Best small hack to improve life/bills?

Saving & investing, frugality & simple living. They're all part of the wealth equation.
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bennjen
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Postby bennjen » Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:29 am

A frugal friend of ours shared some tips with us. One of which I immediately dismissed but month after month of over $100 water bills (no trash or sewer on there, just water) I got frustrated and tried it. When taking showers, we use the water long enuf to get wet, turn it off, lather up head to toe (including hair), then turn the water back on. Basically, the shower is only on for about 5 minutes for a 15 minute shower. We did it religiously for 2 weeks (my wife and I). We just got our first water bill and it dropped over $25!! I was shocked at the difference. We are used to it now, even though it sucked doing it like that the first few days! I can't wait to get the bill next month!

sandycheeks
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Postby sandycheeks » Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:31 am

just an FYI: the water bottle in toilet tank trick can interfere with flushing. It doesn't work with all tanks.

My favorite trick is to compost. I don't mean anything involved or fancy. I just put kitchen scraps in empty coffee cans until I get around to putting it in my outdoor bin. The bin is small, just an empty drywall bucket with holes drilld n both the lid and the bottom. I add the scraps, replace the lid and kick it around the yard a bit to get it to roll to mix up the contents. Come springtime I have compost to add to my beds, and I have reduced trash (particularly beneficial if you pay per bag)

JPeteQ
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Postby JPeteQ » Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:05 am

One of my favorite money hacks is to cut down on your driving as much as possible. I know in some cities that isn't totally feasable, but you can carpool with friends to get groceries (and some much needed social time) or run errands together and carpool. It requires a little planning, but if you only run errands every other week, you'll save some money in gas.

If it's feasable get a couple of racks for your bike and use your bike for smaller errands. You'll save money and get exercise!
Last edited by JPeteQ on Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lostmind
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Postby lostmind » Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:28 pm

A tiny tip, but I think it's worthwhile...

I make a pot of coffee and pour my first cup and pour the rest into a thermos. Unplug the coffee maker. I have hot coffee all day long (depending on your thermos, it could still be warm enough the next morning to drink) and it tastes a lot better then in the pot being constantly heated and reheated.

sandycheeks
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Postby sandycheeks » Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:56 pm

lostmind wrote:A tiny tip, but I think it's worthwhile...

I make a pot of coffee and pour my first cup and pour the rest into a thermos. Unplug the coffee maker. I have hot coffee all day long (depending on your thermos, it could still be warm enough the next morning to drink) and it tastes a lot better then in the pot being constantly heated and reheated.


Any leftovers , dump it on your plants. It works as a fertilizer. Same for the used coffee grounds.

cswiii
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Postby cswiii » Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:05 pm

Switch to Linux to save you time and $$$ when one takes into consideration productivity lost due to viruses, malware, etc. In any case, made my life a lot better. Then again, I switched over about ten years ago.

I use Fedora myself, but Ubuntu is rapidly becoming popular for people making the move over to the OS, and for good reason -- it's really turned into quite a user-friendly desktop distribution.

Fedora: http://fedoraproject.org/
Ubuntu: http://www.ubuntu.com/

lostmind
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Postby lostmind » Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:28 pm

Thanks Sandy.

This is my first year gardening at all, so I am just figuring out what to compost etc.

cswii

Linux still isn't for everyone. However, it is definitely becoming easier and easier to use. I have my father (late 50's and a bit un-computer) using ubuntu for over a year without issues. He's on vista now due to buying a new pc and getting the OS for free.

will0957
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Postby will0957 » Sun Apr 22, 2007 2:38 pm

I'm a happy Ubuntu Feisty Fawn user :)

sandycheeks
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Postby sandycheeks » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:27 pm

lostmind wrote:Thanks Sandy.

This is my first year gardening at all, so I am just figuring out what to compost etc.



stuff from inside your home: any plant based kitchen scraps, newspaper (not the shiny color ads), dryer lint. Meat and bones attract rodents so it's recommended not to compost those.

KiwiHopeful
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Postby KiwiHopeful » Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:50 pm

sandycheeks wrote:just an FYI: the water bottle in toilet tank trick can interfere with flushing. It doesn't work with all tanks.


A brick works well, too, and you don't have to worry about it moving around in there!

A couple of my favorite tips:

Let's face it, we can't all drink just water all the time! So, I drink a lot of herbal ice tea rather than soda. 2-3 tea bags cost pennies and make about a quart of iced tea!

Take those free pens you get in hotels, at conferences, etc. I'm a teacher and I cannot believe how many of my colleagues will leave literally dozens of pens on the tables at a conference!

I also save scrap paper for my kids to color on ... they don't care what's on the other side!

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jdroth
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Postby jdroth » Sun Apr 22, 2007 5:38 pm

You guys realize, of course, that I'm going to mine this thread for money hacks once the Saving and Investing series is done, right? :)

(I'll be sure to credit each person from whom I take a hack...)

Drew2u
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Postby Drew2u » Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:15 pm

cswiii wrote:Switch to Linux to save you time and $$$ when one takes into consideration productivity lost due to viruses, malware, etc. In any case, made my life a lot better. Then again, I switched over about ten years ago.


Linux can increase the average lifespan of a computer by 3-5 years due to the fact that Linux does not demand cutting edge hardware to run smoothly.

nickel
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Postby nickel » Mon Apr 23, 2007 5:27 am

KiwiHopeful wrote:
sandycheeks wrote:just an FYI: the water bottle in toilet tank trick can interfere with flushing. It doesn't work with all tanks.


A brick works well, too, and you don't have to worry about it moving around in there!


Actually, bricks can disintegrate and the resulting sand/grit can wreak havoc on your plumbing. Best to use a bottle or jug of some sort.

sandycheeks
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Postby sandycheeks » Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:53 am

Another plug for gardening/composting... It offers a wealth of 'teachable moments' if you do it as a family activity. Children can learn some science, cause /effect, patience, do something physical, and you save money by doing an at-home project rather than pay for expensive kids activities led by a stranger. Not to mention that the fruits of your labor (ha ha) result in a lower produce bill.

It's an all around good activity for able bodied people.

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benbr
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Postby benbr » Mon Apr 23, 2007 8:51 am

oeolycus wrote:Those are your basics, but one people may forget is Hibernate (the computer).

A computer on 24/7 can take a ton of power. Especially if you have a 800W PSU for your uber-ober-fragging. You know who you are...


I've taking this a bit farther and turning off the power strip the computer is plugged into at night. That also has my external hard drive and Wireless hub plugged into it. The wireless will be blowing through electricity all night other wise, and we don't need it when we're sleeping. It all starts right up quickly in the morning. I also have my printer hooked to another wireless device and and they have their own surge protector which is off unless we need it. WHy have wireless printing always on burning up fossil fuels (and upping my electricity bill).


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