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Thrifty Strategies Around Home Using Mighty Minnies

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Using old-fashioned awareness is a great and thrifty way to get more mileage from your money.  That is not about BUYING more stuff but rather by getting products and services you normally use with less money.  You just need to think outside of the box.

I always pick my Mother’s brain about tips she used as a child.  She is a wealth of information about zillions of thrifty tips.  She bought the book Depression Era Wisdom: Simple Ways to Stretch Your Dollars so I could refer to it.  What surprised me is that book includes many things we did when I was young.  I still use many of those thrifty tips to this day!

Mighty Minnies

My favorite thrifty tips and tricks are what I refer to as Mighty Minnies.  They are itsy bitsy tricks that that take next to no time at all.  They might only save pennies; however, they take literally SECONDS to do.  Those pennies add up.  One thing I say repeatedly throughout my website is to always put your savings into an interest-bearing savings account.  By doing that, you can literally watch your savings accumulate.  I also like to put as many things on “autopilot” as possible.  I set up the process the first time, then schedule recurring task reminders with links inside those task reminders.  If the tasks are not done via the internet, I enter the entire process, step-by-step inside the recurring reminders.  I use auto-pay for regular bills and create recurring task reminders to enter the info into my budget.  I click on the different links the 1st day of each month to upload the eCoupons that I will use.

Examples of some of the Mighty Minnies I regularly are below.  They really do take only SECONDS to do.  I save over $200 each year simply by doing things in a different way.  Before you say that is ONLY $200 each year, keep in mind that these steps (and others) only take SECONDS to do:

Don’t laugh at me about the toilet tissue tip.  If you travel and stay in ANY hotel/motel, think about how the toilet tissue is always positioned.  The toilet tissue is ALWAYS dispensed over the top rather than from under the bottom.  Every single hotel, motel, resort, etc. does the same thing.  Why is that?  If dispensed from the bottom, one additional sheet of toilet tissue is used.  By using the example of a 50-room hotel with 2 people staying in each room 365 days/year, that hotel will save approximately $54.75/year or more.  All by the way toilet tissue is inserted into the dispensers!  I do not go through anywhere near that much toilet paper each year as any hotel.  From my perspective, even if I save 1/20th of that amount, it is a win/win situation.  It does not take any more time to insert the toilet tissue roll into the dispenser right side up or upside down.

More Tips

Another Mighty Minnie is simply changing the shape of a microwave container from square or rectangular to round.  Or, salting the food after removing it from the microwave rather than before.  Neither take any more time at all.  Both save pennies.  How many times do you heat things in your microwave?

If you have pets, you know that dog toys and treats are ridiculously expensive.  Manufacturers know that pet people will happily spend amazing amounts of money for toys and treats to give to their fur babies. I started getting my dogs’ toys in the kids’ toy section because they were cheaper.  Another trick is that every dog I have ever had always loved to hear things rattle.  I tied a piece of yarn to an empty water bottle into which I had put popcorn kernels.  My dogs SHOOK the heck out of those bottles!  When those bottles had been completely demolished, I simply put more popcorn kernels in another empty plastic bottle.  One of my son’s dogs LOVES empty plastic bottles.  Just empty bottles with nothing in them.  His dog actually LOOKS happy.  He crunches on the empty water bottle and then jumps up and down. Entertainment simply by reusing empty plastic bottles that would have been trashed anyway!    My dog was trained in agility when she was young.  Her trainers used regular dog kibble as treats.  The trainers explained that it was not the treats that she loved.  It is how excited we got when she did something correctly.

A thrifty tip to increase your savings starts by looking at what items in your house use the most electricity. Those are the items you should tackle first because you will see the biggest savings.  I wrote an article titled Cut Your Air Conditioning Bill.  Because I am happiest when I have proof that something REALLY works, I included charts from Delmarva.  Those charts proved that I really did cut my summer A/C bill in half.  How did I do that?  No, I did not go without air conditioning!  I simply used 2 techniques that my Mother did when she was young.  I bought one box fan and 3 oscillating fans.  During the early morning hours, I put the box fan outside my balcony door and blew the cool air into my home.  In late mornings, I brought the fan inside and lowered the temperature to use my A/C.  At night when temperatures were cooler, I moved the fan back outside, blowing inside again and raised the temperature.  I also put the oscillating fans in rooms where family members were located, even when my A/C was working.  The oscillating fans moved the air about, causing everyone to feel cooler.  By doing that, I was able to raise the temperature so that the A/C unit was not constantly running.  It still remained cool inside.  The other tip was to install plain white backing behind all of my curtains (you only saw it from outside).  Then, about mid-morning before the sun got hot, I closed my curtains.  In the evening hours after the sun had set, I re-opened the curtains.  The white backing reflected the sunlight away from the curtains.  After installing that backing, I could no longer stand by the curtains and feel heat radiating from the curtains.  For every degree that you raise the temperature, you will save approximately 6 percent.  Once again, that savings may be only a few dollars; however, that savings adds up.

I also signed up with Delmarva to be notified when they offered “off-peak” discounts.  They sent text messages to let me know the days and hours the discounts would be in effect.  I simply used my dishwasher, washer & dryer, and oven either the previous or following day, before or after those hours, etc.  It was not a huge imposition.  They showed the kWh I saved and applied that savings to my next bill.

Furniture Location

One common habit that many people have is putting their freezer or extra refrigerator in the garage.  If you live in an area that is always cold, that will not be an issue.  However, if your summers get hot, those appliances must work harder to keep things cool or frozen.  Same with furniture that is inside.  Keep furniture that generates heat (televisions, lamps, etc.) away from your thermostat.  Why?  Because it will cause the A/C to think it is warmer than it really is and your A/C will run more.

My aunt and uncle lived in Delaware in a house that my uncle built.  He installed a whole-house fan in their attic.  They could turn off the A/C in the mornings, turn on that fan, and their house usually stayed cool.  They would turn the fan off in the middle of the day and lower the temperature.

Set a recurring task reminder to remember to vacuum the coils in the back of all appliances.  As with air conditioner or heater filters, if they are clogged with dust, that causes the appliances to work harder.  That relates directly to savings.  When appliances can work at peak performance, they will also last longer.

Continuing with appliances (they make up a large portion of your electricity bill), where you keep foods in your refrigerator will make a difference.  In an article I wrote: Start the New Year  with a Clean Fridge, I explain what areas of a refrigerator are the best for items such as dairy products (that need to be kept really cold).  Items such as condiments can be kept in the door.  The refrigerator door opens and closes frequently.  When that happens, warm air from the room will enter the fridge.

The first appliances that I bought when I moved to Florida were 2 dehumidifiers.  I did the research to know what size dehumidifiers I needed for the square footage of my home.  When you live in a high humidity area the perspiration on your body is unable to evaporate.  When perspiration evaporates, you feel cooler.  Florida is one of the 2 states in the USA that have the highest humidity.  Texas is the other state.  I am located in southwest Florida, which is a subtropical location.  Subtropics mean extremely high humidity.  By using the dehumidifiers, I was instantly able to turn up the temperature inside and still feel cool.

My last tip regarding appliances is to ALWAYS clean the lint filter on your dryer.  Do this every single time you dry a load of clothes.  Rather than throwing the lint away, put it in a plastic bag that you hang near the dryer.  Why?  That lint is so dry that it will INSTANTLY ignite if you use a fireplace indoors or a firepit outdoors.

Hang wrinkled clothing in the bathroom.  The steam from showers will automatically remove the wrinkles.  This method is just another thrifty method to save money.  The steam will already be in the bathroom.  Irons only work with electricity.

 

 

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