I try to stretch every dollar I earn, and I've developed some strategies to make my money go further.
Eight Tips for Saving Money
- Get a small freezer.
- Ask for rain checks.
- Buy smaller quantities of toiletries.
- Recycle and repurpose old things.
- Learn to bake.
- Get the last bit out of tubes and containers.
- Consider shopping at the Dollar Store.
- Watch for coupons on items you use regularly.
1. Get a Small Freezer
When properly managed, a compact freezer will pay dividends in saved money by allowing you to take advantage of specials on meat and other freezable products to use at a later date.
The savings are tremendous over time. You buy bigger quantities than you currently would use and store them for limited times in a freezer. This way, if you manage your supplies, you will hardly ever need to pay full price for such expensive items as meat, prepared frozen foods, and vegetables and fruits that can be frozen (learn simple prep procedures by Googling "freezing fruits and veggies"). Scan sale flyers and plan your purchases.
Bonus Tips: Repackage large quantities of meat into usable portions and have a system for placing a date on each package. Store them in sections in the freezer according to date, and always use the oldest packages first as you add newer packages in another section. That way, everything will be used in a timely fashion, retaining the freshness of the product
2. Ask for Rain Checks
Get a rain check when a sale item has sold out during the sale period. I am not sure if the term "rain check" is used across the globe, but here in Canada, it means a coupon a store gives you when they have run out of a product that is on sale when it is still on sale.
The coupon, obtained from the service desk and signed by the cashier, lets you get a certain quantity at the sale price whenever the product is restocked. It is a time-limited coupon, so you have to use it within that time. It is very handy since usually a good deal will sell out fast. It may involve having staff make out a new label for you, so it takes a little extra effort, but it's well worth it.
Bonus Tips: Just in the past week, I was able to get 5 dollars off a kilogram of ground beef. It was on sale the week before but the store had run out of stock. I got a rain check for four packages, which I put in my small freezer. I saved about $40 total from the current price! Now who in the world would rather pay $ 5 more a kilogram? Not me.
3. Buy Smaller Quantities of Toiletries
I did the opposite for ages. You know...ten bottles of shampoo because I was tempted once more with yet another great ad for the best hair ever! Yeh, been there done that!
What is the point of that? Ten bottles taking up space and collecting dust, and there is a danger some of them will be totally wasted. Who has that much excess cash that you can afford to just waste it? Not me and most likely, not you either!
Keep to one bottle of shampoo at a time and use it all. Spend your money on a good conditioner in paste form in a tub; you can put your hand in to grab a small dab that you massage into your hair. That conditioner lasts forever and does a great job, saving literally dozens of conditioner bottles. I will never go back to liquid conditioner!
Bonus Tips: Some store brand conditioners are just great...mine is from Rexall. I love it!
4. Recycle and Repurpose Old Things
Look for new ways to use old things rather than toss them, especially containers and furniture. If you have anything flannel never toss...they make great cleaning cloths...just cut up and toss them in the wash whenever they are dirty!
With the internet it is amazingly easy to save time and money comparison shopping. Use an app like Flipp to check flyers before going shopping and buy before you run out so you never pay regular price. Imagine the savings!
Even before shopping, look around to see what you might be able to use that you already have around the house. See if you can re-purpose before you chuck it out!
Several weeks ago I decided I needed another storage option for my art supplies. I have to say I already have too much stuff, and keeping clutter to a minimum is important, but my art stuff is here to stay and having a space to create is vital for me. I had decided to buy a set of drawers from Ikea when serendipity struck.
A shelf became available at the same time I needed more storage space. A pile of National Geographic magazines departed my premises and my art stuff had a place to reside. I had to figure out how to configure the space where I keep my supplies but now I do not need that set of drawers!
Bonus Tips: I have refinished old pieces of furniture to look like new, made a new lampshade as a craft project, used assorted containers for paintbrush holders and even use a large white serving platter as a paint palette. You are only limited by your imagination!
5. Learn to Bake
Learn to prepare favorite foods yourself. Cost saving, healthier alternatives that make you proud! Besides everyone thinks you have special skills...lol!
You love those fancy cakes and cookies. They also cost a premium when even better and healthier ones can be prepared at home. They do not take half as long to prepare as most would assume. Really!
I baked a huge batch of oatmeal cookies and a chocolate cake in the evening after dinner when electricity rates are lower. I prepared the oatmeal cookies first and used the empty dry ingredient bowl to mix up my one bowl chocolate cake.
While I baked the cake, I washed up and then filled the cookie sheets ready to bake after the cake was finished. The result? Baking to share: healthy olive oil as part of the fat and wholewheat added with no one the wiser as far as flavor is concerned. I even used less sugar than the recipe required!
Not only have I saved money, had the satisfaction of better tasting baked goods, but also did myself a favor by adding healthier ingredients. Win-win.
Bonus Tips: I even buy flour in large quantities because I bake enough to use it up easily so I realize even bigger savings and yes, people love to eat my baking. That makes me happy...that is a health benefit for me...lol.
6. Get the Last Bit Out of Containers
When tubes and containers seem empty think again. There are several uses left clinging to the walls of the container. Figure out ways to get to it and save your cash...don't send good product to the dump!
It may seem like a small thing, but like the drip drip of a tap, the quantities wasted over time can be significant for your wallet. Just check the inside of what you think is empty. You might be shocked!
That applies even more so to product that is expensive. I have very dry hands from working in a lab for years handling harsh ingredients (I did wear gloves). I buy a lot of moisturizers. The tubes are quite handy but until I cut down a used one, I never realized how much product is wasted when I toss a supposedly empty container out!
Check out my photos. This is one I could not squeeze any more product out of. I love this lotion and I was happy to realize snipping it in half gives me quite a few more uses. I would recommend putting the half tube in a baggy to keep it from crusting, but hey, I wonder if I use up 10 tubes this way, do I save a whole tube of product?
Bonus Tips: Not only do I cut up tubes and use up all the product saving cash, I also dilute the end of a shampoo bottle with water and use that diluted shampoo for washing my combs and brushes until it is gone, gone, gone!
7. Consider Shopping at the Dollar Store
Shop discount stores for items that you find handy and where the quality meets your needs.
There was a time I did not shop the dollar stores but I have discovered there are some items that are worth shopping for there.
I buy my hardcover sketchbooks there. Sure I use better quality sketchbooks and paper but when that stuff is expensive I hesitate and art needs to flow. I have begun to fill these books because I am not worried about the cost. The end result is better sketches.
I observe many people shop for seasonal decorations and party supplies. I dare say many people buy a card or two there. I love the gift bags!
I always buy my colorful gloves for wash up there. A different color for dishes, another for scrubbing floors and another for bathroom. They even look nice in plain sight. Next come scrubbing sponges and cleaning cloths of all varieties. I like their cleaning brushes as well.
Bonus Tips: I do not buy art supplies other than sketchbooks at discount stores. There are times when good quality is a better buy. I have good quality watercolor paints and paper though for rough sketching I use my sketchbooks extensively.
8. Watch for Coupons on Items You Use Regularly
Keep a watch for coupons on items you use regularly. Who needs to pay more than you must! Over a year you can save quite a bit of money.
Many people refuse to use coupons because it doesn't look cool. My late husband was one of those. He never had a big savings account either!
However, there is significant savings (translate that to mean more dollars in your pocket) if you take advantage of coupons for items you already use anyway. Why refuse to take a saving?
You can find coupons online; often they are delivered to your door; I have found coupons in store on a shelf near the product. Very often the coupons are for staple items like cat food, and believe me, it is a savings to find free food for your pet.
Some coupons save you a dollar or more. If you watch for sales and then use a coupon you are paying significantly less for an item than someone who observes neither practice.
Bonus Tips: I use a magnet to attach the coupons for the month up on the fridge door. That way before I go shopping, I check my coupons and toss expired unused ones.
It Pays to Stretch Your Money
Some people live paycheck to paycheck. Credit cards steal your money through high interest rates destroying any savings you might make if you do not pay the balance off each month.
It really does make sense to make every penny count because as my grandmother used to say, "A penny saved is a penny earned." Another saying of hers was "Buy what you need, not what you want."
I modify that to, "Sometimes it is nice to buy what you want...to make you feel good; but earn it first through saving on everything you buy...literally everything!"
Can you think of more ideas to make your money go further?
How do you save money?
Maggie Griess (author) from Ontario, Canada on April 17, 2017:
Thank you Linda... I agree about the dollar store. I like the sponges and brushes which I like to replace often anyway. Those sketchbooks are great for sketching studies that often don't turn out. I like to go back after a time to see if I have improved. I tend to like to draw in books rather than loose sheets so not paying much stretches the art supply dollar. I find some dollar stores more appealing than others...lol. Take care!
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on April 17, 2017:
I like your tips. I cut open tubes like you do. I visit my local dollar store a lot, too. There are a few items that I've bought there that have been a waste of money because they haven't lasted long, but the majority of the items have been very useful.