I haven't written a post on frugality in a while and, seeing as I will need to be more frugal than ever in the super near future, I figured I should up my ante on that again! I'm going to share some of my current, favorite ways to save money in no particular order. As always, feel free to share any that come to mind in the comments. I often get really good suggestions of things I've never thought of from YOU! If any of these are a repeat from my previous posts, well.... all I've got to say is you have a way better memory than I do! ;)
Stacy's Current Ways to Save!
- Chocolate banana peanut butter smoothies for breakfast. It's a mouthful, literally! I buy one of those giant jars of peanut butter, a thing of unsweetened cocoa powder, bananas, and milk. I only replenish the bananas (cheap!) and milk (not since I drink organic) each week. Throw in 6 ice cubes, 1.5 cups of milk, whatever amount of peanut butter you want (I do 2 servings because I'm doing the Brewer's diet), about a 1/2 tablespoon of the cocoa powder, and just break the banana into chunks. Blend it all, pour, and you have a tasty smoothie for very little money each week. It makes a big smoothie, so you could get 2 child portions out of it, or use slightly less for a smaller adult portion. So much cheaper than eating cereal, and a lot better since you are getting protein, dairy, and a fruit. The only annoying part is washing the blender every day! Hint: be careful upping the cocoa powder. I was using more for a while until I connected it with some.... stomach discomfort.
- Rubbing alcohol and peroxide (50/50 mix) as carpet cleaner. It continues to amaze me how well it works, even if it does stink a little going on. When we had our carpets professionally cleaned upon moving in, the cleaner guy gave us that recipe to use for touch ups. I don't think we've found a stain yet that it can't handle, and it is so much cheaper and less chemically than store bought cleaners! Even when we were using the green enzyme stuff, we were still spending a ton more than we do on this. You can put it in a spray bottle, or just pour it right on the stain (I do the latter).
- On that same token, we're still going strong with a 50/50 mix of water and vinegar for household cleaning. I usually add quite a few drops (40 or so) of essential oil to it, orange being my favorite, but I ran out and this bottle doesn't have any. It works perfectly, you get used to the scent which fades quickly, and we clean for the whole year for the cost of one of those giant bottles of white vinegar. Technically longer since it will probably take us longer than a year to use that up! I use it on everything but wood, which we don't have much of. I just use a microfiber cloth on wood, so also nothing to purchase routinely there! But really, we use it in the bathroom, kitchen, on glass, to mop floors, etc.
- Target's Cartwheel App. If you aren't using it, you really need to be. I have saved anywhere between $8 and $12 on a shopping trip with the app alone, and those are NOT on huge purchases. I think the $12 came off of a $60 purchase and brought me down to $48 before coupons! It isn't the most intuitive app, but once you figure it out, it's pretty easy. I just check it before going to Target so I don't have to fiddle with anything but the barcode in the store. FYI: watch out for the trap of buying things you wouldn't have otherwise ;).
- Re-purpose everything! I've still got a long way to go on this, but any start is a good start. When we have clothing that gets ratty, like socks or tshirts, I cut them up into rags and put them in a container in the bathroom. We can then use those for cleaning, especially cleaning up messes where you might not want to re-use it. Since it's already on it's second use, it's ok if you want to throw it away (although if you re-use it, you are just saving more and more money!). We rarely use papertowels for anything any more, which is a huge cost savings because we used to go through probably a roll a week. Now I'd say it takes us a good month or so to go through a roll, if not longer. Another thing we repurpose is newspaper. We get a free paper twice a week and, if we have no projects, it goes straight into the recycle bin. But it's a great thing to use as a drop cloth for painting and other projects. Just make sure you layer it pretty thick!
- Never, ever, ever purchase something online without googling a coupon code. The site Retail Me Not usually has the best codes with little hassle. I save money on online purchases all the time doing this! I only ever buy things that I'm going to buy regardless, but finding a coupon code for them is like icing on the cake- especially if the item was already on sale!
Hit me! What are your current savings go to tips?