For the past few years, I've started to make small adjustments in my life that don't seem to make a difference at first, but overtime can really save money. I hope some of these tips will help all of you, and I hope you'll share more tips with me!
Buy in BulkA few months ago, I started to buy all of my nonperishable items in bulk and realized how much money I was saving. I got a Sam's Club membership on Groupon, and every time we went I would calculate what the unit price was on common items we bought, and compare it to what we spent at regular stores. Some items are WAY cheaper at a club (juice, tortilla wraps, canned foods, chips, and garbage bags are some of the biggest savings I've found). Luckily at our house, we have space in our basement for shelving, so we bought a large storage rack and keep our bulk purchases down there.
If you don't have room for storage or don't want to get a membership at a club, you can still buy in bulk at a regular store. I stopped buying canned beans and now buy dried beans in the bulk area at the store, and buy specialty spices that way as well. This saves SO much money! I store the dried beans in recycled plastic containers for a no-cost storage solution.
Join the LibraryI know that I've mentioned this before, but joining the library and signing up for Overdrive has completely changed my life! I stopped reading for a while after college, but if I was interested in a book I would purchase it. Since books aren't exactly cheap, I wasn't reading much because I didn't want to spend the money. After I signed up for the library, I started reading so much more, and can find any book that I want in the Overdrive app. I get these sent directly to my Kindle, so I can read on the bus during my commute.
I also try new cookbooks this way. I recently did this with the Eat Slow, Run Fast cookbook, and loved the fact that I could try out a few recipes but wasn't locked into buying the book. There are some cookbooks that I just want to try out, but don't really want to buy and this is a great way to "test drive" it!
I've recently discovered a lot of small ways that I get discounts at work, and it's made a big difference overall. One thing that most companies (at least larger ones) do is a commuter benefit. At my company, I get a credit card which is filled once a month via direct deposit of my pre-tax paycheck. This means that I'm saving about $100 a year in taxes for my commuting.
Find employee discounts
There are other small discounts that I get through work and I found out about just by asking around at work. I save money on my gym membership, phone bill, and travel if I book through my work's website. There are lot of stores that offer random discounts, so it never hurts to ask!
Reduce Utility BillsThere are so many ways that you can save money on your utility bill. These savings might seem small at the time, but they really add up (and help you be more environmentally friendly)! Here are some of my favorite tips:
-Unplug surge protectors at night and when going to work. Even if nothing is plugged in or you aren't using something that is plugged in, it's still using energy!
-Shower at the gym. I go to the gym pretty much every morning, even if I have an off day, just to use their showers. This saves me a ton of water that I would use at home, and gives me an incentive to work out before work! My gym also provides soap and shampoo, so I'm using a lot less products at home which saves even more money.
-Turn down the furnace and AC. You don't have to turn it down to a frigid temperature or sweat all summer long, but think about turning it up or down a few degrees and you'll see the savings add up!
Make It Yourself
Lately, I've discovered the power (and money savings) involved with making something yourself. This can cover so many areas of your life, from cooking to skin care products to cleaning products. Pinterest is one of my biggest avenues for finding ideas..you can seriously find a recipe or idea for anything on there!
One of my recent favorite things to make myself is vegetable stock. It can be expensive and annoying to buy stock at the store. If I want to make soup or use it to thin out a recipe, I have to run to the store and end up spending a few dollars on a single can of good stock. Now, I make my own and it couldn't be easier. I keep a bag in my freezer, and throw in all my veggie scraps in there. Anytime I make a dish and have peels, ends of carrots, beet greens (basically anything) I throw it in the bag. Once it's full, I just add it to a pot filled with water and boil it for two hours. Homemade veggie stock for pretty much $0! This is also a great way to use veggies that are about to go bad, and I don't feel like they're going to waste. After I'm done making the stock, I just throw the vegetable scraps in my compost pile!
Simplify Your Makeup Routine
Before we moved, I had a pretty intense makeup routine. Every morning I would put on primer, foundation, concealer, powder, blush, highlighter, bronzer, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lip liner, lipstick, lip gloss, and setting spray (PHEW!). It's not secret that makeup is expensive, even if you buy drugstore products, so using that much makeup was not cheap at all. Putting that many products on my face also made me break out all the time, so it was pretty much adding insult to injury.
When Dan and I got married in Belize, I didn't bring any makeup products with me and let my skin breathe for the week we were there. My skin instantly cleared up, and I haven't used foundation since. Now, my makeup routine is much simpler- cream shadow, mascara, and lip balm. Not only is this better for my skin, but it's also SO much cheaper!
Go Vegan (or try eating plant-based)
I have to mention this, because going vegan has saved me so much money. I look back at my grocery bills from the past year, and I can see a dramatic difference ever since I switched my diet. The majority of my diet is full of basic, inexpensive ingredients (beans, potatoes, grains, fresh vegetables). People that think a vegan diet is expensive are mostly looking at the specialty products found at Whole Foods- think of the pretty packages with all the buzz words on them. These foods aren't necessary for a delicious and healthy diet, so if you want to stick to a low grocery bill just keep it simple! If you are interested in finding cheap and vegan meals, check out one of my favorite subreddits. You don't have to go all out to reap the benefits- just adding more plant-based meals into your weekly meal plan and you'll start seeing the savings :)
I hope you liked my tips for saving money! I've written a few other posts on this subject, so if you're looking for even more ways to save money, check out six tips here, and how to save money at the grocery store.
What are your money-saving tips?
Where do you do most of your shopping? I'm an Aldi's girl now!
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