Reducing housing & utilities in high-cost-of-living area - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 09-15-2011, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone, I just discovered this forum (branching out from ttc!) and this is my first post here. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas or tips for me on reducing housing and utility costs while living in areas with high cost of living? We do all of the frugal stuff you're "supposed" to do as far as the small stuff, like packing lunches, meal planning, CDing, not running the A/C, and so on (we could get better of course, and are trying). But our housing and utilities eat up such a huge part of our budget that all of those things make a small dent at best.

 

We bought the cheapest home we could find in this area that did not require extensive repairs five years ago - a 2-bedroom townhouse. We had a sizable down payment and have a good mortgage rate, etc. Property taxes are extremely high here, but OTOH rents are equivalent to or greater than our mortgage payment (with escrow taxes), so we crunched the numbers and realized we would not only save, but probably lose, renting vs. buying. We're thinking of selling our townhouse (not just to save money, but also that) and buying a small single-family house for a similar price, which would eliminate our annoying association payment. At the time we bought, we couldn't have afforded the houses we can now due to the housing market. However, that depends on our current home selling for a decent price. I have to contact an agent and see what they say, but that is one solution we thought of. Even with that, though, I can't see our housing costs being any less than half our take-home pay (I mean the actual paycheck amounts that go into our bank account, after taxes, health insurance, pension, etc.).

 

As for as utilities - basically I am looking for any advice you've got for water/sewage, electric, gas, phones, cellphones, and cable/internet beyond the obvious. I know cable/internet and cellphones are luxury items, and we've reduced all of them significantly, but they are still things we'd like to have in some capacity.

 

Thanks for any help you can send my way!


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#2 of 21 Old 09-15-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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* only wash on cold, and line dry or use indoor drying racks

* take showers with your dh (saves water and can be fun)

* if your hair is dirty but the rest of you is clean, wash hair in the sink rather than taking a whole shower

* share the flush - only flush the toilet for #2 (this is a bit drastic and i've only done it when things were very tight, but it works to lower the bill)

* put a bucket in the shower to catch the water as it warms up. use the water for plants or to wash dishes in

* turn your thermostat up 2 degrees in the summer and down 2 degrees in the winter. it's so little you probably won't notice the temp difference but it saves

* any day where it is nice outside, turn the heating/ac totally off and open windows. i don't know temps where you live but i can get a month in the spring and a month in the fall with no heat/ac use. box fans in windows extend that time

* do all baking one day a week/put things that bake at the same temp in the oven together so you're only using it once

* when you use the oven in the winter, keep the door open as it cools down after baking and turn off the heat. the oven will heat the house as it cools down for a little while

* compare electric costs to gas costs and if it's cheaper to use the microwave, use it instead of the stove. if the stove is cheaper, ditch the microwave.

* open blinds and use daylight in the daytime instead of having lights on. that really cut my electric bill

 

some of that is pretty basic and you may already do, but that's what i could think of off the bat.

 

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#3 of 21 Old 09-15-2011, 05:59 PM
 
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This is an obvious one for most people, but make sure you turn off the lights/fan/tv/computer when you leave the room.

 

If you've got cellphones, you can likely cut out the house phone entirely if you still have one. If you've got basic internet at home, go for a pay as you go cell phone without the data access, texting, etc. 

 

Try to keep your fridge and freezer full so they run more efficiently. 

 

If you've got leaky faucets, repair them - the cost of the repair will be cheaper than the higher water bill over time. 

 

Switch from electric to manual appliances when you can - manual can openers are just as quick as the electric ones, for example. 

 

Keep the blinds/curtains closed in rooms you don't use during the day to help maintain the temperature. 

 

If you've got cable and/or Netflix, you may want to cancel and get movies from RedBox or your library instead. 


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#4 of 21 Old 09-15-2011, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, guys! A few of these tips are new to me (never thought of cracking open the oven door after I turn it off in winter!). BTW, we are actually not allowed to hang-dry laundry in my housing unit, isn't that nuts?


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#5 of 21 Old 09-16-2011, 07:46 AM
 
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Rules against outside line drying are crazy, but not uncommon. If you have enough room, there are some nifty racks you can use inside to hang dry. Even using hangers on your shower rod works. 

 

I can't get over my dislike of sharing flushes, so we don't do that, but putting a couple of bricks in the toilet tank also reduces toilet water usage. Unless you already have a low-flow or dual flush toilet, then nevermind. 

 

Keep a jug of chilled water in your fridge so you don't have to run the tap to get a glass of cold water. Don't run the tap while you brush your teeth. Shorter showers (aim for 5 to 7 minutes or even less - yes it can be done) and no baths.  Use a rain barrel for lawn watering, car washing, etc. are all helpful. If you have a newer dishwasher, studies show that they use less water than handwashing dishes. I question whether that's true - we don't rinse into a separate sink with the drain open, so I suspect that we use far less water when handwashing dishes than most people. In any event, try to figure out how you can save water when dishwashing, whatever method you use. 

 

If you have lower off-peak energy usage charges, then take advantage and do energy-sucking chores during off-peak times (this is mostly laundry for us). 

 

I use a pay-as-you-go cellphone, with minutes that roll-over as long as I top up before the end of the month. It costs me $20 a month (minimum top-up allowed). It's an old phone (only 5 years old, but I know that is ancient these days), so even the phone doesn't really cost anything anymore. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#6 of 21 Old 09-17-2011, 07:21 PM
 
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We live in a high-cost-of-living area and are struggling with the same things!  I like a lot of the suggestions so far.  We aren't allowed to line dry outside, either, so we just put up lines in our bedroom.  They are on those ring screws, so we can take them down if anyone needs to be in our bedroom (but I can't remember the last time we told a houseguest -- oh, hey, look, here's where we sleep, KWIM?).  One thing we did was put all the appliances that have a power draw even when off (computers, TV, etc.) on power strips and shut them off for real when we go to bed or are out.  Wash hair only every few days (really cuts down on shower time).  You can use your wash water to flush your toilet.

 

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#7 of 21 Old 09-17-2011, 07:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ooh, Anka, can you tell me more about line-drying indoors? I have tried doing it but it just feels...yucky...maybe because I am used to line-drying stuff outdoors in the sunshine? The clothes are so stiff and they seem to get musty/moldy-smelling so quickly in the summertime, in the winter too if they are heavier.

 

Also, I feel like this is kind of a funny question, but can you guys tell me how you read your water, gas, and electric bills? For example, I feel like I don't understand the kilowatt hour breakdowns on our electric bill well enough. Or do you just look to lower the payment amount? I want to track these expenses better so I can see whether the changes I'm making are effective.

 

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#8 of 21 Old 09-18-2011, 10:12 AM
 
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I started line-drying indoors when I was in Moscow for a winter.  There's a reason that ain't tourist season!  Basically, my apt there had no washer or dryer, and while you could pay someone to take out your laundry, they usually did it by hand anyway and it wasn't cheap.  So, I asked someone what they did and they said they just put them outside to dry.  Predictibly, I wound up with jean-sickles and shirt-sickles.  Seriously, my jeans were frozen so solid you could stand them up in the middle of the living room!  It turns out if you leave them out long enough they'll dry even when they're frozen, but I didn't know that so I tossed my friend's advice and hung a line up in the cozy kitchen, where they were dry pretty quickly.  And I wasn't outside in the middle of winter hanging my clothes.

 

Since then, I've been an indoor line drying person.  They are def stiffer than if you dry them outdoors, but I haven't really had problems with mustyness.  Maybe it depends on where in the house you do it?  The kitchen is good because it's warm, and my bedroom currently works because it's pretty well ventilated.  A friend of mine tried line drying where she had her washing machine, and had some mustyness which resolved when she moved her lines to another room.

 

As far as housing, you and me both honey.  It's rape here on the east coast!  I'm thinking about moving to a more marginal neighborhood, but I'm worried about safety with the little one, KWIM?  But we would have a lot more room and maybe (gasp!) a YARD.  Oh that would be so cool.  Do you think the danger thing is overrated, or real?  I'm not talking about moving into a ghetto, but really marginal.

 

Anka


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#9 of 21 Old 09-18-2011, 05:35 PM
 
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I hang to dry inside all the time.  I have some 'over the door' hooks (found at walmart, target etc).  I just put the clothes on hangers and literally, hang them up.

12-24 hrs later they can be moved to the closet.

I still put towels, and undies in the dryer but clothes are hung up.


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#10 of 21 Old 09-18-2011, 07:28 PM
 
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You already have some good advice.

 

I agree with the line drying inside. We basically only use the dryer for sheets and towels in the winter (in the summer we line dry everything).  I have a couple of wood racks and a long pole which I keep up in my basement and we dry everything there in the winter but when I lived in a smaller house I put my laundry rack in the bathtub and dried things there. A couple of snap-snaps when they are dry and the stiffness is pretty much gone. If you really don't like it, dry them inside until almost completely dry, then put them in the dryer with a couple of dryer balls for 5 minutes on warm and they will be soft again.

 

Unplug all appliances that have lights/clocks etc - like coffee makers, microwaves etc that aren't in use. The power bars that have lights glowing on them still draw power. Phantom draws are one of the biggest energy wasters in our homes. Use your cell phone as an alarm clock and ditch the clock radio, use your laptop (on battery power) as your radio.

 

Turn down your furnace during the day  if/when you aren't home, and again when you go to bed. Close doors to rooms that don't need to be kept as warm (ie bedrooms) and use a hot water bottle to warm up your bed at night.

Use curtains and blinds to help keep your home warm (and cool). Use ceiling fans (and reverse their flow in the winter to push warm air back down).

Install a programmable thermostat if you haven't already.  

Plant shade trees on the south and west sides of your house, and evergreens on the windier sides to help longer term.

 

Make sure your lightbulbs are all energy efficient and use only what lights you need to. Don't forget to change your outdoor lights as they are often left on for long periods of time.

 

If your freezer isn't full, put jugs of water in to freeze (takes less energy to keep a full freezer cold.)

 

Be smart about cooking - only boil the kettle for what you need, rather than a full kettle every time, put lids on pans and reduce your heat, only use the size of burner you  need, use your oven for more than one thing at a time when baking (ie make a roast chicken with roast veggies and pie for dinner so you only have to put on the oven). Or bake a large batch of muffins and freeze some. Use your crockpot to make one pot meals, or to simmer soup etc without using a lot of power.

 

For water and sewage, limiting everyday use is probably your best bet. Install low flow toilets or put bricks or bags of water in your tank to limit water. Install low flow facets and shower heads. Turn down your water heater. Use "found" water for secondary uses.  I use water from our dehumidifier in our washing machine (top loader). I wash veggies in a dish pan rather than under a running tap or in a full sink and use it to water my garden/house plants.

 

Limit laundry - everyone in the house get their own towel and they get washed once a week (or less depending on how often everyone is showering.)   Outer layer clothes can get worn a few times before going through the laundry unless they get spilled on etc. Only run full loads for your washing machine and dishwasher.

hth

Karen

 


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#11 of 21 Old 09-19-2011, 08:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That makes total sense about drying clothes in cold, wintery Moscow (and therefore, pretty much anywhere) - after all, it's not like people always had dryers! I'll definitely give it a try and also the throw-them-in-the-dryer-for-5-mins trick. Does anyone have a sense of how much they end up saving this way?
 

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I'm thinking about moving to a more marginal neighborhood, but I'm worried about safety with the little one, KWIM?  But we would have a lot more room and maybe (gasp!) a YARD.  Oh that would be so cool.  Do you think the danger thing is overrated, or real?  I'm not talking about moving into a ghetto, but really marginal.


Anka, I have actually done this twice, moved to a marginal neighborhood, once before I was married and the other just after I was married - and we intended to stay there to start our family, then decided against it. In my opinion it's not worth it. In both cases I never felt I was unsafe, but I didn't feel truly safe, either. The biggest problems I had were with neighbors. In one case, I had a neighbor who routinely blocked my parking spot and was borderline threatening when I asked him to move the car. At one point the police had to get involved, and after that I decided to move. In the other case, we had upstairs neighbors who were arrested on drug charges. Until they were arrested we would wake up on weekends with pot and cigarette smoke wafting in because they were sitting on the fire escape playing the guitar and smoking. Actually those neighbors were not aggressive like the guy who blocked my parking spot, they were actually quite "nice," but... We looked at some really cute apartments that had nice yards, but the barbed wire at the top of the fences put me off. Ultimately we decided to move to the 'burbs. In some ways our quality of life went way up and in others, down. Now we're thinking of buying a small, old house in a more walkable suburb closer to the city. We'll take our time so we can live within the safe, more expensive suburb rather than the one next door that's grittier and cheaper with more houses available. I think it's worth it if you can possibly afford it. I'd rather give up a car, an extra room, etc. and stay in the safer area. OTOH, I have friends who have done just the opposite, taken a chance on a marginal neighborhood, and really like it.


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#12 of 21 Old 09-20-2011, 05:30 AM
 
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Ikea has some small racks for indoor drying and also a gadget that looks like an octopus-

 

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80189663  

 

this is great for hanging socks, undies and other small pieces.  I visited a Mennonite lady once and saw her clothesline.  It was a piece of chain link strung up on the porch.  She would hang clothes on hangers and then in the links- it kept the things separate and reduced wrinkling. 

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#13 of 21 Old 09-20-2011, 08:31 AM
 
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Be smart about cooking - only boil the kettle for what you need, rather than a full kettle every time, put lids on pans and reduce your heat, only use the size of burner you  need...


This is a good one. I'm always reminding my husband to put the lid on pots when he's got something cooking! Everything comes up to temp faster, which not only reduces energy, but helps get dinner on the table more quickly. In the same vein, you can reuse your pasta and veggie water - if you're making a broccoli pasta dish for example - blanch your broccoli, remove it with a slotted spoon, return the pot to a boil with the lid on, and then cook your pasta. Just think logically about the meal you're making and where you can double up. This is also makes less dishes to wash up afterward, which is always a plus. 


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#14 of 21 Old 09-20-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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We have a couple of wooden drying racks we keep next to the washing machine. It is even easier than line drying - it is right there and I just shake out the clothes and hang them over the rack.

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#15 of 21 Old 09-20-2011, 07:08 PM
 
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Great suggestions here.

 

I use drying racks, too. Our condo association doesn't allow line drying, but there's no rule against temporary drying racks. I just take them in if it looks like someone is doing an inspection.

 

This requires an initial expenditure of money, but a spin dryer from the Laundry Alternative has cut our drying time by about a third. It makes clothes dry faster on the drying racks, and cuts down on drying time and costs when we need to use the electric dryer.


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#16 of 21 Old 09-20-2011, 08:03 PM
 
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I live in a harsh climate.  It is around 100 for about 6 weeks in the summer (and high 80s on either side) with high humidity and in the winter we get well below zero for months.   (it seems unfair really.) and below freezing for a full six months of the year.   I am not opposed to running the AC or heat, nor am I opposed to cranking it up.  however,  we do not turn on the heat until Nov. when it is actually cold and socks and a sweater and a hat will not cut it any more (it also helps the bills if we suck it up and realize we did not go south for the winter.  we do not have enough money to run around barefoot and in shorts in the middle of winter.  We dress like it is winter even when we are inside.)  and we do not turn on the AC until it is 90 degrees.  I use fans and humidifiers all year long. (hot steam humidifiers.  The cold ones just make it unbearably cold in the house)  Also for AC I use only one window unit and we find things to do on the main floor.  Because it is a window unit I have to be intentional about turning it on and off.  It only has to cool a small portion of our house.  and it only runs a few hours a day.  Saves a ton of money over central AC.  I use the smallest one available and my main floor is about 600 sq ft.  When I was home during the day I baked one day and dried clothes another day.  Both heated my house and saved on the heating bill.  I spread it out to prevent it from getting too hot one day and still being cold the other days.  I have to use my dryer because we have a dog and a cat and that is what takes the hair off.  I miss using my line in the summer (and I still do for things it doesn't matter as much and things without much dog hair on them).

 

Speaking of clothes.  Wash your clothes well.  turn them inside out.  hand wash and line dry your hose and bras.  Store your shoes gently, fold sweaters and wash things by hand if they are prone to a short life.  This really goes for everything.  leaving things outside can wreck them (bikes, grill, toys).  Bring them in or cover them.  As a society we waste so much for want of a little TLC.  

 

As a fun little thing this summer we got rain gutter water collecting barrels and a hand washer.  almost free laundry.   http://www.cleanairgardening.com/portable-washing-machine.html  if you have the time this could save you a ton of money.  It is also very gentle on your clothes and a good work out.  we would use the soapy water more than once.

 

I live in a marginal neighborhood.  I guess since moving is not an option for us I have never given much thought to weather or not it is a wise choice.  Most of the crap avoids us since we are nto a part of it.  My car has been broken into three times now but they never get away with much.  I don't keep valubels in my car.  the first two times they took my owners manual (brilliant really.  You don't even know it is gone until you go looking for it and you don't realize how much they are until you try to buy a new one.  So you go to ebay and realize...hey this is probably one they stole from me.  i never reported either of these.)  the last time they got my GPS.  May they get lost every time they use it.   All three times I had left my doors unlocked.  Well durdy der der.  If I locked my car.... Toys get stolen all the time when we leave them out.  My kids know this and they still leave them out.   Other than that...its not as bad of a neighborhood as everyone makes out to be.  people in better neighborhoods just like to hate on it because they need to justify their mortgage payment and higher taxes. (of course I have a high tolerance for crazy people, drama and stray kids).  It is mostly just the lower income part of suburbia.  But to hear it on the news it is rife with gangs and crime. Oh, and we have the best elementary school in town.  People actually open enroll to this neighborhoods school which is new. LOL.  We also have some great parks and an active neighborhood watch, community gardens and public transit stops.   There are even some things about this neighborhood I wouldn't give up.  It is ethnically diverse, the houses are pretty, trees are big, the atmosphere is laid back, neighbors helpful, people are outside and no one judges.  My house payment is half what it would be in a slightly better neighborhood.  and so are my taxes.  

 

 

cell phones.  I would ditch your land line if you still have one.  One of you needs a phone with unlimited talk and text.  The rest of you could probably get by with tracfones.  If no one talks that much you probably all could.  My two youngest children have really nice phones (Seriously nicer than mine) with 800 minutes and a year of service.  $140.  It was an initial investment and once a year it is $100 for 800 minutes.  But it is plenty of minutes (especially if we text) and if you break it down monthly the service is about $8 a month for each kid (and the only reason we have two is we lost one and then found it).  And I think the single biggest waste of money when it comes to phones are smart phones. Do you really need to be able to update facebook from the road?  One thing I do want a smart phone for is so I can have my google calender with me.  I found out I can get an Android used for about $50 and not get service.  Just hook up in places with free wifi.  I could sync my calender daily and even go on line in place with wifi.  I was shocked by how much I could do with it without ever paying a dime.  Also if you have a kindle or nook don't overlook all the amazing things it can do.

 

If you work for a large company check into what kinds of discounts they offer.  I was shocked to find out there was an employee discount through my cell phone carrier.  After being 20 months into a two year contract I realized I qualified for a 30% discount the whole time.  That was about $15 a month.  Also gym memberships, gym equipment, and lots of other stuff I can't remember.  Oil changes i know (and lots of companies around here are willing to honor employee discounts from the competitors as well)

 

Ride your bike, walk, use your car less.  People are always surprised how little I drive.  My car is 2 1/2 years old and has just over 10,000 miles on it and that includes a big road trip.  I have a 10 gallon tank, get 21 miles per gallon and still only fill up every 2-4 weeks.  I drive to work and do most of my shopping there (I work at a huge full service grocery store.  I am in about 6 days a week).  Work is two miles from home and church is one.  I go to walmart, sams and target no more than 1 time per week (they are all right together) and they are about 3 miles from home.  I make a point to stay close to home.  I think it rarely saves money to be driving all over kingdom come to save a few cents at this grocery store or that one.  Those deals cost money in driving and time.

 

Well planned meals save so much money when I do it.  i make big batches of stuff and eat off of it for days  Soup, curry, chili.  When I was better at this I kept a couple of zip locks in the fridge and dumped out left over veggies in them.  tomato and onion butts and celery tops are good in a roast or for making soup stock.  frozen/canned/fresh steamed veggies can be good in soups and cassaroles (i tried to keep bags for specific soups and cassaroles and sometimes i just dumped everything into one.)

 

Plan for treats.  if you plan for them you are more likely to stay in your budget.  I used to own my business and we loved getting people to open an account.  Studies showed (and we found it to be true) that once people break out the credit card they will spend more.  Average 30% more.  I find it to be true in my life.  Once I am blowing off the budget I really blow off the budget.  It is better for me to plan for treats and little splurges (fancy coffee) and know how much I have to spend than wait until I break down and just don't care about the budget any more.

 

Make gifts for people.  Learn to make something fun.  I bought a $10 skein of yarn to make something a friend asked me to.  she paid for the yarn.  i have enough left over to make at least 2 or 3 nice baby gifts.  I am making mittens for my kids this Christmas.   It takes a couple of hours and cost $10 per kid.  there will be enough yarn left over for 3 or 4 more gifts for neighborhood kids.  For my mom I made her a pair of socks ($10 for yarn and another pair of socks from the scraps.  I do have an online store but they would have made a nice gift as well) and she was just over the moon.  I don't recommend making anything edible.  We have never really used these things.  But soaps and candles and tote bags and knitted stuff all gets lots of use.  One sister in law makes jewelry and the kids treasure the stuff she makes them and in the past she has made me some amazing stuff.    Another idea is making sets of cards.  Speaking of gifts, don't waste money on wrapping paper (Christmas is my exception but I always buy it on deep clearance) and cards.  use a simple hand made gift tag and opt for gift bags that can be recycled.  You can usually find these for pennies at rummage sales and goodwill (ours sells large bags of them) and at the dollar store (they are just as nice as the ones you find for $4 or $5 except they are usually $.50 to a $1)  If we include a card or send a card my kids make them.  There is lots of fun stuff online for making pop outs and doing cute decorations with scraps or with your computer.  People love a handmade card especially if your kids are behind the cuteness.    also don't overestimate what a gift time with you is.  Take a friend out for coffee instead of getting them a gift.  They do not need another trinket or clearance find any more than you do.  for $5-10 you can have a nice treat and spend some quality time together.   And you get a treat too!  Or have them over for a nice dinner or take them a meal.  I know just having a night where I don't have to cook is so nice.  Or you could offer to babysit their kids so they can go on a date or shower in peace.  both nice.

 


The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#17 of 21 Old 09-21-2011, 09:27 PM
 
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Quote:

 I visited a Mennonite lady once and saw her clothesline.  It was a piece of chain link strung up on the porch.  She would hang clothes on hangers and then in the links- it kept the things separate and reduced wrinkling. 



I love this idea... one of the problems I have is that if I get behind in my laundry, my lines fill up when I finally get to it and I have clothes hanging off the backs of chairs, etc. to get things dry.  Sounds like a chain would not run out of room nearly as fast!

 

And thanks, all, for the perspectives on marginal neighborhoods.

 

Anka


hippie.gifwife to DH, new mom to babyboy.gif 7/4/2011.  femalesling.GIF familybed1.gif BFPChart2.gif cd.gif knit.gif

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have followed me.  They have clung to me all my life." -- Abraham Lincoln. 

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#18 of 21 Old 09-23-2011, 06:20 AM
 
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These are all really great ideas. I swear by my drying racks, the problem is that I leave them in the halls and they take up a lot of space. I've though of trying to jerry-rig something to the wall so that I can tie them up when not in use and then just drop them down when I need them. Still working on that idea :)

 

We just ran into a big problem with our washer too, the spinny thing (agitator) wasn't spinning the clothes dry so they were coming out sopping wet. I was taking them all out and squeezing the excess water out by hand for weeks until finally I'd had enough. I ended up ordering a whole new one and my husband installed it himself, we saved a ton of money which was great because we couldn't have afforded to hire a repairman. The place we used was Partselect.com but there are a few other sites like them out there, I think one of them was named Easy appliance parts?! 

 

I'll do anything to save a dime :)

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#19 of 21 Old 09-23-2011, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I just used a cost calculator to see how much I'd save by line-drying and it's peanuts. It's honestly not worth the time, considering I have a bad set up for it currently. (My washer is on the second floor which is entirely carpeted, except for the bathroom which is small - wouldn't even hold a half load of laundry at a time to dry.) I'm not saying I wouldn't do it - I love the clean-ness of sun-dried laundry and money saved is money saved. But for the current effort required, it's just not worth it for me. I wonder what the big-ticket items are for our electric bill, furnace aside? We barely use the A/C (hardly ever, never set to under 80F) and I am meticulous about turning stuff off. But we are home all day and our living area is dark. It requires the lights on whenever we are in the room, which is most of the time that we spend indoors. I'm assuming that's it, plus the fridge. Sigh.


Me + DH + DS ('07) + after a long and bumpy road, thrilled that our twin boys are finally here (DS2 & DS3, '12)

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#20 of 21 Old 09-23-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JessS View Post

These are all really great ideas. I swear by my drying racks, the problem is that I leave them in the halls and they take up a lot of space. I've though of trying to jerry-rig something to the wall so that I can tie them up when not in use and then just drop them down when I need them. Still working on that idea :)


Something like this wall rack ? It's pricey, but the construction is so simple you could likely make one for much less.


Apartment Farm - the chronicles of my cooking, gardening, crafting and other such things. 

 

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#21 of 21 Old 09-23-2011, 04:03 PM
 
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Do you unplug things (or turn off a power strip) ?  How efficient is your fridge?  Does it need to be cleaned?  Is it a side by side.  Those suck.  Do you run a dehumidifier?  Those are ridiculous expensive to run.  Is your water heater electric?  Your water needs to be hot enough to do dishes.  Turning it down to this temp is safer and cheaper.  There is no need to make copious amounts of hot water only to cool it down with cold water.  are your filters on you furnace and AC clean?

 

Does your electric company do energy audits?    They may be able to tell you where your worst areas are.

 

Electricity is pretty cheap for us.  When I don't run the AC it is about $25 - $35.  When we do it about $60.  And we suck at conserving electricity.  But my stove and water heater is gas.  As is my furnace.  That's my big bill.  In the summer it is around $20 but in the winter when we use the stove and hot water and the heater and the dryer all at the same time and more frequently it is around $100.


The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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