pre-mix thin-set vs. bag

I'm going to attempt using the bag mix on my next tile project. I have always used the pre mixed 3 gallon pail stuff. but with the price of it now 35 bucks a 3.5 gal. bucket vs. the 5 dollar price for a 50lb. bag I gotta try. The sq. coverage is almost the same. what consistency do I "blend" the dry mix to? It says 1.5 gal of water to a 50 lb. bag. I assume it's much like cement, a bit less water would result in a stiffer mix? do you add water a bit at a time or all at once? any tips or comments welcome!
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Tip 1: mix the dry mortar INTO water. That way you'll avoid crumbs at the bottom.
Tip 2: Be aware of the setting time. Only mix as much as you can use before it sets up.
Tip 3: Wear goggles, dustmask and gloves, at least until all the dust has been mixed into the wet mortar.
Tip 4: Follow the directions on the bag.
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If you intend to mix a substantial quantity using something like a drill it should be durable and very powerful. I learned that one the hard way. If mixing by hand, I'd use a trough and not a bucket.
Doug
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