January/February 2007 Newsletter
Happy New Year from Frugal Families!
I hope you had a happy and healthy start to 2007! I know a lot of our members made resolutions involving money and I’m sure many of you have done the same. Perhaps you’re trying to spend less or focus on debt payoff. No matter what your financial goals, remember that you can’t save pennies (for use in any purpose) if you don’t know where they’re going. Make sure to use our FREE printables to help you find where those pennies are going.
Many people find that they’ve overspent during the holidays and now that the bills are coming in, the stress is going up. I found a couple of new articles for you on the subject and one focuses specifically on money and stress. I hope you find them helpful.
This time of year, we focus quite a bit on saving on our energy bills. Here are a few tips that can help you start saving immediately.
-Wash in cold water only. Most clothes don’t need to be washed in warm or hot water especially this time of year. This will save you a considerable sum of money on heating up that wash water. Don’t forget, you really only need about half of the recommended detergent to clean clothes (not an energy saving tip, but a good tip none the less).
-On a good blustery day, get down and feel around for drafts and other cold areas. A lit stick of incense will actually help you see the drafts around windows, electrical outlets and doorways. All of those drafty areas can be the equivalent of an open window in your home! Use towels, draft dodgers, window quilts and other inexpensive and quick fixes to cut down on those drafty areas.
-Turn down your water heater or furnace. Water need only be 120 degrees Fahrenheit to kill germs and provide for a hot shower. If you’ve got your water set to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s not only wasting money, but can also be dangerously hot if you have young children in the home.
-Turning down the thermostat even a few degrees can save a lot of money. To compensate for the cooler house temperature, add a layer of clothing to everyone, have a nice supply of lap blankets for when you and the family slow down to read, play games or watch TV.
-Take advantage of naturally warm areas of your home. With the amount of baking and cooking I do, the kitchen area is always warm. I run a little counter top fan when I’m baking that blows the warm air out of the kitchen into cooler parts of the house. I also run a small fan in our furnace room that blows the warm air out of there and into the family room, which has meant almost having no heat turned on in that room.
There’s nothing like sitting down to a nice cup of something hot on a cold winter day but have you priced those coffee beverages in the little cans? Even a store brand will run you about 3.99 to 4.99/can! Here are some recipes to make them yourself and save a ton.
Here’s a great recipe for homemade hot cocoa mix. You can use more dry milk and less non-dairy creamer if you want and you can easily exchange the sugar for sugar replacements so it will fit in with your New Year’s diet.
1 cup of non-dairy creamer
1 cup of dry milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Add 3 tsps to hot water and enjoy.
Homemade coffee mixes can also make a nice Valentine’s Day gift for the special coffee-drinking someone in your life! You can mix up a batch or two and place them in recycled jars (mayonnaise or mason jars work nicely) with some leftover glittery silver and red Christmas notions or cut out red hearts from tissue paper and use white glue to modge podge the hearts to the jars.
I’ve also founds some new articles for Valentine’s Day for you! Frugal and budget-wise ways to still show someone special you love them, WITHOUT breaking the bank!
I truly think some of the best Valentine’s my husband and I have enjoyed have been the ones we’ve had since starting our family. We stopped spending the money on the glitz and glam and started getting more thoughtful with our gifts.
I also made my expectations very clear to him to avoid problems. He thought he HAD to get me flowers on Valentine’s Day, but to be honest, as nice as they were, I hated him spending the money for something that died pretty quickly. One Valentines, he stopped at the grocer to pick up something I needed and called me to ask if he could buy me flowers, too. Well, I had just gone through that grocer’s flyer and noticed that they had 5 lb bags of sugar on sale for only .99 (a good price in our neck of the woods). There was a 5 bag limit, though. Instead of flowers, I told him it would be “sweet” if he got me 5 bags of sugar instead! I ended up making him a batch of his favorite homemade fudge (with the sugar he got me) for HIS Valentine’s present. I was happy and he was as well. It was frugal and practical and we both loves our “presents”.
Cutting expenses and staying frugal is always easier if you have like-minded people to share the ups and downs with. Our forums offer that supportive community.