To make your life in Cavendish a bit easier, simpler and save money in the process, consider the following “life hacks:”
1 Free/Low Cost Entertainment
• Libraries are a great source of free books (print and audio), movies, special activities (movie nights, book discussions, children’s programs) as well as offering free passes to local attractions etc. Residents and property owners can become patrons at the Cavendish Library or the Fletcher Library in Ludlow for free. Through the Fletcher Library you can register to streamline free videos and magazines for your own personal use. Check that out at Movies-N-Mags. For other free streaming go to Top 25 Sites for Free Movies & TV Streaming Without Downloading.
• Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) and Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA) offer a lot of free programs through out the year. CHS’s Museum is open on Sundays 2-4 pm from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. There’s always something new to see and they have special activities for kids. CCCA sponsors the free Wednesday night concert series on the Proctorsville Green for seven weeks during July and August.
• National Parks Service Senior Pass Card: For a one time $10 fee, those 62 and up can register for a “senior pass” that allows them and three guests to enter National Parks and Historic sites run by the National Park Service for free. The Senior Pass Card is available at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Park in Woodstock and St. Gaudens in Cornish, NH. It’s also available on-line, but that costs $20. However, it makes a good present for someone 62 and up.
• Green Mountain Passport: Lifetime day entry passes are available to Vermont residents who are 62 or older and/or a veteran who has been honorably discharged from active duty. The fee is $2 and it’s available from your local town office clerk.
• Be an Usher and See Plays for Free: Being an usher at the Weston Playhouse and other theaters allows you to see plays for free.
• Enjoy the outdoors: There are plenty of places to hike, bike, boat, fish and hunt in and around Cavendish. There is a half-mile trail at Greven Field (just off of 103 near the intersection of Dept Street and 103 in Proctorsville) that is easy for kids and parents. Knapp Pond offers boating and fishing, while the Black River is stocked and ready for fishermen.
• Check the Cavendish Connects Calendar for upcoming events, the Cavendish Connects Pinterest Board for nearby attractions. Cavendish VT Facebook page for daily activities, as well as the Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce website.
2 Skiing & Snowboarding on the Cheap
• Work/Volunteer at Okemo in Exchange for Season Passes: There are any number of jobs at Okemo during the winter, some of which are volunteer, that have a free season’s pass as a perk. The more years you work, the more people in your family become eligible for a season’s pass. Depending on the job, there are lots of other perks including discounts on winter apparel, dinning and much more. Keep a look out for Okemo’s Job Fair or to their website for job opportunities.
• Volunteer for the CTES Snow Sports Program: Held on Tuesday afternoons January through March, you get a lift ticket each time you volunteer, plus you have that afternoon for skiing and riding. Call 802-226-7758 for more information
• Annual Ski Swap: Okemo Mountain School hosts a Ski Swap in November the weekend before Thanksgiving. Great prices on used equipment or last year’s products. Sale runs from Friday to Sunday. Check Okemo calendar for dates and times.
• Use VAST Trails for Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing. These trails are kept groomed by the Cavendish Green Mountain Snow Fleas. Check their website for trail map.
• Marsh Billings Rockefeller: Lots of un groomed trails for snowshoeing and cross country skiing.
3. Education/Life Long Learning
• Paying for college: Check out the post from Cavendish Connects, which is updated several times a year Paying for College: Never too Soon or Too Late
• Fletcher Farm School for the Arts and Crafts has classes/workshops year round that are half price for Cavendish residents. You’ll need to get a voucher from the Town Office to show at the time of registration for classes.
• Vermont Adult Learning offers programs to help those 16 and over with necessary skills to obtain High school and employment. The closest office is in Springfield 802-546-0879
• Osher at Dartmouth: Life Long Learning. Prices vary based on number of sessions-4 or less ($40); 5-6 sessions ($60) and a full length course of 7-8 sessions ($80)
4 Make your own Cleaning Products, which not only saves money, but also reduces indoor pollution, harsh chemicals, fragrances, colors and additives.
• Dishwashing detergent: Put a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap in the detergent container cup and sprinkle baking soda over the bottom of the dishwasher or try Homemade Dishwasher Detergent is a Real Thing
• Clothes detergent: Which recipe you use depends on whether you want a liquid or powder detergent and what type of washing machine you have. Do a Google search “DIY clothes detergent” and you’ll be amazed at the number of recipes.
• Cleaning products: You really only need a few ingredients-white vinegar, baking soda and a liquid soap. There are many recipes on different websites to try. To start, check out Non Toxic Home Cleaning.
5 Recycling/Composting saves a bundle:
• Cavendish Transfer Station has a variety of free ways to recycle, including zero sort recycling for bottles, cans, paper, certain plastics; metal bin; electronics; and clothing barn.
• Gently used clothes can go to Black River Good Neighbors in Ludlow. The Fiber Barn at the Transfer Station will take clean and dry clothing regardless of their condition, shoes, clean and dry linens (including blankets sheets towels, curtains etc.), stuffed animals, belts, purses, hats, mittens, gloves, coats, socks. These items can be stained, ripped or torn must be clean and dry. Need help sorting? Try the KonMari approach.
• Home Composting: Lawn trimmings and food scraps can easily be composted, reducing what you take to the transfer station. Learn more about how to compost and low cost composters from the SWWCSWMD, which Cavendish is part of.
While you are recycling at the transfer station, check out what’s being tossed out. Might find something that will work perfectly for you. The more you appropriately recycle and compost the less you will have to pay in tipping fees at the transfer station.
6 Pay with cash instead of plastic. All of our stores take it and studies show you spend less when you purchase with cash.
7 Energy Savers
• Switch light bulbs to LEDs
• Air conditioning isn’t a necessity in VT but if you have it, raise the “default” summer temperature by five degrees. Reverse it in the winter, lower the temp five degrees.
• Air dry clothes using a clothes line and/or drying racks. Not only does it save energy and money, clothes last longer.
• If you do use a dryer, make your own wool balls to help clothes dry faster and keep garments soft.
• Insulate Your Outlets and Check your Refrigerator Seals
• Grow Food, Not Lawns and save the headache of mowing while enjoying the benefits of veggies.
For more ways to save energy, rebates, products etc. check out Efficiency Vermont’s website.
8 Winter Tips
• Buy Darn Tough Socks. They’re made in Vermont and they really make good on their Lifetime Guarantee. Singleton’s carries them.
• O’Keeffe’s Working Hands is ideal for dry hands and feet that crack and split. Better than Bag Balm as it’s not so greasy. Can use on your feet as well.
• Use a Fuel Club for significant savings on oil and propane. Note you will need good credit to be eligible for the club and you generally will need to pay at the time of delivery.
• Check out Avoid “Winter Skin”
• More ideas at 56 Life Hacks to Help You Win at Winter
• Twice a year Cavendish Connects offers its residents a great way to save money via the annual town wide tag sale that takes place on the last Saturday in July and the Abundance Swap the first Saturday in December. The Abundance Swap is a great way to clean out your house and get holiday gifts without spending a dime. Check out the KonMari approach to help prepare for both of these events.
10. Practice Yankee Thrift-Use it up, Wear it Out, Make it Do or Do Without!