Friday, March 20, 2009

Cost Cutters

Most of us are feeling the financial pinch right now and are trying to cut corners. Here are some possible cost cutters for you and your family to try out in this coming year:

~ Get acquainted with your local library. Most libraries now have inter-library loans and a wealth of books and videos available for borrowing. Borrowing videos from the library can save on rental fees from video stores and the power of reading together as a family is amazing! Focus on reading more than watching TV or movies and save the watching for special occasions instead. You’ll not only save on your electric bill, you’ll instill memories of reading times together into your children, to carry throughout their life.

~ Use half the amount of toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc., that you normally use. A little goes a long way and you can extend the life of your products quite a bit if you cut back on the amount you use each time. (Of course, getting hubby and kids to do this is another story!)

~ Add water to your dish soap and laundry detergent bottles after they are empty. You can usually get one more sink-full or load out of them.

~ Consider exchanging paper towels with rags and tissues and baby wipes with flannel wipes. Though a small investment up front, no longer buying paper towels, baby wipes, and tissues can add a few extra dollars to your grocery budget every month.

~ Also consider switching to cloth diapers. This is a more costly first-time investment, but it more than pays for itself within 1/2 a year!

~ Join sites like AFullCup.com and become acquainted with money saving blogs. Browse them frequently. They often give heads up on freebie days at places like Starbucks and Cold Stone Creamery. They also give links for samples from Walmart and Proctor & Gamble. Just recently I received the Ziplock Freezer System for free because I was given a heads up about it on one of these sites.

~ Speaking of Starbucks, eliminating that Starbucks coffee several times a week will put extra money back into your wallet. If you must have coffee, consider Dunkin’ Donuts instead or even the new McDonald’s lattes, which I have not tried but have heard they are quite tasty — at a fraction of a Starbucks coffee. Go small, too, instead of venti. Just switching sizes can save money. It all adds up!

~ Instead of traveling far away for vacation, look up places of interest near where you live and take a vacation closer to home.

~ Share a meal with your husband when you go out to eat. This not only saves money, it also cuts your calories in half! If you must have that entire meal to yourself, definitely go half and half with dessert. I can’t remember the last time my husband and I had our own dessert. I probably couldn’t eat one all by myself if I had to, and I like the fact that we save close to $5 everytime we go out by doing this (even more if we split a meal).

~ Look into making your own household cleaning products, including laundry detergent. Making these things in bulk are great cost cutters!

~ Learn how to freeze and can fruits and vegetables. Even if you are not able to garden, check out the local farmers market in the summer and fall months and buy large quantities and then go home and preserve them. In the end, it will be much cheaper this way than buying frozen and canned foods from the store.

~ Make your own goodies rather than buying pre-packaged.

~ Get rid of the cable TV. Not only can this save a couple hundred dollars a year, it can also prove to be a move that boosts family relationships!

~ If you have a cell phone, call and see if you’re using the minutes you’re signed up for. If not, choose a lower package plan. Sometimes we are so used to paying the same amount every month we aren’t aware that the plan we have doesn’t even fit our needs anymore.

~ Switch to energy saving light bulbs. This will help save on your overall electricity bill as the year goes on.

~ Have your electric company come out and go through your house, showing you possible places that you could made some adjustments to, to cut your bill down each month.

~ Determine that you will learn how to use coupons and store sales to your advantage. I have made a commitment to not buy makeup and things like shampoo and toothpaste until I can get it for half cost or almost free, combining sales with coupons. Again, money saving blogs will help you learn how to do this. I’ve only been doing this five months and have already shaved over $200 from my shopping budget.

~ Join rewards programs. If you fly, stay at hotels, eat at a favorite restaurant, or buy a favorite brand, check and see whether or not they have a rewards or points program. These programs allow you to save up points and then redeem them for free flights, free nights, or gift cards.

~ Check into doing surveys for reputable companies, such as National Family Opinion. Doing surveys takes 10-20 minutes of your time each day, but it gives you points, which you can then redeem as cash or prizes like Amazon gift certificates.

Borrowed from Totally Her

2 comments:

  1. I have a friend who switched to cloth diapers. They are WAY different than they used to be.

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  2. Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Get serious and add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off” Available at www.bathroomsprayers.com with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without felling guilty. It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt with prudently but please remember that in the big picture the industrial water users always far exceed the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways.

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