If you were to ask a random group of people “what are the two things of which you wish you had more?” my guess is that most people would say time and money. In my last post I discussed some of the things I do to help manage my time on a daily basis. In this post I want to share some of the things I do to save money and live a little more frugally.
I don’t have a clothes dryer. I dry all of our laundry outside on a clothes line. If weather is bad then I hang laundry on drying racks in one of the bathrooms and on the shower curtain rod. This saves us money on electricity each month.
Menu planning. Wednesday is my meal planning day. I take an inventory of what is in the pantry then I sit down with a calender, pen, paper and my tablet to make out menus for the week using what we already have in stock. This helps in a couple of ways. I am using what we have on hand so nothing goes bad before it gets used. Tossing food out because it has spoiled before it was used is like tossing the money spent on the food into the garbage. Also, some weeks I don’t have to make a trip to the store at all because I already have everything I need. If you do an online search you will find many free templates to help get you started with meal planning and saving on groceries.
We eat leftovers! Not much needs to be said here except that we take leftovers to work for lunch or have them as a quick dinner on extra busy nights. They sometimes get frozen for another meal. We love leftovers!
Make my own cleaning products. From window cleaner to laundry detergent, I make most of what we need for cleaning. By keeping just a few basic items on hand you can very easily whip up what you need. I keep white vinegar, baking soda, Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, isopropyl alchohol and essential oils on hand for my recipes. I also keep washing soda, borax and Dr. Bronner’s bar soap for making laundry detergent. Recipes for these products abound on the internet.
We cut our own hair. Yes, you read that right. I save a ton of money by giving myself a basic layered cut every so often. I learned from a video I saw online. I also give myself manicures and pedicures. I will admit that they don’t always look as nice as they do when someone else does them but they are good enough and I love the money I save! John cuts his own hair with a shaver and I touch up the back for him.
I shop second hand and outlet stores for clothes. One of my favorite past times is going shopping at the Salvation Army. I have found many brand name items of clothing in excellent condition to add to my wardrobe. And since I have basic sewing skills, I am able to do alterations if I find an item that I love that does not quite fit just right. I also shop the local outlets for end of season sales on shoes and clothes. One of my favorite stores marks down their clothing to $5 an item. I am able to add new items to next season’s wardrobe for a great price. I also make sure that I get as much use out of my clothes as possible before they are sent to the rag box.
Utilize the local library. The local library is one of my favorite places. As with all libraries I can check out books, movies and music for free. If the town library does not have what I am looking for they can request it be sent from another library for me. And sometimes I just go there to sit in the quiet, read and unwind. It’s like a free mini vacation for me.
Car pool. John and I are blessed to work only about a mile from each other. And our schedules are similar. That makes car pooling a no brainer for us. John drops me off in the morning and picks me up in the late afternoon. On days that I get off early I will drop him at work first then use the extra time run errands before I have to pick him up in the afternoon. We save a good bit in gas this way.
Using a bike in town. Another way I try to save on gas is to use my bike to run errands in our little town. If I have to go to the pharmacy, library or even to get a few items from the store I can hop on my bike, get some exercise and save gas while running an errand. John even purchased panniers (bags) for my bike to make transporting items easier.
There are many places online where you can go to get more information and ideas on how to save money. One of the blogs I follow is www.theprudenthomemaker.com. She is not a homesteader but she does an amazing job caring for her family of 10 and keeping her household running on one salary. I get a lot of inspiration from reading her blog. I recommend checking it out.
I am always looking for ways to stretch our money further and welcome any ideas or tips that you folks might have to share.
SIDE NOTE: as I write this I occurs to me that each actvity I’ve listed could actually be post in itself. So I think I will try to address each in more detail in the coming weeks.