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Four frugal projects to kick off 2014

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Allison Love/Chattanooga Times Free Press/AP/File

(Read caption) Joel Tippens piles compost in the Ridgedale Neighborhood Association's community garden in Chattanooga, Tenn. Building a compost bucket for the kitchen can save up to $40 throughout the year on potting soil and fertilizer.

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The first weekend of the year is coming up. If you live anywhere in the northern half of the United States – or north of there – you’re probably going to be focusing on indoor activities for the weekend.

Thankfully, there are a lot of frugal projects you can take on. Here are four of them, along with how much each project will save you over the course of the year. Incidentally, I’m planning on doing each of these this weekend.

Shorten Your Dryer Vent Hose
The hose that connects your dryer to the air vent is often one of the biggest sources of inefficiency for dryer use. Quite often, when professionals install the dryer, they use a flexible dryer vent hose that enables them to install the hose quite far away from the wall, then move the dryer close to the wall.

This means that, in some cases, that air vent is winding around behind your dryer, creating lots of elbows in the hose that can accumulate lint. The longer the hose, the harder the blower in your dryer is going to have to work to expel the damp air out of the dryer. Your dryer will have to work longer and harder.

Even if your hose doesn’t need shortened, getting back there and cleaning it out can help your dryer work more efficiently. All you have to do in most cases is pull your dryer out a few feet, reach back there and disconnect the hose from the back of your dryer and the wall, then vacuum out that hose and reinstall it. If there’s a ton of excess hose back there, you can trim one end of the hose. Here’s a guide for the process.

This Old House estimates that cleaning out and shortening your dryer vent hose will save you about $25 a year, on average.

Build a Frugal Calendar
This is something well worth doing more frequently than once a year, but it’s still a great project to sit down and tackle this weekend, particularly if you have a new wall calendar that you’re launching for the year. Time to fill it up!


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