There is a time and place for splurging, and there is a time and place for knowing how to save money
The small ways we save money can add up to real (big) savings over time. So set your inner cheapskate free!
My mom (to this day) washes and reuses her ziplock freezer bags. I don’t use that many freezer bags, so I don’t find this to be an absolute necessity… but I will admit to keeping the clean ones (ones that never had meat in them) and letting them hang around for another go. Your inner cheapskate is your buddy… set her free and let her help you save!
Here’s just a few of the sneaky little ways I save on everyday things. Most of them are pretty straight forward, perhaps some of them are “unconventional” – like splitting a computer program with someone else.
Some of them might seem down right cheap, like literally eating a teaspoon of powdered turmeric spice rather than buying curcumen pills… but hey- the powder is a few bucks per month and the pills are $60.
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS REALLY BORING, BUT YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
Try these great ideas for saving money (and living frugally!)
I’ve made my peace with my inner cheapskate – she KNOWS how to save money.
She’s taught me how to:
♥ Do without – I know, I know, not what anyone wants to hear. But it’s actually my # 1 way to save. Examples? We drink water with meals in restaurants and we only upgrade our phones when they are dead.
♥ Unsubscribe from mailing lists of your favorite stores – and remove the temptation; those deals they send out aren’t deals… they’re just great ways to get you to spend!
♥ Plan at least one “no-spend weekend” per month – here’s a great list of no spend fun ideas.
♥ Eat in – Did you know that the average mark-up on a hamburger… is 384%. (Yes, seriously.)
♥ Take it one step further and meal plan. (Grab these free meal planning templates here.)
♥ Drink water – not only at restaurants, but at home too. We don’t buy juice or pop. We drink water. (And wine and beers, but they are different. If we were broke, they would be the first things to go.)
♥ Never carry a balance on a credit card – Because spending 19% (or more) on interest is the definition of a bad idea. (If you ARE carrying a balance, making extra cash to pay that down should be priority # 1!)
♥ Shop with a list – control impulse spending!
♥ Learn to grocery shop effectively – 7 surefire ways to save money at the grocery store.
♥ Shop second hand – I will never be above the thrift shop. Not only is it keeping cash in my pocket, it’s awesome for reducing consumerism and putting a stop to waste. I draw the line at used underwear, but pretty much everything else is fair game. (Since I’ve become a mother I also don’t go for thrift store board books. Kids toys that can go through the dishwasher are GREAT – boards books… eh, they might be a one family thing.)
♥ Shop at the Dollar Store – No, not everything at the dollar store is good quality, and there are some things that are downright a waste of money. But there are LOTS of things that are a steal.
♥ Buy in bulk – There are somethings that should never be paid for in small quantities; things that you will need for years and that won’t spoil. Tampons and toilet paper come to mind. Read about the 10 things I ALWAYS buy in bulk to save money.
♥ Stock up on clearance stuff that won’t spoil – Remember, “clearance” is different than “sale”. Don’t buy a bunch of sale stuff you have to store. Sales come around again. Clearance is fabric softener for $1.50/jug because they are discontinuing that scent.
♥ DON’T stock up on SALE stuff – see above.
♥ Do your own nails – The price of nails is absolute insanity.
♥ Quit the gym and run outside.
♥ Re-use disposable items if possible – For example, I re-use drop in baby bottle liners (many many times).
♥ Share purchases when possible – I’m hesitant to put this in here cus it might be frowned upon, but computer programs are especially easy to share. Many programs come with more than one license and you don’t need a disk to run them. Programs I have shared this year – Kaspersky antivirus, Quickbooks, and Turbo Tax.
♥ Stop wasting food – This one is so huge it gets a whole post. Read 10 1/2 tips to stop wasting food.
♥ Find cheaper alternatives to expensive supplements – I mentioned my turmeric for curcumen (a natural anti-inflammatory) swap (read about it here). There are lots of ways to ensure your body is getting proper nutrition without buying expensive supplements!
♥ Never buy clothes that require dry cleaning.
♥ Leverage rewards credit cards for free flights and hotel stays – Learn about Travel Hacking here!
♥ Take advantage of “distributorships” to get wholesale cost on items I’d be buying anyhow – (this only works with companies that have no minimum “sales” requirements). Young Living Essential oils is one that works for me. You should never pay retail for oils!
♥ Make coffee at home – We have a Keurig and we buy the k-cups at Costco. 40 cents per cup is far cheaper than Starbucks.
♥ Turn off lights + don’t fall asleep in front of the TV – It really does add up.
♥ Ask your doctor for prescriptions in the generic name.
♥ Use a few money saving apps like Checkout 51 and Groupon – I love both of these money saving apps, but I am very careful to only use them for purchases I would have made anyhow. (THAT’S the secret to using them to save money. If you allow yourself to be “sold” things with “coupons” then you are actually not saving… you are spending.)
♥ Save on cleaning products – When it comes to cleaning, vinegar is a complete sentence. You don’t need a bunch of expensive chemicals! I also invested in a few Norwex microfiber clothes / window clothes. I’ve had mine for over 5 years, I take care of them and they still don’t need to be replaced.
♥ Quit cell phone plans – We gave up our phone plans and started saving 50% immediately. There are enough carriers out there now that you should never have to be stuck in an expensive contract.
♥ Cut cable and get netflix.
Looking for more ways to save? Check out 10 things I quit buying to save money
These are just a few of the little ways we save big. None of these things is hard to do or required a major lifestyle change for us. Don’t underestimate the power of saving a little here and there, not everything you do to grow your bank balance has to require monumental effort. What little money saving ideas can you share with me? 🙂
Related: 7 ways we save $5000 /year.