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How We Save Money

We have been moving towards a simpler, more sustainable life for several years now.  In order to make On the Green Road a reality, we have had to make conscious changes in our lifestyle.  Many of the choices are greener and more sustainable but many are just ways of spending less money.

Our lives are a work in progress.  Take time, relax, breathe deeply and dive on in.


General

  1. Buy less and buy only what you need.
  2. Make a budget and check in every month to see if you are sticking to it.
  3. Buy used instead of new items – the big ones and the small ones.  This is what we decided to do for the Airstream and the truck.
  4. Don’t buy with credit.  Use cash when possible but for that one emergency credit card shop around for the best interest rate.
  5. Pay yourself first – add regularly to your savings account and consider starting a Roth IRA as part of your retirement plan.
  6. Sell what you don’t need or want.  If you have rooms in your house with items you don’t really want or don’t know what to do with… it might be time to sell.  Put more money in your pocket, free up valuable space and feel the weight being lifted off your shoulders.  Lightening up the load is an awesome feeling.

Food

  1. Eat fruit and vegetables that are in season – they are less expensive.
  2. Buy raw and in bulk instead of prepared or packaged foods.  If you don’t already cook this is your opportunity to do so.  Spend time with your loved ones and prepare delicious meals together.
  3. Consider eating less food – do you eat until your full or do you eat whatever is on the plate.  When we go out to eat we try to share a dish. We are always full and never stuffed.
  4. Shop at your local farmer’s market or join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program near you. Avoid the middle man and get local, quality, organic produce at good prices. Once we hit the road we plan on stopping at farmer’s markets as often as possible.

Home, Clothes, Shopping

  1. Wash your clothes in cold water.
  2. Plug appliances and electronics into a power strip/surge protector and turn off the power strip when not in use.
  3. Buy energy efficient light bulbs.
  4. Drop your land line.  We both have cell phones and decided to stop land line service.
  5. Cable – we dropped our cable service.  We stream Netflix, Hulu and Pandora through the web instead.
  6. Read information on-line instead of getting magazines and newspapers delivered.
  7. Avoid using paper towels and tissue.
  8. Before buying new, check out used items.
  9. When buying new items, buy high quality, durable items that last from manufacturers that stand behind their product… even 20 years later.  Spend more money upfront and get a quality product that will last forever.
  10. Have a clothing exchange party.  Get a bunch of friends together, have every one gather used stuff, come together, share food and maybe a glass of wine and swap clothes.. it’s free, fun and you end up with great stuff.
  11. Sew and darn items before throwing them out. Be resourceful, get more life out of an item and feel good about what you’ve done.

Transportation

  1. Use public transportation often.  Online resources, like 511.org in the San Francisco Bay Area can map out your trip using several different forms of public transportation.
  2. If you own several vehicles, decide if you really need them all.  If not, sell one, two or all of them.
  3. If you own a diesel vehicle convert it to run on used vegetable oil.  You pay the one time fee for the conversion kit, and then when you need to replace filters, but after that fuel is free.  Find a local restaurant that is willing to give you their oil.  Many restaurants actually have to pay to have their oil carried away. You build community and relationships in the process.
  4. Join a carpool with friends and co-workers or participate in a ride share program with people you trust.  Many cities maintain online listings.  If you can’t find a local resource start your own!
  5. Ride your bike and take the ferry, a fabulous way to commute, and if you are lucky you’ll see a dolphin on your way to work.

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