Updated on 05.27.08

24 Hours, 24 Ways We Save Money

Trent Hamm

Frugality runs through our lives like a quiet, gentle stream: subtly, beautifully, and often without notice.

12 AM Our programmable thermostat has automatically adjusted for the night, letting the normal outside temperature control the temperature in the house while we’re sleeping. The cool Iowa night-time air rarely gets above 80 degrees at night, meaning our house doesn’t use any cooling during the night time hours. We leave our windows open on clear nights to let the wind gently blow air through our bedrooms. Money is saved while we sleep.

1 AM Our outdoor solar lights finally flicker off, well past any time we would be up and about. These lights use no additional energy and provide perfect ambient lighting when we’re outside relaxing in the evening.

2 AM The snails and slugs and worms slowly crawl around in our garden, moist with dew. They naturally process the soil, help take care of pests, and make our vegetables more healthy when we harvest them. The cost of gardening is minimal compared to the bounty of fruits and vegetables we get out of the garden.

3 AM Our clothes, hung out to dry the night before in the guest bedroom, slowly dry in the cool night air. An occasional gentle breeze blows in the window, drying out the laundry instead of using the dryer. A bit of money back in our pocket.

4 AM Our tightly packed deep freezer kicks on for the first time today. It rarely kicks on because it’s full of frozen food – the temperature rarely changes inside, so it doesn’t use much energy. The food stored inside is a huge savings – we were able to buy a quarter of a cow’s worth of beef at once directly from a meat locker, saving us a lot of money.

5 AM We start to wake up and begin our day, starting with a diaper check on the young ones. The cloth diapers are dry from hanging in the guest bedroom, so we put them on our children, saving money from the cost of disposables. Wiping is done with a reusable cloth and a gentle spray of water (usually the “extra” insert cloth from the cloth diaper), saving money again from the cost of wipes.

6 AM A family breakfast consists of homemade oatmeal, a very inexpensive and tasty favorite that provides a great way to fuel the day. We use our own homemade oatmeal packets, making each of our delicious breakfasts cost just pennies.

7 AM My wife and the kids leave for the day. Since I work from home, there’s no fuel costs or miles put on my vehicle. Instead of burning through a couple gallons of gas each day (read: $8), I stay at home and save some cash.

8 AM Instead of going to the gym, I stay at home and do my own exercise routine, using free online tools like Gyminee and Wii Fit to track my progress and the motivation of my friends to help me move forward.

9 AM At work, my wife uses her breast pump to produce breast milk for our infant daughter. Our daughter has eaten 80% breastmilk throughout her infanthood, making our formula costs minimal and also improving her health by providing natural disease resistance and appropriate proteins for growth.

10 AM I do a batch of laundry, using our homemade laundry detergent, which has completely replaced store-purchased detergent use for us. Each load is now eighteen cents cheaper than before.

11 AM My wife takes advantage of her work benefits, snagging a healthy lunch from the cafeteria for free. This is a valuable perk afforded to her and she doesn’t hesitate to catch it every day.

Noon I enjoy a nice lunch made up of leftovers from the night before with some additional spices on top. Flavorful, healthy, and very cheap – active use of leftovers means we can prepare more for meals to begin with, which opens up more bulk buying opportunities. That reduces our overall food cost dramatically.

1 PM It’s a warm day, but instead of cranking up the air conditioning, I turn it off and open up several windows to encourage a natural breeze through our home. A couple of small well-placed fans encourage the natural air flow – far, far cheaper than running the full house air conditioning.

2 PM During an afternoon break, I go grocery shopping. But instead of just heading out to get the two or three things I know we need (and likely winding up with several more things on the cart), I make a shopping list and take along the coupons that match what we need. Sticking strictly to the list keeps the tab at the checkout in check and keeps me from going home with impulse buys – I’d rather have cash than that impulsive bottle of a new flavor of Mountain Dew.

3 PM I come home and take a nice shower. We have a low-flow shower head, plus the shampoo and the soap in the shower were bought almost for free using the one month coupon strategy. Total cost? Almost nothing.

4 PM Late afternoon arrives and I need some informative entertainment. Instead of staying glued to the computer, I shut it down and turn on a small transistor radio, tuning it in to the local NPR station, and get started on household chores. NPR is hugely entertaining and informative and I can get it on my radio for almost no cost at all, not even energy – the tiny radio uses very little juice.

5 PM The family arrives home and instead of eating take-out or something like that, we work together to watch the kids and prepare a homemade supper. The cost benefit is amazing – we often eat a nutritious and tasty dinner for less than $1 a head.

6 PM Evening entertainment time, and it doesn’t involve the television. We play in the yard, or sit somewhere nice and read books checked out from the library.

7 PM My mother calls using Skype. We talk for free, then switch onto videoconferencing mode so she can see the kids before they go to bed. She lives in another state, but the total cost of the call and the video is next to nothing.

8 PM The kids are in bed, so it’s time for evening chores. We fill up the compost bin with scraps from supper, which not only reduces the amount of trash we throw away (keeping our trash removal bill in check), but provides us with free organic fertilizer for the lawn and for the garden. Let some mature compost dry out and you can spread it quite easily wherever you need it.

9 PM Time to relax with my wife. We could fire up the television and the DVD player and start sucking down the watts, but instead we enjoy a cool summer breeze out on the deck and watch the sun go down while sharing a glass of homemade wine. Bliss… and it only costs pennies.

10 PM We curl up with books or play a game to unwind, or find something else free and enjoyable to do together (use your imagination).

11 PM We go through the house and turn off all of the lights and most of the electronic devices before bed. Eliminating 500 watts worth of electricity means saving 9 kilowatt hours of energy between now and 5 PM the next day (when we might turn stuff back on) – that’s a $0.90 savings for a minute worth of walking through the house as part of the bedtime routine.

Around the clock, a little here and a little there, the savings add up and, before you know it, your debts are shrinking and your life seems far less complicated than it did before.

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  1. Great article and it shows the exact reason why I love the site. Keep up the good work!

  2. Lola says:

    Well done, Trent. After the clothesline controversy, I’m glad you don’t use the dryer all the time. It gives me hope to see that not all Americans take our world for granted.

  3. Natasha says:

    Excellent post! We have so many frugal things going on in our home at all hours of the day and night that become so second-nature, that we often don’t even think about them any more. This post did a great job of pointing many of those out.

  4. Powderpuff says:

    Make sure you dry your underwear. Only drying them in heat will kill the fecal bacteria. Bleach won’t.

  5. justin says:

    Great Post!

  6. DJ says:

    These are all great. I never use the dryer either, but for a different reason. I’m paranoid about shrinking/worn-looking clothes so EVERYTHING is washed in cold water on the delicate cycle and line dried, except undies which feel good amongst the nether regions after being softened in the drier. I’m also paranoid about undercooking meat which means I always overcook. I’ve become a vegetarian at home as a direct result. We eat a lot of beans. I hate HATE clutter so I never buy anything. I’m a librarian and refuse to buy books on principle (also relates to clutter). I’m convinced that my hair is falling out so I’ve begun the process of adopting a no shampoo lifestyle (google “no ‘poo” for tips). These weird quirks def keep costs down but sometimes it’s hard living with this brain. It has a mind of its own.

    Unfortunately I live in an apartment so no compost heap or changing the showerhead for me but I figure I’m keeping my costs and carbon footprint low by being an urban dweller in a small space.

  7. Lisa says:

    I bet you sent a check to your local NPR station in thanks for the good job they do and the reduced advertising.

  8. Steph says:

    @Powderpuff: Huh. I wonder how our ancestors survived without electric dryers, what with all that fecal bacteria floating around.

  9. warillever says:

    Great post!

    Clearly shows all of the simple things that we can do to save money.

    I’m glad to see that you are being environmentally friendly at the same time.

  10. Benjmain says:

    Hey Trent! Thanks for the voyeuristic look into your daily routine!

    We tried planting a garden last year, but after $200 in tilling, potted plants, fertilizer and other expesenses, our total harvest consisited of two bags of green beens, and two tomatoes (the deer at the rest!)

  11. MoneyEnergy says:

    Very, truly inspiring!

    I assume you actually really do all these things?
    When you think of these tips, it’s really easy to save on money.

    Since I’m still technically a student, I’m in a very different overall financial boat, but I would be taking many of these actions. My biggest saving tip right now is to not incur late fees on library books:)

  12. Frugal Dad says:

    These are great tips – not only for saving money, but for consuming less energy, and producing less waste. Those things are at the very heart of my definition of frugality.

  13. Emma Savage says:

    How often do you and your wife have sex? Seems to be the perfect frugal entertainment to me but you never mention it.

  14. Dave says:

    Oh boy, that’s even more intimate than Trent usually ventures! Love the comment above for the entertainment value but doubt we’ll get a quantified answer :p

  15. Ivy Mae says:

    What do you think he meant when he said (10pm) “find something else free and enjoyable to do together (use your imagination)?”

  16. Char says:

    Ummm Emma, maybe you should reread his post, I believe this statement: “10 PM We curl up with books or play a game to unwind, or find something else free and enjoyable to do together (use your imagination).” was meant to address that a bit more tactfully.

  17. Diane says:

    I swear I’m not revisiting the clothesline post but we’ve hung our undies to dry for years and fecal bacteria have not come to call.

  18. MoneyBlogga says:

    Hey that’s a pretty awesome way to carry on. Good on ya.

  19. Matt says:

    Ok bleach will definately kill the fecal bacteria. If you’re undies are so bad that a normal bleach wash doesn’t kill them it’s time to get new undies. As Trent has said in the past, they usually wash the diapers 2-3 times, if that’s a concern. I’d be more worried about an improperly washed hand getting me or my family sick than a pair of bleached undies.

  20. Ryan says:

    The 10PM section just reminded me how awesome this blog is.

  21. Rob says:

    Umm, slugs and snails are pests. Worms = good, slugs = bad. They eat leaves and fruit, and they eat a LOT. You can trap them with little shallow dishes of beer, in which the slugs die painlessly. Empty the dish into the compost heap. Gross but effective. Use the cheapest possible beer. R

  22. Jim says:

    chlorine based bleach will kill fecal bacteria. even that is probably not necessary though. the soap and water in the wash cycle should be good enough. anyway, even if you were to use your underwear as, say, a napkin or bib, fecal coliform bacteria in and of itself is harmless. it is generally tested for in water as an indicator of other nasty things that are harmful.

  23. Sandy says:

    This is one of your best posts. Do you think you could do a post on how to get started with gardening? I don’t know the first thing and you always explain things step-by-step.

  24. !wanda says:

    @Powderpuff: You know, you have trillions and trillions of bacteria from hundreds of different species living in your gut RIGHT NOW, and if you aren’t sick it’s clear that most of them don’t cause harm. If you’re so worried about fecal bacteria, don’t eat off your underwear. More importantly, wash your hands often. That tip will protect you from all sorts of germs, harmless or not.

  25. Kaye says:

    Great article. Love the spin you put on this. Much more interesting than what I would have done!

  26. Jeana says:

    This is a very clever presentation, and encouraging to see how many ways we can save money ’round the clock–even when we’re sleeping!

    You know, another form of free entertainment would be trying to guess which minute detail of your next post will be pulled out, tossed around, and beaten like the proverbial dead horse in the comment section. I can guarantee I would not have guessed correctly on this post. :-)

  27. Tommy says:

    great post…i was wondering if you could post some good cheap dinner ideas that yall use?

  28. Jessica says:

    To me it seems penny wise and pound foolish to do things like hang your laundry in a guest room to save a few cents while paying out the nose for a stranger to watch your kids all day. You say that your youngest child is young enough to still be breastfeeding, so your day care situation cannot be cheap. If you have the time to hang laundry, garden, cook from scratch, grocery shop, make launddry detergent and oatmeal, and work out in front of your TV, you have the time to raise your own children.

  29. Angie says:

    Homemade wine? Do tell…

  30. Missi says:

    @ Jeana- that is hilarious. Your comment made me laugh out loud!

  31. Michael G.R. says:

    Good post. I think the underlying point is to incorporate many of these things into your routine, or to modify your environment (ie. low flow showerhead), so that you don’t consciously have to think about them and make an effort each time.

  32. David says:

    Very good, informative and entertaining post! Have you written an article on your “homemade wine” yet?

  33. I know it’s been commented on already, but Powderpuff’s paranoia about fecal bacteria and the need to use a dryer to kill them is really quite scary. Look at what the preppy Western world has become! I don’t own a dryer, never will, and I haven’t died from all those fecal bacterias just yet.

  34. Linda says:

    The bacterium of my bum is quite dumb and does not know from where it come. But it went quietly.

  35. margo says:

    I am also curious about the homemade wine. I’m assuming he’s saving that one for that cooking blog he’s been teasing us with.

    Our everyday table wine we buy is very, very cheap– only $4 a bottle– so I’m curious if his homemade stuff is cheaper. Or better!

  36. Mark says:

    Trent, what kind of solar lights do you have outside? My parents used to have some and they were pretty worthless; we’re thinking of replacing them as an anniversary gift but I don’t want another set that’s going to be thrown away after a few months of poor performance…

  37. Margaret says:

    I really liked this post, and have the same good feeling as Trent must, as I do the little things during my day that help save money and the environment. Because of this site, I bought canned organic beans for the first time (during a big sale, of course!) and thought they were delicious in tacos. I had always thought I didn’t like beans very much. I line dry whenever possible, and have been smiling over the fecal bacteria issue. I don’t have air conditioning, and don’t want it, although I have a question for Trent which I’ll ask elsewhere. Anyway, I find it very satisfying to do these little things which add up. My second favorite area for saving (after furniture scrounging and restoring) is in entertainment. I feel as rich as a queen when I come home from my local library with my arms loaded with books and movies, and magazines from the exchange rack. I haven’t bought a book in I don’t know how long, except as a gift, and even that’s rare. The library is a priceless resource, and so is the local NPR station, which I listen to every day, at some point. I want to encourage Trent (as Lisa seemed to) to give a donation to those institutions which help make his life so rich and don’t otherwise cost him anything. It’s a great feeling, to put your money where your interests lie, and it needn’t be much.

  38. mjukr says:

    “Our clothes, hung out to dry the night before in the guest bedroom”… anyone else see the irony in that statement?

  39. Carmen says:

    Are slugs & snails of benefit to the garden? I thought they were deemed as pests, unlike worms which are great for turning the soil. But I am no gardener by any means! :)

    Also, do you really start waking up at 5?!! Is that due to heat? I know it’s hard to sleep with heat and bird noise, especially in Spring/Summer. I’m also guessing that the children still nap in the day, since it does seem a very long one for those so young. We work hard to be up and dressed for 8!

    Another frugal family activity you haven’t mentioned is to toilet train children as young as possible. (I have no idea how old your offspring are sorry.) I have known of many children completely dry both day and night at around 18 months when started at about a year old. I am a 70’s child and since disposables were not around then (in UK anyway), babies were trained very young and in underwear by the time they had their first birthday. I’m not sure about Iowa, but around here it is not uncommon to see a 3 year old still in nappies. It is the social norm to delay this until around 2 years of age, the timing often being determined by the arrival of a sibling, as was the case for me personally with my eldest. But it is so good for many reasons to get cracking with diaper removal!

  40. jb says:

    I find it a bit contradictory that you had a post about how you only own 8 books, when in actuality you have a large amount of them boxed that you reread. You still own those, you know.

  41. mia says:

    i live in south africa. i think its funny that not using the air conditioning in your house is seen as frugal. i dont know anyone who uses an aircon in their home here, although im sure they must exist. who knew people needed to be told to open a window!

  42. Jebby says:

    I have to agree with Jessica regarding your kids. The schedule you wrote out made me sad for them. And also for your wife..boy, it looks like her life is a lot harder than yours. Please consider keeping your kids with you at least half the time once your book is done…fifty hours a week in childcare is a lot for children that young. And surely you can write and research in five or six hours a day and give the rest to them.

  43. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    “I find it a bit contradictory that you had a post about how you only own 8 books, when in actuality you have a large amount of them boxed that you reread. You still own those, you know.”

    Those were the eight personal finance and development books that I’ve kept. I own probably 150 books all told, enough to fill a nice bookshelf if I were to get them all out.

    “The schedule you wrote out made me sad for them. And also for your wife..boy, it looks like her life is a lot harder than yours.”

    You do realize that this “schedule” is just an estimation, not an actual run down of my day? I was pointing out how frugality is woven throughout our lives all the time and not boxed into a certain timeframe, not an indication of how much we respectively work or where our children are on any given day.

  44. I love that most of these also help the environment — the two go hand in hand!

  45. Cathy says:

    Great article! One of my luxuries, however, is washing our dirty laundry in “hot” water (except for cotton shirts and blouses, which I believe could shrink).

    Regarding this, here is a suggestion for all of you multi-taskers out there. I’ve heard that it is really important to wash your hands after doing laundry, especially if you are preparing a meal simultaneously, as I usually do.

    Recently, DH and I both had a long and serious bout with food poisoning from a local restaurant. (It was the dark green salad.)

    After 10 days + of agony, we avoided restaurants completely for several weeks. (Obviously, the good news was that it did help with the budget.)

    Having said that though, just the mere “thought” of e.coli still makes me sick.

    Cathy G.

  46. Jennifer says:

    In response to Jessica (#28 above), I’d like to add the following: By having your children at home with you, not only would you save additional expenses and truly gain more time with them and your wife (since she wouldn’t tack on commute time dropping them off at daycare), you could also teach them how to do all of these cost-saving things right alongside you. Further, you could sell that vehicle sitting in your garage and use a bicycle with child seats for any necessary day trips running errands. These two items alone would result in substantial cost savings.

  47. Maria says:

    I so appreciate your frugality and your blog, but after realizing your babies are in day care I think I will find financial information and encoragment on another blogs out there. You, your wife and children are missing out on the real joys of life, eachother.

  48. Ashley says:

    In response to those that are thinking that Trent and his wife are allowing the “strangers” at the daycare to raise their kids… children need some interaction with other children their age, it’s no different than your child going to a public school once they turn 5 or 6. I love this post and realize that it’s not a second by second run down of their families daily schedule. I have a line and need to start hanging my clothes to dry instead of using my old dryer. This has encouraged me even more to actually begin doing this. Still in the beginning stages of my starting to live frugally.

  49. Cheryl says:

    @Trent – great article. I also would like to hear about the home made wine :)

  50. Keith Lauren says:

    Great post. It’s all about making conscious choices with everything you do. I tend to just go with the flow and it’s a bad habit I need to break.

  51. Sara L. says:

    After reading this post, I wondered about the rest of your family. Your wife works a full job and has an infant child. You are at home, doing the household chores and maintaining this website, which is wonderful. My husband and I read it every day. But, you are so in tune with the idea of saving money, I am assuming you pay for childcare. That is probably a huge amount of money. Do you think maybe your wife can take a part time job and stay home also and not pay for childcare? Sounds kind of hypocritical to me. There are plenty of Mom’s out there that maintain children, a house and a job inside the home. Just wondering.

  52. Sarah says:

    This is great way to show how such its the small changes that have the greatest impact.

  53. Carol says:

    It sounds romantic *opening the windows for the night breezes* instead of using the air conditioning, but in my house, the bedrooms hold the heat from the daytime and the night breezes won’t be sufficient to keep it cool enough for sleeping well. Also, sometimes there aren’t any breezes, the air is stagnant, especially during the most humid months.

  54. Jules says:

    Do you have any idea how to convince a person to make those little changes? One of my current frustrations with my boyfriend is that no matter how logically and calmly I explain to him how much money he’d save by, say, taking a moment to look in the pantry so he doesn’t buy a second bottle of olive oil, he agrees, and then goes right on doing what he’s always done, and buying duplicates. I’m not asking him to stop buying the little things that make him happy. But our finances aren’t exactly splurge-worthy, and he doesn’t seem to get the concept of little things going a long way.

  55. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    “I so appreciate your frugality and your blog, but after realizing your babies are in day care I think I will find financial information and encoragment on another blogs out there. You, your wife and children are missing out on the real joys of life, eachother.”

    This is a perfect example of the problem with frankly discussing one’s life.

    I make it a point to openly discuss myself, both in terms of successes and faults. I make tough decisions. I make mistakes. I’m successful sometimes.

    I’ve always felt that by discussing this openly, it becomes a great opportunity for others to relate, and for the most part it’s worked. I think that’s a big part of the appeal of this site.

    The downside with that appears above in Maria’s comment. When many people read about a decision they don’t agree with, then they leave the site, choosing to read blander and less personal advice elsewhere.

    That’s their choice, but I, for one, won’t start hiding details about my life out of fear of losing a reader. I won’t stop revealing the tough choices I made or the errors I’ve made just because someone might stop reading. The day I do that is the day The Simple Dollar stops being something interesting and just becomes another bland, boring personal finance site. At that point, I’d rather not write it any more.

  56. sm4k says:

    I understand the call to keep the kids home, but much like Trent said in an earlier post, he works from home. That doesn’t mean he sits at home and plays Wii all day long, he’s a writer. He stays home and writes. Those of you who have stayed home with kids know how much attention they demand, there’s no way he’d be able to make serious progress with his profession if he had his children home with him all day long.

    And it almost sounds like some of you think that his wife having a full time job is nearly criminal. What about this situation is any different than when both parents have full time jobs? You don’t take your kids with you to work because you want to spend more time with them, do you? If it works for you, great, but for a lot of people it’s not going work that way.

    It’s obvious by the way you write Trent that you have your priorities straight and really do care about your children. Don’t let these comments get under your skin.

  57. Meg says:

    I agree with Carol about the air conditioning. My apartment is definitely not designed to be cooled by natural air flow through the windows. Even if it is relatively pleasant outside (70s) the bedroom and bathroom can still become a sauna because there is no air flow through them.

  58. Chiara says:

    Re: the open window, do you, Trent, and others have thoughts on the home security issue here? My husband in particular is extremely security conscious (I posted before on alarm systems and phone lines). It’s got to be totally disproportionate to the actual risk (we live in a “nice” neighborhood with no discernible crime). I love night breezes, and he goes along with it sometimes, but having open windows at night leaves him very uncomfortable – and especially so for leaving the baby in her crib with the door closed and window open. And I admit I would never do it if I were home alone. Maybe it’s just having seen too many crime shows? Is this even a consideration for others?
    P.S. not fans of utility bills – we use as little heat and a/c as possible (tower fan at night in summer), but we do live in the south

  59. kellykelly says:


    There is not such thing as a “nice” (I take that to mean “safe”) neighborhood.

    My house was the first and only in my area to be burglarized. I was VERY security conscious but kept procrastinating about a door at the back of my house that — in the RARE EVENT that someone would want to break in, would find that door somewhat easy to use — well, I procrastinated and that’s how the punks got in.

    I would never sleep with the window open unless I was VERY high off the ground.

    In fact my friend worked in a rape crisis center and said the worst, most unsafe place a woman can be is at home, in her bed, asleep.

    Sorry to be an alarmist. Better safe than sorry.

  60. That Saddity Chic says:

    Your life sounds great! I was just thinking this morning how I’d love to simplify my life a little more. The thought of just relaxing on my patio with a nice book is something I haven’t done in a long time. Temeratures where I live are well beyond 100 degrees so it’s not really possible.

  61. K mom of 2 says:

    Godness people its a blog not a invitation to berate HIS personal life! Good for you Trent take the high road and let the party poopers move on to other blogs!

    Interesting blog!

    By the way I am a stay at home mom of two that uses AC non-stop (AZ Heat), dries her clothes in the drier and uses disposable diapers, but I do coupon, CVS… and have a savings plan. Personal choice is what makes us unique individuals!

    Keep it up Trent!

  62. Jennifer says:

    I wrote about something similar a couple of weeks ago. What a frugal day looks like. http://hubpages.com/hub/What-does-a-Frugal-Day-Look-Like Love the article.

  63. Wow. The ignorance from those condemning Trent’s use of a daycare is ridiculous. Have you got any concept of reality at all, or what it takes for some of us to earn a living and keep a roof over our head?

    My guess is that you’re housewives whose husbands go to work and look after your every need while you keep the kids at home, but the reality is that in most families, both parents need to work. What are they meant to do with the kids?

    And if you’d bothered to read, once the family is at home instead of plopping in front of the television – which I’m sure is your idea of evening entertainment – they spend quality time together.

    Sounds like a pretty damn good system to me, for living with the pressures of modern life and still having time for family.

  64. Brian says:

    Calling Trent a hypocrite is absurd. The whole point of being frugal is so you have enough money to spend on what you want. Right now at this point in his life, day care is one thing he wants to spend money on. He has mentioned several times the back-and-forth decisions over it, and also said that they’re not going to use day care as a permanent solution for all of their children.

  65. Trent,

    I don’t understand this:
    You have breakfast at 6am, lunch at 12pm, and supper at 5pm, and you go to bed after 11pm. Don’t you feel hungry again at night?

    I’m asking specifically because here in Pakistan, our usual routine is breakfast at 8am, lunch at 2pm, dinner at 10pm, and sleeping around 12am.

  66. Rhonda Hubert says:

    I noticed that your shower was listed as ‘nice’ – does that equate to ‘long’? To be frugal (not to mention being able to afford the water bills) we attempt to limit our showers to 4 minutes each as we have 6 adults in the house and water is extremely expensive. Is it cheap in Iowa?

  67. Larry says:

    Another great post. I love the creative ideas to save money.

  68. Sharon says:

    I love this blog and I read it every day, but I must be honest and say I was very surprised to hear about a breastfeeding child being in day care or about children being day care for so many hours a day. I also work at home, as an editor, but I work part time. My husband works full time. That way we don’t require day care. I work in the evenings, on weekends, when they are napping or on a playdate, etc. If I worked more, my earnings would be offset by what I paid out in day care. Consider this, if you work less, you also pay less in day care. It’s not permanent. You can always go back to full time when the kids are older. I personally have a lsw degree and do plan on going back to more substantial work later on. In the mean time, you save money on day care and get the advantage of being with your kids more. Just a thought. Thanks for the great money saving ideas!

  69. L says:

    Just wanted to say kudos to your wife for pumping for so long. It is hard to stick with pumping and keep your milk supply up with a baby in daycare (ie: baby can’t regulate your milk supply himself, a machine does it).

    It’s definitely a commitment – she should be proud of herself!

  70. Dasha says:

    How nutritious is your $1 meal? Are we talking beans/rice/veggies? Even if you grew your own it wouldn’t be that cheap. Are you drinking plain water? If not, I’m sure your homemade wine also cost. Great idea to cook at home with wholesome ingredients, but $1 is not realistic.

  71. Rob Madrid says:

    Very interesting, always wondered how you spend your evenings if you didn’t have TV. When we moved over here to Europe we lasted about a week without a TV. As well I surf the web almost more than I watch TV.

  72. Mister E says:

    $1/person is pretty good. I can usually get a meal done for $2 or so per person but I’m not sure what I could do to lower that much.

  73. HappyGirl2000 says:

    What’s up with all the criticism/judgement on Trent’s kids being in daycare or not? He writes a website that GIVES us all FREE tips and help, and all you can do is jump on him for a lifestyle choice he and his wife made? He’s not telling people how they HAVE TO spend their money or time, he’s offering us ideas from which we can pick and choose to help ourselves. His parenting choices are really none of your beeswax, so stop with the holier-than-thou carping already!

  74. Baker says:

    As far as the windows go don’t any of you have windows with the safety catch. Its a little thing that pops out of the frame so the window can only be opens a few inches. Also if the theif really wants to get in you think he would hesitate to just break your window? Last for about $30 you can buy a quick pick and after a few hours of practice be able to pick an average door lock in under a minute. Your house is not secure and cracking a few windows won’t make a difference.

    Rhonda, I don’t know where you live but I’m just outside Chicago and our water and sewage bill runs about $6 per thousand gallons. Our highest water usage ever was 4.4 thousand gallons in a month for a huge $24 water bill. We have a old toilet and about the highest flow shower head I could find. Sorry but I do not feel clean at all after using low flow heads. I can only assume water in iowa is equally as cheap

  75. Artdogs says:

    Great post, Trent.

    sorry it’s turned into open season on your life!

  76. Katie says:

    Why the attacks on Trent for having his kids in day-care? That is a choice between him, his wife and the children.If the tables were turned and Trent was working full time outside of the house and his wife were home, I bet many readers would think Trent was being anti-feminist if he asked her to watch the kids too. Furthermore, the suggestion that his wife take a part-time job instead of a full-time job is a bit ridiculous. Full-time jobs have much better benefits, and it is hard to pursue a career part-time in some fields and at some companies. Clearly he and his wife have figured this out, stop harassing them!

  77. sara l says:

    The beauty of personal finance is that it’s personal. There are overarching principals that appy to all (ie spend less than you make), but the idea is to find what works best for your life.

    There were lots of comments that I found to be rude, but my question for comment 46 is how feasible is carrying two kids on a bike seat through snow and ice?

    Trent- thanks for the openness and sharing the wide variety of things that are working for your family.

    Also, I’m not the same person in comment 51.

  78. Bill says:

    Low flow showerheads?

    All showerheads have been low flow for a number of years now.

  79. FDR says:

    LMFAO. Going grocery shopping in the afternoon and then taking a shower while your wife works her ass off at work and the kids are in daycare. You are a sorry excuse for a man.

  80. bh says:

    Lots of neat ideas here. I’m interested in how long you spend washing the cloth diapers prior to (I presume) running them through the washer? Having an infant of my own and knowing how much time I spend hand-washing stains out of bibs and clothes, I don’t image that cloth diapers get clean too easily…

  81. steve says:

    Great article. Shows that life is going to be very different for us in the coming years. But all bets are off if the predictions of ten dollar a gallon gas comes true. No matter how frugal you can be, life will turn into a struggle just to survive.

  82. Trent Hamm Trent says:

    The comments here are hilarious.

    First of all, this is not an hour-by-hour accounting of my life. It’s an example to show how frugality flows through the things my family does on a daily basis.

    Second, if you bothered to think about the schedule for more than a few seconds, the above comment would be stunningly obvious. Do you believe I spent an hour taking a shower?

    The reality of the matter is that I work from home, an eight hour day, but my wife commutes. I use the time she’s commuting to do a lot of household chores so that when the kids are home, family time is the focus – dishes are done, the dinner table is set, and often supper is at least somewhat near done. That means I do things like grocery shopping, showering, doing dishes, and meal preparation when my wife’s not at home. That’s called having respect for your wife and your family, not the nonsense spouted by the comment above.

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