Year 2020 has been a extremely challenging in many ways and we’re glad to put it behind us. We’re already into a new year and we should strive to move forward with hope and anticipation of good things to come.
Let this be the year that we learn to save more, to look after things we do have, to treasure family times and shake off those things we don’t need in our lives. Kindness seems to be the buzzword I hear in social media. It’s really not new, but stems from the golden rule we learned as a child.
Yes it still is a challenging year, but there are steps we can take to mitigate the rising costs of food and other goods, as well as helping to make those things we currently have last longer. This year will be about upcycling, recycling, reusing and donating. My helpful tips will help you to save money as you motor through this year.
Save Energy and Conserve Water
Resolve to save energy and water this year by developing a practical strategy. But to reap the full benefits from conservation efforts, everyone in the home needs to participate, from the youngest to the oldest. A little practice will quickly turn into a good routine of conserving water and energy.
- Turn off lights when leaving a room
- Conserve water by reducing the washer level or shortening the dishwasher cycle
- Hang dry the occasional washload or clothing
- Use a water-saving showerhead
- Upgrade your water heater to a smaller capacity or an on-demand unit for both water and energy savings; read more water heater tips
- Find out what products are the biggest users of phantom power and how to cut the flow
- Use zone heating and avoid heating spaces not used
- Learn how to out-smart a smart electricity meter and time-of-use rates
- Buy energy efficient products
- Practice preventative maintenance to keep your appliances working efficiently
Save Money in Practical Ways
There are lots of money-saving tips including mine, but while many involve financial strategies, there are many practical no-risk ways to save money. Here are just a few, but if you look around you; you will undoubtedly find more.
- Pay bills on time and save money in interest charges.
- Drop coin in a jar and save for that new furniture item you need.
- Review your mortgage details and look for interest-saving options such as shorter payment cycles.
- Think twice or count to twenty, before buying on credit.
- Reduce the amount of credit cards you have.
- Consider buying reconditioned tools
- Drop at least one monthly household expense you can live without. That could be reducing your television viewing package or eliminating a dinner out.
- Purposely leave your bank debit card at home on at least one outing a month.
- Look for small ways to reduce debt; make an extra payment.
- Return rented gear or videos on time.
Save on Foods and Groceries
The food budget tends to be the highest monthly expense for families, even topping the mortgage payment for some. You can reduce that outlay and save money by looking for practical ways of making economical meals, going back to basics with homemade recipes, reducing food waste and protecting stored foods.
- Avoid buying foods on impulse; shop with a list.
- Make your own instant oatmeal and control the additives
- Use at least one discount coupon per week.
- Store vegetables properly to avoid waste.
- Plan a weekly menu; buy accordingly.
- Save on dryer fabric sheets.
- Include one pasta meal a week.
- Have breakfast for dinner twice a month.
- Buy bulk where practical and store properly.
- Make rice dishes more often – it’s budget friendly!
- Buy cleaners in bulk and refill containers.
- Return unwanted items.
- Double wrap or vacuum seal frozen foods.
- Rotate frozen foods to use oldest, first.
Save By Keeping Your Home Safe
Keeping family members safe is of course the highest priority, but keeping your home safe also has financial benefits. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors cost very little and are your first defense in keeping loved ones and home safe.
- Install and check smoke alarms.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector if you burn wood, or have an oil or gas-fired hot water heater, furnace, range or other appliance.
- Install child-proof locks on cabinets where poisons are stored, including cleaners and medications.
- Use only UL-certified electrical appliances and products.
- Inspect appliance cords to ensure they are safe.
Recycle, Reuse, Regift & Return
- Don’t take a lax position when it comes to returning items you don’t need or want; return them for cash or something useful.
- Recycling and reusing things saves money, either directly or indirectly and if we all take part, the savings will be higher.
- Consider regifting as a practical, viable and acceptable practice.
- Recycle and donate to others those things you have no need of.
- Turn unwanted items into cash with a yard sale.
- Return borrowed items.
Save Your Sanity and Destress for Free (or close to it)
We tend to think that the gym or Yoga class is the only way we can destress, or to go shopping which just adds to financial stress. There are lots of ways to destress with little or no cost. Sometimes, just a change of scenery helps, or doing something different to not dwell on burdens, can help.
But remember to take the family along; even a child needs to destress. And don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you need it. Someone else can help you develop coping skills.
- Take a stroll, hike or bike ride.
- Take up gardening
- Take the family on a picnic, even just in the backyard or nearby park.
- Plan a family field trip – fishing, to the playground, country, visit a farm or the local library.
- Do at least one act of kindness a month – pay it forward; it makes everyone feel better.
- Hold a weekly family night – dance, watch a movie or play games. Invite friends to help them relax too.
- Buy an exercise video and do it with a friend.
- Visit a friend, family or a shut-in.
Save and Be Happier
We’ve learned some important lessons since the global pandemic started and the economy took a downturn. Let’s not forget them! We should continue to look for ways to live frugally and go forward with a bounce in our step, a thankful heart and embrace the hope a new year brings.