Silly things you do

cheloneMarch 5, 2006

What sorts of "little" things do you do to keep your expenses lower? I'll go first...

We use a woodstove. I deal with dust, debris daily. But I like the cozy temperature inside. I help cut, split, stack cordwood. It's actually FUN! Its use has kept our home at a temperature that keeps my elderly mother comfortable on the very coldest of days. I like seeing her in the wing chair near the stove,book in hand, enjoying limited winter sunshine and soaking up the stove's heat. I never hear her complain, "I'm cold"... makes me feel good.

We don't own a dryer. No kidding. I use the same rack my grandmother used from the late '20s on. In front of the woodstove, the things on it dry in a few hours. I hang tee shirts on hangers on the crown mouldings over every doorway and several windows. I use the railing around the open staircase, too. Jeans and heavier clothing are hung in the furnace room. In the summer laundry is hung outdoors. You learn to "plan" your wardrobe and honestly, I don't think I devote THAT much more time laundry than someone with a dryer does.

No dishwasher. We have a wall mounted rack to dry glasses, stemware. Our dishrack is on a sloped drainboard. I do the dishes and I actually like the repetitive nature of the "chore". I start with chaos, let my mind wander, and when I'm done with a mundane activity the kitchen looks great.

I pay for cash items with BILLS. I pocket the change and deposit in a jar at the end of the day. At the end of the month I roll it and usually invest it, or direct it to charities of our choice. It's a nice way to be reminded of the value of CASH. And how small, daily expenditures can impact your life.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


There doesn't seem to be much stupidity in your make-up, I'd say.

Around here, there's a box about the size of a washing machine in one of the grocery stores - that'll count your change for you, giving you a credit slip.

Less, of course, their fee for the service ...

... 9.8%.

Did I say - 9.8%?

Yes, that's what I said.

About three times the rate that my bank pays me when I leave money in my account for a *whole year*!

How do you like them apples?

They look a bit wormy, to me.

Have a wonderful weekend - what's left of it.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 5, 2006 at 1:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know about silly, but here are a few things I do:

- I just don't have a lot of "stuff." I have two fans in the house and I cart them from room to room when necessary, rather than buy a cheap fan for every room in which I'd use one. I rent DVDs rather than buy them. I don't have a lot of time to watch TV, and there's a lot I'd like to see for the first time, so why pay extra for something that sits on the shelf most of the time?

- I have pretty much the highest deductibles I can get on my car and home insurance. Insurance is for the catastrophic stuff, not the expensive but pesky problems -- because you know the insurance companies aren't going to lose money on any of us for long.

- I troll thrift stores frequently. It's a good way to pick up CDs cheap (those I do listen to frequently) and you might be surprised how many brand-new items -- or items with little-to-no apparent use -- are sold through thrifts.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 9:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our local video outlet rents DVD's with no return due date so we will rent one, loan it to MIL, who loans it to one of our kids, etc. One DVD will go thru 5 hands and the last person to view it returns it. We switch off on the rental.

Not so sure how well taken this is, but my DH complains when the service/product is inferior or bad. This usually generates a coupon or replacement. He only does this when it's legitimate...for example, we went to a chain restuarant with another couple. DH's meal was not cooked properly (medium does not equal RAW). They took his plate, and didn't return with his now cooked meal until after the rest of us were done with our meals. In fact, we were bagging up our left overs when they brought him his food. So when we went home, he called the manager and was sent coupons for the cost of our bill.

Other times he's bought products that were defective, but the store wouldn't replace them. So he called the manufacturer and was sent replacements (plus extra). The good will keeps us as customers.

We do as much bartering as we can. DH makes statuary, so we trade for services. He's got a boat shop that saves the scraps of their fiberglass for DH (thus keeping them from the garbage heap) and he gifts them with the occasional bench or statue.

I like to volunteer for special events, get to get free admission and can see shows I other wise couldn't afford to see.

My friends and I circulate magazines, and then donate them to the doctors offices when they've made the rounds. I also photocopy the puzzles out of magazines & newspapers to share with my friends & family.

Read the news on-line, so I don't have to waste paper.

These are some of my quirks!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 3:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I didn't make a real contribution, last time.

Cut up plasticized cardboard milk cartons to staple together to make holders for envelopes, e.g. income and charitable contribution statements re income tax, current unpaid utility bills, letters from family, etc.

File receipts for purchased goods in one envelope for each month for the past year and a half in another one of those boxes, as well. Makes it easy to file ones that were lost for a few months in house, car, etc.

Then use them to keep receipts for earlier years, to store elsewhere, till I throw them out.

Have a small heater in bathroom, to keep me warm when I remove some of my usual several layers of clothing and another aimed at the location where I sit at computer and desk, to warm me when I'm not moving, as I keep house temp. rather low.

In my former car, which had standard transmission, when I saw a traffic light half a block ahead turn yellow - push in clutch, turn ignition off ...

... coast toward light, while watching other vehicles go roaring by in other lane, then their brake lights'd go on, as they neared the stop light.

When I got a few feet from the intersection, by this time travelling rather slowly - turn on ignition, let out clutch ... engine starts again. Ready to go ... sometimes the light had turned green, in the meantime, and I was rolling, so didn't have to use more energy to get car rolling.

Wash margarine containers, use them to store leftovers in fridge - but recently have bought a few more soup bowls at GoodWill, so I can take the leftovers out of fridge, let them sit on counter to warm to room temp, then put directly into the microwave, which may be better for my health, for there may be chemicals in the plastic containers that may leach out into the food when it's heated in the microwave - especially if the foods are acidic.

Much of the milk that I drink comes in heavy plastic bags of about a quart each, which I wash and use to freeze veggies from the garden, thus enabling me to avoid buying plastic bags for the purpose.

And the bags that I buy are usually thinnner, so more likely to develop holes as they bang around in the freezer, then food liable to get freezer burn.

There are many more - but I can't think of them at the moment.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 6:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm big on bartering, too.

I reuse tin foil, ziploc plastic bags (yeah, I actually wash both; Mum always did this and the apple didn't land far from the tree).

Another one who has selected a high deductible on insurance policies, steve o .

I have a lot of "stuff" (most of it old, used, family things that carry sentimental meaning). I prefer to pay for REupholstery on family pieces than putting them on the kerb and buying new.

We don't "air condition". We use awnings, 2 box fans when it's really hot, and deal with the vagaries of summer weather in Maine.

We grow our own vegetables, too. We ate the last of the frozen tomatoes just a couple of weeks ago.

We take our pets to the local rabies clinic for vaccinations, saving the "office visit" charge.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2006 at 7:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a credit card that extends the warranty by a year whenever I buy an appliance. I make sure I have the money to pay the credit card balance off the next month, and then get the exta warranty for free.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2006 at 2:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We use window ac's. Why cool rooms that don't need it? Our summer electric bill in the house is lower than it was years ago in a mobile home and the rooms are cooler that we do use.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2006 at 9:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't consider this "silly" but it does save a bundle: I've become quite proficient at doing all the maintenance and repair in and around the house (hense my reading these forums). The key is that you have to enjoy it to get good at it. In my 30 years of driving, I've only had my cars in the shop for tires and alignments (I do all the rest), do all my house maintenance, painting and repair. This year I'm remodeling the kitchen. Last year I replaced all the windows in the house, two a weekend. The year before that I did a living room remodel, down to the studs. (I did pay $1,500 to have 38 sheets of drywall hung and finished, though).

I also do many of the little things others have listed here, like hanging clothes around the house to dry. It annoys my wife sometimes though.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 1:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Would we call you a "stud", then?

Congrats on your capabilities - which you trained yourself to do, a few at a time, no doubt.

Pays well, doesn't it?

Plus provides some enjoyment, satisfaction. You're not fishing around to find out whether you have self-esteem, I imagine?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 2:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Chelone - you wash and reuse your ziplock bags? Me too! I'm glad to hear someone else does it. My wife's sister thinks we're nuts.

I change my own oil, buying the oil and filters on sale. I can do an oil change for about $7 if I get everything on sale. Yes, I do have to drive to the recycling center, but I try to do it only when I have some other business in the area.

I buy new cars, but drive them for 10 to 12 years. So when it comes time to buy another, I have the money saved and pay cash. No car payments for me.

I also buy as many things as I can that have rebates. Filling out the forms and sending them in is a bit of a pain, but every little bit helps.

I live in Minnesota where it is cold in the winter. The thermostat is at 69 during the day and 63 at night. Summer air conditioning is set at 78, but I won't usually turn it on until it reaches 80 inside.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 9:00AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Save paper print outs from work. Instead of putting them in the recycle bin, I take it home and use the flip side for scratch paper. Comes in very handy for kids homework, grocery lists, notes, phone messages, etc...

    Bookmark   April 12, 2006 at 2:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My printer at work always prints a cover sheet for every document I print. I bring the cover sheets home and print on the other side when printing documents for my home PC.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 8:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lets see,

When our son was new I did cloth diapers, and am thinking of going back to them now that he's not wetting them so often (it got to where I was changing him every hour with the cloth, but since the disposables are more absorbant and keep the skin dry, I only had to change him every three - four hours, saved a lot of laundry.)

He has also never been on formula, mom's milk only.

I made all my own baby food.

I gave up my paycheck to stay home. I've found this has been the biggest cost saver of all. No daycare costs, no extra gas, far smaller clothing budget, etc. (Plus I get to spend all day with my sweet little boy.)

I don't buy premade food (amazing how much you can save making things from scratch)and I make our bread weekly.

All the grocery shopping (aside from milk and eggs) is done monthly on '15% off Tuesday' (the first Tuesday of the month) and I do it in the morning so I don't have to fight the crowds. And when I'm there I take advantage of the specials and items with coupons (which still get an addition 15% taken off at the till.) We also do bulk shopping at Costco ever couple months to stock up on canned soups, etc.

I also do a garden (this year's will be bigger, since I'm home to weed it) and mom and I do canning. I'm also getting into starting my flowers from seed, rather than buying them at the nursery, and getting a lot more into self seeders and perenials.

The freezer is mainly reserved for meat. Both hubby and I hunt so we make a huge savings there. (We do all our hunting locally, so no $100 gas bills to head out west.) A mature moose provides roughly the same amount of meat as a cow, and we do all our own butchering, so a years worth of meat costs us the price of a couple years draw applications and a tag (around $40). Because we hunt locally, the deer/moose we get are feeding in grain fields, not on swamp grass and spruce trees, so it isn't very gamey tasting. We get whole chickens from the Hutterites, buy pork in bulk when it's on sale, and we make all our own sausages, jerky, etc. We get fresh farm eggs at 1/2 the price of the grocery store eggs.

Hubby does the oil changes. Our vehicles are used, so no car payments. If something does go wrong, we usually get rebuilt or used parts from the auto wrecker, and both dad and brother in law are mechanics, so we get together for a visit, and the 'boys' go out and tinker away, and soon the vehicle's fixed and the labor is free.

I do the reno's this past winter I did two bed rooms, and we're working on the bathroom now...stripped to the studs. It's really not as hard as it sounds and I like working with saws so it saves a lot on labor. I also have a friend who's a plumber - he came and explaind the codes and how everything needed to be run. And pa-in-law is a certified electrician, oh and another friend who's a drywaller, who's going to show me how to do it properly, when we get to that stage. (Nice to have friends and family in just about every trade out there.) We trade knowledge for packages of homemade deer sausage.

We also salvage 'stuff' when we can. Hubby's work has been getting in lots of new equipment lately, and they throw out the cases they came in. These cases are made of full sheets of solid 3/4 inch plywood and full lengths of 2x12's. All we've had to do is remove the staples. Over the last two months we have gotten enough lumber to almost build a new double garage (and there's more coming in almost every day). It's amazing what these big companies will waste!

I do use the dishwasher, but only run it when it's full. I wash all the big stuff, or when there's only a little bit, by hand.

We bought a high efficiency dryer and front load washer (which uses less than a 1/4 of the soap and water and spins them till their almost dry) and in the summer I hang the clothes on the line.

That's all I can think of right now.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 11:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Those are wonderful ideas and none of them are silly! Good for you to stay home with your little boy.

I re-use the pickle juice from a jar of pickles by cutting new cucumbers and adding them to the jar.

We also enjoy a lot of roast turkey. Turkeys are cheap (and good for you) and after the first night of turkey dinner, you can make sandwiches from the leftover meat and soup and broth from the carcass.

I never buy pre-made packaged anything. I make simple healthy meals and from scratch and freeze the leftovers.

If I use my oven, which is quite large, I bake as many things as I can fit in there.

I try never to buy anything that has to be dry cleaned or pressed. Sometimes these garments cost more, but save over time.

Here's one of my new ideas for saving a little money and having fun too. Throw a clothing exchange party with all your friends. It's amazing how much money we all waste on clothes that we don't wear any longer (for whatever reason). Have every one bring a box or two of gently worn stuff and have fun "shopping" at each other's "boutiques".

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 11:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I like the idea of the clothing exchange party.

Should have a pot-luck supper along with it, maybe?

It seems to me that some of us seniors should get together for a pot-luck dinner/supper occasionally.

I think that a number of us, when making food for one, tend to the "tea and toast" routine (for me, that's more like "choc/coffee and cookies") a bit too often.

I have wanted a coffee maker for a time, but the usual ones were way too big for one ...

... and one had to use a new filter each time.

Recently I found a 4-cup one - with a permanent screen.

I think that the coffee companies should do like Gevalia and offer a maker free ...

... as I find that I've been drinking quite a bit more coffee at home, recently. Though I did drink some "instant" before - often adding some cocoa to it.

Did you have the clothing on offer sized?

When step-mom died, she'd cut most of the size tabs out of her dresses (some up to size 24).

She had a hobby of collecting them, I think - upwards of 300.

When her daughter and my brother's wife were going through them, many sent to Sal. Army, Good Will, etc., I was trying to think whether I knew of someone who sported such a size ...

... couldn't think, for the life of me - all through the day.

Later visited a cousin, who was, shall we say, quite large.

Asked her whether she could use size 24.

Yes, she could.

Called Dad - could he dig up some of those dresses.

He replied, later - No, none could be found at the locations where they'd taken Mom's.

Oh, well - you win a few ... and you lose a few.

Have a beautiful, warm, happy weekend, everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 4:05PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Garrett Financial Network
Does anyone have experience with Garrett Financial...
Here's a question for those who pay with cash
It happens occasionally, I'll be in a checkout line...
Tiny pension - Taking lump sum or monthly annuity payment
I just received a notice from a previous employer asking...
Buying a car
I am planning to buy a car, but my credit rating is...
Ontario - Canadian law question
Hi: I am hoping I can find someone on the forum who...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™