Monday, September 27, 2010

Saving $$ - Part Three

I was telling a friend here at work about my savings ideas. And truthfully, individually they are only saving pennies at a time. But pennies do add up. Her comment was that it wasn’t worth it to her to take the time to do those things for only pennies. Maybe today’s thoughts can add up to more savings… Dollars instead of pennies.

• Line dry clothing. How long has it been if ever that you line-dried your clothing? I put rugs out to dry or sweaters that cannot be dried in the dryer. And in fact, I believe that we are not allowed to hang clothes out to dry outside in our subdivision. (I need to check into that.)
o Here in Colorado the weather is so dry that overnight blouses and other items are dry, fresh smelling, and it didn’t cost a dime to dry. Also good for the environment.
• Be creative and make your own wrapping paper. Wrapping paper is expensive. When my children were at home I refused to purchase expensive or even not expensive wrapping paper, wrapping the gifts a few hours or minutes before the time to open them and then throwing $5 away. The kids thought it was funny that I wanted to save wrapping paper, tissue, bags, etc. But it just hurt my sensibilities to essentially throw that money away.
o I am thinking other papers that come through the house can be used as wrapping paper or to make gift bags. Fabric bags can be made and then used as bags to carry items or store what was in them originally. Yes, this takes time but so does going to the store to purchase paper and ribbon not to mention the gas in the car. Of course, if we are walking or riding our bicycles we save some money and get some exercise and fresh air. Making your own gift packaging also feeds your creative gene. At least it does for me.
• Make our own mulch and compost.
o A friend of mine made her own barrel composter. It is very cool and turns to mix the materials. I may not make something that big but I believe I am going to try to make my own compost as well as save those grass clippings and leaves to add. When I peel those zucchinis and cucumbers and strawberry tops are cut off I just send them down the disposal. Not any more, I think.
o No cost because I have buckets to put materials in. No cost for the materials. Organic gardening. Savings =
• Here’s an interesting one. Use water from pasta and vegetables to water plants.
o Reuse the water plus I think it must have some kind of nutrients in it?
o I have always known that if you use your dish water to water plants that it keeps the bugs away. They don’t like soap. My grandma used to do that all the time.
• Go to Great Clips or someone who does hair at home. Also color our own hair.
o This is an expensive one. A few years ago I wanted to grow my hair out and give it some more body. I wanted to find a stylist who could make it look great while growing out. So Richard came into my life. He is an artist when it comes to hair and hair color. (did I say hair color as in, MY HAIR IS TURNING GRAY?) There is a price to pay as well. A big price. Eventually I will have to give Richard up anyway so maybe I can wean myself from him now. Savings: Anywhere from $30 to $90 every three months or so.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saving $$ - Part Two

Here are some reasonable things I believe that we can do to save those pennies. It might take a bit of time to convince my husband for some ideas. Some ideas do no directly impact him except for the saved pennies. Some ideas will take him a while but he will come around and then we can be saving THOSE pennies. These things also take organization and planning, but I’ve spent many years practicing to do that.

Tell me what you think….

• Using those bags we purchased to put our groceries in. King Soopers gives us 5 cents off of each bag we use.
o Bags are already purchased - a 5 to 30 cent plus to us each time we use them.
• Instead of purchasing those little pudding packs, fruits packs, or applesauce, package our own.
o I have the little containers – a package of Jello is 50 cents? Make them up on the weekends for the upcoming week. Instead of spending almost 3 dollars for 4 or 6 packages. Savings $2.50
• Grow a garden. This year we started our garden as usual. Planted were tomatoes, zucchini, spaghetti squash, bell peppers, and another squash as yet unknown to us. Over the 4th of July we had a big hail storm which basically killed our tomato and bell pepper plants. Then the squashes got a fungus. In the mean time we were able to harvest some food. Zucchinis 4; spaghetti squash 2; Unnamed squash 1. Probably just broke even there but we will keep it up because it is a savings most of the time.
• Use cloth napkins. This is a cost savings and good for the environment.
o I already have some cloth napkins as well as fabric to make more. Cost zero to purchase. Cost = laundry detergent. Savings – whatever it costs to purchase more paper napkins.
• Use cloth towels instead of paper towels.
o Same applies to this a paper napkins. It does take more to launder. At least napkins can usually be laundered in the sink.
• Make your own cleaning products.
o I have never really done this, but they say that vinegar and baking soda and alcohol will clean just about anything. And cleaning products are expensive!!
• Walk or ride my bike instead of driving the car.
o We basically live one block from the grocery, the cleaners (to be discussed later), a hair salon, the bank, several other shops. We also live about a mile from a book store, Target, Petco, the library, etc, etc. It’s a town center. Sometimes it is not feasible to walk or ride a bike. But put a basket on my bike and a backpack and I can probably save some bucks.
• Speaking of cars: when running in and out and doing a lot of errands, park the cars in the driveway instead of opening and closing the garage door.
o Not only will it save wear and tear on the garage door, it saves electricity.
• Also to do with cars. Wash them ourselves.
o It takes time but so does driving to the car wash and waiting while the attendants wash the car. It also costs money for whatever we clean the car with and water. But we already have rags to clean and the other items in no way will cost the same amount as the car wash and tips. Not to speak of gas to get there and we get exercise.
To be continued……

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saving $$

Over the past few weeks my thoughts have turned to saving money in mostly diminutive ways. But nevertheless saving money. Here are some appropriate quotes.

“Cutting Expenses Increases Income”
“A penny saved is a penny earned”
“The safest way to double your money it to fold it over once and put it in your pocket.”

With the big ‘R’ – Retirement looming and pretty much desired, we are wondering how our finances will work. For over 30 years Robert has been socking away money in a savings plan. He also qualifies for a fixed retirement income. I have been able to save an amount about 10 times less than his, but a nice little nest egg as well as qualifying for a pittance of a fixed retirement income. So we will not be destitute or homeless. At least we think not.

Mainly the challenge of saving, recycling, being “green”, and provident is incredibly appealing to me.

Some ideas that I have read about are not appealing. For instance, not using shampoo to wash our hair or using conditioner. Maybe as my hair stays shorter and Robert is balding we won’t need that much shampoo anyway. Not sure that we want to be required to use, as the article stated, a baking soda shampoo and vinegar and water rinse. The upside for doing something like this is that the baking soda concoction will not strip hair of natural oils. Hmmm….. It is also VERY cheap.

There are people out there blogging about living in their cars, utility trucks, campers, and RVs. We have a very nice RV and are considering living there at times before we settle down. But these bloggers share how to inconspicuously “camp” in parking lots, residential neighborhoods, state and national parks. Mostly called boon-dogging. Also not for us. Give us a nice RV park most of the time with running water, electricity, sewer, Wi-Fi, and possibly satellite for TV.

Bragging rights are also being claimed by those who live on between $500 and $1000 a month, some by choice and some out of necessity. The stories I have read are, of course, success stories on paper. In person it may not be so appealing.

My grandparents raised their children during the Great Depression. My parents carried over to a certain degree the lessons they learned from their childhood. Robert’s parents were ranchers who eventually moved to the city and he says they were not even a middle income family. My husband and I by osmosis have been careful in many ways. But not the same as a parent or child who lived through the depression. We are by no means extravagant MOST of the time. (Sorry, everyone makes mistakes and I don’t want to paint myself as perfect.) ☺

I feel excited about the challenge, proving I can do this, and being able to still live well with the things that matter to us. I also do not want to sacrifice the good things we can do to feed our souls and the souls of others because we do not have funds to survive.