Top 10 money-saving actions in 2007

This list covers my major frugal activities during 2007. Some of them are habitual, some of them are new. This list only includes items I would have done anyway. So if I saw something that was a great deal and impulsively bought it, it wouldn’t make the list. Items are only included if I would have bought something at any price, but instead did it frugally.

  1. Selling things. We sold our hot tub, an old bed, two old bikes, a painting we’d outgrown, a yard sale worth of stuff, and a desk. Altogether, they made us a nice little bundle. Savings/earnings: $875.
  2. Used grocery store card and coupons. I believe I save at least $35 a month using coupons and store “club” cards. (I did track this for several months in 2007, with savings ranging from $17 in July to more than $40 in June, August and September.) Savings: $420 per year.
  3. Switched space heaters for electric blankets. I anticipate spending $40 this winter instead of nearly $200; we’ll see if I’m right when the winter bills have all come in. Savings: $160 per year.
  4. Bought child’s clothing all on sale, at Goodwill or the consignment shop. Savings: $157 over Target-level prices.
  5. Changed almost all our light bulbs to CFLs — 23 light bulbs. Assuming the 14-watt CFLs are replacing 60-watt bulbs I’ll save $10 a month; if they replaced all 75-watt bulbs, I’ll save $13 a month. The reality is somewhere in the middle. Best deal: I got 10 bulbs for $3 at Costco ($13 minus a $10 instant rebate) — $0.35 each. Energy savings: $138 per year.
  6. Buying other things secondhand. We frequent thrift and consignment shops, especially for Little Cheap. We found used cleats, paddock boots, and rollerskates in 2007, as well as lots of books (as low as $0.33 each) and a push broom. Savings: At least $100.
  7. Trash picking. I live in a city, but I’m not averse to grabbing something off the street (well, something the owner intended to be taken, that is). Last year, we got a free fire pit (something we were leaning strongly toward buying) and a free large planter this way. Savings: $90.
  8. Hung laundry out to dry. If I used my dryer to dry five loads a week, it would cost me $117 a year, assuming each load dries for 1 hour. Instead, I dry about 10-12 loads a month in the winter only, which costs about $35 a year. Savings: $82 per year.
  9. Using Freecycle. Freecycle is a great way to share the wealth, in both directions. A Freecycler took away my old dishwasher, but Freecycle also gave us several items we were planning to buy, including a hoe and a huge mirror for our dining room. Savings: $50.
  10. Taking advantage of free offers and membership cards. We got a free massage and a free haircut (buy 12, get one free at Great Clips) this way. Savings: At least $45.

    Any one of these items might seem like it wouldn’t be worth the time. And it’s true, saving money can take time. But it also can be lots of fun. And you can’t deny the rewarding feeling when you look at the savings — in my case, a total annual savings of at least $2,117. That’s nearly $200 a month for doing nothing special. Wow!


    4 thoughts on “Top 10 money-saving actions in 2007

    1. frankschulteladbeck says:

      Could I suggest spending a little to save in the end? Adding more insulation to your home. You get a tax break, and it helps with the air conditioning bills.. Personally, I started preparing more vegetables, and less meat (the idea of using meat as a flavoring like in Okinawa). Vegetables cost less per pound.

    2. cheaplikeme says:

      Both great ideas! We have a fat layer of insulation in our attic, which previous owners installed, although our brick walls are FREEZING.

      And I do buy meat, as long as it’s natural … but I seek out the “manager’s special” half-price meats and freeze them immediately. We eat meat a couple of times a week rather than every day. Vegetables and beans are cheaper and healthier, too.

    3. frankschulteladbeck says:

      Do you live in a light frame construction house where the exterior walls are brick, but the load is carried by wood studs? If so, you still get the tax break on blowing insulation into the cavities. This can be done by a do it yourselfer, but it is a lot of work. My home built in the sixties has no insulation in the walls, so that is my next project. As for the attic, if the insulation comes up to the joists, you can add a lower R-value batt insulation like R-13. R values are cumulative. Otherwise may I suggest tapestries; it was their function in castles you know. Well maybe quilts as a decorative piece. OK, I will stop before I get to silly with these remarks.

    4. Cheap Like Me says:

      I wish!! We have a quality 1950 brick house — I think it’s two layers of brick, with nice metal lath inside covered with plaster! 🙂 So we can’t hang pictures without cracking plaster all over the place, and I don’t *think* we can blow in insulation, but an energy audit is on our eventual wish list and maybe they can tell for sure.

      I left the attic-inspecting to Mr. Cheap, but he said there was a good 15″ of loose insulation up there — relatively recent (we’ve only been here a few years).

      Hmm, tapestries might be our best bet …

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