Tuesday, 18 September 2012

He did what ?

Since our twins were born we have pretty much lived on a combined single income, even though we have our own business we couldn't justify it.

Over the past few months, I noticed that there are many blogs with many 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 and live more sustainably.

I haven't done a good analysis yet on the latter. Starting next month, and at the end of the month I will start tracking all our spending and efforts. I hope to see the results of that effort and especially see a reduction in our grocery bill...in a few months.

I realise the concept of frugality and greener living is not for everyone because it is time-consuming.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.

Some days it is still a struggle because my husband is a spender and prefers to take the easy road rather than extra time to save a $1 or $2.

So what can I possibly do in 15 minutes that could save money? Here are 10 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

1. Buy in bulk , prepare a few meals in advance and keep them in freezer for easy cooking later on those nights you might be temped to buy takeaway. Planning a weekly menu (really only takes 15 minutes ) can cut down on the grocery bill. Cooking in larger batches uses the 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 cook". Keep a record of leftovers in the fridge, 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 or good food going to the dogs.

2. Write a grocery list (and stick to it when you shop or shop online if it available in your area) especially from the advertised weekly specials.Stock up on non perishables when they are on special and items like toothpaste/razors etc.

2. Go shopping in the evening (leave the kids at home- 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.

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

4. Hang clothes up to dry on the line instead of using the clothes dryer. Use racks to air clothes first then finish in dryer when you have to. I am fortunate we can hang clothes out on the line to dry - except the stupid dogs have taken to tearing them off the line and playing tug of war till they are confetti.

I really got fired up one day when my new favourite shirt was torn - hubby copped it because he hadn't tied the dogs up {or moved the clothes line as I suggested outside the internal yard fence - hello we have 1000 acres}. One day I noticed my favourite Pj's missing. I thought they must have been left in Sydney ... last week while tidying up outside I found the bottoms surreptitiously stuffed in the back of an outside storage cupboard - the top is ??? I let him off the hook this time because they are just Pjs' o_O ...and he has been so stellar in helping do more a fair share of housework during my treatment.

5. 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 fun learning activity. A modest $20- $30 a week saved equals $1000 - $1500 in a year.

6. Check through all the electrical devices you're not using in the house - turn them off at the switch when not in use. Invest in a master switch. Borrow a device to measure how much power they use. Read more about lots of ways to save energy

7.Use 1/2 normal washing powder in lightly soiled washes and wash clothes in cold water. Only run machine will full loads. The sun helps to bleach stains and a bar of soap and elbow grease works wonders too.

8. Governments across Australia offer a range of rebates and other assistance to help you to live greener. You may be eligible for a number of these. See if you qualify or for any  rebates available

9. Plant seeds/seedlings to grow a small vegetable garden - it's fun and healthy activity for the kids too. Even if it just pots of herbs - they can cost $2-3 a bunch, to use once in cooking. Recycle all waste for the compost.

10. Go through your excess stuff , sell off clutter and things you don't need or use anymore on eBay or trading post (It is free to advertise online for items under $500) and try your local area Facebook buy , swap and sell groups. Before we moved I sold 2 racing car beds, kid's play-gym and toys, a parenting book . I made over $300 through a Facebook group and 30 mins cleaning up the items.