"What is the next thing I would give up or do differently if I had to lower costs?"
I had to think about what changes I have already made, as we have been making a lot this year, and what changes we would make in the future if we had to.
So what have I done so far:
So what have I done so far:
- stopped just buying what I wanted in the grocery store. I am doing more stockpiling and less buying what I feel on a whim.
- turned off the water to the backyard. Yes, I know, our grass is dead. VERY dead. We still water the trees by hand. And the bordering neighbors water gives our bordering tress their fair share. The backyard is going to be totally redone in the future and we would be tearing up the whole lawn at that time. Why water a lawn we will be tearing up in a year or two?
- walk to the park instead of driving to the mall
- I have a pot underneath the faucet to catch all dripping water which is used to water the tree in the middle of the backyard (which does not get run off from the neighbor's watering.
- stopped shopping online and started using PaperBack Swap to support my book addiction. :) I have saved over $200!
- stopped shopping at Goodwill. True, this only happened two weeks ago, but it is still something I am currently doing so I am putting it in this part of the list rather than the latter part. The prices there (and at most brand name thrift stores like ARC and Salvation Army) have gotten outrageous! Instead I am trying to get everything I need at garage sales where you can bargain!!
- I have sought out other local thrift stores. I have found two REALLY nice ones. One really close AND it is a church so all the money goes to missions! SCORE! I will also only goto the Salvation Army (brand name thrift store) on the third Saturday of the month (when they have half off and 99 cents day on the same day).
- growing my own tomatoes
- learning herbal remedies. I am learning to make my own. This is helping us save money on the herbal remedies we used to buy. It is also saving on other things. For example, I am no longer buying shampoo but doing a vinegar rinse (which makes my hair feel so nice, my grays are lightening naturally!, and I am saving money not buying shampoo and all the other hair care products!) I also have remedies for body/face care. So this is saving me money on only on health, but on beauty as well. True, I am paying $10 a month for a forum of mentors, but I am saving WAY more than that not only with what I am learning but...
- no cable TV. No satellite. The only TV we have are DVD's/VHS we already own OR ...
- rent movies from the library! Our library is even closer than the local Red Box (yes, I know you can find coupons for free rental so you don't even have to pay the low low price of $1), so it makes sense to save money on gas AND the rental. :)
- We OWN (fully paid) and drive only ONE car (a mini van)
- Went from paper scrapping to all digital scrapping. A digital kit costs WAY less than it's paper equivalent.
- we no longer use sponges, but use re-useable clothes (either crocheted or previously bought).
- Hang the comforters to dry instead of drying them in the dryer. I also hang tablecloths to dry instead of drying in the dryer. I read that if you just hang one load of laundry instead of drying in the dryer, you can save quite a bit of money in a year. (Can't remember exact amount.)
- Instead of filling a kiddie pool with water for the kids to play in, we let them run through the sprinklers. Kill two birds with one stone, water the lawn AND have some water fun on a hot day.
- Just like in the good 'ole days, we fill the tub once (and not even half full) for baths and all four take their baths two at a time.
- walk to the grocery store, not drive
- I would not go garage SAILING. I would search out Craigslist and make a circular plan that would not take me too far away and then back to the house. If there were any sales along the way, I would check them out. But no more driving aimlessly. Especially on days where the sales are few and far between.
- make sure the fans (we do not have A/C) are turned off in the rooms where people are not currently. I would turn them on about ten minutes before we were to goto bed (which is really the only time we are in the rooms).
- do a more full garden the ALL NEW SFG way (where you can have produce all season with a small garden) Gardening with the kids is so fun!
- do more canning and preserving and freezing during the summer while prices are still good at the farmer's markets instead of having to pay full price at the grocery store.
- drop my cell phone. I would keep it for an emergency (I have heard that you can reach 911 even on an unactive phone).
- Turn off the sprinklers on one side of the front lawn (the smaller side on the other side of the driveway) and water it with water from the children's bath.
- Limit TV to only ONE movie and not turn it on in the evening (a bad habit beloved and I have fallen back into) and limit computer time. Right now the computer is on during the day even though no one is there. Sometimes the TV is on in the background in the evening - that is just NOT necessary. :)
- I would go around and unplug ALL vampire appliances. We have a few done right now, but there are a few more that could be unplugged.
- No more store bought treats (like cookies and ice cream). Those would be made from scratch. Unless of course it is cheaper to buy than to make (doesn't happen over here, at least not HEALTHILY).
- find ways to bring more money in. I would declutter even more and SELL it. I would be better about selling things on eBay and not just holding on to it for "someday"
- turn up the temp on the programmable fans (you can tell it what temp to keep it out but not by time). Right now they are at 68. I would prolly change it to 71.
- I would go to cloth diapers and make my own wipes.
- I would also hang all towels to dry. Right now the only reason I don't is because of time.
- give up the forum of herbal mentors and just hope I got enough information from them (and titles of books for resources) that I can learn on my own.