Here is a list we’ve put together “8 is Great! Quick and Dirty Frugal Living Tips” to help you shave off some cash to put back in your pocket this holiday season. Please enjoy and feel free to comment below with your own suggestions and money hacks!
1. Cut the paper! Paper towels, paper napkins, paper coffee filters, that is.
Switch to cloth, and utilize outgrown/worn out clothing and pink the edges to help defray the fraying. Switch to a reusable coffee filter/metal system – just for the love of all things carbon-footprint related – please don’t switch to disposable pods!!!
2. Un-zip! Switch from Zipper top bags to foldover bags (if you use them at all)
The cost of zipper top bags is nearly 4 times as much – I know, I know, we’re talking minuscule amounts here, but they add up. Look at the products in your home objectively and see which ones you can switch the brands of to less expensive alternatives, which ones you can eliminate, and which ones will help you save pennies by substituting. Speaking of pennies…
3. Change it up! Throw the change – every LAST BIT into a large vessel and name a use for it
We called ours “The New Christmas Tree Fund” starting the end of summer. It seems that if the “extra cash” has a purpose to it, we’re less likely to dig into it for the ice cream truck or bus fare. And well, as luck would have it, our new neighbor just offered us a brand new 7.5″ GORGEOUS tree if we can get it out of her storage unit! It looks like the $50 in the loose change we’ve saved is going towards a New Years staycation trip instead!
4. Order in delivery! Sign Up for Amazon Prime
NO, this is not a promo plug or anything and may seem counterintuitive, but I have found that I truly save A LOT of money by only purchasing what I need through Amazon Prime delivery, and by being able to price compare, etc. I also save on transportation costs and avoid impulse purchases at checkout. I’m not buying Twix bars or a pack of Pokemon Cards at the checkout line simply because the trip is taking a bit longer than usual! Also, a tip I learned (that may just be anecdotal) if you leave items in your Amazon cart and abandon it for awhile, a friend told me the price has been known to drop… I’m not sure about how true that is, but if you have any evidence, please let us know!
5. Bulk up! Cook base ingredients in bulk and portion to freeze
This saves us a LOT of both time and money. It may take planning that is unfamiliar at first, but I stock my freezer with 2 person and 4 person portions of basic bases that have been prepared ahead of time. Some examples of bulk bases I keep on hand:
- Gluten-free noodles with parm and white wine sauce
- Jasmine rice with veggie stock
- Trickster Mac and Cheese carrot and cheese sauce base
- Brown rice and veg stir fry
6. Clean up your act! Get thee to a Dollar Store and Stock up on White Vinegar and Spray Bottles
Add some essential oils, some water, and go halfsies with the vinegar into each bottle, and you’ve just made some high-class au naturel cleaning supplies for pennies on the dollar.
7. Get a little dirty! DIY Your Grooming
This may be second nature to some, or completely unnatural to others, but adding up the cost of what some “essential” beauty and grooming regimens can be mind-boggling. I used to have a partner who, um, had his nostrils waxed every week for $7 a pop. It went along with his “hot towel shave.” We were not wealthy, and darn it if that $28 in nose waxing per month wouldn’t have been better spent on a therapy co-pay. I was no better though – I was in the super corporate world and spent upwards of $60 a month on my nails so they were “handshake ready.” AND, this was nearly a decade ago -I’m sure the costs have risen. So, for nose hairs and nails, we were spending about $100 a month.
Yeah, $1,200 a year could have gone a LOT farther… Take a look at your western ideals of beauty and grooming and see if you REALLY need that blow-out, pedicure or trim scheduled. I’m not saying eschew it all, but take pleasure in the occasional treat of it, and enjoy the extra money in your pocket even more.
8. Pay it forward! Consider enlisting little helpers for overnight pet help
In lieu of pet boarding, and barring your pet(s) have severe needs for food, diet, exercise or care – consider employing the help of little neighbors or friends to help with overnight pet care (under their parental supervision, of course) to assist. The benefits are multiple – you can save on traumatizing Fluffy or Fido with a trip to the “vet” aka boarder, and the little friend can learn about earning, take responsibility, and perhaps even “test run” the whole pet ownership thing if that may be on the holiday agenda… 😉
This suggestion is of course COMPLETELY personal to the pet parent and pet sitter/parent – but we’ve had great success with this method. And who isn’t happier with $15/day vs. $55 and knowing that your kitty isn’t stuck in a cat jail cell for 48 hours?
So, in conclusion – look for the small ways in your life that you can add some extra bucks to your bounce. There are blessings found in less – keep your eyes open and share the wealth of knowledge that is yours for the taking.