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What Can You Give Up?

August 8th, 2017 at 08:49 am

Our Big Goal is on my mind a lot. I just can't wait to get there, but it is going to be a long journey to say the least. My mind keeps wandering to the items we spend our money on and wondering what we can cut back on, or eliminate all together.

I've mentioned before I did eliminate the need for disposable feminine products for myself. That is probably only a savings of $6-7 a month on average.

We did lower our cable bill by $11 a month just recently, so that will add up over time. I think we may still let it go entirely after football season. We have more channels now, and while it was fun to watch HGTV for a day or so, I'm already not interested in watching most of what is on.

It seems there was something else, too, but maybe that is it so far! There is still work to be done to eliminate more items we spend money on. I thought I'd make a brainstorm list of a few I'm thinking about:

Alcohol ($100 per month)
Paper Towels ($18 a year)
Movies (theatre and purchased) $260 YTD
Restaurant meals $1578 YTD
Chips (too much snacking!) ?
Gum $50/year ?
Ooma (home phone) $48/year
Trash & Recycling service $198
Using the Dishwasher ?

Let me explain the trash & recycling. We pay $16.50 a month for trash and recycling pick up at the curb. The trash pick up is twice per week, and the recycling is picked up twice per month. The reason I could possibly eliminate the service entirely is because about 1.25 miles from our current home is a county trash and recycling drop off site. They are open at least five days a week, maybe six. I drive by it ALL the time, so it is on my regular route to other places I go. I don't think my husband would be on board, but it's an idea to consider.

I use our dishwasher every evening. I like using it. I wonder though if some money could be saved by not using it. How much electricity and water does a dishwasher use each month? I may skip it for the next few weeks while my husband is still at school and it's just dishes for my daughter and I.

I mentioned I made hummus last week. It got rave reviews from my family members. It was very easy, too. When I make something from scratch it always tastes better because it has fewer 'extra' ingredients needed for commercial processing. It makes me think if I should be trying to make some other foods we buy from scratch. Bread is one idea, another would be pasta sauce. I'd have to think through what we buy most often that could be made at home.

Just by doing this little brain storm writing session I have seen where we can put our focus. Eating out. I feel like we don't eat out that much, and probably compared to the average american we don't, but our average is over $200 a month this year. Considering our income that isn't a big amount, but accounting for our goal, it is!

What can you give up to meet your goals?

19 Responses to “What Can You Give Up?”

  1. Butterscotch Says:

    Careful hauling your own trash to the dump. Trash water (even if you think you don't have any, you do) leaking in your car really sucks and smells.

    I was surprised to read that you run the dishwasher every day. We are a family of 3 and run in 1-2 times a week. But I think I recall you saying that you have very few plates and bowls due to minimalism. Is that why you need to run it so often?

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    I run the dishwasher everyday because we fill it up nearly every day. And even if mostly full, it is just easier to run a 3/4 full dishwasher and have everything clean at the beginning of the next day. We actually make food at home for most meals so we are using strainers, pots, bowls and utensils and I put them all in the dishwasher, not just dishes. I will put in the glass blender jar which takes up room. I suppose some of it could do with minimalism, but we have plenty of utensils and dishes to feed 12 people at one meal, so we aren't that minimal. Smile
    Butterscotch, are you only putting in cups, dishes and utensils?

  3. Butterscotch Says:

    Yes, we just do utensils, plates, glasses...the basics. Pots and strainers get washed by hand and hung back up. If we washed those in the dishwasher we would be running it every day too. We are pretty good about using the same glass throughout the day but I imagine you are too.

    One thing that might save energy is to use a shorter setting on your dishwasher. We use the express setting which finishes in 45 minutes.

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    Yes, I'm good about one glass for water, one for tea/coffee. My older daughter who was just home from college was using a new glass every time she need a drink. I did get the mostly corrected while she was home! Smile
    I use the Eco setting on our dishwasher which uses just four gallons, but the cycle is still 110 minutes according to the manual! There is no other setting that would be shorter. I'm also guilty of using the heated dry...maybe I'll cut that out first. I know I will miss that as I know I will have to dry a lot of things when they come out of the dishwasher. If I wash by hand I would just air dry them.

  5. patientsaver Says:

    I would do the trash yourself in a heartbeat. The dining out and alcohol seem quite high to me but everyone's lifestyle is different. Truth be told, I have a dishwasher but usually wash by hand cus I'm a household of one and don't like dirty dishes just sitting there for 2-3 days before I have a full load.

    I honestly feel I've cut back most of what I could already. But when my car insurance is up for renewal in October, I plan to drop the collision. It's a bit early maybe for a 2013 but will save me money and I'm not driving much these days. I also continue to watch my grocery spending and really hope to see a lower number by year's end.

  6. jokeabee Says:

    We had a portable dishwasher up until December and used it about every other day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. We've been renovating our kitchen since then and have had NO dishwasher (and sometimes not even a sink) and neither our water or our electricity bills have shown any noticeable difference. The only difference was in January when we didn't rent our basement Airbnb apartment out-we weren't doing 3 loads of laundry every time a guest left so water was waaaaay day.

  7. LuckyRobin Says:

    It's the heated dry that is making your dishwasher expensive to run. If in the evening you open the dishwasher and pull the racks out after the dishes are clean, they will dry overnight, unless you have bowls or glasses with recessed bottoms.

  8. creditcardfree Says:

    I really don't know how expensive it is to dry, but I don't doubt the heating element is the majority of the costs. I usually start it just before I go up to bed, so I'm sleeping when it would be done. But I can try to change some habits and see what the results are. Wouldn't it be nice if we could get a detailed bill of what electricity was used on what in our homes?!

  9. snafu Says:

    Our electric rate is reduced after 7 PM so we operate the DW in the late evening. I never use the 'dry' feature, unless I want to sterilize objects. Like LR, I just open the door and pull the top rack out a few inches, everything is dry when I off load early AM. Call your power provider with details of your DW, they should be able to tell you the operating costs.

    Bread is inexpensive and easy to make, especially if you use a bread machine [incredibly inexpensive, nearly new at Thrift Stores] The problem was we were eating an entire loaf a day because it's so delicious. You see it on your hips very quickly! Since tomato sauce/spaghetti sauce is a regular 'loss leader,' I don't see a savings in making tomato sauce except at rare points when I have enough home grown tomatoes.

    Some families with limited incomes limit eating out to special celebratory occasions like milestone anniversaries, graduations and significant raises. There is a wonderful challenge to making memorable birthday cakes for example. We've almost always celebrated our anniversaries at home with an elegant meal because we never managed to have anything to eat at our own wedding.

    Since this Big Goal is primarily your project, would you consider re entering the workforce to increase household income?

  10. CB in the City Says:

    If you skip the heated dry, be sure to use a rinse aid. I didn't, and experienced terrible lime buildup in my dishwasher. But I was in a very hard water area.

  11. creditcardfree Says:

    I'm not going back to work until both girls are in college. One year to go, so thus the reason for looking for other ways to cut expenses during this year. Not sure it will be an easy transition to the workforce having not worked for so long. No regrets though.

  12. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    The heated dry I heard about dishwashers. I run ours once a week and everything else by hand. I don't know if it uses a lot of electricity. Is your fridge energy efficient or washing machine?

    Find something you like to do and it will be a great transition back to work. Are you planning on spending this year figuring it out?

  13. Tabs Says:

    OMG you know what? Seriously, I've thought about making my own trash drop offs at our local "convenience centers" as they call it. Just intermediary dump sites really, already half way to the landfills.

    I haven't made the jump yet because last time when I looked into it, I actually couldn't .. refuse this service in my city? Unless I'm moving or something. Plus, I still need sewer and water service.

    One of these days, I may look into it again. But you know me, I was trying to move into a car anyways.

  14. Tabs Says:

    Oh yeah, and if you already pay for the internet, consider looking to Google Voice. You might be able to make it work for free, depending on your needs. Also, I am a bit dismayed that many still cling on to archaic telephone numbers. VoIP has grown and blossomed to so many iterations, many of which are free. And they are so powerful too. Right now, I actually rent a 10-line service for a mere $1.50 a month, but I probably could have done it for free as well, although that would have eating up my bandwidth, which is why I didn't and honestly, $1.50 a month for a 10-line party chat is CHEAP.

  15. patientsaver Says:

    Creditcardfree, there IS a way to see how much electricity you're using with individual appliances like the dishwasher. It's called a kilowatt mater and your utility company may sell them. You just plug them into the appliance and the meter will show much wattage it's using. Not surprisingly, the appliances that use the most power are those that either cool, heat or push air (like a vacuum, but not a fan).

  16. creditcardfree Says:

    Yes, PS, I am aware of the meters. Hard to hook one up to a dishwasher that is plugged in behind and under a countertop.

    Tabs, I may check Google Voice again. I know I looked into it before I got the Ooma. Not sure now why I didn't go that route. Maybe our trash drop offs are also convenience centers. Still need to check with my husband on this one. I'd want to use his truck if we did make that change.

  17. My English Castle Says:

    CCF--would you share your hummus recipe? We run the dishwasher everyday (almost) too even with sticking to a single glass and cup apiece. If you cook and eat three meals a day at home, it fills up! In the winter I switch off the heated dry and open the DW up. I'm looking for ways to tackle my big goal too. Let's brainstorm!

  18. creditcardfree Says:

    @MEC. I've only made the hummus once. I found a recipe online, but I can't find it now. It was very basic using chickpeas, olive oil, tahini and garlic.

  19. My English Castle Says:

    I'll do a search, CCF. Maybe need to invest in some tahini.

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