Waste Not, Want Not: Turning Waste Into Savings
Living paycheck to paycheck often leaves no room for the “extras”, forcing you to live on a tight budget and leaving no room for a savings plan. Even rainy day funds are not able to get incorporated into a family budget because money is just too tight. There are countless pieces of advice for those looking for ways to save money, much of it mentions things you need to do such as stop eating out in restaurants and cancel your subscriptions to cable television. That advice is good but isn’t always relevant, as some families don’t even partake in these activities and still don’t have any extra cash. Living without extra luxuries sometimes isn’t enough to stash away the extra cash.
So what can you do to find a few extra bucks you can tuck away for a rainy day? Start thinking about how you live each day. While living frugally usually brings people to think about what they are spending, many will forget to consider what they are wasting. If you can adjust your daily habits in some very minor ways, you can start saving some extra cash each month.
Here is a list of ideas you can start implementing into your life to make saving a little bit easier and cut down your wasteful practices immensely, helping you to not only save your own money but also helps you to preserve the environment as well.
In the kitchen:
- Stop spending money on paper towels. Instead use old towels or clothing cut up into convenient cleaning rags.
- If you use a dishwasher, you can allow your dishes to air dry naturally instead of using power.
- Reuse as much as you can and what you can’t reuse then recycle. You can find great uses for orange juice cartons and milk jugs. There is also no shame in reusing items like tin foil, Styrofoam plates and cups, and utensils.
- Stop buying expensive garbage bags and use the bags you get at the supermarket and department stores. They are great for lining the smaller trash cans throughout the house.
- When cooking, make enough food so you can eat two or three more times. Leaving just a little each time, you are more likely to throw out the extra rather than eat it later. Plus you save on cooking and cleaning time during the week. You will also be saving at the grocery store by planning bulk meals and avoiding the fast-food drive thru’s in favor of quickly reheating an already prepared meal.
In the bathroom:
- Stop purchasing expensive and potentially toxic cleaners and use baking soda to scrub your sink and tub. Use vinegar on your mirrors and windows for cleanliness and shine.
- Take it easy on the toilet paper. You may not realize how much extra paper you yank off the roll each time but it can add up. Being a little bit more conscious of your habits, even ones this normal can make a big difference.
- Turn shampoo and conditioner bottles upside down to get every last drop. You can also add a bit of water and swirl it around to get one more use.
In the car:
- Stop wasting gas with unnecessary trips to the store. Instead, plan to go to the store only once a week and keep a list easily accessible. You will save gas and money and resist the urge to impulse shop when you just stop in to “pick up a few things”.
- Pay attention to how you heat and cool your automobile. Don’t blast the air conditioner when you have the windows open. Conserve energy as much as possible and save gas in return.
- Forgo the car as often as you can and walk instead. Not only are you saving money on gas and car maintenance, you are benefitting your own health and well-being.
- Find a way to line dry your clothing, even in the cold weather.
- Turn off all lights and unplug all electrical cords you are not currently using.
- Use junk mail and envelopes that have no other use as scrap paper instead of buying new notebooks or memo pads which can get pricey.
- There is no harm in free samples. You can often find samples of food and health and beauty items right in the store or you can sign up online to receive them by mail. It is always good to have various items on hand when you are running low.
Again, it’s the little changes that you can make to save you money. It does take dedication to making the changes but it is not impossible. Focus on your current living habits and make changes where you can. Once you start finding a few extra bucks where you least expect it, it will get easier and you will end up more motivated and more creative with ways to save.