More Everyday Frugal

Just when I was feeling good about my previous post on frugality, my wife informs me of all the things I left off of the first list. Fail. Oh, well. It wasn't meant to be comprehensive! Here are more ways to be frugal each and every day.

  • Line drying clothes - When the weather is fit, the clothes dryer gets a break. Most items dry in a reasonable amount of time, and they smell great. Now you have to watch this as some neighborhoods have covenances against this. Some townships may have ordinances against it. Fools, I say. They can keep the local utilities fat, not me.
  • Only full loads - Reds don't get washed very often in our house. We wash only full loads of laundry to maximize efficiency of the machine and the user. I'd much rather do 6 full loads per week, than 12 half loads. If we had a dishwasher (and trust me, its on the list), the same would go for it.
  • 1 glass per day - Speaking of dish washing, our days of excessive dirty cups and glasses are gone. Unless we previously drank milk, we try to use just one drinking cup throughout the day. This reduces the amount of dishes to be washed. Less water, less soap, less work.... you get the idea.
  • 1 TV, no cable, no dish - I feel like Letterman when he gave up caffeine - boy that was a mistake. Sometimes the lack of programming seems akin to the "disgusting brown water" (decaf coffee) that Dave would make fun of as he sipped. Clearly this one has been harder on me than my wife. Its probably for the best. It's been kinda nice not shelling out $60 per month on a programming service. The real point is time. More time together, talking, playing with the kids, blogging, working on projects. Less time parked in front of the TV watching whatever.
  • No A/C - We get some looks over this one. This American staple has no place in our house. Yes, you can do this, even south of the Mason-Dixon line. You have to be smart about this and be safe - I am not advocating that people just switch it off and tough it out. There are alternatives to this energy-hogging miracle of thermodynamics. Even if you have one, try doing without it more. Fans and dehumidifiers can do a lot. Proper home design to capture prevailing winds and block out direct sun in the heat of the day can do a lot more. Trees, wondrous trees, shading you, your lawn and your house can take you to paradise. I've been in houses, in the deep south, during the full heat of the summer (no picnic, for sure). No A/C on. Not even the ceiling fans running. Windows open capturing the breeze, direct sun blocked by elongated overhangs and well placed shade trees. There were 50+ people in the house, and not a bead of sweat in sight. The architect was quite pleased.
  • Grow your own - With our current house, we are blessed with a very large yard paired with a very large garden. We are still working on our vegetable strategy, but with a little bit of effort, we can have fresh vegetables all summer and put up as much as we like for the winter months. There is no guess work about the chemicals used (none) or the underpaid and abused workers who picked them (we're quite pleased with the pay). Easy with 3600 square feet of garden, right? We used to have a rather small yard, with the garden in the back landscaping. We didn't put much up, back then, but you can still have fresh veggies and herbs (OMG, fresh herbs rule!) without feeling like you live on a farm. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
  • Buy local - What you don't or can't grow, may be available from your local grower who doesn't mind feeling like they live on a farm. Farmer's markets are great, and roadside stands are even better. Do a little research, you'll find more going on in this industry than you expected. Co-ops are becoming more popular. Orchards and vineyards are everywhere. Despite all of these efforts, it's tough to not need certain items from the grocery stores. That's ok. But why not put more of your food budget straight into the hands of the grower, as opposed to funding all these middle-men? You'll pay less when you shop this way too.
  • Canning and freezing - This is already well known for its cost efficiency, but when you do things like buying seconds for applesauce apples, it becomes even more so. this can be fun as well as rewarding. Kids will always remember canning day. Have a get together with family or friends and make a day of it. Then split the bills and divide the jars. Many hands makes for light work.
  • Library books - Our daughter's room already resembles a library. Grandparents still enjoy constantly buying books, we however, do not. Public libraries, besides being book repositories, often will loan out movies and music as well as having kids programs and adult groups. Lots of value for little investment.
  • Low power, no power - With 1+ acres associated with our personal residence, yard work can be a bear. We do have a riding lawn mower (thank you!), and a snow blower (double thanks), but we try to limit our power equipment to those. No leaf blowers, no hedge trimmers... We do borrow a garden tiller once or twice a year, but we try to rely more on hand power than horsepower.
Got some to add? Leave us a comment!


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