1. Put off grocery shopping for a few days. Get creative and try to use what you have. I like to purge my freezer, pantry and shelves for things that I need to use, forgot I had, or put aside for later. Sometimes we get creative meals from this.
2. Pack your own food. Either for work, going to a zoo, going to the park, or going over to a family members house. Prepare and pack ahead. I do this every time I go do my errands. My twins smell any sort of food and they think they are hungry. lol. I pack nuts, dried fruits, bagels, juice or water. Sometimes just dry cereal. It satisfies their hunger till we get home. This will save on your wallet in so many ways. You might think " It's just $3 for a lunch from my favorite fast food place." But its $3 each day, $15 each week, or $60 per month. Brown bag it please!
3. Exercise wherever you want. Why pay for a gym membership that you might or might not have time for? Either way, your paying every month this huge bill. Try jogging while your children have sports practice. Or do crunches while the kids play at the park. Have small children? Use that jogger that's been collecting dust! That's what I did. Now that they are too big for it, I'm switching day care with my neighbor and I can jog by myself now. Buy or borrow equipment. I have a large ball and a dvd to do yoga. Ask your friends if they would like to swap sometimes. There are ways around everything. Just get creative.
4. Start a garden. As friends or family if they have any extra seeds or plants they want to get rid of. If you have a garden, start trading with friends. This week alone I received 5 tomato plants and some radish to plant in my garden. In return I gave them spinach that I had to use up from my garden. Have potato's that you didn't use and started growing? Plant those. Same with garlic. Again get creative! Buy seeds after the season for cheap and use them for next year. Get free seeds on the web ( keep reading my blog!). Invest a tiny bit and you will get a plant that gives and gives a ton of food for your family. Guess what? You don't pay to transport them and you don't eat all those chemicals they spray on them to keep bugs away. Win win!
5. Barter your life away. Have a friend who works at a salon? How about babysitting in return for them to cut your hair. Get creative with your friends and family. You can get some good stuff this way.Yesterday I was able to get a wagon from my neighbor. I had given her a bunch of my twins clothing a few weeks ago. Today alone I was able to get a really cool rock fountain and 5 ferns for helping out my father in law. Yahoo! Just start talking to your friends and family and you might be surprised what you can get.
6. Get rid of your cell phone or maybe your land line. If you text a lot, get a unlimited plan and ditch your land line. Don't use your cell phone much, get rid of your plan and buy minutes. Use your land line and your cell for emergencies only. You can save yourself a bundle this way. We only use cell phones so we got rid of our land line. $50 a month saved this way.
7. Get rid of cable. Yep, I know we all dread it but you will survive without it. After a week or two, you will start to be okay. Promise! I couldn't believe how much TV we watched because we payed for it and were going to watch it. Now I don't feel the need to watch TV at all. Instead I find other things to do. Plus I keep my $50 each month in my account.
8. Be vehicle aware. Do you really need that many cars? Think about your cars. How many people in your family. Which gets the best gas mileage? Which has cheaper parts? Think about all these things. We have 3 vehicles. I know, I'm horrible. But here are my reasons. All of them are paid for. (whole other issue to talk about too) Our van, so we all can fit into it. We are a family of 6 and are not fans of mini vans. We have a euro van. It only gets around 22 miles to the gallon, but runs perfectly and we can all fit into it. Rarely do we drive it. Our car. It gets 35 in town, 49 highway miles per gallon. You see why we have it? I drive this mostly when and if I drive. I walk as much as possible so we rarely have to get gas. Our truck. Used rarely if ever and only used to haul things. We pay insurance on all 3. We thought it over and decided to sell the truck. Once we sell it, were getting a trailer to haul stuff. Guess what? We don't have to insure it! Saving us money each month. See what I mean? rethink your vehicles.
9. Keep on budget. Nuff said? Don't spend money you didn't plan on spending.
10. Think vegetarian. Did you know you can survive without meat? Crazy thought huh? I bet no one would even notice the meat was missing. Last night we ate homemade whole wheat pancakes, eggs, and salad(all from our garden). No one said a thing. And they were completely filled and didn't starve. We eat 4 out of 7 meals each week vegetarian. This has saved us over $100 each year. Just remember to eat protein filled meals. Sub with beans and things like that. Buy in bulk, soak, and cook them. Then freeze them for later. This will save you money.
11. Nothing new. Don't buy anything new anymore unless its needed. Obviously under garments and things like that have to be bought new. But everything else try to buy 2ND hand. Garage sales, thrift shops, or things given to you by friends and family. You just keep a list of things you are on the hunt for, and keep measurements of everyone in your family. This will save you hundreds each year. Ive been doing this this year and have saved a bundle already. I grew up in thrift stores so I have no issues with this rule. If you have never had anything 2ND hand, you might have some issues. Just think about this. Everything can be washed. It can be cleaned. It can be dry cleaned. You will live if you do this. Just think how many things you will save from going to the landfill. This alone should get you inspired to try 2ND hand.
12. Samples freebies giveaways. All these things can save you money. Why buy travel size things for a trip your gonna take? Use up your freebies. Use free sanitary girl items for your purse. Use freebie med's to make a emergency box for camping. Sample size deodorant perfect for your kids. These samples really do add up. So yes get those freebies or sign up for those samples. You might not need them now, but you will eventually. I have yet had to buy any toothpaste, deodorant, or lotion. Ive received so many samples that I wont have to buy them for years.
13. Yard Chemicals. Stop buying them. They are expensive and toxic. You do not want your children being exposed to them right? Pull weeds by hand. Put the kids to work.
14. Gas powered is so yesterday. Push mowers are in again! Yep, we gave our gas powered lawn mower to friends and bought a Scotts push mower. Not only will this save us money by not having to buy gas for it, but it is better for the earth. Your yard will start looking much greener because your grass clippings fall into the grass and become mulch. You can find these push mowers at thrift stores, I did 1 day after buying mine new. UURR. Go figure. So add that to your list for 2ND hand things. They have edgers, and many many more things that are man powered. Do your earth some good and start going old school.
15. Line dry your clothes. Why pay electricity to dry them when the good old friend of ours is outside ready to dry them for you. We save $20 each month by doing this. Either buy a fold able one, or go to the dollar store and get line and wooden clips to make your own. I just love the smell of my clothes when they are air dried.
16. Ban air sprays, plug In's, and gels. You know , those things that faux spray your smells away. Good old candles do a way better job of this. Either make your own, buy them on sale or clearance, or get them 2ND hand. I see them all the time in thrift stores. Candles get rid of smells so fast. If you need a smell to go away in the bathroom hint hint, light a match and blow it out. The smell will be gone. Promise! FYI-those popular brands that say those are natural sprays, are not natural. All synthetic oils. Just look on the back of the package for their 1-800 number and call them if you don't believe me.
17. Turn down the thermometer. Just turn it down 2 degree's and save yourself money. Do it a little each week until you get to a comfortable temp you all can live with. Invest (after Christmas is perfect time) in heating blankets or quilts. Quilts can be found 2ND hand anywhere. Or maybe afghans. My mother used to put one at the foot of the bed. She found that if her feet were warm, the rest of her was too. Feel a little cold? Put on socks and a sweatshirt. Maybe curl up with a blanket on the couch. Good excuse to cuddle with the hubby! Try drinking cocoa, hot tea or warm milk before bed. My kids love this one.
18. Unplug everything and keep everything off. Only plug it in if you are going to use it. Even when the item is turned off, its using a small amount of energy. Keep lights off during the day and only turn them on if you are in a room with no windows or its dark and there is no natural light. Its a big rule in our home. Only thing plugged in at our house is alarm clocks, washer dryer, and main house items. Drapes are opened during the day, windows are open to clean the air, and no lights are used. At night we close all windows and drapes to keep the heat in, and burn candles or use Energy efficient light bulb lamps.
19. Water usage. Limit shower time. Turn off the water when brushing your teeth. These are things we all know. Try installing a water saving faucet, and only wash a full load of dishes in your dishwasher. I hook my washer hose up to my laundry room sink. Its filling a bucket Ive put in the sink. I reuse this water to water my garden outside. I use plant based soap for my clothes and do not use softeners at all. There is nothing toxic in my clothing so there is no need to worry. Plus I use half of the recommended amount to save money as well. Water your garden at night so all the water you do use will not evaporate. Or maybe water in the early morning hours. Try sweeping your porch or drive way instead of hosing it down. Rethink your water usage.
20. Lay off the AC. Try opening up your windows early in the day and air your house out. Once the sun is out, close your windows and drapes. Also keep the doors shut as much as possible. Maybe get a small fan to get some air circulation. Wear thin cotton clothing and keep your hair up. Sometimes I let my girls wear their bathing suits in the bathtub with cold water. I let them each dip into it and get cooled down. Sometimes I add a drop of two of blue food coloring to give the added effect of a pool. They just love this.
21. One mans junk is another mans treasure. Ever pass a box or random item on the side of the road that has a huge "FREE" sign on it? Try stopping and checking it out. You might get some use from it. I found a dresser with missing knobs for free and brought it home. I painted it with some left over spray paint and its now where we keep our art supplies. My favorite thing I found for free was a old wooden trunk. Its now living at the end of my bed and holding our extra quilts and blankets. I just love it. Most garage sales or even thrift stores have a free box. Remember to check those out too. I have found so many Tupperware lids, and candles this way. You just never know what your gonna find. Tell your friends and family that if they ever give anything away, let you know. Same goes for you, let your friends and family know if you are getting rid of something. I rarely have to give anything to goodwill, its always given a new home with someone.
22. STOP USING Z plastic BAGS. You know that brand that starts with a Z and ends with a bag. The plastic zip bags that everyone buys. Wash the ones you own and reuse them as much as possible. I was buying over 1,300 bags just for my children's lunches alone each year. I was sick to my stomach when I figured that out. I am still using Z bags I bought a long time ago that Ive been washing over and over again. If you do need them, buy the heavy freezer bags. They last longer. Try using Tupperware to freeze things in, or maybe freezer paper. It can be recycled. Do not use wax paper of any sort, it cannot be recycled. You can now buy recycled aluminum foil so use that and remember to recycle it again. Try canning stuff. Maybe borrow a dehydrator. I'm on the hunt for glass bowls with lids to use for our left overs to put in the fridge. I feel so good about not buying these little bags anymore. No more filling our landfills or killing animals in the wild for my convenience. Plus it saves me a bundle of money. You can now find earth friendly fabric bags to replace those z bags. Try www.snacktaxi.com . One small investment will replace those unsightly plastic ones. You can wash them over and over again.
23. Stay home. If you do not go anywhere, usually you don't spend money. Enough said?
24. Pay your bills on time. Don't get late charges. Enough said?
25. Pay in cash as much as possible. When you have your actual money in your hand, you are less willing to hand it over.
26. Stop eating out or drinking out. Eat homemade meals and make your own coffee.
27. Rent movies not go to them. Lets do the math. $20 for a couple to see a movie at the theater. Plus $5 for that tiny popcorn doused in oil, and another $5 for that small drink filled with sugar. That's $30. How about rent a movie from red box for $1, buy a 2 liter of Pepsi for $1.50, and make your own popcorn and control how much butter actually goes on it for about $1. That's $3.50 compared to the $30 if you want to the theater. Hmmmm let me think about which one sounds better? Think about it.
28. Make your own cleaners. If you look at my yesterdays blog, you will find a few easy recipe's for some good cleaners.
29. Buy in bulk. Be smart about it, not all stores are a good value in their bulk section. Big stores like Winco have a huge selection of items you can buy in bulk for super cheap. If you are not sure if its a good deal, check both items. 1 lb of whole wheat noodles in the bulk section or $1.49 for 10 oz of a prepackaged noodle of the same kind. Hmm. I think I'm taking the $1 per lb. Always keep a tally of things you always buy and how much they are in the bulk section. You never know when you are gonna find a marked down item, or super sale on something you always buy. You will always be prepared. If its prepackaged, your probably gonna spend more money on it. I rarely buy prepackaged anything.
30. Have fun and get creative. Try to rethink your way of thinking. Try to come up with more ways to save money. Every little tiny bit can add up to big savings. My husband said line drying my clothing wouldn't save us much money. Guess how much I saved us in just 2 weeks of hanging our clothes on the line? $10. That's $20 a month. Uh huh! I told you so! I hope Ive inspired you.