When you start on a quest to save money, the endless stream of media pertaining to being frugal can be, in the least, a bit overwhelming! You need only turn on the TV, open a magazine, or Google “Money-Saving Tips” to see the plethora of information floating around out there! So where to start?
A key idea is engaging in “do it yourself” activities and tasks…and this doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a handyman extraordinaire, or a gourmet cook. It DOES mean having the right tools to do the job and the willingness as well! Two areas people tend to spend a lot of unnecessary money in are in the kitchen and around-the-house- repairs. So let’s tackle some ideas there.
In the Kitchen
· Sounds like a no-brainer, but picking up drive-through coffee is a money-sucker! You can save on average $650/year by making your coffee at home Mon-Fri!
· Pre-cut veggies and fruit whop a hefty price tag—often a 40% markup over their whole counterparts! Be wise-buy the fruit or vegetable in its natural state and take 5 minutes to cut and package into smaller portions—you’ll also have ‘snack-packs’ for work or kids’ lunches!
· Bottled water—YIKES! Here we’re looking at close to a 4000% markup! Do yourself a favor, invest in a Kleen Kanteen or Camelbak, buy a Brita or faucet-filter and pour your own water to go!
· Buy in bulk. Warehouse stores can offer you the choices of many popular and common cereals, spices, snacks and convenience foods without the price tag that smaller stores attach. For fresh meats, portion into individual sizes for your family and freeze. Cereals can be portioned into re-usable containers or resealable bags, and spices (which are often VERY over priced in the grocery stores), can be portioned into smaller, 3-5 oz size containers while you freeze the rest. They will stay fresh as the day you bought them!
Around the house
· Save on heating and cooling costs by keeping closet doors shut and unused rooms sealed off
· Choose one paint color for all of your trim, that way it can be used over and over to do touch ups and save money on buying specific colors
· Sign up for your utility’s “time of use” plan (especially great if no one is home during the day!)
· Turn down the thermostat on your water heater. Most are set to 140 degrees but 110-120 is plenty hot!
· Use home-made cleaners using items like vinegar, baking soda or Borax.
· Replace your air conditioning filters every month. You’d be surprised how dirty they get, and the dirtier they get, the harder your system has to work. That equals higher utility bills.