Friday, September 26, 2008

Ways that we have saved

*Constantly being updated*
Over the past year we have tried to pair down our expenses in an effort to live wisely and simply. As it turns out, our timing couldn't have been better. Here are the things we've done:
  1. Got rid of the "lawn guy" left over from when I was a single working mother.
  2. Got rid of the cleaning lady left over from when I was a single working mother.
  3. Got rid of cable.
  4. Got rid of long distance phone service. (we use our cell phones for long distance)
  5. We brew our morning coffee. It is a rare treat to buy coffee at a store of any kind. Think of all of those wasted cups we save! This is a huge savings. Just think: 2 cups a day at $2 each x 365 = $730 and let's face it, a lot of people buy more than one cup a day -- and $2 won't cover fancy coffee from places like Starbucks.
  6. Victor pretty much always brings a lunch to work. Usually it is leftovers from the night before that I pack into a glass container when we do the dishes after dinner. $6 x 5 days a week = $30 x 52 weeks a year = $1560. See how it adds up?
  7. Started air drying our clothes -- winter, summer, spring and fall (indoors and outdoors)
  8. Turned our thermostats down to 66 degrees (during the months it's cold here) during the day and 55 degrees at night.
  9. Put in a large garden in our back yard -- I'm in the midst of making cold frames to grow things in the cold months as well.
  10. We are in the midst of chopping wood (we have tons of it in our large yard -- one large one got struck by lightening and we had to cut two down to give my garden more light) to help heat our house this winter -- we have oil heat and I'm petrified!
  11. Put in a small orchard
  12. Started composting -- free "fertilizer"!
  13. Started driving our own trash / recyclables to the dump. With recycling and composting we generate one medium bag of trash every 2 weeks. One bag is $1.50 to bring to the dump. $1.50 x 26 weeks a year = $39 a year. When we had trash service it cost $35 a month x 12 months = $420 a year. Total savings: $381 a year.
  14. Committed to using things that aren't disposable that you have to keep buying -- like paper towels (use dish clothes and towels) paper napkins (cloth napkins) swiffers & kitchen wipes (rags and elbow grease) ... you get the idea.
  15. Cook from scratch. This is a HUGE savings, AND you will be eating better tasting food that is better for you.
  16. Make things instead of buying things. The sky is the limit here. Make your own laundry and dishwasher soap. Knit mittens from left over yarn. Everything you do will have a big impact. The more you do, the better.
  17. Use the library. Most have a network so that you can "order" books from cooperating libraries. There are few things you cannot find.
  18. Buy used things from thrift stores. Less expensive and better for the environment. Great combo!
  19. Eat less meat. Did you know that cows and pigs - their waste - causes more damage to the environment than our cars? It's the methane gas released into the air from the er .... poo. Supposedly if each family ate just one less MEAT MEAL we could dramatically effect our environment for the better. Anyway, that's the added bonus of eating less meat. Not only do you get to help the environment, you also get to save big time at the grocery store. Plus, let's face it, it's healthier to eat less meat. For the past month or two we've been eating a MEAT MEAL about once a week. Plus, if you have your own garden like I do, just eating all of the ripe veggies is enough to keep you busy and well fed!
  20. Started to make our own laundry soap, dishwasher soap, glass cleaner and furniture polish. Link info here.
  21. Make our own bread.
  22. Bought a woodstove -- goodbye $600 oil bill!

How about you? Are you working on ways to save?


a. borealis said...

Wow - you're making cold frames?! Cool!! We've talked about that... You'll have to let me know how that goes.

As far as saving goes, we are doing a lot of the same. In fact, I can't think of one thing to add to your list! =) Atta girl. Doesn't it feel good? Frugality pays, in many ways - bigtime.

Sandy said...

Thanks for the encouragement! Yes, it feels good. My brother just got this cool thing online that measures your kw usage "live" I'm thinking about getting one. Talking about an incentive to air-dry your clothes! I'll definately be keeping the cold frame project posted. You should definately try it! Keep an eye out for windows (unless you are incredibly handy and can make that part yourself) they are a little hard to find. -sandy

RuralNearDallas said...

I like all your money saving ideas. We are already doing most of them.

Meat is expensive, but the methane thing is no concern. Don't let Al Gore fool you--carbon dioxide is fertilizer.

Don't spend any money on artificial fertilizers or toxic herbicides or pesticides. They poison our food and water.

Lots of ways to reduce water bill

For cheaper meat you can try chicken or rabbits. The rabbits produce good fertilizer, and are very low in fat.

Try to use and re-use everything.

Identify the most expensive things and reduce.

If you buy it, use it.

Sandy said...

Thanks for the suggestions -- you've got a good handle on how-to-save! Keep up the good work!