I have been wanting to write about some of my random ways to save money, and this week’s Ask the Readers question over at Wisebread inspired me to finally get to writing about some of my favorite ways to save. I hope that these ideas help inspire others to save money in new ways!
As you are reading this remember that everyone’s level of thriftiness is different- where I don’t mind doing certain things to save money they may be way out of your comfort zone, just like many things are out of my comfort zone. (Have you seen that show on tv about cheapskates? I couldn’t do most of the things that they do to save money!)
Make What You Would Otherwise Buy-
This can be food, crafts or anything really. I do a little of both. It helps that I usually enjoy cooking and DIY crafts but many times you will realize how easy it is to do something that you could pay to be done instead. When you see something you want just ask yourself “Can I make that?” and see if it is a feasible way to save some money. I was totally thinking this after driving by the tamale stand last week, so I will probably be making tamales soon.
I joined the 15 Minute Suppers group where we post new dinner ideas on Fridays that take 15 Minutes or Less- the idea is to make something at home in the amount of time it would take to order delivery. Cooking these easy meals saves us money because instead we would be eating out way too often. I try to do the same with packing my husband lunches, but lately I have had way too hard of a time getting up in time to make him something. When I do make him lunches I will sometimes make him Homemade Lunchables or Homemade Chicken Snack Wraps– both things I can easily make at home for way less than what you would buy them for.
I also try to make all sorts of DIY projects at home. Check out some of my Best Tutorials to see what kinds of things you could make instead of buying. My latest DIY projects have been Jeep-related, but I need to get to making new carseat strap covers and fixing up a playmat for the new baby before he comes in a couple of weeks. For me the time and materials to make most of these things is way less than buying them new, plus they are personalized so many times I am more happy with them and less likely to buy replacements.
Reusable water bottles are nice, but they can also be expensive and a pain in the butt. Our compromise is to use bottled water and refill them a bunch of times before tossing them. I love the convenience of just being able to grab a cold water bottle whenever I want and being able to throw it away if I need to. I don’t worry about losing it or breaking it but at the same time we aren’t just thowing away money. I probably buy a case of water bottles once a month or less.
Be lazy at going shopping and wait to buy stuff. Don’t go straight to the store when you need something, wait a few days or so. You might realize you don’t need whatever it was in the first place. I have written about Ways to Stop Shopping but I’ve taken it to a whole new level- I am just lazy and haven’t wanted to take the time to go shopping for things we need, let alone things we don’t need. It has saved me money because by the time I actually do go to the store I realize that I have lived a few days or a few weeks without whatever was on my list and I probably don’t need it at all.
Hide the Paper Goods-
We do have paper towels, paper plates and even *real* tissues but we don’t have them out where they are easy to access. I hide them from myself and my family mainly. Visitors are usually confused, some of my family even gets a little upset that I hide the paper towels. Hiding the paper towels, and paper plates and things makes you stop to think about how easy it is to grab a dish cloth instead of a paper towel or to wipe your nose on TP instead of more expensive tissues.
I love using our “fine china” aka paper plates because it saves me from doing dishes, but having them set out of the way keeps me from being lazy and grabbing them for every meal. Saving the paper goods are all little things but the savings really do add up. What are a couple more dirty dish rags or dirty dishes when you are already doing a load of wash anyway?
On the other side of things, when we get a bad cold I will bring out the nice tissues (I buy the expensive ones with lotion) for when your nose gets too raw. Otherwise my TP Tissue Box is out and works great. When my father or guests come over and ask for paper towels I don’t mind grabbing them from their hiding place and letting them use them. If anyone wants to use my “fine china” I am happy to bring it out. I just try to save everything for special occasions so that we aren’t constantly wasting money on paper goods every week.
These are just a few of the ways that I try to save money around the house. I figure that being a stay at home mom means that saving money is my job, and most of the time I am good at it. So tell me, am I going overboard with saving money or do you do any of these things too?
More Money Saving Ideas: