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2 Ways to Cut Your Household Expenses: Save On Garden and Pet Products

by Esther Elizabeth Suson

posted in Finance

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What most families don't realize is how much they actually spend on accumulated marginal costs-or, to put it simply, they don't realize how much small and tiny costs add up into one big cost. For example, why spend at all on house or car rags when old, holey t-shirts can do just as well?
Why Save At The Margins?
What does that even mean? Saving "marginally" means to save cash by shaving off extra costs from current expenses. To make it clearer, think of a leaky faucet that drips a drop every few seconds. Each drop, taken by itself, is so small that it looks like only a bit of water is lost. But place a bucket under the faucet, and it will begin to fill. Multiply the volume of water by 365 days, and the amount lost will be staggering.
Every drop of water lost to the leaky faucet is like a marginal cost. Spending a few dollars and cents more here and there may not seem like much. But as they add up, the volume of additional dollars and cents spent will increase as well. Saving on the margins is an effective way to improve the household lifestyle.
That being said, there are some objects, especially appliances, that are more cost-efficient in the long run, while more expensive at the initial output. These usually include stove ranges, dryers, washing machines, and so forth. However, without cutting down on marginal costs, those objects may remain out of reach, or at least difficult to sustain payments on. What is suggested, is that cuts on marginal costs be first made on products that can be replaced with cheaper or home-made options.
Save on Garden Products
Buying every trending fertilizer, pesticide, and weed killer on the market is not cost-efficient. The average cost of fertilizer is around $270, pesticide can cost up to $300, and weed killer up to $100-all expenditures that occur more than once a year. If the household is already saving on vegetables with their garden, more can be saved on garden maintenance.
Coffee grounds are an unexpectedly cost-efficient fertilizer. Every day, after the morning brew is made, the grounds can be set in water under the sun for a few minutes and then poured as liquid fertilizer. Eggshells, a natural part of the breakfast tradition, can be washed, dried, ground, and sprinkled as fertilizer.
For pesticides, lime juice and vinegar sprayed on plants is effective. It won't harm them, is completely natural, and causes no harm to pets. Sprinkling Epsom salts very lightly on leaves is also a natural way to keep off pests. In addition, garlic and onion are easy-to-find kitchen spices that, when pureed, can be wiped on plant leaves to kill aphids and other bugs.
Save on Pet Products
Flea and tick medications, whether shampoos, pills, or liquids, can cost anywhere from $40 to $200 dollars a year, depending on what is preferred. Instead of buying flea and tick medicine from a veterinarian's (those only last a month or so), use normal home ingredients. Garlic in the pet's food, and rosemary around his sleeping place, are just as effective.
Pet containment is always a problem. After all, not all households can afford a 6-foot-high privacy fence with no cracks, costing an average of $2,000-2,400 for materials, labor, and tools. One smart saver is an invisible dog fence. A good in-ground dog fence saves over $1000, if it is professionally set up, less if the household tackles it together. A good wireless dog fence saves more than $1,500.
For his toys, creativity is key. Knotted rags do well for tug-of-war, and there are always old tennis balls to throw. Tough rubber toys with no small parts can be used for chew toys so the dog leaves shoes alone. If there's a problem with easily bored dogs, its set of toys can be placed on rotation so that he will always enjoy them. Pieces of yarn and string are good for all cats-and they are relatively easy to find around the house.
Cutting Costs = Effective Living
Saving on the margins is the trickiest part of cost-cutting. After all, like drops from a leaky pipe, each one separately is insignificant. Convenience has a lot to do with it: why save coffee grounds when there is pre-prepared fertilizer? Why repurpose an old tennis ball when pet stores sell cheap sets of dog toys? However, saving at the margins is one way to maintain a sustainable lifestyle, and effectively plan for larger, more important household expenses.
About the Author: Of all the suggestions, the invisible dog fence is the only item that cannot simply be made from everyday items. For a clear and realistic description on how much you should expect to pay for an invisible dog fence, visit
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