New year resolutions - saving tips and going slow

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2011
New year resolutions - saving tips and going slow
Sun, 01-08-2012 - 4:41pm

Well, I'm here again. For some reason, I couldn't login with my old info, so I had to create a new account and start again.

I wanted to share some New Year Resolutions that may help some of you and also get ideas from your side as I'm trying to cut, cut, cut, simplify, simplify, simply, but I'm getting stuck...

These are things I'm doing differently in 2012:

  • Using cloth napkins instead of paper napkins
  • Using old towels to clean (kitchen, washrooms, etc.) instead of paper towels
  • Using free newspaper (saved everyday from the bus station) to clean after my dog (saves on bags, but is clumsy)
  • Started a compost (reduces garbage and I'll have free plant fertilizer)
  • Convinced husband to cut sports channels and to avoid so much TV
  • Monitor lights and TVs better
  • Cook "in bulk" more often to save energy and time (for example, bake bread and chicken together, etc.)
  • Started using vinegar and baking soda to clean to save on cleaners and go green
  • Will cut using three of the five credit cards. Trying to cut them all didn't work last year and we were always falling back and using them for groceries and emergencies, even with the eFund and sinking fund, as they would never have enough I'm trying to pay less (stay in the minimum for all but two cards) and use the "extra" money to save more for the sinking and eFunds...lets see if that works.

Things I want to do but can't because of lack of money:

  • Start a vegetable garden (I need seeds, tools, buying the wood and building the garden boxes and tables, as I live in a townhouse and the strata wouldn't allow me to plant directly on the ground).
  • Start bicycling more (I was using my son's bike, it's old and from Wall-mart and it broke, I need at least $300 or more to buy a good one so I can bike to the store and other places instead of driving)
  • Buy power surge protectors and smart bars so I can save on "phantom" electricity (funny, I have to invest to save)
  • Buy a inside hanger to hang my clothes inside or on the deck and save on electricity not using or reducing the use of the dryer (I can't just hang clothes outside, the strata doesn't allow me to do that and in BC, where I live, rains 80% of the year, so I need to hang them inside and use the sun when it comes out)

As you can see above, many of my "saving" strategies actually imply buying things...that will pay off in the long turn, but still...I can't buy them for at least six months! Some may be bought faster, such as the garden tools and seeds, but I'm frustrated at the slow of the path...

What I REALLY want to do is to reduce my living space and my energy use in general. I have been working for 33 years now and I can't see a retirement soon. I will probably have to work for at least 10-15 more years. The first 4 will be just to pay off our horrible debt ($86,000, it started as $90,000 last year, what means we only were able to pay off $4,000 in almost 7 months...) After that, I want to pay my mortgage, but with all the restrictions in our current house (a townhouse), I would really want to move to a detach house, a cabin or a rancher, whatever gives us more freedom and is cheaper and easier to pay off...

Does anybody have any more saving tips, no tip is small, and I'll be grateful for any new one. Thanks!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2006
Tue, 01-10-2012 - 10:12am

I'm not sure what "strata" means in your post, maybe something like a homeowner's association?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
I hang pants and blouses on coat hangers on the shower rod in the bathroom. I use a hanger that would hold fivevskirts tom fry underwear - both catching things on the hooknand laying over the bar. I dry sheets and towels and whatever else will make one load for the dryer. For food, I think the key is to be aware of the hints you normally buy and whst a good price is for it. I have a side by side freezer and that makes bulk buying easier. I also have a set of shelves that I use as a pantry. I have reached the point where I buy almost nothing that is not on sale. Last week I bought three bottles of dish washing detergent. Two cost me 50 cents, one .79. It will last me for months, and when I take out the second one, will start to look for sales again. I eat a lot of eggs - they are a cheap source of protein. I buy bagged frozen vegetables to use in soup, and I make a kettle of soup every Sunday. That gives me two or three meals plus I gift a friend who does other things for me with a container eah week. I like to have baked goods. I buy the cookie mixes that come in bag like containers. Frequently i get coupons I can use and i buy them on sale. I add spices, nuts, fruit, or chips, and I get fancy cookies for about $2.00 a dozen. I make banana bread if I end up with old bananas - I freeze them f I only ave one or don't ave time to bake right then. I am a very basic cook - I buy boneless chicken breasts on sale for $1.99 a pound, which is about a dollar for each one. I bake them in a pan lined with aluminum foil at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes I marinate them in salad dressing. Sometimes I just sprinkle with pepper. I cook a bunch on Sunday and use them for lunch in salad or cut up with vegetables and bread. If I realize I am not going to eat something, I throw it in the freezer and then plan to use it later. SJ
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Good list of changes Silviac!

I found my #1 way to cut spending was to only use cash. It made me plan a lot more and I really thought about everything I bought.

Food budget for us is just planning and eating less.
We try to eat from the freezer as much as we can and make our menu on Sunday for the week. Then on Monday at lunch I shop for the things we need (this week was oranges, sugar, paper towel, grapefruit and lettuce - that was IT! After taking back bottles - $11.71.)
We do coffee in the AM - I make DH a breakfast sandwich to go with whatever is left from the weekend - this week he will have one with bacon, one with ham, an egg on toast he re-heats at work. I do a protein shake or bar.
Lunch is yogurt or leftover soup for me, DH has sandwiches I make from leftover meats.
Dinner is from the freezer.
We are down to about an average of $50 a week for both of us and he only does lunches out once a week.
We do have a pantry and 2nd freezer that we stock up a couple times a year.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2007
That's a great list and thanks for sharing! Actually, I bought two surge protectors today because we had a power surge (even sparks) where the tv, vcr and sterio are located. I was so scared: but luckly, the surge protector saved it all. The surge protector is toast, hence I needed to replace it. I also bought one for the tv, vcr and equipment in my bedroom. Surge protectors cost $9 each, but saved me at least $1,000 today. Thank goodness I had them.

This year, most of my savings goals involve the kitchen. I am still throwing away a great deal of food because it's spoiled before we ate it. So DD and I are making a concentrated effort not to waste food, to eat when we had planned for a meal (instead of going out) and being careful about how we manage our edible assets!

I've also been working for 33 years (since I was 16) and I'm looking at another 12-15 years before I retire. There are so many people who can't afford to retire that I consider myself lucky to have any kind of retirement at all. In the meantime, I'm trying to work a retirement plan so that I'm relatively comfortable and not a burden on my DD.

I'd be grateful if anyone could share some tips on saving on the food budget.


empty purse

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Hi Silvia! I just wanted to share with you about the outside hanger. I have a rope that is strung in my laundry room and I hang my clothes on there to dry. Not the prettiest, but it works!

Bex -