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Ten Money-Saving Tips

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1. Trade in your car for a bicycle and cash

I have seen people here in Bolivia carting 100 pound sacks of potatoes looped over the top bar of their bicycle, not to mention entire families. No more car insurance bills. No more buying gas. No more repair bills. You get lots of exercise which lowers cholesteral and blood pressure. Improves your health! Lower health care expenses. Save money and energy the Andean Way!  (Remind me to tell you, in a future Blogcritics article, my story of joyfully giving away my car and feeling free at last.)

Photo: Migdalia and Grandma Muñoz, Loma Panda, Nicaragua. Digital illustration by Lynette Yetter

2. Sell your TV 

Get instant cash and save money by not paying for cable, or for the electricity to power a TV, or fixing it, or replacing it. And without advertising propaganda infiltrating your brain, you will bit by bit be freer of the addiction to buy and consume more than you need. And you know what? When I lived in the countryside with a family who had never had TV, the children never whined. Never. Not even on a two day road trip in a sweaty crowded public bus with choking dust blowing in the gaps in the windows and doors. They hadn't been taught by TV to become slaves to their desires. What a bonus! You have more peace and quiet in the house as you save money the (sort of) Andean way!

3. Sell your DVD player

Instant cash! Watch DVDs on your computer. (If you are reading this article, you have access to a computer). You will not need to pay money to maintain or replace a separate device or devices to watch movies. Consolidate.

4. Let your hair grow

No more money spent on haircuts. Be in solidarity with indigenous people. I haven't cut my hair in almost 30 years. One less thing to stress about.

5. Let your hair be the way it wants to be

No more money spent of hair dye, perms, streaks, gels, hairspray, etc.

6. Style your hair the indigenous way

Indigenous women in Peru and Bolivia braid in two braids. The ends are fastened by braiding a string in, then tying the string at the end. No more money spent on hair ties, clips, bands, etc. Amazingly enough, when you braid your hair this way, the ends do not split. No need for trims. Some men tie their tresses in a ponytail with a string.

7. Sell Your Electric Coffee Grinder at a Garage Sale

Get instant cash and save money month after month on your electric bill. Grind your coffee beans between two rocks. Rocks are tried and tested tools, used for thousands of years. Your rocks can be like a mortar and pestle. Or like a batan. Here in Bolivia, a batan is a flat rock, with a bit of a dip in it, for the bottom part. The top part is a crescent shaped stone that you rock back and forth. And everyone here raves about how everything tastes better when it is ground between rocks. I agree.

8. Sell your food processor at a garage sale

Get instant cash and save money month after month on your electric bill. You even save time! Grind your food between two rocks. I'm telling ya. Fresh basil, garlic and nuts grind up into a pesto paste faster than you can say, "bon appetit." And EVERYTHING tastes better when it is ground with rocks. (For suggestions on types of rocks, see Tip #7). And the clean up time? Hot water and a rag and whoosh it's clean! Not like the long tinker toy project of disassembling a food processor and cleaning it and putting it back together again. Save money, save time, and have more delicious food!

9. Sell your dishwasher at a garage sale

Get instant cash and save money on your electric bill and water bill every month. Wash your dishes by hand. I wash most of my dishes in cold water. For dishes that are greasy, I heat up water on the stove. A friend of mine uses two shallow buckets to wash her dishes. She fills them both with water and sets them in the sun to warm up. One is the wash bucket, the other the rinse. She saves the most money of all! No heating water on a stove. Absolute minimum of water used. Wow! What are you going to use the money on, that you'll save by selling your dishwasher?

10. Share with your neighbors – start a small urban/suburban farm

Communal land is fundamental in the Andean Cosmovision, as it has been with all of our ancestors at some point since the dawning of humanity. In times of need we remember this. Like during WWII, when people in San Francisco, California tore down their backyard fences and made whole blocks into giant community gardens. Trading the produce with each other, everyone has a balanced diet and enough to eat. And mutual aid like this is great for developing those treasures of the heart that money can not buy.


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About Lynette Yetter

Lynette Yetter is the author of the books "72 Money Saving Tips for the 99%" and "Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace, a novel." Lynette is a permanent resident of Bolivia and a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program at Reed College.
  • Hello Julia,

    Thank you so much for your feedback and participation in this conversation of how we can lead simpler, more sustainable lives.

  • Julia Maple

    I liked the atmosphere I felt in your article, but some of your advices are hard to conceive outside the rural world. It would be hard to me to take a bicycle, because the traffic is so high, that it might be a suicidal act. But I could use the public transport services, it would be cheaper and I would also walk. It would be also difficult to lose time to prepare food between the rocks or to grind coffee in the traditional way.
    But some of your advices can be applied in any environment, like the one referring to selling the TV and DVD, because I really don’t watch too much TV and I could see movies on my computer. A good idea would also be to unplug everything that isn’t working: the TV, computer, mobile phone, because the electricity isn’t for free.
    Some of us keep forgetting that we are borrowers, that we take from the nature too much and we don’t think about draining all the nature’s resources. I hope we’ll wake up until isn’t too late.

  • Hello Roger and Lovely [Edited],
    Thank you for your comments. Roger, that is indeed an interesting article link you have posted. Lovely, thank you for your practical tips to add to the list. [Edited]

  • Lovely

    I think most people would agree that saving money is something “easier said than done”. Personally, I believe it’s a mind-set that needs to be developed by creating good money-saving habits.

    Here are some things I’ve done to help change my spending habits:

    – Cooking more at home ? Eating out is very expensive especially if you do it a couple times a week
    – Shopping online ? You can find better deals than in the store and you save on gas [Edited]
    – Paying the full balance on credit cards each month ? Interest charge is like giving away free money
    – Don’t forget to pay yourself ? Set up an online savings account (they pay higher interest than a normal savings account)
    – Setting a budget and goals ? It’s good to have your goals written down so you see them everyday and don’t lose focus on your ultimate objectives

    Again, saving money requires a lot of patience and hard work. However, you’ll thank yourself later on in life. Good luck everyone!! =)

  • Lynette,

    I’m sure that you and your readers will certainly appreciate the following cogent argument in “Kropotkin was no crackpot,” of Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid by Stephen Gould (thanks to Cindy, see the other thread).

  • Hello Roger,

    Thank you so much for linking these relevant discussions. If mutually respectfully dialog creates peace, then you are a weaver of peace.

    Bravo. Keep doing what you are doing, my friend. 🙂


  • I wanted to add further, Lynette, that this discussion is made relevant in light of some comments on Kenn Jacobine’s thread (referencing article on the situation in Greece, in BC Politics section, as per link.

    We were discussing ways for the US workers developing a sense of solidarity with workers around the globe, a sense of solidarity than went being mere show of support but which would have some tangible effects as well, especially in the area of changing our consumption patterns. So I think you can understand the connection I’m making here.

    Good work and keep it on.

    BTW, I am going to post a cross-reference link on KJ’s thread to this article here, for people who might be interested in exploring the kind of possibilities you’re bringing to the fore.


  • I see, Lynette, that your link in #6, second paragraph, refers specifically to Kropotkin’s work, and also to his book (which can be read online via the Gutenberg project).

    Well then, here is another link to the same work, this time compliments of Forgotten Books, another great online resource.

    Here is their website.

    PS: For readers into, the latter can only be read online, not downloaded. But the Guttenberg Projects allows downloads as well.

  • Hello Roger,

    How wonderful that you are reading Mutual Aid by Peter Kropotkin. Sure, please post the link to the free online edition you found. (I choose not to have ads on my personal website so I receive no income from any ads on this site. Feel free to post any worthwhile link you want. Thanks for asking) 🙂

    By the way, did you click on the link “Mutual Aid” in the text of that article? It should take you directly to another free complete text download, from the Gutenberg Project.

    Getting back to the topic of income, as you know we all write for free at blogcritics.org. And the ad revenue does not go to the author, unless they also post those ads on their personal website. Since I choose to be commercial-free I receive no money at all for any of my articles on blogcritics.

    To anyone reading this comment, I hope you will visit my site and consider buying the inspiring music CD “Espiritu Incaico / Inka Spirit” and/or the inspiring novel “Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace”.

    Happy reading and thinking, everyone! Follow your dreams! Shine your light and illuminate humanity! 🙂

    Sincerely, Lynette

  • A very timely article, Lynnette. BTW, I was able to get the full text of Kropotkin online, and am reading the last part of it – about mutual aid as it is still practices in some of the Swiss village communities/communes. An eye-opener.

    I am not posting the link because it might interfere with your Google ad for the book, but if you wish otherwise, I will.

  • Thank you Camelia! I am honored you would like to grab my feed to keep up with my site. Now I just have to figure out how to create that feed! 😀 (New technology for me!)

    I gratefully accept your warmest wishes for my next article. It is sitting on the editor’s virtual desk, awaiting publication. It is a tale of when I chewed coca with a group of tax collectors in a smoky ceremony in city hall – Oruro, Bolivia. The title is – Coca is not Cocaine.

    I would be honored for you to read it and post your feedback.

    ¡Un abrazo! (a hug!),

  • Mazel tov, Ruvy, on your life-changing move to Israel! 🙂

    I’m sorry to hear about your wife’s arthritis. How painful!

    Thank you for taking the time to read this article, enjoy the photos and write your comments.

    I would love to read your comments about my illustrated novel, Lucy Plays Panpipes for Peace. I respect your opinion highly.


  • Lynette,

    I enjoyed the article, and the photos as well.

    We followed many of your tips after we moved to Israel. We never bought a car, we ditched our TV from the States (America uses 110 voltage – Israel uses 220). The DVD had broken down already, so my younger son took it apart to see how it worked. So we have two computers. One that I use and one that the boys use, both connected to the phone. My wife stopped dying her hair, and haircuts are down to something like twice a year for all of us.

    I don’t think I could get my wife to grind vegetables with rocks though. Leaving aside her arthritis, I just don’t see her adopting Stone Age methods of survival if she doesn’t really have to. Of course, we never had a coffee grinder to begin with, and we would like to have a food processor….