 11th can be a difficult time because much sadness is associated with this remembrance day.

Moms have the opportunity to change things up concerning what their children do on this day. Moms can do the patriotic thing and celebrate the heroes of September 11: The firemen, policemen, doctors, nurses and other heroes. Patriotism is another thing that can be celebrated.

Moms can provide a patriotic snack or dinner, followed by some simple crafting opportunities that will show their children’s admiration for our countries heroes.

  • Children can create flags using glue and red, white and blue construction paper.
  • Older children can make beaded flag pins.
  • Children can draw a picture of firemen putting out a fire.
  • Everyone can make police badge magnets.

While creating these things, a mom can be discussing her views of patriotism with her children. She can also discuss with her children why certain groups of people are considered heroes, such as firemen, and the important roles that these people play in the community.

Tips for National Coupon Month

(The article below was placed on, September 26, 2009. Enjoy! ~ Shannon.)

September is National Coupon Month. Many Bangor area single moms need to be frugal, and using coupons can be a huge help. If you used coupons when you shopped, and added up the savings at the end of the year, you would be shocked. Single moms can use coupons to help during a recession or any time, if they know how to use them wisely.

How to use coupons wisely is the most important thing that a single mom wanting to save money can learn. Things are not always black and white as far as coupon use goes. Many single moms learned the ropes of couponing early on, but there are many more who still need to learn this art form.

  1. Before purchasing an item with a coupon, look to be sure that another item would not be cheaper. Store and generic brands are often cheaper than items purchased with coupons. An important thing to understand is that the store brand is the same as the name brand for an item that a store sells. For instance, if they sell Hood milk, then the store brand milk is Hood as well. Another thing to be aware of is that another name brand item may even be cheaper than the brand that you want to purchase with a coupon. Go with what will cost the least.
  2. Have other people save coupons for you. If Dawn is on sale for $1.00, and you have 10 buy 1 get 1 free coupons, then you can purchase 20 for only $10.00 plus tax, saving $10.00 plus tax. You won’t have to purchase dish detergent again for a long time.
  3. Couponing works best when items are on sale. If an item is regularly $0.59, and goes on sale at 3 for $1.00, and you have a coupon for $0.50 of 6, then you will pay $2.00 plus tax minus $0.50, or $1.50 plus tax for 6. That is $0.25 plus tax each. Not too bad.
  4. Find out if your local dollar store accepts coupons. This could save you a lot of money in the long run.
  5. If an item can be purchased in bulk at a cheaper unit price than a smaller size, and if your family will eat it before it goes bad, then it is worth the purchase. By using a coupon, you will save even more money.
  6. When an item is on sale, stock up while using coupons. This can save a lot of money.
  7. Some stores have carts or bins with deeply reduced priced items in them. If you have a coupon for an item that is available, you may be able to get the item very cheap, or for free.

Single moms can save money if they shop wisely with coupons.

Free Gift Ideas and Craft Ideas for Grandparent Days

(The article below was published on, September 11, 2009. Enjoy! ~ Shannon.)

Grandparents Day is not far off. Many single moms may be having a hard time affording gifts for parents and grandparents. Children may want to do something special for their loved ones, but money may be tight. This list is based around the free or easy to make idea of frugal gift giving.

Simple Gifts

  • Create coupon books for services such as 1 baking day per child, 1 day of housekeeping, a walk with the family, a picnic, etc.
  • Have a child draw a picture and frame it with a frame from a dollar store.
  • Spend an evening at the grandparents home. Rent a movie, make dinner and clean up after the meal.
  • Get together with other family members at the grandparents house and play cards. Many people enjoy playing cribbage. Board games and Yahtzee are a also good ideas. Children can learn the concepts of such games early on.
  • Take the grandparents on a picnic at the playground. They will enjoy watching the children play, and may enjoy a walk.


Family collage

Ancestry chart

Rustic twig frame

Summer Reading

I have written a great many articles that are posted elsewhere, so I thought I would share a few of them with you today. These summer related articles will give you ideas for fun activities this year.

Summer fun days do not have to cost much. Picnics and playing at parks, as well as other activities, will keep your family busy all summer.

Frugal summer thunderstorm activities.  What do you do when you can’t be outside? Playing cards or doing Mad Libs are just a couple of options.

Best summer pastimes for single mom families. Obviously, these activities can be enjoyed by anyone. There are some old-time activity ideas in this article, that I am sure you will remember.

Refreshing do-it-yourself beverages for the warmer months. Sun teas, lemonade, and fruit waters are included in this list of summertime beverages.

I hope you enjoy the reads, and the beverages. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or email me at I respond to all comments and emails.


Frugal Things of Interest

I was contacted by Nicole at about sharing a link with you (see below), and thought it was time to share some links that I have found useful recently. I hope you enjoy the reads.

Enjoy Art and History on a Budget: How to Get into Museums for Free: When Skye and Zowie were young, we took advantage of a few free days at the local museum. It was in an old church. The church I attended as a teenager, as a matter-of-fact. They had set up displays of items having to do with our areas history. Our visits were always interesting and educational.

Save Money on Family Dinner: 9 Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free: No matter your area, it is a good idea to contact local restaurants to find out if they have nights where children eat free or at a reduced price. While you are at it, be sure you know the age cutoff.

How to Use Facebook to Save Money: I have entered a couple of contests, requested a few samples, and even printed some coupons. After reading this article, I may be doing more. How about you?

How to Avoid Credit Traps: I do not have a credit card; never have. Would not trust myself with on, in all honesty. My mother was lucky enough to be able to pay all hers off years ago. But I know there are many, many people out there with a lot of credit card debt. Hopefully this article will be helpful.

3 Ways to Prepare for Unemployment: Recently, things changed drastically for us at work. With the possibility of partial or full unemployment looming over the horizon, I took a few steps:

1. I cancelled Thank goodness it is an Amazon company, so I still have access to all the audible files for the books I already purchased.

2. I did not renew my Amazon Prime.

3. I cancelled Netflix.

I was feeling deprived after all this, and told my daughters as much. I don’t have much or need much, so these were my treats. My son-in-law, bless his heart, set me up with a username on his Netflix account. Now, I can at least stream some shows and movies.

Then, my sister wanted me to check out a few shows on so she gave me her log-in information. Though those shows are done, she is now letting me watch The Whispers.

Family can be wonderful.

Here’s hoping I don’t need to cut back any more.


I hope you find these articles useful. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, or email me at I reply to all emails.


Freebies Galore

Previously, I published a post here called Free Samples.  In that article, I listed freebies I had received and tried, or passed on to someone who could use them if I decided the products were not for me.  That was June 10th of 2014.

Since then I have received many other samples, as well as other freebies. Some I sent for, some not so much. But I have worked on using or reading everything, or handing them over to others that will benefit from the products.

I should note a few things:

  • I am a member of BzzAgent, from which I get full size products to try and then write reviews on.
  • I also recently signed up for Swaggable, which is along the same line are BzzAgent.
  • Once in a while someone will email offering to send me a product to try and then review on a blog. I only accept items I will actually use. I have turned down coffee samples and other things I know I wont use.
  • On occasion, I enter a contest.
  • I am also a member of GoodReads, and some of the books listed I won through their Giveaways program.

I was surprised the first time someone contacted me through email to try something, but I am glad I agreed. This is what I received. Ever since then, I have gotten a few other full size products in the same manner.

Things I’ve Won:

Free Subscriptions:

  • Parents Magazine
  • American Baby Magazine

(My daughter and son-in-law had a baby in June. I prepared by getting these subscriptions to see what has changed for young mothers over the years.)

Then baby stuff started showing up at my door:

  • 2 diaper samples
  • Nursing pad samples
  • 2 canisters plus 4 bottle of formula with coupons from Similac
  • Baby wipes samples

I can’t remember all the brand names, but I put them things in with gifts for a few different baby showers.

Plus, I received these:

  • Silk Original Cashew Milk, 1/2 gallon, NON GMO Project Verified, 50% more calcium
  • Quaker Steel Cut Quick 3-Minute Oatmeal, 1 full box (8 packets), Brown Sugar and Cinnamon
  • 2 3-Pack samples of Garnier Fructis fortifying shampoo, conditioner, and flatiron express Brazilian Smooth.
  • 3-Pack sample of Garnier Fructis Full and Plush shampoo, conditioner, and Voluptuous Blowout
  • 4 Packages mens razors
  • 2 Packages women’s razors
  • 2 72 Count bottle of Equate antacids
  • 2 72 Count bottle of Rolaids
  • 1.2 Fluid ounce Herbal Essences Body Wash, Body Burst with Citrus Essence
  • 1.7 Fluid ounce Olay Sensitive Unscented Body Wash
  • 3-Pack Natural Infusions with Awapuhi Ginger & Honeysuckle shampoo, conditioner, and leave-in cream
  • Sample of Organic Hemp Pro Fiber
  • 2 Full size bottles of SoftSoap Body Wash
  • Sample of Eucerin Lotion
  • 2 Prilosec OTC samples
  • Sample of dish soap
  • Sample of laundry detergent

Some of these products I buy anyway. Some I plan to buy in the future, but I do prefer to try things before spending my money on them.

What have you received to try? Let us know below, or email me at I respond to all emails.


Family Park Day

(This article was previously published on, July 28, 2009. Thought you might enjoy reading it. ~ Shannon.)

The Bangor, Maine area has a plethora of choices as far as parks go. The Broadway Park has a playground as well as a place to picnic and relax. Chapin Park is another nice place for a park fun day.

The city of Old Town, not far from Bangor, has a beautiful park area as well. The Riverfront Park is located along the Penobscot River and has a playground, picnic area, a gazebo and an area for playing ball and Frisbee. The park also has a water feature.

Parks are wonderful places in which to have family fun days, and should be taken advantage of whenever possible. They are free to use, a great benefit during a recession or at any time.  Parks also have wonderful scenery and are a lot of fun to visit.

How can you make a trip to the park special for your family? Plan a fun family park day. Here are some great tips for you to use to make a special day for your family to remember:

  • Prepare for your family park day the night before the event. Start packing your picnic items, and make sure that you have important things, such as sunblock, towels, bathing suits, a blanket or two, a Frisbee, and sports equipment, in the car before bed. Prepare a casserole and put it into the refrigerator. The casserole can easily be heated the next evening, when you are too tired to prepare dinner for your family.
  • You will want to be sure that you feed your family a good breakfast the next morning, and finish preparing your families picnic lunch.
  • Be sure to remember your camera. You will be able to make a scrapbook of your family park day on the next rainy day, another family fun activity.
  • Children love to hang out at the playground, so allowing them to do so during the morning hours will provide them with a lot of fun. You can join them, or sit nearby and read. Perhaps you would like to socialize with other adults at this time. Morning is also a good time for your children to use the water features at the park.
  • Have your children help with getting set up for lunch. Take this time to connect with your children not only about what you will be doing for the rest of the day, but also about what is going on in their lives. Talk with them about family events that are coming up, and anything else that they should know about.
  • Frisbee is a great after lunch activity, as is catch. This is the time that you will want to spend with your children, creating joyful family memories. You may also choose to walk through the park, or sit on the rocks near the river. Be sure that you are doing these things as a family, and that this time is for fun.
  • Place the casserole in the oven when you get home, and let it warm while the children take quick baths or showers.

Park days are wonderful ways to enjoy time as a family. It hurts nothing to allow children to invite one or more friends, as long as you are involved in the fun as well. Inviting another family along can also be enjoyable. Just be sure that everyone is involved in having fun with the children.

Daycare Fun: 4 Outdoor Summer Activities by Shannon L Buck

Photograph by Brija on published to Y! Contributor Network. Save money by picking up equipment and other items at yard sales, in thrift stores, or on clearance.)

Daycare Fun: 4 Outdoor Summer Activities

Summer is full of activities to be enjoyed by anyone who wants to participate, but they are not always accessible to the daycare provider and the children that she takes care of. The provider may not have enough money to fund a lot of activities, or the means to bring the children far.

Whether you are part of a daycare center or run a daycare home, these ideas will allow you to provide the children with fun activities that can be enjoyed outside during the summer months. Enjoy these activities with the children, in the yard or at the local park.


Find something lightweight that can be used for bases, grab a few bats and balls, and bring along any baseball gloves you have available. Head outside and split the group up into two teams, including yourself and other daycare workers in the count. Matching shirts for team members are not necessary for a good, old-fashioned game of baseball.

Water Fight!

Children deserve water play on the hottest days, as do adults. While water balloons are not environmentally friendly and water guns may not be desirable, there is an alternative. Use balls, often found at dollar stores, that soak up water. They have cloth covers, and do not generally hurt when thrown at someone. One of these for each child will allow for hours of enjoyment. The children and adults throw the balls back and forth at each other, and everyone has plenty of chances to get wet. The only other things you need are a few cheap buckets filled with cool water. A nearby hose will male it easy to refill the buckets.

Park Cleanup

Not all activities are about ultimate enjoyment, but should still be treated as fun. After some play time and a picnic at the park, you and the children can walk around cleaning up the area. Make sure everything ends up in the trash bins located throughout the park area. This activity aids in teaching children what a precious resource the earth is. Pick up returnables as well, returning them to fund a good cause in the fall. All of the money collected throughout the summer can be donated to an animal orphanage or children’s hospital.

Playground “Beach” Party

The key for this party is in setting the daycare playground area up to be reminiscent of the beach. Fill a couple of pools with water, also adding water to the sand pile so the children can build a sand castle. Provide Frisbees and beach balls for the children to use while at the “beach”, and set out blankets for them to sit on, preferably in the shade. Be sure to provide towels for drying off.

Tips for a Safe, Enjoyable Time

Be sure that the children are wearing sunblock. Choose an organic formula, if possible. Reapply throughout the day.
Allow the children to wear caps and sunglasses.
Always have plenty of water available.
Provide the children with picnic lunches, or at least snacks.
Keep a small first aid kit handy.

The adults and children in your facility will have much fun with these activities, providing the opportunity to work together as a team.

You May Also Enjoy

Summer Fun Days do not have to Cost Much

Frugal Summer Thunderstorm Activities

Revive the Good Ol’ Days this Summer

Best Summer Pastimes for Single Mom Families


New Name. Same Blog.

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