Do you ever find yourself doing something in the name of frugality and think to yourself, “WHY am I doing this?!”
If so, you are not alone.
But the thing is, if you don’t try new things then you are not likely to uncover the truly genius, simple things that can really save you money.
So, which frugal tips are worth the effort? And which are not? That answer can be a little different for everyone, of course, but I thought it might be fun to cover some recent things I have been doing (or stopped doing) in the name of frugality.
- Hanging on to old sponges. BOO. I am just going to put it out there. I really hate that once a sponge accidentally gets tossed into the dryer a time or two, it is just this flat, sad shadow of the effective sponge it once was. But, I still cannot toss it and I continue to force myself to use it – cringing each time! What is wrong with me? It seems like at age 42, I could afford myself the luxury of a new sponge when necessary. I am working on changing this habit, as it does not make me happy and it probably is not saving me a whole heck of a lot of money.
- Using the last of the lotion/shampoo/etc. YAY! You know those pump containers (shampoo, lotion) that always have about an inch of unreachable product left in the bottom of the container? I was turning them upside down, beating the bottom senseless when my husband walked by a few times. He finally could not take it any longer, and cut the containers open with a utility knife – totally brillant! I just scoop out the leftovers and put it into a glass jar to use until it is gone. I love the cute glass containers on my desk or bathroom counter and I feel so fulfilled by using the last drop of product.
- Ignoring when unmentionables need to be retired. BOO. Now, I know all you guys out there just cringed, but let’s face it, this happens to both sexes. That underwear with the rim torn or the socks with the holes – you know what I mean. Sometimes in the name of being frugal, I try to put up with it just a bit longer – no one sees it anyway! But, really, it is ridiculous and not very comfortable. Go get yourself some more – I just placed my order. There are ways to save on bras and underwear. Enjoy the luxury of under-goodies that are all in one piece!
- Taking the time to set up Bill Pay. YAY! When I was setting up my bill pay, I was a bit like, “Man, this is time consuming, a pain, blah, blah, blah.” But, now that it is all set up – it is a life saver! Everything gets paid on time, it is easy to check in and make sure the right amount is set to send in for the current month’s bill and those once a year payments are quick and easy to make. Very worth the time.
- Rinsing and reusing plastic bags. BOO/YAY What? As you may have noticed, I am on the fence about this one. On the one hand, it is a pain and it may or may not give you much bang for your buck, depending on how much you use the bags. However, for me it has come to represent a responsibility to the Earth and society in general to not put something into the trash before its time. I know – it probably does not make a ton of difference. In my defense, it does motivate me to use reusable containers and just avoid the bags when possible, so that is something.
- Making my own cleaners. YAY! I am a HUGE fan of making homemade cleaners. I have a few basic ingredients on hand – mostly baking soda, Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap, club soda and some essential oils. I can make just about everything I need (yet to find an acceptable replacement for toilet bowl cleaner in the handy containers) when I need them. I never run out (for more than a few minutes) and it saves me a lot of money, time and chemical exposure stress. Win, win, win.
- Composting. YAY! While I am a big fan of composting, I am not currently composting. We have been working on a large backyard project and all of our garden and composting areas were torn up. I am stunned at the amount of trash that is generated by food waste that I would normally compost. We have gone from our trash being about 75% full each week to it busting over the top of the container or even not getting it all in that week! Anything that helps me reduce that much trash AND gives me lots of great, free, nutrient rich dirt for my garden is a go.
- Doing It Yourself. YAY! (with one caveat). Ahh, DIY. So fun, right? I really do love the idea of a good DIY. We have tackled several larger DIY projects in the past 18 months. On one hand, we could not have afforded to have the new concrete island counter, wood floors in the kitchen, a bathroom remodel, deck and room addition to the house or large amount of landscaping done all in the last 18 months without doing it ourselves. On the other hand (here comes the caveat), looking back we now realize that we bit off WAY more than we should have. There have been lots of times that we have been tired, frustrated and sick, sick, sick of the state of chaos at home during this process. Realizing the stress we were putting on ourselves, we scaled down a bit where we could and we actually pushed harder to get to the end of the rest of the projects. Now that we are nearing the end, all other projects are on hold until we catch our breath. In the future, we have agreed that tacking ONE project at at time (and not all the time) is going to work better for us for now.
Please add your own do (or DON’T) frugal tips in the comments!