Photo by momof3inTN
If you want real and usable tips for saving money, you have to ask another mom like yourself.
Today, CafeMom momof3inTN shares her long list of great money-saving household tips.
Some Tips to Save a Little Dough
I have lived pretty close to broke all my life (not much longer! My husband is in school for his PhD now, and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel). Over the years, I have tried many (MANY) different things to save money. Now with the economy in the dumps, many people are, for the first time, experiencing what I have lived for oh-so-long.
So here are some of the things I do to help cut costs:
- Switch to Compact Florescent Bulbs. They are more expensive at the start (I get 3 for $7), but they last for 5-7 years. In the long run, they wind up costing less than the regular incandescent bulbs. They use less energy than an incandescent, and that helps save on the monthly electric bill. (Side note: also start pestering your local stores and city council about setting up a recycle center for these bulbs as well).
- Save on Water. Fill a one-liter bottle with water and put that in the tank of your toilet. You will save money on your water bill (if you have one) because you will use less water per flush.
- Save on Energy. Get a digital thermostat that is programmable. There are some that you can set to turn on/turn off at certain times, so when you are not at home, you aren't using energy and raising your power bill. In colder weather, add a blanket to the beds and turn the thermostat down at night. In the summer, turn the thermostat up.
- Make Cleaners. Look up recipes for homemade cleaners. You can make a gallon of vinegar, a few drops of essential oil, and water go a long way. There are many, many websites that have recipes for making your own cleaners (right down to laundry detergent even, for pennies!).
- Save Paper Towels. Use old, holey t-shirts as rags for cleaning. Instead of throwing them out, cut them up and store them in a basket under your sink. You'll save on paper towels.
- Go Energy Star. If you need to replace a major appliance, look for the Energy Star logo! My freezer, printer, and computer are all Energy Star now. It may cost a little extra at the outset, but will save you money over time, as these use less energy and can keep your electric bill lower.
- Buy Store Brands. I'll let you in on a grocery store secret. Shhh. Ready? Most store brand products are made by the companies that make the name brand stuff. But without the advertising and fancy packaging, the store brand USUALLY costs less! When was the last time you saw a commercial for your local grocery stores store brand product? Yes, there are a few. But compare that with the number of times you see commercials for the name brand products. All that advertising has to be paid for by someone. The consumer. You.
- Shop High and Low. Look on the high and low shelves for the better bargains for your buck. The brand name companies actually pay to have their items in certain locations (the most popular being right at eye level) in the store. Premium spots cost premium bucks too, and the consumer ends up paying the price.
- Know Price and Weight. Look at price AND weight on the product you are buying. That 12 oz. package of pasta may be on sale for $1.00 per package, but hiding on the shelf below is a 24 oz. package of the same thing for $1.25.
- Bake Your Own. Instead of buying that package of "just add water" brownies or something similar, find a few recipes online or in a cookbook. You can easily make these things from scratch (my husband loves my brownies; they don't have the glossy top like the ones from the package, but they also don't have any yucky ingredients).
- Cook from Scratch. Skip on the pre-packaged and processed "convenience" foods. There are MANY ways to cook from scratch and achieve awesome results in 30 minutes or less of cooking time. Most pre-packaged foods are going to require 15-30 minutes anyway. There are so many resources on the web now for recipes that are wholesome and nutritious and take only a little time and effort to prepare.
- Get a Store Card. You know those little things that hang on your keychain? They can save you a bundle of dough (mine saved me $54 yesterday when I did my monthly shopping trip). BUT, always comparison shop! Just because something is discounted on the card does NOT mean it is the least expensive item!
- Maintain Your Car. Keep up with tune-ups and oil changes! Get it done. These will help to keep your gas mileage up. And make sure your tires are properly inflated.
- Drive Less. Keep the driving to a minimum. Make one trip and do all your errands at once. I go to the store the same day I pay my bills (ah, the beauty of living in a small town) and take the kids to the park. The park also works as a great incentive to keep the kids behaving well while I get my errands done.
- Drive the Speed Limit. You use more gas per mile when you drive faster than 55 miles per hour. This is difficult where the speed limit is 65 or 70 (or in some places even higher), but where the speed limit is 55, you save more money. I even take back roads, rather than the highway.
Thanks, momof3inTN. These are great tips that I can actually apply in my life! Wow, I sure appreciate that kind of real advice.