More Economizing Tips I've Learned Recently
1. I make simpler dinners now. I love the one-dish dinners that contain a protein, carb and vegetable. It cuts down on dishes to wash and my kids usually don't mind the vegetables. It also means I don't always have to have a salad or another vegetable on the side.
2. We turn the heater down and wear more sweatshirts. My kids love to wrap up in a blanket on the couch. Luckily we have TONS of quilts to use.
3. Along the lines of #2. This summer I saved $120 a month by turning the air conditioning off and the fans on. Seriously - $120! The only time this doesn't work is when the humidity is above 75 or 80%. Those days are killer and the A/C has to be turned on.
4. DH hung a clothesline for me along one edge of the carport. I don't mind hanging out the laundry and it saves a ton if I don't have to use the dryer as often. I'm hoping that when harvest is over he'll make me a real clothesline for next summer.
5. We really missed our garden this year. We moved too late in the summer to plant on here but have it all planned out for next year. We loved the fresh produce and being able to can/bottle some for the winter, too.
6. How many Christmas cards and pictures can a person actually save? I save the ones from immediate family and have a huge stack. This year I might (still thinking about it) email the letter and picture to most of our list. It will save a ton on printing fees and postage.
7. Aldi's is my new favorite grocery store - again. I shopped there when we lived in Hutchinson. Now that we are back near an Aldi's I shop there again. I can find most everything I need and it has helped with the food storage while keeping within the food budget. www.aldifoods.com
8. Make Christmas gifts - I have tons of fabric scraps and can use them for lots of things. I like to make pot holders, aprons, and appliqued dishtowels. I also make "jingle socks" and hooded towels for children. I will post tutorials soon. I know of a family that always does "a priceless gift" for each family member. It has to be something that doesn't cost them any money. I think that is a great idea.
9. I've stopped using prepared mixes and boxed dinners and have started making more things by scratch again. This has cut down on the garbage we produce and has saved us quite a bit of money. If I start the dinner in the morning (and at least get the casserole prepared and ready to throw in the oven) then I have time to make things from scratch.
10. I am no longer brand-loyal on most things. If it's on sale and it's something I need then I get it, even if it's not the brand that I usually use. I am also a fan of the store brands for most things. You can save a lot by purchasing store brands. Sometimes, though, a national brand that is on sale is cheaper than the store brand - especially if you have a coupon.
11. Homemade laundry soap - I haven't tried this yet but I am anxious to. I haven't found a store that sells washing soda and no one will order it for me. I might have to order it online. I'll post the recipe in another post. My friend Tanya swears by this stuff, as do several of my cousins.
12. My NUMBER ONE money saving tip is using coupons. I was not a believer that 50 cents here or a dollar off there would add to big savings but I am a believer now. I will devote a full post to using coupons in the future but until then, here is one of my favorite coupon sites - http://hip2save.blogspot.com/. Sign up as a follower and you will be emailed when she updates her blog. She gives you tips, tricks, ways to stack coupons on a sale and generally save money. Also make sure to check out her instructional videos on the right side of her webpage.
I'll leave you with a final thought - a poem that my mom first quoted to me when I was leaving for college -
Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without!
I didn't appreciate it then, but I certainly appreciate it now!
I would love to hear your favorite money-saving tips! Please post a comment or a link in the comment section.