Just out of curiosity... Has anyone tallied up what money they actually save with their frugal efforts? (e.g., flourscent bulbs, off-brand milk, popcorn instead of chips, air dry clothes, etx) I hear about how some frugal behavior saves loads of money, but it's hard to see it when the savings is so small. I guess I'm looking for encouragement.
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The fluoro bulb and dryer cost savings can be found on power companies websites - if a dryer costs x number of $ per hour to run and you use your's for 5 hours per week that's how much you've saved if you line dry. On our group, (FrugalAussies), we have a couple of ladies who are brilliant at adding up their savings. Just start small - with the little things you've done - e.g. using a generic brand of breakfast cereal, and multiply by how many packs you use a week/month/year. Jot these down in a note book and watch them add up. Your own savings will be much more meaningful to you than someone elses. Also, one of our group set us a $1 a day challenge. If you save 10c, 20c, 30c, etc. by buying cheaper, or making do with something you already have rather than buying something, add up your savings and try to make at least $1 every day = $365+ a year with very little effort. The other motivational thing you can do is actually save that cash in a jar and watch it mount up - put it towards your credit card bill, your mortgage or use some of it to treat yourself.
Here's a site to help you calculate your current energy costs and how much you can save with improvements.
This also allows you to target which improvements will have the best cost/benefit to your situation. Over the course of 5 to 10 years, a lot of improvements can pay for themselves.
FuelEconomy.gov has a nice resource for comparing vehicles and how much you can save on gas by using more fuel efficient cars.
When it comes to other gas saving strategies and savings is pretty easy to calculate. If you start a carpool with four people, you cut your gas consumption by as much as 75% (atleast commuting costs). Every gallon of gas you can save is 2 dollars in your pocket.
In terms of paying for utilities, shopping for groceries, clothing, and other items having a budget is very important. That way you can track how much money you are saving. The budget provides proof that all these these things you are trying are in fact saving you money.
well, in my family, with our budget, even if we save only a few dollars a month, that is STILL saving!
:-) you will ALWAYS save more money buying store brand grocery items versus the "name brand", unless they happen to be having a phenomenal sale on the name brand item, or you are in an area that has triple or double coupon days. where I am, that isn't offered.
I save by budgeting according to our income. We are a family of four with two teens living on about $32K a year. We actually need about $36K a year and that gets met with tax refunds and such. I can tell you that I save by shopping for car insurance, not using credit cards for anything, and other things. How I determine how much we save is by seeing to it that we don't need to work more to pay for more stuff. Bottom line: I'm saving my family $10K to $18K a year by all of us agreeing to live simply - because that's much I would make if I had a paying job. And the kids and husband want me at home where I want to be.
If you plan to spend only a certain amount, then you probably will. If you leave it to trying to count your pennies in the end you won't see much success, because you had no plan, for spending or savings.
Also being frugal isn't about being cheap.It's about choosing where you really want to spend and where you don't. We don't want to waste energy and spend too much on it so we are careful with electricity, water and gasoline. On the other hand, we like Apple computers so we spend more (midrange, really) for a good one. We drive a used car but we keep it repaired and in good shape so the overall life cost is much less than a new or newer one. We buy or are given used furniture and clothes, but our shoes are new and fit us well. And an on-sale new denim slipcover set makes it all match! (still hundreds less than new furniture)
Frugality is about having a choice and not being an economic commodity. The news doesn't call us citizens anymore. We're called "consumers". How insulting is that!
If the visual impact will help you to continue your frugality program, here's what I would suggest: get a jar, coffee can, whatever. If you save .12 by buying a generic instead of a name brand item, put that .12 in the jar. If you serve popsicles at home instead of giving the kids money for the Good Humor truck and that saved you $2, put the $2 in the jar. If you cancel a magazine subscription and read them at the library instead, and that saved you $10, put the $10 in the jar. Get the picture? Pick a specific amount of time -- a week, a month -- and don't look until that time is up. I bet you will be pleasantly surprised at how much is in the jar!
Here's what I found out. I was never frugal, in fact a spendthrift and never saved a cent until about 2 years ago. Have always made a good wage, too. Now I have $8000 in the bank, a bunch of U.S. Savings Bonds, and a nice IRA account started with a few thousand in that. My life is more peaceful, too. I'm just not buying all my lunches out, catalog shopping because the stuff is cute, clothes I don't wear or need, tons of makeup, treating friends all the time to drinks and dinner, stopped smoking and feel SO much better, don't overeat or waste food, when it came time to buy another vehicle it wasn't fancy and fast but is dependable, just stuff like that.
I used to tally my coupon savings. One year I saved about $500 just from cutting and using coupons and that is just for a family of two!
I know just how you feel! I found this yesterday and intend to post where I can see it every day.
THE MORE YOU LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS-THE MORE YOU HAVE.
I save most of my money on groceries..I shop at a discount grocery store where all they sell is their own brands...I save about 60%.. I have a family of 5, with a yearly income of $25,000 a year which isn't much... but i manage to spend $50-$60 a week at this store Where when i would shop at a Super Walmart i would spen$130.00 a week (give or take a few $) And also i don't buy new clothing, i buy used clothing in great condition or i might get involved in a clothing swap.. But that is how i save money..here is the website for the store i shop at to see if their is one in your area www.aldi.com
I don't merely "save" money by being frugal - I am able to survive under nearly impossible financial conditions. In the last year, my income has dropped by $15,000 / year, and my expenses (due to a new baby) have risen by over $7,000 / year. I don't qualify for public assistance, nor do I get child support (I'm a single mom). All the pennies I save add up and somehow, someway, I make ends meet every month. It's not easy (to give you an example: I have to feed myself and my 6 month old daughter on $15 / week) but at least I'm making it!
My winter electricity bill went up about $45 from the summer. The only real difference I can come up with is that in the summer I dry virtually all my clothes outside and in the winter I have to use my electric dryer. Our electricity rates are a little over 10c a kwh (high). I dry 1-2 loads a day, so each load costs me about a dollar to dry!! I can't wait for warmer weather so I can reap the savings again by hanging my clothes to dry.
I save on my husbands breakfast and lunch by packing it myself. I make homemade pancakes, breakfast burritos,muffins and french toast that I pack for his breakfast and then pack his lunch with homemade meat spead, chicken salad or tuna, along with homemade cookies or muffins, or homemade pudding or fruit cups. He also has to have his cokes, if he was buying them at the convience store it was adding up to about $3.00 per day, for a 30 day month it adds up to about $90.00 thats alot just for coke. So I went to Krogers one day and got their 2 liter cola for 55 cents and had him try it, he liked it so I went back and go 30 of the 2 liter cokes for $16.50 and put them as needed in the refrig. He takes one every day and get about 3 1/2 20oz bottles out of it, he reuses a 20 oz coke bottle during his work day. So that a savings of $73.50, quite a savings wouldn't you agree? We also don't use credit cards unless we have to for emergency. We are looking into a cheaper phone service and we are cutting out cable tv down to extented basic, we all watch to much tv anyway, and its pretty painless. We also write down every penny we spend so we know where our money goes. I hope this is helpful to someone.
I just bought a whole comforter set for my bed at a "junk" store. It was brand new and some pieces were still in the package. I paid $15 for it (comforter, sheets, shams, decorative pillow, bed ruffle, valances) I went on their website and found out that it's worth over $300! WOW!
I started tracking how much I saved from coupons and rebates only since 1999-to date (7/17/06) I have save almost $23,000! -- and that is just for me and my hubby (and pets-dog, cat,and 2 birds) He used to laugh at my efforts--not anymore! Plus I recycle, re-use, re-invent anything possible, make my own soap, jewelry, greeting cards, garden stones and candles--it's so worth it! and so much fun! !-xxxJuls
I haven'at really done this -- tallying up -- but since I've been going to the thrift store, garage sales etc. I can figure out what it would have cost me to buy new ....would I have bought it new at the store, no but when when a name brand shirt that looks great is 50cents, you buy it if you need it or not.
Our discount grocery store tallies up the savings on the bill and mine is usualluy 50% (it will say I paid $45 and saved $50). I used to work for the local NBC affiflate in adversting and they were my account so I know that went into the stores and checked the prices. Now they do it online.
Saving money and really thinking before I buy something has made my life simplier...I work less and spend more time with my family....can't put a $ value on that :)
I shop at a discount food store for myself and my 17 yo son. I don't buy new clothes, I just decided to lose weight so I could fit into all those clothes that have been sitting in my cupboard for years. I stopped buying expensive moisturiser for my face and leave in products for my hair. I buy coconut oil instead and my hair and skin are better than they've ever been.
I buy generic brands of everything. I don't have a car, so I use walking or public transport to get around. I dont socialise much and I don't drink or smoke or gamble or any of the other money wasting past times. I knit a lot, but only buy on sale. It keeps me busy and I have something beautiful and useful to show for my time and effort.
I borrow books from the library and only buy them if I really like them and then only when they're on sale. I don't indulge in any of the scam artist traditions like gift giving at xmas or easter or valentine's day. I have a xmas club account so at the post xmas sales, my son and I buy what we like at discount prices.
I grocery shop every few days and only buy what I need to get me through the next few days for food. It comes out of the grocery budget and I find I'm saving money because no food is wasted. This has also cut down on snacking which is money saving in itself.
I don't know how much money I've saved from doing things this way. All I know is there is usually money left in the bank by the time the next pay day rolls around, so I automatically have a little more money in the bank each pay. The extra goes to pay off my one and only credit card which will be cancelled when it's all paid back. After that I have a Visa debit card which will get used. So if I don't have the money, it doesn't get purchased.
I have an emergency fund where all loose change plus a percentage of my money goes into every pay. I put the passbook away in my wardrobe so I can't see how much money is accumulating and that stops me from spending it. When time comes to update the book (about once a month), I send my son into the bank and when he comes out with the book, it goes straight back into my handbag so I can't see it. Around xmas time this year, I'll take it out and see how much money I've saved.
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