5 Ways to Save Money on Everyday Items
Welcome to the Revolution!
In recent years, concepts such as working from home, “DIY” (do it yourself), and self-sufficiency have come to be seen as valid alternatives to the standards of materialism and capitalism that many were raised with. Whether it is because one finds it difficult to maintain those standards or simply does not want to, finding innovative ways to make and save money has become a popular topic of discussion and research.
The starting point for many is learning how to reduce the cost of everyday items. There are a few ways to do this: making items yourself, reusing and recycling things around the house, purchasing second-hand items, and joining local swap groups are just a handful of the methods people are employing. Below are five easy and useful tips to reduce your spending and increase your self-sufficiency.
1. Cleaning Products
Most cleaning products can be replaced with baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. Vinegar is an excellent glass and window cleaner (try using old newspapers to even further reduce your costs), and also works well on your walls, floors, and counters. Baking soda can get stains out of your clothes and dishes, works as a scouring agent in your bathroom, and can be mixed with water and peppermint extract to create a cheap and efficient toothpaste. Adding a few tablespoons of lemon juice to a spray bottle of water offers an inexpensive way to dust your furniture and knick-knacks, and leaves behind a nice, fresh scent. Best of all, these 3 ingredients cost a fraction of household cleaners.
2. Swap Groups
Joining local swap groups can save you hundreds of dollars a year. There are dozens of websites, community centres, and Facebook groups dedicated to swapping, freecycling, and bartering that you can make use of. Some offer goods for completely free, provided you pick them up yourself, others make trades for items you may have and no longer need. From books and baby clothes to small appliances and large vehicles, anything you need can likely be found for free or very cheap.
3. DIY Luxury Items
Many of your favourite luxury items can be made at home at a far lower cost. Scented candles can be made by melting down old crayons or candle stubs and a few drops of vanilla extract or a teaspoon of cinnamon. Brewing a pot of really strong coffee, adding a teaspoon of cocoa (or a flavouring of your choice) and a cup of milk, then refrigerating immediately makes a week’s worth of iced lattes. Whatever your pleasure, there is undoubtedly a low-cost substitute that works just as well. A little research and a single trip to the grocery store can go a long way in making your guilty pleasures not so guilty.
4. Coupons and Groupons
With most grocery stores now offering club cards, clipping coupons has become a thing of the past. But there are many websites out there that offer additional savings when you print their coupons. Best of all, many can be used at any grocery store. Common items such as cat litter, diapers, milk, coffee, and toilet paper can be discounted as much as two or three dollars. It takes only a few seconds to check off the products you will be buying anyway, print out the coupons, and slip them into your purse or wallet, and those few seconds can reduce your grocery bill by twenty or thirty dollars per trip.
5. Reuse and Recycle
Research ways to reuse everyday items. Used coffee grounds make a great wood polish; empty pop bottles can be cleaned, decorated and used as planters, candle holders, or lanterns; old, scratched up CDs make funky and fun coasters; shabby old towels can be cut up into dish rags; empty egg cartons can soundproof a room, or hold a starter herb garden. Before you throw anything away, ask yourself if it can be reused, and if you’re not sure, look it up!