1. Watch Those Nickels, Dimes and Pennies
Where do they all go? You know that soda you buy at the gas station? The candy bar you treat yourself to at the checkout counter? They all add up! Try to keep track of all those nickels, dimes and pennies. One way would be in a spreadsheet in EXCEL. You might be amazed at how much it adds up to after a month of keeping track.
2. Go Back to Basics.
This generation is one that is accustomed to convenience. Cleaning products are just bought, premixed. One is bought for the mirrors, another for the countertops, and of course there is the tough cleaner for the bathroom. There are products that you most likely have, but do not use to their full potential.
- Baking soda: Mix it with salt and you have a good toothpaste. It does not have that nice minty flavor, but it does a great job. It is also removes baked-on grease on the stove top. Put in your wash to help remove odors from soiled garments.
- Vinegar: Mix vinegar with water in a spray bottle, grab a newspaper and attack those windows.
- Ammonia: This is also a good cleaning agent.
- Chlorine bleach: Use to clean and disinfect the toilet bowl.
Sure it takes some time to mix them, but think of how much you could save! Get rid of those multiple bottles that fill the cabinet under the sink. Just never mix vinegar and ammonia together!
3. Time Banks
This is a new trend. See if you can locate a group in your neighborhood where individuals help each other by sharing skills. You neighbor, who is an electrician, may do an electrical repair job for you if you prepare a home cooked meal every day for his family over the period of a week when his wife is in the hospital.
A more organized effort along these lines is called Time Banks. One hour of helping another with your skill is equal to one hour by anyone else, no matter what the skill is. You need a job that requires three hours of work, then you must first give your skills to another to earn those three hours. There is even software to help individuals keep track of every ones hours.
4. Cut Those Clothing Costs and Get Some Money In Return.
There are several options here. You have the thrift shop, where you can purchase clothing that people donate. It is necessary to go through the clothing sometimes to find something decent. There is the swap shop, especially for baby and toddler clothing. If you need something, you bring in articles that are clean and still wearable to swap for the size you need now. It is a win-win situation. Then there is the consignment shop, where you can find good quality clothes for office wear or even special occasions. The prices are higher than the thrift shops, but so is the quality. It is also a place where you can bring clothing of your own to sell. The owner gets a commission, but you get some money out of it yourself.
5. Coupons are still in.
This takes organization. Some people carry 3 ring notebooks with all their coupons in pockets labeled for quick access. There are also special coupon organizers on a small scale. Coupons are cut out of magazines, newspapers, fliers. There are coupon groups you can join online for the sole purpose of getting the latest for your area grocery store. It takes persistence, but it pays off in lower food costs and other needed items.