Lower Your Utility Expenses

These are some things that our family has done over the years:
  • keep the heat between 58*-62* during the day (65* is still living in luxury)
  • used oil-filled electric space heater in living room and kitchen to lower our need for heat from the expensive oil furnace.
  • bought and installed a wood stove on the first floor
  • don't heat the upstairs bedrooms, but let the heat rise from the first floor (have a family slumber party in the living room on really cold nights)
  • take very short showers
  • canceled garbage service and drive our own garbage to the dump
  • use the cheapest phone service offered and use a calling card for long distance
  • put clear plastic on the inside of all the windows (this made a huge difference for us)
  • prop open the dishwasher to let the dishes drip dry
  • instead of using a dryer - hung wet clothes (on hangers) on the shower rod to dry
  • use 40 watt light bulbs and only one light per room
  • lived in an apartment on the middle floor (the bottom and top floors pay more to heat)
  • block all drafty cracks with towels or toilet paper
  • wear long sleeves and fleece sweaters at home, watch TV with a blanket
  • use microwave much more often than the oven
  • bake 2 casseroles in the oven at one time (save one and microwave it another day)
  • during summer, use the ceiling fans over the beds instead of AC
  • make sure that everything is well insulated (I've read that some people even put 3M insulation right up against their glass windows.)
  • hang blankets over unused doors
  • canceled cable TV 12 years ago (I estimate a savings of $6000-$7000)

Lower Your Cost of Housing

  • Get a house that you can actually afford on only one income. A lower cost house will also reduce your homeowner taxes and insurance costs.
  • Determine what monthly rent you want to spend and then go find a place for that price
  • Get a smaller house or apartment. It will cost less to heat and cool.
  • Consider moving to a place or neighborhood where the housing prices are lower.
  • Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. (This is the correct spelling according to the dictionary.)

Lower Your Medical and Dental Expenses

  • go to a dental college or hygienist school for teeth cleaning, fluoride treatment, sealants, and X-rays
  • go to a free clinic instead of the emergency room (sometimes they ask for donations if you can afford it)
  • look for free health screenings
  • prevention: practice being healthy, brushing teeth often and well, and avoid risky activities that could cause an accident