Money doesn’t matter until you don’t have any.
That was what my grandfather used to say. He would have known. He grew up in a poor family, left school when he was 12 to work and help pay the bills and made his fortune by the time he was 25.
My grandfather knew how to splash out. But he also knew how to be frugal.
As the year comes to an end and the expenses of Christmas and holidays loom, many are wondering how to avoid more debt and the stress that goes with it.
These tips can be used all year round to save you literally hundreds of dollars. And avoid the financial stress that comes with many occasions.
Some you may already know and others may be new to you. All of them are a great reminder that there are easy ways to save money now.
EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY NOW – GENERAL SAVINGS TIPS
When it comes to easy ways to save money, the biggest asset is organisation. With a little planning, you can easily save hundreds of dollar each year.
- BUDGET – make a spending plan and then really try to stick to it. If you tend to overspend in one area, think of ways to cut back in others.
- LISTS – Lists can save you a fortune. A grocery shopping list helps you stay focused on what you need rather than those spur of the moment, not necessary, buys. Take it further and make a meal list for a week or a fortnight. Then you can add what you need to the grocery list. This way you can avoid unnecessary extra trips. They cost you time and money. Make gift lists so you can buy when things are on special. You can get a handy Christmas gift list template
- CARE FOR WHAT YOU HAVE – opt-out of the disposable society and look after what you own instead of throwing it out for the next new thing. Read about how Lessons From a Pot Can Help Save the World. Maintenance includes things like fixing leaking taps as soon as you notice them. If you have a leak of 10 drips per minute, you are wasting 0.72 litres of water every day. That’s 21.6 litres every month and 262 litres every year. You are paying for all that wasted water.
EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY NOW – THE POWER OF SAVING WITH POWER
- It may be impractical for you to install solar panels on your roof. Perhaps you are renting or you simply can’t afford the expense. However, you CAN opt for solar lighting outside, saving you a ton in power costs. Another great tip is to plug into power strips so you can easily turn off the power to appliances that are not in use. It is estimated standby energy drain can cost you hundreds of dollars each year. Even simple things like switching your ceiling fans to the right setting for the season can save you money. Use door draft stoppers.
Think about your power use when travelling too. The other day, a particularly hot one, I went to pick up one of the Goddesses from school. I always get there early to ensure an easy park. There were other cars already parked and about three of them had motors running so the occupants could sit in the comfort of air conditioning. I opted for open windows – not wanting to add to the world’s emissions problems and cost myself more money in petrol. Then I left the car for the shade of a tree and a beautiful breeze.
EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY NOW – HANG ONTO STUFF
- OK, I’m going against the popular trend of de-cluttering and minimalism here. I’m not suggesting you become a packrat and hang onto everything. However, there are some things worth keeping. For instance, old toothbrushes are amazing little cleaners for hard to get at areas. Empty spray bottles can be reused for your own cheap and easy DIY all-purpose cleaner. Recipe below.
EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY NOW – THINK BACKWARDS
- We waste a lot of money on things we don’t actually need. For example, so many recipes direct us to use baking paper to ensure cakes, cookies and other things don’t stick to the pan. Think backwards and you’ll realise that before baking paper was invented, we stopped the sticking by greasing and flouring the pans. It’s easy, costs less and is better for the environment as we’re not using unnecessary resources. The same with paper towels. There was once a time when rags would suffice. Why not now? How about paper serviettes? What’s wrong with using cloth serviettes and helping to save your pocket and the environment at the same time? They always seem a bit classier to me too. I personally LOVE wipes. How convenient are they? But I don’t use them all the time, especially when a wet washer does the trick just as well. Next time you grab that, well anything, think backwards to what your grandparents or great-grandparents may have used instead.
EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY NOW – THINK OF ALTERNATIVES
- Why pay expensive gym fees or shop for exercise equipment when your legs are free and walking is considered by many to be one of the safest and most efficient forms of exercise? Walking has been credited with weight loss, improved cholesterol levels, stronger bones, good blood pressure, better moods and even improved memory.
- Entertaining children can be so expensive. An excursion to visit the Three Sisters with one of the Goddesses earlier this year cost around $200 for three, including lunch and snacks. We had a wonderful time so the money was well spent, but it’s not something we do often. We usually opt for park excursions, at home play and, of course, plenty of arts and crafts. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on expensive outings with children, why not look at the cheaper alternatives? It’s hard to beat a beautiful bush walk or a day at the beach.
- Look at ways you can save around the home. Why not make your own wall art instead of buying it?
- I had an ugly old post with huge hinges stuck in it that we couldn’t remove. Rather than replace it, I decided to make it a colourful focal point – using plastic bottles. I cut the top third of the bottle off on the diagonal. Poked some drainage holes in the bottom, spray painted them in bright colours and nailed them to the pole. I filled them with plants from my own garden.
EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY NOW – IN THE KITCHEN
- LEFTOVERS – Did you know the average Australian family throws out around $1000 worth of edible food each year? It’s a sickening thought when you remember there are children dying every day from hunger-related illnesses.
Think of clever ways to reuse leftovers. If there are enough leftovers they can simply be frozen and used for an easy dinner further down the track, probably at a time when you would normally opt for spending money on takeaway.
HANDY HINT: It’s a good idea to keep track of leftover meals and when they were frozen with a LIST.
- Use other leftovers for pizza, in pies, in fritters and in stews. Have you indulged in a cooked chicken for lunch or dinner? Throw the remains of the chook, bones and all, in a big pot and simmer for a few hours. Add some carrots, celery, onion and whatever else you like to make instant chicken soup. After a few hours, let the soup cool then remove the chicken bones. You can then freeze it for use when needed. It’s an excellent remedy for colds and flu.
HANDY HINT: Add a little vinegar to the water as it helps to leach the calcium from the chicken bones.
- Preserve leftover herbs in water, olive oil or stock. Just chop them up, mix with your desired liquid or even butter, and freeze in ice cube trays.
- Make delicious ice blocks from leftover fruit cut up.
- Freeze brown bananas for later use in muffins, cakes and smoothies.
EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY NOW – IN THE BATHROOM
- You know those annoying bits of soap leftover from blocks of soap? You can grate them, add them to a bottle with boiling water and create instant homemade (that means free) hand soap.
- Why not try your hand at making your own bath bombs? They make great gifts and it’s a fun project to do with kids. Mix one part Epsom salts, one part citric acid, one part corn-starch and two parts bicarbonate of soda plus one teaspoon olive oil (or coconut oil) and a few drops of essential oil and food colouring. Place them into moulds – you could even use the plastic inserts that contain things like chocolates and biscuits (remember how I said to hang onto stuff?). Allow to dry for a few hours and voila – you have lovely homemade bath bombs.
- There is no need to spend money on expensive bathroom cleaning products. Make a mix of dish soap and vinegar, put it in a spray bottle, and use it for bathroom cleaner. Lemons work wonderfully to clean bathroom chrome and they leave the room smelling fresh.
EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY NOW – GIFT GIVING
This one can cost literally thousands and can really hurt the pocket at times like Christmas. Think outside the box to save money.
- Start a trend with your friends to give only second hand or homemade items. This can take a little more thought (that’s what gifts are about, isn’t it?) but is really rewarding for both the giver and receiver. Try these tips for gifts for children.
- Want some ideas for homemade gifts? Check these ideas to save money at Christmas, or at any other time.
Here are some more fun and easy ideas.
These jewellery projects are super easy and inexpensive to make.
- Use the bath bomb recipe above.
- Nurture some cuttings from your garden and put them in a cute pot.
- Or make this gorgeous succulent tree as a gift.
EASY WAYS TO SAVE MONEY NOW – CHEAP AND EASY ALL PURPOSE CLEANER
Mix one part water and one part vinegar in a jar and add a few citrus peelings. Allow to stand for several days or a week for the peel to infuse the cleaner with a lovely citrus smell. Strain into a spray bottle and add a couple of drops of dish soap. It’s great on counters, walls and just about anywhere.
What is your favourite tip to save money?
Happy saving and have a gleeful week, Tamuria.