Time to tighten our belts to compensate for increased winter time spending. There are many ways to reduce household expenses, although it does require dedication and a little extra work. A great deal of money can be saved without the family cutting back to the bone and feeling deprived. There are two main areas where money can be saved: the food budget and household expenses. Putting a few frugal household tips into practice will reduce the amount of money being spent on bills.
Cable and satellite television is an expensive form of recreation. There are many similar programs available over the Internet in the form of streaming videos. Newer model televisions and computers can be linked together, so the Internet program can be viewed on the TV’s larger screen. Using the Internet in this way eliminates the television portion of the cable bill. This only works with high-speed connections.
Energy consumption is another place to save. Dial back on the water heater temperature to 120 degrees farenheit. That temperature is sufficient for bathing and dishwashing. Change laundry habits from washing in hot and/or warm water to washing in cold. For best results, use a detergent designed for cold-water washing. Keep the thermostat set at 68 degrees farenheit in the winter and dial the heat down when nobody is home and at bedtime.
The garbage bill is usually one of the smallest bills, yet there still may be room for improvement. If the household size has changed, so has the amount of garbage. Many garbage services have different plans available. It may mean moving from the portable dumpster option to bags that are bought individually, but some money can usually be shaved from this bill. Recycling paper, plastic, metal and glass will reduce the amount of garbage thereby reducing the fee.
When bills are paid monthly, there is usually an additional fee attached each month. Paying the premium annually eliminates those fees, and there may be an additional discount available for paying in this manner. Evaluate all polices every year to see if there are extra benefits that are no longer needed. Raising the deductible can significantly reduce the premium. Shop around for the best deals on comparable coverage.
Most communities have a freecycle Internet group. One of the main purposes of these groups is to reduce landfill waste. People place free ads for things they are giving away or things that they want. This is an excellent way to obtain needed items free of charge. It is the first and the best place to check and see if someone is giving away a needed item.
Having a well-organized home will cut down on unnecessary purchases. An inventory list or well-organized cupboards will show, at a glance, what items are on hand. It is frustrating and expensive to buy batteries for the digital camera because the batteries purchased last week cannot be located. Having a designated place for everything eliminates this wasteful spending.
Finding ways to save money is like searching for buried treasure. There are many frugal household tips to be uncovered by the diligent seeker. What creative ways have you found to trim dollars and cents from the monthly budget?
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When I read about retained heat cooking, I knew this was a frugal solution to the dilemma of finding time to prepare healthy meals on a busy homestead. Soup or stew is boiled for about 15 minutes and then the pot is placed in an insulated container and left for the day. The food cooks slowly, much as it would in a crock pot and there is nothing scorched or stuck to the bottom of … Continue reading
Compared to incandescent bulbs, the compact fluorescents draw less juice. They take some getting used to though as the quality of the light they shed is quite different from conventional bulbs. We’ve always left the stove light on as a navigational guide during the nighttime hours. I read somewhere about using LED Christmas lights instead. A string of these lights uses 2.4 watts as opposed to the 13 watt compact fluorescent. They also shed quite a bit of bright light. We saved a couple of dollars on the power bill in the first month of use. Since they were purchased on sale, they should pay for themselves, in savings, pretty quick.
We didn’t care for the way they looked strung around the kitchen, especially in the daytime. My son hit upon the idea of stuffing them in a glass globe. That was the right solution. It takes just seconds to remove the globe and hide it away in the morning when the lights are unplugged.
Anyone with premium garbage service can save a lot by making a few changes. We had service that averaged about $36/month. Included in the package was a garbage bin that could be rolled to the street. The garbage was always my husband’s domain and I was very uninvolved. One day I realized how little the bin was being used for its intended purpose. I decided to test how much service we really needed. By challenging ourselves to see how little we could throw away, we found that we can only fill about 2 garbage bags/month. Switching from premium service to paying by the bag, we reduced our bill from $36/month to $6/month. This is what we do now.
1. Recycle everything possible.
2. All table scraps go to the chickens, dogs or pigs.
3. Any food waste that isn’t designated for animals goes in the compost pile.
4. Pay attention to packaging when shopping and try to buy items in recyclable containers.
5. Wash any packaging that has held food before putting in the trash.
5. Break things like Styrofoam meat trays into little pieces and cram as much as possible in a bag.
Because there is no food in the trash and packaging has been washed, there is no odor and we can accumulate trash for a couple of weeks without a problem. This is important because it takes us about 2 weeks to fill a garbage bag.
When our dryer gave up the ghost a couple of years ago, we decided not to replace it. We were astonished at how much our gas bill dropped. My husband built a wonderfully sturdy, four-line clothes pole. It sees a lot of service from spring through fall. Once the snow starts and on rainy days, we have to make other arrangements.The little novelty in the picture is our answer to drying clothes in a hurry. It isn’t as fast as our gas dryer was but is much faster than air drying. To avoid running up the electric bill, we only use the fan when drying time is critical.
The fan is resting across the bottom bars of the drying rack. Clothes are hung on the rack and the fan is turned on. Monitoring the drying rack and turning the clothes over will further reduce drying time. A much bigger drying rack could be used, and is one of our next purchases. We may have to modify how the fan is situated beneath the clothes. The fan can’t be laid on a solid surface like the floor. It needs to draw air from underneath to work properly. Perhaps four plastic flower pots, one at each corner, will keep the fan stable and raise it high enough for suitable air flow.
The utility closet is behind the louvered doors next to the “dryer”. That is the warmest spot in the house. My husband, who was very tall, hung his clothes from the ceiling of the utility closet and referred to it as the “quick-dry room”. We shorter family members can’t reach as high as he, so we will install a closet pole above and in front of the boiler and boiler mate. A larger drying rack and the use of the utility closet will give us enough space to dry a couple of loads of laundry at a time.