Five easy ways to save
It can be tough to find more ways to save money. Members on my community forums shared ways to save at least $5 a month. Here are some of the highlights to help reach your savings goals.
MAKE YOUR OWN BREAD:
Making your own bread usually costs less than buying it from your local grocery store. If you already make your own bread, try making your own bagels or hamburger buns. Here’s a hamburger bun recipe (for a bread machine) to get you started: www.frugalvillage.com/forums/breads-muffins/115973-sandwich-hamburger-buns-bread-machine.html.
Garage sales and thrift stores are cheaper than paying full retail cost at department stores, but altering clothing that you already own costs only your time and needs minimal supplies.
A few examples include:
— Old jeans easily become shorts.
— Add appliques. (Cut out favorite designs on old T-shirts or scrap material, and sew them onto other clothing such as hoodies or sweatshirts for a new, updated look.)
— A buttoned shirt can become a toddler’s dress. (For a tutorial, visit www.craftster.org/)
Try them around your home during the summer months. One reader, Karen from Kansas, shares: “We have large solar lights and they work really well and are very bright. They even come with a remote for turning them on and off. There are also solar-powered LED ‘Christmas’ lights that work great on a deck or patio. The twinkle lights don’t attract moths and other bugs. We also have traditional solar-powered path lights and uplights to illuminate the front of the house. A few years ago we had an ice storm and were without electricity for a prolonged period of time. We would bring in the pathway lights each day to light several rooms of the house.”
Check your local grocery store (talk to the produce manager) for marked-down produce. Go to ethnic markets and farmer’s markets, too. Another reader, Donna from California, shares: “I used to work the farmers’ markets every summer, and I manned a fruit stand on Sundays. There is a big incentive to get rid of stuff by the end of the day! No one feels like doing more manual labor after being up since 3 a.m.! You do run the risk of not getting what you wanted. But if you came by about an hour before closing, we gave some pretty good deals. I did see a number of regulars who would show up first thing in the morning, get their prime produce, and who would then show up at the end of the day to get the deals.” If you grow your own produce, consider bartering with someone to get anything you might need or want, too.
Try something new. Maybe you’ve wanted to do home canning, make your own yogurt or laundry soap, or dehydrate foods. Stop thinking about it; visit my community forums to learn more and do it! Another reader, Joshin from Washington, shares: “One thing I’m experimenting with is homemade seitan (wheat meat). I made some yesterday based on this recipe, www.hapabento.com/2010/01/10/how-i-made-my-own-seitan/, from whole-wheat flour. I used it in a teriyaki stir-fry instead of chicken. Shockingly enough, we couldn’t really tell the difference. My husband is a full-blown carnivore, but he said this had a good meat texture when he chewed it, and to keep using it. With meat prices so high, this should save us quite a bit of money this summer!”