Back Story: These are ways I’ve found to save money. Some of them may be repeats from a previous post or well-known ideas. If you would like to adopt them, please feel free!
Hand Washing Dishes
After we stopped using our dishwasher, our electric bill dropped by $20 a month. Granted it’s just the two of us and I understand that dishwashers are a God-send for moms, but I’m doing without it for now.
Using a Clothesline
A clothesline or a drying rack. We have both. A clothesline rigged under our carport and a drying rack in the bathtub of our spare bathroom. (This only happens when we don’t have long-term guests.) The clothesline is weather-dependent, but it’s great when you can use it.
Using the Dryer—the smart way
Contract your electric company and see if they have peak hour pricing. For example, if your electric company’s off peak hours are 9 pm to 6 am. Go ahead and wash the clothes, but don’t start the dryer until after 9 pm.
Coupons (you knew it was coming)
I used to coupon for every conceivable item I ever thought I would buy. It took up a lot more time and effort than I really wanted to put in. The TV show Extreme Couponing has made some shoppers feel inadequate because they are not getting $2000.00 for pennies. Honey, anything you save at the grocery store is awesome!
I now only cut coupons for items I know my household with use, and I don’t mean ALL of the laundry coupons. I mean I use specific types of laundry detergent because I have sensitive skin, so those are the only coupons I cut out. It has saved me a great deal of time, and I’m not wasting money on buying items my household doesn’t want or need just because it’s on sale and I have a coupon.
This is still a new concept to me, but I’ll try to explain it the best I can. I withdraw a specific amount of money at the beginning of each month. It gets divided between the cash budgets for the month: $300 for groceries, $100 for home stuff including health & beauty, $20 for fun for each myself and my husband, $50 for pool and grounds maintenance, $50 for Christmas gifts, and $20 for birthday gifts. There are other items in the budget, but these are just the categories that I stick to using cash for so I won’t overspend.
Look into purchasing store brands instead of the name brand. Just because the name brand is on sale and you have a coupon doesn’t mean it’s still a better deal that buying the generic store brand.
My husband and I have gotten to the point where we only buy something is we absolutely need it. If we can borrow a tool or piece of kitchen equipment, we do that instead. Or try to find another way to do something if we don’t have everything we need to do something.
Flea Market Produce
This tip may be regional: Fruits and vegetables can be cheaper at the flea markets. This is the case where I live.
Garage Sales/Thrift Stores
Look for gently used household items and clothes at thrift stores and garage sales. You’d be surprised at what you can find at garage sales and thrift stores. But remember!!! Just because it’s cheaply priced, doesn’t mean you need it.
Free Books, Movies, etc.
Utilize the library and/or other used bookstores for books. You may have to wait a little while sometimes, but you’ll pay less or nothing at all for books. Libraries are also great places to get movies and music.
For full disclosure, my husband and I aren’t living paycheck to paycheck like a lot of people do. We’re very fortunate for that and we know it. We’ve had distracters tease us about our ways, imply that we’re cheap, and flat out tell us we’re being dumb. Well, we live in America and everyone’s entitled to their own opinion.
Our goal is to save as much money as possible to hopefully buy a house with cash. And spending money on nonessentials is the quickest way to make that not happen.
So for those of you who are saving for something specific (a house, car, vacation, pay off a debt), don’t let the naysayers get you down. It won’t last forever. Every penny you find of the street helps.