Now that we’ve achieved some sense of normalcy around here after nearly five years of constant ups and downs, we’ve been able to be a bit more proactive in little things that can make a difference financially. While none of these money saving measures are radically new, they are the little things that can add up over a long period of time – when you have the physical energy to do them. As I wrote last year about this time, there is nothing simple or frugal about being ill. But it is amazing the difference improved health can make in your ability to go a bit above and beyond.
So here are some things we are doing to trim costs here and there that take very little effort.
When I do laundry, I get one load ahead of the dryer. So I have one load in the dryer and I have a wet load on top of the dryer. Putting the load on top of the dryer serves two purposes. One, it starts the items air drying a bit. Two, it starts to warm them up from the heat coming off the top of the dryer. That way they are already slightly warmed when I put them in the dryer, thus cutting down on the drying time.
Changing Auto Insurers
I know this is one of those tips that you always hear, but we just saved $140 by switching auto insurers. The coverage is actually slightly better and we can probably drop our AAA membership next year since we only really get it for the towing coverage. That would save us another $50 or so.
Letting Memberships Lapse
I purposely let our memberships to places like Sam’s, Costco, Barnes and Noble, etc. lag. I never pay them when they are due. My philosophy is that if I’m not going to utilize the membership for two months, why should I be paying for it? I usually do a big stock up right before the membership expires and then I don’t renew it until I go back in again. However, apparently I’m not the only one who has figured out this trick because I got an email from Barnes and Noble that from now on when your membership expires, it will renew to the renew date – not the date you renew it. If that is the case, I think I’m going to drop that one altogether. I have the Educator’s discount card since we homeschool and most of what I buy is homeschool-related anyways.
Calculating Earnings Per Hour For Grape Juice
Our breakfast beverage of choice is primarily Welch’s 100% Grape Juice. I buy the frozen concentrate and make it myself. I discovered that a Walmart near us sells it for seventy cents less per container than Meijer. So once every five or six weeks when I am in that area, I run in and buy 12-15 of them. It takes me about 10 minutes to be in and out and I pay $10.50 less for the grape juice. Utilizing Amy Dacyczyn’s method of calculating the amount saved versus time used as she outlines in The Complete Tightwad Gazette, that is the equivalent of earning $63/hour for my time.
Utilizing Power Strips
We finally got around to utilizing power strips more effectively in order to save money. We have our TV, DVD player, and stereo on one and we turn it off each night to reduce the passive energy drain. Our internet routers and wireless box are on another one and we turn that off at night. We do the same thing with each of our computers. It is especially effective to make sure anything with a big box plug-in is unplugged as much as possible. They are major energy drainers.
Reducing Water Usage
Lastly, we’ve cut our water and power usage quite a bit by cutting back on the number of baths/showers we take. I still take one every day, but David and Caroline both are taking less. Most people really don’t need one every day anyway unless you are doing something sweaty or dirty (or you have very uncooperative hair like mine). Caroline’s hair looks better if it doesn’t get washed every day and she is much more eager to take a bath when it is a few times a week rather than an every day affair. So this change has decreased our water bill as well as our gas bill since we have a gas water heater (and it also means less laundry because of less towels). Again, a simple change, but we definitely saw the results in our water bill especially this summer.
Feel free to add a comment with your own tips and tricks that might help inspire me or someone else reading. I’m sure we can all use a few ways to cuts costs!