After 50 Ways to Trim Your Budget didn’t give me a whole lot of new ideas, I decided it was time to think outside the box – way outside the box…
1) Get a hair cut
My hair hangs to mid-back. Even with coupons I spend probably $10 – $15 a month on conditioner. A few snips and I’ll be able to cut that cost in half. Just think: less mousse, shampoo, hairspray, more time…
2) Speaking of hair, cut the kids’ hair yourself
A few months and you’ll probably get okay at it. It’s winter. They’ll be wearing hats, scarves, hoodies anyway.
3) Go on a diet
No, not Jenny or NutriSystem or whoever. I mean, an honest-to-god, eat-less diet. Smaller portions, less cost, teenier waistline…
4) Wear fewer clothes
Yes, I know it’s winter. I mean change into the same outfit every night for a week when you get home from work – same ol’ sweats. Remember, it’s winter. You’re not stinking them up. Less clothes = less laundry. That’s less detergent, water, electricity, fabric sheets, bleach. Savings could be big. Let’s face it, the TV doesn’t care what you’re wearing. Neither do the kids. If the spousal unit does, lucky you!!
5) Eat out
I know, I know, this goes against every frugal tip. They’re just not looking at things correctly. Hit the happy hour buffet. Fill up. Leave immediately. (This is totally negated if you order a drink.) If you have kids, visit people at dinner time. Parents and grandparents are great options. If you try this with friends, you better have a lot of them and quit answering your own doorbell around sunset.
6) Clean less often
Truly, you don’t like to do it anyway. Let the kids draw in the dust. Saves on paper and crayons, too.
Extend the shredder’s life and save electricity. Everyone can warm up around the fire place, fire pit, whatever when you ignite your weekly junk mail. Given my pile, that’s good for 30 minutes of heat. Add the week’s papers and you’ve got an hour. Not so environmentally correct, but hey, what ya gonna save first – your money or the planet?
8) Burn candles
This is a triple woohoo! Provides light and romance (that comes after you’re done using the melted wax to clear your upper lip or do a Brazilian bikini thing.)
9) Family won’t eat leftovers? Good. Quit buying dog food. Pups prefer table scraps anyhow.
Twenty jumping jacks per commercial break. Fifteen squat thrusts between shows. (Fifty pushups can be substituted, twenty-five at each) You’ll be warm and have the buffest family on the block.
11) Don’t floss.
It’s not the cost of floss – it’s the cost of visiting the dentist when that crown falls off… No gum either. Same issue.
12) Skip the dry cleaner
Do you really think most guys dry clean a suit after one use? Pfffft. Skip the Dryel sheets, too. Toss everything in the dryer for a few minutes with a regular ol’ dryer sheet to freshen it up. Good for most of the season unless you’re sloppy. If you are, stick the outfit in the back of the closet. May not fit next year anyhow.
13) Dry cleaning part II
Another way to take out the whiff-factor? Wear the outfit while you’re using air freshener in a room.
14) And another freshening idea
Put your cologne/perfume on in the car. No more of those little smell good, hangy things necessary.
Think community tub. Jacuzzis are great for this. Kids think they’re having fun, not bathing. Every few days a lack of soap won’t kill ’em. Their skin won’t dry out, which means less lotion, too. No Jacuzzi? Joint baths. Just make sure you separate by sex. Don’t want Child Protective Services knocking on the door.
16) Speaking of lotion…
Skip it. Scaley works. No one’s gonna see those legs again until spring unless you’re a lucky you (see #3). However, that’s only if the lights are on. Turn ’em off – you’re conserving, remember!
17) No more breath mints
Go to the bank. Grab ’em off the counter. Same at restaurants – take handfuls. If you’re running low, don’t invade anyone’s space. Talk behind your hand because, “I think I’m catching something and don’t want to expose you,” cough, cough.
18) Stuffed up?
Forget the decongestants. Anything they use to make meth can’t be good for you. Think hot – sauce, soup, chili. Think vigorous exercise. Try a good cry. All of ’em make your nose run.
19) Take a page from your kids’ playbook
Wear headphones – ALOT! If you don’t hear it, no response required, ie. no cash outlay. This is especially successful with teenagers when their friends are around. Show enthusiasm for the tunes by boogeying down – The Swim, Twist, Mashed Potato. Mortified teens don’t stick around.
20) Invite yourself
Everywhere! Neighbor mentions they’re running to the store? Respond, “Oh, can I join you? I just need to pick up a few things,” as you drag out your three page list. Saves gas & vehicle wear & tear. Co-worker’s chatting about the potluck they have planned? You say, “Sounds wonderful. What can I bring? Is there anything you think I should avoid for the children’s sake?” That last part gets the info on whether this is a free family feed or just a night out for you & the spousal unit. If kids are out, invite them to sleepover – at someone else’s house. No babysitting costs and you still get everyone fed for the price of a dish.
21) Borrow stuff
The more expensive, the better. Baking makes great holiday gifts, but spices, molasses, vanilla – those things are expensive and you’ll use like one teaspoon or whatever. Suggest you and a friend/neighbor bake together (their house, of course.) Take only the essentials. Saves you all that high-dollar stuff. Need a holiday outfit? Pfffft. You gotta tap a lot of sources, but you can end up with the dress, shoes, earrings, purse, shawl that you need and spend zippo. (unless you’re sloppy. May require one dry-cleaning bill. Be neat & it’s just a dryer sheet.)
22) Give the fridge a break
More stuff in it means it works harder. That’s a shorter lifespan. That’s more electricity. It’s winter in some places. Store stuff in the garage. Let nature keep it cold.
And, the 23rd wacky idea for saving money is…
23) Accept your age
Martina McBride had it right. You earned every one of those lines. Quit letting people tell you to slap on all that gooey stuff to get rid of ’em!
Laugh more. Check the stock market less. Know that you’re not alone in this financial fiasco.
And, Vote November 4th!