Make saving money a game
Be creative when trying to save money. You can implement a “laundry loot” jar and save money found while doing laundry. Or try saving all of the quarters or singles you receive as change. You can have a family summer challenge to save any found money, too. It can come from the ground, car, couch, an old jacket, etc. What games have you created to save money?
The first reader tip shares an idea:
My boyfriend and I have been saving any $1 bills whose serial numbers begin with an ‘F.’ We will not spend them under any circumstances, and we have a dedicated money box that we keep them in titled “Our Family Fun F Dollars.” We don’t have a specific purpose for them yet, but they’ll be dedicated to something fun for us to do together. Additionally, we will sometimes add any extra funds that come our way, like gift money or the funds from cashing in our change jar. Since the first of the year, we have saved over $350 in our F money. We are picking a certain week of the month to do the same with our $5 bills. It’s a fun way to get kids involved in saving money. Just pick a letter, A through L, and designate that letter to always be saved. — Amanda, Arkansas
My mother used a liquid fabric softener and kept it in a one-gallon bottle with the top cut off. She dipped an old washcloth in the bottle, squeezed it out and put it in with the wet laundry. She used the old cloth forever. She was pleased with the results and the cost of doing it that way. — Helen, email
Note from Sara: Many people simply add 1/4-1/2 cup vinegar to their rinse cycle. Some cut their dryer sheets in half. One unique tip is diluting liquid fabric softener with water and pouring it into an old Tupperware pickle keeper. You can cut dishwashing sponges in half and stack them insider the pickle keeper. Remove a section of sponge when you’re ready to dry a load of laundry and toss it into your dryer. A similar concept is mixing equal parts of liquid fabric softener and water in a spray bottle. Spray a small, square piece of cotton fabric or a washcloth and toss that into the dryer.
Put a lid on it:
Boiling food without the lid on lets heat escape and takes longer. Pasta takes 8-12 minutes with no lid; with a lid on, it takes 5-9 minutes. — Kim Z., Florida
Don’t let your car run:
Leaving your car running while stopped for more than 30 seconds or so (not counting stop lights in traffic, of course) costs money. If you are at the bank teller drive-up, picking up the kids from school and waiting in line, etc., turn that car off! I can’t tell you how many folks I see in the pick-up line for our kindergartners who sit with the engine on, 5-10 minutes at a time, twice a day. What a waste! Info about idling (consumerenergycenter.org/myths/idling.html) says for every two minutes you idle, it’s like burning a mile’s worth of gas. — Khaski, New Hampshire
Sausage and egg on English muffins (McMoms):
I like to bake scrambled eggs in muffin tins. The trick is to not overfill the cups, because the eggs puff up. But they mash down nicely enough to fit on a biscuit or English muffin. — Abec, forums