Things I Still Do To Save $$
With prices rising on a daily basis it is more important than ever to save money everywhere we can. I thought I'd share some of the ways I'm saving money every day.
In order to stay on budget I still plan my meals based on items I already have on hand. We only eat two meals a day. The majority of my grocery shopping is solely what I find on sale or markdown. I shop with a list I make after checking the weekly sales ads. I know my prices at each of the stores I shop at and routinely use digital and paper coupons to pair with sales items. I make sure to minimize food waste by not over purchasing perishable items, over cooking and eating leftovers. I frequently make low cost meals and serve a soup meal at least once a week. I stick to my monthly budget.
I drive a lot less. When I do drive I plan my route to maximize efficiency and make the most of each trip. I stick to a monthly gas budget and purchase my fuel at the best price with a gas station fuel rewards card which shaves an additional 3¢ a gallon off in order to get the most fuel I can for my money. I am willing to walk or use my bike for short trips that don't require using a vehicle. My daughter and I will often run errands together too so we only need to use one car.
Home Heating & Cooling
I keep the thermostat set at 68° in our home in winter. We only use a lower wattage electric fireplace and infrared heater at the beginning and end of winter and push of the higher watt main heating as long as possible. We also wear sock and slipper and dress in layers so we can be comfortable in a cooler home. In spring and fall we are able to keep the house cool by opening windows in the mornings and late evening for fresh air. I have window A/C units that we install in the upstairs bedrooms in July and August, our hottest months. Just running the A/C in the upper level is enough to keep our entire house cool as the downstairs stays quite nice on its own. Similarly, we only use the heat downstairs allowing heat to rise on its own to the upper level during the colder months.
Clothing & Shoes
Secondhand, sales and off season clearance is the way we acquire whatever we need when it comes to clothes, coats, shoes, boots, hats and gloves. I could not tell you the last time I purchased something new and paid full price for it. I also keep a fairly minimal wardrobe and typically just replace items as they wear out. When my children were younger I happily accepted hand me downs too.
Laundry & Housekeeping
I have a high efficiency front load washer and dryer set. I only run the washer once it is full. I purchase laundry detergent on sale and with coupons or make my own. I stopped using liquid fabric softener and now use white distilled vinegar in the wash. We do use dryer sheets and reuse them for multiple loads before tossing them out. I also hang about 50% of our laundry to air dry.
I use minimal cleaning supplies for keeping house. Dishwashing detergent, Comet or bleach, and Fabuloso for most of my cleaning works really well. I have a dishwasher that I rarely use, but when we do I only run it when it is full. Mostly, I prefer to hand wash our dishes and typically I only do dishes once a day, sometimes twice. I'm also very conscientious about how much water I'm running and I always use rags instead of paper towels.
Hair, Hygiene & Manicures
We do haircuts, manicures and pedicures at home. We don't shower or bathe every day and we are very conscientious about our water use when we do. We are careful not to overuse shampoo, conditioner or soap finding a little seems to go a long way. I purchase inexpensive products and often dilute them with water as they tend to be very thick and diluting them doesn't seem to have any adverse effect on their performance while making them go much further. We use store brand products most of the time which I buy on sale and with coupons as often as possible. I don't use make up, neither does my daughter, or dye my hair. More expensive items like perfume, shower gels, body creams and lotions are typically received as gifts.
We make our own entertainment. Playing games, cards or putting together a jigsaw puzzle is still fun for us. We also have a Wii and a Sega Genesis as well as some computer games we can play. I like to do crossword puzzles and can get a book from the dollar store or print them online. We seldom go out for meals and rarely go to the movies or concerts. There are plenty of free activities available in our city such as car shows, art exhibits, museum or zoo days, free music venues, nature walks and hiking, floating the river, etc. I gave up all subscription streaming services and we cut cable a good long time ago. There are plenty of free viewing options we access with our Roku as well as online. We also borrow DVDs and books from our public library. Potlucks, BBQs and inviting friends over for dinner is still a favorite activity of ours.
Do you have any money saving tips you'd like to share? How are some new ways you've been saving money?