Monday, October 25, 2010

25 Things

So, I was reading some thrifty blogs as I am wont to do.
One of them had solicited lists from other frugalers (that's people who actively do frugality...frugalees are the friends and families of frugalers. Frugalees suffer from crap gifts, handme down clothes, and chilly houses in the winter (yes, I have a blanket wrapped around my head right now and am considering giving up on my "wait until Nov. 1 to turn on the furnace" deal since with a 20+ mile per hour wind the trailer is FREAKING COLD...I can expect a 15 degree temperature drop between bedtime and getting up time without a wind. WITH a wind, it's going to be closer to 25 degrees and we're only at 55 now. The low tonight will be, assuming some serious temperature drop BEFORE bed, I'm going to FREEZE. Might be time to admit defeat)
Here are some things I actually "do" to save money (later there will be a list of the crap I DON'T do. There will be repeats here and these are not in a good order:

1 I save in a savings account, retirement account etc.
2 No longer pay interest (I've read some folks spend 12% of their income on interest! Wow)
3 Try to eat what I have on hand before it goes bad (need to do better on this...see upcoming pantry inventory). Also, on average Americans through out something like 30% of the food they buy. Wow. Trying to do better than that.
4 Cook from scratch. Ingredients are cheaper than processed food. Also, it has a creative element AND helps heat the house in the winter (though not enough today)
5 Maintain the car reasonable well. Keep the oil changed, but don't fix dents and things (I put insurance payouts for those into savings...other people's insurance, not mine)
6 Drive slower and smoother. In "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Guide to True Riches" Mr. Yeager gave the example of putting a FULL to the brim glass of water in the cup holder and learning to drive so that didn't spill. I haven't done that yet but thought of him on Friday when I picked up a roaster full of runny (and delicious) soup and had to drive it 7 miles on a windy road going downhill. I drove REALLY REALLY smoothly and didn't spill any and probably saved gas. It made me aware that I have work to do on the "smooth" bit.
7 Wear out clothes. I appeared at book club yesterday with holes in the elbows of my sweater. The rest of the sweater, like 99% is perfectly good...and I will patch those.
8 Develop hobbies that save money or at least don't cost much. E.g. canning and gleaning.
9 Use the library (multiple libraries actually...I was surprised to find I was the only one at book club with a library copy of the book)
10 Netflix. I'm not recommending the company in particular, but apparently the cheap love it. I pay 17.99 or so a month and watch usually 6-12 movies per month. If the Plummer library had a better DVD selection, I'd cut back on that subscription.
11 Reuse stuff. I have rags made of worn out clothes. The garden is made largely of discarded wood and containers.
12 Compost. Two systems. This saves on trash and saves on fertilzers and whatnot for the garden.
13 Garden. I'm not sure it's saved that much money yet. I do count it as education, entertainment, and food.
14 Pay bills on time. I went through a phase earlier this year where I would forget to pay the city bill on time. Don't know what that was but it cost 5$ a shot. No more of that.
15 Go shopping in the closet (or in my case the big pile of laundry on the floor of the bedroom or on the couch). When I'm sick of the outfits in rotation, I dig through the closet/laundry pile and switch some things out.
16 Repair things. Like get shoes resoled. Darn socks. Sew on buttons. Replace my own car battery.
17 Walk. when the trip is under 1.5 miles or so, I generally walk. This is easy in Plummer as any trips in town are under the threshold and any trips out of town are longer.
18 Group errands. If I get the car out, I try to have at least 2 things to do. Unless it is a trip specifically for work (and sometimes even then) I do as much as I can where I'm at and park the car while in one town (no towns around here are too big to walk across).
19 Make coffee at home. Cheaper. And better.
20 Put left overs in the freezer if I don't eat them. In fact. I'm going to have to take out some of the freezy packs to get the latest soup ingredients in. It's the last hoo-rah for fresh veg this season so I've been making buckets of things like ratatouille and freezing the remains.
21 Buy staples when they are on sale. This has been serious this month as the Moscow Food Co-op is having a bulk-bins sale for members. I've bought enough oatmeal, flour, lentils, oil, spices, and etc for quite a while. I'll be doing a pantry inventory this week (before the sale ends next Sunday) to make sure I've got the basics. It will mean very little grocery shopping this winter which is always an odd adjustment.
22 Ask for discounts sometimes. I will be increasing this. It's another tip from Mr. Yeager. Sometimes there is a discount. Might as well ask. Since I don't shop much, and haven't had the nerve to ask for a discount at a thrift store, I don't do this much. I'm much better at getting the AAA discount at hotels/motels, asking about the government rate and etc. Motels generally have a better deal than the first price quoted.
23 Delay purchases. I hate it when people tell me to "just buy it" (yes you, Pam, and others). I KNOW I have the money. What I'm deciding is if I really want it.
24 Know my hourly net wage and the "real" wage minus the costs of having a job (see older posts on this) and decide if any purchase is worth the time I have to work to buy ANDstore and maintain the item.
25 Try to be grateful for what I have. That's not too hard since I live near some seriously poor people and have that radio show where we talk about people with much much less that the aforementioned seriously poor people.


Anonymous said...

GREAT list, Jill. And I'm going to add another idea which I stole from, but give credit to, you. Consider making charitable donations in people's names for gifts (birthdays, sympathy, anniversary). You might not be "saving" money, you but are doing a good deed and you are also not burdening a friend with something that he/she has to find space for, dust, consume, etc. Of course, there is a chance that someone's nose will be out of joint because he/she didn't get a personal gift. But for me, for example, the last thing I really want in life are more "things" and knickknacks - if anything, I am trying to pare down myself. I love consumable gifts (candles, stationery, bath products) that I can enjoy but that are eventually used up. But I really like the way you make donations in people's memories to charities; you did that for someone I loved, and it meant a lot.

I REALLY need to start cooking for myself, but you know what happens to me in the kitchen!! Oh, one other tip (when did I get so bossy?): be careful about splitting payments of stuff. For example, I have a few city bills that I can pay all at once (which I prefer for convenience sake) or in installments -- what they aren't always clear about is that often, paying bills by installment will cost you more - maybe $2 an installment, but still...

Jill said...

Yes! Exactly. And I'm glad to know you like consumables and donations. Not everyone does. Maybe we can make a Christmas pact along these lines. And I do remember how excited you were about the Elvis Presly (spelling?) aroma therapy goofballs I got you one year.

And the tip on not splitting payments is one I meant to include! I save about 40$ twice a year by paying my car insurance in lump sums each 6 months when billed. They don't mention the extra fees, you have to do the math, multiplying the monthly installment by 6, to see that it is higher. My water, sewer, garbage and electric all come in one bill from the city including a variety of bond payments. I can't save much there other than paying on time.