Since I work in two different industries that can be easily affected by the economic downturn (retail and telecommunications), my partner and I are slowly making changes that will become more long-term habits whether I lose a job or not.

We have to do this slowly as this frugal type of thinking is not part of my partners habits as much as it has been for me. Sometimes I can go much more extreme and it can be a deal breaker on her moving along with me down the more frugal road, but I am learning that I may have to slow down a bit in order to allow her to catch up.

Below I will note the ways we are currently saving money and ways we will be making changes in the future and then ways that I would LIKE to make changes...But then again, I move a little faster.

Currently being done:
*Washing clothes in cold water (whites in warm)
*Taking shorter showers
*Buying less red meat, eating more vegetarian meals
*Using heat and air conditioning less
*Wearing socks, slippers and using blankets more
*Unplugging items around the house to cut back on phantom electricity
*Took insurance off of one car and parked it for the winter
*Cut back on going out by 80%
*Use the library more for entertainment and use the free codes for Redbox
*Cut down on cable extras
*Bought over 50% of our Christmas gifts at thrift stores
*Used the propane grill more to cook food more instead of the stove
*Using coupons to cut down price of food by 30% on average

In the Works:
1. By April Cable will be removed and we will be getting what digital channels we can over the air. [update: We tried this and found that it wouldn't work for our situation]
– We have found we predominantly watch the major local networks and most other shows we can view online or by hooking up cable from the laptop to the TV for a bigger picture.

2. By January we will look over our utility company (UC) bill and see how much we can lower our monthly amount.
– Currently we are on a monthly average of $95, down $10/month from last year, and are hoping to lower that average by another 10-20 more. This way at the end of the year we don't owe the UC any money and the UC doesn't owe us. [update: we were able to drop the monthly bill another $9/month]

3. By February I hope to have increased my coupon usage and bargain hunting so that I save an average of 45% or more on food and other necessities, thus saving on food and having more of a pantry stockpile

4. By Halloween of 2009 we hope to have at least 80% or more of our Christmas gifts bought throughout the year.
– Buying throughout the year allows us to spend not in a lump sum out of a couple of paychecks but over the course of 15-20 paychecks. This also allows us to purchase for more people or more gifts for fewer people.

5. Continuing the current reduction of electricity, water and waste to save money and recycle items more.

6. Buy an upright freezer to save on grocery shopping and save money when good deals are found
–For instance, this week the grocery store had 99¢ gallons of milk for the week, I would have loved to buy a bunch to put in a freezer.

7. Contact credit card companies about lowering APR and saving money over the long-term on cards with balances.

Changes I would like to make:
1. Sell the second car – currently it is more of a safety net.
2. Buy a second-hand upright freezer – This can be a bit of a headache with getting a decent freezer that isn't falling apart and isn't 40 years old or not energy efficient.
3. Making more handmade Christmas gifts next year
4. Going to more yard sales and finding necessary items plus the occasional item to resell and make some extra money.
5. Hang a clothesline in the garage –We aren't allowed to put clothes on a patio, so that would be the next best area besides a bedroom or a bathroom.

Just writing this down has already helped me see a plan of action and it helps me see that I have done quite a bit and have a ways to go. Since we live in an apartment some things can't be done (north facing, no gardening), while I don't have to worry about other housing expenses like replacing a microwave or leaky ceilings.

Each item may not save a lot of money but overall it will add up and allow us extra money from each paycheck to put toward an emergency fund, a debt or saving for a small vacation again.

9 Comments

  1. myinvestorsplace10 // Monday, December 01, 2008 12:27:00 AM  

    Great work.Grow your own vegetables or even herbs in a pot. Choose vegies that you love that are expensive and grow them. Buy fresh eggs or anything else from a farmer's market, the money goes straight to them and you don't have to pay the extra cost.





    MyInvestorsPlace - trading, value, investing, forex, stock, market, technical, analysis, systems

  2. Janice // Wednesday, December 03, 2008 12:58:00 PM  

    I really enjoy this blog. It's really made me think about the ways I have been saving and the ways I should be saving.

  3. Anonymous // Friday, December 05, 2008 8:44:00 AM  

    I recently found your blog an am enjoying it a lot! :-) This post is full of great ideas. Couple of notes from my experience: If you freeze milk, be sure to either tranfer it to heavy-duty containers or set each milk carton into a water-tight storage bag first. The regular milk cartons tend to break when frozen.
    If your second car is paid for, it might be more cost effective in the long run to keep it than sell it. If you don't owe anything on it and it runs good, you probably would not be able to replace it with a comparable one for the amount of money you could get for it. In an iffy economy, having a good vehicle that is debt free can be a big help.
    (So sorry to post "anonymous" but Blogger never seems to want to remember who I am.)

  4. ~Dawn C // Friday, December 05, 2008 9:30:00 AM  

    Anon-
    Of the milk freezing I have done - I haven't broken any yet, I usually pour off about a cup and then freeze it. I haven't had milk frozen for more than 2 months.

    Selling the car is still and iffy idea.

  5. MysTery // Monday, January 05, 2009 4:47:00 PM  

    Loving this site! Good work!

  6. Denise // Monday, September 21, 2009 2:47:00 PM  

    Two quick thoughts while reading this -
    We were able to find a new upright freezer in the back of Lowe's that was simply a discontinued model for $160 last year. While that's not realllly cheap - it's not bad, and it's new so it was an energy star appliance. Also,we have a wooden drying rack (that folds up when not in use) I put over the heat/air vent in our laundry room, and shirts and dresses can be hung up on plastic hangers over the shower rod in your tub to dry. These are things I did in a neighborhood where we couldn't have a clothesline.

  7. Dawn // Monday, September 21, 2009 2:53:00 PM  

    @Denise
    Cool additions - thank you

  8. Desiree Cole // Sunday, October 18, 2009 11:03:00 AM  

    I love these frugal living ideas. We sold our second car and it is a pain with a family of 4 with school and work and such, but it certainly costs less than 2 cars.

  9. Kaylan // Sunday, October 24, 2010 3:49:00 PM  

    I just found the blog. Lots of good ideas, though not too many for those with large families. I will keep looking though.