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3 Clever ways to Spend Less Money on Household Items

home-167734_1280Today’s guest post is from Reduction Rebel, Tonya Kristina from Zenatco. If you are not familiar with her site, it’s beautiful (yes, I said beautiful) and it’s saturated with helpful ways to bring balance and goodness into your life. With that, I’ll turn it over to Tonya Kristina…

As creatures of habit, it’s easy to take for granted a routine based on the “norms” of what you’ve always seen, always known, and always done. Most of us don’t, however, take our bills and expenses for granted. If you think you’ve done all you can to switch up routines that might help trim down your budget, check out these “outside of the box” ways to cut back on typical household purchases:

The Once-A-Year Garbage Bag Purchase

From tots to teens to myself and the hub, we total a seven person household. We take our indoor garbage to the garage trash can – in a closed bag – every day. Yet, we only buy a box of garbage bags once a year. How? When I grocery shop, I always ask the cashier to bag my groceries with “paper in plastic.” Besides the fact that I could write a paragraph alone on why I prefer “paper in plastic” for my groceries, I’ll just get on with telling you that we actually use those brown paper bags as an “insert” for the garbage can. The 13-gallon “tall” plastic garbage bags are more like a “liner,” which only needs to be changed once a week or so. After dinner each day, we roll the top down on the paper bag and carry it out to the trash. If there’s something wet at the bottom of the bag, we just sacrifice the plastic garbage bag and start fresh with a new one. We find ourselves changing the plastic “liner” bag more often around the holidays, when we have parties and company for dinner… and sometimes even give up the paper concept for those occasions altogether. Even counting those additional changings, a box of 80 high-quality “tall” 13-gallon/standard capacity garbage bags, costing around $10 according to WalMart’s website, will last well over a year.

 

Leftover Creativity

Parties, holidays, big family dinners and things of the sort often (if not inevitably) leave the host/chef/baker mentally, physically and financially exhausted. That’s surely why most of us get so very excited when we realize there are plenty of leftovers. Of course, packing up lasagna, putting rolls into freezer bags, keeping cookies in a sealed container… we all do that, right? However, convincing everyone to finish off the veggie tray or eat the basket of fruit before it all begins to turn – is not always so easy. This is the time to get creative! I made “creamy veggie tray soup” out of my last tray of veggie leftovers. Knowing we had plenty of other leftovers, I let the soup cool after cooking in the crockpot, then froze it in freezer bags for easy weekday dinners. Leftover carrots can be cooked in a little butter and honey as a delicious side dish. Add some ground beef to baked beans and you have a delicious crockpot dinner dish! Give your kids some celery sticks dipped in peanut butter. Turn your party leftovers into snack cupboard additions by investing in a dehydrator to make apple chips, banana chips with sea salt, fruit strips and more.

 

Make Your Own Cleaning Products

The plethora of cleaning products with amazing scents, combined with the apparent simplicity of grabbing a household cleaner from store shelves, makes the concept of “homemade” cleaning products seem elementary, old-fashioned and seemingly tacky. This is definitely an area of frugal living where value and expense vs practical usability should be tested, compared and well thought out, because what works for one person’s home may not work out so well for the next. For example, vinegar is super cheap, great for cleaning just about anything and everything, and by adding a drop of lemon juice, the sharp smell is offset by a pleasant lemony scent. However, some people find it doesn’t do the job well enough to justify the price cut. I recently used a combination of olive oil and apple cider vinegar to clean and shine my kitchen cupboards. Not only did they look amazingly clean and glossed, but old scratches were nearly invisible. If I had bought a wood cleaner capable of doing what the oil/vinegar combination had done, I’d have easily paid three times the cost of the apple cider vinegar and a small bottle of olive oil. Homemade laundry detergent has its ups and downs, but this is also a matter of preference. To read about my own experience with this piece of frugality, as well as the variations I have settled on to keep it worth my while, read here: http://zenatco.com/category/frugal-living/money-saving/

Finding ways to spend less money often means testing and trying new ways of doing everyday things. Rest assured that you are not alone in stepping outside of the comfort zone… after all, how many people have had “veggie tray soup” for dinner? Yet – endless online reviews give it a standing ovation. What works for one will certainly not work for all, but if you are eager to trim your household budget, remember that every little frugal adjustment adds up. As the saying goes – “nothing changes if nothing changes.”

Tonya Kristina is a freelance writer and owner of www.zenatco.com, a multi-faceted blogzine devoted to life development by producing articles, audios and videos that help people of all ages and stages “step outside of the circle” to find “balance beyond the box.”

 

 

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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5 Responses to 3 Clever ways to Spend Less Money on Household Items

  1. Cheryl September 21, 2013 at 11:22 pm #

    Thanks for the motivation to get creative with leftovers. When I’m not lazy, I prep them into another meal, that way I don’t have a bunch of Tupperware cluttering up my frig.

  2. Sam September 27, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Those are some great ideas. Leftovers are not only great, but can save time cooking tomorrow nights dinner or lunch the next day. We always use the plastic bags from the grocery store for trash. But recently, they started charging 10 cents per plastic bag. If they would allow paper bags to be made out of hemp, there would be no waste at all.

  3. Wayne@carpetcleaningcolchester.net October 1, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    Excellent tips on making your own cleaning products, I can personally vouch for the power of vinegar, it is just amazing – ‘google it’ it has hundreds of uses.. I really love your homemade laundry detergent, the liquid version should be tested on a carpet stain. I sense this could be a winner :-)

  4. Curtis @ Carpet Cleaner October 4, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    Wow, such creative tips! People can learn from this post, aside from being able to spend less, we can help save the nature from waste and garbage. Green cleaning is a must!

  5. Cleaners Swansea- November 15, 2013 at 5:41 am #

    You are absolutely right. Home made cleaning products can save a lots of money. You can get the same affect within your budget.
    Cleaners Swansea- recently posted…Finding Reliable Cleaners In SwanseaMy Profile

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