These days, everybody’s looking for a little leg up to save extra money. Sometimes people start doing some pretty crazy things in order to save a few pennies. Some of them work, some of them don’t. Curious? Here’s five kooky ways to save money that aren’t a waste of your time, and three things that aren’t worth it, because time is money too.
Totally Worth It:
1. Flush Less
You might have heard the phrase, “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”, and been totally grossed out. Yeah, okay, that’s fair, but you really shouldn’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Following this philosophy saves you about $11 a year. It might not sound like much, but that’s $11 you could be spending on something that isn’t your toliet.
2. Cash Only (Or If You’re Like Me…Card Only)
If you have trouble visualizing how much you’re actually spending and you get a little bit credit-or-debit-card-happy, you could try restricting yourself to cash. This way, you can physically see how much money you’re handing over, and feel your wallet getting thinner and thinner. You’re also not tempted to touch your savings, since to do so, you’d have to go to the bank and pull money out that way.
This doesn’t work for everyone, though. For instance, I burn through cash like nothing else, because “it doesn’t hurt my bank account”. I’m really bad with cash, like, really bad. So I restrict myself to $20 in my wallet for emergencies only, and keep a debit card on me that is a direct link to my bank account, and, thus, in my mind…my bills. This scares me away from spending too much money.
Figure out where your leaks are and stop them. The maxim “know thyself” is relevant here. Your wallet will be happier, and so will you.
3. Go To Bed Earlier
Establish a clear curfew at your house sometime after the world goes dark. Staying up for hours after the sun goes down means you’re wasting a bunch of electricity on lighting your home. The earlier you go to bed, the earlier you can flip your lights off and conserve energy.
4. Reuse Your Ziplocs
This one might sound totally crazy, and that’s okay. It really works, though. Ziploc bags might not be that expensive, but you will end up saving money by keeping them (as long as you didn’t store raw meat in them or they don’t have holes), washing them, and reusing them. Eventually you’ll go through a box, sure, but you eat through your Ziplocs much more slowly…thus saving money. It’s worth the small amount of effort of washing the bag and drying it, trust me.
5. Shop Under a Time Limit
If you don’t have time to slowly peruse the snack section the grocery store or flip through every rack while you’re shopping for clothes, then you won’t have time to linger over decisions and pick up more than you probably need. Give yourself a time limit when shopping and stick to it.
1. Single Ply Toilet Paper
We’ve been over this a few times on this site, but we can’t stress it enough. Don’t buy single-ply toliet paper. Not only is it really hard on your skin, but because the toliet paper isn’t as thick, and therefore less absorbent, you’ll end up using more of it than you normally will, completely negating the upfront “savings”.
2. Reusing Foil or Plastic Wrap
This is a dark, slippery hole. Sure, you can re-use plastic Ziploc bags, but the same can’t really be said for foil or plastic wrap. These items are difficult to clean, meaning you have bits of food hanging around for days (yuck), and it’s easy to tear or wrinkle them, making them almost useless. Don’t bother re-using these items, just buy them new.
3. “Borrowing” Extra Condiments
“Borrowing” extra condiment packets from your local sushi place or burger joint might seem like a great idea at the time, but unless you’re planning on using them only sparingly, you’ll probably never have enough to actually cook something with them. Unless you’re dire need of ketchup and a handful of ketchup packets is all you have, you probably don’t need to be taking them out of restaurants. Just buy your own.