Wednesday, June 24

Tips for Cutting the Housing Costs

Living with kids these days can make the wallet empty pretty fast.  Add in a very expensive mountain town that has less then stellar wages and you are going to count every penny.  You will even start counting the penny's in your Son's piggy bank.  Take it from me, to survive you must be frugal with a belt full of tricks.

Below are my top tricks to save money and still live a little.

1. Cut the Cable/ Satellite- These days when you can get Netflix for less then a quarter of what we were paying for cable its just makes sense to say no to the over priced providers.  When we feel like a movie, we save up and go to the theatre or rent one.  Mind you this only happens once every couple of months.

2. Stop Paying for Literature- We used to buy books all the time.  I love to read, always have a book on the go, a stack of books on the table waiting for their turn.  Since my boys have gotten bigger, they are starting (and loving) reading!  I grew up in a family of avid readers.  We used to have shelves of books in our house that would rival the library.  We loved to buy books.  Book stores still feel like candy stores for me.  Them when our budget was super tight I started going to the library.  Our library is connected to a province wide program. We can order books, and movies from all over!  i have not bought a book for over 7 years!  Now the library feels like the candy store... I just needed to change my perspective.  For a small yearly fee, your whole family can read as many books as they like.

3. DIY heat- We had a plumber in a few years ago to take a look at our ancient furnace that came with the house.  He said he was surprised that the furnace worked at all.  Our furnace is over 40 years old, and runs at about 40% efficient.  Our money was getting flushed away with the gas we were using to heat our house.  We bought and installed a wood burning stove in our living room.  Now during the winter the house stays at 15 C, and we have a fire started the moment we get home.  In the summer the furnace is completely turned off.  In the first month we saved over 50% on our gas bill!  I recommend getting a building permit and inspection done to ensure that the stove is safe and installed correctly.  Nothing says romantic like a fireside cuddle.

4. Stock Pile to Save-  In our area groceries are always expensive.  My sister was selling a chest freezer a few years ago.  We now stock up when the food is on sale and freeze for the future.  I love going to the freezer instead of the store to see what we should make for dinner.  It just takes a bit of planning.

5. Barter- A friend of mine is a hunter.  He usually has a freezer stocked with elk and deer.  I make jam and salsa myself so we trade.  I once even make a dozen muffins and traded for some elk.

6. DIY Repair-  My husband is a carpenter/ mechanic/ handyman.  All of these come in handy when something in the house or car breaks.  Our stove which is about 16 years old blew the fuse that runs the oven.  I love to bake and cook.  Without that oven we were looking at a new stove, and the price tag that comes along with it.  I did some online searching and found a company that supplied the part, and they even had a video on how to install it!  I paid less then $10 (including shipping) once the fuse was put in we had a brand new stove!  We have also fixed our cars this way.  Do not be shy to give something a try.  Usually someone else has had the problem and fixed it!

7.  Brand New is Overrated- We try very hard not to buy anything brand new.  Especially larger house hold items.  When we bought our house it was a complete gut.  Everything must go right down to the studs.  A friend of mine was renovating their house and upgrading their kitchen.  We scored a fridge, stove,and dishwasher all for under $600.  We still have that stove too!  When our fridge was dying another happened to be selling theirs.  A $1600 fridge for less then half!  Our current dishwasher cost us $30 from another family upgrading their kitchen.  Now you can look all over Kijiji and Facebook for bargains.  The time it takes t locate what you need is well worth the money you will save.

These are just a few of the ways that we are able to cut costs and save money.  We would rather save the money for our annual road trip then on any overpriced item.

What are your favourite ways to save?

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