Saturday, September 17, 2011

Spare change anyone??

My Father came to visit over the summer and told me that he paid off his car using the spare change he would have at the end of each day. For as long as I can remember, my dad had change that he was rolling into tubes to deposit in the bank, or he would have a huge water jug that he would drop loose change into. So having him tell me that he paid of his car using loose change, was believable, coming from him. Could I do that? Nah.

So over time, the thought of what I could do with the loose change that I get when I do laundry, or I see around the house has been bouncing around in my head. You see, I didn't want to spend it, I wanted to save it. I spend spare time cutting and sorting coupons, so I don't have time to roll coins. Who goes into the bank anymore? I do everything online now, so I wasn't going to make a deposit once I got it rolled anyway. I know, I sound lazy, but I'm being very realistic about me. 

So one day I was talking on the phone to my friend about the loose change, and she mentioned Coinstar. Now if you aren't familiar with it, it came out a few years ago. It is a machine in most grocery stores and it counts your coins for you, for a small fee. When it is done you get a receipt that you take to the customer service desk and they give you the cash that has been counted up. I found this picture and you can see that the person had $10.00 in pennies but after the fee would get $9.11 once they redeem the receipt at the customer service counter.


Now, I knew I didn't have $10.00 in change at the time that we were having this discussion and I didn't want to pay a fee to use the machine. Here is the good part, you can use Coinstar to count the change and get a Kroger gift card without a fee. So you get to keep the value of all your change and you can use the gift card when you purchase groceries at Kroger (minimum of $5.00 to get the gift card). 

Okay, so here is my version...I used the machine (I found a dime on the ground in front of it) and I had $7.02, and now I have the Kroger gift card with that amount on it. I don't want to spend that money, I want to save it. So I went home went to my online banking account. I transferred $7.02 from my primary checking account (which is what I would normally use to pay for my groceries), into my savings account. This is how I plan on saving some money, I only need $6,992.98 to buy the used station wagon I found! I know it is a slow process, but it works for me! 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Using a Rain Barrel

Drastic Times Bring Drastic Measures!

I bought a rain barrel a long time ago. I thought I could use it to collect the rain and water my yard between rains. That in theory was supposed to save money. Well, I'm in Texas, and if you haven't already heard...there is a drought in Texas. I'm not getting the use out of my rain barrel that I hoped I would. There is another option though...

You see there is this term: "grey water", it is the water that comes from your washing machine, that can be recycled. It isn't water that you can drink, but it is usable water. This drought is horrible, it is supposed to make it into the record books. We have been advised to water our foundations with soaker hoses, which I did, but my water bill is going up. Now we have been asked to conserve water (and electricity), so here is where the rain barrel comes in. I have a 57 gallon rain barrel, it looks like this: 

My washing machine uses a little over 40 gallons of water each time I wash clothes, and that water goes down the drain. It is water that I can use. It is ridiculous that I'm waiting for rain that isn't coming to collect water to use (not on my grass, on my FOUNDATION). I talked to my husband about how the city is dealing with 1,000 water leaks a day, and how we could conserve water. I also talked to my sister (she is frugal too), and she is noticing the effects of the drought on her home as well. Well one thing led to another and now my rain barrel is in my garage collecting the grey water from my washing machine. The spout on the rain barrel at the bottom has a male part, so I connected my water hose directly to it, and it waters my foundation and yard each time I do a load of laundry.

It isn't as productive as using a water sprinkler, but it is helping me maintain my water bill, and helping me take care of my home. I never would have thought at the time that I bought the rain barrel that it would be used this way, but it is getting the job done!
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