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The Simple Dollar

Four frugal projects to kick off 2014

The first weekend of the new year is the perfect time to tackle frugal indoor projects.Here are four of them, along with how much each project will save you over the course of the year.

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If you can add a few free activities to your calendar, you’ll have a lot less time sitting around trying to think of things to do in the evenings.

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The Simple Dollar is a blog for those of us who need both cents and sense: people fighting debt and bad spending habits while building a financially secure future and still affording a latte or two. Our busy lives are crazy enough without having to compare five hundred mutual funds – we just want simple ways to manage our finances and save a little money.

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It’s really hard to estimate how much this will save you, but let’s say it manages to replace one $10 activity or shopping excursion a month with something that’s free. If you do that, it adds up to $120 a year.

Plan a Garden Together
This is the time of year where many people who love gardening are thinking about their garden for the coming year. They’re making diagrams, ordering seeds, and thinking about schedules for when they should get their starts going.

If this sounds like you, great! Gardening can really save you a lot of money over the course of a year.

However, you can save even more money if you involve someone else in the garden planning. If you have a friend who also gardens, invite your friend over for the afternoon and plan your gardens together.

How does this save money? Let’s say you’re both going to plant a particular type of bean from seed. Rather than each of you buying a packet, just one of you can purchase it or you can split the cost. If you can find several things that you’re sharing in your gardens, you can both end up saving significant money.

You can also evaluate garden tools together and share tools as needed, as well as the replacement costs for them.

A simple step like this can save an avid gardener $20 a year, easily.

Make a Kitchen Compost Bucket
Sarah and I have been avid composters since we bought our home. We love turning vegetable and fruit scraps and coffee grounds into nutritious food for our garden.

During the winter, though, it’s not exactly fun to trudge out to the compost bin to toss in vegetable scraps – and letting them openly pile up is just begging for odor and bugs.

The solution? A compost bucket. The problem is that compost buckets online can be pretty expensive. However, they’re also very simple structures.

When something’s simple… why not just make it yourself? This is a great guide for making one out of an old coffee can and the only thing you need to buy is some charcoal filters from the pet store to keep odors away. This lets you keep quite a lot of kitchen scraps conveniently right in your kitchen, saving you trips to a larger outdoor composter.

Making your own compost for your garden or for other plants around your home can save you on potting soil and fertilizer throughout the year. We easily save $40 a year by making our own and this little bucket will make it even easier.

The post Four Frugal Projects for the First Weekend of the Year – and How Much You’ll Save This Year If You Do Them appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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