Saturday, January 5, 2019

Frugal Ideas, A Good Way to Start This New Year

A fresh new year, a clean slate. I thought it would be fun to share a couple frugal things I do and to ask for your favorite frugal tips in comments.
Heating the House
I turn down the heat to 61 degrees F (16 C) at night (from about 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.); the living room heats up quickly to 73 degrees F (22 C) in the morning which I like. My dog Bounce sits right in front of the new wall heater in the morning. I am out and about for several hours each day and turn the temp down to 68 then. Since my house is well insulated it holds the heat. We had insulation put in in the attic, a new front door that doesn't leak air, and a newer living room window.
Is that frugal? Everyone has their own ideas on favorite temperatures. I don't heat my bedroom or the house at night, I like it cool for sleeping.

Growing Vegetables
Come spring I plant vegetables and I read that a square foot of garden can produce a dollar's worth of vegetables. For a 10 by 12 foot garden that could be $120 you won't spend at the grocery store. Seeds are a cheap way to go. I like to plant Chinese sugar pea seeds, edible pea pods are so good fresh from the garden. I always plant tomatoes and zucchini, two zucchini plants are plenty for one person and I plant one green and one yellow zucchini. I plant cilantro, green onions and greens like rainbow chard, kale, or lettuce.
I think my three blueberry plants count as a frugal garden choice since they have provided me with blueberries for eight years. I planted 3 different blueberry varieties, just for fun. They each have a slightly different flavor and berry size and are ripe a few weeks apart which lengthens the blueberry season.
Re-use Egg Cartons
For good drainage for flower pots, I tear up cardboard egg cartons and put them in the bottom of the pots. That is free since you will likely buy eggs anyway.
Doing Laundry
To save water, cost of heating water and to use less laundry detergent I have a front loading clothes washer. I got an energy rebate from our city water department when I bought it several years ago. Also it does not have that central post or agitator so is more gentle on clothes.
Flower Vases
New flower vases can be expensive so I buy them from shops like Goodwill and yard sales. It is useful when I give a friend a bouquet and they can keep the vase.
Lin mentioned saving money by stopping cable TV, which I forgot to include here. My cable bill was getting up to about $90 a month, awful, and I didn't find much to watch. So I cut the cable about 4 years ago, and already had Amazon Prime so I get those TV shows, a family member gets me Netflix, and I pay a total of $20 a month for Britbox, Acorn TV (two sources of British and some Australian and Canadian shows), and Hulu. I am pleased to save $70 a month which adds up to $840 a year. Over 10 years that is $8,400, a huge amount of money saved. One of my sons bought me an Amazon Firestick so I use that to turn to the show I want to watch. The Firestick has the neat feature where I hold down the search button and say the name of a movie or TV show and it looks for it and shows viewing options. Thanks for the reminder Lin.
What are some of your best frugal ideas? I like to get new ideas to try.


justjill said...

We recycle a lot. Glass jars for flowers. etc. Not buy stuff!!

Susan Kane said...

We save clean water from running shower to heat up. Goes to the garden. We recycle obsessively. Other stuff, but my brain can't retrieve it right now!

NanaDiana said...

Those are all great ideas! I also use egg cartons as 'starting pots' for starting seedlings and can then just transplant the whole little "pocket'. Have a great night- xo Diana

Mari said...

Good tips. WE have a programable thermostat and our temp is set at 60 at night, 65 during the day and 68 from 6pm to 10pm.
I like to stock up on things when they are on sale and then make my menu based on what I have.

Barb said...

Hi Terra~

I love that you are trying to be can be hard! I like the house cooler than my husband, but we meet somewhere in the middle and keep it at around 71 degrees. I turn it down to 64 at night.

Keep up the good work!

Hugs and Love,

Blondie's Journal said...

Awwww...bless you for these tips, we all need them.

I remember reading a book about square foot gardening. It helps to crowd to weeds to have plants so closely together as well. My daughter had a smaller garden last year and it was sensational.

I'm like you, I like the bedroom cold at night and fresh air coming in through the windows. A few extra blankets are the perfect comfort. Sadly, hubby cranks up the heat so its always a tug of war---but I'm sneaky!!! Ha!

Thank you for your savvy you are, Terra! :)


Betsy said...

These are all wonderful tips. We do the same with our heat at night. It goes down to 60F and we sleep much better. I’ll have to try the egg carton in the flower pot.

only slightly confused said...

We just moved to a condo so I'm not on track yet with ways to thing I did bring with me from the house is my wool balls for the need for softener or sheets and these wool balls have lasted me for over three years now and still going strong. Oh, and I do price matching for the grocery items instead of running all over town to various grocery stores I price match whatever I can at WalMart. This week I got the big Kraft salad dressings for 99 cents a bottle and price matched it at WalMart.

Jeanie said...

I hadn't heard the tip on egg cartons as drainage in pots. That's a good one. Thanks! And Happy New Year, Terra!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I love your idea for flower vases. I see so many nice ones at the thrift stores, I need to pick up a few more. Taking walks in nature has saved me money. I used to enjoy going to the mall and walking around. But I always find something to buy and it's lost it's appeal. You've shared some great ideas! Happy New year!

Debbie said...

as i read through your thoughts and ideas, i realized we are not very frugal. we do the same with our heat that you do, 64 at night 68 during the day, neither of us like to be too warm. we are careful with lights, not having them on when we are not in a room. i love to grow vegetables but primarily because it is fun and i like very fresh veggies! i could not think of anything else, but you had some great ideas!!!

Lady Jane said...

Thanks for all the tips. We keep the house set at 72 all the time because my husband has had cancer 5 different times and I think all the radiation has affected his temperature gauge. He gets cold he starts to shake. I do turn off lights when leaving a room and have hot air fryer to cook small chix, meatloaf etc so I don't use my oven as that raises the electric bill so much. I use coupons where I can and we are pretty frugal in our spending as we live on a very tight budget. hugs, lj

Tammy said...

I failed to plant any seeds this year. But have plenty so will still try. We have to use space heaters here but my husband doesn't think it's cold enough yet to use one. I am always freezing. We live in a concrete building that retains cold like crazy. I need to be warm to sleep so add a couple more blankets on top. Last night I used an even thicker one and slept like a baby. :) They only sell front loading washers here that I know of. Our dryer isn't vented but has a water collection drawer on the left side so when that it is full, I use it to water plants on the balcony. I took empty glass jars to the florist here once to get flowers for friends and the guy thought I was crazy. He's not used to people having the concept of simpler is better. Have a good day!

northsider dave said...

Walking is a good way of keeping fit and saving money on transport. My wife and myself buy one portion of fish and chips and share them. We also grow vegetables.

Retired Knitter said...

Yes, we made many money saving choices when we moved from our large townhouse to a medium sized 2 bedroom, 2 bath, den - condo. It is amazing how much money you can save when you shrink your living space. We probably dropped over a $1000 dollars a month in living expenses. We keep our condo at at straight 68 degrees in the winter. We live on the hot side of the condo so our heat seldom comes on - in fact it is January and I have a window open because the temp in here was climbing - 75 right now - with a window open. Ha!

acorn hollow said...

we turn our heat down at night too we have taken our wood for the wood stove off our land this year. I try to make meals at home and my resolution is to make good use of left overs.
good tips for a new year

Kit said...

We keep our house at 65 at night. My hubby does not like to be cold, so I keep lots of throws in the living room. I also wash most of my laundry in cold water. Thank you for visiting my blog! Happy New Year! Kit

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Terra - thanks for coming over and commenting - it's good to see you. These are excellent ideas - wish I had a garden ... but I've decided not to have a car - fortunately here in England I can manage with buses and trains and the odd taxi - we're lucky I guess.

Don't buy processed food, or ready made food and I'll eat as fresh as I can ... also cut back if you can, as I am, and I expect to lose a little weight and with the walking I'll be trimmer and fitter in a few months.

Good luck and have a peaceful year - cheers Hilary

Marion said...

Excellent tips! We have yet to use our heater, but we are in Zone 9 and it seldom gets below freezing. I have two small room heaters for chilly mornings. I use the egg cartons to start seeds AND used toilet tissue cardboard rolls. I put paper in the bottom & fill them with soil. I save my seeds from previous years. I use empty kitty litter containers in my container garden. I put holes in the bottom for drainage. Last year I grew squash, tomatoes and peppers in them. Thanks for sharing! xo

Rhodesia said...

Those temperatures are the same as ours but we do allow it to go off between 10am and 4pm. It turns on at 7am and off at 10pm. The only reason being we have a great wood fire 😉 Spring cannot arrive soon enough for me. Keep warm Diane

Rhodesia said...

I forgot to add that we grow all our own vegetables, those that store well like potatoes squash and pumpkin last all through winter stored fresh in the barn. All other vegetables and fruit I either freeze, bottle or dry. I probably dry the most as then we snack on dry fruit and veggies as well. Diane

Lin said...

Like everyone else commented, we have a programmable thermostat and we keep the house pretty cool. We have a gas fireplace in the family room and we turn that on when we are sitting in there watching TV.

My son decided against cable TV...or any sort of TV for that matter. My daughter uses Sling TV to avoid the high price of cable or satellite.

We eliminated the house phone this year, but there wasn't much of a price break on that...but any little amount helps.

Pamela M. Steiner said...

We just eliminated our Spectrum cable TV, and have sling/roku, etc., which we are able to share with our son and daughter in law to save on costs. Yes, the cable was exorbitant, and now we still have to pay for the internet and phone, but that is a huge savings. We keep our heat set at 69 all the time, and that stays even tempered and conserves energy by not moving it up and down. We live in Florida, so heat is not a huge issue here, but this morning it is 34 degrees and I'm tempted to turn up the heat, but just put on extra clothes instead. When it is hot we keep the AC set at 77, which is comfortable enough. We can't really grow vegetables where we live because we are in a National Forest, with much wildlife walking through our yard. The deer eat anything we'd plant, as do the bunnies. So we buy vegies from our flea market/farmer's market, which is very much more reasonable than the grocery store, and much better quality. I save glass jars to use for many things...and we do recycle everything that is recyclable. This was a great post. Thank you for the ideas.

Susan Heather said...

I also collect vases at charity shops to use when giving people flowers from my garden (beats buying flowers for them.

Simply Shelley said...

I save jars to use for leftovers, etc. I am on a tight budget so being frugal is a way of life for me. I wish I could keep a garden, but I am just not able to anymore. Your garden sounds wonderful. Blessings

Sandi said...

We cut cable too. It's hard to find good shows these days. I like the old ones.