Friday, September 5, 2008

Cutting back and reducing expenses

My family lives very simply, a choice that lets me stay home with the kids. That choice makes it necessary for us to examine the budget from time to time and make adjustments where necessary.

The last budget examination was a very thorough one and yielded some small but significant ways we can cut back and ways we can reduce our expenses. My husband saw several ways we can cut out expenses. I saw a number of ways we can reduce the cost of things we can't cut out.

The thermostat was one of the things I saw that could be adjusted for savings. That has worked out well. In the days to come I'll be telling you about some more ways we're working on reducing our expenses. One of the things I'm doing is trying homemade cleaners! More on that later.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Freebie mail call!

I've gotten some great free samples in the mail lately. I'll list them here and include links for the ones that are still available.

Nature Made vitamins 14-day supply

Benefiber packet

Kotex sample pack

Oatmeal Crisp cereal

And today's prize ... a full roll of Scott toilet paper! Unfortunately this one is not available any more.

All of these came in about two weeks or so after my request. I have a bunch more I'm waiting on so I hope they come soon!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Great places to find free samples!

Who doesn't love free samples? There are a lot of places on the Internet to find them, but unfortunately many of them aren't really free. Here's a list of my favorite places to find free samples! (Go to "in stores now" and click on "free samples")
(the freebie board) (you register for a free account) (the freebie folder on the message board; I am a moderator at this board and place individual links to most of the samples I request here)

Where are your favorite places to find great free samples?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Frugal inspiration

Want some inspiration for some new ways to be frugal? Try Frugal Inspiration!

This new board-style site has more ways than you ever thought of to be frugal. The freebie section is the best I've ever seen with all the free samples categorized by type (babies, laundry, food, etc.).

Hope to see you there!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The thermostat

The thermostat. *sigh*

With temperatures from 90-100 a good many days this summer, our electric bill has been in a word, awful.

I am the Thermostat Controller in the house, and I have been for 12 years. (That would be since we got married.) We have been keeping the temperature setting on 73 since the first pregnancy almost 10 years ago. I don't want to be hot and frankly, no one wants me to be hot.

But we've also got some financial issues, as many families do, and we went through the budget dollar for dollar a few weeks ago. I came to the conclusion, as the Thermostat Controller of course, that something had to be done with the electric bill. So, with much trepidation, I bumped the thermostat up to 74 and held my breath, waiting to die.

It didn't happen! Whoohoo! I survived! Now I got a bit more brave. I put it up on *gasp* 75. Again I waited to die, but not expecting it as much as I had the last time I changed the thermostat.

Again, I lived.

Right after that, the electric bill arrived. *gulp* I marched straight in the house and bumped it up to 76. Then a day or so later, having gotten over my anxiety and fright over changing the thermostat, I pushed it up two whole degrees, to 78.

The change from 73 to 78 took a bit over a week but not quite two weeks. Surprisingly, everyone adjusted quite well. They were always a tad chilly with the temp set on 73 anyway.

I figured it would be cheaper to spot cool the areas where we (I, really) were instead of trying to keep the entire house cool.

With the thermostat up a whole five degrees and a few other changes implemented (turning off all lights when not in use, not even turning them on if it could be avoided, turning off and unplugging electronics and appliances not in use), I awaited the next electric bill with mixed emotions. I wanted to see what my efforts had done, but dreaded it not making a difference.

It finally came, and it was lower than the month before, about $60 lower! Success! The bill was still much higher than I would have liked, but I could see my hard work had paid off.

The thermostat has remained on 78; on occasion I get a bit hot and put it down on 77 or even 76, but it has not seen 75 or below in a while.

The Thermostat Controller is winning!


Being a mom of three (usually five counting my two nieces) kids I'm always on the lookout for ways to save (and make) money. This is where I will write about all my findings, adventures, and bumps along the way to saving and making money.

Happy money saving and earning!