The word frugal is derived from the Latin frugalis, which means value and virtue in thrift. A frugal mindset helps us decide how, when, and why to spend or save our money. Practicing frugality doesn’t mean giving up the things we really like or must have, though. Here are some easy-to-do tips for saving money on household expenses in 2023.
Lawn care savings
Save money on lawn fertilizers, and time spent raking, by mulching the clippings. Mulching provides a high quality fertilizer that breaks down slowly. That’s just the kind of green nitrogen a lawn needs to stay healthy all summer. If you don’t have a mulch attachment on your mower, a side-throw mower will work well. Simply keep the chute facing the same direction by walking forward in one direction and then ‘towing’ the mower in the other. With each overlapping pass, the clippings will be further pulverized and eventually settle into the turf. Water the freshly cut lawn to encourage clippings to regenerate as clones, creating a thicker and more weed resistant lawn.
Make your own cleaners
It’s easy to make effective cleaners with a pleasant scent for a fraction of the cost for national brands. Five simple ingredients will clean just about anything: bleach, vinegar, dish soap, baking soda, and oxygen bleach. Just one tablespoon of bleach in a litre of water will degrease, disinfect, and deodorize. Vinegar smells strong at first, but after a minute, surfaces cleaned with this natural disinfectant become odourless. Use dish soap as a surfactant in any homemade cleaning solution as a surfactant. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oils for a truly unique just-cleaned scent.
Simply turning down the water heater to meet daily needs can save 5% or more on energy costs each year. Ideally, the hot water temperature should feel slightly too hot from the faucet. Consult your owners manual if you’re not sure how to adjust the temperature of a gas or electric heater. Adjust, test, and repeat until you have enough water for the household at the lowest setting.
Did you know that the heated drying cycle on a dishwasher can increase the annual cost of electricity by 15%? Depending on the cost of electricity in your area, that could be $25 or more per year.
LED lights everywhere
Energy efficient LED bulbs are the standard for household lighting although tungsten bulb technology from the 1800’s may still be lurking in your home. These hot, inefficient bulbs are found in bathroom fan fixtures, overhead garage lights, range hoods, and as halogen spot lights. A typical halogen spot light may be rated for 75 watts so 10 of these in one room is a whopping 750 watts just for ambient lighting. Compare with LED versions that are just 7 watts each.
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