What, buy something when I encourage a more frugal lifestyle? Stay with me, because yes, sometimes it pays to spend.
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Yes, just like we often need to spend money to make money – think education, business training, etc., when it comes to living a more frugal lifestyle, you will find it easier if you have the right tools to help you. A frugal lifestyle should not make you miserable. Yes you want to save money for the future, but increasing your quality of life is also important so that you stay on course for the long term.
There are many ways some investment can save you money. Today I will limit myself to 8.
My first gadget to live more frugally is a clothesline and some clothespin. I did not have to install the clothesline myself but I invested in good, sturdy clothespins – pretty too. They came in different colors and I sometimes try to use them to color match the clothes I hang out to dry. That’s on days I don’t have much to do.
Appliances that cost you the most to use are those that produce heat – stove, oven, dishwasher, baseboards, as well as your air conditioners. Your clothes dryer comes up at the top of that list.
Some people argue that it takes a long time to hang clothes to dry. I agree that it takes a little bit of time. A full load probably can be hung in 10, 15 minutes max, plus the 10 minutes it will take to bring it back inside once the sun and the wind have done their job.
Others will say it’s wasted time. I suggest you use that time to disconnect from your work, or Facebook, etc. an use it as meditation time. Just enjoying the sun and the wind, and possibly the green space and flowers around you. Those 10 minutes outside breathing fresh air will re-energize you and make you more productive for the next few hours.
My second favourite gadget is my cappuccino-espresso maker. It sits in my kitchen and lets me make cappuccino on demand for a fraction of the cost I would pay at the corner café. (One cappuccino a week, for 5 years =$3.50 X 250 weeks) =$875. If you have 2 a week, then it $1750. in coffee. And I know some of you have it everyday. Then we are talking about over $4,000. Yes, I love my fairly inexpensive Breville but you if you save more you may want to invest in a pricier machine.
I bought mine when it was on sale and calculated that it would take less than one cappuccino a week for less than a year to get my money’s worth Meaning that for the next 5 or so years, I will enjoy cappuccino for free (plus the cost of coffee itself). All in all a pretty good deal.
Side benefit is I can have a cappuccino anytime I want, I can have it in my pj’s, on my balcony or in my backyard or looking outside on a rainy or snowy day. It saves me the time to get dressed, walk to the café and wait in line. And no need for tipping either.
My third purchase that saves me time and money is my clothes washer. If you have a home that’s probably a given that you have your washing machine. When you rent an apartment however, that convenience is usually not included. I paid good price for my Maytag portable washer, about $600 10 years or so ago. Maybe you need to walk or drive to a Laundromat nearby, at a cost of both time and money, or use the coin-operated one in your building. This portable beauty could solve that problem, and pay for itself within a short time
But it has paid off in time, and money, because time is money. I could use the washer and dryer included in my rent but this involved getting outside to access it next door, and sharing with 4 other tenants. My washer is probably good for another 10 years. $30. a year for a great convenience, again, at my fingertip 24 hours a day, in my pj’s.
I also invested in 3 fans, tower type. Elegant, noiseless and portable. Total cost: about $200. While I do have a window air conditioner, I seldom use it, unless I have guests who cannot tolerate the heat. You may also like this one
I personally love the warm days of Summer, maybe because they are so few where I live. If you want to save money to keep cool in Summer, I highly recommend getting some of those and remembering the cold days of winter and how much you longed for Summer.
I am lucky to also have ceiling fans: bedroom, kitchen and living room. They too are great to provide relief from the heat. I like to imagine I am in Africa (seen those in movies). It’s a great excuse to make a cool lemonade and sit with my feet up and a good book.
Some people don’t like ceiling fans because give too much wind. I suggest you use the slowest setting for the one in the bedroom and living room. The kitchen one is great on high when you are slaving over a hot stove.
A dishwasher is also great to save money and time. Many studies show that washing dishes in the dishwasher uses less water than if you wash by hand. To make sure you also use less hydro, turn the dishwasher on when the hydro rates are lower (for me it’s after 7 p.m. and anytime on weekends). Refrain from rinsing your dishes. And fill up the dishwasher before turning it on. I love my portable dishwasher because I hate washing dishes. Even a countertop dishwasher can help your frugal lifestyle and it saves me time. This one looks good too
Lined drapes and or sun proof window shades. Those will do double duty. Keep the sun out in Summer and keep the cold out in Winter nights. You can even make some for patio doors to hang outside, before the heat hits the window. I did some for my living room. They attach with Velcro, and can be put on or removed in under 30 seconds. Great for morning when the temperature hits 30C (86F), like today. They are also inexpensive to make.
Finally I bought a portable BBQ, correction, it was a gift– it’s on the balcony and is great to cook on hot days. Cheaper than hydro to use and the house remains cooler when you cook outside, so you save on cooling costs. Cooking outside is another way to relax and recharge.
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