Saving Money With The Sun

by Nicole · 9 comments

in Concepts in Frugality,Living Frugally

What a nice week weatherwise it’s been in my corner of the world as we head into summer. All that free energy from the sun seems to be a shame to waste if I’m not using it. Here’s what I’m up to this summer solar-powering a few small parts of my life:

Solar Powered Battery Charger

I know you can go crazy and buy everything with solar panels from ovens to panels. That said, I can’t afford a big solar upgrade but I did decide to spend $20 on a solar battery charger. It takes the better part of a day to get a full charge into the batteries (it can hold 4-8 batteries, depending on sizes) but I’ve put the charged batteries in a few devices and they seem to be lasting. Over time, this will save me on electricity and battery costs, a double win. Bonus is it’s about the size of a hardcover novel.

Clothes Drying Rack

I have a washer in my house but no dryer so the drying rack can be viewed first and foremost as a necessity. But when I learned that one of the biggest drains on an electric bill is running the dryer, I realized I didn’t miss having one so much. Since I live alone, it’s fairly easy to keep on top of the laundry situation and I only need one drying rack to hold everything. The $20 I spent years ago on it has no doubt saved me at least $100 over time in electricity and money I could have spent at a laundromat. (Sometimes for a treat though, I bring my clean sheets and towels to the laundromat and let them fluff in the commercial dryer. Shhh.)


I don’t have the space or time to grow all of my own food but I am going to have a couple pots of herbs on my porch and may add a tomato plant in the mix. Those fresh herbs cost a few dollars each at the grocery store so why not buy a small plant for the same amount of money and be swimming in mint and cilantro all summer?

So here I am, making hay where the sun shines and taking advantage of the sun the short time of year I have a lot of it. Any solar secrets I am missing out on taking advantage of?


1 Rachel May 27, 2010

I love our dryer rack. Not only does it save on electricity, but it helps make our clothes last longer too. I find that our shirts don’t pill like they used to when we put them in the dryer, and they are not as prone to skrinkage either. We can’t use the sun (I set it up in the bathroom) because we live in an apartment, but it still works!
.-= Rachel´s last blog ..Saving Moola =-.

2 Sue May 27, 2010

My favorite solar powered item is Sun Tea. I put away my Iced Tea Maker for the summer and use old glass juice jars, water and tea bags instead.

3 Kelly May 27, 2010

Line drying things in the sun also makes them whiter and can disinfect, if left in the sun long enough!

4 Nicole May 27, 2010

Sun Tea! Good call, Sue! I knew I was forgetting something….

5 MP May 28, 2010

I take cuttings of the exotic and tender plants in the garden toward the end of September, root them then plant them in pots and bring them inside for the winter. Means I don’t need to spend as much at the garden centre the following spring…Then there’s my solar powered fountain in the bird bath. Doesn’t save money, but sure attracts the birds to the bath and provides countless hours of enjoyment for me (and I imagine for the birds too!) over the summer, all for free.

6 Jenna May 28, 2010

Playing in the sun! Free entertainment and usually some exercise!

7 Nickie May 29, 2010

We read that a clothes dryer eats up 6% of the home energy bill. So we decided to experiment with not using it and got two of this type of clothes drying rack – it goes out on the deck if it’s not rainy or too windy.

One trick is to switch your laundry time to the evening then put the clothes on racks in your living space right before bed. They then dry 8 hours while you sleep. You get dry clothes in the morning without tripping over the rack all day.

So far the electric clothes dryer has only been used as work table 🙂

8 May 30, 2010

I have a rod (a big heavy one that is designed to hold shower curtains) that i stretch across a double wide open doorway.

Then i hang the clothes on hangers (use skirt/pant hangers with clips for pants, shorts, socks & other items that won’t normally hang on a regular hanger) plus hang all other items on regular hangers on the rod.

I use all plastic hangers (no metal ones) and then when the clothing is dry i can take and hang it right up in the closet (except for the things on the clip hangers that get folded and put away into drawers.

9 bankruptcy ben June 7, 2010

I used to grow herbs on the balcony when I lived in an appartment. My 2 tips are. Don’t be shy with the organic fertalizer, and get oversized drainage dishes for underneath the posts- the last thing you want is an angry knock on the door from the downstairs neighbour because their balcony is flooded:)

Previous post:

Next post: