Try these tips to save money on everyday expenses for your home.
1. Reuse and re-purpose. You’ll see lots of crafty people making new items out of old. That may or may not be your thing. But even if you aren’t into crafts, hold on to old cabinet doors or pieces of wood trim, as long as you have the space. You never know when they’ll come in handy and save the cost of a new purchase.
2. Grow your own. Starting a garden to feed your family of five might seem daunting, and can set you back quite a bit if you have to start from scratch. You’ll still save money in the long run over buying fresh produce in most cases. Or start small – grow your own tomatoes and can or freeze the leftovers. Basil is a simple herb to grow in pots. Produce enough and make your own pesto, then freeze it in ice cube trays for year-round pasta flavor.
3. Have a bright idea! The money you spend now replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs and compact fluorescent lights will pay off quickly on lower electric bills. Have just enough on hand to start replacing each bulb as it burns out. No waste!
4. Delay gratification. Sometimes, it pays to just walk away, at least from a possible impulse purchase. And you’ll wake up the next day with a clearer vision of whether you really need a bigger screen TV. You might still decide the purchase is a good idea, but you’re not as likely to have buyer’s remorse if you think the purchase through. With big-ticket items, like cars, walking away might get you a call from the salesperson with a better price!
5. Pretend there are no restaurants in town. Eat fast food or at restaurants too often? Pretend for a week or two that you live in a small, remote town with few or no restaurants. The nearest grocery store is 15 miles away, so you have to plan a smart menu for the week and make one trip. Use our downloadable shopping list to make sure you get everything you need. Then cook your own meals every day for at least a week. You’ll probably save money and eat healthier!
6. Borrow tools. No need to mooch a hammer, but if you only need a nail gun or chop saw for one project, borrow from a neighbor. Barter with something you have, maybe a specialty lawn tool.
7. Be a little off – off-season, that is. Buy firewood in the spring, and shop for patio furniture in the fall. You’ll pay lower prices than at the height of the season.
8. Buy in bulk. Big-box and warehouse stores are great sources for bulk purchases. You’ll save lots of money and time by buying many nonperishable items in bulk. You’ll especially save on paper goods, like paper towels, facial wipes or toilet paper. And if you use some canned goods or spices often enough to finish them before they go bad, add them to your list. If storage is a problem, clean out a utility closet or add an inexpensive shelving area in your garage. You can always split some purchases, especially perishables, with a friend, family member or neighbor.
9. Take a cutting. Love your lilac? Look for an offshoot or sucker of your favorite plant. Transplant it to an empty spot in your lawn instead of buying a new lilac. Or give it to friend. Which takes us to our last tip…
10. Make gifts. Many friends and family members appreciate tasteful gifts. Or tasty ones… As long as you show the thought counted by choosing gift ideas with a personal touch, you really can’t lose. If you know your friend loves chocolate, wrap up some of your best fudge, or try a new recipe (which you could include with the fudge). Or use your craft, painting or other skills to make a personalized gift of time and talent. Be sure to check out our ideas for gifts in jars and boxes!
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