Oct 17, 2008

Financial Forum - Money Tree

With the troubles going on in our economy, have you ever wished that you had a money tree? Or, at times, do you feel as if you are treated as nothing more than a money tree?

If the answer is yes, then please read on. If your answer is no, but you have a desire to save money, then please read on.

Here are some simple ways to save some significant green (paraphrased from an issue of BottomLine Personal, 10/01/08).

Limit Portions: according to the USDA, roughly 25% of all edible food bought by Americans goes to waste. There are also packaging and transportation costs. If you use smaller portions and invoke leftovers, you could save between $500 and $1500 per year.

Plant Trees: A few strategically planted trees that provide shade and block cold winds can lower your heating and cooling costs. Once mature, this could be as much as $250 per year.

Reduce Your Lawn: A beautiful lawn requires water, fertilizer, weed killers and pesticides. If you use a lawn care service, you also have service fees. Planting low maintenance ground cover such as pachysandra or creeping thyme can trim your yard care costs by 50% ($100-$500 per year).

Be Thrifty With Clothes: Only a small fraction of all clothing thrown out in America is truly worn out. If you buy half of your clothing from thrift stores, you can expect to save 80% over the cost of new duds. This can represent a savings of as much as $800.

User Fewer Paper Products: Use cloth napkins and towels instead of paper, and real plates/cups versus paper plates/cups, and even after factoring in laundry and dish washing, your could save $100-$200 per year.

Energy Star: As you replace household appliances, look for the Energy Star label. You could save $100 - $400 per year.

Eat Lower in the Food Chain: Did you know it takes seven pounds of grain to gain a pound of weight in a cow? Beef and Poultry account for more than 200 pounds of meat per year. If you eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, your will be healthier and reduce your grocery bill by 20% (savings of $1200 per year).

Drink Tap Water: Tap water is as safe as bottled water for most of America, and it takes oil to make plastic bottles for your water. If you drink bottled water, you could save $200 - $1000 per year.

Stay Close To Home: With gas at $4 per gallon, if you can eliminate one or two trips per week by consolidating your outings, you can save more than $100 per year if you save 15 miles per week. Do the math for where you live.

Use Your Library: Save trees and plastic by borrowing books/CDs/DVDs from a friend or from the Library, and if you avoid buying one book per month and avoid renting two movies per month, that is a savings of $420 per year.

So what is the bottom line (pun intended) - look at how you spend your money, and if you plan and strategize, then you could get to the point of saving between $2000 and $8000 per year. That is not chump change :o)


  1. Good tips and practical suggestions. I also saw in today's local headlines online that our gas company is giving out rebates if you install energy-efficient appliances.

  2. I love these tips and I am going to use them , ps that portion control can help in more ways than one lol

  3. Looks like I am doing most of those things on this list already. Every little bit helps. The only thing we dont have is trees, but thats because this land used to be farming land and there never was any trees on it before it became acreage and a home. We are working on it, but trees are expensive. I just want them as a windbreak, not to close to the house, maybe some evergreens. At the old house the gutters stayed FULL of leaves, and that was just awful. Thanks for posting this...everyone could use some tips on cost cutting. :) Kelly

  4. The odd thing about many of the tips, is that they are common sense. When I go to the library, it is the same crowd almost every day.

    The meat tip is a good one, but I honestly feel that with all the injecting of cows with 'stuff', that it makes a chemical addiction to many of us, including those on the poverty level, who also don't have the intellectual thinking to find another option, not to mention a host of other issues.

    Planting trees sounds good, but walking around a city like Detroit, I can't imagine that ever happening. Still, it is something to strive for.

    In Detroit, the big thing would be to improve mass transit. If more folks used that, the savings in money and quality time would be outstanding. IMO, people so badly manage their time and schedule their day's, that it accounts for a great deal of waste in energy and time. Whew!

  5. And you can guy used books. Love Alibris. We pulled out the grass five yeras ago. Much more fun.

  6. That was meant to be buy not not guy. :-)

  7. Sound advise Ken. I'm trying to save up enough money for a good down payment on a car. I am fairly thrifty, but you hit me in the head with the paper goods suggestion.
    Hugs, Joyce

  8. To be thrifty with clothes we can go thru our closets and donate anythign that no longer fits. A rule I read is that if you have not worn it in 2 years chances are you will not wear it again. Plus, it give all the people looking there a good supply. And the money is used usually for charitable causes.

  9. that is great advice!! I know we are being a bit more careful with things to help get through this economic crunch; thanks for posting them


  10. A very fine read, for I was just going over my own finances. I'm guilty of a couple things mentioned, and will eliminate the extra cost! Thanks for the tips.

    Blessed Be,

  11. Great advice, that is a huge savings at the end of a year!! I am guilty of wasting food, neither of us eat anything left over so it goes to the woods for the animals (is that a waste then?) or in the trash.

  12. Some great tips here. I do use quite a few of these, library(or used books), thrift store-for more than just clothes, less paper, tap water, and less trips out and about.
    :) Leigh

  13. I like how clear and practical this advice is. My favorite is about reducing the lawn. I do most of the other stuff but I hadn't thought about reducing my lawn. I'm switching to a low maintenance ground cover!


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