There are plenty (like thousands) of blog posts out there on how to save money, and eventually, through no fault of the authors, they become repetitive. Cut your cable, make your own cleaning supplies, use coupons, buy second-hand. And then, if you look hard enough, you can find the out-there suggestions for saving money. Think along the lines of that TLC show “Extreme Cheapskates”: dumpster diving, using leftover funeral flowers for your bridal shower, never tipping, and other ideas most people would find…unsavory. I figure there’s some fun unexplored space in the middle, so I put together a little list of highly specific ideas for saving money. They won’t have a huge impact on your bank account, but every penny counts when you’re frugal!
- Know your pizza deals: If you’re like me, you could eat pizza every day of the week. If your kid is like mine, he/she has been eating two full slices since before they turned 2. If your family is like mine, you need to approach your pizza spending sensibly. If you’re lucky enough like we are in NJ where you have about 20 pizza places in a 5 mile radius, scout out your local spots to find the daily deals. Our favorite place does 16″ cheese pizzas for $8 on Tuesday nights, which is $3 less than the regular price. You can probably apply this approach to your preferred takeout, as I’m sure most places have daily specials. Hey, if you can’t totally kick the takeout habit, you can at least find a way to save a few bucks! Bonus points if you can find a pizza place that does box tops for a free pizza – it’s rare, but when buying pizza can EARN you pizza over time, it’s a no-brainer.
- Re-purpose random stuff: At the risk of turning you into a packrat, I’m going to suggest thinking twice before you throw anything away. Use old oatmeal canisters and shoe boxes for kid toy storage. Flatten boxes and gift bags and save them for future shipping and gifting. Turn old crayon bits into cool rainbow coloring shapes. When you come across a rubber band or paper clip, spirit it away in your purse or pocket, then store in plastic baggies at home. Almost any object I hold over the trash or recycling can, I ask myself “Could my daughter draw on this?” and if the answer is yes, I hand it over (and have never purchased drawing pads/paper for my artiste). I’m not suggesting you become a hoarder, it’s more about getting into the habit of pausing – for just a beat – to see if your trash has a little more life in it before you toss/recycle/donate it.
- Use everything up: Something I secretly made fun of my mom for doing – but now do myself – is cut the tops off of stand-up tubes of lotion in order to get the last little bit out. It seems kooky, but just do it one time to see how much lotion is still stuck to the walls of the tube! (I wouldn’t do this with toothpaste or medicinal creams, just lotions, shampoo, or face wash.) Flip your “empty” foundation bottle upside-down for awhile into a little plastic screw-top pot – or even an old contact lens case – and marvel at how much was actually still left in the bottle. Balance your laundry detergent bottle upside down against the center thingy (if you have a top-loader) to let the last bits drip in while you load the machine. Stretch the end of the salad dressing bottle by adding a *teeny* bit of water, shaking it up, and getting one more serving before you rinse and recycle. Make your own chicken stock from your rotisserie chicken bones; you can also save ends of onions, leafy parts of celery, and other veggie odds and ends in a bag in your freezer instead of using up fresh new produce for a stock!
So there are 3 little weird ways to save! Again, it’s not like you’ll be able to take all that extra money you’re not spending on paper clips and have a mortgage payment on your hands, but this is as much about the frugal mindset as it is about stacking up cash. Tips like this make you look differently at how you spend money and how you treat your possessions, and maybe you’ll see other areas of waste (either $$ or materials) where you change your habits. What are weird ways you save money?