It’s snowing (again) and Bee and I are sick with some awful respiratory thing (again). Last night, while I was trailing around Wal-Mart getting groceries, I kept feeling progressively sicker. By the time I got home, I was so achy and weak that I had to call my husband to help me bring the groceries in. To make matters worse, I somehow chipped my bottom tooth a couple of days ago (I was eating an egg salad sandwich–I mean, does it get much softer than that? It’s not like it was a jawbreaker!) I have to go to the dentist this morning because it’s driving me nuts! It’s just a tiny chip, but, well… I’m very aware of it.
Anyway, last night while I was shopping, I was thinking about all of the little things I do to save money. Many people have the attitude that little things don’t make a significant impact on your overall financial picture, and therefore aren’t worth doing. I say they’re wrong.
I believe that all the little things we do add up to make a very big difference. Here are 25 little (to us) things that we do to save money:
1) When I buy a box of dryer sheets, I cut them in half with my kitchen shears. Half a sheet works just as well as a whole sheet.
2) I wash out and reuse plastic bags. I turn them inside out and wash them with my white clothes, using hot water and a little bleach (note – I only do this with BPA-free plastic bags, because heat deteriorates plastic).
3) I make my own baby wipes.
4) I use cloth diapers.
5) I grow vegetables.
6) I bake and decorate my kids’ birthday cakes, and we usually have their parties in our basement.
7) I cook almost everything from scratch.
8. We keep the thermostat set at 69 degrees instead of 70 degrees or higher. That one little degree makes a big difference.
9) I hang laundry to dry outdoors on the clothesline. In the winter, I hang it on a clothesline that my husband rigged up in the laundry room by stapling heavy duty twine to the rafters.
10) We use only compact fluorescent light bulbs. They cost more up front, but we saved almost $30 on our electric bill in the first month we had them!
11) We shop at garage sales, and buy almost everything used.
12) My husband and I don’t usually exchange gifts on holidays (except birthdays). We buy (or make) each other cards, and maybe a small item, but in general, we don’t see the point. We already have everything we want.
13) We print on both sides of paper.
14) We get haircuts at our local cosmetology college. They do very careful work because they’re being graded. I had a coupon, so my last haircut (with shampoo, conditioning treatment, scalp massage and blow dry) and eyebrow wax cost only $13.50.
15) I make pizzas instead of ordering them. I can make a homemade pizza with pepperoni, green olives, and mozzarella cheese for about $3.00. It tastes better too.
16) I rarely wear make-up. I usually just wear moisturizer with sunscreen, and lip balm. My husband thinks I’m beautiful just as I am, and he’s the only one whose opinion I care about!
17) We do our own landscaping–it’s really not that hard.
18) I make homemade play dough, silly putty, soap crayons, and other amusements for my children.
19) I use my slow cooker. A lot. It uses far less energy than the oven, is convenient, and the slow cooking makes less expensive cuts of meat tender, juicy and delicious!
20) We compost all of our food waste, except for animal products. We even compost our dryer lint! I keep a plastic ice cream bucket with a lid in my kitchen sink, and pitch all vegetable peelings, bread crusts and other scraps into it throughout the day. At the end of the day, we take it out and dump it in our homemade compost bin. It breaks down into rich fertilizer, which we till into our vegetable garden in the spring and fall. As my husband is fond of saying, most people throw out their garbage. We recycle ours.
21) I cut open toothpaste tubes to get the last little bit out. There is usually enough in there for a couple more brushes.
22) I use foaming hand soap. I bought some at Bath & Body Works when they had their 3 for $5 sale. When it was gone, I saved the bottles, and bought a gallon of liquid soap (Milk & Honey-smells good enough to eat) at Wal-Mart. Now I just keep refilling the bottles with one third soap, and two thirds water. The soap lasts 3 times as long!
23) I do our taxes. It’s drudgery, and I hate it, but it saves $225.
24) I love to read, and I’m a serious library user, but I rarely buy books. If I do, I buy them used, and check Book Finder to make sure I’m getting the best deal possible.
25) We don’t follow trends and we don’t keep up with the Joneses. As of this writing our TV is 15 years old, we don’t have IPods, and we’ll probably drive our cars until they fall apart. We’re fine with that.