Do you ever feel that your money is not your own? For me, it seems as if most of the money goes to treating my CI one way or another: special foods, supplements, medication, and medical bills. Over the years I have had to stretch our resources so bills (especially those darn medical bills!) can be paid. I have also learned that every little bit of saving helps, small expenses can add up quickly. So here are a few things I do to stretch a dollar. I would LOVE to hear yours!
Reuse (cleaned) plastic zip lock bags as long as they did not previously hold meat or eggs.
Reuse (cleaned) aluminum foil as long as it did not cover meat/cheese/eggs.
Turn off lights every time you leave a room.
Plug electrical devices into power strips, turn off power strips at night.
Run dishwasher on shortest cycle for each load.
No cable TV.
Cook from scratch as much as possible- bulk ingredients are often cheaper than prepackaged foods.
Purchase meat in bulk.
Eat less meat.
Buy as many products as possible from a dollar store — price compare per unit.
Purchase clothing from thrift stores.
Shop end of season sales for clothing.
Combine errands (this is to save both gas money and personal energy!).
Keep meals simple.
Eat out only on special occasions.
Use coupons when eating out.
Take advantage of free grocery store downloads (Kroger, K-Mart, Giant Eagle).
If possible, shop at more than one store.
Cut up empty cereal/cracker bags into sheets to use as waxed paper.
Drink mostly water.
Set grocery budget and stick to it.
Check clearance grocery section first.
Purchase bulk foods that have a long shelf life.
Get rid of all memberships and subscriptions that are not regularly used.
Use plastic grocery sacks as trash bags for small waste cans.
Use empty plastic/glass food containers as storage tubs for leftovers.
Use mesh produce bags tied in knots as a scrub pad for dishes.
Use a small dry erase board on the outside of fridge to write down leftovers waiting inside – cross off when consumed.
Save brown paper that comes in delivered packages to wrap own packages.
Save the cotton from bottles of supplements for cosmetic use.
Turn off stove/oven when food is almost done, let it continue cooking/baking.
Open shades in winter to let the sun in and warm up the rooms.
Close shades in the summer to keep the sun out and keep rooms cooler.
Use the library to check out free books, movies and take classes.
Install led lights as bulbs go out.
Send away for all rebates immediately.
Shop discount grocery stores.
Use cash whenever possible – you spend less money.
Eat as healthy as possible so you can feel as good as possible.
When shopping on-line always look for discount codes first.
Purchase used when possible.
Cut up old clothing that can’t be donated into rags.
Use rags to save on paper towels.
Use Walmart’s saving catcher program.
Sign-up for stores’ reward programs.
Use both sides of the paper.
Use printer mistakes as scratch paper for kids’ drawings.
Pay bills on-line.
Send postcards vs. greeting cards.
Purchase generic foods when possible.
Request generic drugs when possible.
Walmart has a list of $4.00 medications.
Visit local parks as a free source of entertainment.
Make your drinks of choice at home.
Save and reuse gift bags.
Run dishwasher only when full.
If clothes are lightly soiled wash in cold on the shortest cycle possible.
Wash laundry in cold when possible.
Hang up clothing to dry, saves wear and tear on clothing.
If you purchase juice, buy it frozen and add extra water when mixing.
Take recycling to a drop off center – no longer pay for curbside pickup.
Purchase all wrapping paper after Christmas, make sure to get some solid colors that can be used for other occasions.
Cut-up and freeze produce before it goes bad……perfect for smoothies.
If you use milk, try powdered.
Once the toothpaste tube appears empty, cut the bottom off to get to what is left.
When no more shampoo will come out of the bottle, add water and shake and instant shampoo again.
If you buy soda, cheaper to purchase a 2-liter than a single bottle at check out.
Take a thermos of water and snack with you when you run errands, it keeps you from going through a drive-thru.
Put all loose change into a container to save for a special occasion or purchase.
Purchase nonperishable food items in bulk such as beans, rice and oatmeal.
Get free food grade buckets from Walmart’s deli counter for storage.
De-clutter your home so you know what you have, avoiding duplicate purchases.
Clean out and organize your freezer so you know what you have.
Clean out your pantry – makes it easier to know what you have on hand so you don’t over purchase.
Eat what you freeze before it goes bad.
Stuff unusable socks with plastic grocery bags and put at the bottom of doors to keep out drafts.
Pay bills on time to avoid late fees (this may not always be possible).
Carry a small notebook as a price book – keep track of prices/unit so you know if you are getting a good deal or not.
If you have a garage, clean it out so your vehicle can be kept inside, save gas from having to warm it up in winter.
Comparison shop when purchasing supplements. You can usually find them cheaper than the prices at your health care professional at places like Amazon, Vitacost, Swanson, The Vitamin Shoppe, and Mountain Rose Herbs just to name a few. If you sign-up for a company’s newsletter you will usually receive a coupon code.
Floor models, open boxes and things about to expire are always cheaper, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount on these items.
Shopping at the end of the day at garage sales will save you even more money – people don’t want to haul all their stuff somewhere else.
Don’t purchase something just because it is a good deal, make sure you need it.
Comparison shop for car insurance, cell phones, trash and internet service and other monthly expenses or even call your current providers to see if there is a cheaper plan.
Bring your own bags – some stores charge for bags and others give you a small discount if you bring your own.
If someone asks, request gift cards as presents to your favorite restaurants or stores.
Grow any of the food you consume – even apartments have a space for one pot in which you can grow herbs or a tomato plant.
So, how do you save money?
……………..Until next time, YOU are a superhero and saving money is a super power!