Friday, January 14, 2011

Money Saving Tips

I came across this topic on Martha Stewart's website & thought, "what a perfect topic to discuss".  It's a hard time to start a renovation blog, when everything you do costs money.  When money is tight, you can't do or buy much, ergo you are stuck talking about the things you'd like to do, until you run out of ideas.  That is not what I want this to become.  So in order to save you and me money, so that we can do the projects that we love, I wanted to pass along some money saving tips.

It's an issue that everyone is dealing with, in light of the current economic situation.  There are a lot of single-spouse income families, reduced salary families, or even those that are getting by on unemployment.  I want to highlight some of the areas where we are spending our money and try to help everyone save a few dollars, if I can.

Here are a few of my favorite of Martha's 50 tips on saving money.

Set your own personal budget:  We've never actually used a worksheet for this, but maybe we should.  If you click on the link at the bottom of the page and get to this tip, you can find her free worksheet to print out.  Or get another one similar to the one below.

Photo Credit: Link
Buy Bulk & Share:  We have a Costco membership, and for certain items, it's great.  For other items, it either isn't a great deal, or we couldn't possibly use all of the item before it expires.  Martha suggests splitting it with a friend.  Fab idea, not sure why I hadn't thought of it before.  Need rice for the winter.  Buy a 20 lb bag & split it with your friends.  Everyone chip in $5 and have rice for 6 months.  Sure it means you need to buy an airtight container or two to hold it, but it's way cheaper than spending 4.39 on a box with 8 servings!

Inexpensive Art:  Martha suggests taking pictures and blowing them up.  Other people have blown up photocopies of things they love.  I am in the process of deciding how to design some type of word/ letter art with our last initial.  All it costs is a few dollars for the frame and the print.

Photo from YoungHouseLove: Link

Flavored Water:  Try adding lemon, lime, cucumber, etc to you water instead of spending money on expensive water.  We might take this one step further and invest in a new soda stream machine.  They are finally getting popular enough that finding the refill canisters will be easy!
Budget Vases:  Why buy a fancy vase, when you can buy a cheaper clear one and paint it exactly how you want it.  Use enamel paint, or even spray paint to change the look.  We'll do some DIYs in the future about this!

Use Cloth Towels:  Instead of cleaning with paper towels, use cloth ones and wash them.  This is something I'd really like to get into doing, since paper towels are expensive!  Pick up some microfiber towels for cleaning up spills, cleaning the sink, dusting, washing dishes & counter tops.  Toss in the washer & wash.

Use Airtight Containers:  I'm a big fan of this, transferring dry goods to air tight containers - for lots of reasons.  It keeps things fresh, avoids the mess of a broken sugar bag all over your kitchen, and keeps bugs out of your food!  It also extends the shelf life of your food.

Adjust your Water Heater:  Set the temp to a 120 max & save some cash!

No Cost Wrapping Paper:  Get creative when wrapping gifts.  I talked about this a little over the Christmas season, check out some posts here and here to find out some cool ideas.

Maximize Air Flow:  You can use your fan to push hot air out or bring cool air inside in the summer.

Reuse Rainwater:  Have a few extra garbage cans?  Disconnect a downspout & position a large can under it so that instead of the water going into the storm sewer, you can collect it for watering plants & gardens.

Photo Credit:

Buy Generic:  Generally "store brand" food is made by the same companies that make the brand name stuff.  Check out the ingredients on the back, so long as they aren't adding a bunch of preservatives to the generic stuff, go for it!

Low-Flow Showerhead:  If your showerhead is pre-1994, you could save some money by replacing it.

Plants for Air Purification:  Look up a list of plants that will clean the air instead of running a pricey purification unit in the house.

Photo Credit: Link

Vinegar, Baking Soda, Lemons:  These three items can make an arsenal of non-toxic cleaning products.

Programmable Thermostat:  If you don't have one, get one.  It will save you a ton on your heating bills by being able to adjust the temperature for when you are home.  Use an extra blanket and flannel sheets, and turn the heat way down at night to save extra cash.  Never have more than 4 degrees between steps though, you end up spending more money to go from 70 to 76 than from 72 to 76.  Use wisely :).

Run Appliances at Night:  Take advantage of off-peak energy rates for running the dishwasher, washer & dryer.

Unplug Electronics:  You know that green light that is always illuminated on your DVD player, or coffee pot?  That is actually running up your electricity bill.  Unplug unused appliances & electronics so save a few dollars on the electricity bill!

Well, those are my favorites.  Check out the website for the entire slideshow, click here:  Martha's Money Saving

1 comment:

  1. Wow, these tips are pretty useful. The worksheet in particular is a pretty good idea, since an unorganized budget is pretty much an open invitation for unnecessary purchases! Learning how to handle money is important, since you might have to deal with a lot of money-related issues when you least expect it.

    -Sofia Britts