Everyone wants to save money and in the current economy, you’ve probably already cut back in all the places you could think of doing so. Here are some simple money-saving ideas you probably haven’t thought of, though. They work, they’re things I’ve been doing for more than a year now, and I can assure you they’ve saved me a bundle.
Trade Paper for Cloth
Trade some, or better yet all, of the disposable paper products in your home for reusable, washable cloth. Maybe you’re already using cloth napkins instead of paper. If not, pick up some inexpensive cloth napkins at your favorite thrift store.
Don’t stop there, though. What about paper towels? Stop buying them and use washable cloth rags instead. I have a bag of cloth rags in my linen closet, made from old tee shirts, pillow cases and a pair of flannel pajama pants. Most of the time I wash and reuse them, but when I have to clean up something particularly icky (such as cat vomit), I just throw them away. I have plenty more.
Maybe you have already thought of these money saving ideas, but let’s take it further.
This may sound extreme to you, but just hear me out. Think about how much toilet paper you use. I switched to using cloth wipes (sometimes referred to as family cloth) most of the time, although I still keep some toilet paper on hand for guests. I put used wipes, which are made from old tee shirts and flannel baby blankets, in a trash can with lid, lined with a cloth bag. To wash them, I just lift out the bag, dump the wipes in the washing machine and toss the bag in there, too. I don’t even have to touch the used wipes.
Trade Disposable Sanitary Products for Reusable Products
Yes, I’m talking about tampons and maxi-pads. I switched to reusable cloth pads a couple years ago and I love them. They are so much more comfortable than the plastic-y disposable pads and less likely to leak. Initially, I bought several cloth pads but they weren’t real cheap. I decided to make my own instead of buying more and they were quite easy to make.
If you prefer tampons to pads, natural sea sponges are a great reusable alternative. Frequently sold for use applying cosmetics, I bought three for $3.99. I boil mine to sterilize them before using them. Before inserting them, moisten them well with water, then squeeze them to remove excess water. The dry sponge will look much too large but it looks smaller when wet and when you insert it, it compresses into a small shape and then expands inside to fit the contours of your body. Remove and rinse well every several hours, then reinsert.
Make Your Own Toothpaste
Actually, you can make a lot of your own personal care and hygiene products, but this is one of the easiest and one of the biggest money-savers. In a glass jar with a lid (I use empty almond butter jars), put about a cup of baking soda. Add water, a tiny bit at a time, and stir well until it reaches the consistency of toothpaste. For flavoring, I usually add about 15 drops of peppermint essential oil. You can also use a few drops of peppermint extract or extract of another flavor (vanilla, almond, coconut), found in the baking aisle of any grocery store.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products
I clean most surfaces in my home with vinegar and water, which I keep in a spray bottle. I use baking soda, borax powder, lemon juice and salt for other cleaning jobs. All of those ingredients are cheap and they do a great job. I make my own laundry detergent, too, which is also very affordable and keeps my clothes clean and fresh while saving me lots of money.
Also by This Contributor:
How to Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
Why I Don’t Use Toilet Paper: Family Cloth for Me