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January and February – those two months right after the holidays. You know, those holidays where the majority of us spent too much money! Money for gifts, special foods for our holiday tables, ingredients for all that Christmas baking…and the list goes on. Come mid-January, any of the expenses that went onto a credit card are coming due soon.
Of course it would be best to just not spend all that money on the holidays. But so many people (us included) tend to open the wallet a lot more. Because of this, we purposely try to spend almost nothing in January or February!
So, we have been living quite “low to the ground” over the last several weeks and it is so nice to be able to do that. We’ve got heat, we’ve got food and we’ve got a list of things on the to do list. Whether we are reducing our expenses to save money or paying off debt, there is always a good reason for us to try to spend less and save more. Read on to see how to save money this month.
5 ways I am saving money this month:
Keep the woodstove stoked
We’re running the woodstove every day and most nights as well. The odd night if the weather is warm enough, we let the stove go out overnight and don’t stoke it before bed. This gives us a chance to clean out the ashes and lower box the next morning too. The ashes get sprinkled on our outside steps and walkways, saving us money on salt during the winter.
Don’t have a woodstove? Keep your heat at 68 especially at night. Too cool? Put a few layers on. Every morning at this time of year, I wear a toque while I get the woodstove cranking. A person loses a lot of their body heat out their head, so having a hat on really helps. Why do you think people use to wear stocking caps to bed? This will definitely help you save money this month!
Eat out of the Cold Room and Pantry
Food prices at the grocery store are at the highest levels of the year during the winter. Add to that all the weather related problems affecting crops still in the ground. Food prices are going to go higher yet. We’re eating 98% out of our cold room and freezer right now.
If you are not yet storing home grown and canned food, let this be the year you start. You will be amazed with lower grocery store bills and you will be eating healthier too. Plan to start a food garden this year. If you already have a garden, think about enlarging it this year to be able to store more food. Do it!
Declutter and make some money
I have been forcing myself to spend time on Ebay. We still have lots of boxes downstairs full of stuff. Stuff we don’t need. It’s taking up a lot of room, so I am committed to getting things listed and gone. It’s putting a few dollars in the jeans which I can turn around and donate to local causes.
How much “stuff” do you have laying around? Think again about whether you need it or not. No? Then sell it on Craigslist or Ebay. Put the money towards whatever you are saving for.
Stop using the dryer
We have a three story house and the woodstove is on the main floor. I bought a couple of these folding drying racks and I set them up when I need them.
I put them out of the way in our upstairs bedroom loft. The heat from the woodstove dries the clothes for free.
I’ve also unplugged one of our freezers. After harvest time (of food and animals) we do need to run two freezers. I keep an eye on when I can combine the contents into one, so I can unplug the other one. This saves on our electric bill – you can check appliance costs per year here. Making sure your freezers are full (and you aren’t running two half empty freezers) will definitely help save money this month.
This is a huge money saver for us. We live 20 minutes from the corner store and post office, so fuel costs and wear on vehicles become major savings for us. Even if you live in town, simply staying home more saves a lot of money. Unless you are the type of person who can go to town and not spend a single cent. I know I’m not that woman!
We’re doing grocery shopping every couple of weeks, travelling 40 minutes one way to do it. The bill is really low, but we do need things like coffee, sugar, milk. We combine it with a trip to the library (give me two books a week to read and I am a happy girl) and pick up whatever other supplies we need. Sometimes we enjoy a nice lunch in town, because treating ourselves is important too.
And here is our homemade granola – another big money saver as we love granola for breakfast! Want the recipe?
How do you save money? How do you reduce your monthly expenses?
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