Thursday, November 5, 2009

Frugal Tips - Saving Tips

Tough times call for cinching the belt.  For years I have lived this lifestyle, the frugal lifestyle that is, and did not know there was a name for it.  It took someone calling me The Frugal Fraulein in jest to get me to look the term up on the internet.  What an eye opener!  There were other people like me out there.  People who chose to save money by choosing alternatives to comercialism and consumerism.

I believe in preparing for anything whether it be a natural disaster, manmade disaster or financial disaster.  Because of my lifestyle I have weathered difficult times that would have brought other families down.  I have lived on very little income and I have lived on a very respectful income.  Both brought their their challanges and yes, I would prefer the times of abundance.  I have to say the learnings were greater during the times of limited income.

I am going to share some of the things I have done to decrease the amount of cash needed.  Hopefully, there will some ideas you can incorporate into your lifestyle so that you can save a portion of your income to use to prepare for challanging times.
  1. If you have cable or satellite service, call the company to negotiate your contract.  I called today and reduced my satellite bill by $15 a month.  That will be $180 by the end of the year and I have the same number of mindless channels to surf.
  2. If you have a cell phone, call the company to negotiate your contract.  I called today to cancel my service.  I rarely use the cell phone.  I found out it would cost me $150 to void out my contract because I have 4 more months to go before it expires.  By lowering the number of hours I can use I only have to pay $19.99 for the 4 months for $80 and can still use the cell phone on a limited basis.  So I am saving $70 simply because I made a phone call (or $120 which is the difference from my present service and the one I formally had).  Bottom line my monthly payment has lowered.  Yippie!
  3. Reduce the amount of cleaning fluids you purchase by using a mixture of white vinegar and water as your cleaning aid. Add some baking soda to the vinegar and water to make a paste for scrubbing difficult messes. Salt also has many cleaning uses.  Just look under your sink and see how many bottles and cans of spray there are. Figure out what you spent on those concoctions. It is staggering because I just did it. There were containers that hadn’t been touched in years sitting there worth probably $50-$75 new. Most are toxic. I am going to box them up and the ones with decent amounts of fluid leftover I am going to offer on Craigslist. I figure someone might as well use them up instead of me just disposing of them and filling the landfill. I am going to stop buying all that stuff like window washer, spray cleaner, abrasive powders, de-smell this and de-smell that, disinfectants, carpet cleaners, animal spot cleaners (ok Mister T, no more pee pee accidents!) etc… I am going to keep a bottle of bleach because it is the best solution to kill deadly bacteria. If the flu hits my home, I will use lots of bleach to clean surfaces, bedding, clothing. Vinegar will kill many strains of bacteria but bleach is the best. So stock up on white vinegar, salt, baking soda and bleach now.
  4. I stopped two landscapers in my neighborhood yesterday that were raking leaves.  I asked them what they did with the leaves.  They both said they shredded them then had a place they dumped them.  I asked if they would save a trip and dump them in my driveway on a tarp.  Both said yes.  I now have two piles of maple leaves that have been shredded that I can use in my compost pile and on my wintering garden boxes.  I hope to get a couple more loads.  Two years ago I put about 6 inches of maple leaves on two of my garden boxes over the winter and by spring when I turned them under they had decomposed and were full of worms.  Those two boxes have been my most productive garden boxes.
  5. Tim went to another construction worksite and brought home two more loads of wood for the woodstove.  We have agreed to use wood only to heat the house this year.  Yes, we have electric heat that works perfectly well, but, we are attempting to reduce the bill.  The watt usage is up 190 watts over the same month last year and I do not know what to accredit it to.  Tim is living here now so that might be a factor.  We are unplugging unused appliances, have only energy saving large appliances, are drying some laundry in front of the woodstove and not using unecessary lights.  Geez I have not thought of other things to do.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know!
  6. I buy my food in bulk sizes and freeze or can the extras.  We will get more into that in another posting.
  7. I garden and grow vegetables and fruit which again I can, freeze or dehydrate for the others seasons of the year.  I am addressing eatting seasonal foods to reduce my footprint.
  8. In the load of wood was a pile of pallets which we are going to use to build another compost container.  There were also two metal sheets that will make great lids for the compost bins. 


Carolyn said...

I started using vinegar for cleaning last year. It is great. I think it cleans my floor better and it seems to stay cleaner longer!

Great Blog. Keep up the good work!


Bellen said...

We read our electric meter daily. We note if we use the washer, etc. At the end of the week we review and try to lower the Kw usage the next week. I don't know the usage of a food dehydrator but perhaps that has contributed to the Kw usage.

We also had a free energy use review done by the local electric company. It was determined that we use 1/3 less electricity than what was expected. And this was after taking into account all the energy saving things we do.

Franklyn said...

So rather than turning over a new leaf you are turning over old leaves six inches worth at time. Sounds like a good plan for your garden and for you.

I have found that walking instead of driving saves gas and is good for the Soul as it gives me time to reflect on things.