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Money Saving Tips

In these hard economic times everyone is doing whatever they can to save money. I have always been all about saving money whenever possible. My husband likes to say I'm the cheapest person that he knows. I take that as a compliment!

I thought I'd share some of my ideas with you today. These tips will not only help you to save money, but they're organic alternatives to cut chemicals out of your life too (for the most part). Some of them may also help us to save the environment. It's a win-win for all of us!

1. Taxes

Ever since we got married my husband and I have paid someone to do our taxes. It didn't seem like a very big deal and I felt that it was well worth the $35 we were spending to have an "expert" do our taxes for us. For the last several years the prices have risen sharply for many reasons. Over the last 13 years it has gone up to $185! (Plus the cost of shipping all of the receipts and things to them which was another $5 or so.) That was a huge jump from the year before, and I refused to do it again.

How do you make sure that you're getting all of the legally allowed deductions without paying such a huge price? We bought software with free e-filing. The software cost about $42 and I got it all done in one day. My taxes are already filed and my mind feels at ease knowing that one more thing is done until next year. I'm going to use my tax refund to pay down my bills.

2. Dried goods

I used to buy cans of everything, including beans. They kept well and seemed to be fairly easy for me to store too. When I started looking at the chemicals in things it made me think that my decision to switch to dried beans was also a great way to cut chemicals out of our diet. Take a look at the ingredients on the label of your beans. If you see some words on there that aren't water, salt, or beans chances are some of the other ingredients are chemicals.

Dried beans cost twice as much as a can of beans. Before you say I'm not being wise with my money, dried beans take up far less volume than canned beans. I am not paying for the extra water and chemicals either. Of course they do take more work to prepare than their canned counterparts, so I suppose there is a small trade off. I think it's well worth it though to cut all of those chemicals out of our family's diet AND save all of that money. One bag seems to yield at least 4 cans worth of beans once the beans are soaked and ready to be prepared. Only soak what you will be using, in general I use about a half a cup per can of beans that are called for.

3. Buy frozen vegetables

I am hoping that I won't have to buy many veggies soon once my new vegetable garden starts growing, but until my dream starts to come to fruition this is one way we save some of our hard earned money.

When you buy canned veggies, you are buying the weight of the water that they are packed in leaving less veggies for your money. Then there is the thought that those cans can leach chemicals into your vegetables too. One bag of frozen vegetables usually has at least twice as many as a can does.

4. Plan your trips

Every time I go to the store I end up spending at least $20. Mostly in impulse purchases of things that we don't even really need. I also spend more gas money going back to the store for items that I forgot which adds more expense to an already costly trip. My solution? Make a plan.

I find that I am less likely to make impulse purchases when I go to the store with a list. Be sure to bring a pen with you so you can cross items off the list as you go. This makes it harder to forget items and easier to stick to your budget. It also puts less pollution into the environment because of the saved trips back to the store. I try to limit non-working trips to town to no more than one per week. If I run out of something I write it on the list for next week that's on the side of the fridge so that item won't be forgotten.

5. Make your own cleaners

Our ancestors were cleaning their homes (and themselves) long before we had pre-mixed cleaners in bottles lining the shelves of every store out there. Do we really need all of those fancy spray bottles that marketers try to lure us into buying? My answer is a resounding no. Making your own cleaners is not only more cost efficient, but also less harmful to ourselves and the environment. Look at the back of those bottles in your house. Do you see all of the chemical names listed as ingredients? Have you ever wondered where your indoor air pollution comes from? We contribute to our own poor health by using mixes of chemicals that haven't been found to be safe for our use.

6. Keep your house clean

This may seem like a "duh" statement, but if you clean messes as thet happen you are far more likely to be able to just use water and a cloth to clean up a mess. Illnesses and germs also fester in unkempt areas of your house. While it may seem perfectly harmless to you, you may end up making your family or yourself sick adding the cost of medical treatment to an already long list of bills.

7. Wear your clothes more than once

In this day and age with washing machines we seem to have it pretty easy. We wear our clothes once and throw them into the wash. Do we need to? I'd say no.

If you didn't sweat enough to make your clothes stink and there is no visible dirt on them, why not wear them again? Constant washing of clothes also makes them wear out more rapidly making you purchase new clothes long before you may need to otherwise. You'll also save on water usage, electric usage, and laundry soap costs.

I hope these tips will help you and your family save some money. Please feel free to contibute your own ideas to my list. Next time I will share some recipes for home made cleaners with you.

Thank you for stopping by. Please leave me a message. I'd love to hear your thoughts!



Anonymous said...

Very practical tips in this economy Cinj! I've been doing some of these things for years.

Nola @ the Alamo said...

Your suggestions make perfect sense. I've heard that dryers use LOTS of electricity, but our association won't allow clotheslines:(. I am hanging the towels and jeans, really hard to dry items on a wooden drying rack in the garage for an hour or two to let them start to air dry. Then I pop them into the dryer to finish drying and fluff up; the dryer is only running half as long, so I'm saving electricity and my dryer will last longer. All the little things add up!

dawn said...

Great list! I air dry our jeans, it just seems the dryer runs to long and it wears them out. As soon as the weather gets good I line dry, I used to line dry even in cold snowy weather but my clothsline has been moved and I can't reach it due to snow! Gosh I loved it when it was off my backdoor steps....

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

I try to line dry, but always get over whelmed. There are just too many of us. Dry beans actually cost less than canned here. Plus, I just don't like the taste of can.

Skeeter said...

All great ideas and we practice each of them daily! Well, I do use some cleaning products. I need to work on that one I guess. I also clip coupons and read the flyers in the mail. Some times the brand name is more expensive then a store brand even with coupon so watch that. I like to do the buy one get one free deals too but only on items we normally use. Do not buy something just because it is a good deal.

We found dried chives for over $4.00 for a small bottle. I could not bring myself to pay that. So we went to the veggie dept and picked up an entire package of fresh chives for $2.50 and brought them home and dried them in our dehydrated. They were so much greener then the few chives we had left in the old bottle. Which I used to store the new chives!

We also take our shoes off at the door. That way, you don’t get as much dirt in the house as well as scum from the asphalt. We were old clothes in the yard and good clothes to town then change into lounging clothes once home. That way, not much laundry for me to do.

We don’t flush the toilet after a tinkle without asking the other if they need to go. Saves on water plus while waiting for the water to get warm in the kitchen sink, I have the watering pitcher catching the cold for flower or bird bath filling… Little things add up…

Our main thing, we dont try to "keep up with the Jones"....

our friend Ben said...

Great tips, Cinj, thanks! And those frozen veggies and fruits are way more nutritious than canned, and often less pesticide-dosed than fresh, all for a bargain price! Liek Skeeter, we take our shoes off at the door, and most of our freinds do this in their homes, too. But when you keep the house as cold as we do, it's wise to have those slippers waiting right beside the door!

Kathleen said...

very good tips Cinj. I do my own taxes with software every year too and actually think it's fun.

Syl said...

For taxes, I use - complete and file federal for free and complete your state and file for $13.95. If you need additional assistance or instructions, or want to import last year's taxes, you can always upgrade for $13 or $14 bucks.

easy ways to save money said...

Nice post
Everyone can save money in small and seemingly insignificant areas if you know how and where to do it.
These are all great ideas
Great tips! I’ll be coming back to learn more about saving money!