February 9, 2014

6 Easy Tips for Living Smart on a Budget.

family meal time

Six Easy Tips for Living Smart on a Budget, Part Two: Save Money and Resources.

Check out part one of this series here.

Being thrifty and spending less on resources are two keys elements in living on a budget. It’s simple: if we can cut down on our spending, the money will go farther. Frugality is the new abundance.

In order to seriously make the most of every dollar, cutting down on expenses is key.

In any budget necessities come before wants. It stands to reason, if the bottom line on needs can be reduced, there will more dough for luxuries.

Six Ways to Save Money on Bills.

1. Decrease the water bill. Catch the water when we’re running the tap, waiting for the hot water. Reuse it to water houseplants. Fix leaky faucets and put a brick in the toilet tank.

2. Improve heat efficiency in the winter. A majority of a home’s heat escapes through inefficient insulation in windows and doors. Make sure that windows are locked and exterior doors have effective weather stripping. Put plastic sheets over windows or invest in double paned windows. Roll up a towel and put it at the base of a drafty door. Give the heat source in your home a break and bundle up. Wear sweaters, hats and slippers in the house. Turn down your furnace off at night and use more blankets on your bed; get a sleeping buddy or sleep with a dog. Cook more baked goods and let the warmth from the oven heat the house.

3. Conserve energy. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs and turn off lights when leaving the room. Compact fluorescent bulbs use 60 percent to 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs. Put a timer on the hot water heater or get a solar hot water heater. Vacuum the dust out from under or behind the fridge, clean coils make it run less often. Wear clothes more than one time before laundering. Hang clothes to dry or use a wooden drying rack, instead of using an electric or gas dryer. Invest in water and energy efficient appliances.

4. Save a ton of money by reducing our dependence on oil. Gas is expensive. Insurance and automobile maintenance is costly too. Instead, bike and walk whenever possible. Many towns and cities are so bike and walk commuter friendly that it is simple to live without a car. Also, there is always the bus. If there are times we must use a car, carpool or join a car share. The environmental cost of oil dependence is something no one can afford.

5. If driving a car is a necessity, consider driving a fuel-efficient vehicle. Increase fuel economy by keeping tires properly inflated and follow a regular service schedule. Link trips.

6. Avoid paying late fees on bills: pay electronically.

With all of the money you’ll be saving, there will hopefully be some disposable income to have fun with. Guess what? There is also money to be saved in this category! Yay!

Six Ways to Save Money on Fun Stuff

Live the good life. Practice frugality!

1. Drink coffee at home. Having a cup of coffee at home can cost as little as 23¢ per cup vs. spending up to $5 a cup at the coffee shop. These are the extremes, but the cost savings of having coffee at home can be drastic.

2. Tighten our belts! Enjoy good diet and exercise and become our ideal weight. It is more efficient to use the optimal amount of resources to nourish ourselves. We’ll feel better, look better, live longer and get rich, rich, rich on all the compliments!

3. Cook from scratch. Generally, cooking from scratch is more nutritious, tastes better and costs less than restaurant food. The most important added benefit is that the food will be cooked with love. This boosts our energy and comforts us on a cellular level.

4. Sometimes it’s exciting to splurge. If we decide to eat out, order one entrée and split it between two people or order from the kids menu. Folks over the age of 55 can ask for the senior discount. Save money by drinking water instead of alcohol. Enjoy the bounty of feeling clear headed and hydrated.

5. Buy things used: shop at the thrift store or consignment shop, ebay, used bookstore or garage sales. Reuse is an old fashioned concept that smart people have been practicing for eons. More importantly, it saves the resources and eliminates the pollution of manufacturing and shipping new products. Old things generally last longer because they’re better made with superior materials.

6. Use real linens instead of disposables. Use cloth napkins instead of paper. Use real dishtowels as an alternative to paper towels. Use a handkerchief rather than facial tissues.

Saving money and resources makes us feel smart. Prosperity does not mean having a surplus, it means having enough. Living within our means is what makes us rich.

“Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.”

Elise Boulding

“Can anything be so elegant as to have few wants, and to serve them one’s self?”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Walk the Talk with Waylon Lewis {Slow Money}:

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo:  alexbarrow/Flickr

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