3 Ways You Can Save Money Without Changing Your Spending

Guest post by Rebekah

A frugal lifestyle is more than just refusing to spend money or going after the best deal. It is about being a good steward with all of your resources. Some people are unwilling or unable to change their spending budget. That doesn’t mean they can’t be frugal.

Here are three ways you can save money without changing your spending:

1. Use Less

There are some things that you just have to buy, but if you use a little less of them, you’ll stretch those products further. It is better to go back for a little more shampoo than to use too much to begin with!

Here are some ideas for things you can experiment with to see how little you can actually use while still getting the job done:

  • shampoo/conditioner
  • toothpaste
  • laundry detergent
  • hand soap
  • dish detergent
  • lotion
  • toilet paper
  • milk – in your cereal or coffee
  • electricity - Turn off lights and other devices when you’re not using them.
  • heat – Use a blanket, sweater, or hot drink to warm up.
  • baby wipes – Tear them in half and only use what you need.
  • gas – Crystal shared 15 ways to save money on gasoline here and here.
  • water – Turn off water when possible, take shorter showers, or recycle “gray” water.

2. Use it All

Don’t waste what you’ve already paid for! I shudder just thinking about how much money I’m “throwing away” each time I clean out my refrigerator. Food is the most obvious thing people struggle to use completely, but there are more.

Here are some ways you can be sure to get your money’s worth out of products by using all of it:

  • Keep a container in your freezer for leftover veggies that you can add to regularly. Then when the container is full, make soup.
  • Swish some water in your “empty” shampoo/conditioner bottle to get out the last drops.
  • Freeze over ripe bananas to use for baking or Crystal’s chocolate banana smoothies.
  • Peel off that last annoying, glued-to-the-roll square of toilet paper and add it to the next roll.
  • Cut the tops off your “empty” toothpaste, face wash, and lotion to access some hidden product. There is more left in there than you think!
  • Save stale bread for making bread crumbs or go on a duck feeding adventure.

3. Use it Twice

There are some things that you can truly only use once. That dab of toothpaste on your toothbrush? Yeah, I’d love to see you try to use that again! Then there are other things that really can be used again and it will save you money in the long run.

Here are some things around your house that can use twice or more:

  • laundry - Do a sniff test. If it passes, then what’s the harm in wearing it again?
  • paper towels - Do you use one to cover your food in the microwave? Use it over & over or use it as your napkin for that meal.
  • tin foil - Did you cover a dish without it getting messy? Fold it up & save it.
  • old t-shirts - Cut them into rags or make a necklace.
  • gift bags - Use them for a future gift. If they are too wrinkled or ugly you can use them to carry things around.
  • gift bows - Put a piece of tape on the back and use them over and over.
  • tissue paper - Did you know that you can iron tissue paper?
  • plastic food storage bags - I don’t recommend doing this with meat, but you can wash and reuse bags several times.
  • plastic grocery bags - Use them in small trash cans, to pick up behind your dog on walks, or as a “wet bag” in your diaper bag.
  • q-tips - If you use one end for touching up your make-up, save it to use the other end next time.
  • birthday candles & decorations - They are used for such a short time. Why not save them for the next birthday?
  • disposable swim diapers - Put swim diapers in your laundry and use them several times before throwing them out.

You don’t have to be a coupon queen or a penny pincher to save some cash! Those things certainly help, but when you’ve done everything you can to save money, try these three tactics to stretch your dollar even further.

What suggestions do you have for getting the most out of your products?

Rebekah is a stay-at-home mom who blogs about frugal lifestyle tips, going green baby steps, and all of life in between at SimplyRebekah.com.

All photos by Simply Rebekah.

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Comments

  1. Corey says

    I chop leftover meatloaf into cubes and put it in the next nights pasta sauce. The kids love the “mini-meatballs” and it gives the pasta a nice flavor….not to mention the bonus of using up all the leftovers!

  2. Lindsey says

    I love thees ideas. There were some new ones I had never tried before and I’m excited to test them out.

  3. says

    Great post! I do almost all these things and didn’t realize how uncommon it was until I talked to other people. Did you know there is about two weeks worth of toothpaste left in a tube that the average person throws away? Just crazy!

  4. Joanna says

    I also wanted to add to make sure all the windows and doors have a good seal on them. It will save you money with heating/cooling if the air is not leaking out.

  5. Leanne says

    After our digital camera “eats” the batteries, I save them in a plastic bag. One “dead” AA battery has run our bathroom wall clock for a year.

  6. Amanda says

    Use soap nuts in your laundry. They are the most natural soap out there! Here’s a link http://www.ecohousekeeping.com/soapnuts.html
    Also for the dryer you can make dryer balls out of yarn that last forever and cut your drying time dramatically. We bought ours on etsy. You can scent them with essential oils and your clothes smell good. They cut the static too! Best investment we ever made!

  7. Nancy B. says

    I belong to paperbackswap and trade books with other people through the mail. When I have gift bags that are too wrinkled to use, I cut them up and wrap my books in them to mail!

  8. Christina says

    I cut dryer sheets in half. They last longer and half of the sheet still has the same effect as a whole sheet.

  9. Jennifer Morbeto says

    We found our electric bill went down drastically when we put air units in a couple of windows during the summer instead of central air. We also found that using a lamp or a couple of nightlights in a room in the evening instead of using the overhead cealing light also saved electricity.

    I’m also amazed by the amount of shampoo and conditioner we have stocked up by remembering to bring home the bottles they give away in your room when you stay in a hotel, or the kleenex or toilet paper. You are paying to stay so these necessities don’t seem wrong to take home with you. Besides I don’t really feel comfortable leaving a half used tissue box or a a half used toilet roll for the next guest, so a new one will be put in there instead when we leave.

    How about the coffee, tea bags, sugar/creamer, pen/pads paper you also may receive during your stay!

    When we go on a trip we always bring our own drinks, food, snacks,etc., in a cooler and it saves big time on buying anything!

  10. Kimberly N says

    Use it twice? How about 100x? What jumped out at me when I read this is cloth: cloth diapers, cloth wipes, cloth napkins, cloth towels. I estimate I used my son’s cloth diapers 150x each. The diapers were 2 extra loads of laundry a week. The napkins I just throw in the with the towels so it doesn’t seem like any extra work. I use cloth for environmental reasons first, but there are lots of other reasons, including money (not buying paper), and time (not going to the store to buy paper).

  11. Laurie Roy says

    When my children were in diapers, I didn’t EVER buy baby wipes. I would make my own. I now make them to use for our dogs as we show them. They are much more healthy for your child (& animals) than the wipes you buy from the store.
    1 roll of Brawny paper towels. Cut roll in half w/a sharp knife.
    (they are the only brand I’ve found to hold up to the wetness)
    1 cup of water
    1 TBS of any brand of baby soap
    Add water & baby soap to a round container that is deep enough to hold the 1/2 roll of paper towel and still be able to close.
    Place 1/2 roll of paper towel in the water mixture.
    Close the lid and tip container upside down to allow the water mixture to evenly soak up through the paper towel. (about 1 hour)
    Turn right side up and open container and remove the paper towel core.
    Walla….you have your own…VERY INEXPENSIVE baby wipes.

  12. shea says

    Instead of using paper towels use cloth napkins. I have never bought paper towels. I think It is a total waste.