On Friday nights, we often have pizza for dinner. Sometimes I make it from scratch, sometimes it is frozen and sometimes we go ahead and order Pizza Hut. Tonight was a Pizza Hut night as oldest was home from school and we wanted to treat ourselves and her a bit. The guy at the counter asked if we wanted any Parmesan cheese packets and my husband said sure. This young man loaded us down with enough packets to last a month. Or, maybe we just don’t use as much as other people. Whatever the case I wasn’t about to waste all that cheese.
My husband walked into the kitchen and gave me a strange look as I opened each little packet and poured it into my container of Parm cheese. I told him, “Don’t judge. I’m frugal.”
It got me to thinking, though, about all the small things I do that save money over time. It might only be a few cents here and there, but over the course of a year it all adds up.
For example, I cut the end off a toothpaste tube when I’ve squeezed all I can out of it. I usually get several more uses out of the tube when I do that. I pour Parmesan cheese, ketchup and mustard packets into containers I have instead of tossing them out.
Other things I do:
- Always take home leftovers. Even a spoonful or two of veggies can be added to stock soup.
- Recycle gift bags. I get so many gift bags at Christmas. As long as they are in good shape, there is no reason not to reuse them. I’m saving about $1 each, since I’d go to the dollar store and pay that for one. For example, last Christmas, between all four of us, I reused around 20 gift bags. That means I saved $20. It took me three seconds.
- Reuse tea bags more than once. Usually twice is my limit or the taste is very watery, but still, I’ve saved half.
- Use free samples. I do spend a little more on my makeup these days. However, I make sure I order when there is a freebie or two and they always send three free samples. I get things that are very costly to purchase, such as anti-wrinkle serums and use those up before purchasing any. It also allows me to try new products and see which ones I like.
- Take all the complimentary items the hotel leaves out. This usually includes shampoo, lotion, conditioner and even coffee. No, don’t steal anything. The normal amount that is left is in the cost of your room already. Just don’t be ridiculous about it. Even if you don’t use them, you can donate to a homeless shelter. I love those little lotion bottles for my purse, though, and will even refill them.
- Cut dryer sheets into halves. They still work as well, but the box will last twice as long.
- Reuse the junk mail envelopes that come to your home. Or, if you get a bill with an envelope and you pay online, keep the envelope for something else.
- Always try to get used and/or repurpose things. Obviously, this doesn’t work with everything, but if you do it where you can you will save enough to splurge on other items. Right now, my husband and I have discovered Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores. They are amazing!
Basicaly, you have to look for any little way to save money throughout your life. While using that gas rewards card to save another 3 cents a gallon might seem almost like a waste of time, it adds up. Yes, I might have only saved 30 cents on that tank of gas, but with four cars in the family times 52 weeks a year, I’ve ultimately saved $62.00. It was worth the time it took to swipe the card.