We are always trying to save money. But there have been times when money is more tight than ever, and every penny counts. Although I follow a lot of these things on a regular basis, others are more extreme for times you are in a real crunch!
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- Drink water. It’s free, and it’s healthy. Stop drinking soda, wine, and other beverages — even a dollar a day spent on beverages adds up. You can always ask for things like speciality tea or coffee when people ask what you want for your birthday/Christmas/etc.
- If you can’t survive without caffeine, you can get a box of green tea bags for cheap (a few dollars for a month or two worth of tea) or make homemade coffee for less than buying coffee.
- Don’t eat out. I know this can be tough, because I rarely eat out, and trust me, I wish I could eat out much more (like all the time, to be honest!). Even buying a sandwich can cost $5. A sandwich here and there adds up!
- Line dry your clothes. You can use a line or a clothes drying rack. I stopped using my dryer years ago, and use it only for a few minutes on medium heat per wash to fluff my husband’s dress shirts. Everything else gets dried in the sun in the summer, which means we have some really fresh laundry! In the winter, I have a drying rack for clothes.
- Don’t pay for books or movies. There are ways to get books for cheap or free, such as the library. If you use services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, check to see what movies they have. Libraries get brand new books and movies, so if there is a new release you would like, get yourself on the waiting list as soon as you can.
- Turn down the heat or turn up the AC. Our house stays pretty cool in the winter, but we save money. We wear slippers or thick socks, and you can always wear a sweater if you feel chilly. In the winter our heat doesn’t go above 63 (65 max, usually when we have guests) and down in the 50’s at night. Use a programmable thermostat that you can set a schedule or even control from your phone.
- Save on utilities. Look for any way to save on utilities, in addition to adjusting your thermostat. Be efficient with water – for example, get a low flow showerhead, low flow toilet, use cold water in your washing machine, be aware of how long you shower, etc.
- Clean your own car. Instead of going to the car wash, if possible, wash your own car, and clean the interior on your own. This could mean saving a lot, as each wash adds up.
- Skip the mani/pedi/salon treatments. Although it can be relaxing, find alternate ways to de-stress.
- Cut down on buying trash bags. This depends on where you live, since some places (like in CA) do not provide plastic bags at the grocery store. However, if they do, use them to line trash cans or empty trash into. Again, may not seem like much, but a couple trash bags a week is hundreds of bags a year. Or, simply make sure that you fill trash bags before putting them in the dumpster.
- Don’t use a lawn service. This may not be possible for everyone, but at $30+ a week for lawn service, we bought a mower and quickly recouped the money. Same goes for raking, fertilizing, etc. If you work long hours and are either exhausted or there isn’t enough daylight, it is understandable if you can’t do it on your own. You could invest in other equipment like a good pole saw and it will easy earn itself back.
- Be savvy about leftovers and freezer meals. Even if I am cooking pasta, I always cook the whole box at one time. This way, I save the hassle of cooking small portions, and I know I will have leftovers, which is efficient. Make large batches of food you can freeze (like soups or lasagna). You can also buy things in bulk to freeze, or day old bagels at the bakery (and toast them or use them for pizza bagels).
- Save money on clothes. Shop from Walmart, at least for essentials like socks, organic kids underwear, leggings, workout wear, winter apparel. If you have kids this is great because they are comfy and you won’t worry about ruining your clothes.
- Shop at consignment stores. A lot of these places have come a long way – I even buy clothes as gifts that are brand new with tags, but at a fraction of the cost. I buy my kids winter snow pants and boots on deep discount. Need dance or soccer gear? Check the consignment shop. There are also sports stores that sell used sports gear. You can also make some money by selling your things to a consignment shop.
- Don’t buy music. There are plenty of ways to listen to music that are free – radio, Pandora, Spotify, other radio apps.
- Buy in bulk. Sometimes it makes sense to buy things in bulk, such as toilet paper or pet food. Be savvy about which items you purchase in bulk so that things don’t go to waste (such as food going bad), and also consider Amazon Subscribe & Save, so you can get a discount on the more you purchase. Also look into things like overstock, second hand, or Amazon Basics.
- We have a nice vacuum, but the bags are expensive (over $5 each). When we were in a pinch and ran out of bags, I threw on a rubber glove and emptied the bag myself. This is a little extreme, but some vacuum bags are really expensive.
- Order things online. For every mile, every 10 miles, 25 miles, etc. to the store, you are spending gas. Consider buying on Amazon, or pet food at Chewy. Many products are comparable or cheaper, and come within a day or two! When you factor in the gas spent going back and forth to the store, it adds up. Bonus – you save a bunch of time as well.
Consider most of these things a spending freeze. That means no spending on non-essentials!
Of course it is also important to budget and use coupons when possible.
What are some ways you save?