31 Ways You Can Reorganize Your Life With Dollar Store Stuff

Untitled design (3)
Pin it on Pinterest

1. Hang baskets on the wall to hold towels in the bathroom.

makinglemonadeblog.com 

Try using two different sizes to keep it from looking too boxy. Get the tutorial here.

2. Hide hot tools in a file box on the side of your sink.

dreamgreendiy.com

And free up storage space under the sink. Get the tutorial here.

3. Keep your favorite nail polish colors in a spice rack.

lizmarieblog.com

Now, you probably can’t fit all of your colors in there, but use a spice rack to display your seasonal inspiration. Or leave out the colors you want to wear more of.

 

4. Add a second shower rod for extra bathroom storage.

Redditor Teruterus / Via lifehacker.com

Hook hangable baskets to the second rod and store all the body washes.

5. Or DIY bottle holders with suction cups and hair ties.

dollarstorecrafts.com

Suspend bottles to keep them from cluttering the shower ledges. Learn how to make them here.

6. Keep makeup in a binder.

dollardesigndiva.blogspot.com

When you travel, open the binder locks and pull out the bag you need. Organize bags by themes (like everyday makeup, evening makeup, etc.) so you have everything all in one place.

7. Organize medicine by category and store it in clear bins.

askannamoseley.com

Because you shouldn’t have to go through a sea of bandages before getting to the Pepto. Get the tutorial here.

familiesthatstick.blogspot.com

Which will cut down on the times you drunkenly use your roommate’s brush.

9. Make a tiered tray for jewelry and perfume.

lizmarieblog.com

You need candlestick holders, metal trays, super glue, and a sponge brush. Get the tutorial here.

10. Store your kid’s small toys in travel soap box holders.

shadytreediary.blogspot.jp

Keep track of playing cards, crayons, beads, stickers, and more.

11. Place plastic cups inside a muffin tin to make a mobile art caddy.

12. Put baskets on the stairs for kids to place their loose toys.

mamawithideas.com

Cute and helping you stay clutter-free.

13. Use dollar-store pizza pans for on-the-wall magnetic storage.

dollarstorecrafts.com

Magnets have found a new home (besides the fridge). Put them in your kid’s room to keep them inspired. Learn how to make them here.

14. Stash bobby pins and barrettes in a craft box.

theidearoom.net

Type A pro-tip: Organize them by color.

15. Slide books into a napkin holder.

yesterdayontuesday.com

Organize a desk space by stacking books vertically in a napkin holder. Get the tutorial here.

16. Use buckets to organize their art supplies.

17. Use a mesh laundry bag to hold toys kids like to play with at the beach.

theidearoom.net

That way you’re not scrambling around day-of the outing gathering up toys to take with you. Just grab the bag and go.

18. Keep your car clean by using a cereal container as a trash can.

skilledwithkids.com

Line it with a bag and prevent random trash from flying around.

19. Keep car essentials in a hanging shoe organizer.

decorganizecrafts.blogspot.com

Hang it from the back of the passenger seat and have everything all in one place.

20. Use velcro and office trays to organize your drawers.

tatertotsandjello.com

To keep trays from moving around when you open the drawer, stick adhesive Velcro tabs to tray and drawer bottoms so that each container has a sturdy spot. Learn how to make this here.

21. Organize jewelry on accordion hooks.

adorableantics.blogspot.com

So cheap. So easy.

22. Stash hair ties with a carabiner.

hiitsjilly.com

Keep the clip in a bathroom drawer for easy access.

23. Hang the second bar in the closet for your sweaters or your kid’s clothes.

alexharalson.com

If you’re hanging folded-over pants or skirts on a high rod (with a lot of space beneath it), hang a second rod to double up on closet space. You can do this for kids’ closets, too. Get the tutorial here.

24. If you need a shelf, hang a few baskets instead.

organizingmadefun.blogspot.com

If your TV console could use a shelf to store remotes and the like, screw in a few hooks and hang a row of baskets. Get the tutorial here.

25. Use shower curtain rings to hang belts.

livesimplybyannie.com

Secure a rod to the inside of your closet wall and keep belts organized. Learn how to make it here.

26. Use shelf dividers to organize bags.

organizingmadefun.blogspot.com

Keep bags from getting wrinkled up with cheap shelf dividers. Group them by season.

27. Use self-adhesive hooks to hold measuring items in a kitchen cabinet.

ishouldbemoppingthefloor.com

Making cookies just got easier.

28. Keep tea in trays.

handymancraftywoman.com

Stash tea bags in a drawer without them clogging up the cabinet.

29. Use storage baskets in your fridge.

thedomesticgeekblog.com

And feel a wave of serenity every time you open the refrigerator door.

30. Baskets are your friend when it comes to the pantry.

howtonestforless.com

And here is where the god/goddess stores their edibles. Get the tutorial here.

31. Turn magnetic baskets into spice racks.

instructables.com

Or glue magnets to the backs of any baskets you like.

Which one do you like most?  Do you do any of this?

The MEGA List of Zero (Low) Waste Alternatives

These are the list of items we use in our home. Alternatives are what I am aspiring to work towards doing more of.  We need to be more self-conscious about what we are doing to our beautiful Earth. Also, this is a brilliant way to be creative and save more money.

Untitled design (1).jpeg

No packaging/Biodegradable/Reusable

Item
Bath: Bar for body, hair, and handwashing; the moisturizing bar for body
Bath: Cotton fabric rounds
Bath: DIY mouthwash
Bath: Recycled/biodegradable toilet paper wrapped in paper (Tushy) + bidet
Bath: Shhhowercap
Bath (ladies): Thinx period panties and menstrual cup
Cleaning: All-purpose cleaner (make at home in a reusable container)
Cleaning: Compostable bamboo brush heads for dishes
Cleaning: Bar soap for dish soap
Cleaning: Rag towels for cleaning
Clothing: Thrifting clothes
Dog: Flush dog poop down the toilet
Eating: Beeswax wraps instead of cling/aluminum/ziplock
Eating: Cloth napkins
Eating: Pyrex and stainless steel containers for food storage
Eating: Reusable Cinemark popcorn and drink container
Eating: Reusable straws
Food: Bulk hummus, pesto in a mason jar
Food: Flour/sugar/salt from bulk
Food: Compost egg containers
Food: Compost pizza box
Food: Condiments: Make pickled jalapenos
Food: Distilled water made at home
Food: Make juice at home
Food: Make kefir at home
Food: Make own bread/buy a fresh loaf in own bag
Food: Make own ice cream
Food: meat packaging (the butcher paper) in compost (bokashi)
Food: Nuts/dried fruits/spices/chocolate/candy/popcorn from bulk
Food: Oils: Vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil, honey in bulk
Food: Package free produce
Food: Scraps composting (bokashi!)
Laundry: Wool dryer balls
Paper: Books (library + kindle)
Paper: Credit card mailings opt-out
Paper: Digital newspaper
Travel: Boarding passes + tickets in-app
Travel: Hotel toiletries when traveling: bring all from home in reusable containers (shampoo bars, body soap bar, face soap bar, face lotion de-potted, body lotion de-potted)
Travel: Que bottle for water

Aluminum

Item Alternative
Bath: Hair + styling spray* Best option atm
Bath: Shaving cream can Bar shave soap
Bath: Sunscreen spray Best option atm
Dog: Canned food Best option atm
Dog: Toothpaste in a metal tube Best option atm
Food: Baking powder Best option atm
Food: Canned sparkle water Best option atm
Food: Canned veggies, sauces, pantry items Best option atm
Food: Cider* Fill reusable growler
Food: Cooking spray Make at home using a refillable can or don’t buy anymore

Paper

Item Alternative
Dog: Treats Make at home; buy bulk
Food: Baking soda The best option at the moment
Food: Butter; compost paper The best option at the moment
Food: Cereal inbox (plastic liner inside can be recycled) The best option at the moment
Food: Cookies, crackers in a box (but also with plastic at times-not recyclable) Buy in bulk with own bag; make own
Food: Cream cheese wrapper in paper box The best option at the moment
Food: Garlic bread (but also with plastic-not recyclable) Make at home
Food: Milk and cream in a box The best option at the moment
Food: Pasta in a box The best option at the moment
Food: Tea Buy tea in bulk with own bag
Food: Vegetable/chicken broth Make at home using veggie/chicken scraps
Home: Candles Make at home using old jars; buy beeswax candle kits from Etsy; buy soy wax/wicks from Refill Revolution (packaged in the paper)
Laundry: Biodegradable laundry detergent in cardboard The best option at the moment
Paper: Amazon boxes Buy self without packaging; save boxes to re-ship
Paper: Junk mail Contacted to remove self from catalogs and mailings
Paper: Magazines* Digital edition; only get ones you love
Paper: Receipts Email whenever possible

Glass

Item Alternative
Bath: Antiperspirant – European Nivea (husband) The best option at the moment
Bath: Face + body oil Buy bulk from Refill Revolution
Bath: Face wash Bar soap
Bath: Nail polish (8-free)* The best option at the moment
Bath: Natural deodorant – Meow Meow Tweet (me) The best option at the moment
Food: Condiments (siracha, pastes. ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, bread yeast, jam) Make at home (too much work); reuse glass containers for storage
Food: Pasta sauce Make at home using canned tomato
Food: Peanut butter Buy bulk
Food: Salad dressing Make at home
Food: Vanilla extract Best option atm
Food: Yogurt Reuse glass container for storage
Home: Essential oils Buy from Refill Revolution and mail back bottle
Home: A room spray Make at home

Recyclable Plastics

Item Alternative
Bath: Face sunscreen, moisturizer, masks Find in glass; no pump; Return to Origins
Bath: Haircare products Use aluminum or glass container; Return to Origins
Bath: Medications No other option
Bath: Nail polish remover Switch to a non-toxic formula in a glass bottle
Bath: Toothpaste TerraCycle; metal tube
Cleaning: Dishwasher Packets Biodegradeable dishwasher detergent in cardboard
Cleaning: Shower + toilet cleaner Make at home
Dog: Teeth spray TerraCycle
Food: Baking sprinkles* Find in a glass jar or packaged in paper
Food: Berries Buy from farmers market; bulk pick at berry farm once/year
Food: Plastic container lids Lids are generally small and fall off the recycling conveyor belts. Always make sure that a plastic lid is attached to a plastic container so that it gets through the system.
Food: Granola Buy in bulk; TerraCycle current bags
Food: Salad box Buy in bulk? (difficult to find)
Home: Ant killer/household chemicals Get from city’s chemical reuse facility for free/reusing
Laundry: Dry cleaning bags Don’t dry clean?
Paper: Amazon boxes interior packaging Buy at the store without packaging; buy bulk orders; save packaging for re-use

Landfill

Item Alternative
Bath: Beauty product pumps Stop getting things with pumps; Return to Origins, TerraCycle
Bath: Brush heads/toothbrushes TerraCycle; Switch to bamboo brushes
Bath: Floss container TerraCycle; water flosser + dental lace
Bath: Floss picks (Meera) and floss (AJ) Biodegradeable floss
Bath: Hair elastics Eco-friendly version
Bath: Makeup products* Buy products that containers can be returned to the maker or recycled; Return to Origins
Bath: Razor blades Safety razor
Bath: Tissues Hand kerchief
Cleaning: Trash bags Find biodegradable
Dog: Dog food bag (split with canned) Best option atm
Eating: Wax paper Stop using it!
Food: Cheese wrap Buy in bulk and ask to put in beeswax wrap
Food: Chips/snack bag On TerraCycle waitlist
Food: Frozen fruits/veggies Buy fresh and freeze at home
Food: Take out containers/styrofoam Bring your own takeout container;  stop using this (it can’t REALLY be recycled!)
Home: Air filter Reusable air filter
Home: Pens Refillable pens using ink in glass jars (use up existing first); donate old to Pen Guy Art
Home: Water filter Ship back to recycle (for a fee)
Laundry: Lint roller Ever lint
Paper: Gift cards Online only cards
Paper: Label stickers No avoiding this
Paper: Tape Use washi tape when possible; get a boxed tape with refillable dispenser

SAVE ON CLEANING SUPPLIES WITH THESE DIY PRODUCTS

An American family spends an average of $504 per year on cleaning supplies. That’s a lot of money, especially toward products that are made mostly of water! In the spirit of saving, Sparkle® paper towels brings you a way to seriously scrub down your cleaning budget: homemade household products. If you cut 75 percent of your cleaning-supply spending (which many of the following ideas do), you could save up to $378 a year. That could cover 2.5 weeks of groceries, 10 months of air-conditioning, or 47 movie tickets. Pick your jaw up off the floor and get ready to DIY!

  • ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER

  • This cleaner is the solution to so many messes — in the kitchen, bathroom and the dinner table where your little one (perpetually) spills some milk. Vinegar is a homemade cleaning heavyweight and the star of this potion, with disinfecting properties thanks to its acidity. A batch of this miracle worker cost its inventor 52 cents, or a sixth of what leading cleaners sell for.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 1 part water
    • 1 part vinegar
    • 10-15 drops essential oils of choice
    • Spray bottle
  • Pour all three ingredients into the spray bottle, shake, and bam – you are done creating your all-purpose cleaner! Make sure to shake before each use to ensure ingredients are well mixed.

  • GLASS CLEANER

  • Save lots with this easy-to-make glass cleaner. It’s as simple as vinegar + rubbing alcohol + water — three ingredients already in your house! The gamechanging ingredient in this concoction is rubbing alcohol, which works to dissolve dirt and oil and dries quickly for a streak-free finish.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • ½ cup rubbing alcohol
    • ½ cup white/distilled vinegar
    • Water (Clean tap water is fine for short-term use. Use distilled or boiled and cooled water for long-term use.)
    • Essential oils of choice (optional)
    • 16 oz. glass spray bottle
  • Add the alcohol and vinegar to the spray bottle first. Then added water into the bottle until it is full. If you do not care for the vinegar scent (which goes away when the surface dries), add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. When using, spray the cleaner on windows and mirrors, then wipe with a microfiber cloth. Store spray bottle at room temperature when not in use.

  • FABRIC SOFTENER

  • It’s worth repeating, vinegar is the cleaning superhero that conquers all. This recipe for fabric softener uses it as a softening agent and static cling fighter, while a measure of conditioner incorporates your favorite scent. And at as low as $2 per batch, the price can’t be beat.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 12 oz. container of hair conditioner
    • 1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
    • 3 cups warm water
    • Whisk
    • Mixing bowl
    • Storage container
  • Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Pour ingredients into a storage container (e.g. glass jar with a lid), and that is it! You are ready to use your homemade fabric softener.

  • FABRIC REFRESHER

  • This DIY makes use of the simple ingredients to fight unwelcome odors. Baking soda acts as a deodorizer, while essential oils add your favorite scent. Essential oils are another concentrated ingredient; a little will go a long way. Mix the ingredients and place in a small jar to make this easy room freshener. Perfect for bathrooms, your pet’s favorite chair and teenager’s bedrooms everywhere.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 1 TBSP of baking soda
    • 2 cups warm water
    • Essential oils of choice
    • Spray bottle
  • Start by adding the baking soda to the spray bottle, followed by adding in the 2 cups of water. Put the lid on the spray bottle and shake well. Once the baking soda has dissolved, take off the lid. Add 10 drops of essential oil. Shake all ingredients together, and you are ready to deodorize your house. Spray your chemical-free refresher on fabrics or in the air to leave your house smelling…refreshed!

  • WOOD POLISH

  • This two-ingredient furniture polish employs olive oil for shine and lemon juice to help remove any buildup or stains. Leaving your furniture shiny and lemony-fresh will only cost you $1.55 per bottle, a fraction of leading commercial wood polishes.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 2 parts olive oil
    • 1 part lemon juice
    • Spray bottle or empty jar
  • In an empty spray bottle or jar, mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice. Shake well! Now you have yourself some natural, chemical-free wood polish. Spray or pour sparingly onto wood and in circular motions, rub the polish into the wood until it is well buffed with a soft cloth.

  • OVEN CLEANER

  • Cleaning out the oven is not for the faint of heart. Between the crouching, scrubbing and nauseating fumes, we tend to avoid it for as long as possible. This oven cleaner is nontoxic and fume-free, and budget-friendly. Just mix baking soda and salt for ultimate grease-cutting, scouring power. Let it sit and work its magic!

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • ¼ cup castile soap or concentrated dish detergent
    • 1 cup baking soda
    • ½ cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
    • Warm water
    • Distilled white vinegar
    • Sponge or scrubbing brush
    • Spray bottle
    • Mixing bowl
  • First, mix the soap, baking soda, and salt, adding a little water, if needed to make a paste. Then apply your paste the interior of the oven and let sit for several hours, preferably overnight. When ready, dip a sponge or scrubbing brush into the warm water and wash the interior clean. Spray interior with some distilled white vinegar to rinse away any excess paste residue.

  • BLEACH PEN

  • Bleach pens are the laundry room sidekick we can’t live without. But they’re a little pricey! This homemade bleach pen will cost you a minuscule 25 cents. That’s not a typo. Cornstarch, water, bleach and a little bit of stovetop magic make for a household product that’s cheaper than anything we can remember buying … ever.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 1 cup cold water
    • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 5 tablespoons regular bleach
    • Medium sized sauce pan
    • Container of choice (e.g condiment bottles)
    • Container of choice (e.g condiment bottles)
    • Whisk
  • Mix cold water and cornstarch and whisk together in a medium sized saucepan. It’s important that the water is cold so that the cornstarch doesn’t cause any lumps in the gel. Over medium high heat, stir the mixture continuously until it is very thick and pasty. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Add the bleach to the gel and blend well. Carefully pour the gel mixture into container of choice like an empty glue bottle or condiment bottle. Bada bing! You have your own gel bleach pen. Use the same way you would a regular bleach pen on dirty areas like grout. Also, when working with bleach it might be a good idea to use gloves!

Side hustles haven’t worked for me!

I always see various posts about side hustles and how they make quite a bit of cash in doing different side jobs, etc. I’ve read articles about doing online surveys, participating in data entry for a couple hours, shopping for other people.. I have tried a few things and I haven’t had any success, so far.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed today due to the fact that it seems nothing thus far has worked. I should probably make a list of the things I’ve tried and perhaps come up with some idea of why I failed.

First thing was Amazon Turk. I’ve done a few things on there and it is worth nothing. Literally just pennies. I feel I’d be paid more to pick up change outside of a fast food restaurant. I think what was frustrating is it seemed I took time and quite a bit of it to do these little assignments and it just was a huge loss of time and I really didn’t gain anything.

Second thing I tried is REV. I posted on this awhile back. I got in and really was excited. I did get paid a bit, this does take time, and quite a lot of it especially if you’re new like I am. You have to score a certain amount after being accepted to move on to make more money as a real “REVVER” My scores were great. Except, the last one I did I received 2 points lower than normal. So unfortunately I was let go. It caused the score to drop at 3.8? I think. It needed to be 4.0. (It was a couple months ago) I could be a bit off about the scoring but nevertheless you get the idea. It is automatic and there’s no one to talk to about it. So I suppose I’ll just try again.

The third side hustle I tried was/is Poshmark. I’m still trying to figure it out. I just joined last month. I’ve not made any money yet but I’m trying to be positive about it and give it time. The women on that site are really great. They’re so kind and they share and like and comment. Super sweet ladies and I’m glad to be there even just for that. I’d like to figure it out better to make some sales.

I also tried survey websites. I didn’t really get ahead on those at all. Not sure if I’m not on the correct site or if those are really just a joke. Let me know if you have a better site to make a little cash from!

I do want to find something on the side. I’m a stay at home Mom and I’d love to make a little extra for some weekend fun with the kids.

Do you have a side hustle? Give me some tips!

50 Great Ways to Save Money

Here are 50 Great Ways to Save Money.  I’ve compiled a list that I think you will really benefit from!  Let me know what you think!

money

 

General Savings Tips

  • Build an emergency fund.  This can make all the difference!  Low-income families with at least $500 in an emergency fund are better off financially than moderate-income families with less saved up!  It’s hard to imagine that being true but it certainly is.  Learn more about emergency funds here
  • Establish your budget.  Are you looking for an easy way to start? On the first day of a new month, get a receipt for everything you purchase. Stack the receipts into categories like restaurants, groceries, and personal care. At the end of the month you will be able to clearly see where your money is going. Find out more about this beautiful category here.
  • Budget with cash and envelopes. If you have trouble with overspending, try the envelope budget system where you use a set amount of cash for most spending. And once the cash is gone, it’s gone. Find our more about this here.
  • Don’t just save money, save.  There’s a difference between saving money and saving money for your future. So don’t just spend less, put the money you save into a savings account to plan for college expenses, retirement, or emergencies that can leave you financially better off. Find more information on this here.
  • Saving automatically.   Setting up automatic savings is the easiest and most effective way to save, and it puts extra cash out of sight and out of mind. Every pay period, have your employer deduct a certain amount from your paycheck and transfer it to a retirement or savings account. Ask your HR representative for more details about how to set this up, Or every month have your bank or credit union transfer a fixed amount from your checking account to a savings or investment account. Learn more about automatic savings here.
  • Aim for short-term savings goals.  Make a goal such as setting aside $20 a week or month, rather than a longer term savings goal. People save more successfully when they keep short-term goals in sight. This is a great way to save more.
  • Start saving for your retirement as early as possible.  Few people get rich through their wages alone. It’s the miracle of compound interest, or earning interest on your interest over many years, that builds wealth. Because time is on their side, the youngest workers are in the best position to save for retirement.
  • Take full advantage of employer matches to your retirement plan.  Often as an incentive, employers will match a certain amount of what you save in a retirement plan such as a 401(k). If you don’t take full advantage of this match, you’re leaving money on the table.
  • Save your windfalls and tax refunds.  Every time you receive a windfall, such a work bonus, inheritance, contest winnings, or tax refund, put a portion into your savings account.
  • Make a savings plan.  Those with a savings plan are twice as likely to save successfully. That’s where Frugal Overload comes in. I’ll help you set a goal and make a plan.  It doesn’t stop there. Frugal Overload will keep you motivated with information, advice, tips, and reminders to help you reach your savings goal. Think of us as your own personal support system.
  • Save your loose change.  Really! Putting aside just 50¢ over a year will get you 40 percent of the way to a $500 emergency fund. And some banks and credit unions or apps offer programs that round all your purchases to the nearest dollar and put that money into a separate savings account. Great information here.
  • Use the 24 hour rule.  This rules helps avoid purchasing expensive or unnecessary items on impulse. Think over each nonessential purchase for at least 24 hours. This is particularly easy to do while shopping online, because you can add items to your cart or wish list and come back to them a day later.
  • Treat yourself, but use it as an opportunity to save.  Match the cost of your nonessential indulgences in savings. So, for example, if you splurge on a smoothie while out running errands, put the same amount into your savings account. And think of it this way, if you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the treat either.
  • Calculate purchases by hours worked instead of cost.  Take the amount of the item you’re considering purchasing and divide it by your hourly wage. If it’s a $50 pair of shoes and you make $10 an hour, ask yourself if those shoes are really worth five long hours of work.
  • Unsubscribe. Avoid temptation by unsubscribing from marketing emails to the stores you spend the most money at. By law, each email is required to have an unsubscribe link, usually at the bottom of the email.
  • Place a savings reminder on your card.  Remind yourself to think through every purchase by covering your card with a savings message, such as “Do I really need this?” Write the message on a piece of masking tape or colorful washi tape on your card.

 

Banking, Credit, and Debt Savings Tips

  • Pay off credit cards in full each month.  The miles and cash-back are only valuable if you’re not falling into debt or paying interest.  Learn more about debt and credit here.
  • Start with a goal of reducing your credit card debt by just $1,000. That $1,000 debt reduction will probably save you $150-200 a year in interest, and much more if you’re paying penalty rates of 20-30 percent.
  • Use only the ATMs of your bank or credit union. Using the ATM of another financial institution once a week might seem like no big deal, but if it’s costing you $3 for each withdrawal, that’s more than $150 over the course of a year.
  • Check your credit report for free once a year. Use your annual free credit report from the three credit reporting bureaus to look for inaccuracies or opportunities to raise your score. Credit scores are used by loan providers, landlords, and others to determine what they’ll sell you, and at what price. For example, a low credit score can increase the cost of a 60-month, $20,000 auto loan by more than $5,000.  Learn more about your credit score here.
  • Pay all of your bills on auto-pay.  This ensures they are paid on time, in full to avoid late charges. As a bonus, some loan providers offer a small interest rate deduction if you enroll in auto-pay.

Entertainment Savings Tips

  • Take advantage of your library.  More and more libraries are offering e-books, so you don’t even need to visit in person. Many libraries are also part of an intra-library loan system where you can borrow anything you want, but that they don’t have, for a minimal shipping charge. Just ask. And some libraries allow you to borrow things like tools and sewing machines. We absolutely love our local library and go on a regular basis for DVDs, CDs and books.
  • Get unadvertised theater ticket discounts.  Call, email, or tweet your nearby theater to ask about discount options that are often not well-advertised. Many theaters offer discounted seats for seniors, students, and young adults, such as pay-your-age or pay-what-you-can programs. Or they’ll offer rush discounts of any unsold seats immediately before a show.
  • Volunteer at local festivals.  Cultural festivals and events often offer free admission to event volunteers. Contact the organizers of your favorite event to ask about volunteer opportunities and benefits.

 

Family and Friends Savings Tips

  • Create a family spending limit on gifts.  Discuss placing spending limits on gifts within your family and/or a system where you only purchase one gift for one person over the holidays. These limits tend to reduce expenditures and be greatly appreciated by family members with less financial flexibility.
  • Plan gift-giving well in advance.  That will give you time to decide on the most thoughtful gifts, which usually are not the most expensive ones. And if these gifts are products that must be purchased, you will have the opportunity to look for sales.
  • Don’t buy cheap clothes for cheap’s sake.  It sometimes make sense to prioritize quality over price when purchasing clothes for the family. An inexpensive shirt or coat is a poor bargain for older family members if it wears out in less than a year, but could make sense for quickly growing children. Consider fabric, stitching, washability, and other quality related factors in your selection of clothes. Thrift stores are amazing, You can find new or barely used BRAND name clothing for prices that are perfect.
  • Organize a neighborhood swap meet.  Here’s how it works: gather your friends and neighbors with kids around the same age and everyone brings gently used clothing, books, and school supplies, toys, etc., and receives a ticket for each item they bring. Each ticket entitles you to one item from the swap meet. If you contribute six books, you can leave with up to six new-to-you books. If you contribute seven items of clothing, you can leave with up to seven new-to-you items of clothing.  All leftover items are donated.
  • Designate one day a week a “no spend day.”  Reserve one night a week for free family fun. Cook at home, and plan out free activities such as game night, watching a movie, or going to the park. More about a no spend day (or even month) click this.

 

Food Savings Tips

  • Brown bag your lunch.  The reason you hear this tip so much is that it works! If buying lunch at work costs $5, but making lunch at home costs only $2.50, then in a year, you could afford to create a $500 emergency fund and still have money left over.
  • Commit to eating out one fewer time each month.  Save money without sacrificing your lifestyle by taking small steps to reduce your dining budget. Start off with reducing the amount you eat out by just once per month. Here’s more information on Eating more at home.
  • Plan your meals in advance and stick to a list while grocery shopping.  People who do food shopping with a list, and buy little else, spend much less money than those who decide what to buy when they get to the food market. The annual savings could easily be hundreds of dollars. I know this to be true.
  • Shop by unit price.  Many grocery stores list a cost per unit of each item, such as the price per ounce or pound. Use these stickers when comparison shopping for the same product, just in a different size.
  • Stick to water.  It’s standard in the restaurant industry to mark up the cost of alcohol by three to five times. So an easy way to cut down on your restaurant spending without changing your habits too drastically is to skip the beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic.
  • Save time and money by doubling the recipe.  Next time you make a family favorite, double the recipe and freeze the leftovers for another day. That way you can get two meals out of one and use the ingredients more efficiently with less waste. Aluminum pans of various sizes can be purchased on the cheap, especially when buying bulk, and make freezing and reheating a snap.

 

Health Savings Tips

  • Go generic.  Ask your physician if generic prescription drugs are a good option for you. Generic drugs can cost several hundred dollars less to purchase annually than brand-name drugs. And since physicians often don’t know the costs you incur for a particular drug, you often have to ask.
  • Comparison shop for prescription drugs.  Don’t just rely on the closest drugstore because the cost to you can vary significantly from pharmacy to pharmacy. Make sure to check out your local pharmacist, supermarkets, wholesale clubs, and mail-order pharmacies.
  • Purchase store brand over-the-counter medications.  Store brand medications often cost 20-40 percent less than nationally advertised brands, but are the exact same formula. The premium you’re paying on brand names is for nothing but the marketing.

 

Home Savings Tips

  • Audit your home energy use.  Ask your local electric or gas utility for a free or low-cost home energy audit. The audit may reveal inexpensive ways to reduce home heating and cooling costs by hundreds of dollars a year. Keep in mind that a payback period of less than three years, or even five years, usually will save you lots of money in the long-term.
  • Weatherproof your home.  Caulk holes and cracks that let warm air escape in the winter and cold air escape in the summer. Your local hardware store has materials, and quite possibly useful advice, about inexpensively stopping unwanted heat or cooling loss.
  • Keep the sun out.  Keep your blinds or curtains closed during hot summer days. Blocking the sunlight really does help to keep your house cooler.
  • Use less water.  Install low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators to reduce your water usage and water costs.
  • Cut laundry detergent and dryer sheet use in half.  The laundry detergent sold today is usually highly concentrated and powerful. Use the smallest suggested amount, and often you can use less than what’s on the bottle and still get clean clothes. In many cases, using less actually washes more effectively because there’s no leftover soap in your clothes. And tearing your dryer sheets in half gives the same result for half the price.
  • Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees.  For every 10 degree reduction in temperature, you can save up to 5 percent on water heating costs.

 

Transportation Savings Tips

  • Comparison shop for auto insurance.  Before renewing your existing auto insurance policy each year, check out the rates of competing companies.
  • Invest in car maintenance.  Keeping your car engine tuned and its tires inflated to their proper pressure saves money in the long run. Doing both can save you up to $100 a year in gas.
  • Check multiple sites for low airfares.  Don’t rely on a single airline search engine to show you all inexpensive fares. Some discount carriers do not allow their flights to be listed in these third-party searches, so you need to check their websites separately.

How’s your savings going?  What is something you’d like to add?