So we moved to this new place. And we all know that I am now not working and therefore do not contribute to the household finances.
When we took out some big amount of our savings to arrange for things for the new house, I told myself that it’s about time I shake some sense into me about the big M. I mean, it’s not technically pouring in anymore (not that it ever has but it just feels nice to talk about the big M come pouring in hahaha) so it scares me a bit. It was okay for several months after I resigned from my work because we were at the old house and things were still in its steady flow.
Now that the new place requires several (if not many) spending and tugging a few bucks here and there, it came (almost) crashing down on me.
So I told myself I need to do something so I can help to save where I can and therefore lessen the burden on Mohen to spend more on the things we need. Since I am at home and I know how things run and last, I figured it’s pretty much up to me to make major savings when it comes to our daily needs and household requirements.
These are the things I did and I the amount I saved. See if it can work for you too, because when it’s at the end of the month, a few days before the payday, I’m sure you know that a 100 bucks comes in handy a long way.
Electrical vampires – Many years ago I saw an episode on National Geographic when Earth Hour was first introduced. It talked about mundane household appliances that take up and use the most (of course not to mention keeps the meter running!) energy.
All you have to do is switch off the things that you don’t need to use until the next use. I know this sounds simple, but think about how most of us are too lazy to switch off the main power for our TV because we think that we would want to watch it again after a few hours. Turns out a few hours of running main power translate into almost 5 bucks.
For the most of us, myself included before, I don’t even switch off the main power when I’m going out the whole day with my family. It’s just so easy to have everything on so that I can switch it on when I want to. Off doesn’t mean off for electrical appliances. It simply puts it on standby mode.
Therefore, try these:
- Switch off the main power for the TV, PC, microwave
- Switch off the main switch for air conditioning and water heaters
- Minimize the use of ceiling fans. You wouldn’t technically roast if it gets a little warm. Open the windows and let the wind in
- Limit hours of watching TV instead of letting it run while doing housework or at the computer. You think you need the noise to be in a familiar home environment, but it’s coins dropping away
- Hand wash small items. I used to chuck everything in the washer. But now I separate my laundry, the big ones like bed sheets or T-shirts and the small ones like my son’s clothes and lingerie and wash the small ones by hand. My washer use to run every alternate day, but now only about twice a week
- Most importantly, you need to unplug the appliances that you switched off because apparently, these vampires can still “suck” energy and cost you money. So now I will unplug everything when I turn any appliance off. It does seem like a lot of work to keep on plugging it and unplugging it, but I did see a difference in our electric bill.
Total savings: Before I did the above my electric bill was about 280 per month. Now, it’s not more than 150 a month and that is with minimal use of air conditioning (AC takes up a lot of energy. Imagine how much it will be if no AC was used at all!)
Beggars Can’t Be Choosers – Okay. So I know I’m not technically a beggar. But what I do now when I shop for groceries is that I make myself think this: “What would I do if one day I had to beg and all I have to spend is this 50 bucks for the whole month?”
It is amazing how frugal you can get when you think like that. There is always a choice when you shop at supermarkets. Instead of going for the things with famous brands or featured on TV, like a good brand of pasta, go for the ones that is a few cents cheaper. It may not seem much by saving a few cents, but when you are buying more than 20 items, it can come up to an almost 15 bucks of saving.
Now, I love to spend. I used to not look at the price of things until the checkout girl flashed it against her machine and the price popped out on the screen. It wasn’t as if I am making millions – it’s just I like the feeling when I buy something expensive and looks good. I managed to get rid of that habit now (and believe me when I say it is not easy. At all.) and it has benefited me more than I know. I don’t mind at all now throwing in generic things into my cart, especially when it comes to disposable things like kitchen paper towels, toilet rolls, dishrags, detergents for heavy-duty cleaning – basically things that you will use and then throw. I just invest a little bit now in certain foodstuff brand and/or certain toiletry item.
Total savings: Total spending for groceries before the above was usually 400+ per month. Now, around 290 or less per month.
So let’s do a little kindergarten math: From electric bills, I saved around 180. And for groceries I saved around 110. Let’s see, I don’t think any of us need to be a math whiz to know that an approximate 290 worth of monthly saving is a lot.
It took me about 2-3 months to get used to this. I think for those with stronger will power you can do this sooner. It really is just the willpower of your mind over earthly desires, so to say. Just also remember that no one will think that you are a cheapskate if you spend thriftily because it’s not as if they are paying for your bills. I guess you can say that you are your own enemy when it comes to savings.
Just thought I share something with others on how to save a little.