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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Michigan
Member since: Sun Feb 24, 2008, 10:46 PM
Number of posts: 29,366

Journal Archives

My efforts at frugal living

My natural gas water heater has been on pilot only for over 2 1/2 weeks now and I haven't run out of hot water yet. I wash my clothes in cold water only (edit: which I started doing at the end of last month or beginning of this month), take a shower every day and wash my dishes with about 7 gallons of water every couple of days. The pilot flame alone puts out enough heat to heat the water and keep it hot.

All the lights in my house are cfl types and I make sure they are turned off when I don't need them. The only two things I have in this house that have power to them 24/7 is the fridge and charger for my cordless phone. The coffee maker, tv, Netflix & DVD player box, wireless router, microwave and laptop are all unplugged from the outlets when not in use. I stopped using my electric dryer the last time I did laundry. I really need to get one of those clothes dryer racks as i hung my clothes off of nails in the basement to dry.

I cleaned out the pantry in the basement, washed down the shelves, and put up insulation in the ceiling and interior walls. I'll be using that as a cold storage room this winter for the apples I get from my apple tree.

Been working on my garden of 160 square feet to get it ready for next year. I have the bins ready for my worm composter but as i donated to DU this month, I put off getting the worms till next month. In the meantime, I've been cutting up cardboard boxes, heavy brown paper, flyers and any other non-glossy papers I have into very small pieces to use as worm food and to work into the garden beds. I've also been saving kitchen scraps for the same. I have three big maple trees in my yard and I'll use my mulching push mower to chop the leaves to work into the garden bed and put the rest into a pile for use as a mulch next year.

Since yesterday, I've been collecting my urine to use as a fertilizer for the lawn, the shrubs I have and for the garden bed. I'll also use it on the few indoor plants I have.

Going to have a small indoor garden this winter and I'll start small with radishes and with the chives I'll transplant from outside to ice cream pails I have saved to be used for indoor growing. I cleaned out enough room in my spare bedroom and set up a table for the plants to be set there.

The water I have saved from taking a shower has provided more then enough to be used to flush the toilet. I put in a plug in the tub drain before taking a shower and then bail the water out of the tub into a 13 gallon plastic container after the shower. Following Fumesucker's suggestion, I'm going to save the rinse water from washing my clothes to be used as wash water the next time I do laundry. doing that and with using grey water to flush the toilet, I ought to save about 400-500 gallons a month. Next spring, I plan on using a bio-compatible detergent so I can use the excess water from showering not needed to flush the toilet, the water from the bathroom sink and the wash water from the clothes washer to water the garden, shrubs, apple tree, and lawn as needed.

I'm hoping that by using an indoor worm composter, collecting my urine and by using grey water, I'll be able to water my garden, fertilize it and have compost for it without any extra cost on my part and use the excess on the rest of the yard.

Next month I'm going to do much of my grocery shopping on line. I have no vehicle and the nearest stores that have decent prices are over 40 miles away. I'll continue to use the local store for fresh produce, bread, and dairy products.

As for tv, Netflix alone has been fine. $7.99 a month provides me with all the movies and tv shows I care to watch and I haven't rented a movie in months.

Things to do in the near future:

Quit smoking. That alone would save me $80.00 a month. I'm smoking the cheapest stuff I can get but quitting would provide me with the money to pay my property taxes, fire insurance and still have money left over for other things for the house.

Purchase a reel push mower. My gas powered mulching mower is near the end of it's long life. I'd like to keep it around for many more years to use to mulch up the leaves in the fall.

Put in a flue pipe for the woodstove in the basement. The old flue was rusted out and I threw it away. As my ex wants to replace her current fuel oil furnace with a high efficiency LP gas furnace and wants me to do the job (it's the work I did before I went on disability), I'll use the flue and elbows from that fuel oil furnace for my woodstove so that wont cost me anything. I have a bunch of scrap wood left over from remodeling my kitchen after it was wrecked from water damage last winter after my then wife's relative who was living here turned the heat off without telling me about it. The wood is in my garage so I can use it to burn to help cut down heating costs this winter.

Replace windows and doors as I can. The front door pretty much just keeps the wild animals out and prevents snow from drifting in during the winter. The windows, other then the new ones I put in the kitchen, are single pane. This winter I'll be putting on that 3-M plastic window insulation on all the old windows.

Learn how to preserve foods. I can borrow a pressure cooker and my ex knows how to do it. As we still get along quite well, maybe we can work together on such a project.

Things I've learned so far:

Frugal living can be labor intensive. Ten years ago, I could have done all this with no trouble at all but some of it now really kicks my ass. But truthfully, I'm having fun doing it. I look at it as a challenge. To be able to live well on $1071.00 a month (plus the $19.00 in food stamps I get).

Being single and a person who enjoys the simple things in life, my costs aren't that high and the savings I get from what I'm trying to do aren't that much. My food bill is averaging out to be about $4.50 a day. My water bill for this month was $16.00 and that's before I started using grey water to flush the toilet. My electric bill for this month is $19.00. I haven't got my gas bill yet but for last month it was $13.52 so that was before I turned the gas water heater to pilot only (edit) and before I started washing clothes in cold water only. Those costs don't include the standard costs for having the services provided to the house. Costs I can't do anything about unless I decide I can do without fancy dancy water, electricity or gas all together.

Edit: While some of my expenses are quite low, money is still very tight as I'm paying off bills.

Coffee pots

When I was growing up on the farm, what we had to make coffee was a stainless steel pot with a spout. You'd fill it with water, add how many spoonfuls of coffee as you desired and boiled it on the stove for a few minutes. One had to pour the coffee thru a hand held strainer when filling a cup to catch the coffee grounds but that's the way most everyone did it back then.

I have a programmable (a feature I don't use) electric drip coffee maker right now but when that craps out, I'm going to look for a stainless steel stovetop coffee percolator. They run about $20.00 to $35.00 (depending on size and quality) on Amazon.com and pretty much last a lifetime. Unlike the modern drip coffee makers which seem to last about a year.

Considering I love my coffee, I ought to look for one now so I have it on hand when my electric drip coffee make craps out. Or I could just give it to my ex who says her coffee maker is running very slow now even after repeated cleaning. She gets very hard water where she lives.

Here's an example of one for those not familiar with stovetop percolators:


And here are some tips on using stovetop and electric coffee percolators:



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