And you can, too! I've been somewhat remiss in posting over the past month, with good reason. We've been having a wonderful time with family, and hopefully you have as well. This will be the first of a short series of posts on some big and small ways we saved money over the past year. Some are specific to us, but most can be applied to anyone.
10. Line-drying our clothes. I'd have to compare our electrical bills between the summer and fall, but line-drying or even using a drying rack indoors makes a pretty significant and positive difference to the environment and to one's bank balance.
9. Cloth diapering our baby. The liners, covers, and two bags to hold the diapers came out to about 250$ with tax and everything. For our increased water consumption (because you need to wash cloth diapers in lots of hot water), again I'd have to check our bills. Estimating conservatively, a disposable diaper costs about 25 cents. Let's say you use 5 a day; your diapering costs would then be 1.25$ per day. For 250$, you could diaper your kid for 200 days, which isn't even a year. And when you consider that your baby will be in diapers for, I don't know, about two or two and a half years, that would add up. To over a thousand dollars, when you factor in wipes.
Now, we don't exclusively cloth diaper baby D; if we're travelling, or having someone babysit her, or going out for the whole day, we put her in a disposable. And hubby prefers using wipes to using washcloths. So we'll buy a massive pack of diapers in her size when they go on some crazy sale, and we can usually afford to wait because we mainly use cloth. We also wait for sales to stock on wipes. It's just something to think about. Even with the added costs of occasionally using disposables and wipes, we're likely saving at least 500$-600$ a year.
8. Meal planning and grocery shopping. I've expounded extensively on this here, here, and here. Try it out: take a little time to decide what you want to eat for a week (or two, if you're feeling ambitious), and what supplies you'll need to make that happen. Give a discount grocery store a chance, and shop on the first day of a given sale (Friday). You could even shop at a cheapo store one week, and a bigger one the next, comparing the receipts against each other. You'll be surprised how much you can save with a little time and energy. Moms of two kids or more: I've heard it's better for your sanity to shop in the evenings, or whenever your hubby's home from work, so you can leave the kids with him. Plus then you get an hour to yourself.
More top ways to save coming in the next post. For now, I have a cute little toddler calling for me, and she won't be this little for long. Happy New Year, and happy saving in 2011!