how i'm trying to save money in july

 


Hi dear friends.  I thought I'd talk a little about saving money in July.  As our summer temps go up so do the utility bills.  The garden demands more water and I demand more interior coolness.  


In my last post I told you about the thick triple lined Ethan Allen drapes I purchased and they have helped so much.  I pretty much keep them closed once the sun moves around to that part of the house.  But luckily my entry and living room get early morning sun so I can keep the drapes opened here for most of the day which I love bc I like bright interiors.  They make me happy.




I was able to get these gorgeous pink hydrangeas from a friends garden.  Gosh they are beautiful.


I've been trying many different methods of saving water in the garden,watering in the morning vs the evening.  I've been hand washing my dishes and saving the rinse water and can use that in all my pots outside.  I have no idea if this will make much of a dent in the water bill but I feel good trying.  I also have cut way back on cooking anything.  I don't know what is happening to me but I dread cooking these days.  So overnight oats and various salads are what I've been eating.  Also lots of cold water with lemon and orange slices.  I notice overall I'm driving less and just doing less.  I think it's leftover covid isolation.  I'm not hating it.  I'd love to hear how you are saving this month.  Any tips in the comments would be wonderful! x

ps - and what are you guys eating?

30 comments

  1. Lots of veggies from the garden: squash, zucchini, onions, peppers & tomatoes

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  2. My dad saves his laundry water and stores it in rain barrels. He uses that water for his garden. His tomatoes love it.

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  3. keep a bucket in your shower and save the cold water that comes out before the warm water. Use it to water your plants.

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  4. Eggs tonight either an omellete or in tomato sauce.
    Always end dinner with fresh fruit!

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  5. We recently discovered Trader Joe's frozen mango. We pour a small serving each into a container and it is soon thawed enough to munch on. Sweet and no slicing around a flat pit! Love your posts and your lovely taste in surroundings!

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  6. Our hydro rates change, depending on the time of day. To save money on electricity, I leave the heater for our hot water tank turned off until I wake up in the morning. I turn it on by flipping the tank's fuse switch on for an hour while the rates are still low and then turn it off for the next 23 hours. Although there are two of us showering each day and dishes to be washed, we never run out of hot water and we are not paying to needlessly heat our hot water.

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  7. We have tried turning off lights and then we use fans instead of our a/c. I am careful with our water usage and I re-create meals with our leftovers. It's an ongoing effort to be frugal. I enjoy home time and gardening. My husband is in need of my full time care due to several health challenges, but I'm happy for each day. I walk everyday with one of my dearest friends. This is my sanity.
    My heart goes out to you and I hope you are finding things to be thankful for each and every day.
    xo,
    Karen

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  9. I live in the south of France, where it gets very hot and dry. My previous house had exterior shutters of thick wood--I'd close them on the east the night before, and in the afternoon would open them on the east and close them on the west. The house would stay around 80 degrees when it was 100 outside. Nobody has air conditioning, which helps because you get used to the heat and 80 feels nice.
    My new apartment has roll-up aluminum shutters. They help a lot (and I'm on a north-south axis now), but they don't insulate the way the wooden shutters did.
    For water, at my house I went crazy with mulch. I had a layer of wood chips from when we had the trees trimmed, and then over time just used leaves raked up in the fall. Helps enormously with reducing watering and also reduces weeds! I also used to wash vegetables into bowls of water and throw that onto plants outside rather than down the drain.
    I air-dry clothes. Dryers not only are terrible for your clothes, they also use a ton of electricity. If you dry sheets outside, don't spin them, and hang them dripping wet--they will dry wrinkle-free, as if they'd been ironed.

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  10. Gosh, it sounds hot over there, like Australia in a bad Summer. Water is expensive here, and we do some of the things others suggest: a bucket in the shower, always use any bit of spare/leftover water on a potplant or two. During a drought I rigged up a system to put the washing machine water into a large bin then onto the garden. Salads during Summer, definitely. Right now I am enjoying our short Winter, cosy in long sleeves and scarves for a few weeks.

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  11. Thanks for a post on saving money and talking about meals! Ditto on not feeling like cooking, so tomato sandwiches, salads, some fresh corn on the cob. Like Taste of France, I love hanging laundry outside and love the crisp sheets and fresh air scent. I live in the SE and keep curtains/shades closed during the day to keep out the heat--I think about my grandmother's habits a lot these days. We're lucky that we may get rain every week and a half or so, so I put all my house plants outside on the porch when there's some rain. The garden is mostly dependent on rain versus me watering; I know I'm very lucky to be able to say that.

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  12. What lovely pics to wake up to. I also lost my husband due to cancer 3 years ago. The grief was overwhelming but I am now on the other side. You will be as well❤️ Anyway, I no longer enjoy cooking but try to eat well anyway. Often have a poached egg on sourdough with Trader Joe’s chili lime seasoning. Oven roasted vegetables. I wish I had tips on saving water while keeping your garden alive! Have a beautiful day.

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  13. Like you, I eat lots of fruits, veggies and salads this time of year. I'm not much for cooking regardless, but particularly when it's really hot. My mom used to "recycle" her dish water as well. I think it's great and I do it too - every little bit helps!

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  14. I hang my clothes on the line, but when they're dry, I put them in the dryer for ten minutes on no heat, gets rid of dust and allergens. I also made a system to use the rinse water from my washing machine in the garden.

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  15. Your home looks especially calm and beautiful. I love Hydrangeas. In the Summer I like to make a very simple ratatouille. I just layer in my iron pot layers of sliced eggplant, Zucchini and tomatoes, equal amounts of each. in between the layers I put sliced garlic, basil and oregano I get from my little patio garden, salt and pepper. you cover the pot and cook it over a low heat for a couple of hours. The vegetables and garlic come from a farm up the road. I have it over whole grain toast, with veggie burgers, as a filling for an omelet, the eggs also from the farm, over pasta. I also love local corn this time of year. Darby

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  16. I do cook a lot since my husband has to take meals/leftovers to work. But our summer fare is much lighter than it is in the winter. The past couple of days I've made egg salad and a zucchini pie (recipe from Skinny Taste). Besides green salads, we eat a variety of pasta and veggie salads, or quinoa or couscous salads. I used to love overnight oats until I was wondering why I had diarrhea every morning. Stopped eating the oatmeal and I was fine! My mom can't digest it either. So now every morning I have a smoothie in the blender...unsweetened almond milk, banana, fresh berries, baby spinach (everything organic), hemp hearts, a small spoon of almond of peanut butter, and ice to make it nice and frosty. So good to sip outside on a hot morning!

    We live in a small town where we have our own private wells. So we don't have a water bill. We don't waste water unnecessarily though. Did you know hand washing dishes actually uses more water than a dishwasher? Though if you're not cooking much and it's just you in the house, it'd probably take a long time to fill your dishwasher. I do so much cooking that I run the dishwasher 1-2x/day! I don't use the heat cycle to dry though. I use the 1 hr wash and then open the dishwasher door and pull out the racks to let the dishes air dry.

    Clothesline drying is a great option for not using a clothes dryer. I have horrible seasonal allergies though, so can't hang my clothes or bed linens or towels outside. I do have a spoke style indoor drying rack that is in my basement. I use that to air dry all my cotton tops and pants.

    xoxo

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  17. First, your interiors are gorgeous. Please do add a bit of water to your beautiful hydrangeas: one of them isn't submerged. (I see it because it's one of my often-made mistakes.) As for food, I've been making a pot of beans in my instant pot, then using them throughout the week, rolling them into tortillas with salsa and cabbage, putting them in salads, etc.

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  18. I am always so happy to see one of your posts. Anyway, I've turned up the thermostat here and trying to save by running the dryer with two dry towels (the quick dry kind) added to the wet load. It helps cut the time. And since I've been giving my patio plants the water from the pot when I steam vegetables, they've been thriving! Not usual in the Austin heat.
    On cooking- I am having such a hard time with this! My son lives with me and I have to push myself to fix even a simple stirfry. Half the time it's leftovers. Need some new ideas- I'm going to try the ratatouille posted above. If it was just me, I'd be happy with a salad or baked tofu with steamed veggies, vegan parmesan, most nights. My desert is dried fruit with walnuts- so good!
    Here's to the simple life!

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  19. Janet, I always love to see your home interiors; they calm me!

    Things we do to save on water here in drought-ridden Southern Cali: We upgraded home appliances. Dishwasher is a water-saver model and I use the energy saver option where we run it for less time and air-dry the load. Washing-machine/laundry is also a water-saver model; I run it on short cycles; I also air-dry most of my 'outer' clothes like dresses, shirts & tops. Smaller veggie garden this year in order to save time, 'product' and water, but loving the tomatoes, zukes and cukes in our tall, standing planters and a small patch of ground. Watering the yard and hillside just twice a week with deep soaks and drip irrigation, like at daybreak and sunset. Cars get super dirty before washing them but husband uses a hose attachment that controls the water flow (occasional paid carwash is also okay as they recycle the water). We never wash off driveway or sidewalks, and we put in pavers which allow water to seep into the ground between pavers. We xeriscaped with low-water plants/trees and took out a lot of our property's lawns (because grass is a water hogger).

    For cooling, we're soon to install ceiling fans; we supplement the central air by using standing room fans and box fans; the central air is never on when we sleep; I'm constantly opening and shutting blinds to keep sun out of the home interior; we have two roof turbines to pull heat out of the attic; we open up the house early in the morning and at night but keep it closed up during the day; we try not to have on equipment during the day and I only do laundry in the early morning and oven-cooking much later in the evening. I try to cook things that give me leftovers for at least three days (I roast a lot of veggies, for instance; sheet-pan cooking).

    I am changed since Covid lockdown. I have no desire to shop in a brick & mortar store; I got too accustomed to groceries (and other stuff) delivered right to my front door with free shipping. I've become more of a phone friend than an in-person friend. I only briefly went thru a wanting-to-bust-out phase and instead love being home even more as I have much to keep me busy and happy. It's fun to sometimes get out in the car early in the morning to take a little 'drive' to 'see the world' but it's a comfortable, smaller life in general; small pleasures, but better (although I do still dream of 'traveling' again).

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  20. Not feeling much like cooking either this summer. I've been pulling out a slice of my frozen homemade sourdough bread, warming it up in the toaster, and topping it with a little cream cheese and fresh peaches for breakfast and for lunch I replace the peaches with sliced tomatoes topped with basil from my garden for a quick and easy lunch.

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  21. I always did love your frugal saving money tips. I live in Arizona and so wish getting solar panels installed was not so expensive. That's the real way to save here, but yes, we keep blinds and curtains closed and have solar screens on the windows.

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  22. I am making lots of salads too, beans in the instant pot and Smitten Kitchen's zucchini butter pasta. I love to make a big pan of ratatouille as well, but I roast mine in the oven. It's so good cold, as well as over polenta.I got a batch of beautiful Royal Blenheim apricots yesterday and am enjoying them very much.I use the vegetable washing water for potted plants, and am trying to do better with navy showers.

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  23. Hi Janet, so nice to see you blogging again! Love the hydrangeas. Our bills with SDG&E have almost doubled. June used to be around $60-65 the last bill was $130 and I have not been running the a/c. I think they are trying to make up for all the profit they are losing because of people converting to solar. Our water bills are increasing too, not good for us because we have a big yard. We fill up empty gallon water bottles waiting for the hot water when doing dishes and a bucket for the shower. I just heard the governor is recommending Californians cut water use by 15%. Another drought. :o(
    Looking forward to seeing more posts from you.
    Linda
    xoxo

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  24. love your post! i live in northern california and we are in a severe drought right now. i am doing the bucket in the shower thing mentioned in one of the comments, also trying to save my rinse water as you mentioned, especially when i wash my lettuces from the farmer's market or garden! i think it will really help! also showering every other day. i am not working right now so that works for me. and taking a shower at the rec center on my swimming days. :) i am eating lots of salads and tj's has yellow watermelon right now which is the best! i have fruit salad in the morning with a little bit of kite hill almond milk yogurt - yum! and i can turn any leftover into a taco - that's my happy food. your place looks lovely as always. happy summer. xo

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  25. Taking sponge baths for me and my car. Using my bicycle for errands as much as possible. Recycling the dish water on yard after washing dishes by hand. Being mindful not to waste any water. Eating lots of salads with plenty of protein.
    Drinking green smoothies in mid morning, love my Nutribullet.
    Judy P

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  26. Cooking very early in the morning for 2 or 3 meals - rice, pasta, beans for salads and bowl meals. Grilling pizza, vegetables and veg burgers. Overnight oats.
    Drinking lots of cold water and sun tea.
    Deeply watering garden in the early hours.
    Opening and closing doors/windows as temperatures rise and fall.
    Shade cloth and insulation panels on east/west windows.
    Using ceiling and floor fans.
    Using only cold water for showers - very refreshing.
    All clothes line-dried.
    Being lazy in the hottest part of the day. ;)
    ~ skye

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  27. Hi Janet! Always so happy to see a post from you. I hope you are doing well. I'm saving money by shopping my wardrobe. I have no interest in cooking either. I would eat cereal every night if I could. I tend to eat salads. I throw anything in them and they are always delicious.

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  28. I'm so glad for your posts, and I love these topics on saving and simple living. Like many in western N. America, I'm eating more salads and meals with less cooking involved. The prices of some summer fruits that are typically low at this time are pretty exorbitant at the moment though (because of the drought and wildfires?). I save money by doing without and finding cheaper substitutes for fruits or anything else. Your home is looking lovely as always and thanks for sharing your savings tips.

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  29. It's too hot and humid in South Carolina to do without AC but I save money by line drying laundry, keeping the drapes closed and using ceiling fans. We're eating salads and cool foods with lots of iced tea. Too hot to cook!
    Love seeing your beautiful home!

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  30. Janet . . . these reminders are worthy of repeating . . . they all add up as a cost and resource savings - thank you
    as for cutting back on my garden expenses here in Virginia . . . I have ceased to invest in fertilizers for my perennial beds . . . during the pandemic winter I read David L Culp's two wonderful books . . . he doesn't fertilize and uses minimal water because his beds are tightly planted and retain moisture . . . instead of investing in annuals I have potted some herbs and tucked them into the garden here and there . . . pretty and these seem to drain better in the pots than in our Virginia clay
    and - yes . . . lots of salads with the very lightest of citrus dressings for dinners

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