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Bringing Back Some Cost Cutting Measures

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When we first started reducing our debt, we really cut our expenses. As our debt decreased and our income increased, we gradually eased up on some of those cost cutting measures we took. I’ll admit that convenience is the biggest factor for not sticking with them.

First Example – hanging laundry to dry versus using our electric dryer. We had a system going and even installed a place to hang wet laundry in our bathroom. After a while, we didn’t hang our clothes as often. Gradually we stopped doing it altogether. Well, it’s back and we’ve already saved the electricity from two loads of laundry.

Second Example – using paper towels versus a kitchen towel. For a while there, we had weaned ourselves from heavy paper towel use. We were using kitchen towels for drying our hands, etc. Somewhere along the line, the kitchen towels went into hiding and we used paper towel after paper towel. “We’re out of paper towels again!” was a common comment. Well, they are now in a very non-convenient place in the cupboard to discourage use. Thanks to some after Christmas deals we have some more kitchen towels to use and our kitchen looks festive.

There are other things we stopped doing, but these are the ones we have agreed to bring back so far. At this point, since we need time for other things we are weighing the cost/benefit of each thing to see if it is worth it right now. Since we have an electric dryer, the laundry was a big one. And since we were buying paper towels often, they were another one. A side benefit of all this is that we are reducing our waste and conserving energy.


14 Comments

  • Reply EasyLearnStockMarket |

    Debt reduction is definately 2 steps forward 1 step back. Which I guess is better than debt accumulation which is 3 steps back. Either way congratulations on the step foward again. Our bad habit that we have to constantly battle is eating out.

  • Reply momstheword |

    Boy do I hear you. Years ago when my husband was out of work for a year we just did so much to cut down to bare bones. We, too, used the cloth napkins and the rags instead of paper towels, and many other things.

    Then, things started looking up and we got a little less frugal in our habits. I am seeking to get back to a financial diet and loved your post today!

  • Reply amaranta |

    I like using cloth towels but we don’t have enough cloth napkins to cut the paper towels out completely. Also, do you use towels for cleaning too?

  • Reply Christy |

    When we got married we were young and poor, so I never got in the habit of buying kleenex or paper towel. Never got in the habit means I don’t miss it, so I still don’t buy them. Maybe when the kids leave home. πŸ™‚

    I’ve never really considered not using the dryer – when it’s cold like it is now, it would take forever in the basement to dry. What do you figure you save per load not using the dryer?

  • Reply Tricia |

    amaranta – it depends on the type of cleaning. If it isn’t too icky, we’ll use a towel (wiping down the table, countertop, etc.). If it’s icky – we will still use paper towels. Getting out of the habit of using paper towels to dry off our hands was the huge one.

    Christy – I have the estimate of $0.36/load in my mind (found here – neat site by the way!). So if we normally would have dried 3 loads a week, it would come in under $5/month for actual savings. BUT – it’s actually quicker for us to hang the laundry. The only thing is, we have to keep up with the laundry instead of doing it all at once since it takes a few days to dry.

  • Reply Kristina |

    I think the biggest benefit of your actions is to help the environment and live a more sustainable lifestyle. Those are great reasons to make the changes you’re making. However, it seems like there are much bigger areas of your budget/spending that you could cut that would make much bigger dents in your spending. Your food/beverage budget seems like a big one. I don’t know enough about your other areas to make suggestions.

  • Reply C |

    Loved your post. I can so relate, since recently we have been using dish towels more often and ya know what, I am amazed at how much less paper we use. I run the washer and dryer pretty often, so it isn’t much of a bother to throw in the dish towels.

    I also hang our clothes up. I don’t hang everthing, but about half of our laundry gets hung on the shower curtan rod, in the bathroom on hangers. It even helps to keep the shape of the clothes and extends the wear too.

    Every little bit helps.

  • Reply fitwallet |

    We hang our clothes in the summer, but in the winter, we keep the heat so low (between 55-60) that they’d never dry! We also have an unfinished basement that is separated from the first floor by only one inch of pine flooring. So using the dryer in the basement actually helps keep the house a little warmer this time of year πŸ™‚

    We should really be using more kitchen towels to clean up the kitchen and dry our hands, though. When it comes to using paper towels when a rag would do, I am guilty as charged. I think the main problem is that we don’t have enough rags around. Trader Joe’s sells packs of small high-absorbency towels pretty cheaply, so maybe it’s time to pick some more of those up and create “clean” and “dirty” rag bins somewhere.

  • Reply Craig |

    The kitchen towels idea is something I do myself. Use it for hands, dishes, etc. It does help out with saving a few bucks on paper towels. I don’t do the laundry. How much do you save per month? I am curious because I really didn’t think it would be that much. When studied abroad we had to hang dry clothes and I hated it. Took a few days for things to get dry, always were wrinkled and was more of a process to go about everything.

  • Reply rob in madrid |

    I hear you, over Christmas I kind of got lazy, didn’t track my spending the way I usually do, tending to pick something up on the way over to freinds rather than planning ahead etc. Now that holidays are over I’m trying to get back on track.

    BTW In Germany we didn’t have a dryer so we had to hang everything, I solved the problem of things taking forever to dry during the winter by putting a fan at low on it.

  • Reply Kay |

    Many years ago we began hanging up our clothes to dry. We usually do it for things that are fancier and may shrink in the dryer. We have a pretty handy hanging system in the laundry room in our basement.

    As far as towels go, we aren’t huge paper towel users. We have always kept cloth towels on the oven door and always use it to dry hands etc.

    It’s funny how easy it is to fall back to old habits. Even if you don’t need to save the money, its seems unnecessary to waste money on something that can be so simply avoided.

    Great post!

  • Reply Karin |

    I use kitchen towels (when available since sometimes I’m left without one due to their use as doll blankets by little girls) to dry my hands. I found the easiest ones to get into the habit of using are the ones that have the yarn topper than buttons to the fridge or oven (MIL makes these out of cheap WallyWorld kitchen towels cut in 1/2 and then crochets the top and attaches a matching button- I can count mine if you want the pattern but I’ve only made a couple and don’t know it off the top of my head) b/c you always know where it is and that it hasn’t been used to clean up some mess since it’s stuck in place. The other way I save on paper towels is that I started buying select-a-size and only use 1 piece unless it’s a big mess. They cost the same as regular Bounty and are sold at BJ’s.

  • Reply Debt Management Solution |

    There are so many things that you can do to cut costs, you can get really creative!

So, what do you think ?