Energy and Money Saving Summer Living Tips for Frugal Consumers

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Consumerism Is Out

Americans, frugal? Hard to believe, isn't it. The people who invented consumerism have done a 180 and turned into total savers and frugal freaks.Three years ago the average American family carried a whopping $12,000 in credit card debt. Today that is down to $7,500. People are paying down their mortgages ( if they still have houses and jobs), paying cash, living on budgets, driving smaller cars, buying fewer clothes and taking fewer trips. Everybody knows someone who used to live high off the hog and who is now on the skids. It's quite sobering and a big wake up call.

Consumerism is so passe.. Ever since the housing market tanked and the job market followed in 2008, those of us who still have jobs have been remembering what our grand parents always knew....i.e. if you don't have the money, don't buy it. Their watchword was " Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" a mantra that is in vogue again as consumer debt goes down and savings go up. More Americans than ever are getting off the consumerism merry-go-round and are discovering that being frugal and saving money can give them an even bigger rush than a shopping spree or the biggest SUV on the block. Cheap is chic these days, and saving money is no longer shameful. It is the cool thing for everyone from those just out of the cradle to those with one foot in the grave..

The big money saving tips are obvious and you've heard them over and over again everywhere. . This hub is to tell you about small changes you can make right now to save money and still live well. . I'm talking about penny-savers not dollar-savers. To quote Ben Franklkin: " take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

Saving Money on Your Water Bill

Saving on Your Water Bill

  1. Take a shower instead of a bath A shower uses only 8 gallons of water compared to 21 gallons for a long soak in the tub.....added bonus? No bathtub ring..
  2. Install a rain barrel Catch that rainwater by putting a rainbarrel under your downspout and use the water it catches on your garden or lawn. Thirsty summer gardens can hike your water bill bigtime.A rainbarrel will help you have a lush garden and a low water bill
  3. Turn off the tap when washing dishes by hand, brushing your teeth, or washing vegetables.Rinse hand washed dishes in a pan full of rinse water instead of under the tap. When brushing your teeth, fill a glass with water, turn off the tap, brush and rinse out your mouth with water from the glass. Vegetables and fruits can be rinsed in a bowl of water rather than under the tap. If you think about it, you'll find other times you can turn off the tap with minimal inconvenience. You'll be surprised at thesavings
  4. Don't use bottled water When it comes to drinking water, turn the tap on if you want to save a real bundle. Bottled water is not only around 500 times more expensive than tap water, it also costs the environment plenty, even if you recycle. You will be saving money and helping the planet by using filtered tap water for drinking and cooking and leaving the bottled water on the supermarket shelf.
  5. Water Your Lawn or Garden in the early morning when it is cool. It is better for the plants and you will use less water.

Summer bounty in the garden
Summer bounty in the garden | Source

Summer Food Savings

  1. Forget Fast Food I know the kitchen is hot and you are busy, but fast food is not your friend. Not only does it pack on the pounds, it empties the wallet. Try cooking a large portion of chili or stew on the week-end, freezing it, and using it for ready made meals through the week. It only takes minutes to make a big salad and the bonus of sitting down together at the end of the day is food for the soul as well as the body.
  2. Cut Down on Meat This is the time of year to eat less meat and concentrate on fresh fruits and veggies. Just eliminating meat from one or two family dinners a week can do wonders for the food budget and your taste buds won't suffer. Vegetarian chili, hearty salads and cold summer soups made with fresh produce are the way to go both for your health and your food budget. There are many ways to get complete proteins without meat.
  3. Grow Your Own It is easy and not very time consuming to grow some lettuce, carrots, and maybe a tomato plant or two in your own backyard or even in a container on your deck or patio. It will taste good and save you money and how convenient is it to just step into your back yard and come back with salad for dinner.
  4. Get Rid of Sodas If you haven't already done so, get sodas and carbonated colas, energy drinks and bottled iced teas etc. out of your life. Your body and your bank account will thank you. In hot weather we need more fluids, but water from the tap is free and homemade iced tea is easy to make-- all it takes is boiling water and a few tea bags. Steep it and then put it in a pitcher and refrigerate. Let's see, a box of teabags vs. 8 or 10 bottles of prepared and sweetened iced tea at $2.50 a bottle? Do the math. This is a no brainer, especially if you have kids.

Save on Electricity

  1. Ceiling Fans can save you money on air conditioning. In fact using any kind of fan in conjunction with your home air conditioning can save you money by allowing you to turn the thermostat up or turn the unit off altogether and use only fans and cross ventilation on all but the hottest days. One or two ceiling fans can save you a ton of money.
  2. Dish and Clothes Washers should be run early in the morning or late at night when electricity usage and rates are both low Also run machines only with a full load.
  3. Hang Your Laundry Out to Dry The old fashioned outdoor clothes line is making a comeback and saving $$$. Forget the electric clothes dryer. Do it the old fashioned way in summer when the sun not only dries your clothes, but leaves them smelling wonderful too.

And here is the big secret of successful frugal living. Stay positive and never never never feel deprived. The way to do this is to put some gratitude in your attitude and feel good about your life and lifestyle. You are not losing anything. You are gaining in control over your life, control over your personal finances and you are helping to improve the environment for all of us. So cheer up and enjoy the summer. Living Frugal in America can actually be fun.

Shave Your Summer Electric Bill

  1. Ceiling Fans can save you money on air conditioning. In fact using any kind of fan in conjunction with your home air conditioning can save you money by allowing you to turn the thermostat up or turn the unit off altogether and use only fans and cross ventilation on all but the hottest days. One or two ceiling fans can save you a ton of money.
  2. Dish and Clothes Washers should be run early in the morning or late at night when electricity usage and rates are both low Also run machines only with a full load.
  3. Hang Your Laundry Out to Dry The old fashioned outdoor clothes line is making a comeback and saving $$$. Forget the electric clothes dryer. Do it the old fashioned way in summer when the sun not only dries your clothes, but leaves them smelling wonderful too.
  4. Use Power Strips or turn off and unplug your TV, laptop or other electronics when not using them. If you just turn them off and don't unplug them, they are on standby and using electricity even when they are off. You will be amazed at just how much you can save this way. I plug all my electronics into power strips. It not only protects from power surges, but it is also really easy just to turn the power strip to " off" rather than unplug the TV every time I leave the room.
  5. Summer Tips for the Dishwasher and Refrigerator It goes without saying that in the heat of summer you should not leave the fridge or freezer doors open a second longer than necessary. This is not the time of year to open the fridge and stand there checking out what is in it -- know what you are looking for, get it and close the door. As for the dishwasher, not only should you use it during non peak hours, you might want to turn off the heated dry cycle as well to maximize your electric bill savings.

And here is the big secret of successful frugal living. Stay positive and never never never feel deprived. The way to do this is to put some gratitude in your attitude and feel good about your life and lifestyle. You are not losing anything. You are gaining in control over your life, control over your personal finances and you are helping to improve the environment for all of us. So cheer up and enjoy the summer. Living Frugal in America can actually be fun.

Money Saving Tips from Warren Buffitt

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Comments 32 comments

alekhouse profile image

alekhouse 6 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

Really good tips, Robie. I've been trying to do a lot of what you suggest. It's a little hard with so many people in and out of the B&B, but I'm sticking with the whole approach and many of my friends are doing the same.


robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

NHI Alek-- yeah I'm doing the same and so are my friends-- living frugally is not only greener, it seems to have a kind of reverse chic these days, which is pretty funny because most people are doing what they have to do to stay alive :-)


stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Super tips for living frugal and living green! My dad raised us to take pride in extending the usefulness of items rather than running out to buy the next "great" thing. Its definitely ingrained in my budgeting approach.

Voted up and rated useful!


ocbill profile image

ocbill 6 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

it's kinda good. Many other parts in the world do not have 10% down financing on homes. It's more like 40 to 50% down. What happens is prices do not drop drastically or rise with no looking back. I like it and more people will become more responsible but capitalism will find a way to offer "too much to pass up" again in the future.


robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks Steph--glad you liked the hub and right you are-- frugal AND green... yes indeed. Personally, I am glad that conspicuous consumption is no longer "in" and that even the mega rich are toning down their lifestyles.

ocbill-- I too like stability and am just hoping for the best-- at least lenders are now requiring 10% down and not giving mortgages with no cash down to people who really can't afford them. I think financial stability requires financial accountability all along the line, no matter what the economic system.


Raven King profile image

Raven King 6 years ago from Cabin Fever

Nice hub. :)


JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Great tips, robie, but very sad that the economy had to tank to force America to break its addiction to buy, buy, buy. Europeans don't share that mindset. Instead of spending hours at a mall and money they don't have, they spend hours sharing a meal and conversation with friends and family...with cells turned off, no less. We should've followed their lead years ago.


Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 6 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

My weakness is getting food delivered...

Good tips


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 6 years ago from United States

Ceiling fans on average only cost 2 1/2 cents per hour to run so they really help. I'm in favor of also advocating repurposing household items we just had big fun making expensive but older shower curtains in the new house into curtains in the utility room.


robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Whew-- hello everybody and thanks for stopping by Raven, Jama, UW and Jerilee -- great comments: Jama, I think you are thinking of Europe 25 years ago and UW-- I know whatcha mean:-) And Jerilee-- I totally agree about re-using and re- purposing and thanks for the details on ceiling fans. I have 3 of them in my house and they really make a big difference.


Norma Duenas 6 years ago

Very good article. This is a much better way of living, both for our peace of mind, and our environment. Consumerism really only breeds a constant need to have more to be happy. In return we have to keep working more to get what we think we need to be happy. Its an ugly cycle. Living more simply, it not as luxurious, but definitely breeds more mental tranquility.


robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Good point Norma, thanks for adding it. I think that many Americans who have started living frugally out of necessity are now discovering the real joy of a simpler lifestyle


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Then there are those who will still buy the designer purses and eyeglasses, take a funds-depleting mortgage on a McManse, and step up to a few rounds of plastic surgery. The idea of these folks even attempting anything of significant greenness makes me, well smile. I think our economy is going to have to be hammered on for quite some time to put plastic surgeons back into reconstructive surgery necessitated by accident rather than design, to put successful young couples into smaller houses, and to get those who want designer everything to consider the dollar value against the actual value of the goods.

With all that said, yours is a great list of ways to be less of a burden on the world in the summer in America. Dinner tonight is from my local farmer's market: a fresh tomato salad (they are not Jerseys, but close enough!), a rice dish flavored with fresh bell peppers, onion, and garlic, and sliced cantaloupe. After which I will take a shower and bask in the coolness of my AC enhanced with tower fans.

Super Hub, as always, Robie.


robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Yayyy ST--sounds delicious. What time is dinner? LOL and yes,there are many who would like to be conspicuous consumers, but these days fewer who are able to do it. In this down job market the mighty have fallen so it is not just tree huggers being frugal these days. My own feeling is that this is what is driving major shift in attitude that seems to be taking place. Good to see you as always, and thanks for stopping by:-)


stephanie o profile image

stephanie o 6 years ago from Pacifica, CA

Thanks, Robie! I've always been told to run my dishwasher and clothes washer and dryer at off-peak times but I didn't know if it really made a difference. I now do! Late night laundry will now be the rule in my house!!

And I totally agree with you about the need to get sodas out of ours lives. Think about how many kids are obese today because all they do is drink corn-syrup filled sodas! It's sad because they don't even realize how badly they are harming their health at such an early age!!

Thanks for all your tips!


robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thank you Stephanie, for reading and commenting- yup-- there is not one redeeming thing about sodas I think and water is soooo much cheaper:-0


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 6 years ago from East Coast, United States

robie - great tips, and we sure need suggestions on how to save money in these tough economic times. My only problem with the new frugality is - suppose you were already frugal? (There is something about hanging clothes out on the line that is very satisfying.)


robie2 profile image

robie2 6 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Hi Dolores-- good point-- you can only squeeze so far, but I think it is more the mindset that has changed. Being frugal is in now and people talk about it and brag about how they save money rather than how big their car is or how many vacations they take and I agree about hanging clothes outside. I love the smell of sheets that have been dried outdoors


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

"Put some gratitude in your attitude". I love it! Supurb hub and very well presented. Saving this one. Being frugal is always a proud moment for me and a huge change from the way I used to live. Thank you - I am a fan!


robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

How could I not love this comment, vocalcouch-- thank you and don't look now, but I am your fan too:-)


Avamum profile image

Avamum 5 years ago from Canada

Hi Robie2 - some good points here! For those of us who have always been frugal - first by necessity, then by choice, it's neat to see the sheer number of folks who are embracing frugality as a "new" reality. Voted up, and I'm now a follower!


robie2 profile image

robie2 5 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks Avamum-- yes the American insanity seems to have abated a bit since I wrote this hub. Thanks for stopping by and good to have you as a follower-- I'm following you now too-- we frugal types have to stick together:-)


MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 4 years ago from United States

Great Hub - Voted USEFUL. My favorite line "if you don't have the money, don't buy it". EXACTLY!


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Glad you liked it Marlo and thanks again for the support-- that line is my motto these days:-)


MarloByDesign profile image

MarloByDesign 4 years ago from United States

Makes complete cents to me! (LOL, like my play on words?) :)


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

:-)))))


Journey * profile image

Journey * 4 years ago from USA

These are all great suggestions for being more frugal. I like to do a lot of these like hanging the clothes out to dry sometimes too. Thanks for the article.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, Journey* -- I really love the smell of clothes dried outdoors-- especially sheets.... mmmmmmmmm.... and saving money is the best!!!


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Great tips delivered with a positive attitude. I already do many of these things and did so even before the economy went sour.

Voted up, useful, awesome and interesting.


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

thanks boomernurse--glad you are on the bandwagon. Waste not want not, I always say:-) thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Olde Cashmere profile image

Olde Cashmere 4 years ago from Michigan, United States

The advice you give in this hub can go a long way for all who follow it. Thank you for sharing these mindful tips. Great writing, voted up and useful (:


robie2 profile image

robie2 4 years ago from Central New Jersey Author

Why thank y ou, Olde Cashmere, and thank you for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. I'm off to check out your profile now:-)

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