Debt Reduction, Money Saving Strategies

Little changes equal big savings

As part of my frugal journey, I’m always looking for tips to cut costs in unexpected/obvious places. Wise Bread had an article called “Waste Not Want Not,” talking about the little changes that a person could make to save extra bucks here or there. What’s interesting about the tips they suggest is that they aren’t some of those broad changes that people suggest when it comes to cutting costs (i.e. – kicking a Chinese take-out addiction to the curb or cancel cable/Internet.).

I’ve heard of some of these tips before, but they are all good ideas:

In the loo:
Who needs Scrubbing Bubbles or anything that smells like southern pine? Back before SC Johnson had the corner on bathroom cleaners, our grandmothers used elbow grease to get stuff clean. The Wise Bread lady recommends using baking soda and vinegar. And if you really want to get frugal, use old newspapers to clean your mirrors and windows.

I wasn’t fond of the second frugal tip which was to “take it easy on the toilet paper.” My mom always said that when I got home from college on my various breaks, she stocked up on two things: Laundry soap and toilet paper. I’m feeling kind of weird admitting that.

Even when you think that you’re out of shampoo, conditioner or body wash, chances are you can probably increase the longevity by dumping some water in the bottle and giving it a good strong swish.

In the car:
No more unnecessary trips to the store – if you can, make one trip to the shop and go armed with a list. Otherwise, you’re going to be wasting gas on trips you don’t need to make and stuff that you don’t need to buy.

Hoof it. Why drive when you can walk to the store? I think that in theory, this a great idea. However, temperatures were subzero last week here in Minnesota and my city isn’t known for being pedestrian friendly. I’d just a soon have another root canal without any kind of Novacaine than try to navigate Highway 63 on foot.

Miscellaneous:
Find a way to line dry your clothing, even in the cold weather. My buddies Raul and Evan have done something similar in the name of the environment, not necessarily to be frugal. Their dryer has been silent for the past six months or so as they’ve employed wooden racks to dry all of their clothing. I know that this is a good move for my pocketbook and for the environment as a whole, but whereas I’m a fan of line drying clothing, I also like my jeans to be soft when I pull them out of the dryer – not able to stand on their own. Sorry Mother Earth.

Turn off all lights and unplug all electrical cords you are not currently using. There have been some interesting articles about how little things like leaving your cell phone charger plugged in when it’s not in use will add up over time in terms of energy costs.

Why use Post Its or the like when writeable space is available every day? When it comes to writing down my grocery lists or the random notes that keep my life on track, I do like my mom did and use the back of envelopes to get my message across. I also try to use recycled paper at work whenever I can, especially since I tend to print a lot of materials on a day-to-day basis. I try to print drafts of documents on the back of paper that I’ve already used and make notebooks for work use out of recycled paper. People probably think that I’m strange, but one side of the paper is perfectly fine for use. I like to think that I’m saving the earth and money for my company.

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1 thought on “Little changes equal big savings

  1. I’ll make two enhancements to all the list of great suggestions – first, using old newspaper to clean windows and mirrors, that actually works BETTER than anything I’ve ever come across – if you really want streak-free, and lint-free windows and mirrors you should definitely try this (the cost-cutting aside…).

    Second, there is a small additional “trick” to the line drying. If you throw the stuff in the dryer for about 3-5 minutes after it’s dry, it will be just as soft and fluffy as if you’d dried it the entire time in the dryer.

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