Frugal Living 
9
comments

Money Leaks: Unnecessarily Wasting Electricity

Power MeterElectricity is wonderful, isn’t it? It powers so many of the devices in our home, it makes life more comfortable during periods of extreme heat or cold, and we probably wouldn’t have as much fun without it. It also happens to be a pretty big budgetary line item for many families and one that deserves additional attention – especially if you’re looking for money leaks.

When I talk about unnecessarily wasting electricity, I don’t mean those days when you turn on the A/C because it’s too hot or humid outside. We all have personal preferences and doing the things that make you happy isn’t considered a leak. It’s only a leak when you don’t realize you’re doing it, like having your A/C turn on when you’re on vacation during the week. That would be a leak (and a prime example of unnecessarily wasting electricity!).


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 Personal Finance 
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How to Avoid Wasting Food

Whenever my lovely wife and I first moved in together, one of our struggles had to do with spoiling food. We were cooking a lot more (and we’re cooking even more now) and sometimes a dish would get pushed to the back of the fridge and forgotten. I hated it because I hate waste. I don’t mind cooking something I don’t like eating and being forced to eat it, I’d rather eat it than let it go to waste because being wasteful is being irresponsible. It’s also expensive. I don’t throw away dollar bills because I can’t be bothered to remember to put it in my wallet, so why would I throw away grilled chicken?

So today, I’ll present to you my simple solution to eliminating, or at least significantly reducing, this money leak.

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 Personal Finance 
6
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Money Leaks: Canceling Unused Memberships

How many memberships do you have? How many of those do you use often enough to justify the fees? When was the last time you sat down and took a long look at what you were paying and whether it was still worth it? If it’s been a while, now’s a pretty good time to do it. :)

The classic unused membership is, of course, the gym membership. For the month or so after New Year’s Day, our gym is absolutely packed with people looking to achieve their resolutions. The influx of new people only lasts about a month or two before it goes back to its pre-NY resolution levels. While the people may no longer be going, their money continues to go to the gym since gyms know about this behavior. That’s why gyms will always have membership contracts. They are quite sneaky. :)

So, how do you go about trimming unused memberships, especially if you are locked in?

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 Personal Finance 
25
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Money Leaks: Buying Books

I understand the allure of buying books, my lovely wife has explained it to me on a number of occasions. It’s one of the reasons why she doesn’t have a kindle, she enjoys holding a book way too much. The heft of the pages, the feeling of progress, and the look of the words on actual paper. If you’re like her and you enjoy reading, I totally understand why you enjoy buying books.

Here’s the thing – you can borrow them from the library for free. Everything you enjoy about a book has nothing to do with actually buying the book. It’s not the physical ownership that makes it special, it’s the book itself. When you borrow a book from the library, you get all of the positives with none of the negatives. You don’t have the pay for it, you don’t have to store it, and you can return it when you’re done. If you want to read it again, you just check it out. At worst, you pay a few cents in fees if you hold it a little longer than you’re supposed to.

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 Personal Finance 
34
comments

Money Leaks Series

Leaky faucetStarting today, running every Thursday until I run out of ideas, we’ll be identify a potential Money Leak in your financial life and figuring out ways we can plug it. A money leak is anything that you spend money on that you could, conceivably, cut back, replace, or otherwise do without affecting your life tremendously. It’s leaking money in a way that might be invisible to you and you could, with just a little bit of extra work, plug it and give yourself a little raise.

The classic example of a money leak, one that we won’t be covering (until maybe the end when I run out of ideas!) is buying that morning coffee from Starbucks. If you spent $5 a day on coffee, five days a week, fifty two weeks a year, then you’re looking at a total expense of $1,300 a year. Put that money towards some travel mugs, a nice coffeemaker, and the best coffee beans you can find and you’ll still be further ahead at the end of the year (plus you’ll have a nice coffeemaker).

So, in the coming weeks, we’ll hit one money leak a week until we’ve hit them all… and then I’ll start asking you for ideas! If you have a good idea you want to share right now, please let me know in the comments.

(Photo: johnx62)


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