Rachael Brady

March 25, 2018

Frugal Living Hacks

If you want to save money but are unsure of the ways to do so, I’m going to share with you some of the things I do at home to save a few pennies.

1) Make Your Own Laundry Soap

I use a recipe from Happy Money Saver that will get your laundry soap to last 504 loads. With few ingredients, it’s surprisingly more expensive than a bottle of detergent alone, however it is cheaper in the long run considering how long this lasts, you’re essentially paying pennies to use it.

That’s it! My husband and I made this last year, and we’re still going strong on our detergent. We wash our clothes on average of once per week.

I also this recipe for DIY Dish Soap, here it is: Homemade Dish Soap

2) Grow Your Own Food

I’ve tried and failed growing herbs from seed, so if you don’t have a green thumb like myself, there’s still hope for you yet!

One of my favorite and easiest things to regrow from the grocery store are green onions. Just cut the tops off after you’ve used them and put the bulbs with the roots attached in shallow water and watch them grow (they grow so quickly)!

Plant onion and garlic bulbs in soil when you’re done with them, they will also regrow themselves. Another easy trick for celery is to also root it in water and transfer to the soil when the stalks begin to grow.

I would grow more food, but I’m confined in my urban apartment for now. If you have space, use it!

3) Preserve Unspent Food

I always buy herbs only to use a small portion. In order to make them last longer, I put them in water so that they don’t get soggy in the produce bag and in the fridge. If I can’t use them all in time, I have often cut them up and put them in olive oil or butter and freeze them in an ice try for future use. You can also blanch the herbs by quickly dropping them in cold water then dry them off before putting them back into your fridge or freezer to keep them fresher longer. I will often freeze fruits if I can’t finish them. Bananas are great for banana bread, and other frozen fruits are a great addition to smoothies.

4) Reusable Towels

A bad habit I let creep back up on me is buying paper towels, but they’re so wasteful! I recently purchased these reusable towels. Any towel in place of paper will work, you can find them at the thrift store or buy them new, whichever you prefer. Paper towels make for a quick and easy cleanup, but when you’re done cleaning with the reusable towel, just throw it in the hamper (or a separate hamper) and wash them. It’s literally that simple. Even if paper towels are $1.00, think about how much you buy them, that $1.00 purchase is likely to add up to more than $12.00 a year which is enough for a meal or another purchase (or better yet, into your savings)!

5) DIY Cleaners

In a previous post, I shared a recipe for an all-purpose cleaner, here’s the link: DIY Natural Cleaner This is a simple and easy way to use what you have on hand for cleaning products without having to buy them.

6) Saving Money on Electric and Water

I made a blog post a while back about how to save money using your electricity and water. ICYMI here’s the link: How to Save Money on Your Electric and Water

7) Using the Library or Hoopla

This might be hard to change for avid readers because I love bookstores, but… books often lead to clutter, and you pay for them and possibly never read them again. Take a chance and save money by going to the library. I know you can’t keep the book if you fall in love with it, but if you really wanted to read it again, check it out again or make the purchase. Hoopla is a great app that I use on my kindle to get free books. I can rent up to 10 titles a month and check them out again and again. You can even check out movies and music on there. Your rentals automatically return themselves and if you didn’t finish your book before it returns, once you check it out again, it picks up where you left off. Save money on your books by using these two free resources, and learn something while you’re at it.

8) Don’t Drink (anything but H20) 

I’m not saying it’s not fun to go out, but at home, my husband and I never purchase any beverages. We drink nothing but water at home and make sure to use our DoTERRA essential oils with it! That gives us flavor and health benefits. The only thing we drink besides water at home is an occasional glass of milk. We have a cow share and get a 1/2 gallon of milk per week and a pint of cream every other week. Hashtag, support your local farmers! Going out and being able to drink a soda or some adult beverages is a treat, so we don’t keep much around our house. It saves us money at the grocery too, and we’re cutting down on waste by not buying those products.

Just to clarify, I know some people buy bottled water, and that’s not what I’m encouraging you to do. By drinking water, we use a refillable 5-gallon jug that we fill with reverse osmosis water from our local Whole Foods. We use our glasses, stainless steel tumblers, or water bottles to drink from.

9) Buy Used Shoes and Clothing

I love the thrift store. My husband and I determined the other day, that the only thing we have bought new recently were pants. I find almost all of my shoes and clothes at the thrift store. It really helps us to save money, because my husband has a bad habit of buying clothes and only wearing them a few times before he finds an excuse to get rid of it (ugh, men). Especially with growing children, why buy new clothes that they’re going to grow out of? Clothing is one of those borderline items between necessity and materialistic because truthfully, we can wear whatever we want, we’re just picky about how we look. I find so many good brands at the thrift store. I spent $5.99 the other day on G.H. Bass boat shoes that retail for much higher. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a good way to ensure your hard-earned money goes towards something more worthwhile while saving on money on material goods.

10)  Share a Car or Use Public Transit

I know this might be physically impossible for some of you, but if at all possible you can carpool to work or use public transit. My husband was in an accident several years ago, and ever since then, we’ve been a one-car family. We not only save money on car insurance, but also gas, and car maintenance. It’s a PITB sometimes to share a car because we fight over privileges, but it seems to work for us.

On the off chance we do end up purchasing another vehicle in the future, there’s a lot of factors to keep in mind when making another purchase and those are:

Longevity, how long will this car last us

Condition, how well has this been maintained

Price, always looking to spend under a certain budget

Utility, what can we do with this car now and into our future

Insurance, what will the price be like to add this vehicle

Maintenance, how much will this require in repairs

Fuel, what will it cost to fill up the tank

Asking these questions will help narrow your search and you will be able to find what you’re looking for. Neither of us has ever purchased a new vehicle. Our current Jeep is running on 11 years and over 200,000 miles and still strong.

Best of luck and happy saving!