I enjoy a challenge…at first trying to live on less money made me angry, sad, thought God was punishing me, filled with self-pity…I think that about sums it up. Now, I have come full circle and I enjoy the challenge.
When I was in my 20’s I did the starving college student thing, I have done the newly married and just starting out thing. I thought I was done with that. In my 30’s and 40’s, I thought I had it all. The perfect husband, a house that was almost paid for, 2 kids, 2 cars, a job I loved. How that can all change in a blink of an eye still floors me sometimes. There really is a positive side, however. I love the challenge of living on a budget (not at first..as I said above). I love learning how to repair and reuse items. I love researching how to save money! Here are some very effective ways to cut your spending.
Did you know that if you leave your computer, cell phone, iPod charger in the wall socket, that it is using electricity EVEN when not in use? Unplug! Also, turn your computer off and do not leave it on ‘stand-by’ 24/7. You can save up to $200-$300/ year by unplugging!
2) Get a BIG pretzel jar (or a large plastic bucket)
At our house, every time someone finds a penny or any other coin, we drop it into our old large plastic pretzel jar.It never quite fills up. When it is half full we take it to the bank. We usually end up with somewhere between $200-$300. As a family we then decide how we will use it. Sometimes we treat ourselves out to a dinner and movie and save the rest. We have paid for an entire weekend of fun things like the zoo, movies etc, just by saving our change. Throwing pennies and coins in a jar is fun for our family. You can make it a family fun thing to plan what you will do with the money. Of course, you could save without telling anyone. When Christmas or birthdays roll around, you will not have to go in to debt.
3) Use a low flow shower head
If you can not afford a new shower head, go to Lowe’s or Home Depot and buy a low flow insert for your shower. Twist off your current shower head and insert the water saving device. You will not lose any pressure, actually you will find it is the same if not better. Since our daughters hit their teen and tween years, it has saved us hot water draining nights.
4) Repair and re-use
I said in an earlier post how much I love eBay and YouTube. I have learned how to repair everything from iPods, computers…how to strip wallpaper….how to cut hair at home…how to train my dog…anything that I would normally have spent money on is at my fingertips. Instead of throwing out your broken items, challenge yourself to educate yourself on repairing them. My Grandfather taught me that almost anything can be repaired.
Re-use plastic baggies…rinse and reuse.
5) Consider a Pay as You Go cell phone.
My first cell phone service was Verizon. I liked the service but I am not a huge cell phone user. I switched to Net10. I spend approximately $15.00 month as opposed to $40.00 a month. With $15.00 I still get 2 1/2 hours of talk time (which I rarely use up), I can text and I get the same coverage as my old Verizon plan. $25.00 a month savings right off the bat!
6) Saving Money and the Planet!
10 Ways to Save Money in a Recession
By investing in items such as CFL light bulbs (Compact Fluorescent) is not only good for the environment, it can save you a bundle. They cost a little more upfront BUT they can last up to 10 years and the cut your electric bill. You actually end up saving money in the long run. You do not have to replace all of your bulbs at once. Simply replace burned out bulbs with new CFL bulbs.
7) Go to your local library!
I love to read. I used to think nothing of dropping $200.00 on books…at one time! My daughters love to read as well. We make a weekly trip to the library and get books, movies, music CD’s..all for free! My daughters love picking our new books every week and it encourages them to read what they have since they have to return it.
8) Reset that thermostat!
If you adjust your thermostat by just one or two degrees, your body will barely notice the difference but your pocket book will.
9) Get a good travel mug!
Why? Make your own tea or coffee and put it in your travel mug every morning for your commute. If you are used to spending $3.00 or more on Starbuck’s, you will not only be saving a bundle but you will also be saving our landfills from paper and plastic cups!
10) Buy Local!
Have you tried your local farmer’s market? Buying your produce closer to home not only helps the local farmers, it lowers your carbon footprint.
If you grandparents lived through the depression, they probably taught you how to save and reuse. When the 80’s hit, we became a ‘throw away’ world. Prosperity is not always a good thing.
A little dose of financial humility is not only good for the soul…it can be good for our planet.
For more great money-saving tips consider purchasing “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” :
The Complete Tightwad Gazette
Cathy Roll is a work at home mom. Visit her blog “Living on Half” at http://livingonhalf2.blogspot.com. In Cathy’s blog she shares the trials, tribulations, tips, joys and humor of losing her job and redefining herself at the ‘tender’ age of 48. Also visit her new blog Wandering Wondering Me Although she has just started publishing this ‘TravelBlog,’ it has been years in the making. Follow her 30+ years of stories from her international travels and photographs.