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Don’t get me wrong, I like big savings as much as the next Frugalite! However, with the times as they are, I’m just not spending money. I try not to! Like a lot of people, I have concerns about the future. I am avoiding large purchases and focusing on what matters to me: enjoying nature and preparing my garden, spending time with friends and family, cultivating joy in my life. It’s times like these where it’s my daily habits that are what save me money.
If, like me at the moment, you have very few large purchases and fewer chances for big savings, you may find your savings are happening on a day-to-day basis. I’m going to share these with you in the hopes that they might support your own savings.
Turn down the thermostat/No AC
I have had a few experiences in life that prepared me for frugality with regard to temperature. One of these was living five years off-grid in my tiny house. My furnace fan was a drain on my battery power. Winter gets cold in my region of Eastern Ontario, Canada, and there is little sunlight. Starting to get the picture? In order to get through the winter without running my generator constantly, I needed to get comfortable with colder temperatures. And I did! I kept the house at 60 during the day and 50 at night. Snuggled up in my bed with my cozy duvet, I never minded a bit.
Even though I’m on the grid in my eco-cabin, I still keep the thermostat down, particularly at night, and wear a hat indoors all winter. I do this every day. My savings? This past winter, my innovative passive solar design in my eco-cabin combined with my indoor hat-wearing frugality for a total heating cost of just two cords of wood: under $100! It was an especially cold winter, so this is particularly noteworthy.
A number of years ago, I lived in India during the summer seasons. I had read that Mother Teresa had lived all those years in Kolkata and never had AC or even a fan. I lived without AC, but (sorry, Mother Teresa!) I did have a fan. However, that experience taught me that I could live (sometimes uncomfortably, yes!) without AC. This past summer, I lived in the eco-cabin with only a small fan I used mainly at night. It is hard to estimate my savings here, but I am certain my hydro bills were modest due to my efforts on this front.
Limiting car trips
Our local gas prices recently peaked at close to $6 per gallon (no, that is NOT a typo!). Gone are the days when I go for a drive just for fun…or just to see the fall leaves…or just to go window shopping in a nearby city. Nope. I only drive to work to milk the cows on a local farm. I drive to a nearby city only when I have three or four reasons to go, such as: to put a check in the bank, to buy milk to make kefir (only available in larger cities), to see my cousin, to visit local the health food store to buy herbs, because I need something at the thrift shop, and maybe something at the local farm supply store as well.
By severely limiting my car trips, I am saving quite a bit on gas. When I could fill my 11-liter tank for $30, I didn’t mind going through a tank a week. Now that it costs me about twice that, I am working pretty hard to stretch that tank to two weeks. So far, so good!
Bargaining while paying cash
I have been amazed at the savings I have achieved in the past few years by increasing my courage to simply ASK for a discount. When combined with my willingness to pay cash, I find that I have been doing well in the savings department.
Here is a recent example: I bought a light for recording my online courses at a local electronics store about an hour’s drive from where I live. I was soooo excited to get it home. Imagine my disappointment in plugging it in and discovering there was a faulty electrical connection somewhere in it, and it wouldn’t stay on!
This forced me to drive back to the store to make an exchange. I was polite but explained the inconvenience and the extra gas costs associated with returning the item. I insisted we check the new one to ensure it worked before I left. Then, I simply asked, “I’ve explained how this was a hardship for me to drive back here to return the light. What are you able to do for me?” He told me he was authorized to offer me a $16 credit. When he saw I needed an audio cable for $18, he didn’t hesitate to give it to me for nothing.
Here’s the kicker: When I originally bought the light, I had asked if they could reduce the price (it was not on sale). I had already saved over $26 on the price of the light simply by asking! Win-Win Ca-Ching!
So, I always ask, and I generally always save. Sometimes offering cash improves the scenario, and sometimes it doesn’t. I am so pleased that I am saving in this way, simply by having the confidence to ask!
Flyer watch-er and wait-er
Butter is quite expensive locally. Coming from seven generations of dairy farmers, I love my butter. Yes, I just checked my fridge, and I have two and a quarter pounds in there! This will last me quite a while.
When I get down to around one pound, I will start to watch the local flyers. By buying butter as a feature sale item, I save 30% on the price. These regular butter sales are the lowest price you can get on butter. By keeping a good stash and beginning to watch the flyers and wait for the sales, I am able to afford to buy butter. At the full price, this would not be the case. I have used this strategy for other foods as well, such as coffee beans. Try it out!
Family trading and sharing
Both my mother and father came from large families (five and six children), and many of my cousins still live locally, especially on my mother’s side. We form a large informal trading network, where we all help each other out.
One of the places stuff accumulates is at one of my aunt’s homes. We all love to stop in and have a cup of coffee with her! When you arrive, she will often gesture enthusiastically at the couch in the entrance area. “So and so just dropped off some extra clothing. Be sure to have a look and see if there’s anything you like!”
Similarly, if we have an extra pair of anything, we are likely to drop it off at this aunt’s home in case anyone can use it. Recent examples of things I have shared with my aunt or cousins or things they have shared with me: old cell phones, empty plastic containers for scattering birdseed, extra bags of nuts and flour they aren’t going to use, freeze-dried coffee I wasn’t drinking, decorative pillows, and the list goes on!
While not everyone may have as many cousins as I do, you may be able to create your own local network for sharing and bartering
Frugal + Daily + Habits = Daily $avings!
Even small savings related to daily habits can add up big over time. Could you see yourself trying any of the thrifty habits offered here? Do you have one of your own frugal daily habits that you can share with us? Please tell us in the comments below.
Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. She has just launched her website, Half Acre Homestead. Colette invites you to stop by and visit this work in progress! Coming soon in 2022 is her exciting new online program. Interested in Resiliency, Preventative Health, and Self-Sufficient/Off-Grid Housing (to name a few!)? Stay tuned for more details!
6 thoughts on “Five Daily Habits That Save Me Money”
Thanks Colette! I especially like the group sharing tip. Great idea!
Hi Paul, Thanks so much. More and more, I believe that thriving in these difficult times will require us to “think outside the box.” Thrift shops used to be mainly charity-driven enterprises, but many in our locale are now profit-driven. This has led to prices out of the reach of the people who actually need help! Group sharing is one way to stop that dynamic and pool collective resources to benefit others. Wishing you the best!
2 and a quarter pounds of butter will last you awhile?. WOW that would last me a week. But indeed, the calendar is your friend. Kerry Gold Irish butter goes on sale before St. Pats day. Here in the states we can count on baked beans, hot dogs and condiments going on sale, for memorial day and independence day. This week before Easter, its ham ect
Good point about the bargaining while paying cash. You have nothing to lose by asking and the worst they can say is no.
Hi Corsaire, I love that Irish butter goes on sale before St Pats day! Being Irish, that just makes me smile. You have shared some great seasonal sales tips for our American Frugalite friends. This is a great idea for everyone to consider, too. Thanks so much!
Agree about the butter. It’s one of the major food groups behind M&M’s and pizza lol. I buy it on sale and stick it in my freezer. Be sure to date each package using a Sharpie in bold numbers. (I’m older now.)
I never turn down free stuff no matter what it is. I can always donate or share if I cannot find a use. However, I am a minimalist, so I wind up not keeping most of the stuff.
I decided to buy only gas and food this month, so I am doing well not spending. If I do see a piece of, for instance, clothing, it has to be a pretty good deal.
I drink tap water and make my own coffee. I rarely eat out, but when I do, I like to splurge on that meal. Why not?
One tip I saw on YouTube that made sense was this: the vlogger decided not to buy pancake mix any more, figuring she could make them more cheaply with just flour and pantry ingredients. I’m going to try that next. I’m finding lots of ways to save money both here and YouTube. And, since I am a mature citizen, I decided not to take umbrage at the advice offered to drive like a little old lady–no sudden stops or starts.
You are an interesting young lady with a lot of good ideas. Thanks!
Hi Marie, Your post gave me a nice smile. Thank you so much! We sound so similar in our habits. I’m sure I would enjoy sitting down for a cup of coffee with you to swap thrifty tips: Homemade coffee, of course! I do make my own pancakes from scratch. Sometimes, when money is tight, I just make pancakes and use them as my morning “toast,” putting butter and peanut butter and jam on them. I love to add a ripe banana and some cinnamon to mine: so tasty! I eat my leftover pancakes cold with some butter on them as a snack.
Sounds like you’re on a very good month of saving: I’m impressed. So appreciate your taking the time to share you tips and thoughts. Thank you kindly!