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Being frugal can be hard work for some people. I find it very satisfying and fun. Doing things to save money is better than doing nothing. You must be realistic. You have to have an open mind to accept new ideas. If you do nothing, you will accomplish nothing.
Take small steps. If there is a list of 40 frugal things, just start with two ideas. There are so many things you can do to save money.
First off, I LOVE this site! When I told my son what I'm doing, he said I should write a book! :o) A year ago, I moved from an apartment to a house with a gas furnace and water heater. I got real frugal! (I live alone.) I take two showers a week, shutting water off while I soap/shampoo/condition, not purposely rinsing until all finished. I do NOT just let water run, even while washing dishes.
First I run about 1/2 a gallon of water into a gallon jar until it gets hot, then run just enough hot water into a pan with a little detergent, and rinse them with cold water. When I have very few dishes, I heat a small pan (used for warming up supper) while I eat; by the time I'm done, water is hot (stove is electric). I squirt in a little detergent, use a dish mop to wash the few dishes and rinse with cold water. With the gallon of water I run (as above), I pour it into the water distiller and distill it, or in the wintertime, I pour it into the humidifier. I could also pour it into the washer, now that I have one.
I look forward to getting my bills to see how I'm doing! I took an energy efficiency test and they said that I am using less than other houses in my area! DUH! :o) With my utility bill, I must not be using the minimum because every other month it says I don't even use any! And what I'm charged must be the minimum. The alternate months it's only a couple dollars more. It hasn't even changed this summer when I've been frugally watering my garden and flowers. That's another thing, I have sown wildflower seeds, looking forward to seeing how they multiply next year. There were some perennials growing here from before which I really enjoy.
I have no a/c, I use a fan. I do have lots of shade around my house. Years ago, we used to have a leaky bathroom faucet that just wasn't getting fixed so I propped a quart jar under it and caught the drips. Then when it was full, I poured it into the pan of water on top of the space heater to go into the air! :o) I also stack as many cans as I can inside of each other to take up less space in the recycling bin. That's fun! I just plain have fun doing what I can with what I have!
Oh yeah, I almost forgot! Last fall and winter, I kept the furnace at 58 degrees! I turned it up a little before I took a shower, but I'm done before it even shuts off, and I've got to go shut it down because it's getting too warm; and it's only maybe 62 degrees! I am so used to 58! I also wear two layers. I have an electric oil-filled heater under one end of my bird cage. I keep that end covered with a small wool blanket, and keep that at the proper temperature for parakeets, and they did fine. I have a cozy-hut in there for them but I don't think they ever did use it.
My landlord had lowered the rent $100 a month so I could afford to live here, and he just loves how I am so frugal!
I shop at Dollar General for what I can get there, Fareway for what I can get there, HyVee for what I can't get the other two places, and at the Treasure Chest (resale shop) for treasures as I find them! The last Friday of the month is even 50% off! Can't miss that! ;o I get so many really nice books and games for myself and my grandkids there!
I've let my hair grow so no cuts, no perms, etc. Now I can tie it up, back, or put it up! ;o)
I was given an automatic washer and dryer, so I wash one load of clothes, sometimes two, a week and hang them out on the line. When it gets too cold, I read on here that you can tumble them for 10 minutes and then hang them up, which I will do as I did last winter, hang them on hangers on the shower rod, or on the clothes rack. The dryer will make them softer, I bet, and only 10 minutes in the dryer!
I have to have an earth phone for the internet so that bill is $16.19 a month and I use a phone card from the gas station, 204 minutes for $10.70, a little over 5 cents a minute. I'm going to check out some other tips I just got off of here to see if I can save some more! Even with what I have now, I just don't even think about it when I call my kids. But we do mostly email.
As for gas, I fill'er up when my check comes, then try to KEEP'er full! I hardly ever will go to do just one thing. Mondays are my most-on-the-road days. I accomplish 4 weekly tasks.
Oh, and another thing! I cut WAY down on postage stamps! I pay most bills by automatic debit, or online! Saves a lot!
I hardly ever wrap gifts! And I send e-cards to most except immediate family whom I buy special cards for. :o)
I'll probably think of more right after I send this off, but it's been fun! I love getting other ideas on here!
I'm cooking very simply for myself what Fifi, my dog, can also eat so I don't have to eat the same leftovers so long, and I don't have to buy dogfood that she won't eat anyhow! I've gotten some recipes for her treats that I'm having fun trying out on her, and my cat! :o) We have a lot of fun around here! They have lots of fun playing hide 'n seek, and Fifi chases Kitty around the figure 8 they can run in this house and get their exercise.
God bless all you frugal people out there! Mwah!
Ginny from Charles City
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My frugal life began in about 2006. My mother came to live with us due to having Alzheimer and my finance (hubby now) volunteered to stay home with her. One income meant cutting back.
Even though my husband took a pay raise when we moved to NJ almost two years ago, NJ is one of the most expensive states to live in.