Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Penny Saved...

My job is taking nurturing my baby and taking care of the house as best I can. It doesn't pay, but I make a difference in our budget every month by saving money. I cut corners as much as I can. Here are a few more tips for me to share:

*Cut your sponges
Sponges get really nasty, so I change mine out every week. I save a lot of money by buying them in bulk at Costco (they come in packs of 18). Then, I cut each of those into thirds, so I end up with 54 sponges. That's enough for a year (plus)! The sponge still fits completely in my hand, and it's no hassle. Really, I'm just wasting less and making them last a lot longer.

*Turn off the heat & the lights
The heating bill is so expensive! We paid $110 to Xcel last month for heat and electricity. That's a lot of money, even though we cut as much as we can. As soon as I get downstairs in the morning, I turn off the heat. The heat stays off all day, and so we bundle up if it's chilly. We're moving around so much that it's really not a problem. Of course, in the middle of winter, we put it at a minimum (62 degrees during the day), but we turn that down to 55 if we're leaving our house for most of the day or if we're going out of town. At night, I turn it up to 67 so Oliver (OK, and us) can sleep well and comfortably. During the day, I also keep the lights off almost all the time. Sometimes it's a little dim, but why is that a problem?

*Open the oven
This kind of ties into the last point. After we turn off our oven from cooking, we crack the oven door. This way, the heat from the oven goes into our home and not into the walls and out into the neighbor's house (we live in a townhome) or outside. Also, if I'm going to use the oven to, say, make dinner, I'll also take that opportunity to bale anything I might need for Oliver's baby food (like a squash). This way, the oven only needs to heat up once.

*No cable
I might have written about this before, but I don't think there's a need to have cable if you have good internet access, as almost every show is available on its network's website or on hulu. We recently cancelled our Netflix subscription as well to save that $9/month.

*Use the library
I love our library! The only problem I have with the library is that ours is about 3 miles away, so we have to drive. Still, I don't see the sense in buying a book when I can just check it out at the library. Besides, it gets me out of the house! Also (and this ties into my last point), you can check out movies at the library. So, if you need help with your budget, I recommend cancelling your Netflix or stop going to Blockbuster and start going to the library.

*Redefine what's fun
Andrew and I can't afford to go out much anymore. When he meets up with his friends, it's to hike. My mother-in-law gave me a pass to the Denver Botanic Gardens, so I try to head there with Oliver when I want to get out of the house. They often have free and discounted activities for members, too. I'm looking forward to their movies at the gardens this summer. I also keep my eyes peeled for deals and discounts. For example, Baskin Robbins has 31 cent ice cream cones tomorrow. This will be a very nice, fun, and cheap family outing for us! I've been looking forward to it for weeks, and, really, would going out anywhere else be more fun? Nope. Finally, last week, Andrew and I tried pub trivia with our friends for the first time. It's completely free, and it's a blast! We even won a $15 gift card to the pub for next time.

Do you have any tips on how you save money for your family every month? I'd love to hear them.


Erin Cusack said...

throwing away sponges! did you know you can disinfect them in the microwave? google it! that will help you save. or, just use washrags/absorbent microfiber towels and wash them. less waste, more $ in your pocket. microfiber towels can also cut down on paper towels. they are amazing.

whirledpeas1129 said...

Dr. Oz on Oprah said not to microwave your sponges, but I can't remember the reason for it (And I can't find it on Google. The only thing I can find on why not to do it is because it can start a fire if it's not damp enough). He actually recommended not using sponges at all and using a new dish towel or rag every day instead.

Even though he'd said not to, I'm interested in it since I can't really find a reason why not to. However, I did read a few articles just now that said it's not the radiation taht kills the bacteria but the heat, so apparently you can even boil them to kill the bacteria. I'll give it a try! How long do you wait then to replace them? A month? I also have a sponge set aside for any cleaning products (like if I'm wiping the sink or kitchen table). I don't know how long to keep those ones, either.

I really want to try the microfiber towels you're talking about. I think I use too many papertowels. I try to stretch them out by tearing them into thirds or in half (depending on how much I need), but I think I'm too wasteful with them still. I'm planning on going ot Target this weekend because I have a few good coupons, so I'll check out those towels then!

erin cusack said...

went to costco today. 30 (or 32?) microfiber cloths. $15-16 or so. the ones here were lime green and in the auto section. !!