Everyone is cutting back, but families are still struggling. Even saving a little money here and there can make the difference between making rent, buying food, or paying utilities for some families. Try these money saving ideas to save a little bit more money each month.
1) Reduce your use of the laundromat by hanging clothes outside.
For those living in lower income apartments and houses, owning your own washer and dryer is a luxury. Each month, a family could spend an additional $50-$100 a month in laundry mat expenses. You can cut that in half by taking your wet clothes home and drying them outside. Want to save even more money? Wash clothes that are only slightly dirty or worn in the bathtub, using regular shampoo and hot water. You can really save money if water is included in the apartment rent. I did this for an entire year, and saved at least $500.
2) Buy cheaper sources of protein instead of meat.
Peanut butter, tuna, beans, and eggs are high in protein, but lower in price than many meat food products. Although the nutritional content is not the same, you can save at least $100 a month if you substitute red meat, chicken, or fish with one of these other food products a few times a week.
3) Learn how to mend your clothes.
Learn simple stitches to mend holes in shirts, replace buttons, fix clothes hems, and sew up minor tears in clothing. You can stretch the life of your clothes and save money.
4) Wear clothes, shoes, and purses until they are unwearable.
Although the rich retail CEOs want you to think that you need a different outfit for every day, with matching jewelry, watches, shoes, ties, and purses, in a failing economy, all that economic propaganda does it line their pockets with money and leave you unable to pay rising credit card bills. Do a clothing freeze, and stop buying clothes today. Chances are, once you go through your closet, you will find that you do have enough clothes for the next six months, at least. When something gets a hole, mend it. When it is unwearable, reuse it as rags or as play clothes for your kids. Donate items you never wear to charity for a tax credit or to a needy neighbor.
5) Cut your own hair and save money.
In the last five years, I have only had my hair professionally cut or dyed about three times (twice because of my wedding!) How did I manage that? I keep my hairstyle simple, classic, and long. I had friends and family help me with any dye jobs, or I used cheap products like Sun In or lime juice to lighten my hair for less money.
6) Recycle toys.
Place half of your child’s toys in a closet. Every few months, switch out the toys in the closet with the toys in their room or occasionally rotate out toys. You will find that children will be less bored with their toys and will bother you less about buying the latest toys. Television is geared to advertise expensive toys to young children. Encourage outside activities, creative activities (like art or music), and reading to reduce the amount of time your child spends in front of a television or computer screen.
7) Have your children earn an allowance to buy toys.
In times of prosperity, many parents stopped having children earn their allowance. Besides propagating a feeling of entitlement for unearned wages, many children do not understand how hard work is necessary for economic success. Does your teenager want the latest PSP game? Have your teen earn the money for the game by mowing the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow, or baby sitting younger siblings. Be specific about which chores can earn money. A child should not earn money for basics like cleaning their room, putting clothes in the laundry, or eating dinner. If the home is a single parent home, and the teen is expected to watch the younger siblings, maybe an arrangement can be made where the parent will purchase the video game at the end of the month if the teen babysits each day.
8) Have a barter day with neighbors and friends.
Have a day at your church or neighborhood where everyone sets up a table with items they no longer want. Arrange for even swaps. Clothes for clothes, working large appliances for working large appliances, kitchen items for kitchen items, toys for toys. Be sure only to do this with people you know, to ensure no one takes advantage of the barter system. At the end of the day, fill boxes with unwanted items and donate them to local charities.