I hope I’m finding you well amidst the uncertainty and changes related to COVID-19.
Maybe not so much right now, but think back to before quarantines, social distancing, and sheltering-in-place…have you ever felt like a savings of $3 or so isn’t worth fussing over? Not worth clipping the coupon or not worth giving up a convenience?
I have, too.
But, over the years my family and I have learned to pay attention to the small savings and to reevaluate what is and isn’t a “necessity” for our lives.
By doing this, we’ve found these 9 household expenses to stop buying to help make budget:
1) Cable. This is not as novel an idea now as it was back in my college days when I first cancelled my cable (and haven’t subscribed again since). Especially now, with so many lower-priced platforms that give us the options to watch what we want, when we want, dropping cable services is an easier decision than ever.
We currently have Hulu, Disney+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. All four of these streaming services together cost $38.17 per month. Basic cable service in my area would cost $44.99 per month for 1 year – then the price would skyrocket up after the 1-year “deal.”
2) Books, Video Games, and Movies. This one is simple and FREE! Utilize the library (of course, when it’s open and safe to use – read: post-COVID-19). Public libraries are a fantastic (and free!) resource right in or near most communities. For those who haven’t been to the library lately, most libraries try to keep up with the current media. By that I mean: Libraries aren’t solely stacks of books anymore. You can sign out books, movies, and video games at most libraries. Even better, our local library recently rolled out online re-checkout(??). So, if we need extra time with our books, movies, or video games, we can just pop online and recheckout our items without an extra trip to the library.
3) Cleaning Products. Novel Corona Virus aside, I typically save money on cleaning products by making the frugal choice to use Norwex.
4) Tissue Paper. Between Christmas and birthdays for 2 kids, we get our fair share of gift bags with tissue paper. Don’t throw away that tissue paper that likely has been used 1 time! Fold it up and tuck it away somewhere you’ll remember to use it for your next gifting occasion.
5) Gift Bags. Gift bags are another item that make me cringe at the thought of throwing away. Save the giftbags in which gifts are given to you. Keep them with your salvaged tissue paper – again, so you remember to use them! Because, what’s the use in saving them if you never use them and end up buying them anyway.
6) Wrapping Paper. Okay, I’ll admit this one is a bit of a stretch, but it saved me money while I was in college (and needed to get the most from EVERY dollar I could!). I stopped buying wrapping paper. Instead, I saved the free circulars, Penny Savers, advertisements, etc. that I received in the mail. Then, you guessed it, I used that paper to wrap my gifts.
My family and friends certainly understood that I needed to avoid all extra spending at that time, and were totally okay with having their gifts wrapped in newspapers. In fact, I got compliments on reusing/repurposing recyclable materials!
7) Disposable Plastic Bags. What an oxymoron, right? Disposable plastic. As I’m sure we all know by now, “disposable” plastic bags are not only horrible for the environment, but it costs us money each time we throw one away. Consider the frugal decision to stop buying disposable plastic bags and opt for these reusable ones instead.
8) Shaving Cream. I haven’t bought shaving cream for years, and I’m still successfully shaving without it. I use my body wash to lather up before shaving and it works just as well for me.
9) Veggies (Seasonally). I live in a climate that gets cold for the winter, so for my family, this is a seasonal option since our garden is outdoors. Other items you can save money by not buying are vegetables. Plant your own garden. It does involve a time commitment and is a frugal choice as there is an initial investment for cost of materials to make a garden; but, it’ll save you money for years to come.
I’ve never tried it (but I’m seriously considering it right now)…if you want to garden year-round, you could try an indoor garden like this one.
Savers, I truly hope for health and happiness for you all – always! But, especially at this time.
I also hope you all are able to appreciate and enjoy the silver lining to the current pandemic – the gift of time.
Time is a free resource (and we like things that are free, am I right, Savers?!) that we frequently never have enough of. Enjoy it and utilize it the best you can during this time.
Take care, Savers.
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