Five Crazy Ways I Like To Save Money

Owen Winkelmolen

Financial planner, personal finance geek and founder of PlanEasy.

Saving money is a very personal thing. Everyone values things differently. You and I each have our own personal values. What we like. What we dislike. Even if we have the same income and live in the same area we’re still going to have very unique budgets because we value things differently.

Take me for example. I value time and freedom. I value time with my family and friends. I value the freedom to choose how I spend my time. I value these things more than other things and I’m willing to make sacrifices to give me more time and freedom.

My budget reflects what I value. I save money on things that I don’t value and I spend money on things that I do. Some things I choose to save money on might seem crazy to you, or it might seem normal, it all depends on what you value.

I’m going to share with you five crazy things that I like to do to save money. Depending on what you value, you might I’m absolutely insane, or you may think I’m completely normal.

What crazy ways do you save money? What do you value? Make a comment at the end of the post.

1. Make Yoghurt!

Yes. I make my own yoghurt. And I don’t even have one of those fancy instapots. I make 1-2 batches per week and here’s why…

Our family eats a lot of yoghurt. I mean a lot! We have it for breakfast, we have it in our smoothies, we eat it as a snack. With four of us yoghurt it goes extremely fast. We probably go through 2-3 tubs of yoghurt per week.

To save a bit of money I make my own yoghurt. It’s surprisingly simple. I don’t even need the recipe anymore. In total it takes about 4-5 minutes to make 2 tubs of yoghurt. You can even make Greek yoghurt by straining fresh made yoghurt with a cheese cloth or coffee filter.

It’s also kind of neat knowing how it works, and that I can do it myself.

 

 

2. Low-flow Everything!

Low-flow showerheads, low-flow toilets, low-flow faucets! Why waste money on water going down the drain? Where’s the value in that?

I’ve been a bit obsessed with water and electricity usage in our home. We live in a small 1,000 sq ft bungalow so it’s easy to tweak things to try and lower our utility usage. It’s one of the things I really enjoy about our home, it’s small and efficient.

I recently switched our shower head to an ultra-low-flow model. This was probably the least expensive and best ROI of all the changes I’ve made. The showerhead was $8 on Amazon and reduced our water consumption by 1,500L+ per month. That saves us $6/month and will pay back in less than two months (not to mention the environmental benefits!)

We’re also looking at an ultra-low-flow toilet and a new high-efficiency washing machine. These two changes together would save another ~4,000L of water each month!

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3. Hypermiling!

Who else ties to stretch a tank of gas as far as they can? Is it just me?

Some people take hypermiling to the extreme. They add stuff to their vehicle to make it more aerodynamic. They avoid the heater/air-conditioning to save a few % on their fuel efficiency.

I’m not quite that obsessed but I do try to stretch each tank as far as it will go. That means no heavy braking or quick acceleration. It also means driving at a reasonable pace. We also choose to drive a Honda Fit to help save on gas. We average 6.3L per 100lm or about 37MPG.

The bonus is that we avoid speeding tickets!

“When it comes to saving money, it’s all about what you value”

4. Grow My Own Food!

To be honest, I’m not 100% sure this one saves money, but at the very least it’s a hobby that breaks even. We grow some of our own food with a large vegetable garden. We’re even experimenting with growing veggies year-round in a cold-frame.

We grow spinach, arugula, kale, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, green beans and cucumbers. We also grow some herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, cilantro and basil. (Mmmmm, fresh pesto!)

Some vegetables we’ve tried in the past but haven’t worked include carrots, leeks, onions any and few types of kale/spinach.

If you don’t have room for a full vegetable garden, then try a small pot with a few herbs. Fresh grown herbs are amazing and are much less expensive than at the grocery store. Fresh herbs will really kick your meals up a notch (Try making some focaccia with fresh rosemary, mmmmmmm)

 

 

5. Bike To Work Year Round!

Even I must admit, biking to work year-round is crazy.

When the sun is shining it’s easy. But when it’s the middle of the winter, it’s dark early, it’s below freezing, plus its snowing outside, then I start to question my sanity.

On those dark winter days, I sometimes have second thoughts, but then I remember why I’m biking to work.

It’s not just because it’s healthy, and it’s not only because it saves me time (no more trips to the gym). One of the reasons I bike it work is because it helps our family avoid buying a second car, and that decision alone saves us ~$5,000 per year (plus the time spent on maintenance etc).

I’m willing to ‘tough it out’ a few days per year to save money, be healthier and save time.

What ‘crazy’ things do you do to save money?

Owen Winkelmolen

Financial planner, personal finance geek and founder of PlanEasy.

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5 Comments

  1. Sarah

    You’re not crazy. Everything you do makes sense to me. Unless I’m crazy…

    Can you share your yogurt recipe please? Making yogurt is on my list of things to conquer this year.

    Besos Sarah.

    Reply
    • Owen

      Maybe we’re both crazy Sarah 😉

      I’ve adapted my yoghurt recipe, you can check out this one, but here are my basic steps…
      1. In a covered pot, heat 1.33L (1 bag) of milk over medium-low heat to 180 deg F (usually 15-20 minutes). Watch the last few minutes closely, try not to let it boil over.
      2. Keep lid on and let cool until temp reaches 115 deg F, usually 1hr.
      3. Stir in 1/4 cup of yoghurt with active bacterial cultures then pour into three sterile 500ml mason jars.
      4. Place mason jars in small cooler with water at 120 deg F. Enough water to reach 4/5ths of the way up the jars.
      5. Then set aside and try not to disturb it for at least 5-8hrs.
      6. Place in fridge to cool/set. If you want greek style yoghurt place cheesecloth or coffee filter in a colander and strain yoghurt (15-30 min)

      Temperature is key to making silky smooth yoghurt. Slow warm up, slow cool down, and keep very close to 115 deg F for 5-8 hrs (a small cooler with hot 115-120 deg F water is great for this)

      Reply
      • Sarah

        Thanks for sharing!

        Reply
  2. Zach @ Four Pillar Freedom

    I’ve never heard of anyone making their own yoghurt haha that’s awesome! It’s cool that you grow so many of your own vegetables too, I would love to start doing that myself eventually. This is a great list, thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Owen

      Thanks Zach! Making yoghurt is actually kinda fun if you’re into the food-science type stuff.

      Reply

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