A few months ago, I shared some simple money-saving tips to stretch your dollar that little bit further. Today, I’m back to help you get even more bang for your buck.
I’ve been tracking my outgoings this year and, I’ll be honest, I’m increasingly horrified at the amount of money my family and I spend. Yes, some of it is necessary (a gal’s gotta eat), but a lot is frivolous or, at best, questionable.
Plus, we’ve just bought a house here, so I’m a little more focused on saving money and seeing where I can cut back (*cough* clothes and stationery *cough*).
Here’s where my money's been going so far this year:
With that in mind, here’s a list of even MORE ways to save money:
1. Shop your own home
When you feel the need to engage in some retail therapy, look through all your boxes and drawers and closets and cubbies to see if you can re-discover an old treasure instead of dragging home a new one.
This month I’m sticking to a capsule wardrobe. I chose 15 items from my closet, and I’m only going to wear those things for the entire month, mixing and matching to make different outfits. And already it’s making me more appreciative of what I have.
When you think you might need something new, shop your own home instead. I bet you’ll be able to find a top you forgot you’d bought, or a book you haven’t read yet, or a gadget that’s still in its original box.
Even if you don’t have anything you’ve never used, I can guarantee you have something that you’re under-utilising. Make it your mission to use up everything you can before you go out and replace it.
Shop and utilise what you already have, and it may be enough to give you that quick fix of newness you so desperately crave. 😉
Between yourself and your friends, you probably have enough clothes, books, and magazines to open your own store. Instead of each buying something new, consider a monthly “swap shop” party where you lend your friend that book she’s been wanting to read, and she shares the latest issues of your favourite magazines with you.
You can do the same with clothes, if you’re about the same size and have similar styles. It works especially well if you’ve got kids. Clothes and shoes for little ones are costly because they’re outgrown so quickly. Gather your parent friends together and all of a sudden your kid will have a brand new wardrobe, you’ll have decluttered all your old maternity clothes, your expectant friend will be delighted with her new-to-her duds, and no-one will have spent a single cent in the process.
3. Pool resources
Why make seven meals when you can make one? Or take seven trips when a single will suffice? Pool resources with a few friends and neighbours so you’re each contributing a small amount to an overall goal.
For meals, agree that each of you will be responsible for one dinner each week. For example, on Mondays, you make up a large batch of lasagne and pass it out to everyone else in the group. The next day, the culinary responsibility is someone else’s, and you still get yourself a home-cooked meal.
And then there’s car pooling. Maybe one week it’s your responsibility to shuttle a bunch of kids to and from school, but someone else takes over the following week and you can get that lie-in you so desperately deserve.
Or maybe you and your good neighbour don’t both need to own a lawnmower each, so you go halves and share one. Half the clutter, half the expense.
4. Buy refills
Companies are starting to cotton on to the fact that not everyone wants more plastic piling up in their homes, so they’re offering refillable solutions. And some stores now have “bulk” or refill stations where you bring your own containers and simply top them up. Cheaper for you, and better for the planet.
Baby wipes are a good example of this (you don’t have to buy a new tub each time), and there are plenty of lotions and potions that come in refillable versions too.
Keep your eyes peeled for refills instead of buying a brand new big bottle every time.
5. Cut the cost of water
You really don’t need to buy water in plastic bottles. Get yourself a reusable bottle (glass or stainless steel is best) and simply refill it when you need to.
Also be on the lookout for places with water coolers. When I was a gym goer, I always refilled my water bottle there before heading home.
Another thing you can do, particularly if you’re a keen gardener, is to leave a large bucket outside to collect rainwater. Use it to water your plants instead of having the hose going.
Maybe you think those are silly ideas and will only save a few cents… but that’s what dollars are made up of!
6. Free samples
This one comes with a caveat because it’s so easy to stock up on crap you don’t need just because it’s free. Plus, all that extra, tiny packaging is usually terrible for the environment, so look out for recyclable options where you can. But samples and freebies can be great if you’re trying to save money.
A lot of pharmacies and clinics, for example, will have tissues and water available for free. Dentists have toothpaste and floss… and I’ve even seen some with free apples!
While you’re buying your skincare or cosmetics, ask for some samples too. You won’t need to feel guilty (you’re already making a purchase), but you’ll be getting more for your money.
Sometimes you don’t need to pay anything to get something done because you can offer something in exchange. It’s similar to the swapsies at #2 above, but this one is more geared towards services.
Here’s an example from my own life: recently, someone offered to hire me to organise their business a bit better. Sadly, because I don’t yet have my green card, I can’t be employed here. Instead, I offered to help in exchange for them giving me free access to an event I want to go to that they’re organising. Win-win.
If you’re good at one thing but need help in another area, suggest a trade. It’s mutually beneficial, and will save you (both) a bundle.
8. Dump the disposables
Using cloths instead of paper towels and making rags out of old clothes will save you from having to add another thing to your shopping list each week. But there are also stores that will give you a discount if you help them cut down on their own overheads. For example, a large amount of coffee shops will offer a reduction in price if you provide your own coffee cup. And I’ve just recently noticed that Target take 5c off your purchase if you provide your own bags.
Again, you might not think it’s much, but it really does add up.
And let’s face it, the more money you can save at Target, the better! 😉
9. Grow your own food
Who needs store-bought tomatoes when you can grow your own at home? And what’s the point in buying a whole container of parsley when you could just snip the bit you need from your windowsill herb garden?
If you’re not especially green-thumbed (like me), there are even some things you can buy from the store that will easily re-grow with just water. For example, I use spring onion in salads and for some meals. I buy a bunch from the store, chop them up, and then pop the bulbs in a glass of water. A week or so later they’ve grown back again!
You can re-grow avocados, celery, lettuce… Loads!
10. Gift wrap rewind
Any time I get a gift, I stash the wrapping paper and bag. It saves me a small fortune when it comes time to give a gift to someone else. (Have you see the price of that stuff these days?!)
Maybe you think that’s “cheap”, but add up how many birthdays, anniversaries, and other gift-giving events you have throughout the year, multiply it by about $5 (you KNOW you spend more than that at big events like Christmas), and I bet you won’t be so keen on trashing that gift bag after all.
11. DIY cleaners
There isn’t much vinegar and baking soda can’t do, so stock up on those essentials and save yourself a fortune on the store-bought, chemical-laden bottles.
You’ll be able to find a recipe for pretty much every cleaning solution you can think of, so do a quick search online and see how much you can save.
And there you have it, some more great ways to cut costs. Be sure to check out the original money-saving post if you missed it or, if you’re ready to get serious about saving money, here’s a video on how I save a sh*tload:
What about you? What’s your top tip for saving a tonne of money?