I have a ton of frugal household tips that I’ve picked up over the years. Most of them are easy enough to do and don’t require drastic changes to your lifestyle. They are simple things anyone can do to help save money.
Here are my top 10 tips to share with you to help save money:
1. Use Crystal Deodorant– I have had the same stick of crystal deodorant for over 3 years now and it is not even near being used up. It cost $3.49. I’ll be honest, at first I thought there was no way it could work. I had seen ads in the back of magazines for it and it looked like a gimmick. I tried it and was pleasantly surprised. It worked! I have never had a problem smelling bad, no matter how hard I worked out. It’s a little different than regular deodorant because you have to wet the top of the stick, apply it, then wipe it off before putting the cap on. If you don’t wipe it off, it won’t last as long.
2. Use baking soda/peroxide – Baking soda and peroxide have so many uses around the house and both items are very cheap. They can both be used to replace expensive cleaning products. Baking soda can also be used to replace toothpaste and peroxide can be used to replace expensive mouthwash. Just be sure you only swish your mouth with peroxide, leaving peroxide in your mouth for long periods of time can actually damage your teeth.
3. Use Vinegar – Vinegar is another cheap item that has many uses around the home. It can be used to wash windows, clean up pet stains and to replace expensive fabric softeners. Just remember, vinegar only stinks when it’s wet. When it dries, it leaves no nasty vinegar smell.
4. Freeze milk – I do not like milk and I can’t stand the thought of drinking it out of a glass. A lot of the recipes I use call for milk so I usually try to keep it on hand. Since I don’t go through it quickly, it tends to go bad before I can use it up. To make it last longer, I freeze it. My grandma always said milk freezes better in glass jars so that is what I do. I use glass jars I’ve recycled from pasta sauce or applesauce (cleaned and ran through the dishwasher) to freeze milk. Just remember when you freeze milk, you need to leave an inch or so at the top of the jar so there is room for expansion. Milk can also be frozen in plastic jugs (if you find it on sale and want to stock up) as long as you pour some off the top so it can expand. If you are like me and don’t use a lot of milk, this is a great way to make sure it does not go to waste.
5. Use conditioner as shaving cream– I recently wrote a separate blog post on this but thought it was worth mentioning again here. Shaving cream and gels are so expensive. Even if you have coupons, the little canisters never seem to last that long. I have a stockpile of conditioner I got for $.25 each to use as shaving cream. This is probably one of my most favorite frugal tips.
6. Cook from scratch– I know I talk about this a lot but one of the easiest ways to save money is to start cooking your own meals at home. Food is one of the biggest areas that drains money from our budget. We have to have it and if we haven’t prepared what we are going to eat, a fast food drive through is never far away. Cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be an elaborate event. Simple home cooked meals are often better when they are just that, simple. If you are new to cooking, you could take a class at your local Extension office to learn the basics. There are several books and blogs that will also assist you. Some of my favorites are Hillbilly Housewife, Cook For Good and Thrifty Fun.
7. Plan your meals – As I mentioned in tip #6 food is one of the biggest drains on our budget. If you have not planned your meals, it is too easy to just order take out or go through the drive through. The Hillbilly Housewife has some great information on meal planning. I generally try to do this on a Sunday evening when I’m thinking about my week.
8. Use Cash – Using cash is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t blow your budget. While I don’t recommend walking around with a huge amount of cash in your pocket, I do recommend giving yourself an allowance for your “extras” in your budget. You should not feel deprived, otherwise your budget will never work. Having cash to spend will cause you to think if you really want the item because once you’ve spent that money, it’s gone. With credit cards, it’s too easy to go over your limit before you’ve even realized it.
9. Grow your own vegetables – Even if you don’t have a large yard, you can grow things like tomatoes and peppers in containers on your porch. Growing your own vegetables can mean huge savings on your budget. I generally spend $30 or less getting my garden started. After I’ve had my fill in the summer, I start freezing what I have to last me throughout the next year. If you are totally new to gardening, take a class or read up on gardening. It really is not that hard once you get started.
10. Simply use less – The Simple Dollar had a great article called The Cost of Overuse which basically said we can save money by using less and not really tell the difference. We tend to overuse in nearly every area of our life thinking more will always be better. In most cases it’s not and cutting back can help save us money.
What about you, what are your favorite frugal tips and why?