Sometimes when you are trying to figure out a few more ways to be thrifty, you draw a blank. This day and age, though, it has never been easier to find new ways and ideas for saving money.
Use The Internet
Look up frugal blogs and websites. Search for tips. Have a look at Pintrest to see what ideas other people have had. Some of them are actually quite creative. Search for free samples and gifts. Look up coupons. Find free events in your area. Sign up for deal sites like Amazon Local and Groupon. Don’t forget the fun stuff like free games, ebooks, television shows, and music. You can find plenty of sites that are both legitimate and legal.
The library is one of the best resources next to the internet when it comes to finding frugal ideas. There are books and resources, once again, all free for use. In addition to that, libraries have their hand on the pulse of the actual community they are a part of. They know if the local thrift store is having a sale, what local establishments offer help to those who need it, and the people in the community who are teaching classes like piano or art. They have flyers and bulletin boards. It’s a good way for frugal minded people to connect on a local level.
I will be honest with you. When it comes to finding a way to reuse items I shamelessly rip off my toddler’s ideas. He has got some of the best ideas. That’s because he isn’t a grown up who is stressed out about finances and trying to pinch pennies. He’s just having fun playing and using his imagination. When I relax and enjoy let’s pretend and playtime with him he will use an item in a new way and I realize that is the innovative idea I have been looking for. He still uses his imagination for fun instead of trying to exploit it for self gain. It’s a skill I am re-learning from him and I am better off for it.
The thrifty lifestyle works better when it’s shared in a community. Here are a few ways you could share with your family and friends.
If you are the type of individual that clips coupons, form a group of like minded individuals and trade coupons. The other members of the group may have coupons they won’t be using that you need and the reverse may be true as well. As the group progresses you will know the type of coupons your friends use and will most likely put those aside for them. The favor will most likely be returned.
Split a Membership
If you buy in bulk at Costco or Sam’s Club consider splitting the membership fee with with another person and let them have the second card. Both of you will be able to save money by buying in bulk and both of your families will benefit from the joint purchase.
Use Social Media
When you find a great freebie, helpful blog post, or limited time offer/ coupon, share it in email and social media. The more you are willing to share these posts with others, the more they will respond in kind. I pass my best finds along to my friends and they usually return their thanks along with other ways they have saved money on similar items.
Try to Work in Trade
I trade my baking skills, crafting skills, and childcare for things that I need. Sometimes I see if I can repay a friend for their skills with Walmart gift cards I earn from click sites. Paying for something doesn’t always mean a money exchange. It never hurts to ask if you can pay in trade.
Monthly Trade Group
This works great with those mothers who have babies. Get together and exchange clothes that your children have grown out of. Babies have a high turn over rate when it comes to clothing and this a great way to keep up with their growth and get rid of the clothes they have grown out of. You can trade other items as well such as kitchenware, baked goods, and basically anything you would otherwise take to the second hand store. At least this way you get something in return.
Are you preparing to be a new parent? Don’t fall into the buying frenzy that many new parents do when it comes to preparing for a baby. You don’t need six different strollers. You don’t need to fill the whole closet with clothes and then install more shelving for yet more clothing. Most of all, you really don’t want things that you will have to replace repeatedly at a high cost. Here are a few cost effective ways to prepare for your new bundle of joy.
Diapers – Go Cloth!
Cloth diapers aren’t what they used to be. The don’t have to be folded most of the time and they don’t have pins. They have snaps instead. They have inserts that can be removed and replaced. They are machine washable, though you will want to spray them down over the toilet and let them soak in Dreft or a Dreft like product for a while. There are also cloth wipes that can either be bought or made out of a soft absorbent cloth. This can save about forty dollars per child in diapers a month.
There are many things that a baby needs. There are other things that a baby just doesn’t need. For example you don’t need a bouncer, swing, and Bumbo unless you have triplets to fill them all at the same time. Choose one that best meets your needs. Do you need something that fits in the car well so you have it to visit people? Then you don’t need a swing, but a small bouncer may work well.
The most common item that new parents go crazy with are clothes. Your child will grow leaps and bounds that first year of life. Don’t buy out the store when it comes to clothing. Buy a few outfits and accessories like hats and socks. Buy clothes as your child grows. That way you have what you need when you need it. Last but not least, if you know someone with similar age and shape trade clothes back and forth. This can save you both a good deal of money.
When starting out on the Thrifty Diva Road it’s usually to save money. Often we go overboard and fail before even getting started. My first attempt at being thrifty left me with coupons everywhere on items I didn’t buy and with nothing in the fridge that I wanted to eat. I learned the hard way not to buy dollar store milk products and was thankful I was wiser when I started saving money on meat. In spite of all my blunders I am succeeding at being frugal, and comfortably as well.
If you plan on using coupons, start a coupon filing system. If you plan on earning gift cards on click sites prepare a list of daily tasks. If you are shopping at a thrift store make a list of items you are looking for to make sure you do save money, even at a thrift store. Bookmark your favorite money saving blogs and websites. Make a budget and keep it in view. Saving money will be much easier when you know where all your resources are and what your plan is. Remember, not all tips will work for your family. Use the ones you know will work and give the ones that may work a pay period for a trial time, but be willing to let go of money saving methods that just don’t work for you and your family.
Mind Over Matter
Often what causes people to spend is the feeling that they are being deprived of something. To combat this state of mind is actually pretty easy. Make a list of things that you enjoy that are free. Next to this list put a picture of the worst purchase you ever made. It should be something that you never use and wish you hadn’t bought. Let these two items be a reminder that not all things you love cost money and not all things that cost money are worth buying.
Tweak What You Already Do
As I said before, often we feel deprived when saving money, but most of the time we do it to ourselves. Don’t downsize yourself to a bread and water diet. Instead, look for deals on things you use regularly. Buy store brands instead of going without. At some point you may decide to downsize an item completely, but remember to start out with baby steps, or you may just end up binge spending instead of saving money.
Making sure you stay in budget when it comes to your vehicle is important, because when it comes to extra fuel, the cost can add up. Here are a few ways that may help you save on gas.
Some cities have installed traffic cameras, and you can view how fast or slow traffic is going at the city’s transportation website. This can save both time and money. It can let you know if your regular route to work is prudent to use any given morning or if you will be stuck in traffic. It also can show alternate routes to your destination and how long it will take to get there so you won’t be late for work. I recommend checking an hour and a half before work and every half hour after, because traffic can change fast. If you need to leave early, you’ll know well in advance. If you have a smartphone or access to a computer at work (or someone at home that can check for you before you leave work), this works when you’re on your way home as well.
Explore Alternate Routes
When you have time check out Google Maps to see if there are other ways to get where you go everyday. Are they shorter? Do they avoid traffic lights? Do they save gas and money? You may find a route that helps you save more money than your normal route and keep those road rage feelings at bay.
Keep Your Car in Good Repair
Change your oil regularly. Check your tire pressure. Make sure you have the proper amount of fluids in your car (such as coolant, anti freeze, wiper fluid, etc.) Also make sure that you use the right types of fluids for your car. There are different types of oils for cars sold and what you are using now may not be the best option for your car. Acquire a manual for your car (if you don’t have the original) to find out what the best fluid options are for your vehicle. All these things can affect gas mileage and when kept up can save you money in fuel.
You want to save money, but you are unwilling or unable to give up those little pleasures in life that will help you save money. It may be that you are stubborn or your significant other is stubborn. Either way, there are items in your life that you just refuse to downsize. Relax. There are still little ways to save money when you’re not ready to just give up those little pleasures.
That Soda Addiction
If you have anyone in your household who drinks soda like they breath air, you know there is no point in not buying soda. The main reason for this is because the person in question will go out and buy soda when you aren’t with them. Not only that, the soda will be from a vending machine so it will be more expensive. Instead of trying to cut off your soda expense entirely, try a few of the following tips. Try store brand soda. Many store brands taste as good as the name brands. Also try buying your soda in 2 liter bottles. Keep them cold and well capped when not in use and it’s less likely they will go flat. Perhaps you can gradually reduce your soda intake without anyone having a meltdown.
Fast Food Favorites
Sometimes you don’t go out for fast food because it’s convenient. Sometimes you go out for fast food because you crave a certain dish. Instead, try making it yourself. Often it will taste better and be made from higher quality ingredients. It will save you in gas and in fast food costs and most likely the amount of money you would’ve used to buy fast food will result in more meals. Also, consider keeping similar tasting foods around the house. Sometimes it’s not the taste of the food we crave. Instead it’s an ingredient that your mind equates with that food. Figure out what that ingredient is and find a more cost effective and healthy substitute. It may take some time for your mind to readjust, but it will be well worth it.
Shop around for better priced packages for internet, cable, or phone service. If you find something, check to see if your preferred company will match the price. See if you can get rid of channels that you don’t use. Find games that don’t require a subscription. Some games even have suitable generics that are free. Shop around to make sure you’re getting the best price on your entertainment.
Not to be over dramatic, but payment plans are the chains that bind us to the floor of uncertain financial life. They should be avoided at almost all costs. There are many benefits that go along with this point of view.
Peace of Mind
I may not have the latest car model. My furniture isn’t off the show room floor. What I do have is peace of mind. Nothing that I need can be repossessed. I don’t have to have full insurance in order to own something. I don’t need to worry about what can act as collateral when I decide to buy an item because I don’t need to apply for a loan. It does take me longer to get the things that I want, but once I have them they belong to me.
Lower Monthly Costs
I don’t buy items using a payment plan and as a result I don’t have monthly payments. This keeps my monthly expenses down by hundreds of dollars. I also don’t have to have full insurance coverage on certain assets unless I choose to. In addition to this, I don’t have to worry about pay dates or late fees. It also makes weekly budgeting shorter and less stressful.
Less Buyer’s Remorse
For me buyer’s remorse happens two ways. Either I pay too much in full for something I shouldn’t have and it lasts a day or two. At most this type or buyer’s remorse is gone in a month. The other kind of buyer’s remorse lasts as long as it takes to pay off the item I purchased. With payment plans that could be years. I would consider selling or returning items and sometimes that works out for me. However, you can never sell for purchase price of the item, so there will be a loss there. In the end it effects my confidence when making the next purchase of a similar product. Which is good in one way, then I learn from my mistake. But to you, I hope you don’t have to learn the hard way!
When I look around my home I like to see if I can find another purpose for the items that I already have. It save me money because most of the items I have don’t cost too much to begin with, are easy to find at thrift stores, and can have multiple uses.
Lemon Grass and Citronella Candles
These wonderful little candles have a fairly decent smell, can set the mood for a nice chat with your significant other on a moonlit night, and keep the bugs at bay. What could be better than that?
Depending on the herb you pick, herbs can be used for decoration, upkeep of health, or simply for seasoning food. Some can even be a fun treat for your pet, such as catnip.
I love trays for all sorts of reasons. They can be decorative. They can be for eating, carrying things room to room, or a makeshift desk when on the bed or couch. They even make great book stands for those of us who like to read in the tub.
Flower Pots and Baskets
Flower pots aren’t just for flowers anymore. They can be used in crafts, for holding pens or pencils, and can be made to look decorative while being functional. Baskets are the same way. They can be used for storage of things such as toys that can be moved from one room to another and quick clean up after playtime is done. Or they can decorate the bathroom while holding spare washcloths, spare toilet paper, or just some reading material for those longer trips.
The best thing about cardboard rolls is that they come free with your toilet paper or paper towels. They aren’t just for children either. They can store art supplies such as paint brushes, crayons, colored pencils, and paper. They can store past drawings or paintings that aren’t contained in a pad or book. They can even be decorated with crafting duct tape and hung over a desk as a honey comb storage system. It’s great when one needs to find space vertically or just keep things out of a drawer exploring child’s hands.
What items do you own that serve two or more purposes?