Friday, July 23, 2010

Money, Money, Money by the pound

If you grew up watching Pete's Dragon then you will recognize the title to this post.

I am going to talk about money.  No, I won't be sharing the exact numbers in my checking account or what's on my credit cards.  Wait I don't have any credit cards.  What I will be sharing with you today is how I plan to help my family save money.  As you have been reading I want my family to be greener.  Green environmentally and financially.  Being green can save you money.

Here are some of the tips I have read other places and will put into action.  Feel free to use them for yourself as well.

  1. No More Throw-aways  Sounds simple doesn't it?  Think about all the stuff we buy.  All the disposable products that we think we can't live without. Napkins, paper towels, paper plates, plastic silverware, disinfectant wipes, etc.  This list could go on and on. I probably spend about $25 on these type of products a month. That would be $300 a year that just ends up in the trash.  So we will stop buying these items to save a bit money.  Disposable diapers can go into this category as well.  I figured that if we spend about $60 a month on diapers (that's three cases of  Luvs) that would about $720 a year on diapers.  Now we are trying to switch to cloth diapers which can be reused.  Of course you have to pay for these diapers so let's say to have a nice stash of cloth diapers its around $200.  Yes, you have to use water to wash them but its only two or three loads more a week.  You are still saving about $500 a year by using cloth diapers. (Different brands cost different amounts.  This is what we spend)
  2. Eat at Home  I remember when I was little that even just going to McDonald's was a treat.  It was  rare and special.  We mainly ate at home.  Nowadays, eating out occurs daily for most families.  I understand busy schedules and all the running around that families do.  We do it too.  But there must be a way that we can plan ahead.  Slow cooker meals, plan your meals ahead of time, pack up your dinners.  If you pack your dinner to take for the ride to the ball game or piano lessons then you have control of what is actually going in your mouth.  I'm not saying don't eat out.  Just make it special.  This will be a very good thing for my family.  We go out to eat way too often and we don't make it special.  With a family of six we can easily spend $100 if not more eating out each month.  That's $1200 a year!  That would have paid for the new water heater we had put in a month ago. 
  3. Buy Less  Do we really need all the items we buy?  The new purse.  The cutest diaper bags.  A new radio. The latest cell phone.  This list could go on forever, so I am cutting it here.  Besides you know where I am going with this.  We are a nation of consumers.  Our government tells us to buy more!  It will help the economy.  But what are we really buying?  Mainly we buy things on impulse.  A few new clothes, a five dollar toy (that gets broken within the first week at home), lotions that make us smell good but end up just sitting on our dresser or in the bathroom cabinet.  Is that flat screen t.v really better than your older t.v.?  You might not believe this but our t.v. is like a dinosaur.  It works just fine so I don't see any reason to replace it.  Why buy something just because a newer version has come out on the market?  Guess what.  It will be obsolete in a month or two when an even never products comes out.  Its a nasty cycle.  We need to use what we have. If we can no longer use it in our homes we can resale it.  Make some money by having a yard sale or take your items to a consignment shop.  If you are looking for new clothes buy them at resale shops.  You can find great outfits and deals too.  Most places are really picky about what they take so you won't have to worry about the quality of the clothes your buy.  The main point of this tip is that we have to ask ourselves, "Do I really need this?  Can I survive without?"  If you said No and Yes then put it down and walk away.  Your checking account will thank you later. I would say quickie buys like these average to about $60 a month for my family.  That adds up to $720 a year. 
  4. Use less energy  Turn off your lights when you aren't in the room.  Heck, leave them off completely during the day.  During the day i barely turn lights on in the house.  The sun gives enough to see what's going on.  Turn your AC up.  Does it need to be so cool in your house?  We keep our thermostat at 78 degrees during the day and it can feel nice and cool.  Sometimes I think we can turn it up a degree or two to try to save energy.  During the winter keep your house cooler and dress warmer.  Use less water.  Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Take shorter showers (use a timer for kids). Only run the washer and dryer when you have a full load.  Line dry your clothes. Saving energy is easier than you think.  We just have to remind ourselves to do it.    
  5. Use homemade household cleaners  This is something new we are trying in our home.  Think about what you pay for a bleach product or disinfectant.  There's wipes, sprays, sponges, flushable stuff and so on and so on.  This adds up.  We probably have been spending about $30 a month on these items.  I was big on the disinfectant wipes.  Okay so $30 a month adds up to $360 a year.  Just the other day I bought some safer cleaning supplies totaling only $10 and they will probably last me 3-4 months if not more.  I spend less money and I am using products that are safer for me and my family.  Its also safer for the earth because you aren't dumping nasty chemicals into our water system.
I know these are not new tips and I haven't invented something that you haven't seen.  But sometimes it just takes a moment of writing it all down and seeing it.  If I add all these up it would come to a little over $3000 (when you figure in energy saved on bills).  $3000  That is like a whole month's pay!  An entire year of tuition at my kids' school.  A vacation to somewhere really cool.  The hard part about all of this is to put it into action.  I really want to do this.  Save my family money. 

Save some money and save the earth.  This is really doable.  Good luck and soon you will have "Money, money, money by the pound." Click here to see the song on youtube.

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