So far, so good. It’s the 27th, and we have bought groceries and gas. Sean bought new windshield wipers for the van as well, but with winter coming on, that should be considered a necessary safety expense. Otherwise, unnecessary spending rests at 4$ for Halloween costume supplies, and Sean’s meals out when he was at his conference at the beginning of the month.
Not bad. I must also admit that I spent some money pre-purchasing Christmas gifts and Christmas gift making supplies, but as we live in small town central and never go to the city, I order online and have to wait for shipping, so I don’t want to put that off for too long either.
All in all, it has been much easier than I anticipated.
So, just for kicks, here are some of the frugal things we do in our house (some we were doing before, some are newer…)
- Keep the thermostat low. Last winter we kept it at 19 during the day and 16 at night. This month, I’ve had it at 16 pretty much all the time, except when we need a break from the chill (or when the inlaws are visiting.) That means I wear slippers and socks, and a hoodie about half of the time. A weird thing happened the other day though. I was chilled so I turned it up to 18 just to warm up a bit. Started doing some work around the house. Within 20 minutes I was so hot I had to take off slippers and socks, and turn the heat back down. Our bodies are adapting. The kids are still in their skivvies most of the time, so I know it’s not really that cold.
- We line dry almost all of our laundry in our basement.
- We keep the water heater turned down pretty low, except when someone wants a bath, then we turn it up 20 minutes before.
- We eat lots of rice and beans.
- We buy in bulk when certain things are on sale. We also buy local (freerange eggs for 3$/dozen instead of 6$ at the grocery store.)
- We make our own bread. tortillas, granola, etc. Way cheaper and healthier, and I’m home anyway.
- Sean picks up groceries on the way home from work. We rarely go into town for just one errand, trying to join them together to save gas. It’s only 8km round trip, but it makes a difference.
- We use the library. ALL THE TIME.
- I’ve started using coupons. This is new. Sites like Save.ca and Websaver.ca have been helpful.
- We unplug anything that is not being used.
- We buy all kids stuff used if possible, or better yet, let people know we are not opposed to hand-me-downs. I don’t think I’ve ever really had to buy clothes for the girls. A pair of winter boots at the thrift store costs $2. Sean and I also buy 90% of our clothes at the thrift store.
- We use soap nuts for the laundry, baking soda and vinegar for almost all other cleaning. This saves on cost and packaging, not to mention keeping all sorts of potentially toxic chemicals out of our home and out of the environment.
- We cancelled our unlimited long distance. Now we spend 6$ a month instead of $20. We skype, or have people with unlimited long distance call us.
- We don’t have a cell phone.
- This is the big one. We stay out of the stores. (I went to Walmart the other day to pick up Halloween Candy and some homeschooling supplies. When they didn’t have what I needed, I found myself wandering the aisles. I hate Walmart. But as I wandered, I almost convinced myself we needed some baskets for India’s room, a rug for our back door, some bathroom stuff. None of which we needed, or even wanted.) Staying out of the stores and off of websites is a big one. Advertisement can have such a strong pull, even those of us who consider ourselves fairly aware to the marketing can be swayed to purchase unnecessarily.
If anyone else has other ideas of how to be frugal, I’d love to entertain your suggestions.
All in all, one no spend month has allowed us to double up both mortgage payments and add a significant amount to our savings account. Feels good. I wonder what november will bring.