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Off Season Sales

Don't you love it when you shop for a certain item and find an extra bargain as well?

I went to Wal-Mart today and found that they'd marked down their boys' shirts, sizes 4-6x, from $6 to $2. Needless to say I grabbed a bunch :-) DS doesn't really need any shirts at the moment (no sale is worth spending the money on if you don't need the item, as hard as it can be to resist ;-) but luckily they had sizes too big for him, so I bought those.

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Being Green Pays Off In Hydro And Gas Savings

Ha! So it is worth wearing an extra sweater and weaning myself off my old "light junkie" habits ;-)

I wonder if it makes any difference some days, when I can't seem to get warm, and I can't summon the energy to get up off the couch to turn off the bathroom light left on by one of the kids, but then... our bills arrive, bringing with them renewed inspiration.

First, let's look at hydro. (This would be me chasing after the kids, sending them back to their rooms to turn lights off. "Who's watching that TV? No one? OK can we turn it off please?") Turn off, unplug, turn off, unplug... you get the picture.

This month is the third month in a row that we've had a credit balance on our bill, and we'll probably get one more credit month as well. This of course is pre-paid hydro from being on the equal payment plan, and ideally the money could be in our bank account earning interest, but the fact that our credit this year equals about four months is evidence of our decreased consumption.

Confirming this is the "Daily Average Comparison" featured on the bill, which reads as follows:

Jan 2008 58 kWh
Jan 2009 30 kWh

This year we are using just slightly more than half of the hydro we used last year, all from unplugging things while not in use, and turning off unnecessary lights.

Next let's look at gas, which we use for heating and cooking.

We recently installed new windows, and I think they are the main reason that our gas consumption is less. I do try and use the toaster oven when I can instead of the gas oven, and I've been hanging most of our clothes to dry as well. According to our bill, the weather has been colder this January than last, and yet our gas usage has been less:

Jan 2008 Average daily temp: 4C; Average daily gas usage: 0.52 GJ
Jan 2009 Average daily temp: 0C; Average daily gas usage: 0.37 GJ

Our monthly installment payment has gone down from $147.00 to $127.00.

You wonder (at least I did) when you turn off that extra light or turn the heat down that half degree if it really makes any difference. Apparently so!

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5 More Things To Try Using Less Of

Here's a continuation of a previous post called "10 Things To Try Using Less Of". I was browsing through older posts and thought "hmmm, what else can I cut back on?"

1) Peanut butter - my kids love this on everything. I usually just slather it on, but I really could get away with using less.

2) Condiments - I can try putting less ketchup, etc., on my kids' plates, and only add more if they finish what they have.

3) Potatoes - we have a bad habit in our household of peeling too many potatoes when we make them mashed. We usually end up putting the pot on the floor so the dog can lick up the leftovers (but hey, do we save in dog food? ;-) I'm going to start using fewer potatoes from now on.

4) Toothpaste - you really only need a small dab, if you are brushing correctly and flossing as well. I need to supervise my kids more to make sure they're not squeezing out big globs of the stuff!

5) Bread - here's one I do already, but I thought it was worth mentioning. If I make full sized sandwiches for my kids (i.e. two slices each), I usually end up feeding leftovers to the dog. I've started limiting them to one slice per day, and now they finish what they're given, as well as eat more specifically nutrient dense foods (such as apples) because they're not over filled with bread.

There you go - more saving ideas to try. (As long as I don't make myself cut back on laptop power usage, I should be fine ;-)
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Weekly Mortgage Payments

We're switching our mortgage from bi-weekly payments to weekly. Although this doesn't result in as much interest savings as shortening the amortization period would, it still helps by reducing more quickly the balance of the loan that the interest is calculated on.

I've heard that there are even daily mortgages available - interesting!! I'm skeptical that our bank would offer this, but I'm going to ask. I'll let you know what I find out...
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Have You Shopped For Marked Down Christmas Items Yet?

Now's the time!

I was in Pharmasave today and noticed that all of their Christmas stock was marked down by 50%. Some things are still cheaper elsewhere, such as at dollar stores, but there are definitely deals to be had if you shop around.

Happy bargain hunting :-)
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Buying In Bulk

We have a full sized freezer and a vacuum sealer ("Food Saver"), because we shop regularly at warehouse stores, or stock up at regular stores when things go on sale.

This evening my husband did a big shop at Costco. Some of the items that were cheaper there include:

-butter (which freezes extremely well)
-ground beef

It's like anything else - it pays to shop around and know prices, because not everything is cheaper. I keep receipts from various stores and compare prices on a per unit level. Admittedly the convenience of pre-packed smaller portions is nice, but generally speaking, if you buy food in bulk and divide it into smaller portions before freezing it, you usually save money.
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