Archive for April 2013

How to Eliminate your Cable Bill

A while back I devised a little scheme that allowed me to live without cable. It's slightly more technical. It doesn't require you to have a profound knowledge of electronics and computers, but a basic knowledge of these things does help during the setup process.

Before we get started, I want to note a few things. I can't speak for everyone, because I know that cable rates vary from region to region. In my area, cable runs about $40 plus, on a monthly basis. It doesn't sound like a lot of money, but when you tack that in on top of hundreds of dollars worth of other expenses, it starts to add up. There is a lot that you can do with an extra $40 dollars a month. Or, even better, $480 a year! Definitely a step in the right direction to live free!

Now, with that said, let's get started!

What you will need:

A computer that supports either SVideo or HDMI outputs.
A Television that supports either SVideo or HDMI inputs.
HDMI or SVideo cable
An internet connection running to the PC.

Note: optionally, you could always purchase a newer tv that comes equipped with internet capabilities. This really depends on the level you intend to take this too. You'll understand what I mean here in a few minutes.

All you need to do is pick whether you want to run your connection through HDMI, or SVideo. If your using an older computer that you just have lying around, like I did, you'll most likely end up running SVideo. If your running a newer PC, you'll most likely end up with HDMI. In my opinion, if it's in your power to do this using an HDMI hook up, then go for it. The quality will be a million times better this way.

Connect your PC to your TV using your preferred method.

Make sure you have a reliable internet connection running to the PC.

Believe it or not, as far as setup, you're done.

Now that you have everything setup, you need to decide what kind of functionality you want it to have. There are tons of websites where you can watch movies for free. Youtube is another option. If you want to spend just a little bit of money every month, you can go for netflix, which will allow you to watch a lot of the same stuff that you can on cable for a fraction of the cost. There are literally hundreds of options.

Another thing that I did was downloaded video game emulators. This allowed me to play some of the older video games that you can't really find anymore. There are literally tons of things that you can do with this system now to enhance your experience.

Also, you might consider a few different types of software to change your experience. My personal favorite is XBMC. It was originally designed as a media player for Xbox game consoles, but was soon ported to PC. You can easily integrate all of your video and music files for use in XBMC. It also has an option to stream shows and movies from online broadcasts. It really is a total package and it's 100% FREE. Check it out here: XBMC

That's it for cable bills. I hope at least a handful of people will be intrigued by this and at least try it out. If you do try it out, please come back to this page and let us know about your experience. Live Free!
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Posted by Matthew Brown

DIY Green Energy

Anyone who is familiar with green energy, and the go green movement, knows that right at the forefront of this epic battle against high cost energy and the damage that we are doing to the planet, is alternative energy solutions like Solar energy and Wind Energy.

The real problem with these alternative energy solutions is that they can be quite expensive to put together and deploy. In some cases, a full on solar energy set up that would take you off of the standard electrical grid, could cost you $20,000 plus. In the long run, these systems take 18 plus years to pay for themselves. When you break it down, it just isn't worth the money. That's no way to live free.

But finally, someone has released a very reliable method that teaches you how to make your own solar panels. It's not as daunting as it sounds. It's really quite easy if you follow the instructions of this book. With this method you can fully run your home on solar energy for a fraction of what it would cost to have all this done professionally.

This book will show you how to build and deploy your own solar panels. It will also teach you the ins and outs of constructing your battery banks. It really goes in depth and walks you through the whole process, front to back. I believe now, they are offering up video tutorials that come with the book as well, for those of you who are like me, and learn better from watching someone do it, then reading and staring at pictures.

If you want to completely eliminate your monthly utility bills, and live free, this is where you need to be. By creating a solar energy system large enough to power your whole house, you can remove yourself from your electrical suppliers grid. What are you waiting for? Click Here to get this book and take the next step on your quest to live free!

Save up to 50% on your Monthly Utility Bills

When I first dreamed up this blog, I had a few mission objectives in mind. These were objectives that I knew I had to accomplish in order for this blog to be what I wanted it to be.

1. I wanted to teach people the art of saving money by going green.
2. I needed to show people that there was a better way of doing things then what society and big business will have us know.
3. I wanted to give people an outlet that they can rely on time and time again to deliver them priceless information that could really help them change their own lives as well as the people around them, and possibly with enough participation, the world.
4. I needed to teach people how to live free.

With that said, I want to introduce to you, my loyal readers, a very valuable book that I found recently. I'm not going to sit here and try to pitch the book to you like some kind of a salesman. Instead, I will just give you a run down of what the book is about, and then you can decide for yourself it is worth your time and energy.

This is an excerpt from the books website:


Here's What You'll Learn...

  • Dispel the myths about alternative energy sources - save money by spending the least and getting the biggest energy savings.
  • Learn the right choices for your particular home and budget.
  • The Energy Audit - find out if you really need one.
  • Insulation Secrets - even if you think you know a lot about insulation, you're in for a real surprise.
  • Heating & Cooling are usually the biggest energy costs in your home. Slash your costs without replacing your furnace and air conditioner.
  • Hot water for cheap - learn what really works to save up to 70% on hot water costs.
  • If you have Energy Star appliances, that is a good start, but I'll show you how to save even more.
  • Everyone is switching to CLF's (compact fluorescent lights) to save money on lighting. Learn what lighting technologies use even less power.
  • And DOZENS more tips and recommendations, including little known secrets that will help you keep more money in your pocket.
  • PLUS - I'll show you how to pay for all your home improvements without touching a single penny of your primary income!
Hows that sound? The reason I decided to share this book with you, well, besides the fact that it really does help you save up to 50% on your monthly utility bills, is that it really shares the same general theme as this website. This book isn't geared to give you more useless information. It's designed to give you top notch information, and it's going to show you ways to pay for the methods it describes, without dipping in to your wallet. Now, who wants to truly begin to live free?
If you are interested in this great book, Click Here!

12 Easy Ways to Go Green



In this day and age, we all live a very fast paced life. Therefor, we have become accustomed to paying more for convenience. Everything comes in plastic manufactured and designed to store and preserve the freshness of the things we buy. Foods are sprayed with preservatives, chemicals, pesticides, and many other dangerous things, in an effort to offer a shelf life longevity that keeps things readily available for the mindless consumer that today's society not only created, but encourages.

We are seemingly eager to ingest things that are terrible not only for our bodies but for the earth it's self. We fill our houses with products that are draining the earth of it's resources at an alarming rate, and then in return putting further strain on it by being tossed into landfills, burned, and other nefarious disposal methods. This is no way to live free.

If you are like me, time is a commodity. Juggling work and family, and a ton of other things, it's easy to get roped into the frenzy of microwavable meals, and everything being wrapped in plastics, for your convenience. But, I assure you, if your goal is to truly live free, then this is the exact opposite of the way you want to live.

Now, when I first decided that it was my personal responsibility to be cautious of the things that I do and the impact my actions had, whether positive or negative, it all seemed a little overwhelming. There are literally millions of ways to go green. It's easy to get overwhelmed and want to back out to the comfort of the familiar.

The best thing you could possibly do to go green, is START SMALL. Make little easy changes, that aren't complicated, and are easily adaptable into your daily routine.

The ideas in this go green video are great for getting started on your path to live free. I highly recommend that you try at least a few of them. It really is a good jump point on your quest to live free.
Monday, April 8, 2013
Posted by Matthew Brown

Save Major $$$ Growing Your Own Produce

A while back I found myself pacing around the produce section at my local grocery store. I found it very hard to believe how much they were asking for fruits and vegetables. I remember not so long ago, when produce was the cheap part of grocery shopping. Now, it seems as though you could go broke just buying enough fruit to last your family through the week.

So, I set out on a journey cut this expense down as much as possible. My final conclusion was to grow some of this stuff myself. I mean, what better way is there, really? Now, not only do I spend a whole lot less at the grocery store, but I know what I'm getting. I can guarantee that there are no pesticides or anything like that, because I don't use them.

I bought a small greenhouse. One of the ones with the peat moss pellets and a clear plastic dome. Simple, but effective! These things are amazing for getting your garden off to a strong start. I also bought a grow light from Walmart, as I intend on keeping this herb garden right in the kitchen on a big piece of open counter space that never gets used. Anyways, I decided to start with herbs. We do a lot of cooking around my house, and we love our herbs and spices. So I picked a handful of the stuff that we use the most, which included oregano, parsley, cilantro, basil, etc. Then I got to work.

I planted a handful of each type of plant. Within just a few days we started to see a lot of the pellets sprouting. After a while I ended up buying a bunch of Styrofoam cups to transplant them over. This is just to give them a little more room to root and such. This is where I'm at right now with these. In a few days I'm going to transplant them all into a long wide tray type planter. At that point, I will update this post with pictures of what I've got going on.

After a while of watching how well these herbs were growing, I decided to move on to something else. I went and grabbed some tomato, habanero pepper, and California wonder pepper seeds. I bought a replacement pack for the greenhouse, which is pretty much just the peat moss pellets. You just take them out of the box and place them in the little slots in the greenhouse base. I planted about 12 of each plant. Within a few days, they began to sprout too. So now, I'm going to be looking into trying to transplant those within the next day or two so they have plenty of room to grow.

After I get those transplanted, I am going to move on to something else. Probably lettuce, cucumbers, etc. I might even order a little baby apple tree online and toss that somewhere out in the backyard. With the little bit of work that I've already done, I'm already looking at saving about $20 a week. Once I expand, and begin to grow more herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, i'll be looking at saving a lot more. Heck, maybe in the long run I'll end up selling some of this stuff at the local farmers market, because I tend to go over board and I'm sure I'll end up growing way more than we can use.

Long story short, if you're like me, and you can't see spending $50 a week for something that grows from the dirt and you can do for yourself, then growing a small garden is definitely in your best interest. Not only will you save money, but you know what your getting, and to top it all off, it's a very rewarding experience.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Posted by Matthew Brown

Bill Gates to Invest in Green Technology

Not a very long video, but Bill Gates goes in depth about his plan to invest in green technology. He also raises a lot of valid points about the world's current energy situation. Definitely an interesting watch for anybody who is interested in green technology.





Posted by Matthew Brown

10 Energy Saving Tips for Winter

 Here are 10 energy saving tips for you to use during the winter months on your quest to live free. A lot of these you have probably seen else where. I'm sure these aren't closely guarded secrets or anything, but for those who might not have seen them already, here you go.

1.) Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees. In the winter, set the thermostat between 65 and 70 degrees during the day and to 58 degrees at night or when away from home for several hours. If you have a heat pump, make sure to slowly increase the temperature to avoid running the emergency heat. You can learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.

2.) Seal air leaks. Seal all holes from pipes and wires that enter/exit the living space. This includes entrances, pull-downs and attic stair openings, light fixtures, pipes and wires. Attic entryways should be weather stripped and insulated.

3.) Seal off fireplaces. Never use a fireplace as a heat source for your home. Even as a supplemental heat source, the cold air introduced to a warm home through an open flue isn't as efficient as sealing off a fireplace and using the primary source of heat. For natural gas fireplaces, turn off the pilot light when not in use. Seal off the fireplace area or the flue area to prevent cold air from leaking in. (Note: Building codes in some areas require that the damper in your chimney to be permanently blocked open if you install gas logs. Please check the building code for your area for the appropriate procedure.)

4.) Seal duct work. This is the number one way to conserve energy. Make sure that all ductwork is sealed at joints and intersections with duct sealer or silicone caulk. Otherwise, supply ductwork can leak heated air into the attic or crawl space, and outside air can be drawn into the return ductwork, increasing costs and reducing comfort dramatically. Ducts can be sealed using foil-backed tape or silicon caulking.

5.) Lower water heater to 120-125 degrees. Many water heaters are automatically set at 140 degrees. Lowering the temperature on your water heater to between 120 and 125 degrees will reduce the amount of fuel needed to heat the water.

6.) Change furnace filters every month. This is the number one reason for furnace breakdowns. Inspect heating and cooling equipment annually, or as recommended by the manufacturer. Have a professional check and clean furnaces once a year.

7.) Weatherstrip doors and windows. Inspect windows and doors for air leaks. If you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then the door or window needs sealing. Air leaks can be sealed with caulking or weather-stripping.

8.) Insulate water pipes coming from the water heater. Insulate the first 3- to 6-feet of cold and hot water pipes near the water heater. Insulating all hot water pipes is not necessary where pipes are located in a crawlspace or attic.

9.) Add an insulation blanket to water heater. Wrapping the water heater with an insulation blanket can save heating money by slowing the drop in temperature from the hot water tank as it sits unused. Inexpensive insulation kits are available at most home improvement stores.

10.) Add insulation to attic. When adding insulation, start at the top and work down only after eliminating air infiltration.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Posted by Matthew Brown

10 Energy Saving Tips for Summer




Here are 10 basic energy saving tips to use for the summer months on your quest to live free. I'm sure as basic as these are, you can probably find this place several places on the web, but I thought I would share them for anyone who hasn't seen them already. Here we go...
1.) Raise your thermostat to 78ยบ. If you are away from home for more than eight hours, raise the thermostat setting and you can expect to see up to a 3% savings on cooling costs for each degree of setback. This is the number one way to conserve energy.  This will reduce the amount of energy used to cool your home while you're away. You can learn more about your thermostat online by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy website.

2.) Keep shades closed when the air conditioner is on. Sunny windows account for 40 percent of unwanted heat and can make your air conditioner work two to three times harder.

3.)Check and clean filters. Cleaning and replacing air conditioning filters monthly allows the system to run more efficiently.

Clear attic vents.  If the home has an attic fan, make sure it is functioning properly.

4.) Install ceiling fans and make sure they are blowing down. Don't underestimate the importance of ceiling fans. Moving air over the body provides a cooling effect. The use of ceiling fans can mean savings of around 25% on cooling costs and can make the temperature seem 10 degrees cooler.  Most fans have a switch to change the fan direction. Make sure ceiling fans are blowing downward (in a counter-clockwise direction) to send air past your body.

5.) Postpone activities that require hot water and large energy use – such as washing dishes or clothes – to early morning or late evening.  This will keep from adding more heat and humidity to the home. 

6.) Use the dishwasher and clothes washer late in the evening. When used during the day, these appliances produce additional heat, causing your air conditioner to work harder.
Use cold water to wash dishes and clothes. This will save on water heating costs.

7.) Avoid using the stove if possible.  Consider grilling outside instead.

8.) Unplug equipment not in use. Electric chargers, televisions and audio/video equipment use electricity and produce heat even when they are not in use. 
Running an older refrigerator can use up to three times the energy of a modern one. Unplug any appliance when it's not in use.

9.) Turn off lights. Turn lights off when exiting a room.  They add to the heat in the home.  

10.) Consider replacing incandescent bulbs with energy efficient compact florescent lights (CFLs). And remember to recycle CFLs whenever possible.


Posted by Matthew Brown

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