Happy New Year, farmgirl friends! I hope the new year is being kind to you so far! To me, January is “nesting season” – a bit of a lull after the rush of the holidays, and a time to hunker down before the spring comes again. It’s time to step into 2024!
January’s a good time to get to the things that should be done, but that we often don’t find time for. It’s also a good time of year to look forward, and find ways save money, time, and effort to make life a little bit easier!
Save money by not having to replace appliances. Household appliances should be given routine maintenance. If a car doesn’t get regular maintenance, it won’t run, yet often we forget to do routine maintenance on our appliances. Winter is a good time to clean things like the washing machine. Mine has a self cleaning cycle, but in addition, I will routinely take the soap cup out and clean it, and wipe under the seals.
We also change the washer inlet valve filter screens, which don’t cost more than a couple of dollars (they can be found on Amazon, and run just under $6.00 for four), but help the efficiency of the washer, especially with well water.
It’s also a good time to do things like vacuum under and behind (if you can) the fridge, and also to clean your vacuum’s filter. While appliances today do not last as long as they used to, machines will need less repairs, run more efficiently, and last much longer with proper maintenance.
Soon, in my planting zone, we will be planting indoor seeds to go into our summer gardens. Save money by planting seeds over plants; if seeds have been stored properly, they can be viable for up to five years. Never store seeds in plastic – it makes them “sweat” and moldy. Likewise, don’t store seeds in the refrigerator, it is too cold and humid. Planting seeds also ensures that you know how the plant was grown (hopefully organically)!
Save money by “bundling”. For example, like many people, we rid ourselves of a landline phone years ago, when it became apparent that cell phones were the “norm”. Back then, it seemed the only calls we got were political parties and spammers. However, now, by adding a “landline” phone through our internet provider, we save $30 a month! We did not have to add a phone to the line, just have the line, but I like having a landline phone. I only give the number to close friends and family, and the calls do not drop like my cell. The added bonus is how much time I have “found”. By not carrying my cell around constantly, I am not constantly looking at my smart phone, checking email and text messages. I suggested this to my parents, as well. A landline phone is often easier to see and use than a fancy smartphone, and offers peace of mind. Another good money saver is to call around and see if it makes sense to change insurance providers. We saved money by switching and bundling our homeowners and auto insurances. You can also save by switiching electricity providers. Just make sure that you keep tabs on how long a contract lasts, and you may have to call several times to get the deal that you want.
January is a very good time to go through the medicine cabinet and make sure that fever reducers and other over the counter medicines are not expired, and that you have everything you need before you need it! Unfortunately, our family started the new year off under the weather. It wasn’t until I was on the phone with my doctor that I realized that my pain reliever/fever reducer I had been taking was expired!
As I put away holiday items, I also like to organize drawers and cabinets, and donate or purge. One of my goals for this year is to get more organized and streamlined! Organize with me! Start with a little at a time! Share with me and leave a comment – what are your organization tips, or ways to save money in this difficult economy?
I hope your year is starting off great! Here in Connecticut, we have had our first snow and lots of rain (December was the third wettest December on record), but there is good news – our days are already staying lighter longer, and we are halfway through January – a long, cold month!
Until Next Time…Farmgirl Hugs, Nicole