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I am on the never ending quest to save money. Why? Really, you need to ask that question? Frugal living, good careers and wise investing allowed us to obtain financial independence by forty. Now, the objective is to retire comfortably in a couple years. We are not independently wealthy, so I am always looking for creative and new money saving hacks.
If you have been following this blog, saving money is only trumped by investing. There are many other saving money hacks at the end of this post, so don’t fear for lack of reading!
Unfortunately for my family, I do try almost every idea. Sometimes it does not work as well as I might hope, particularly frugal recipes. Other times, the ideas are incredibly successful, the DIY project we just finished in taking down a big mirror with brass 1990’s trim – beautiful.
Here are some rather simple money saving tricks to kickstart your creative money saving brain.
1. Do You Drink Sparkling Water?
It has been pounded in our heads to drink more water. There are inexpensive machines that you can buy and make your own sparkling water. No more lugging cans and bottles of sparkling water.
I calculated that even with buying the CO2 canisters, this machine paid for itself in about 6 months.
I find this appliance so helpful that is 1 of 4 appliances sitting on my counter (coffee maker, air fryer and toaster are the three in case you were curious!).
Extra Money Saving Tip: If you purchase the SodaStream, you can buy replacement canister for 50% off at Bed Bath & Beyond if you turn in your current canister. Additionally, you can use their retail coupon (you know that 20% off coupon) on CO2 canister replacements. I suspect there will be more options and growth of SodaStream as Pepsico now owns the company.
2. Pull the Plugs Out
Now, if you read my blog. I have been a little obsessed with saving on electricity.
I wrote a three part series on how to save on electricity. The last article was on energy vampires, standby energy use that can account for 10-20% of your electric bill. The easiest way to reduce the energy vampires is to unplug items that use electricity when the item is not in use.
This really is an extremely simple money saving hack.
3. Foaming Hand Soap
I prefer foaming hand soap over straight liquid or bar soap. The problem is the foaming hand soap does not last long. The answer is to reuse your foaming hand soap dispenser and use the traditional liquid hand soap.
This is easy to do and truly works.
I wish I could remember where I originally found this money saving idea, so I could give proper credit. Since my memory is fleeting, Living Locurto has a simple visual tutorial. If you are not interested in long winded articles, this one is easy.
Simple Foaming Hand Soap Directions:
1. When your favorite foaming hand soap dispenser is empty, just fill about 20% of the container full of traditional liquid hand soap. You can adjust the quantity to your preference. This is an art more than a science.
2. Then, fill the dispenser full of water to about 80% full. Leaving about 10-20% of the headspace empty for the next step as foam will develop. Again, art and not science.
3. Put the foaming top back on and swirl the dispenser side to side to mix the soap and water. Don’t go crazy on the swirling or you will end up with a foamy mess in the container.
4. There is not a step four. Just wanted to make you aware that the first couple of pumps may not be great as you re-prime your dispenser pump. There are many recipes for hand soap and you can go crazy with fancy scents and dispensers.
This is a true winner as far as money saving hacks go.
Really want to save money? Try making liquid soap from bar soap and then making foaming hand soap from the liquid soap you just made. Now, I have not tried this yet (but it is on my list), so I am putting it as an add on bonus idea.
Everyone has their coffee maker needs. I need a latte. Our machine makes it happen and the latte is pretty good. It might not be as perfect as a takeout store with their super fancy machine, but my latte costs a lot less.
If you are a coffee drinker, you need to find a coffee maker that makes you happy and that you will use. Take out coffee is a real wallet drain. The average takeout cup of specialty coffee costs around $5, an entire bag of premium coffee on sale is less than $5.
A good coffee maker will pay for itself in a couple months. The savings will even pay for an environmentally friendly travel mug from your favorite takeout coffee store. No one has to even know that you are skipping the takeout coffee!
5. Consolidate Financial and Banking Services
It would be unacceptable for a finance site to forget about your finances. Bundling your banking and financial services can save you money.
Look around. Banks frequently give better interest rates and better perks based on the overall account balance regardless of the money status (stocks, cash, CDs, etc). It can be painful to change financial institutions, but the long term reward can be worth it.
Additionally, there is typically a cash bonus (over $500) from the bank for joining.
6. Hair Cuts for Boys
I am not a big fan of recommending purchasing items to save money. Yet, this is the third and last time on this list that I will cross that line. This one saves so much money!
If you have boys, buy a hair clipper set. The hair clipper set does not need to be expensive. A good hair clipping set will pay for itself by the second haircut, so not a big investment!
Additionally, don’t worry if you don’t have haircutting experience – young boys don’t care how their hair looks and you will be very good at cutting their hair by the time they do care.
I still cut my son’s hair and he is in high school.
7. Remove Credit Card Information
Removing credit card information AND sign-in password from your computer will help prevent impulse buying.
It is similar in concept to the wait 24-hour rule.
There is nothing more frustrating than having to reset your password and re-enter all the credit card information. The joy of the purchase is pretty much gone by that point.
It will definitely make you think twice before going through all the hassle.
So, my friend has an ushering job with a NFL team. She makes a small amount of spending cash doing it, but her real goal is to go to the games for free. Based on her day job, this can be consider volunteering.
On the other hand, there is me who gets into freshman high school games for free as part of the required participation/volunteering at the concession stand by the school’s athletic department.
I recommend the volunteering perks of my friend and not mine!
In all seriousness, there are many museums, charity events and festivals that are fun, but the tickets are expensive. Volunteering will get you in for free and usually does not require a ton of work.
9. Cut Dryer Sheets in Half
It seems everyone writes about the virtues of Wool Dryer Balls. I thought I would give those balls a shot. In reality, I should have saved my money.
So, I got myself ready for more disappointment. It’s winter. It’s snowing outside and everything is staticky. I created a dryer load full of fleece, sweatshirts and towels. I threw in only half a dryer sheet and started the dryer. When the bell dinged, I prepared myself.
Cringing in preparation to be continuously shocked, I pulled out the first towel. Nothing. Then, a big bulky fleece sweatshirt that was doomed to shock the crap out of me. Nothing. Seriously, nothing!
This money saving hack actually works!
10. Clear Nail Polish
Clear nail polish should be part of every workplace emergency kit. It is definitely good in a pinch.
Nail polish is wonderful for stopping anything that is fraying.
Clear nail polish is best known for stopping runs in nylons. Just spread a thin layer of clear nail polish over the nylon run and it stops.
However, don’t stop at nylons. Do you have a button that is loose? But a tab of nail polish on it.
A hem that is fraying, but a little nail polish on it.
Cracked windshield put a little nail polish on it.
Additionally, clear nail polish is a good water proof barrier. Working on a project and the ink is smudging, but some nail polish on it.
And I guess, you could actually use it as nail polish!
So, there you have it. A blend of totally free and quick ROI money saving hacks.
Now, I did promise more money saving ideas. A few fantastic articles are below.
And yes, I have tried almost all the money saving hacks listed in those articles!
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Good Luck, WhipperSnapper Finance