Wednesday, October 18, 2006

10 Things I Do Every Day to Save Money

Welcome to yet another frugality blog! I decided to start my own to keep track of all the many different things I do to save money, in the hopes that it will give me a bit of satisfaction to keep track of all my efforts, and provide some inspiration when the going gets tough. We have some pretty aggressive financial goals we want to achieve in the next year, so I need to stay motivated.

I've been reading a lot of different frugality blogs lately, and many people have been doing a "25 Things I Do to Save Money" list (started, I believe, by Dawn over at Frugal for Life). Since I'm going to be writing out a list of all (or at least most) of my frugal activities every day, I thought I'd start off by doing a list of 10 Things I Do Every Day to Save Money so I don't have to keep writing them out every day. A few of these are so ingrained in my daily habits, I had to thing for quite a while before they occurred to me!

So, here goes:

1. Walk/bike instead of driving, about 90% of the time (possibly even more). As we live in a very walkable neighbourhood (one of Canada's first "planned communities") this is actually pretty easy, and it also allows us to keep only one car for our family of four. We were previously car-free for 3 years, but due to hubby's career change it's now pretty much impossible for us to be totally without a vehicle.

2. Cook at home, using inexpensive (and healthy) unprocessed/minimally-processed foods. We eat out so infrequently, I can probably count the number of times we've done so in 2006 on one hand (that includes take out and fast food, too).

3. Only eat until I'm full, not stuffed (cuts down on both food expenses and my waistline!)

4. Keep the thermostat set as low as we can tolerate in the colder months (18 degrees Celsius daytime, 15 degrees Celsius at night) and use fans/shades/windows to cool during the warmer months.

5. Exercise at home or outdoors instead of going to a gym.

6. Don't throw my clothes in the hamper until they are actually dirty and/or smelly (less wear on the clothes, less laundry soap and water used).

7. Wash baggies - yup, I admit it, I'm a fanatical baggie washer. I buy the more expensive name-brand freezer bags, as I found they withstand much more wear and tear and I can get a lot more uses out of each bag. If I wasn't a baggie-washer, I'd buy generic.

8. Keep lights turned OFF as much as possible (although the kids seem dead-set on foiling me on this one!)

9. Read books and magazines from the library, instead of buying them. Most of the DVDs we watch come from the library as well, and when I'm in the mood for some new music, I'll check out their CD collection too.

10. Express gratitude for everything I *do* have (even though, I admit there are some days when there are some things on my "wish list"). I do appreciate that I have much more than most others in the world, and I am truly thankful for that.

I'm sure there are some other things I do every day, but can't think of right now!

On to today's frugal happenings...

-I blanched three heads of cauliflower (from our local CSA) and froze them for later use.
-dh baked muffins for breakfast
-I started thinking about Christmas gift possibilities involving a free $25 gift certificate from Chapters (which I am going to redeem airmiles to get!) and the almost $30 in Canadian Tire money we have accumulated (someone on my list might get a wrench for Christmas, lol!) I want to stretch these out as much as possible, so I might use them towards some of the kids' gifts as I already have a lot of almost-free or food gift ideas for the adults in my life

I can't think of anything else "noteworthy" at the moment.

Today's meals:

Breakfast: High Fibre Carrot Muffins (tried and true standby from Anne Lindsay's Light Kitchen), coffee

Lunch: leftover lentil and sausage stew (a great way to feed four people with only 2 sausages!), leftover cornbread, glass of orange juice

Supper: barbecued lime-garlic chicken thighs, sweet potato fries, broccoli, glass of white wine (leftover from a bottle brought by company; we have a stash of brew-your-own as well), coffee

That's it for today!

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