Bail Yourself Out

by Katy on September 30, 2008 · 5 comments

With the U.S. economy front and center in the news, many of us are worried about their own expenses.

“How will I get through this current economy?”

Control the expenses you can and minimize consumption of that which you can’t.

Here’s a few strategies to employ in your home:

Cut electricity usage in the home. Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Prices have never been lower, and the savings are significant once they’re installed. Plug all home electronics into surge protectors. Turn off when not in use, and you won’t be paying to keep all those little vampire lights on. Use a clothesline. Train your family to turn off lights.

Minimize driving. Batch errands instead of driving many small trips. By doing this, I have a few days a week where I don’t drive at all. I also try to ride my bike for trips that are just a mile or two.

Cook from scratch. You don’t have to be a master chef to cook dinners from scratch. With online recipe sites such as, fixing a meal is as simple as typing in what you want to cook and then choosing a highly rated recipe that fits the ingredients you have on hand. 

Bring school/work lunches from home. The amount of money you can save by brown bagging it is significant. This option is especially great for those with access to a microwave.

Eat your leftovers. The amount of food wasted is ridiculous. By making sure to plan meals that incorporate leftovers, you can save a huge amount of cash.

Be minimal with gift giving. There’s still time between now and the holidays to talk to family about this issue. If you’re worried about paying for holiday gifts this year, chances are you’re not the only one. It’s okay to not spend a bundle in December.

Sell unused household items for extra money. The free online classifieds site makes this one easy, easy, easy. Outgrown children’s toys, furniture, clothing, books. Really just about anything you think might sell, will. I sold a bunch of extra stuff a few years back and netted around a thousand bucks. With pretty much zero effort. My kids sold old toys and each made a few hundred dollars. 

Take a close look at your set monthly expenses. I thought I was paying as little as possible for my household bills, but was still able to shave off thousands per year. I have a cell phone with free long distance so I dropped that from our land line. We checked in with our insurance agent who found a discount we qualified for but hadn’t been getting. I got a credit card company to lower the interest rate by simply asking. We went to a smaller garbage can. We cancelled Netflix. None of these changes took any sacrifice, yet save us big time every month.

All of these money saving strategies are super easy and can shave a huge amount from your living expenses.

You may not be able to control the cost of groceries or gasoline, but you can control how you consume them.

What changes are you employing to cut costs? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

twofish4 September 30, 2008 at 8:03 am

Hello fellow compactor! I was thrilled to stuble on your site. Like-minded mammas are few and far between.
Check me out sometime, I blog about similiar stuff.


Kristen September 30, 2008 at 1:17 pm

Great minds think alike…I posted something similar on my blog today! lol

I don’t have a lot of new changes to make…we’re just about as bare bones as you can get at the moment, but the financial crisis has freshly inspired me to keep soldiering on.


Wabee September 30, 2008 at 3:47 pm

Love your post title. Some sound advice, though the gift giving part is soooo hard. I can be frugal with myself, but cutting back on gifts makes me feel like Scrooge.


Andy September 30, 2008 at 5:25 pm

I keep track of every expense, and put it on a monthly graph. That alone makes me hyperconscious of any spending habits, and which areas were more/less expensive each month.

I don’t own a car. I commute everywhere by bike which has included trips up to 100 miles.

I buy local food in bulk, and volunteer on a farm in exchange for food. I just brought home 30 pounds of tomatoes this week and froze them for winter soups.

I don’t have a TV, a landline, or my own internet connection. I looked up the costs of internet here and it was $45/mo plus tax only AFTER installing cable tv at the same price. I’m guessing that comes to around $120/mo after tax which I decided I don’t need. The slow wireless and radio are fine by me.

Even though I don’t make loads of money, I can put away 50% each month in savings, which is currently a high yielding CD account, which I believe is a safe way to save money.

Oh, and I don’t buy anything. The only things I have bought in the last year include a few kitchen items (knife, cutting board), and bike gear since I don’t own a car and bike-commute yearround in upstate NY


Linda October 1, 2008 at 8:15 am

I’m trying to train the kids to turn the lights off when they leave a room – it has surprised me how incredibly difficult this is since I’ve really started paying attention! We’ve also been changing bulbs (as they burn out) to the compact bulbs. I’ve got a plot at the community garden & have been finding every available strip of ground around the house for planting veggies & herbs. Using grass clippings & kitchen scraps for compost for the garden (no need to buy fertilizers & such!). Bought a soaker hose for the lawn. I have always hung most of my laundry ( but the few things I do use the dryer for I only do after 8pm. We’ll be installing a tankless water heater in the next month to save not only on the water wasted waiting for the hot water to arrive at the faucet but the energy used keeping a large amount of water heated. We are also trying to reduce our amout of “stuff” & make some extra cash via craigslist & yard sales.


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