Friday, January 4, 2013

A few ways to save some dough

  Instead of adjusting our monthly budget plan like I should be, I'm procrastinating and blogging. I'm not ready for the automatic depression that is sure to come as I try to figure out where to subtract $80 a month from our already tight budget. Thanks, lawmakers, for tightening the EVER SO TIGHT ALREADY belt of the middle-working-class.
  Anyway, since I've been staying home with my little man to save money on daycare costs as well as because he has been on 3 daycare waiting lists for 10 months now, I've had to go green, homemade, penny-pinched, etc. I've always been quite a bit frugal with my money but now that we are down to one income, I've had to get resourceful. I cannot take all the credit for some of these ideas as I've found them on the Internet. Who doesn't Google/Pinterest these days? These are all money-saving things that I have tried and still use to save money. No, I haven't figured out exactly how much you'll save, but use your imagination or calculator… because I ain't got time fo' dat.

1- Use vinegar. See my post from January 3 "Never underestimate the power of vinegar".

2- This might sound gross but give it a chance. Wash and reuse Ziplock bags. As long as you haven't stored something gross in it, just wash it with your dishes and let it dry. I usually put a little dishwashing liquid in the bag with some fresh water, zip it up, give it a shake and rub, let it sit while you wash the other dishes. Use your dish cloth to wash out the inside and outside of the bag and zipper, rinse, and hang on something like a long utensil already on the drying rack. Ziplock bags are super expensive (even the generic) just to use once and toss. And don't even get me started on how bad it is for the environment… I say as I sit and sip my delightful morning K-Cup coffee brewed especially for me by our Keurig. :/ I promise I try not to be a hypocrite but they were a Christmas present!

3- Attention Moms or soon-to-be Moms: don't waste your money on a specific diaper can! Sure, you may have received one at your baby shower but you'll be the one purchasing the refills. Just buy a small trash can with a lid and use the damn plastic bags you get whenever you buy anything. And I mean anything! Side note: why the Wal-Mart cashiers feel the need to bag a bag of potatoes is beyond me.
Back to the homemade Diaper Jeanie (don't wanna get in trouble for using their brand name… and trashing it). I usually only put pee-pee diapers in the trash can. I bag poopy ones individually and toss in the outside trash bin. I do know that a specific diaper can can costs upwards of $40-$50 and the bag refills cost $7-9… so at least I'm not spending that money.

4- Unplug it if you ain't using it. Our family has been doing this for a while now for little appliances but never thought about the television! I just read in an online article today that you should put your television, DVD player, other electronics on a surge protector power strip and cut it on and off morning and night, accordingly to save money on your electricity bill each month.

5- Plan your meals before heading out to the grocery store… and never go to the grocery HUNGRY! I always thought it was time consuming to plan meals but when I saw how much money it saved me in one trip, I'm hooked. I only grocery shop every other week, so twice a month. I plan out 12 meals or more. Typically we don't eat out much and we do leftovers frequently. When I say "12 meals" I'm mostly referring to dinnertime. We eat leftovers for lunch or make sandwiches. Sometimes I buy a few Lean Cuisines or Smart Ones meals for an emergency meal. I sit with my menu and grocery list and go through each meal to see what I need to purchase for that meal, then I check the pantry to see if I have the ingredient or not.
I can't count how many times I've done my bi-monthly shopping and came home to cook dinner only to find I was missing 2 or 3 ingredients! So frustrating. All because as I was shopping I was just thinking of what I might cook for dinner over the next couple of weeks.

More of my money savers to come. There are plenty more. If you have any, please share.

Soon to try: homemade laundry detergent. Yep, I'm gonna kick my Gain addiction and save our household some money!

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