We’re always looking for ways to save. It’s usually just a few dollars here and there, but it’s generally those few dollars that add more overall cost than our big ticket items such as repairs and bills. These five tips alone, can save you the big bucks every single month. An idea for all of your saved money? Put it in savings. It would have been used up anyways.
1. We’re going [almost] consumable-less.
This is a big one. I’m a paper towel-aholic. I use it for everything and then throw it away. We were spending so much money at Cotsco on paper towel, and going through in a few weeks, what many people would go through in a few months. Besides the idea that dumping paper into landfills with my terrible recycling habits is a bad idea, it also costs a fortune. The same things go for diapers, wipes, sponges, printer paper, and mail. The toilet paper is going to be sticking around through the best and worst of times, because that’s something I’m not willing to mess with.
2. We’re planning our meals, and shopping once a week.
When we shop once a week, for a small amount of food at a time, a lot less food goes bad. Freezer burnt meat and rotten veggies both decrease. For one thing, they aren’t coming through the door in mass quantities that are all waiting to be cut up and separated into freezer bags so the fit in my refrigerator. With freezer bags and grocery bags everywhere, we’re bound to lose a cherry tomato or ginger root into oblivion at one time or another, only to be found one rainy day when the entire fridge is purged and cleaned. Buying little food also saves us on storage containers. We need 15 single serving containers instead of 30, for example. While I have been known to make 30 freezer meals in one day, it’s usually when we plan to do only that, and only when it will be done that day or the next.
3. We’re unplugging our electronics.
Unless it’s something that has to be charged for the next day, we unplug it or plug it into an eco-surge protector like this one, to stop using phantom power when we aren’t actually using the electronic. We spend a few months being extremely conscientious of what lights and electronics were on and for how long. We saved over $100 on our electricity bill that month. When we relaxed just the smallest bit, it shot right back up. That’s why I recommend using these types of products so you don’t constantly have to be worried about whether or not you unplugged the toaster before bed. For more ideas on saving money on utilities, check out my post: How to Decrease the Cost of your Fixed Monthly Bills.
4. We’re re-purposing or refinishing our old things.
The table that is sitting in my kitchen does not go well with the rest of my house. It’s a different grain and color than all of the other wood. It’s not a pretty sight. It is however, perfectly functional. It fits well in there, and even with a few guests, we can usually seat everyone. There’s no reason for me to replace a perfectly good table. Instead, I’ll probably paint it. As I just repainted my cabinets, we’ll probably use the leftover paint for the rest of the furniture I intend on refinishing. I also updated my 70’s style fake paneling by painting it, to great effect. There’s usually something you can do to improve upon something before you replace. If not, you could always consider buying second-hand, or even antique.
5. Make instead of buy (but don’t make everything).
I make a lot of household-y stuff. Things like laundry soap, multi-purpose cleaner, and even some cosmetics can be made for pocket change. The last time I made laundry soap, I calculated it to be about $.15 per load. Cosmetics are a little more costly due to the higher cost of some oils and pigments, but not nearly as bad (or as bad for you) as that mascara you buy from the drugstore or a high-end makeup store. Chicken stock and other ingredients most people dump out of a can, can also be more economical, like when you plan on using the entire chicken, then it’s just a byproduct of something you were going to purchase anyways. Some things, like clothes, are usually less expensive at the store unless you’re finding really good deals on fabric and other sewing items. Making cleaning products are an excellent way to save money and be less toxic and more Eco-friendly. As a general rule, however, it will probably me more profitable to buy large, labor-intensive cloth items.
Every little thing that will save you cents, and everything that saves you cents will save you dollars, and then tens, hundreds, and thousands of dollars. It’s something to always keep in mind when considering the smallest things.