Author Topic: Saving money is costing money  (Read 7977 times)

Stache In Training

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Saving money is costing money
« on: September 11, 2013, 03:09:16 PM »
Hello, my wife and I are really starting to cut back and save.  Our biggest expense (other than our house) has always been eating out.  So we've stopped.  I think we've eaten out 3 times in 2 months. One of those times we were taken out, and didn't have to pay the bill. (Thanks, Uncle!)
However, what we've found is that now, with all of the cooking we're running the dishwasher almost everyday, or at least every other day, and needing to wash the big pans and such by hand.  So that's using more water, more electricity, soap, etc.  Any ideas on how to cut back on dishes used, or dishsoap, just that situation in general?
Also, we now use the oven more, which is upping our electricity bill. (It will help in the winter, at least...)

I know it's still cheaper than eating out, but just wondering on anyone else's experiences on making the change to eating more at home, and how to keep those costs down.

Thanks!

Daley

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2013, 03:13:31 PM »
Lots of raw vegetables and fruit in the diet, cook outside with fire if possible, and lick your plates. ;)

galliver

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2013, 03:34:34 PM »
I'm kind of terrible at this, but things I try to watch out for are: how much/how long I run water (does the tap have to be ALL the way open?), whether I can reuse dishes (e.g. I'll put cut veggies onto a plate and then use the same plate to eat off of once the stir fry is done), and trying to cook in weekly batches--anything that won't go soggy (like meat or pasta, not veggies) I cook enough of to last 3-4 days. Then you're washing the pan once, not every day!

I probably run the dishwasher every other day, maybe every three. My roommate doesn't cook at home much, so it's mostly just me...

Carrie

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2013, 05:32:26 PM »
How big a difference is this making in your electricity and water bills? 

We just got a new refrigerator that is energy star rated (supposed to use $48/yr) and we just unplugged our "outside" fridge, so I am anxiously awaiting our next power bill to see if that made a difference. 

The biggest jump I've noticed in our water bill was when we added a teenage girl to the household (long showers!), and our water bill went from $45-$48/mo to $53-$58/mo.  This was adding 1-2 loads of laundry per week, running the dishwasher just a tad more often, in addition to the extra flushes/showers; not that significant, really.

Maybe focus on how much you're saving by not eating out and don't worry so much about the added utility costs, unless you notice that those go up significantly.  Even though I cook daily on a gas stove, our monthly gas bill in the summer is only $18-$19; I don't think I can get it any lower (minimum usage applies at the $18 range), so I can't imagine that your starting to cook adds THAT much to your utilities.

If you want, you could always make your own dish soap (google it), although in my experience... it's not as good as store bought, store brand, in bulk.

gooki

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2013, 09:26:29 PM »
Just be sensible, don't over optimize.

mrpress

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2013, 09:37:27 PM »
Run full dishwasher loads and shut off the tap when you don't need it running, but yeah don't stress out about a few dollars of utilities. Calculate how much you've saved by cooking at home and feel good about it!

dragoncar

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2013, 10:23:31 PM »
Unless you have the most inefficient appliances on earth, the extra utilities don't come anywhere near to the money saved by eating at home

Stache In Training

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2013, 10:24:21 PM »
Thanks everyone.  Yes, I'm doing most of this stuff (I actually make my own hand soap, but not dishsoap, for the reasons mentioned), and no, I'm not freaking out about it, as I know I'm saving much more money than eating out. (haven't ran the numbers yet) 

Just saw it as another opportunity to save even more.  Kind of like when un-plugging appliances like the microwave when not in use.  Yeah, it's only saving a tiny little bit, but it all adds up.  So that's why I was just wondering if anyone had any great ideas that were alluding me.

Roses

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2013, 10:26:14 PM »
I noticed the same thing.  For my household of 3 I run the dishwasher every day, sometimes twice a day.  A couple of things that helped:

1. I stopped pre-rinsing dishes as much as I used to and I switched to the 'eco wash' setting on my machine. All I do is scrape leftover food into the compost bin, but not rinse the dish unless it really needs it.  Luckily the machine is good enough that even when I leave a significant amount of food stuck on it still cleans dishes really well on the eco wash.  This only works when I use cascade soap or a similar brand.  I had been using eco friendly dish soap and I definitely had to pre-wash to get things clean.

2. I bought a few more dishes and pans.  This sounds counter intuitive but when I first started cooking a lot at home I found myself running the dishwasher before it was totally full just because I needed certain things for the next meal.  Now that we have enough plates, bowls, glasses, a couple skillets, etc, I don't worry about needing something specific and I always wait until the machine is totally full before I run it.

3. I also started being conscious of how many dishes a particular recipe will take.  I used to be the 'use every pot in the kitchen' type of cook but have gotten much better about that.  We also re-use our drinking glasses throughout the day and maybe some bowls.  Like, if I eat some berries in a bowl at breakfast, I keep the same bowl around to use for lunch.

4. I put an aerator on my kitchen faucet to reduce water use.  I'm also very aware of how long I have the faucet on but the aerator really helps.

Good luck!

Roses

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2013, 10:29:05 PM »
Oh, and +1 to the person who said cook in big batches for the week.  I do that and it really helps with dishes but especially with time!  It also makes it easier to eat healthy since having healthy food ready to go in the fridge makes it harder to give in to temptation :)

Osprey

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2013, 12:51:09 AM »
I am not sure if you would be willing to try this but I've never had a dishwasher so here's how I wash dishes in a double sink:

- half fill one sink with hot water and soap
- half fill the second sink with clear water
- wash and rinse from clean to dirty (e.g. glasses --> plates --> pots). Normally I fill the second sink using the water from rinsing the first few dishes.

It doesn't take much more time or effort than filling a dishwasher, especially for two people.

Christof

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2013, 12:54:04 AM »
A microwave is more efficient than an electrical oven for heating or cooking food...

starbuck

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2013, 07:19:11 AM »
I'm lazy and reuse dishes A LOT when I cook. Like if I'm stirring something with a fork, I'll use that fork to eat the meal when I'm done. Obviously, I don't do this when raw meat is involved. That would be dumb. I also just use the same water glass for a few days. Same goes for wine glasses. :) Just rinse and boom, good to go.

I also don't understand why people rinse dishes before they go in the dishwasher. (Soaking, I get. Scraping, totally. Rinsing is a mystery.) I had a friend that would WASH dishes with dishsoap before putting them in the dishwasher. I asked her about it and she said the dishwasher was old and that was the only way to make sure the dishes were clean. I didn't understand why they didn't just replace the dishwasher, or just handwash everything and use the dishwasher as a drying rack. (They finally replaced the dishwasher a few months ago.)

FYI you only need to fill the detergent dispenser in the dishwasher half way. (Same with laundry detergent.) I use 7th generation powder detergent and haven't had issues with dishes not coming out clean. I don't use a rinse aid, but we don't have hard water either.

Christiana

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2013, 08:25:14 AM »
My husband was talking to a dishwasher repairman who said that you only need one tablespoon of dishwasher detergent per load, and that what really matters is to run the hot water in the sink first, so that the dishwasher is getting very hot water.  We had been using way too much detergent!

We only run the dishwasher when it is full.  Pots and pans I scrub in the sink right away, with very little soap.  The other things to be handwashed I let pile up, and then wash all at once.

It can't be costing us more than $20 in electricity and $15 in water and $2 in soap and detergent per month for our whole family to eat at home (just estimating off the cuff).  Which comes out to roughly 10 cents per person per meal.   

 

galliver

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2013, 09:14:22 AM »
I have an old dishwasher and it has trouble with small food particles accumulating and sticking. Even with rinse aid. I rent, so new one isn't an option. So I rinse. Still faster and easier than washing by hand! If I scrub, though, I usually consider it washed.

Hadilly

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2013, 10:34:06 AM »
My husband's college room mate got hepatitis from rinsing, but not washing, his drinking glass. Highly recommend regular soap use!

plantingourpennies

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2013, 10:49:46 AM »
I've heard you can cut the cooking costs by using a pressure cooker...haven't tried one yet.

Best,
Mr. PoP

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/a-tribute-to-my-pressure-cooker.html

dragoncar

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2013, 11:28:00 AM »
My husband's college room mate got hepatitis from rinsing, but not washing, his drinking glass. Highly recommend regular soap use!

How on earth did they determine that?  Did they test the glass?

worms

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Re: Saving money is costing money
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2013, 12:37:20 PM »
My husband's college room mate got hepatitis from rinsing, but not washing, his drinking glass. Highly recommend regular soap use!

To be fair, he got hepatitis from another hepatitis infected person...who may have been the previous user of the glass.  I don't think the earlier poster was suggesting that you share glasses, simply only rinsing her own glass between uses.  Clearly in a mixed-use kitchen that would not be a good idea.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 01:15:00 PM by worms »