Frugal tips

Use Every Last Drop

My thrifty husband earns this award, especially with t-shirts. Once a t-shirt has been deemed unwearable (finally), then it is cut up for rags for outside and the garage. That is just one example of using every last drop. Typically, people love to scrape every single drop out of a yogurt cup. But, do you do the same for all food items like peanut butter? The mentality of using everything to the very end of its lifespan will help in saving money over the long run. This also applies to children’s clothes. Do you need to buy new clothes because they are growing and need a bigger size but summer is right around the corner? I have been caught with kids with very few clothes that fit, but couldn’t justify a new wardrobe with summer so close and the chance they would outgrow them the following year. (They survived and never even noticed.) Using everything to the last drop will help to save money over the long term.

Conscious of Choices

The first step is to be more conscious of your choices. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I really need this?
  • Can I make do without it?
  • Do I have money set aside for it?
  • Am I being resourceful with my options?
  • Is there a cheaper way to do this?
  • Do I need it now? When choosing to be thrifty, you become more mindful of your actions. You realize that all of your decisions will impact your wallet and the environment.

Rotate Foods

Food waste is a massive problem in the U.S. It’s also a huge waste of money. CNBC reports that the average family wastes $1,500 per year on food they never eat, which breaks down to $125 per month. One way to reduce your food waste is to follow the first-in, first-out rule that restaurants use. In your pantry and refrigerator, always store the earliest-purchased food toward the front so they stay visible and you use them first, storing later-purchased food toward the back.

Avoid Impulse Buys

When times are tough, it can be hard to give up shopping and buying little treats for yourself, especially if you sometimes use retail therapy to feel better. According to CNBC, American consumers spend $450 per month, over $5,400 per year, on unplanned purchases. That’s why having a plan for every dime you spend can lead to significant savings over time. Instead of caving to an impulse buy and regretting it later, try this tip from Leo Babauta at Zen Habits. He suggests creating a 30-day list, which is a system of forced waiting for unnecessary purchases. Using pen and paper or a spreadsheet, write down the purchase you want to make along with the date and then check back 30 days later. Don’t let yourself purchase anything on the list for 30 days. When you check back, chances are you won’t want it anymore. If you do still want it, then you can start saving for it. Keep in mind that saving money doesn’t have to mean forgoing every little pleasure. Find frugal ways to treat yourself like having a nice coffee on Saturday morning, having a DIY spa day, or occasionally cooking a gourmet meal at home.

Let Trim Help

There’s an app that can help you save money on your monthly expenses. It’s called Trim, and it connects all your accounts to look at spending patterns and identify where and how you can save money. It can also automatically cancel subscriptions you don’t want and renegotiate rates with providers of services like cable, Internet, and cell service. The app also uses bank-level 256-bit secure sockets layers encryption for the highest security. When New York Times journalist Ron Lieber used the app, it found several subscriptions he didn’t remember he had, resulting in three-digit-per-month savings.

Open Windows In Unventilated Rooms

The cheapest way to make a house smell better instantly is to open windows. Opening windows allow fresh air to enter your home and release any unpleasant trapped odors. Chances are, if a room in your house or apartment is slightly damp and reeks, the odor might be caused by poor ventilation. Before you start pulling out the candles and spraying a substantial amount of air freshener, try opening up a window for an hour. If your home doesn’t smell any better, try out other tips below.

Consider renting.

While it can be tempting to purchase a new dress for an upcoming wedding or other formal event, renting out formalwear may be a more cost-effective option. Check with local dress stores in your area to see if they offer rental options. Or check out online option like Rent the Runway, which allows you to rent fashionable clothing for a set period of time, then return it when your’e finished wearing it.

Sell your old clothing.

Anyone who loves dressing in the latest fashions knows how quickly clothing, shoes, and accessories can go out of style. That means you probably have tons of clothing items that you don’t wear any more just sitting in your closet. Use your clothing collection to your advantage to help you afford new purchases. Once you’re finished wearing an item, sell it and use the money you make to buy something new. You’ll help keep from cluttering your closet with new things and give you a chance to buy something new without going over budget. There are a variety of places you can sell your clothing to help finance new purchases:

  • Facebook marketplace. List your clothing online to local buyers in your area to make a quick sale and earn some extra money.
  • Yard sale. Host your own yard sale at home to sell all your clothing at one time. Gather up your items, put price tags on them, and set up a store in your yard so your neighbors can purchase the items you don’t want anymore. Here are tips on how to host a successful yard sale.
  • Online clothing marketplaces. You can also sell your clothing at online outlets, like Poshmark, to earn some extra spending cash. Just create an account, take pictures of your clothing, and list the items for sale for other users to purchase.
  • Consignment shops. Take your used clothing to a local consignment shop or sell them to an online outlet like ThredUP to make money to purchase new clothing. The store will pay you for your clothing upfront or offer you a cut of the profit when the pieces sell.
  • eBay. Sell your clothing in an online marketplace like eBay to earn top dollar and set aside your earnings to purchase something new for yourself.

Shop with a list.

You wouldn’t head to the grocery store without a shopping list, so why would it be any different when shopping for clothing? Before you head to the store to purchase new clothing, make a list of what you’re looking for. Think about the event you’re shopping for or the clothing you need for an upcoming season, then write those items down. Knowing what you’re looking for before you start shopping will help keep you from overspending and making impulse purchases.

Purchase neutral pieces.

Although buying flashy colors and pretty patterns may be tempting when it comes to purchasing new clothing, you’ll get more use out of your clothes if you stick to neutral colors and patterns. Solid colors are another great way to incorporate new clothing into your wardrobe and ensure you’ll be able to wear your new clothes for years.

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