I don't know about you, but I am forever being asked to pay someone for something. If it's not a weird sound in one of my cars, then it's YET ANOTHER stupid school t-shirt for YET ANOTHER club, event, or activity. Or if I'm being a very, very good girl, sometimes Santa will hook me up with the special pre-Christmas gift of a leak at my rental house.
Side note: It's basically the BEST managing plumbing problems from 2,147 miles away, thank you very much.
Anyway, I could always use a little more cash. And even though I am a cheapskate -- my friends prefer the term "thrifty" or "frugal," but I think cheapskate sounds more appropriate for me personally -- I still am always looking for a new way to find some more dough.
Here are a few of the tips and tricks I've come up with over the years that, though seemingly small, add up quickly!
1. Coffee. I know, I know, nobody wants anybody getting in their business about their mocha-crap-a-lattes. But hear me out on this one: Let's say you exercise restraint and forego the super-grandiose size. (I can't ever keep Starbuck's size terms straight. For the love! Why can't they just go with SMALL, MEDIUM, AND LARGE?!) Even then, you're out $5 by the time they tack on taxes. If you further exercise restraint and only do this once a week, that's $20 -- or $260 a year. I think we can all agree that that is some serious change for coffee consumption. And we can probably also all agree that many of us indulge way more than once a week. In my house, I have begun using my insulated Tervis cups to make my own cold coffee or snazzy drinks. I have a frother gadget. I soak my coffee for a day and strain it and make a gallon of my own cold brew for the price of one snooty drink from a coffee shop. I buy decent-tasting creamer. (Do not even think about coming at me with that all natural, tasteless, sugarless junk. No ma'am. I want sugar and lots of it and I don't care about the calories or my arteries. It is going to taste good or I am going to throw it in someone's face. OK, maybe not. But for real: Cold Stone Creamery's whatever-crap-they-use-to-make-it Sweet Cream flavor is the stuff that they drink in heaven, people. Is it good for me? I don't freaking know or care. It tastes good. And at 2:30 p.m., I need caffeine that makes me smile, and all the sugar in that creamer does the trick. So there.) All I'm trying to say is that there are ways to enjoy coffee that are cheaper than a coffee shop, and you don't lose the awesomeness if you spend about 5 minutes preparing it. And you'll be in the coffee line for 5 minutes anyway, so save the cash!
2. Lunches. Every single night, I double the recipe (sometimes triple or quadruple -- I live with starving piranhas) for whatever we are eating. Every single night, everyone packages up a box of said recipe for lunch the next day. That is because school lunches cost me $5 a head, and I have 4 heads eating there. $20 a day? Nope. Tack on Scott, who is also away from home during the lunch hour, and we get at least $25 a day. Even if it's just YOU eating out, it is nearly impossible to eat anywhere for less than $5. It can be done, but it isn't easy. If you only do that 3 days a week, that's still a big chunk of change. Pack a lunch, people. It's probably healthier, and it definitely will save you some dough.
3. Water. Perhaps you are noticing a theme here. Foods and drinks. Now you know my not-so-secret obsession with things that I can taste. I get in the car, and suddenly I need to consume something. So this is where I can save the most money, obviously. But water? Yes. Because it is basically free, people. So WHY are we paying actual dollars to purchase it in places where it ISN'T free? Listen to me here. If you are a cold water snob (I'm not, but I know people who are), then just invest in an (overpriced?) insulated water bottle. I have a HydroFlask and I spent 2 arms and 1 leg to purchase it. But it is THE. BOMB. I live in El Paso, and it can get to about 8 gazillion degrees outside in the summer, but if I have that sucker filled with ice, it will still be cold TOMORROW. After sitting in the hot car. As in, I can leave it there to scorch in the heat of my black vehicle, and it will be so hot that I have trouble holding it, but the water inside IS STILL COLD. It's insanity. So pay the $40 and own that. Then fill it with the (basically) free water in your sink, and save the $1.50 plastic version at the gas station. Bonus points because you're also saving the earth which is dying a slow, but certain, death at the hands of water bottles and straws and diapers. But I'm not going the cloth diaper route, so don't even try to sway me. It will not work. Never. Ever.
4. Email Subscriptions. Finally! A non-edible option to save money. This one falls under the "ignorance is bliss" category of saving money. Here's how it works: If you never SEE the thing that you don't need on sale, then you will never BUY the thing that you don't need on sale. And BOOM! Money. Saved. So unsubscribe from all those sales emails. You get one, you click "unsubscribe" without even glancing at it. Less email clutter and more money in your wallet. Works like a charm.
5. Curbside Grocery Delivery. Sorry, another food-related one. This one follows in the footsteps of #4's ignorance concept. Put in your grocery list based on what you actually plan to cook that week, then set it up for curbside delivery. This will accomplish ___ things: 1) You will not see things you don't need while walking toward the aisle for the thing that you do. 2) You will be done grocery shopping in minutes because all you have to do it populate the list and drive to the store where you will wait for them to bring it to your car at the curb. Too easy! 3) You will now have all the trash bags you need for all of your home's small trashcans until Jesus returns. Because they put approximately 2 items in each bag. But it's a small price to pay for all the money you save by not seeing all of the things.
Okay! Go forth and pocket some cash, People! This money-saving thing is a bit of an obsession of mine, so I will post more ideas in later blogs. I seriously have 4 pages of tips that I will write other blogs about. So stay tuned. I didn't want to give away all my ideas in one blog post because I need some ideas to fall back on if I run out of things to say some day!