Welcome to the final installment in my series of “How to Save Money.” *This series has included things that we do or have done in the past to save money. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Just in case you missed the other 3 parts of this series, you can check them out right now. 5 Simple Ways to Save Money- Part One, Two, and Three.
- Buy used clothing and less of it
Buying used clothing or accepting hand me downs for your children is certainly an easy thing to do if you don’t worry about name brands to0 much. Yes, I know that is harder if your children are teens, but not impossible. Another huge savings tip: Don’t go out of your way to buy clothes that your kids don’t need just because they are cute. You don’t just have to buy used for your children, either. I do this for myself as well. My favorite pair of jeans is a Silver brand that I paid $10.00 for at a thrift store.
Fewer clothes…Yes, I know I’m stepping on some fashionistas toes with this comment, but it really does help the overall budget. One thing that I have begun to implement is to only buy things I really, really love and that will go with a lot of different clothing, thus hopefully lasting a long time. Another good strategy is to buy good quality when it comes on sale. I have not had the budget to do it that much, but I have found that even cheap clothing can last a long time if you take good care of it.
Another huge savings for us is that I mend clothing when I can. I sew up rips, sew on buttons, and so on. If you can learn to do some basic sewing, you can save yourself the expense of hemming pants as well. I was well taught and can do all those things, even though I’m not a professional at sewing.
- Make your own Cleaning Supplies
Currently, I do a lot of cleaning using vinegar and baking soda. We spray windows and mirrors with a 50/50 vinegar/water solution. I use baking soda and vinegar to scrub the bathtub. Sometimes I add table salt to the mixture as it has great scouring power. I make my own all-purpose cleaner. The only kitchen and bath cleaner I currently buy is toilet bowl cleaner. If I run out, I clean the toilet with baking soda and water. The only reason I buy toilet bowl cleaner in between is because I find that baking soda and vinegar don’t keep things as clean on a regular basis. There are a lot of recipes all over the internet for cleaning supplies. I do NOT currently make dishwasher detergent or laundry soap. Both of those machines are fairly new and still under warranty so I don’t want to void that warranty.
- Turn down the heat and turn off lights when you aren’t using them
We have our home temperature set a little lower than some. I put on a sweater if I am cold instead of turning up the heat. At our house, if you aren’t in the room there aren’t lights on. My kids are well aware of this rule and are known to go turn off lights that have been left on.
- Do basic vehicle maintenance yourself
My husband, Bernd, is quite handy. I am very thankful for that. He changes the oil in both our vehicles. He also changes some small parts when needed. He is great at making sure the fluids are all topped up and the tires properly inflated. He doesn’t fix most things on the vehicles because he is busy, but he saves us significant dollars just by the little maintenance things he does. If you don’t know how to maintain vehicles, there are ways to learn basic maintenance thus helping your vehicle run better and be used longer. Again, YouTube is a great way to learn some basic maintenance.
- Eat less Meat
In the past, we have really dropped the amount of meat we ate. I learned about making a lot of vegetarian type dishes and everyone learned to enjoy them around here. We have stopped doing that as much these days, but one thing we do is to have more meals that stretch the meat. For example, chicken noodle soup uses a lot less meat than say having breaded chicken breasts.
*I hope that this series has helped you think outside of the box about ways that you can save yourselves money in your own home.