Tips to save money:
1. Don’t throw something away if there is still some left. How many of us throw away make-up, shampoo, deodorant, dish soap, and other things even when there’s some left, only because it is a bit more difficult to access? To make those last bits of dish soap, shampoo, ketchup, or other materials in squeeze bottles easier to reach, turn them upside down, and let the bits of stuff in it move down near the cap. You would be surprised how much more you have. For make-up, like lipstick, use a toothpick to scrape the last bits of it for use. I used to throw away my make-up before it was gone when I was younger, and now that my money is less plentiful, I am really frugal with my make-up. It may only save a little money at a time, but over time, little bits become a lot.
2. Cleaning the house is good exercise. This means that you won’t have to pay a gym membership to stay in shape. And, if you keep your living space clean, you will be less likely to get sick, and therefore, you will not have to pay medical expenses.
3. Turn off the TV. I like to watch television and play video games as much as the next person, but limiting TV time really does lower your electric bill. If you are watching TV, don’t blare the sound. Put the volume to where the sound is audible, and no higher. This will cut down on energy consumption, and keep people in other rooms less annoyed with you.
4. When you are finished charging something, unplug the charger. It will save electricity, and money. This goes for household appliances too. If you aren’t using the toaster, or the coffee pot, or the radio, unplug it. Even when a device is not in use, it still uses electricity.
5. Turn off the light when you leave a room, even if it’s only for a minute.
6. Invest in low energy light bulbs and rechargeable batteries. They may be more expensive upfront, but they end up paying for themselves over and over when you don’t have to buy more, or pay for them on your energy bill.
7. Take short showers, and take them early in the morning or late at night, or whenever there aren’t many people using water. By taking a shower, or running the dishwasher or doing laundry when nobody’s using water, the water heater doesn’t have to work as hard to supply you and others in the house with hot water. This saves energy, and therefore money.
8. When you do laundry, put it on the cold water setting. This saves energy by not using hot water.
9. Keep the door closed if the weather is bad. If you have a visitor, either step out, or invite the visitor in. Also, in the summer, use drapes or even blankets to keep the sun from heating your house. In the winter, do the same thing to keep the heat inside. Conversely, if the weather is good, open your windows instead of running the air conditioner. Not only will you keep down costs, but you will also move the air around in your home, clearing out dust and bacteria.
10. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Repair. My mom always told me to use very little soap when doing dishes. By her reckoning, if you needed more you could always add it later, but if you used more than you needed from the start, you couldn’t put it back. The same goes for shampoo. Unless you have extremely long or thick hair ( by long, I mean past your shoulder blades, and by thick, I mean hard to brush with all but the most sturdy brushes) you shouldn’t need more shampoo than an amount about the same size as a quarter. Also, if you can fix something yourself, do it. Read up on how to do simple home repairs. Save your containers too. That way, you have easy, free storage.
11. Use craigslist to sell things that are still usable, or to advertise services like babysitting or odd jobs. If you cannot sell your junk on craigslist, have a yard sale. If all else fails, donate your junk to charity. Cooking items can go to your local soup kitchens, clothing can go to the Goodwill, and so can furniture. Toys can got to toy drives or other local charities. Some hospitals with children’s wings accept toys too. Books can go to the library. Donations can be used in tax write-offs, and also help you feel good.
12. Use the library. Library cards are usually cheap or free, most have wifi or computers ( I’m at a library right now, actually) and most have events that are more fun than you’d think. Also, if you have to do research, there are a lot of resources at libraries.
13. Shop around for necessities like food and cleaning supplies, and use as many coupons as you can. There are even coupons for restaurants. To add to that, check more than one store for food and other supplies. Even at different braches of the same store, stuff may be cheaper. This applies for gas too. Finally, if you don’t want to go out of your way for a sweet deal, some stores match prices if you have proof that an item is cheaper elsewhere. See if your local supermarket does this.
14. Use the value meal at fast food joints. For the same price of one Big Mac combo, you could get twice the food on a value menu. Also, if you are feeding a family, seek meal deals. McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Long John Silver’s all have one. They provide a lot of food for less than if you order for each person individually.
15. Buy generic over-the-counter medications. They cost less than name brand, and they are the same thing. Most super stores like Wal-Mart and Food Lion have their own brands of generics. The same rule can be applied to clothing, cleaning supplies, food, shampoo, soap, make-up, and other things.
16. Toothpaste and vinegar are all purpose cleaners. Toothpaste whitens piano keys, polishes metal, cleans shoe soles, polishes leather, removes crayon and coffee stains, removes sour smells from dishes, and shines diamonds. For those in a rented apartment or house, or those in a dorm, toothpaste can also be used to hang posters. When you move out, just use water to get rid of the toothpaste, and you don’t have to worry about paying to get a hole plugged or for tape marks to be painted over. White vinegar can be used for cleaning coffee makers, floors, drains glass, counters, garbage disposals, microwaves, refrigerators, tea kettles, irons, shower heads, dishwashers, metal, blinds, plastic food containers, tarnished brass, copper, and pewter, and mold.
17. Before you go to the store, make a grocery list, and stick to it. Do not buy something not on the list unless you can think of an immediate need it will fill. Remember to distinguish between wants and needs. You do need bread if you are almost finished with the loaf at home. You do not need the five hundred dollar universal remote that will probably break within the month, or the newest hundred dollar accessory.
18. Rent a house that provides for your needs, not your wants. We all want a home of our dreams, but we must find balance. If it’s you and one or two other people, do you really need the 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom behemoth? While the extra space would most certainly find a way to be filled, do you really need it?
19. Freeze your credit cards- literally. Every once in a while, all of us want to treat ourselves. To prevent going over the top, make a cash withdrawal that you can afford. Then, place your credit cards and a penny in a Ziploc bag full of water, and put it in your freezer. The penny will prevent you from impulsively putting your cards in the microwave. Then, go have fun!
20. Keep track of your spending and debt. Balance your check book, and create a progress chart for paying off debts.
21. Tea leaves and coffee grounds are great plant food. Once you are finished with a pot of coffee, or tea, place the grounds and leaves in your plant’s soil.
22. Not everything has to match. If you get hand-me-down plates, silverware, or other items, don’t discard them because they don’t match what you already have. If you have more of these items, they don’t wear out and break as quickly.
Alrighty then. I hope these tips will save you some cash!