I don’t know about you, but I seem to be running my dishwasher on a daily basis, twice on Saturdays and Sundays. This is the single home chore that I think has quadrupled since sheltering in place at home. I think the additional cost in water and power has been more than offset by the lack of money spent on gas and other work related expenses which brings me to our frugal topic of this blog entry: where we frugal folk are saving a bundle.
Let’s start with the obvious. Gas and wear and tear on our vehicles. Working from home is a huge time saver as well as money saver. We go out only to pick up supplies and drop off care packages once a week to my daughter. That means my gas bill has plummeted. My car insurance has also been discounted because I am working from home. Nice. Since I am scrounging leftovers for lunches, I also am saving on the occasional lunch out, it’s all adding up. On top of that, my clothing budget has dropped to zero, unless you count the $18 I spent on Amazon paw print slippers. I don’t mind dressing for work in yoga pants these days but I draw the line at proper work shoes so I bought slippers although I’ve had to hide them from our baby pit bull Annabelle since the moment they arrived.
I also have the time to do nearly all of my own chores so I don’t vend anything out with one important exception: my neighbors have refused to cut back their overgrown trees for several years now causing heavy and potentially life threatening branches to break off into my yard. A few actually did. The creaking and moaning from the trees above was ominous to say the least. I’d finally had enough so I called an arborist who came out the very next day and climbed up in the trees to cut back all the limbs that leaned over into our yard. Good thing too because he reported that some were so heavy that the minute he started to saw they snapped off. It was a growing safety issue and I’m clearly no professional tree trimmer. My neighbors, for the record, have been mum on the subject though the work was certainly loud enough. Even so, it has been my only outside vendor expense since sheltering in place, that and a visit to the vet when the dogs had to go for annual shots and a check up.
I am actually not happy about savings on my beauty upkeep but that is the reality of our world right now. I’ve taken to DYI-ing my hair with moderately acceptable results and trading tips with my BFF on how to get better results. Turns out, it is not nearly as easy as my hairdresser makes it look. I miss my hairdresser and nail lady more than I can say but the savings have been substantial over time. I also miss going to the gym but that cost has also been defrayed so more money in my pocket while I walk, lift weights at home and hit the stepper in my spare time.
The final area that I’ve actually made a real effort to conserve is my on-line ordering. You know the url. I’ve got it on speed dial it seems. Surf, click, ship and receive. All too easy. I set myself a new, reduced spend every month and have done a good job hitting my goal by making VERY sure that I need something before clicking to buy. Every time I think I need to buy I ask myself four questions first:
- Do I really need this or am I just bored/hungry/annoyed/upset/looking for a distraction?
- Am I replacing something that I’ve run out of and if yes, do I really need to replace it?
- Is this the best price I can get?
- Is there anything I already have that I can use instead?
If I can answer the four questions above to my satisfaction then I will buy the item but not before. More often than not, I’ve been able to swap something out for what I already have on hand or find a better price if I REALLY need it.
There are other savings, less tangible, that don’t immediately come to mind but the question remains: what are YOU as a frugal person doing with your additional savings? Me? I’m funneling it all into my emergency cash fund for now. I have set for myself a very aggressive savings goal for 2020 and so every bit helps. And it is not like we are going to be traveling any time soon so since this year’s travel destinations have been canceled, I am saving my vacation funds and days.
So, as it looks like 2020 is going to be the year of the pandemic, I find a bit of comfort in knowing that it is also going to be the year of savings.