With gas prices getting only higher it seems like everyone is tightening up their financial belts in a big way. We thought things were tough before, and then the gas prices go up even higher! Currently my family spends $400 on gas per month, yikes. We have only one bread winner in the family at the moment, so we are becoming frugal experts, (or so I like to think!), these days. Growing our own food on the homestead is definitely helping us in saving costs on groceries, but we're being forced to come up with very creative solutions for cutting our costs down lately. I'm really glad I was raised by parents and grandparents who knew how to stretch a dollar right about now. Here are a few creative solutions we have come up with for ways to cut down on costs, many of which also lesson our energy foot print, interestingly enough.
Ron is going to take the bus to and from work. His ride will be extended by 1/2 hour each way, but it will save us around $100 per month. It's also easier on the planet, great side effect.
We're going to be brown bagging it for school and work. We're guesstimating that will save us around $100 a month as well. Now we're up to a surplus of $200.
I'm planning on making snacks for the kids and I'm not exactly sure what the savings will be, but I'm estimating around $50 per month. We're also planning on making a lot more meals from scratch. I would guess we're talking around $100 in savings total. This will be better for our wallets and our health!
When the car breaks down we trade services with friends. Recently a friend offered to trade fixing our car for some truck loads of horse manure for his garden. Instead of buying new wood from the lumber store we often are given re-purposed wood from friends for building on the homestead. You would be amazed how many people are willing to trade, or give away used materials if you just ask!
We just switched from a cable company to a dish, which is saving us around $50 per month.
Growing our own veggies is probably saving us around $50 per month, at least, in produce costs. When we start canning the savings will only go up.
Generally we shop at a local discount grocery outlet quite a bit, and avoid the Safeway stores and the like. I estimate this saves us around 1-200 per month.
We used to spend probably around $100 per month on entertainment. Now instead of going to a movie we rent one and have movie night at home, have friends over for dinner, or enjoy nature.
We're focusing more on using less energy - both electrical and otherwise. We actually saw our PG&E bill go down by about $50 when we were more aware of turning off lights, using less water, etc.
The total savings here is about $500 per month! It's amazing how easy it is to save when you take the energy and effort to make it happen. At first the sacrifice can be tough, but once you're used to it you actually enjoy consuming less. Life has so much to offer apart from material things, and you enjoy the important things more when you have less. I think you actually gain a whole lot more by streamlining your life, and many of the choices you make help the earth.
So what about you? What are your creative budget secrets?