5 Easy Tips for Saving Money at Home

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Most of us try to save money and most of us do a decent job of it. We face a lot of external factors (like which store is having a deal, the state of the economy, etc.) on a daily basis. So much so that, often times, we forget about the actions that we can take right in our own homes to save some extra money.

Hurry, hurry, step right up, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for – my 5 easy tricks for saving money in the home, that you might not have thought of before:

1) Freeze candles.

There’s no need to clean your ears, you heard me right. Before you plan to use your candles, put them in the freezer for a couple of hours. This will help them to drip less and last longer, while saving you some dough because you won’t have to buy as many or as often!

2) Use the (underestimated) back side of papers.

I am a paper magnet. No, seriously, my apartment is the heaven of trees. Between work, school, mail, writing and my inclination toward reading from actual paper versus a computer screen, I have acquired a ton of paper. Just when I feel proud of one of my recent paper purges, I turn around and there’s more paper stacking up!

Over the years, one way that I’ve found that helps to combat this mess is using the back side of papers. Naturally, it’s not the first thing you’d think to do with that used piece of scrap paper or that newsletter from your child’s school. But, when it comes time for you to make a grocery list (as any thrifty gal should do), leave a note for your husband or print your online coupons, this back side of the paper will come in really handy. Take a moment and think about how many times a day you scribble on a new piece of paper. Now multiply that number by 365. That’s how many pieces of paper you could be saving per year if you just started embracing the long-snubbed back side. And think of how many trees you’ll be saving too!

3) Pry open (get creative) flattened tubes and bottles before throwing them away.

I understand that some of you might find it “cheap” or “below” you to do this, but you’re just missing out! A great way to save money on usually-expensive cosmetics and toiletries is by making sure you’re using them “till the last drop”. If you pay $10 for a bottle of conditioner, then gosh darn it, you should get $10 worth of that smooth and silky hair-gold! By slicing open your used tubes and bottles, you can get several more days – even WEEKS – out of them. What’s that noise, you ask? Oh, that’s music to your ears!

4) Wear clothes twice before washing.

You might be cringing right now. That’s okay – let it out. I mean, this tip goes beyond the borders of what we perceive as “normal”. To most people, my suggestion is unheard-of and precedent-free. But I ask this in all seriousness: if you wear an outfit once, and deem it stain-free and not covered in dirt, why not wear it one more time before you wash it? This will help you save money on laundry detergent, electricity and the cost of water – cha-ching! Even better? Your clothes will last longer this way, with less wear and tear. Go one step further and, if realistic, opt to use the clothesline instead of the dryer and you will save even more mula!

5) Use Freecycle and Craigslist.

Believe it or not, these sites are not only saturated with crazy people and hoodlums, scouring the internet for the most gullible people on the planet. Yes, you need to be careful and mindful when using these sites, but they are truly great tools for anyone trying to stick to a budget. If you haven’t looked at Craigslist lately, please do it. Pay special attention to the section that says “free” – that’s “free”, as in free stuff!

People that don’t need an item anymore will post a listing on these sites and, most times, if you have the means to go pick it up, it’s yours. No questions asked. The best way to get the most out of this tip is to look for items that you need. That being said, if you don’t necessarily need something, but you’re a DIYer (like I am), THIS IS YOUR CAMELOT. You can get all sorts of goodies to inspire your upcycling dreams, and best of all, they’re super cheap (or free)!

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5 Practical New Year’s Resolutions to Help You Save Money

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It’s that time of year again! The crisp air, the winter fairytale snow, the holidays; it’s all so beautiful. But this time of year is also the time when most people take a step back, reflect on the past year and decide what changes they want to make in the coming year – gulp – it’s time for the dreaded New Year’s resolution. Call it depressing. Call it horrifying. Yet, the reality is that it is something that we all must face.

But don’t fret! I’m here to help you out. The future is most always uncertain, but there are ways to make things easier. Still feeling overwhelmed and unsure? Well, here is a list of 5 super practical New Year’s resolutions that will undoubtedly help you save money in the new year.

1) Opt for water.

We all know the benefits of drinking our good ol’ friend, H2O. They’ve been touted at us for decades. Roll your eyes all you want, but the truth of the matter is that drinking water is one of the best decisions you can make for your health, both mental and physical. But if you can replace even one of your drinks (soda, iced tea, etc.) each day with water, you will reap the monetary benefits as well! Since water is often cheaper than other sugary drinks, by opting for it, you can keep some extra cash in your wallet and maybe even an extra inch or two off your waist.

2) Brew your own coffee.

This resolution might seem like common sense, but, in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, it’s quite possible that it might not even cross your mind: brewing your own coffee instead of buying it from a coffee shop will undoubtedly save you money. Say you buy a cup of coffee each day for around $2. By brewing your own coffee, even just 5 of the 7 days per week, that’s $40 per month that you could be putting toward other things! When you really break it down, it seems like a no-brainer.

3) Use your crockpot.

The cooking gods blessed us with this incredibly useful and time-saving appliance, so we might as well use it! Whether you wake up late and don’t have time to prepare dinner to cook upon your return home from a long day at work or you need a dish to bring to a party, the ever-awesome, lazy man’s crockpot is the answer to your prayers. Just throw all of the ingredients into the crockpot, turn it on and – abracadabra – your dinner will be waiting for you when you get home! And, since crockpot meals are often made in bulk, not only will you have dinner for the night, but you can have lunch and/or dinner for the rest of the week too.

4) Set a limit on social expenses.

Need a resolution that, not only saves you oodles of money, but also helps you get into the habit of making smart, thrifty choices? Well then, my friends, this might just be the one for you. Limits are a necessary part of life, but that doesn’t mean that all New Year’s resolutions need to be robotic promises to ourselves that restrict us from doing something or eating something that we love. Start with smaller limits. My husband and I live a tight-budget lifestyle (and we rock it, might I add). So, being in charge of our finances, I set mental limits on how many times per week we can go out to eat or grab some takeout. This resolution involves some thinking ahead, however – it might not be a smart idea to go out to that Mexican restaurant tonight if you have dinner plans with friends at that nice Italian restaurant in a couple of days. See where I’m going with this? Healthy limits promote thrifty habits. You will save money this way.

5) Research, research, research.

Let me say that again: research, research, research! I saved this one for last because I find this to be the most practical resolution you can make, but it also provides the most benefits if you truly want to live thriftily within your means. Research everything. And don’t take this lightly – we’re talking real money being saved here, and often, a lot of it! I do my research before I do anything. No, I’m not kidding. Ask my husband and my mother, I literally research everything (and sometimes annoy the life out of everyone in the process). This research can be as simples as taking a gander at Groupon or Living Social before making a purchase, in case they might have a sweet deal on what you need. Or this research can be a little more complex, like scanning your local grocery store’s flyer and then scouring the internet for any available coupons before making your shopping list. As I touched upon in a previous post, a little foresight goes a long way, and researching will help you to ensure that you are only buying what you need (and not just because it’s on sale), and that you’re buying it at the best possible price.