If you are making a commitment to a frugal lifestyle or simply trying to spend less each month and save for a big purchase or vacation then you know that after you make those big changes you have to start getting creative to save more. These ten easy tips and ideas can help you trim extra money from your monthly expenses without feeling the change too much.
1. Save Water - Jar in the Toilet Tank
This is an "old-school" trick for people who do not have a low-water volume toilet tank. Place a brick or weighted jar in the toilet tank and you will use less water with every flush since the brick or jar takes up space that normally has water. This reduction in water will be a nice surprise with your lowered utility bill each month.
2. Cut Dryer Sheets
Spend half as much on the cost of dryer sheets by cutting them in half. A half sheet is more than able to soften and freshen a standard load and you will literally cut this expense in half.
Bonus: To rally save forget the dryer sheets and add a ball of foil to the dryer to soften clothes.
3. Mark-down Meat
Assuming you are not a vegetarian then you know that purchasing meat for meals is one of the biggest expenses in your grocery budget. I have been using this trick and only buy meat that is on clearance or marked down. Rather than buying meat with a recipe in mind I choose the discounted meat options and then find a recipe to use with that instead.
I have also found that I was able to buy meat from the display cases at a great discount by shopping just as they are getting ready to break down the meat cases for the evening. Just have a chat with the meat department manager and you might be surprised at the savings!
4. Amazon Trade-In
Another easy trick is to make use of the Amazon trade-in program. You can trade-in books, movies and electronics to earn gift cards to purchase other items you need to purchase. You can check out all the details at the Amazon website.
5. Ignore Expiration Dates
Ok, well don't completely ignore the dates on everything but it is important to know which dates you can safely ignore. These are the actual meanings of the different expiration dates:
"Sell by” lets the store know how long to display products for sale. The product should be purchased prior to this date. “Sell by” is typically found on perishables like meat or poultry.
“Best if used by” is a recommendation for best quality or flavor, not safety.
“Use by” indicates when a product will start deteriorating in quality and flavor as determined by the manufacturer.
6. Skip the Cleaners
Save a nice amount of money each month by not buying commercial cleaners. Instead use baking soda and vinegar to clean the surfaces in your home for much, much less.
Mix baking soda with water to create a paste that’s perfect for wiping the inside of your fridge, sinks, and pretty much any surface that needs a little abrasive cleaning.
Vinegar diluted with a little water can clean glass surfaces and even the calcium buildup on shower heads and fixtures when soaked for several hours or overnight.
7. Re-purpose Dryer Sheets
Earlier you cut the dryer sheets in half to save and now re-purpose those used dryer sheets as cleaners for baseboards, ceiling fans and many other places that need a little attention. The light abrasive surface of these sheets can be great for getting soap scum off of shower doors or even bugs off the front of your car. So before you just throw these sheets away get a little extra use out if them and save a few more pennies along the way.
8. Re-fill and re-use K-cups
We all love the convenience of the K-cups but they can get a little pricey but instead of giving up the convenience instead re-fill the cup and get much more for your money.
It is pretty easy to re-fill and reuse them just empty the used coffee grounds from K-Cups, making sure to leave the filter intact. Next us your sink’s spray feature to clean the remaining filter. Let the K-Cup dry overnight, then refill with fresh coffee. Cover with the filled K-Cup with foil, crimping in the sides so the coffee doesn’t spill out, and use normally.
9. Buy Discounted Gift Cards
An easy trick to get a discount on literally everything you buy is to purchase gift cards at discounted prices. You can buy almost any type of gift card at www.raise.com and some of these gift cards are at substantial savings.
Purchase the gift cards, many are electronically delivered, and then purchase your items. You are basically giving yourself a sale price on everything you buy and when you combine these discounted gift cards with coupons, sales and special buys you can really ramp up your savings!
10. Make Your Toothpaste
Making your own toothpaste is not only cost effective but it also allows for you to control the ingredients and create non-toxic toothpaste that works great! There is a simple recipe to make this below but remember you can adjust or change the taste to meet your needs and can even find refillable containers to squeeze the toothpaste from. However, I like to use a mason jar so that none of the toothpaste gets wasted and I know exactly how much I have left.
Mint Flavored Toothpaste:
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 1 tsp sea salt (optional)
- 1-2 tsp peppermint extract or essential oil
Mix together baking soda, salt, and peppermint. Then, add a bit of water and stir. Gradually add more water, stirring at the same time, until the paste has reached your desired consistency. Store the paste in a glass container.
If you add some, or all, of these savings ideas you will watch your savings pile grow every month without sacrificing too much! After you have re-filled and re-used the K-cups you can also use them as great little seed starting pots to give them even more usefulness.
danyalehubbard on May 23, 2017:
I really would like to know
Lanecia Smith from United States on May 19, 2017:
Shey Saints from Philippines on May 19, 2017:
nice article! i never knew that's how you can actually make your own toothpaste