Save with inexpensive baby steps
photo by madaise
Frugality helps you seek out ways to save. You look at your daily habits to find any money leaks. Some frugal choices are typical, such as using plastic grocery bags to line trash cans, keeping a change jar, or buying clothing on sale. But some aren’t as common and might appear too petty or time-consuming to the nonfrugal crowd. But life is often about the little things. Jaroldeen Edwards, author of “The Daffodil Principle,” shares in her book: “When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.” You can’t accomplish anything if you don’t try something.
Here are a few frugal ideas that might fit the “too petty” category for the nonfrugal. For frugalitarians, it’s a little refresher.
PLANTS: Ask friends and family for cuttings or plant divisions. Root or grow your own plants. Give them as gifts, too.
FREE SAMPLES: Save free samples to give as gifts. They make great tuck-ins for cards and can complement gift baskets. The perfume pages of magazines work well to scent drawers. They’re perfect in your travel kit, too.
FURNITURE: Buy secondhand furniture. Many pieces such as tables and dressers can easily be sanded and refinished. Older pieces have character and charm. They’re not as common and can give your home a unique style. Not into refinishing? You can still benefit from buying used and spending far less money than retail.
BOTTLE COLLECTING: What once might have been considered out of the question has now become smart. While taking a walk, look for bottles or cans to collect and return for bottle deposit. Offer to take the cans and bottles from picnics, parties and at work.
RUBBER SPATULA: It’s a tool of the trade. Use it to scrape the last bit of product from jars.
CARDBOARD TUBES: One reader, Maggi in Ohio, shares: “I take the last piece of toilet paper off the roll and put it in a basket until it builds up and it’s almost a roll.” Save the tubes for crafts or fold into mini pots to plant seeds into them.
BREAD HEELS: Have a picky child who doesn’t like bread heels? Flip the heel upside down. Or save the ends in the freezer to make homemade breadcrumbs.
GLASS JARS: Reuse jars for refrigerator storage containers instead of buying plastic.
CEREAL BOXES: Cut sections to use for gift tags/cards, bookmarks, crafts or to wrap gifts. Use the cereal liner to wrap sandwiches.
PRICE GUARANTEES: Check whether the stores you frequent have price guarantees. If an item you’ve bought goes on sale within a certain amount of time, they’ll discount the difference.
CURBSIDE MALL: Identify your community’s heavy-item pickup day. Cruise the neighborhood, and look for free stuff. It’s amazing what some people throw away. Another reader, Cheryl in Michigan, shares: “For the first 10 years of my marriage, every single vacuum cleaner I owned came from someone else’s garbage. Currently, the Fisher-Price slide, picnic table, platform house, teeter totter and basketball hoop that the grandkids play with all came from other people’s trash.”
COST PER SERVING: Know how many servings various meats provide. Compare meats and prices with a cost-per-serving calculator at www.cheapcooking.com/costperserving.htm.