Sunday, September 14, 2008

Watching the Pennies Add Up

"A penny saved is a penny earned." "Look after the pennies, and the dollars will look after themselves" I think we all grew up learning those phrases! It just means take care of the pennies (watch those small amounts you spend) and they'll add up to big savings overall. Here are some money saving tips that I do and that were shared by others. All you frugalistas out there, please feel free to add to the tips in the comments.

  1. Save your change. Above is a picture of my "egg money" (do you know where that phrase came from?). Jen mentioned that she has a jar where she puts her change and that's what she uses for decorating money. I use it for that too and more. Just last week I scooped out a handful into a baggy and took it to Kroger with me to deposit in those Coinstar machines. I had a little over $18 when I was through. Went to Goodwill and found this dog picture to add to my dog collection ($3). Went to Barnes & Nobles later in the week and had a lovely Pumpkin Spice Latte while looking at the latest magazines, bought one and still had some "blow" money leftover! I have also used it for grocery money when times have been really tight!

  2. Make your own. Hip Chick makes her own laundry detergent (look here You can make your own cleaning products (I'll share some recipes I use in another post), your own tooth powder, you can make your own mixed seasonings (like taco etc), your own cream of ....soup, make your own granola (it's so easy!) you can make your own practically anything! The Internet is a great resource - lots of people have been making their own stuff for years and years so you're bound to find what you're looking for.

  3. Conserve water. Glenda said that when she was growing up if you took a bath that water was then used to flush toilets. Don't let the water run when you brush your teeth and wash your face. We collect water in our rain barrels to use for a variety of things. Linda's husband fixed her washer so they can use the grey water to water their yard.

  4. Don't waste. Clarice keeps a bag in her freezer to hold leftover bits of bread. When she gets enough she cubes them and makes bread pudding out of them. You can also make your own breadcrumbs. Keep those little bits of veggies that don't get eaten in the freezer and add to soups. I also reuse the other side of printer paper (you know when something you didn't want to print does or if you're finished with it). Rhonda in OK likes to use casserole dishes with lids so she doesn't have to even use foil. I re-wash my foil and use over and over.
  5. Use White Vinegar. Phyllis said that her Mom used to use vinegar on her hair instead of conditioner (I don't know if hair color plays a factor in whether you can do this). Lots of people use vinegar in their washer instead of fabric softener. 1/2 cup for top loaders and a 1 tablespoon for front loaders (I would experiment with that as I'm sure all washers are different). I cut dryer sheets in half and use those when we don't line dry. I use vinegar and water to wash my laminate floors.
  6. Do it yourself. I cut my husbands hair about every 10 days. He bought one of those hair cutting kits with the different blade attachments for about $40. It costs him $10 to get it cut at the barbershop (not including tip). So we save at least $30 a month on that. I trim my own bangs and my daughter's. I cut my own grass (which I hate doing btw because it takes me about an hour just to do the front yard). That saves me $100 a month (lawn service was $50 every two weeks just for the front). I of course paint my own everything (believe me I'd rather pay to have someone paint walls - that I don't enjoy).
  7. Swap frozen pizza for delivered or make your own.
  8. I use a broom instead of my vacuum most of the time, to save on electricity. I also don't leave my phone charger plugged in.
  9. I cook extra and freeze for those days when I don't feel like cooking so I'm not tempted to get take out.
  10. Check the dollar stores for bargains. I just found out the my Big Lots has bread considerably cheaper than Kroger. I bought a loaf of Arnold Healthy Multi-grain for $1.79. Kroger had a similar bread on sale for $3! I bought 2 loaves btw, one to use now and one to put in the freezer.
  11. Watch those ATM & bank fees! If I use my debit card as a debit card and not a credit card at some places (like Blockbuster) I get hit with a $2 charge for not using an approved ATM. When my husband travels he always looks for banks that are linked with ours so we don't get charged for using another banks ATM.
  12. Be organized about your bill payments! There's nothing worse than getting hit with a late charge because you misplaced or forgot about a bill and pay it a day late. Do call and try to get the charge dropped if you're just a day or two late. It doesn't hurt to ask!

I'll list some more of the tips left next week.


Jen r. said...

Great tips.. we also cut up baby wipes in half to use, though sometimes, we do need a whole one! ;)

salmagundi said...

Your very last tip reminded me that we always ask for any kind of fees be dropped. This includes activation fees on cell phones, unusual bank fees, and some things that come up on cable bills, etc. More times than not, they say, "Oh, yes, we can waive that fee!!!!" You're right, it doesn't hurt to ask. Sally

Kathleen Grace said...

Good tips...I am wondering how the home made laundry detergent works in hard water.

Stephanie said...

Great tips! I've learned so much from your posts! Thank you!

Mimi Sue said...

Thanks so much for the tips. We live on a fixed income and it's amazing how much we save just by planning ahead or cutting back. Things we don't even miss. Mimi

sheila from life @ #17 said...

my husband always has a ton of change...I never have change because I don't usually carry cash to begin with!

I write checks or use my debit...

but it is fun when DH takes all of his change to the Coinstar & we use the money for eating out or a fun day shopping...

Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

Great tips!!

I save my change, too, and take it to the Coinstar machine to cash in for gift certificates. Our Coinstars charge you a fee to cash out our coins, but I can get the amazon certificates for no charge! Which reminds me, I think my jar is just about full again.

Carla said...

VERY interesting!

Rhonda in OK said...

Our credit union has a coin-counting machine in their lobby, it is like a Coinstar, but with no fee for members.
Non-members can use this machine for a 5% fee, and I think that is cheaper than Coinstar. But I have no idea if all credit unions have these machines or just mine.

Hubby is great about saving his change. A few months ago, I wanted to buy a carpet shampooer, he offered me his change and he had almost enough to pay for the whole thing.

Anonymous said...

Really like the tips that you share. I have a tip.
I use empty, clean jars with lids to put my leftovers in. I like the fact that they are tall and don't take up shelf space, see through and I'm recycling without using plastic.


Blanca said...

Love the change jar. I try to do one when I am plaining on going to Canton Trade Days. It makes me feel a little less guilty when I spend it.

Thanks for the great tips.

Carrie said...

Great do-able tips. I try to conserve and re-use as much as possible to save and spread out my income.