4 More Easy Things I Do to Save Money

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By the author of the FREE online course Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture

Missed Part 1? Check it out here!

Even though times are tough for everyone these days, I know that there are some things that would be difficult to give up. For example, I have considered cutting off my internet service, but I would find it pretty tough to live without that in my rural area. Most of us are probably tired of hearing about the tough things we should give up in order to survive in this hard economy. Honestly, what’s next….my car? My house?

I recently shared a few ways that I save money that feel easy to me. In fact, thinking about that was so, well – easy – that I thought I’d share more of my own easy ways I save. Dear Frugalites, I hope that you, too, will share your easy wins on the pocketbook. That way, we can all save a bit more by helping each other.

Beat the Parking Meter!

I’m a big believer in the fact that little things can add up quickly. When I go to the big city for necessary shopping or even to a nearby town to do my laundry, I know I will have to pay for parking….or will I? A while ago, I learned this trick: I try to park in a row of empty spaces. I pull into one space.

Before putting my money in the meter, though, I quickly walk the row looking for a meter that’s still got time on it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve hit the jackpot this way. Jump back in the car and pull forward or back up to the full meter. Caching! I’ve just saved enough money for a coffee or at least part of my wash cycle.

Fill Up on Fibre

I am careful to make my grocery dollars go as far as possible. As soon as possible in the spring, I’m out foraging greens and eating my wild asparagus. Yum yum! What I have learned over the years is to avoid spending on foods that don’t fill me up. Apple juice? Nope! That’s out the window. There’s a lot of sugar in processed juice and no fiber to fill me up. Instead, I would eat an entire apple. I might even dip the slices in natural peanut butter for some protein and sprinkle a few raisins on top for extra fiber.

In terms of what I eat for my lunches, I try to buy high-fiber nuts and seeds in bulk to cut down on costs. Then, I make creative mixes out of these. While even a modest lunch out can cost $10 or more around here, with that money, I can buy a pound or more of organic chia seeds or hemp hearts. These are both loaded with fiber and all kinds of good vitamins and minerals. For more info on how to feel full while eating less, check out this entire article on the subject.

Snacks on the Go

I enjoy my healthy eating habits and feel better when I eat well. I used to think of certain things as a “treat” in the big city, like a milkshake made from some kind of approximation of a milk product from a fast food restaurant. Whether I’m lucky or not, I react to chemicals in fake foods like that. If I eat stuff like that, I pay later, with inflammation in my body triggering unbearable pain in my joints.

So, when I need to go to the big city, which is over an hour away, I make sure to pack healthy snacks in my purse. I put six prunes in a small plastic container and slip them in my purse. Six prunes have 150 calories, 21 grams of sugar, and 4.5 grams of fiber. Compare that to a medium fast food milkshake: 740 calories and 108 grams of sugar and….wait for it!….0 grams of fiber. None. Nada. That means all of that sugar will completely flood your system with no fiber to slow down the absorption.

In order to make my prunes more filling, I have them with the herbal tea I bring in my flask. Depending on how I’m feeling, I bring a different tea. Are my nerves on edge? Chamomile. Am I feeling a bit tired? Ginger and lemon. I make doing things like this easy by building in time to make the tea and pack the prunes before I leave. It only takes a few minutes.

If I’m in the city for longer, I may eat at my friend’s restaurant. A small bowl of healthy soup and fresh organic homemade bread cost a small amount and I know it will be filling enough for me to get home to eat my main meal later.

Cold Turkey on Lip Balm

I have always used lip balm. Ever since I was a teenager, I used to buy it in those plastic tubes for years. However, I started thinking about the environmental impact of all those tubes, and I noticed some years back that all of the companies began trading natural ingredients for petroleum-based ingredients in their lip balm. So, I started making it myself.

Fast forward a few years. I’m busy, and the cost of the ingredients to make lip balm has gone up quite a bit. I remembered reading years ago that if you stop using lip balm, your lips will adjust, and you will no longer need it. Being a busy homesteader and a Frugalite, I thought, “Why not try it?” So, I quit lip balm cold turkey several months ago. I have not needed it since then, and my lips are fine. It saves me worrying about whether I have some in my purse when I leave the house and I no longer need to buy the almond oil and other ingredients I used to make it. $ave $ave $ave!

Easy Peasy Cash for Measy!

Saving doesn’t always have to be difficult. Could you see yourself trying any of the three thrifty habits offered here? Do you have your own easy examples you can share with us? Please tell us in the comments below.

About Colette

Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. Her website, Half Acre Homestead is attracting followers from around the world who want to become more self-sufficient.  Colette invites you to stop by the Homestead and check out all of the great resources including the practical How To Guides, A Tiny Home Resource Center and her organic gardening stories on her blog. She shares her wholistic model (body/mind/spirit) for achieving self-sufficiency in her Free Course, “Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture.” Stop by the Homestead today to register free of charge!

Picture of Colette

Colette

Colette is passionate about sharing her knowledge of thrifty living and self-sufficiency. She has developed her skills in self-reliance living in the suburbs, the city, and more recently, on her own Half-Acre Homestead. Colette lived five years completely off-grid and without running water in an eight by 24 foot tiny home while designing and building her own 18 by 24-foot eco-cabin. Her website, Half Acre Homestead is attracting followers from around the world who want to become more self-sufficient.  Colette invites you to stop by the Homestead and check out all of the great resources including the practical How To Guides, A Tiny Home Resource Center and her organic gardening stories on her blog. She shares her wholistic model (body/mind/spirit) for achieving self-sufficiency in her Free Course, "Growing Self-Sufficiency: The Whole Picture." Stop by the Homestead today to register free of charge!

10 thoughts on “4 More Easy Things I Do to Save Money”

  1. Mary from Texas

    I love trail mix with nuts and dried fruit but balk at the cost. My son-in-law makes two trips a month to Costco and gets things for me. He gets big bags of dried cranberries and unsalted nuts. I mix the nuts and cranberries and get my own version of trail mix for just over half price and have a nice snack for not too much money.
    I live in a condo now and have no room for a compost pile. I take a very large plant pot and layer used potting mix with veggie peelings, water it from time to time as I make additions. I end up with some great compost for my potted plants.

    1. Hi Mary, Thanks for two great ideas. I love trail mix, too. Mixing your own means you can avoid the salt, too. I had no idea that you can compost in small spaces like that. I hope all of the apartment and condo Frugalites are taking notes! Much appreciated!

  2. Take your Dinner to work and stop eating out everyday!!! The savings are tremendous. For variety, cook Ham and Beans, Chili, Soup, Mac and Cheese in a small Crockpot.

    1. Hi Mustang, Yes yes yes! Eating out is more expensive than ever. This simple choice can save someone hundreds, if not thousands per year! You should see the stack of plastic take out containers in one friend’s house. If each meal is at least $20…….what an expense!!!

  3. Saving money on the subject of grocery costs involves much more than just the ingredient costs. Here are some ideas:

    Run an online search on the topic of “Once A Month Cooking”. You’ll find YouTube videos, books, articles, and even organizations devoted to this topic. Consider how incredibly much time you could save if you could do a whole month’s worth of cooking in part of only one day. If you run short on courage … you can also run a similar search on “Once A Week Cooking” for conceptually similar ideas even if the numbers are somewhat less.

    Consider how much money you could save if you could do some of your cooking via methods that don’t require paying for electric power or natural gas or stored fuels you’ve bought. Consider that on average a solar cooker (whether bought at retail or home made via dirt cheap DIY) can benefit from full sunshine in roughly 2/3 of any year … with variations on that up or down depending on your latitude and occasional cloudiness. There are even some solar cookers called hybrids (such as Sun Focus in the US or Tulsi from India) that have a built-in option to switch over to electric power if you get caught by surprise overcast conditions in the middle of a cooking session … or sudden nightfall … so you don’t risk a half-cooked disaster. You’ve still saved on paid-for energy during the time full sunlight is available.

    Consider how much time and gasoline you might save if some of your local grocers offer home delivery. I realize this possibility began in the larger cities as such availability grows. I know in my area both Walmart and Kroger offer this option. Walmart even offers drone delivery in some areas to your front or back yard.

    Consider that some recipes are incredible time and energy savers. One example is dried beans … assuming you were willing to wash off the occasional dirt on store-bought beans that you have to wash off and let the beans dry first. Then they can be stored literally for decades until needed. Then if you have a countertop grain mill that has an optional bean auger (like the Country Living model … but there are others), you can grind however much of those beans you need for one episode into flour. Bean flour in boiling water only needs three minutes to become edible — instead of the vastly more time of preparation that whole dried beans need. Of course spices and other flavorings would be a good addition and up to you.

    Consider learning about thermal cooking. You bring your ingredients up to a boil in one pot while also heating up (with boiling water) an insulated thermal cooking pot at the same time to the same temperature. Some people use a well-insulated thermos bottle (especially the Thermos brand) for small quantity thermal cooking while larger quantities are better suited for larger insulated thermal cooking pots (such as are advertised on Amazon and elsewhere). Once the ingredients are brought up to temperature which won’t take very long … they can be poured into the second container (with a lid that seals well) where the ingredients can cooking for several hours inside that sealed container without the need for continuous heat being applied. That makes it possible for the thermal cooking to be completed even while traveling as well as just at home. The saving on energy you have to pay for could be significant.

    –Lewis

    1. Hi Lewis, This is a great addition to our article. Thanks for this unique perspective. Making a solar cooker is on my list. I will be excited to try it!! I appreciate the time you take to share your “outside the box” thinking with this community. Much appreciated!

  4. You hit the nail on the head re: filling goods. Fiber is good as are biscuits and gravy. Most of us are active enough to burn off the calories. Fast food is fat food – sugar added to buns and to be frank, the food really doesn’t fill you up/satisfy you. Hence the tendency to eat more more.

    1. Hi Selena, Mmmmmmmmmmm! You had me at biscuits and gravy!!!!! Especially in gardening season, I am quite active. You are right about the fast food……I try to avoid it at all times and save my money for basic ingredients. Thanks so much!

  5. Thanks for all of these wonderful ideas. Definitely feeling the pinch at gas pumps so I have been using t Mobil Tuesdays to fill up at shell gas stations with my tmobil app. I also use my 7 11 app & exxon app to get gas. 15 cents a gallon off sometimes. Normally it’s 5 cents off. Any Lil bit helps.

    1. Hi TexasAntigone, You are most welcome! It’s great to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your own local tip. In my neck of the woods, we get a good discount on the premium gas on Thursdays. That’s the day I go to fill up my gas cans with premium for my lawn mower and weed eater! Much appreciated!

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