Thereâ€™s no denying it, times are tough right now. Money is tight. And more and more people are realizing the need to pinch their pennies in any possible way they can. I myself have been trying to find little ways here and there to save my family as much money as possible. Fortunately, there are a lot of little things you can do to stretch your income a little further, no matter where you are in life. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Here are some things I do to help keep us within our very tight budget. See if you can pick out one or two to begin with, and apply them to your own household.
- Eat out rarely, and cook meals from scratch; stop buying processed foods.
- Grind our wheat for homemade breads, tortillas, pancakes, etc.
- Make homemade yogurt, ice cream, etc.
- Raise a garden and can any extra produce and meat we come into.
- Raise chickens for eggs and meat.
- Keep goats for milk.
- Unscrew unnecessary light bulbs throughout the house.
- Keep the air conditioner set high, and the heat low. Use a wood stove in the winter time.
- Unplug appliances not in use.
- Condense trips to town to conserve gas.
- ake homemade soap and other toiletries myself.
- Fix broken things and mend tears instead of replacing damaged items.
- Stay away from the mall and only shop for clothing second hand.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper towels.
- Buy prepaid phone cards for cell phones.
- Ditch the television all together.
- Cancel any and all unnecessary bills, memberships, subscriptions, etc.
- Let kids enjoy the outdoors and play at the park instead of paying for extra curricular activities.
- Be low maintenance; learn to go without the salon for tanning, getting your nails done, and highlighting your hair.
- Find free activities to enjoy as a family or date night for entertainment.
- Wash Ziploc bags and reuse them.
- Hang dry all clothing instead of running a clothes dryer.
- Use newspaper for going to the bathroom. (Iâ€™m kidding! Kidding people! Just had to toss that one in there for kicks.)
- Dilute whole milk with water, especially when cooking and in cereal.
- Use cloth diapers and wipes instead of expensive disposables.
One thing that helps me stay focused on this goal is a saying that was very popular during The Great Depression,
â€œUse it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.â€
I love this! This idea can be applied to every aspect of our lives. Some areas of saving money may take a little more creativity than others, but Iâ€™d encourage you to try to think of ways to scrimp and save in everything you do!
Use your things sparingly. See how you can stretch them to make them last even longer.
- Dilute shampoo and conditioner with water. Itâ€™ll still work just as well and last twice as long! (Donâ€™t try this on the cheapest brands though, it doesnâ€™t work well on them.)
- Use half the recommended amount of detergent in the dishwasher and washing machine.
- Only use a pea size amount of toothpaste instead of a whole glob!
- Lightly dab on moisturizer instead of saturating your face with it.
- If you use dryer sheets, tear them in half to make them last twice as long.
- Clean countertops using plain old water most of the time instead of spraying costly cleaners.
And use it all up, completely.
For example: toothpaste is pretty expensive (in my frugal mind). So when we get low on toothpaste, and the tube has been squeezed as flat as it possibly can be squeezed, I donâ€™t stop there. Realizing that there is probably a little more paste still inside, I cut the tube down the side andâ€¦ BEHOLD! Thereâ€™s always a bunch of toothpaste still sticking around. So, I just scrape some off onto the toothbrush, and put the cut tube into a Ziploc baggie to keep it fresh. It usually lasts for another week and a half!
What else can you squeeze the last drop out of?
Swish water around in containers like shampoo/conditioner, liquid laundry detergent, dish detergent and such. Shake up your empty chocolate syrup container with a little milk, to get the very last bit of chocolate out before you toss the bottle. Cut open tubes of products, and be amazed at how much more stuff is hiding inside!
Before you throw something away, see if there might be at least one more usage out of it. The savings really add up!
Make do with what you have, or learn to live without it.
Often we think we need so many things, when in fact they are nothing but fluff. If there is something that you think you just have to have, give it a week before you buy that item, and I betcha youâ€™ll decide it wasnâ€™t so important after all.
Speaking ofÂ The Great Depression, here are some ways those folks pinched pennies back in the day. We could learn a lot from their frugal ways.
- Used the backs of worn-out overall legs to make pants for little boys and overalls for babies.
- Made diapers and underwear out of flour and sugar sacks.
- Made smaller clothes out of bigger hand-me-downs.
- If their shoes wore out before a year, the children went barefoot.
- Bartering; not only goods for goods, but work for work.
- Used patterned chicken feed sacks to make curtains, aprons, and little girlâ€™s dresses; three sacks were enough to make a housedress.
- They mended worn out socks with a patch from another sock.
- They saved string that came loose from clothing and added it to a string ball for mending and sewing.
- They used newspaper instead of toilet paper. (They really did!)
- They saved every scrap of material for making quilts.
- When there was nothing more to eat, they had lard sandwiches.
Pretty hard core, huh? And we think we have it bad now!
There are so many other things you can do to keep your hard earned cash in your own pockets. Get creative, waste not, and reconsider everything you think you need! Do it whether you think you need extra money right now or not. There may come a time when you are suddenly without an income, and youâ€™ll be so thankful for anything youâ€™ve been able to put away for a rainy day.
So what do you think? Could you try any of these ideas in your home to help ease the burden of a tight budget? How are you getting by during these tough economic times?