Too frazzled to figure out frugal? Does just getting through the day leave you so depleted that your eyes start to cross at the mere thought of active savings strategies? This article’s for you.
Things are way more hectic lately in our household, and we are finding that several of our savings approaches are needing to be tweaked in certain situations where going for the full gusto would just interfere with the forward motion of our relocation and business efforts. Not to mention making us completely loopy. Here are three things we are doing to continue to stretch our budget without stress:
Ye Olde Apron.
Instead of splashing around in the kitchen dirtying top after top, or getting clean T-shirts goopy from a host of household chores, I’m re-implementing an old classic. The good, old-fashioned apron. Good wardrobe staples are hard to come by. And taking care of them so they stand the test of time is another subject altogether.
As someone who is less than smooth when it comes to not spilling things on blouses and other tops, this is one idea I can implement in seconds. It takes way less time than pre-treating stains and doing an unnecessary load of laundry, not to mention the savings in energy and product costs. While I make it a habit not to make homemade tomato sauce in my good white dress blouse, I don’t always take the time to change if I’m wearing one of those outfits that’s suitable to wear grocery shopping yet not so grungy that I don’t care if it’s stained. Tossing on an apron saves me time, money and stress.
Hybrid DIY Projects.
What I’m talking about here is taking on easily achievable components of an overall project you are either unable or unwilling to handle completely on your own. One example is the fence we had installed in our backyard. Most of our tools are either in storage or got lost in the flood we suffered through several years ago. Not to mention that hard core, wind resistant, HOA-approved fence building is just not in our skill set.
However, cost was an issue and we wanted to save money where we could. So we paid to have the fence installed, and asked the contractor his advice on how to stain and seal it on our own as easily and inexpensively as possible. His advice was an el cheapo insect repellent sprayer and some old dampened sections of cut up T-shirt scraps. While we could have probably bought the staining supplies for less with his contractor rate, we would have had to pay for the extra labor. So this was the best solution for us. We dished out where we had to, and saved cash where it was within our schedule, budget and ability level to do so.
Other areas where you might consider implementing a hybrid DIY project? Nailing up the pre-cut drywall sections where your contractor has set up your interior studs and insulation, updating thrift store fashion with new buttons without having to sew up an entire item on your own, or paying to have a profession strip the paint off an antique and brushing on the Minwax yourself all come to mind. In the end, you’ll have more money to spruce up the bathroom or decorate the kitchen with the funds you’ve saved.
Divide and Conquer.
What I’m talking about here is breaking down a bulk amount of product into smaller packages or containers. Not only is this a powerful way to stretch large bottles of lotion and other bathroom products, but it’s also a killer strategy for making the most of bulk buying at any time. Even if you shop at warehouse stores with a buddy, you can still implement the divide and conquer approach with great success. Greater success actually, because you are able to get larger amounts of product at a great price without having to use as much of your cash up front.
Think bulk restaurant tortilla chips broken down for lunch snacks, large packages of shredded cheese into meal sized packages for the freezer, giant packages of lint and pet hair rollers to stock various areas of the house, cars and in your day pack if you drive to an office every day. Also of note are ground meats, family packages of chicken parts, etc. Even if you don’t have time for assembly cooking or homemade pizza crust mix, just breaking down the bulk goods into smaller packs will help you eat well for less.
More on Money Saving
Here’s a specific example: Back in our meat eating days, we would stop by one of the warehouse stores where we have a membership. It had great prices on bulk meats (and I’m sure it still does for those who like to buy them), but you had to buy enormous packs. The ninety percent lean ground beef was around five dollars a pound if you bought a regular family pack, but only $2.48 cents a pound if I bought the gigantic ten pound tube. Even when I didn’t have time to cook the whole batch down for freezer meals, I could always break the package down into meal-sized portions to store for later.
While it’s certainly motivating to think about all the money you could save by taking on the most active projects and cooking procedures, the truth is many of us are lucky to have time to put a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner and find a pair of clean socks for the day. If picking up a couple of two for ten bucks spinach and mushroom Italian pies and having them in the freezer for those types of days saves you from taking on a full restaurant bill, I’m saying go for it. There are plenty of ways to save a few bucks this year without driving yourself crazy.
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’.