I am compiling a list of 52 ways to be frugal or save money in 2017. The plan is to post one each week on Friday.Most, if not all, of these tips will be things that we actually do. However, if there is an idea that you want me to share let me know!
Tip #2 – Dryer Balls
I haven’t used fabric softener in a couple of years. YEARS! Why? It was an added expense. I am sensitive to smells and many of them are very strong. I read quite a few bad things about them.
Here and here and here for starters.
We are trying to lead a healthier life.
As an alternative I bought 6 dryer balls for almost the cost of 2 bottles of fabric softener. I have been using those same dryer balls for 2 years and they still work great. My clothes dry faster, which saves me electricity, and they are static free. You can add essential oils to your balls if you want a scent. I don’t.
A bottle of name brand softener (good for 40 loads) is $9. I do approximately 312 loads a year (or 6/week). So a year of fabric softener would cost me almost $72. Multiply that by the 2 years I’ve gone without it and I have saved approx. $144!
Not only are dryer balls healthier, they are also cheaper in the long run.
Running total of money saved:
Dryer Balls- $72
Total saved per year so far = $90
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I am compiling a list of 52 ways to be frugal or save money in 2017. The plan is to post one each week on Friday. Most, if not all, of these tips will be things that we actually do. However, if there is an idea that you want me to share let me know!
Tip #1- Cloth napkins
I have basic sewing skills and decided to make my own cloth napkins although you can certainly buy them in many different stores.
I purchased 2 yards of discounted cotton fabric for about $10 total and then cut it into approx 12″ squares. I did a quick straight seam around the outside and voila!
I chose to make each side a different pattern.
I can’t remember when exactly I made these napkins but it was at least 4 years ago. We use them daily and they get washed as needed. I can’t believe how well they have held up!
Price breakdown: 1 package of store brand napkins is $3. Let’s say we purchase 6 packs per year at the cost of $18. My cloth napkins paid for themselves in only 1 year! In the four years we’ve been using them we’ve saved over $72.
I do still buy a package of paper napkins each year which we use for and large parties or gatherings that we have.
This may not seem like a huge money saver but I also like the fact that it reduces garbage, especially when you have young children who don’t know how to use in moderation 🙂
-Fund all 4 kids college accounts.
We have used an online calculator to figure out how much we need to contribute monthly to reach the goal that we have set. (We do NOT plan on paying our kids whole way through college)
-Fully fund J’s ROTH ($5,500 limit)
This is going to be a stretch but we want to try REALLY hard to make it happen!
-Put an extra $2,000 on our mortgage
We were able to do more than this in 2016, but that was due to extra savings we had and some surprise bonuses. Since that is not something that we can rely on we planned for less. We know that we can do $150/month (which only equals $1,800 total) so we will have to scrape together some extra throughout the year to hit this goal as well.
-Take a family vacation
We haven’t done this since 2014. Yikes! We are hoping to do this before summer hits.
-Add to emergency fund
This isn’t a pressing goal but I always feel better with more money in the bank. So if we have the means to add to our emergency fund we will. If we don’t, due to our other goals, we are still in good shape!
-Continue to live debt free!
November of 2017 will mark our 5th year living without credit card or debt (other than our mortgage).
J and I like to make yearly financial goals.
The key to making goals, in any area of life, is to be specific. So instead of saying ‘we will pay extra on our mortgage’ we say we want to pay a certain amount for the year. To take it even further we take that goal down to bite size chunks and say ‘We will put an extra $100 on the mortgage each month.’ That monthly number makes the big, yearly number seem much more attainable.
So, to recap here were our 2016 goals and how we did on reaching them:
-Putting 15% of our income into retirement.
We have consistently put 12% of our gross pay into retirement accounts this year. Not quite to our goal, but we are definitely on the right track!
-Begin funding college for our oldest 2 children.
We were able to do this and thanks to a surprise bonus from J’s employer this Fall we were able to also start funds for the younger 2 children.
-Save $6,000 toward a newer vehicle.
This goal didn’t quite work out exactly how we wanted. We had the savings for a newer vehicle but wanted to save up the amount without touching that account. However when our older vehicle went in for a an oil change our plan changed. We were still able to pay cash for a vehicle, but we had to dip into our other savings account.
-Pay an extra $1,000 on our mortgage.
We beat this goal by quite a bit due to using some extra savings, VERY generous bonuses from J’s employer, and a great Fall selling season with my business. These are things that we can’t count on every year, but are VERY grateful when they happen. We were thrilled to put an extra $4,300 on the house this year!!!!
-Continue to live debt free!
Done! We still have more than enough and wouldn’t have it any other way!
How did you do on your goals for 2016?
-We were able to do some extra Christmas giving. Which is always fun for our family.
-We received a very nice end of the year bonus from J’s employer. With it we paid extra on our house, bought a new stereo for our van, and set aside some money for a family vacation in 2017.
-We did really well this week, mostly due to not going anywhere 🙂
Christmas Eve is spent at my Grandma’s house with my Dad’s side of the family. We do a potluck meal, play games, open a few presents, and sing a few songs.
Christmas morning will be our family around the tree. At lunch the rest of my family comes over and we spend the rest of the day together. 10 kids, 11 and under, and 9 adults makes lots of fun!
Have a Very, Merry Christmas Season!