Thursday, 21 February 2008

Saving money ...Thursday Thirteen


Since S & J our twins were born we have pretty much gone back to a single income. It is our own business but we can hardly afford to pay me much when we have to pay other people do half the jobs I used to do.Not counting playing Solitaire before I discovered online forums.I made sure there is no internet there now

Over the past few months, I noticed that there are many blogs with money saving ideas included in daily tidbits.My new aim is to spend some time each day engaged in some sort of activity intended to cut costs.

I am fortunate we can hang clothes out on the line to dry, I use modern cloth nappies, cloth wipes, read store junk mail and so forth to find weekly specials. I haven't done a good analysis yet on the latter.

Starting next month, at the end of the month I hope to see the results of that effort when I add up my savings and see a reduction in our grocery bill...

I realise the concept of frugality is not for everyone because it can be time-consuming... to some people their time is worth more.

I believe it could take as little as 15-20 minutes a day to start seeing some serious benefits from tracking your spending and being more careful . In time they should be big enough benefits that they start making a real impact on your yearly budget.

So what can I possibly do in 15 minutes that could save me money? Here are 13 simple tasks anyone can do in 15-20 minutes. The savings add up over time. If you have suggestions of your own? Please add them ... Grocery spending is my biggest cost I can change

1. Buy in bulk, prepare a few meals in advance and keep in freezer for easy cooking, later on those nights you might be temped to buy takeaway. Planning a weekly menu (really only takes 20-30 minutes max and then less as you can have week 1,2,3 set up ) .It can really cut down on the grocery bill. Cooking in larger batches uses same energy. Freezing in smaller portions, means you only take out what you need.

Plan around the weekly specials .Knowing what you are going to make in advance makes it a lot harder to skip cooking for a night out because you "don't know what to make". Keep a record of leftovers in the fridge, My DH takes them for lunch or freeze as single portion meals - then when you have enough - the family can choose their favourite TV dinner - saves having food that never gets eaten because it was forgotten in the bottom of fridge and goes bad before you use it.

2. Write a grocery list (and stick to it when you shop) especially from the advertised weekly specials. Stock up on non perishables when they are on special and items like toothpaste/razors/toilet paper etc.

3. Go shopping in the evening (leave the kids at home- there is no temptation to buy treats to keep them quiet) and often bakery items like bread/rolls and meat are reduced. Buy them in bulk and freeze.

4. Check the air pressure in your car tyres including the spare, and maintain them appropriately. This will save you money on fuel, tyre tread and keep you safer.

5. Hang clothes up to dry on the line instead of using the tumble dryer. Use racks to air clothes first then finish I dryer when you have to.

6. Check through all the electrical devices you're not using in the house - turn them off when not in use.(the toddlers haz this one *rolls eyes*)

7. Instead of takeaway night make your own meal 'takeaway' at home - especially if your kids like this meal style - your own burgers and pizza are likely to be healthier as well. Get kids to participate in the preparation as a fun learning activity. $20 a week saved is over $1000 in a year.

8. Use 1/2 dishwasher tablet instead of a full tablet. I tried this Tuesday on a heavy duty load and it still washed up clean.

9. Use 1/2 normal washing powder scoop -Wash clothes in cold or lukewarm water. Only run the machine will full loads I have been doing this for months and it still washes all my boys nappies clean. The sun helps to bleach stains too. If you have a baby or toddler consider modern cloth nappies. (MCN) Mel @ In a Nutshell has some great information on MCN -see some of mine here. The initial setup seems expensive but in the long run I have saved a lot of money

10. Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent lights - in NSW most energy providers are doing this for free.We did this a few months ago

11. Plant seeds/seedlings to grow a small vegetable garden. Recycle all waste for the compost. We just started our vegie patch.

12. Go through your excess stuff, sell off clutter you don't need or don't use anymore on eBay or trading post.

13. Swap soft drinks /juices instead drink lots of water or make your own iced tea/coffee, flavoured milks.

Last but not the least ... (because I hate leaving it at 13)

14. Buy a cupboard put a catch and a combination lock, to lock all the chocolates and treats away from a teen who inhales them in the blink of eye - and then leaves none for me. This is going to save a lot of yelling too. That has to be good for everyone's stress levels and save me money not having to shop to replace what the greedy pig he has unlawfully stolen devoured.

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