We're all looking for ways to save Time, money and Energy. Especially now with the Country's financial woes.
What our futures hold only time will tell but for now, let me tell you some ideas I've found.
First of all there are tons of free items on the Internet, you just have to know where to look. Most States have a Free Cycle Site through Yahoo Groups and some also have, Cheap Cycles, where you can buy items no longer needed by people for a lower price than at the stores, normally, eg. just today i saw this ad on Akron Cheap Cycle
(For Sale: V-Smile game console and 2 games $20.00) The game cartridges alone run anywhere from $15.00 to $20.00 in general.
There is also a Free category on Craig's List. There are a lot of people who would rather give away unused items rather than throwing them away and letting them end up in a landfill somewhere. In turn there are people who need theses items that others don't want or use anymore.
I'll have more tips for "free stuff" in another article to come.
Saving Energy = Saving $$$$$:
You can usually go to your local Utility company's website and find ways to save. I looked up First Energy, which happens to be my electric supplier but just to give you an idea you enter your information, it will calculate your averages per number of people in your home and the fuel type used for your appliances. I calculated mine at a 2 person rate and it shows and average size home and an average amount I can expect to spend per year on my electric bills, which appliances use what amount of money and energy, etc.... I have gas heat and most of my appliances are gas. I also have freestanding gas heaters to save on running the furnace because gas or electric, it
takes electricity to run the furnace blower. So check out ways to save there.
You can save approximately 10% on your energy bills just by doing a few simple things like sealing and caulking all cracks and leaks in your home, cover windows with plastic. I found a lot of useful tips on the Duck Brand website, which you can check out here http://www.duckproducts.com/homesmart/ . and more useful tips on conserving energy can be found here, http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/consumer/
Put lights on a timer so they will come on automatically when it gets dark and vise versa. Turn off the light when you leave a room. Turn off the water while you brush your teeth, Turning the thermostat down just 2 degrees can make a difference or get a programmable thermostat and set it to turn down the temp when you leave the
house and when you go to bed at night, etc.... Clean your Appliances, the coils behind your fridge gather dust, look behind the appliances, and use your vacuum to clear away dust. Check all of the vents, especially on refrigerators, dryers, and heating and cooling units Clean or change your furnace filter regularly. Use your dishwasher, a dishwasher consumes less water, even if it's not a full load, and you run it everyday, than it does to run the water to do the dishes by hand. Wash full loads of laundry, for those of you who have free gas like I do, it's still more economical to wash full loads because after all it still takes electricity to use the washer cycles, and the timer on the dryer to do the laundry. If it's the warmer seasons, hang your clothes outside to dry. Wash your clothes in cooler water, the cooler the water, the less energy your using. Tide has a laundry detergent made for cold water washing.
Do you drink, pop, beer, energy drinks, etc.? Well save those cans. Aluminum = $$$$. Wait until Earth Day if you can to cash them in, you'll get a lot more money out of them then.
Got change? Save it!
Keep a jar or some sort of container, when you have spare change in your purse or pockets, toss it into the container, it adds up faster than you think. Remember the old saying? "A penny saved is a penny earned" It's true!
When you go to the Grocery store, stick to the outer perimeters, those middle isle's are full of over priced unneeded items. You can get the basic groceries for most meals without going into the center Isle's. Coupons are also a great way to save money at the grocery store. If you need to go into the center Isle's of the store, make sure you only buy what's on sale or what you have coupons for. Write a list and stick to it! Extra items here and there can really run up your shopping bill. Look at your local stores flyer's before you shop and see what is on sale, then see if you can find a coupon for those items.
Have "Date Night" at home.
It is far more economical to send the kids to a friends house for a sleep over and make your own dinner for date night, and you'll get some quality one on one time with your significant other too!
Plant an indoor Herb Garden,
You'll save money on your spices and it will taste all the better because "You grew that!" and your herbs and spices will be a lot fresher too.
You can also plant an outdoor vegetable garden too. I know I've saved hundreds of dollars on Tomato sauce over the years by making my own sauce from fresh garden tomatoes. now a days you don't have to know how to can or other time consuming options for freezing your harvest. You can purchase a decent sealer and bags and it will pay for it's self with your first crop of fresh vegetables.
Plants are an inexpensive way to make your environment more decorative and more air friendly, and if your good at growing them, they make inexpensive gifts too. I personally grow a lot of spider plants, if you take care of them, they will be shooting out babies in no time. Take the babies off, put them in water to grow roots. You can pick up inexpensive pots at $$ Stores or you can even look around your house for unused items that can be
converted into a pot & personalized for the person receiving it. Then get the babies planted & growing and wallah, you have a practically free gift to give to a friend, loved one, your child's teacher, people from your office, just about anyone.
Redecorate with what you have,
Do you have old sheets or pillow cases your not using anymore? instead of tossing them out, you can reuse them if your crafty. Now a days you don't need to know how to sew for a lot of projects. There are blankets and pillow slips you can make with a knotting technique. So redecorate your throw pillows or make a new set of curtains if you can sew. Just about anything you can think of can be made from all kinds of materials your no longer using.
Stop buying Stamps,
Most companies offer online bill payments now a days. i know i personally only pay two of my bills with an old fashioned stamp and envelope method. You can save a lot of money not having to drive to the post office to pick up stamps!
Know your Employer and what they offer,
If your employer offers a matching 401k program, opt in! Start a savings account. Put whatever you can into it weekly or bi-weekly when you get paid. It'll seem like a lot less of a chunk of money if you do it more frequently with smaller amounts of cash.
Start A Christmas club account right after Christmas so you know the money will be there for the next year.
Look online for money saving tips. You can google a search like, money saving tips, or something along those lines.
Until next time, Happy saving!