Three Money Saving Tricks Anyone Can Use
Too frazzled to figure out frugal? Does just getting through the day leave you so depleted that your eyes start to cross at the mere thought of uber-active savings strategies? This article's for you.
Things are way more hectic this fall in our household, and we are finding that several of our savings approaches are needing to be tweaked in certain situations where going for the full gusto would just interfere with the forward motion of our relocation efforts. (Not to mention making us completely loopy.) Here are a three things we are doing to continue to stretch our budget without stress:
Ye Olde Apron.
Instead of splashing around in the kitchen dirtying top after top, or getting clean T-shirts goopy from a host of household set up chores, I'm re-implementing an old classic. The good old fashioned apron. Good wardrobe staples are hard to come by. And taking care of them so they stand the test of time is another subject altogether.
As someone who is less than smooth when it comes to not spilling things on blouses and other tops, this is one idea I can implement in seconds. It takes way less time than pre-treating stains and doing an unnecessary load of laundry, not to mention the savings in energy and product costs. While I make it a habit not to make homemade tomato sauce in my good white dress blouse, I don't always take the time to change if I'm wearing one of those outfits that's suitable to wear grocery shopping yet not so grungy that I don't care if it's stained. Tossing on an apron saves me time, money and stress.
Hybrid DIY Projects.
What I'm talking about here is taking on easily achievable components of an overall project you are either unable or unwilling to handle completely on your own. Our most recent example is the fence we had to have installed before we could head north to pick up our Labrador, Maggie. Most of our tools are either stored with the military or got lost in the flood. Not to mention that hard core, wind resistant, HOA approved fence building is just not in our skill set. However, cost was an issue and we wanted to save money where we could. So we paid to have the fence installed, and asked the contractor his advice on how to stain and seal it on our own as easily and inexpensively as possible. His advice was an el cheapo insect repellent sprayer and some old dampened sections of cut up T-shirt scraps. While we could have probably bought the staining supplies for less with his contractor rate, we would have had to pay for the extra labor. So this was the best solution for us. We dished out where we had to, and saved cash where it was within our schedule, budget and ability level to do so.
Other areas where you might consider implementing a hybrid DIY project? Nailing up the pre-cut drywall sections where your contractor has set up your interior studs and insulation, updating thrift store fashion with new buttons without having to sew up an entire item on your own, or paying to have a profession strip the paint off an antique and brushing on the Minwax yourself all come to mind. Got another hybrid DIY suggestion? Feel free to sound off below.
Divide and Conquer.
hat I'm talking about here is breaking down a bulk amount of product into smaller packages or containers. Not only is this a powerful way to stretch large bottles of lotion and other bathroom products, as I mentioned in Savings in Every Room, but it's also a killer strategy for making the most of bulk buying at any time. Even if you shop at warehouse stores with a buddy, as our own Linsey Knerl suggested in a recent article, you can still implement the divide and conquer approach with great success. Greater success actually, because you are able to get larger amounts of product at a great price without having to use as much of your cash up front.
Think bulk restaurant tortilla chips broken down for lunch snacks, large packages of shredded cheese into meal sized packages for the freezer, giant packages of lint and pet hair rollers to stock various areas of the house, cars and in your day pack if you drive to an office every day. Also of note are ground meats, family packages of chicken parts, etc. Now, those of you who follow my blog on a regular basis may be asking how this technique is so radically different from what I discussed in the Assembly Cooking for Newbies article, and other posts. The difference is that for right now, breaking down into smaller packages is ALL that I am doing.
Here's a specific example: Yesterday, when we drove out to return the moving truck, we stopped by one of the warehouse stores where we have a membership. It has great prices on bulk meats, but you have to buy enormous packs. The ninety percent lean ground beef was around five dollars a pound if you bought a regular family pack, but only $2.48 cents a pound if I bought the gigantic ten pound tube. Normally, I might precook a bunch of it and package it up, moving on to cooking up the next half and whipping up a giant batch of spaghetti sauce. But with this much on my plate? No way. I'm breaking apart the giant packs of ground beef and chicken breast tenders into smaller meal sized freezer baggies and calling it good.
As often as I tend to write about the more hard core active methods of money saving, this year's long transition and start over has forced me to accept some serious limitations on how much I can accomplish under extreme stress. Boxes and plastic bags of clothing are stacked everywhere, and I have several months' worth of mail to file. Not to mention the military shipment that's due to arrive by the end of the month. Today, if I can manage to toss a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner and find my underwear, I will consider myself lucky. Until we have the kitchen organized and set up, power bars, apples and trail mix are still our breakfasts of choice. I haven't even had the time to set up a simple oatmeal station by the microwave. Don't get me wrong, we are grateful to finally have a new roof to call our own. And I know that another week or two of settling in time will do wonders for having our regular systems up and running. In the meantime, these are some of the simplified procedures and techniques we are using to move things along as quickly as possible on the recovery front while still paying attention to pennies where we can. You are more than welcome to ponder these ideas, as well as share any of your own, in the comment section below.