When times are tight, we all look for ways to pinch a few extra pennies. When all of the basic areas have been considered, here are a few extreme penny-pinching tips to help get you over a difficult financial hump. Use them permanently, and you’ll have additional funds for things besides bills. Like that family ski getaway.

Get serious about controlling the costs of your cleaning supplies.

Nobody wants to live in an unsanitary environment, but spending big bucks on unnecessary cleaning supplies isn’t exactly the best penny pinching strategy. My favorite cheap cleaning tips include using bar soap to tackle the scrubbing of countertops with a damp cloth, making your own homemade cleaning sprays putting baking soda to serious use for both kitchen and bathroom purposes.

Diluting your hairspray is a serious cost-control measure.

While there isn’t much you can do to control the consumption rate of aerosol hairspray, the pump action liquid variety is another story. By diluting the liquid variety with water up to 50 percent, you’ll still have a decent amount of hold while controlling the cost of your hair care routine. Store in a separate bottle with a spray nozzle so you can decant from the larger container you bought at the store. Several inexpensive bargain brands provide excellent hold, and frequently have coupons available in the weekend paper.

Don’t forget those bits in the bottom of the jar.

When it comes to frugal food strategies, many people overlook the smaller bits of food products left in the bottom of their glass containers. There are several ways you can take advantage of these leftovers. For example, fans of international cuisines can mix extra citrus marmalade with a bit of vinegar, cornstarch and other basic ingredients to make a sweet and sour sauce. Leftover pizza sauce can be swished out with water and added to the stock of an Italian bean and vegetable soup. Peanut butter? If you’ve got one of those small rubber spatulas on hand, chances are you can get enough out of the jar to squeeze out another sandwich or at the very least put some in a kong and freeze it as an affordable pet treat for Fifi.

Fabric recycling is frugal.

Whether you’re using old athletic socks for dusting mitts or saving old sheets for a family tie dye project, money will indeed be saved. While many people think of home recycling as a chore that doesn’t necessarily benefit them immediately, the truth is there are a variety of recycling strategies that can begin saving you money right away. Reusing fabric is one of them. Using corduroy from an old jumper to craft fun stuffed animals for your toddler or creating storage sleeves for your canine poop patrol bags out of the legs of an old pair of jeans are two options, but there are certainly others worth considering. Threadbare shirts can be cut up into grease rags for auto maintenance, and old towels can be cut into facecloths for the family’s new vacation cottage.

Saving money doesn’t have to leave you feeling deprived. Using strategies like these that cut costs in areas that don’t necessarily compromise your lifestyle can actually leave you feeling empowered.

Myscha Theriault

Myscha Theriault

A lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, Myscha is a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.