Some of us are a bit more committed to saving money than others. Sometimes we go the extra mile from necessity; sometimes we are just control freaks. If you want others to think of you as the Frugal Fannie who uses both sides of the toilet paper or the frugal fellow who pinches Mr. Lincoln until he screams, here are a few tips to help you become a truly hard-core money saver.
We’ve written before about how a notepad can save you money. This is taking notes to the extreme. When you go shopping, examine your receipt afterwards and write down the prices for everything. Keep track of the item, size, price and store where you bought it. Every time you buy something that is not in your book, write that down. Use the book as a reference when you shop, helping you to decide if you should take advantage of that Shaw’s sale on juice or wait till you get to Stop N Shop.
New is for Gifts Only
Other than consumable goods, never buy anything new unless you’re giving it as a gift. That means furniture, clothing, decorations, tools and more. Hold off on any purchase long enough to check the thrift stores at least three times. Become militant about finding what you want for just a few bucks used. I made it 18 months without buying any new clothing or furniture, other than undies and socks. I have been lucky enough not to need furniture or tools in that time. It’s astounding the hundreds I have saved. I spent about $100 on clothing in 2010. I used to spend that on five to ten items of clothing, even shopping clearance racks. This year, I snatched about 25 items of clothing for the same money.
Reusable Paper Towels
Do you hate paying for paper towels? Then don’t. For about $8 at Wal-Mart or the discount bin at the fabric store, you can buy a few yards of 100% cotton flannel. White looks best, but really, does that matter? Maybe you can find a pattern that goes with your kitchen. Either way, cut the fabric into paper-towel-sized squares and sew a quick zigzag stitch around the edges to keep them from fraying.
Wrap your flannel “paper” towels around the old paper towel rolls and use your towel dispenser as before. Keep a plastic bag or bin inside a cabinet where you can toss dirty rags at the end of the day and then wash them in hot water and bleach when needed. If you skip the dryer sheet, they will be more absorbent.
The expensive store-brand zipper bags are often much higher quality than their generic counterparts. Rather than saving 20 cents on a cheaper, flimsier storage bag, take the time to wash the good ones. It’s easily done by turning them right side out and giving them a quick rinse. Hang them on the clothesline to dry, or stash them in the cabinet out of sight for a day. This is not recommended for bags that have stored certain bacteria-prone foods like foods with eggs, egg ingredients, or turkey. However, for bologna sandwiches, chips and pretzels, it’s a big money-saver.
When One-Half a Works as Well as One
Many of us are particular to a certain brand of drier sheet. It’s less about quality than the scent. I have a bit of a bounce addiction and no other scent will do. My solution? Snip! I simply keep scissors in the laundry room and cut the sheet in half to double my drier sheet dollars. The same is true for many products. Paper towels, scrubbing pads, rags, straws for kids drinks (The cups are shorter, why not the straws?), dusting cloths, mopping pads and more.
Are you a truly intense money-saver? What other hardcore tactics do you use to save money? Respond with your comments.
Jessica Bosari is an Internet copywriter and blogger for various publications and her own telecommute writing jobs blog. You can read more of Jessica's work here. If you have any comments or questions about SavingTools or about saving money, leave your comments in the form below or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!