Friday, August 30, 2013

Onward Ho - August Goal Update & How I Save Money

At the end of July, I decided to challenge myself to put an extra $1,000 toward my mortgage principal by the end of 2013. I didn't pick a certain dollar amount for each month because I was hoping to avoid stressing myself out if we were a little short one month or something unexpected came up. I was able to put an extra $250 toward my September 1st payment:
I had an unexpected expense this month during my dental check up, which would have set me back $89, but I used a Visa gift card (the kind you can spend anywhere) to offset that cost. I also have some habits that help me stay frugal listed below.


Book-buying ban:  

I've been on a self-imposed book-buying ban since January of 2012. When I find something I want to read, I request it online and wait for it to arrive at my local library (and sometimes I wait and wait and wait, but that doesn't happen too often). I'm lucky that my library also offers magazines, DVDs, and CDs, so I rarely buy those, either. Added bonus: Less stuff to store!

Adjust the AC:

When my husband and I first moved to a house with air conditioning, we set the temperature at 75° because that's what our parents did. Getting that first electricity bill was quite a shock, so we slowly bumped it up to between 78° and 80° (depending on if we're both home and outside temperature). This chart is even more convincing.


No paper products:

We use cloth towels, wash clothes, and cloth napkins to clean up. I use handkerchiefs (I bought the 12" squares from Wallypop 5 years ago and they're still going strong), but my husband prefers regular tissues. The little paper cup next to our bathroom sink was replaced by a real drinking glass. Mr. Giraffe drinks coffee, so he switched to using this french press to brew coffee at home because it doesn't require a filter. 

Parties sometimes require extra planning. Invites by email or text message are the norm, so we skip paper invitations for casual gatherings (I think our wedding was the last time we used paper invites). We have plenty of plates, cups, and silverware to host about 10-12 people, but I do usually break out the paper napkins because there are so many kids in the family and I'm still building my cloth napkin collection. Overall, it was an easy transition (but I do reserve the right to curse when cleaning up cat vomit) and saves a ton of money.

Going green:  

I wrote a series in April called Mini Green Changes and all of these habits help me save money: use half, eat vegetarian, use a Ladycup, and consider the packaging.


How do you save money?

10 comments:

  1. I love the fact that being vegetarian and trying to be green can save money!

    PS I use the leftover napkins from our takeout food excursions for the cat vomit.

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  2. I have also managed to cut out the paper products. My spouse and I both have scent-free workplaces and we both have short hair, so we both use the same unscented bar soap, shampoo and conditioner, moisturizer, etc. But probably the things with the most impact are taking our own lunches to work, and meal planning our dinners - our food waste is almost nil. We are vegetarian too.

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    1. That's awesome!

      I've never heard of a scent-free workplace, but I really like that idea. I don't wear any perfumes, but I can tell when some of my coworkers have used a certain hallway by the perfume/cologne cloud left behind.

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  3. This made me think, I nver buy a drink at lunch when my colleague always does! You're almost at your overpay goal - nice work!

    Wow what is a scent free workplace and how do they enforce it?

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    1. Thank you! The drink idea is a great one - I usually stick to water when I go out as well.

      Hopefully Dar can tell us more about her workplace . .

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  4. I like the idea of the book-buying ban :) I've been trying to do the same, since I have a huge pile of books to read. I've slipped a couple of times, but only for books in op (thrift) shops.

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    1. I used to spend a ton of money on books (and I have 5 bulging bookcases to prove it) but it made me feel guilty for spending too much on hardbacks, or spending too much on books I didn't end up reading or didn't like enough to store . . and on and on. The ban was a tough adjustment, but so worth it (for me). I don't buy in thrift shops, but that's because one thing would lead to another and then I'd be right back to buying books on Amazon for a penny. But I'm weird - and you're right, buying only second hand books will save you a ton :)

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  5. These are great ideas! I'm all about the thrift stores so I rarely ever buy any clothes or accessories that aren't from there now. Once you start, you can't stop!

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    1. Thrift shops rock! I love the bargains :)

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