What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Frugal Living

We live a fairly frugal lifestyle revolving around family and friends.  Most of our meals are homemade from scratch.  I garden as well as freeze and can the bounty of the harvest.  We watch every kWh trying to get our hydro consumption as low as possible with a goal of getting completely off the grid.  We buy what we need while avoiding conspicuous consumption.  Don't get me wrong as we do buy things we want but those things tend to be utilitarian to help us in our goal towards a frugal lifestyle.  Even then our philosophy has been used is better than new. 

This time of year I tend to go through all of our utility and those types of bills to see what can be cut.  I fail to see the logic of paying for something we aren't using or seldom use.  What often happens with television, internet, and cell phone service is new packages become available that may be cheaper than your old package so it pays to check this out from time to time.  At the same time this is a good time to reconsider other expenses.  Here's how we faired out from this year's reassessment with net savings for this year in green:

  • lawn service - We have been paying $650 per year for lawn service, cutting and raking only.  It is extremely convenient when we are away alot yet our lawn always looks well kept.  This year my husband decided to buy a lawnmower to go back to DIY.  We have enough family in the area that will stop by to cut the lawn if we are away so we aren't giving up anything that way.  The lawnmower cost a total of $310.37 which will give a payback period of 3 months and a net savings of $339.63 for this year.  Next year will be a savings of $650 and each year there after since the lawnmower paid for itself the first year.
  • satellite television - In rural Canada if you want television you basically have to sign up satellite television.  When you do this the equipment can be rental or purchased.  The benefits to renting is not having to put out a large initial outlay of cash but the negative is you pay rent on that equipment each month.  We have been paying rent on 5 satellite receivers at a cots of $26 per month.  We just purchased used receivers to replace 4 of them and bought an additional PVR receiver for the main television with a 25% discount.  The net savings is $26 ($312 per year) with a pay back period of 18 months.  We did not change any of our programming.
  • cell phones - We each have a cell phone something that is quite important when we are both on the road.  However I'm home a lot so seldom use my cell phone but don't want to terminate it as it is good for emergency back-up and when I am on the road.  We were paying about $132 per month for the two cell phones including additional charges.  With a bit of juggling we managed to get the charges down to $73 per month by switching my phone to vacation use ($15 + taxes, 40 minutes per month) for a net savings of $59 per month or $708 per year.

Garden Gnome