|I typed this with my free word processing software.|
One of the blogs I follow regularly is the Non-Consumer Advocate because it inspires me to embrace frugality. Every penny we don't spend is a penny that stays in our savings, which will allow us to cruise on our sailboat longer before we have to worry about topping the cruising kitty up again. (Don't you just love it that sailing type people call savings a cruising kitty? So cute.)
Leading a frugal life is multi-faceted. It can be about not buying things and doing without, doing something yourself instead of paying someone else to do it or going with a free or cheaper alternative to a product or service. Sometimes the savings are huge, other times it just pocket change. But, it all adds up.
While we regularly share how much we spend, I thought I'd share some of the things we've done recently to save money and keep our cruising kitty happy. Some of the things might seem insignificant in the scheme of things (like not eating fast food), but as Katy at the Non-Consumer Advocate says, "Just like you can nickel and dime yourself into the poorhouse, you can also nickel and dime yourself into financial freedom."
1 - Free OpenOffice Software
When I got my new laptop last month, it came with a 30 day trial version of Microsoft Office 365, after which it would cost $69.99 a year to keep processing my words, crunching numbers in my spreadsheets and making pretty presentations. That's $69.99 each year, not a one-off cost like it used to be.
I needed a better solution. Preferably a free one. Thankfully a friend told me about the open source Apache OpenOffice. It has the same programs, pretty much the same functionality and you can convert files so that they're usable in Microsoft. Sure, it doesn't looks as slick as the Microsoft version, but it's free. By going with OpenOffice, we're saving $69.99 a year which is a decent chunk of change.
2 - Filtering Water For Less
One of the things we need on our boat is a way to filter and purify our water to get rid of the nasties and make it taste better. This will be especially important once we're back out there cruising and filling up our water tanks from possibly questionable sources in other countries.
When I did some research on what system to get, I saw the Purest One and Seagull systems mentioned as being top of the line. They both sound like great systems, but they're really pricey. We're talking hundreds and hundreds of dollars for the system, plus the relatively expensive cost of replacement filters.
I just couldn't wrap my head around spending that much money, so I decided to go with a cheap and cheerful solution using a household water filter housing for less than $50. Filters are also a lot less expensive. (If you want to know more about water filtration on boats, check out The Boat Galley.)
3 - Canceling My Audible Membership
Amazon likes to tell you about all the exciting things you're missing out on - like audio books. They tantalized me with a free 30 day trial of their Audible Gold Membership. During the trial, you get to download two free audio books. If you decide to continue your membership, it will cost you $14.95 a month, which includes one free audio book of your choice each month.
I enjoyed listening to the books while working on sewing projects, but $14.95 seemed like a bit much to pay each month for one audio book, especially considering how many unread books I have lying around my boat. But, that's the great thing about free trials - you get to try a product or service out before you commit. Plus, I got to keep my two audio books which I can listen to again on long, boring passages.
4 - Eating Free Soup
When the lovely Vicky and Ed from Catching the Horizon were at Indiantown Marina storing their sailboat for hurricane season, they gifted me with a lot of food that they didn't want to leave on their boat. I'm not too proud to accept free food that would otherwise go to waste. It's saved me some money and every time I have some of the soup they left me I think of how much fun it was to meet them.
5 - Saying No To Fast Food
Did you ever have one of those days where you didn't want to cook and Burger King was calling your name? A Whopper Jr and fries sounded so good, but I resisted the temptation and ate leftovers instead. Not only did I save money, but I also did my heart a favor. Win-win all around.
What do you do to save money? Any frugal tips you want to share?
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