This is the first installment of a continuing series on fast and easy ways to impact your personal economy. The process of getting out of debt can certainly be overwhelming depending on how far into debt you are. One very important thing that I learned is that taking “baby” steps is just as important as big money-saving changes in your life. What I found to be most helpful are the things that I can change in my daily routine that only take a few minutes. If you can come up with a variety of these, the savings will slowly add up.
Should You Even Bother?
Today I‘d like to focus on water usage. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with my father several years ago. I was asking him for ways to save on my water bill and he responded by asking me how much I paid a month for water. I told him about $40. He told me that it’s not worth it to even worry about, since $40 isn’t very much money.
Up To $300 Per Year
Being the frugal person that I am, this exchange motivated me to see how much I could shave down my water bill. By the time I finished, I had my bill down to $14 per month. This translates into saving a little over $300 on an annual basis.
Here are some of the things that I put into place to make this happen:
- Turn off water while brushing your teeth
- Turn off water while rinsing dishes
- Turn off water while shaving
- Soap up in the shower with the water off
- Better than turning off the sink water when shaving, shave while showering (at the same time as rinsing off the soap)
- Run full loads only of dishes and clothes
- Limit yard watering in summer
- Adjust water usage of toilets
I Know, I Know
Some of these will involve a conscious effort on your part if they are not currently part of your daily routine. It took me a little bit of time to stop doing all of them. But you can do it with just a little bit of focus. Think about it, all of that water in the first three ideas is just running down the sink. You might as well be throwing money down that drain (pun intended). Turn on the water only when you need to. And if you’ve never tried shaving in the shower, you should. It’s convenient, and even without a mirror you really don’t miss any spots.
Running full loads of clothes and dishes can really impact your bill. I’d say we could all wait an extra day or so before running these appliances just to put a few extra clothes or dishes in.
Also, does the grass in your front yard really need to be a deep dark beautiful green in the middle of July? Have we become that vain? I cut back my watering schedule by at least 30% without a noticeable difference in the appearance of my yard.
Finally, you can adjust the amount of water your toilet releases each time you flush. It takes a little work and I won’t get into how to do it here, but this can also save some money.
Just Five Minutes
These ideas really take no time to implement at all; they just involve a change in habit. So much about getting out of debt involves a change in habit rather than any actual sacrifice. These ideas are fast and simple and can save you money. The positive effect you will have on our environment by using less water is just another reason to try this stuff out. Look for the “Five Minute Money Manager Series” in the future. If you have any water-saving ideas you’d like to add, feel free to do so below.
(photo credit: 21804434@N02)