Back in 2010, I quit my full time job to stay home with my son. It was an adjustment in many ways – especially financially. I had to get creative with ways to save money so that I could avoid going back to work. And while it wasn’t always easy, there are many ways to save money without it feeling like a sacrifice!
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Saving Money on Home Supplies
How often do we go to the store and just grab items without really thinking about them? Next time, shop more simply and responsibly with a list. It is surprisingly easy to go completely without three common household products – paper towels, dryer sheets, and shaving cream.
Paper Towels – When paper towels are in the house, we go through them like crazy! They are expensive, and they get wasted on every tiny spill. Years ago I did an experiment and stopped buying paper towels. Instead, I bought a whole bunch of wash cloths (you can get a big pack for a great price at places like Walmart and Target), and I haven’t bought paper towels since then! I have a whole drawer filled with wash cloths, and I keep a small basket near the kitchen to throw the dirty ones into so that it’s easy to run a quick, small load of laundry as-needed. Get all of my laundry secrets here
Dryer Sheets – Admittedly, I have started using dryer sheets again recently, BUT… they are definitely not a necessity. They are nice to have, but laundry turns out just fine when you don’t use them. Those few dollars in savings add up when you need to stay on a tight budget. Or check out wool laundry balls – those things last forever!
Shaving Cream – My husband still uses shaving cream (or shaving gel), but I don’t need it. I’ve found that using shower gel or conditioner sometimes even works better than shaving cream! The other week I bought shaving cream for myself for the first time in years, but I didn’t end up liking it.
Salon treatments are sooo expensive! Haircuts, hair coloring, eyebrows, and nails are tough on a tight budget. Luckily with the help of YouTube, you can get the hang of doing most things at home!
Haircuts – I cut my own hair, and I cut both of my boys’ hair. I occasionally cut my husband’s hair too, but he likes his a certain way and doesn’t have the most cooperative hair 😉
I am not a hairdresser, I have no training; but I was able to figure it out! I use the method where you basically do a super high ponytail (flip your hair over upside down), cut the end of the ponytail off, and then trim as needed. It creates long layers, which works perfectly for my curly hair; and you can find a whole bunch of YouTube tutorials to help you out. There are even great tutorials for teaching you how to trim your own bangs!
Boy haircuts are also pretty simple – especially if you just do buzz cuts! Buy a pair of clippers from Amazon and buzz everything off the same length! That’s how I started, but since then I have gotten braver and have tried varying lengths and styles. The key thing to remember when cutting boy hair is to NOT just cut straight across – get their hair wet, make a mohawk, and trim the top for a more natural looking style.
Hair Dye – I understand that professionally colored hair often looks great, but I just cannot bring myself to spend that much money on these kinds of treatments! I buy a box of hair dye (I love the Garnier ones), and I dye my own hair. I love that if I need a change or an update, I can just do it myself in the evening after the kids go to bed!
DIY Beauty Treatments
Eyebrows – Oh, boy. Eyebrows. My eyebrows can get out of control fast! I have found at-home waxing kits (the kind where there are sticky strips like this – not the wax that you have to heat up) work pretty well. Every now and then I need to go in to help get them reshaped, but then I can maintain them for a while on my own.
Nails – I think manicures and pedicures look amazing! But let’s face it… they’re expensive, and they’re unnecessary! The Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polishes work great, last long, are affordable, and don’t require a UV light – I highly recommend them in place of a salon mani/pedi 🙂
Utilize Free Resources
You might have to do a little bit of research, but most communities have a lot of free resources to offer!
Local Libraries – In our area, the libraries offer free museum passes that you can check out of the library (there are only a few of them so the waitlist is long, but it is still a great option!) Many libraries also offer children play areas, and they offer a lot of free activities to the community!
Community Days – Keep an eye out for local businesses hosting community days, free concerts, and First Friday type events.
Rec Centers – A lot of YMCA’s and rec centers offer free events and open houses every so often! Keep an eye out and go enjoy the free amenities 🙂
Shopping online doesn’t always save you money… it is easy to go down the rabbit hole of unnecessary purchases; BUT it can be an incredible resource with some self-restraint 🙂
Grocery Shopping – Our local grocery store now offers an option where you can order your groceries online! I tried it out for the first time last week and loved it. I ordered everything online from home, chose a pick up time, drove there and parked in a designated spot, called them, and they brought my groceries out to me. The reason that I’m including this in my saving money article is because it prevents all of those unnecessary splurges that tend to happen while you are walking through the grocery store aisles!
Swap.com – Swap.com is basically an online consignment store. It has a TON of clothes to choose from, and their prices are great. It can get a little overwhelming to weed through the options, but it is worth it. My husband was thrilled to hear that I bought him new dress pants for $6.00! You can also get a 20% discount by clicking here!
thredUP – thredUP has become more popular lately, but it is still one of my favorite sites for getting very nice clothing at more affordable prices. They tend to be a bit more expensive than Swap, but they also focus on higher end and higher quality apparel. Get $10 off your first order by clicking here!
Frugal Websites – There are some great websites out there that focus on freebies, couponing, deals, & living a frugal life in general. Some of my favorites include the following: MoneySavingMom, Hip2Save, & Brad’s Deals.
Rewards – If you’re going to take advantage of the amazing deals that online shopping offers, there’s no reason you shouldn’t get some extra money or rewards for your online purchases. Learn 11 ways that you can get free gift cards by participating in surveys, downloading a new app for the first time, and more. They might not each be worth a lot of money, but it can add up quickly.
Shop Consignment Sales – While consignment sale events often happy in-person, they can be a great way to save money! Learn how to make the most of your trip to a consignment sale.
Leaving the house can get pricey in a hurry! Movies, restaurants, activities, etc… it adds up! We also tend to forget that we have so many fun things that we can do right at home.
Next time you are feeling the itch to go splurge on a family activity or a date night, take inventory of what you already have at home…
You could have a video game tournament, you could play cards or a board game together, you could grab some fancy ingredients and make a delicious meal, you could watch a movie on Netflix or even rent a newer one from Amazon instant.
You don’t have to leave home to have a fun evening 🙂
Hopefully this list was helpful to you! There are so many ways to save money, but this is a small sample of how you can get creative & save some real money without it feeling like you are sacrificing much of anything!