Dear reader, if you haven’t yet read You Asked: Part 1, I suggest you do so now. But in case you don’t want to, here’s a synopsis. The December 2012 AARP magazine published an article by Jeff Yeager about saving $10,000 annually with easy household tricks. He gave eight suggestions and I applied those suggestions to myself. I covered Suggestions 1-4 in Part 1. Note: I’ve summarized his suggestions. If you want to read the original article yourself, it’s the issue with Reba on the cover.
Now back to Part 2. It turns out my big savings start with these final four suggestions. All of these savings are in the black.
Suggestion 5: dispense with commercial cleansers and make your own green cleaning products. Estimated savings: $1000 per year.
I can tell you right off the bat I never save money when I try to make my own stuff (refer to my next blog) and I certainly don’t spend $1350 per year on cleaning products and services like an “average American.” My garage still holds much of the stuff I bought in 2004 when I moved in. Honestly, how often do you use that Old English whatever?
I recently purchased $24 worth of cloth bar towels to replace paper towels. Not only is it hard to wrap those things around my paper towel holder, but my washing machine usage has increased to 3 X weekly. Since the self-righteousness factor is worth something, I’ll give this a $20 annual savings.
My cleaning tip. Lots of people need work. Hire somebody to clean your house once a month and supply them with whatever cleaning products they want. I spend $840 annually on this service. My housekeeper asks me for a replacement product about twice a year. I think this amounts to maybe $10. If she is willing to use the cloth towels, I’m still $10 ahead. So deducting my annual expenses of $850 from Jeff’s savings makes:
My estimated annual savings: $150.
Suggestion 6: do all your own yard work. Estimated savings $550 per year.
This is actually a very good money-saving idea. I spend $780 annually for bi-weekly yard maintenance. But here’s the thing. It’s 100+ degrees in Texas in the summer and I’m allergic to the sun (rash, sun poisoning), so I need to factor in the cost of an energy-saving cordless electric lawn mower $360; long sleeve sun protective tee shirt $39; sun protective pants $55; Kalahari sun hat with neck protector $32; sun gloves $30; sun screen for my nose $10; I have sunglasses, socks, shoes and water $0.0; ER co-pay $65 X 8 (bi-weekly during summer months) $525; total $1051
My estimated annual savings by paying somebody else to do my yard maintenance: $271.
Suggestion 7. Change your driving habits to walking, biking or using mass transit. Estimated savings $4000 per year.
I don’t think Jeff lives in Texas.
For instance, if I took mass transit to church for the 9 a.m. Sunday meditation, a distance of 8.4 miles and a 21 minute drive according to Google maps, I would need to leave home by 7:25 am to catch a 7:36 bus to ride downtown, change buses and arrive at church at 8:20 am, at which time I would walk to Starbucks® to wait and spend $2.11 on a grande coffee. Since I generally stay at church until about 11:30, I would need to purchase a $5.00 all day pass because the $2.50 pass is only good for two hours. To be honest, a friend would take pity and drive me home so I could use the two-hour pass after all. Total cost $2.50 + 2.11 = $4.61.
Jeff’s $4,000 savings listed above is based on an average American’s RT commute of 32 miles. I’m retired and no longer have a commute, but I drive my 2003 Prius about 12,000 miles per year with an annual auto expense of $3205. This works out to $0.27 per mile. Using the same example of going to church, if I drive my Prius I can leave home at 8:35 and arrive at 8:56 for a RT cost of $4.53, a savings of $0.09 over mass transit. I could save even more by not buying a latte. But that’s petty and I’ll not continue in this vein. Instead I’ll just deduct my annual auto cost from Jeff’s annual savings.
My estimated annual savings: $795.
Suggestion 8: Stop your bad habits of smoking, drinking at a bar, buying lottery tickets or purchasing daily snacks or sodas. Estimated savings $2000 per year.
I totally support this excellent suggestion. I don’t drink at bars or buy lottery tickets, but I am a diet soda addict and a recovering smoker. I stop drinking diet sodas regularly, but I fall off the wagon regularly also. Since I buy diet sodas at the Dollar Tree®, I’ll estimate I spend $4 weekly on soda, which amounts to $208 annually. I used to smoke a pack a day plus a couple of more packs throughout the week, but I haven’t smoked for 20 years, not even one cigarette. Given the cost of cigarettes today, I have saved $6.07 x 9 packs weekly x 52 weeks or $2,841 annually. I’m going to count that savings for this year since I’ve never counted it before. (I’m happy to report that after 20 years of not smoking, the negative effects of smoking reverse themselves.) I’ll continue working on my diet soda addiction; for this estimate, I’ll assume I quit buying diet sodas entirely.
My estimated annual savings: $3,049.
Okay, I’ve completed the 8 suggestions. Let’s see how my annual savings add up.
1. Clothesline: -$16; 2/ Grilling my food: -$137/ 3. Heating-AC-water heater $0/ 4. Unplug energy suckers $14/ 5. Cleaning products and services $150/ 6. Yard maintenance $271/ 7. Driving habits $795/ 8. Recover from all addictions $3,049.
My total estimated savings: $4, 126.
It may not be $10,000, but I’m very excited about this result. This savings not only covers the entire expense of my water collection/vegetable garden fiasco (Part 1), which means I no longer have to amortize for years and can die whenever I need to, but it also covers the cost of a very nice vacation.
Thank you Jeff and AARP.
Up next: Money-saving Homemade Beauty Tips and other disasters.