Monday, April 07, 2008

Ways we save

The topic of hanging laundry out came up on Loopers and made me think of all the ways we use to try to save money. I thought I'd make a list of the ways we save.

Obviously since this is how I got started on this topic, we hang our laundry up. We also stopped using fabric softener, we don't notice a difference in the softness of our clothes so it's no big sacrifice. Since I have a front load washer I use about 1/4 to 1/2 of the suggested small load amount of detergent. Our washer also only uses 10 gallons of water per load. I use the dirty wash water to water the trees, it saves us water and electricity for the well pump.

Since I'm talking about water, we only flush when we have to. To wash the dishes we fill up one side of the sink with about 2 inches of water and soap. As we rinse the dishes the water is added to the wash water so we have plenty of water for the big pots at the end of the dishes.

We heat with wood. The forest is only a few miles from our front door. We buy permits from the USDA so we can cut dead wood to use as firewood. With permits, gas, and upkeep on the chainsaw we spend about $30 per cord of wood. We use about 2.5 cords during the winter. The forest service does controlled burns on the dead wood in the forest, so instead of wasting all the wood we use it in our home. The cost for a comparable amount of propane heat would be about $500, possibly more with the rising costs of propane. It's also a free source of exercise, cutting and hauling wood is a lot of work :)

Since propane is so expensive we've lowered the thermostat on the water heater. The water is just hot enough to take a shower without using any cold water. We also do all our laundry on cold.

I've written about our use of florescent lights and power strips before. We also make sure to only have lights on in the rooms we are in. We don't leave any lights on overnight and very rarely use the porch light.

I love to use reusable products. We started using washcloths for napkins. We switched to dishcloths for the dishes and counters as well, they clean better than sponges anyway. I don't use swiffers or disposable bathroom wipes. Instead I use microfiber cloths for dusting and rags with natural cleaners for the bathroom. All of these things are added to whatever load of laundry is available so we don't create any extra laundry, which would defeat the purpose of using reusable products. I switched to reusable feminine products over a year ago and can't imagine ever going back, I never realized how much money I wasted on those uncomfortable things!

We combine our trips and only run errands once a week. We got really good at not making extra trips out when we only had one vehicle. Even though we've relaxed that a bit since getting a second, more fuel efficient vehicle we still don't go out much. I order in the books I want at the library and pick them up on one of the 2 days a week they are open. Since I'm already out I go to the little local market if we need anything and hit the post office on the way home. Paul does all the other errands when he's out for work and goes to the post office on the way home (there is no mail service where we live so we are assigned a PO box). We buy in bulk at Sam's Club for most of our stuff, it saves us a tremendous amount and it's on the way home for Paul. Combining errands seems like such a simple thing but it is also something many people don't think about. Consider how much money and time is wasted by daily trips out, there are very few things that can't wait until the next errand day.

I think that's it, at least it's all I can think of right now. I'm sure there are other little things that we do everyday that I can't bring to mind but you get the idea.

1 comment:

Glenda said...

For months now, I've used only vinegar in the rinse cycle. But I have found that especially during the winter, the static builds up. (Yes I use a dryer). So after some experiments, I found that putting a very small amount of fabric softener, like 1/8 tsp or less in with it, cuts down on the static, especially on David's clerical shirts. Man I can't believe how long the bottle of Downey lasts now! I had bought 2 on sale months and months ago, and I'm still not finished with the first bottle. LOL

Thanks for sharing your money saving tips, I love learning about others and seeing how I can improve our own.