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We’re all looking to stretch our dollars (or even pennies!) and be wise stewards of the money that we are entrusted with. And everyone has their own creative ways of saving, bringing in a little extra, and monitoring spending. But sometimes it’s great to take a moment to evaluate from another perspective some things we could do differently to save even more.
There are a number of items and services that I never (or almost never) purchase. Several of these may fall in the category of personal opinion, and if you’re a believer in the “time is money” adage, then some of these solutions may not be the best move to compliment your lifestyle. But I challenge you to pick an item or two from this list, make the switch, and watch how much you save!
Don’t want to drink creepy tap water? Me either. But I’m not OK with buying more water after I’m already paying a water bill! (Plus, where do you store all those bottles? And are you going to be a good person and recycle them when you’re done?) Here’s the simple solution: a faucet water filter. I have been using this one for years and love it! It’s affordable, easy to install, and my water tastes great! If you’re in a dorm situation, or traveling a ton, try a water filter pitcher or water bottle. I used a pitcher just like this one all through college to avoid drinking water from the shared bathroom sink. Yuck!
Along the same lines of bottled water, of course, but honestly I’m referring to any soda period. Sometimes the best way to save money is to get really, really honest with ourselves about want vs. need. I’m certainly not suggesting that we have to strip our lives of every little pleasure, but don’t we all have a habit or two we could kick that would benefit both our wallet and our health? Seriously, soda is SO bad for you. Don’t believe me? Check this out.
My favorite alternatives to buying and drinking soda are simply lemon water and tea (hot or iced).
Now if I haven’t already stepped on your toes, this one probably will. (Sorry.) In 2016, the average American cable bill climbed to over $100 a month (source). I can’t imagine dumping $100 a month on TV! TV! C’mon, people! We’re smarter than this! What do we truly gain from that $1200 we’re spending per year?? Plus, last time I sat down and watched someone else’s cable, it felt like more commercials than actual programing. Do you really want to pay all that money just for a bunch of people to invade your home and beg you to… you guessed it: spend more money? *shudder* No wonder we’re stressed. The alternatives? Netflix, of course! Amazon Prime also includes lots of free movies and shows along with all the other benefits like free shipping, music streaming, book loaning, and more. Haven’t tried Prime yet? Do it! You can try a month for free right here: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial! One day soon, we’ll talk more about Prime. For now, just trust me when I say it’s worth trying.
However, there is an even better alternative that I am working towards including in my own life: TV-free evenings. This post from Richly Rooted really inspired me to re-evaluate how I spend my down time, and gave me some great ideas for what to do instead of watching TV.
No, I’m not advocating not cleaning, or even any of these crazy, 10-ingredient, 3-hour, labor-intensive DIY projects either. But I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the collection of cleaning products cluttering my cabinets and draining my wallet actually aren’t necessary. (What do you think our great-grandmothers kept house with?)
There are super simple and inexpensive alternatives to most of your pricey products. Bonus: they’re way healthier and greener too! Did you know you don’t even have to buy dishwasher detergent? No joke. Steph over at Binkies & Briefcases (how cute is that?) explains here. Do yourself a favor and check it out! To replace basically all of your bathroom and kitchen cleaners, check out this post about 10 crazy-simple replacements for your cleaning products.
I know, I know, those Glade plugins smell so good! Everyone loves a fresh-smelling home, and it’s so fun to pick out those seasonal scents. But they are really another unnecessary that can hurt our wallet and our health. The alternative? Essential oils! They will freshen your home while supporting you and your family with a plethora of benefits such as immune boosting, calming, or energizing. Another awesome factor of freshening your home with essential oils is that you customize the scent. While you can purchase pre-made blends like my favorites, Relax and Energy (which do exactly as their names suggest), you always have the freedom to create your own blends from individual oils, based on your preferences and health needs. Freedom + creativity + health + savings = happiness for sure! 🙂
Aren’t Keurigs so cool? Pop in a little pod, set your cup down, press a button, and voila- a steaming cup of your favorite beverage is ready to go! But have you stopped to think about the price of those things? A savvy co-worker introduced me to the handy little alternative: a re-usable K-cup! Of course it means a few more seconds of your time spent on making your drink, but think of the savings!
Fancy beauty products
Don’t get me wrong- we all deserve a treat now and then! And the “you get what you pay for” concept is all too real most of the time. However, I have several inexpensive beauty products that I have used faithfully for years because they just flat out work. And I tried the fancier stuff. Because I thought, “Hey, if $5 mascara makes my eyes look this great, what must $20 mascara do?” Nothing. The answer was nothing. In fact, several of the more expensive beauty items I’ve tried to swap over to have even been less effective than their cheaper counterpart.
These are my favorite, tried-and-true beauty products that will save you heaps and work just as well as the expensive stuff:
Burt’s Bees lip crayon
For facial care routines, my go-tos are baking soda and coconut oil. Seriously. I don’t buy face scrubs, or expensive moisturizers on a regular basis.
Once a week or so, after washing your face, make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Scrub your face for about a minute and then rinse off. Your skin will feel amazing, and the alkalinity of the baking soda will help to balance the pH of your delicate facial skin.
Coconut oil makes a luxurious overnight cream. I love the way my skin looks in the morning after I’ve applied a layer of coconut oil before bed. Be sure you get the good stuff, though. You want to look for virgin, cold-pressed, and unrefined- like this one. The more processed the oil is, the fewer benefits it will provide. Coconut oil is actually a fascinating health and beauty multi-tasker. Learn more about it here.
This list is really just the tip of the iceberg of ideas for ways to save a little here and there by making some smart swaps. I’d love to know your list of items that you don’t buy, in order to save! Let me know in the comments!