Sunday, June 5, 2011

On the path (back) to frugality...

I am a private tutor.  That is my primary source of income during the school year, but leaves me a little panicked as I look towards summer.  All three of my primary students are likely to not need summer tutoring.  As I scramble to find summer students, I am also looking at the many ways I might save money on our everyday expenses.  Early in my son's life - he will be 12 this summer - I was beyond frugal.  I made tightwads look like spendthrifts!  So, I am working towards getting back to those penny pinching ways.

Since we moved to New York - just outside New York City - we've had to make a lot of adjustments.  Finding new ways to be frugal hasn't been at the top of my list, although I haven't exactly been a spendthrift either.

My closest friends know that I tend to be a bit of an environmentalist, and so it won't surprise anyone that I've been watching loads of shows and movies about environmentalism recently (thank you Netflix streaming!).  What does that have to do with being frugal?  The way I see it, you can be environmentally friendly and spend a TON of money, or you can environmentally friendly and super frugal!  I plan to do the latter...

I was watching "The Lazy Environmentalist" on Netflix, and was fascinated by an episode that included hypermiling.  To be honest with you, it looks a bit too complex for an exceptionally uncoordinated person as myself!  But, what caught my eye was a little gadget that keeps track of your gas mileage...why don't cars come equipped with these little gadgets???  I've been investigating MPG (miles per gallon) meters, and am pretty sure I'm going to buy the PLX Kiwi in order to see just how efficient my car can be, and to keep track of my own driving habits.  Although I'm not buying my Kiwi immediately, other aspects of the tv episode that resonated with me are all about personal driving habits in general.  Overall, I work to be a safe driver, but I haven't spent much time thinking about how my driving habits impact the amount of gas I use...and thus the amount of money I spend on gas.

From a cross-country drive last summer...

Over the course of the past few weeks, I've been doing some of the following in order to reduce my gas/dollars waste:

  • brake early, slow, and steady
  • coast when safe to do so
  • drive the speed limit, or just a bit under (I try to do this anyhow, but have you been on a freeway lately? Some of those other guys are going FAST!)
  • keep the tires properly inflated
  • don't use the a/c unless you really *need* to use it
  • anticipate stops/red lights and coast to a stop, if you can
Overall, I've spent about two-thirds of what I usually spend on gas!

My next few posts will be about other environmentally friendly changes that we've been making that are having an important financial impact over the course of our summer.


  1. Frugal and green often do go hand in hand. I'm not very into being all green and environmentally friendly but a lot of what I do to be frugal is very green.

    My hubs was unemployed for 2 years (we're a 1 income family) so I learned to cut a lot of corners. Many roads I travel often I know exactly when to let off the gas to to coast to a an easy stop! LOL

    Good luck being more frugal and green!

    (stopping by for the HHH)

  2. GREAT tips! with gas prices what they are, that is a big help! thanks!


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