Most everyone comes to a point where they are unhappy with the amount of their hard-earned money that is flying out the door month in and month out. I happen to be one of “those” types. I’ve been one for a long, long time. I’m always searching for a new way to stretch a dollar. Let’s go room by room and see just how much we can save.

Bathroom

What’s most wasted in this area of the home? Water. Do you pay for your water? I do. Install that low flow shower head. Yes, they make better ones now so you don’t end up with classic hotel flat hair. Time your showers. Showers use less water than filling up a tub for a bath, if it’s a quick one. You can also turn off the water when you are deep conditioning your hair or shaving. Turn off that water while you are brushing your teeth.

Flushing. Do you know how much water is used per flush. If you have an older commode you could be wasting a lot of water. Yes they make water saving toilets that flush much better than the old ones used to.

Shampoo/Conditioner/Body wash can all be transferred to a pump bottle. Do you notice how fast these products pour out? Adults even have a hard time being frugal when using these products. Children need to learn to save too. If you explain to them that a nickle or quarter sized amount is enough they may get it the first few times but will most likely forget or their quarter will grow into a half dollar. Might be best to use a pump.

Bedrooms

Did you know it’s best to sleep in a cool room. If you have individual thermostats it’s a good idea to turn them down in these rooms. Down comforters are great for especially chilly nights. Usually clothing is kept in these rooms. Have some great clothes that you no longer wear? Sell them on eBay and use the money to buy clothes you will wear, or something you need. You can also donate to charity. Ask for a receipt and write that amount off on your taxes. Ask your tax preparer about rules regarding donations.

Living Room

Keep your heat down and provide throw blankets for chilly nights. No one watching tv? Turn it off. Family time? Think of ways to keep the power-sucking electronics off. Play a game, read a book aloud, or do puzzles together. Even if you do this once a week, imagine how much you could save over a year, and get closer as a family too. Won’t it be great if everyone starts to look forward to this time together?

Computer Room

Shut the computer down at night. Just by doing this we saw a $10 a month savings on our electric bill. I’m sure this will vary. Consider moving the computer into a main area of the house. This is a good idea for households with children anyway, and it will be one more room you can choose not to have to heat.

Kitchen

Save water when washing dishes by rinsing in a dish pan.  Make sure your dishwasher is full before running it. Start a compost pile to use for your garden this year. It will save on your garbage bill, save you from having to buy fertilizer and will be better for the environment. Check your refrigerator’s seal. Put a dollar bill in and close the door on it. If you can pull it out easily, you need a new seal.

Laundry Room

Make sure you have a full load before washing clothes. Hang your clothes to dry, or at least some of them. Each load you do not dry in the dryer saves energy. If you don’t have a clothesline outside or if the weather is bad, use a clothes rack or a retractable line in a spare bedroom or sunporch. You don’t have to use all of the laundry detergent called for on the cap. Use a little less and you will get the same results. I even hear it’s better for your washing machine. Use mostly cold water washes.

Over all

Install energy saving lightbulbs. Again, this switch saved us $10 off of our light bill. Some electric companies offer to send some to you free of charge just to get you to switch and save energy. Check with yours to see if they have this type of program. Turn off any lights when not in use. Unplug appliances and electronics that are not in use. Some use electricity even when not on.

Turn down your thermostat and just heat the area where you spend most of your time. Please keep in mind that you have to keep your heat above 55 to keep your pipes from freezing and there are different guidelines for homes with small children or the elderly. We keep our heat at 60 at night and increase it gradually when we get up or come home from work or school. An electronic programmable thermostat would work wonderfully. Also keep in mind that you can only close so many vents before causing a problem with your furnace. A certain percentage need to be open. Contact whoever cleans your furnace for you to help you figure this out. Having your furnace cleaned every year and changing filters also helps keep your heating bill down. If you use alternative heat such as space heaters be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep away from children and pets. We have gas heat and this works for us. If anyone has a different type of heat please comment with any ideas on how you save.

Use the last bit of detergent, dish soap, shampoo, etc. by running a little water in the bottle and shaking. You can get several more uses out of it. Add that up over a year’s time to see how much you could save.

What do you do to use less and be frugal?

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