We’ve found quite a few new corners to cut this year, not because we’re hurting financially (though we’ve always had to be careful), but because we want to pay off some debts.
I shared some of our new savings in the comments over at Frugal Hacks but maybe some of you don’t follow that blog, so I would love to compare notes here as well.
- We line dry all of our own clothes. We have a large family so we generate a lot of laundry. We estimate that this is saving us $50/month, not to mention one less appliance to buy and maintain.
- We are skipping the a/c. This is saving us $150-200/month.
- When we gave up the a/c, we started buying a lot of ice for cold drinks instead. I just realized that we were spending nearly $50/month on ice. This week, we’re experimenting with homemade ice cubes. Switching isn’t as easy as you might think because our water has a lot of minerals and bagged ice isn’t just convenient; it tastes much better. But we’ll try. Savings: $50/month.
- We switched to cloth diapers and baby wipes. Savings: $30/month.
- We canceled our trash service and started separating our trash. The burnables get burned in a barrel with a screened cover. Savings: $35/month.
- We started using baking soda & vinegar instead of shampoo and conditioner. We also switched from antiperspirants to a homemade concoction which has shocked me by working better than anything I’ve ever used! We don’t do these things for the savings, but that’s a nice little perk. Savings: $15/month.
- We make our own laundry soap. Savings: $10/month.
- We have started using cloth for other household products, cutting way back on our use of paper napkins, paper towels, paper plates, etc. Savings: $30/month
- We invested in chickens this year. They live primarily on scraps so feed cost is minimal. Once they start laying, we hope to save $30-50/month on eggs and might have extra to share or sell. Alternatively, we might find ourselves consuming far more eggs and saving on other sources of protein that we would have bought.
- We hope to install a woodburning stove to heat the house this winter. We’re debating whether to go with a cheap/free model, or invest in a more efficient one. We might save immediately by using a free one now and then invest in a better one in a year or two. We expect to save $400-600 this winter.
- We are considering one or two milk goats. This should save us at least $30-40/month minus the cost of feed. Feed should be minimal since we’re hoping they’ll help clear the land by eating a lot of brush, though we’ll have to give them some grain if we plan to milk them.
- We have talked about using passive solar energy to preheat our water, significantly reducing the energy consumed by our water heater. This is rather common here in south Texas. I estimate that it might save us $15-20/month, though I admit that’s nothing more than a wild guess.
This list is hardly comprehensive, and doesn’t include the other ways we’ve been saving over the years. These are just a few things that have changed recently in our house.
What’s new in yours?