I’ve been doing this whole frugal living thing for awhile now. Some things have become so ingrained in me that I do them without even thinking–not realizing that they may seem strange to others!
Just the other day I was chatting with a friend while rinsing out a plastic baggie. She looked at me in confusion and then asked, “Do you always reuse those?” I laughed and told her yes. I can generally get 4-5 uses out of one bag, so why spend the $4 on a new box when I can wash the ones I already have!
That experience inspired me to share the:
Top 10 Most Frugal Things That I Do
1. Reuse Plastic Baggies
I even tell my six-year-old to always bring back his baggies from lunch. We have reusable containers (I love these stainless steel ones!), but there always seems to be need of plastic bags as well.
2. Take My Lunch to Work Each Day
I can’t remember the last time that I bought my lunch. Each evening after supper I make quickly make my lunch using leftovers. I’ll add a piece of fruit or some yogurt, and voila! Instant lunch.
3. Cut Dryer Sheets in Half
This might seem totally silly, but it saves some money! I always cut each dryer sheet in half (or even thirds if I’m feeling especially cheap–I mean frugal). It still does the job, but I’ll spend half as much on dryer sheets over the course of the year. Score!
4. Wash Laundry in Cold Water
A few years back I read that most clothes don’t need to be washed in warm water. I thought, “That sounds good to me! Less work sorting clothing for laundry!” I still wash our whites and bedding in hot water, but I do everything else on the cold cycle.
5. Make Homemade Vegetable Stock
This may go down as the cheapest thing that I do. I save all of my vegetable scraps (carrot peels, onion peels, etc.) in a bag in the freezer. Once the bag is full, I make homemade vegetable stock in the crock pot. You can read my tutorial HERE.
6. Rinse Out the Laundry Detergent from the Bottom of the Bottle
My grandmother taught me to always rinse a bottle to get that last little bit of soap out. I do this with laundry detergent, bath soap, shampoo, and more. I’ll even take the top off of a bottle of lotion with a pump to scrape the sides.
7. Use Tea Bags Twice
I love having a hot cup of tea in the evenings. If I use bagged tea, I’ll use it twice in an attempt to stretch its usefulness. (One side note: Brewing loose leaf tea can be even more frugal! I used to be scared of the entire process–and of getting leaves in my mouth–but now I thrive on the ritual of it. I love this pretty little turquoise pot!)
8. Only Buy Meat on Clearance
Each time I’m at the grocery store, I take a quick look in the discounted meat section. I can often find amazing deals on meat that is nearing its expiration date. I’ve gotten whole chickens for $3, chicken thighs for $2, and many other great bargains. I just stick the meat in the freezer when I get home, and pull it out when I’m ready to use it. No one has to know it only cost a fraction of the original price!
9. Own a Non-Smart Phone
I am probably the last person in America to have a non-smart phone. (I know that is an exaggeration, but a very slight one!) However, I really don’t want one. I enjoy feeling slightly disconnected from the harried pace of our technological word. Plus, I save on our phone bill and am not tempted to buy upgrades whenever something new comes out. It’s just one of the 7 Things I’ve Chosen Not to Spend Money On.
10. Clean Just About Everything with Baking Soda and Vinegar
Baking soda and vinegar have to be the most effective, most environmentally-friendly, and most inexpensive cleaning products anywhere. I just add some lemon juice or oils to the mixture and get cleaning. I now make my own glass cleaner that I think works better than Windex!
Bonus Frugal Tip:
I also go through Ebates before I make any purchase online. Ebates is a cash-back site that will give you cash back on any item that you purchase online. I’ve made over $300 this year just by buying things I was going to buy anyway! Sign up HERE to receive $10 just for signing up.
Please know that I’m not advocating any or all of these things. I’m sure that some of them are a bit extreme 🙂
Also know that frugality is not a competition. We all do what works best for our family in our circumstances. In fact, I have 5 Things I Choose to Splurge On–ways that I may not be the most frugal person possible. 🙂 These are just a few things that help me save a little money (and get some strange looks from friends in the process!).
I’d love to hear your tips! What is the most frugal thing that you do? Tell us about it in the comments!
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