5 September 2023

Save money at home

I'm making napkins today. Those I made about five years ago are on their last legs and I don't want to buy napkins again and again and again.  Today and tomorrow I'll also be making laundry liquid, stainless steel sink cleaner, biscuits and chilli jam. These tasks, and many more like them, are a regular part of my housework. I aim for environmental and financial sustainability and I support and encourage biodiversity on the land I live on. I am mindful of the horrendous changes to the weather in recent years and this year we've seen many record breaking weather events around the world. It's the result of global warming and we've been warned about it for years but done nothing to slow it down or stop it.

Every dollar we spend makes the problem worse because that money is buying modern lifestyles built using fossil fuels. I'm not going to write about what certain countries, including my own, do to make the matter worse but I will urge you to educate yourself about global warming and work out a way to make a difference in your own home. We all contributed to this problem in tiny increments, we can undo some of it by working sustainably in our homes. 

I try to save money whenever I can because it makes sense to me, it allows me to live the life I live and I want my children and grandchildren to live in a world similar to the one I grew up in.  I want that for you and your children too. We can't keep putting it off, now is the time to draw a line in the sand and make sure we stay on the right side of that line, even when it's difficult.

Prices increased during the pandemic and the cost of living is still rising.  I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the things I do here to help reduce the cost of running a home. I'd love you to share some of the uncommon things you're doing too; don't worry about the common things, most of us are already doing them. 

Our water and electricity prices went up July 1 and we're about to receive the first bills since that price rise. For the last few months I've changed how I use my appliances. We had a solar hot water system installed when we moved here in 1997 and our first solar panels were installed in 2007. In September last year I had the old solar panels replaced and a new system of 18 panels installed.  I run my major appliances - washing machine, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, one at a timein the morning as soon as the sun hits the roof. That's the most efficient way to run my system. If you have solar, do a bit of research so you know the best way to run your system to save dollars. The aim is to use the solar power as you generate it and just have the leftovers going to the grid but if you work outside the home, that would be impossible for you. A solar battery would be better in your situation because it would collect and store all the solar power you generate during the day so it's available for you to use at night. 

I use the dishwasher every three days but I also take a break from it for weeks an a time and go back to it again when I’m busy. After a bit of tweaking, I changed the cycle I use in the dishwasher. I used to do a sensor wash cycle (2 hours!) now it's a 45 minute gentle wash and it still does an excellent job. I've not had to rewash anything.  I'm microwaving more too. I always heat up in the microwave and I'm cooking vegetables in a bowl with a silicone lid in the microwave instead of boiling on the stove.  I have an induction stove so when I do use the stove, it uses less electricity than the last stove I had. 

I use clothes stands on the back verandah instead of using the dryer - I get very dizzy hanging out laundry on my clothes line but anything at eye level is fine and the clothes stand is working well. My March electricity bill was $76 - less than a one person house but I'm waiting to see this bill due now because the last bill told me nothing - a certain black dog was seen in the front yard so the meter wasn't read. 🙄 I think the bill will be in the $200 range but even so, I hope that by using the solar power wisely and the $300 worth of credits I currently have, I'll get by and pay nothing.

I can't work out the water usage. I use less water than one person in my home and yet my bills are always in the $200-$250 range. My sister's water bill is less than $100, and she lives in NSW and she's in a two person house. If you live in SE Queensland, I'd love you to share the cost of your average water bill with me.

Most of the time I buy my groceries at Woolworths and have them delivered. They charge $119 a year for delivery so if I shop weekly, it costs just over $2 for delivery. That saves petrol for the 12km round trip and I'm not wandering around buying things I don't need.

I eat less meat, I still cook from scratch, still make laundry liquid and homemade cleaners and if you do that too, your grocery bill will drop a fair bit and you'll be bringing far less plastic into your home.  I'm thinking of baking bread again because the cost of good bread is sky high and I don't want to eat bread with preservatives and other additives. My recipes for laundry liquid and homemade cleaners are here. Remember to turn off the light every time you leave the room, don't leave the TV, radio or fan on. Don't leave appliances on standby. It all adds up and over the course of a three month bill may tip you over the edge.

Baby Gracie playing with a shoe the same size as her.

So what's happening in your home? I'd love to know how you're saving money in these hard time. If you have time, drop a short comment about your unusual tasks because it might help readers who are making their first changes and those who are moving on to another level. 

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