It was trouble when I saw Patrice Lewis writing about being frugal. She mentioned a list of 25 things that I need to mention that we have done to save money. The first thought was that many in one list. The next thought was there are many more numbers that can be added if we list everything that we have done. Below are what I consider the Top 25 in no particular order that we have done to cut costs.
We have made a concentrated effort to plant more vegetables, fruit, and herbs that we use to subsidize our pantry for us and the animals to eat. We always have room for improvement. Part of this is learning the centuries old practice of saving seeds.
We have decided to raise our own chicken and rabbits for many reasons. One of them was knowing the treatment and feed of animals that we eat. We are firm believers that the chickens and rabbits we raise are of a better quality than we could afford to buy.
Those items that we can not grow or raise we seek out local sources. This way we know the quality and also by cutting out the distribution channels we are able to save money while also providing a higher price for the farmer.
This allows us to cut down on the material we need to dispose of. In addition we believe in the Joel Salatin method and are building rich soil by using compost and chicken tractors instead of fertilizer.
This is a great tool as it allows both sides to get something they want or need. We often will give a friend a dozen eggs and in return they give us their extra tomatoes. This is a huge area for potential savings. Just make sure the tax man gets their cut.
One of the main reasons we do this is to preserve the harvest of the garden. It also can be put in place very well to stock up on meat that is on sale or ahead of raising prices like beef. This does very well for us and every year we put up a turkey or two while they have them at rock bottom prices.
Home Roasting Coffee
This was something that I started doing in an effort to have fresh coffee. It quickly became apparent to me that I could buy green beans in bulk and then roast them on my schedule. I find that this has saved me a tremendous amount of money and I get much better coffee as a result.
- Trash Removal
There are several ways to get rid of your trash. Depending on where you live burning it may be acceptable. In this area we elect to pay 1/4 of what the normal household spends a year by calling it off ourselves. The kids are rewarded with a trip to the dump only if they have done what they are supposed too.
This is an area that I have spent considerable time looking into. I am enamored with the capabilities and future of LED lighting. The practical applications are numerous from flounder lights to a head lamp. We also have implemented CFL bulbs in some situations and even still use kerosene for lighting depending on the application.
This is something that we have a lot of room for growth. While a lot of solar projects have a long term return on investment there is the huge benefit of knowing you will have power. The up front equipment investment is your choice versus being at the mercy of the power monopoly.
Drying Clothes Outside
This is an area that seems so simple but so many miss it because the perception of inconvenience. Some people also have HOA’s to deal with on this issue. Your clothes will last longer and there is an incredible savings to letting the sun and wind dry your clothes.
Open the windows
This is another one that is so simple but I am amazed as how many people do not know that their windows will open. Some people complain when they get the power bill, but yet they are running the air conditioner in October when the temperature is 66° and windy outside.
This is an option for some folks when they do not have other options. We have used this in spare rooms where the main heat source does not reach effectively. This allows us to effectively use zone heating. This also has the added benefit of being used for emergency heat when the power is out or the furnace is broken and it is a weekend or holiday and parts or repairman our not cheap.
Despite the fact that a it is very hard to find quality furniture any more the ability to make our own furniture save a lot of money. We get what we want and also know the quality is of such that it will be handed down long after we are gone.
22 LR for practice
This importance of practice is very important. The same fundamentals that I use on 22 LR are comparable to whatever “big” gun you choose. The difference is that 22 LR is much cheaper and is used to hone our skills for hunting season.
This is an area that would surprise some people. Despite that it is the communication that will persist even during an emergency there is another reason. We do not have to worry about cellular coverage as the coverage on the ham radio can reach out and get help if needed.
Open Source Software
This is an area that I have saved tremendous amount of money. Instead of paying for any software you can find a free alternative. This starts with the operating system and I have been running linux for many years. I find that it helps extend the useful life of hardware and gives me exceeded capabilities than anything purchased.
Kindle Free Books
I have always enjoyed reading but never could read enough. It seemed I quickly needed to go to the local library or buy a new book. The purchase of a kindle has not only increased my reading amount, but with the free books I never run out of stuff to read.
Family Game Night
This activity not only builds family camaraderie it also saves on the entertainment bill. This is a family tradition for many that we have let slip. The children still look forward to it just like they did decades ago.
Avoiding a cable bill
We choose to spend our time reading or playing games. If we choose to watch television then we can catch the local channels over the air or stream something if we really need to see it. This is an area that I am in favor of limiting even further.
Cutting Unnecessary Travel
The high prices of gas and the uncertain financial times have caused us to curtail trips. We tend to make sure that local trips have several things to acquire and we can travel the world with a good book.
Making a grocery plan
This is something that takes a lot of preparation out of the equation. It also allows us to stock up when things are on sale as we already have a day of the month for that meal.
Avoiding Impulse purchases
We always try to sleep on something before purchasing it. This will save you a lot of money as often times the next morning you are filled with regret if you already purchased it. The best purchases our well researched and have clear impacts upon purchase.
Driving Paid for cars
This is a conviction that we have about not wasting money. We do not have the money to see it go out the window when the car is rolling. When it is paid for it does drive different. If you save $300 a month for 12 months you can get a fairly nice car and not pay someone else the future value of the car.
Living within our means
This is one that we are committed too. We do not believe in credit card debt. We believe in the principles of Dave Ramsey and his financial peace. We choose to limit out interaction with snakes and strive to live on a debt free existence.
If you managed to stick with me through that long list I would appreciate you leaving a comment and letting me know what your thoughts are. What would be in your Top 25?