Frugal laundry tip – towels

Almost everything you do costs money. But there is almost always a way to save money. Here are ways to save money with your towels.

A while back, I wrote about how to save money, time and the environment by washing pajamas more rationally. You can read the article here.

Today, I am going to save you even more money on laundry through the magic of simple mathematics. I know, you thought that graduating high school meant never having to do math again, but I will walk you though it step by step. [Read more…]

Quirky ways to save money on your car

I am sure you have heard all the “usual” ways to save money on your car.  Lets’ breeze through them quickly to refresh your memory…

  • Shop around before buying.
  • Buy a smaller car.
  • Check insurance costs before deciding what to buy.
  • Shop around for insurance.
  • Pay cash rather than a car loan.
  • Drive slowly to conserve gas.
  • Keep your car well-maintained.
  • Keep the trunk empty to save gas.
  • Keep tires inflated.
  • Don’t idle.
  • Car pool.
  • Combine errands.

Did I miss any?  Probably a few.  All great advice, of course.  But these “usual” ways to save money on your vehicle are fairly > yawn < boring.  How about some fresh, quirky, exciting ways to save big bucks on your vehicle or with your vehicle?

Let’s start with something tame.  Turn the air conditioning on at high speeds.  Why?  Because the wind drag gets more as your speed gets higher.  And wind drag can really eat up fuel.  So on the highway, keep the windows closed and the air conditioning on.

But in the city, roll down the windows and turn off the air conditioning.  Why?  Air conditioning does use up energy, and lowered windows do not use up energy at low speeds.

So you can save money at high speeds one way, and save money at low speeds another way.

OK, ready for something just a little more quirky?

Don’t buy a red car.  Yes, police officers are racist when it comes to cars – even if they don’t think they are.  Research has shown that police are more likely to give a speeding ticket to the driver of a red car than to drivers of other cars going the same speed.  No – wait!  It turns out police like red cars; they hate grey cars.  It’s all psychological of course – all except the ticket you have to pay.

Walk.  Or bike.  Or skateboard.  OK, that’s not too quirky, but keep in mind that if you walk most places or take the bus and you own a car, you should drive it at least once a week.  That keeps all the moving parts under the hood well-lubricated.  Sometimes when you don’t drive a car for a few weeks, things stick.  Sometimes very badly.  Sometimes costing a lot.

But wait!   A car is a costly beast to maintain.  If you typically don’t drive it more than once every two weeks, maybe you could save money by joining a car-sharing program or even just renting a vehicle when you want to travel outside of your usual haunts.

Here is one that is a little off the wall and surely not one that we can recommend.  Call in sick more often.  Every time you stay home instead of driving to work, you save on gas, wear-and-tear and mileage on your vehicle.  If you call in sick an extra five times a year, you could save a few hundred dollars. A job is supposed to earn you money, but in fact you lose money by going in to work when you could stay home with the Activated Recessive Influenza (or whatever disease you invent).

OK, last one.  Live in your car.  This is, of course, pretty extreme.  But what about just temporarily, using your car as a hotel?  Friends of mine actually did this.  They travelled to Costa Rica and instead of having to search for a place to stay each night, they rented an SUV that could accommodate them at night.  They paid less for the car rental than they would have paid for a combined smaller car rental and accommodations, plus they spent more time enjoying the countryside and less time arranging accommodations.

All it takes to save money on your car is some discipline and the willpower to be quirky.  Do you have what it takes?


Five Animals Teach Us Less-wasteful Dining Habits

Feeling frugal?  Wondering how to save some money and time, while still eating healthy and helping the environment?  Here are five animals showing us ways to eat less wastefully, saving time and money, while helping our health and the environment.

The Fox
Saves: money, environment, health
Lesson: Buy direct from the source

By the time you buy a dozen eggs at the grocery store, they have been through several hands…and at least two weeks of handling, often three.  By the time you finish that last egg, it might already be four weeks old.  Not very fresh.

The fox goes straight to the source – the henhouse.  No middlemen adding extra prices.  No back-and-forth-between-between-companies transportation adding extra pollution.  No warehouse lay-overs reducing freshness.  In many cases, no (or less) chemicals and hormones polluting your meal.

Pretty foxy strategy.

The Giraffe
Saves: money
Lesson: Check for cheaper items

Stores always place in front of your face the items that yield the biggest profits.  These are the very things that a frugal-minded person least wants to be coaxed into buying.

The giraffe looks for less-obvious alternatives.  His long neck reaches for higher leaves and items tucked out of sight on the top shelves.

Always stretch your neck a little to see if you can find a less-costly option.

The Bear
Saves: money, time, environment
Lesson: Buy in bulk

Many people buy the same items week after week.  This makes sense for milk and eggs; they would spoil if you buy them months in advance.  But for many things, it makes no sense to make hundreds of trips to buy the same thing.

The bear shops bulk.  He doesn’t flit from flower to flower to collect honey; he waits for the bees to gather the nectar and churn out huge quantity of honey.  This way, the bear needs go only once to collect a huge amount of honey all at once.  When we do this, the item usually costs less, and we save time, money and pollution by reducing transportation.

Yeah – let someone else do the work.

READ ALSO: Three animals search high and low for a deal

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The Spider
Saves: money, time, environment, health
Lesson: Eat in

People seem to be eating out more and more.  But restaurant food is usually much more fat-laden, sugar-stuffed and salt-infused than food made at home.  It also costs much more.  And it often takes longer to eat, when you consider transportation time, preparation and the inevitable waiting-for-the-bill ritual.

The spider never eats out.  He waits for food to come to him, prepares it and devours it on the spot.  He saves time, money and the risk of getting squished by a boot.

Eat in and enjoy the privacy and the savings.

The Squirrel
Saves: money, time
Lesson:Buy when there’s a surplus

We buy things all year ’round, even things that could last quite a while. Apples and squashes are plentiful and cheap in the Fall, but keep well in a cool corner of the basement or garage for months.  Some items are overstocked after Christmas.  These are the times to buy.

The squirrel does most of his shopping when the nuts are plentiful, then stores them away to eat over the course of the winter.  This saves a lot of time that otherwise would be spent running around looking for food.

Why run from store to store, when the store can be right at home?