Since it’s still more or less still the “New Year” I figured it would be interesting to look back and reflect on those frugal ideas I’ve tried in the past, keeping in mind those which have stuck as well as those that didn’t. I can say that changing your way of live is hard, particularly, when you feel like you “must” do so… seems that can be said for many areas in life the older I get. 😉
In no particular order:
- In Say Goodbye to Paper Goods we gave up on using paper plates, napkins, paper towels and the like. By and large we’ve done fairly well here. We rarely use paper plates, napkins or silverware unless there’s a really special reason. Paper towels have begun to creep back into our lives but really only to clean things like mirrors. Seeing as though we wash dish towels almost everyday I’d say we’re still minimizing our use of paper towels. We still use facial tissue and toilet paper… I can’t find a good reason to stop using those. 😉
- In 5 Body Lotion Alternatives I attempted to find something to replace our body lotion. I settled on coconut oil but, to be honest, we’ve reverted back to using the body lotion we’ve used for years. That said, coconut oil would certainly work but even that’s getting rather expensive so I’m not very interested in trying it again.
- Plastics, Difficult to Live Without was about giving up things like garbage bags, ziploc bags, disposable water bottles, and straws. We rarely use straws–though the kids get into them on occasion–and we only use reusable water bottles like the Kleen Kanteen (our favorite reusable water bottle by far) and though we don’t use ziplocs too often we are still using them for things like storing homemade bread. I can say that I attempt to wash out our ziploc bags when they’re not too gross and we certainly use plenty of tupperware for leftovers and whatnot; one of these days I’ll start trying to use mason jars in place of tupperware but haven’t done so yet. Garbage bags are still something we use regularly.
- The article 5 Silly Things I’ve Stopped Doing Now That I’m Broke was one of my first frugal Friday articles. In it, I talked about not letting the water run or reaching for the hot tap water, both of which have seemed to creep back into my habits. I also talked about running full dishwasher and laundry loads both of which we do, as well as using only cold water for laundry which, by and large, we do as well. Last, I spoke about turning off lights and the television when not in use and, sadly, we’re still bad about this… these days it’s the computers that get left on, especially overnight, which drives me a little nuts.
- Saving 70% or More on Printer Ink was solely about buying printer in online. It’s easy to do and something I’ve stuck with. If you’re still buying ink at the local store you’re getting screwed… stop doing that!
- In 10 Ways to Use Less of Stuff We Use Everyday I was really into making my own homemade supplies, particularly for the laundry and dishes but also toothpaste, lotions, and shaving cream to name a few others. While some of these homemade ideas lasted longer than others, for the most part we’ve gone back to store-bought supplies. Some of this had to do with the homemade versions purportedly (according to my wife) not working as well such as the laundry detergent and dishwasher soaps. I felt they worked “good enough” but she has veto power so back we went.
- When I wrote Maximizing the Use of Local Library Resources I tried to offer solutions for those who didn’t have other options. Personally, we still use the library for books, occasionally for digital books, but rarely for anything else. Mostly we just use the internet to learn most everything else.
- When I wrote I’ve Recently Re-Discovered The Frugality of Using a Washrag With Soap I was REALLY trying to be frugal! This idea has generally stuck and I do feel it’s helped reduce the amount of soap I use each day in the shower but I haven’t done any sort of testing.
- In How I Saved a Thousand Dollars or More Buying a Car I offered up a way to buy a vehicle for less. For the most part I’d say this is still good advice but I haven’t purchased any more vehicles so I can’t speak to the advice working a second time.
- Just Because They Send You a New Credit or Debit Card Doesn’t Mean You Have to Use It is, obviously, about NOT using those tempting credit card offers they like to send you in the mail. And I’m willing to bet that nearly every American is (or soon will be) receiving plenty of offers in the mail now that the Holiday season is over. My advice? Don’t do it! Shred them and tighten the belt.
- DIY Dishwasher Detergent Tabs or Powder at HALF the Cost of Store-Bought stuck for a while but, as I said before, we went back to store-bought liquid detergent. Honestly, I didn’t really like making them so I’m not that sad about it.
- Let Dishes Air Dry to Save Even More Money? didn’t stick either…. what’s my problem? There’s really no reason NOT do this seeing as though the dishwasher tends to run after dinner most of the time. I’ll have to get back to this one.
- 3 Ingredient Homemade Deodorant My Wife Approves Of did stick. In fact, “the boss” prefers it and so do I.
- How to Make 4-Ingredient DIY Sink Scrub has also stuck with us and I think it works just fine.
- Regrettably, The Easiest DIY Toilet Bowl Cleaner did NOT stick, even though it’s the same recipe as the sink scrub. I think it worked fine, my wife preferred something else.
- Ditch the Gym Membership, Save $1000 a Year or More! is still a great idea. If you recently started going to the local gym like everyone else in America, stop! Workout at home. Personally, I’m far more likely to do get my workout in when I don’t have to spend time and effort going somewhere else to workout.
- We still Use Discount Cards to Buy Gas. It doesn’t save a ton of money but why not when you’re already at Costco or Safeway?
- Be Your Own Handyman… When You Can is always a good idea if you’re capable (and safe). I always prefer to tackle a project on my own not just to save money but to get experience too. Of course, there are things I can’t or won’t do but at least I can say… “I really thought about doing it.” 🙂
- The Homemade Goo Gone Recipe, Only TWO Ingredients is fine if you’re trying to remove residue from surfaces that won’t scratch easily but I rarely find need for it and since the liquid goo gone I have seems to last forever… I’m sticking with the store-bought.
- Get Fewer Haircuts, Cut Your Own… Potentially Save $1000 per Year Seeing as though I shave my head–I surely wouldn’t pay anyone to do this to me–and that my niece still cuts my kids hair once a month… this one’s a keeper.
- Collect Pocket Change… You’d be Surprised at How Much You Can Collect I still do this but I think my kids “borrow” my change more than I realize because it tends to disappear.
- When I wrote Cancel Monthly, Yearly Subscriptions: Save Hundreds to Thousands of Dollars I was really trying to cut back on bills, everything from television to cell service was on the table. Things haven’t changed much since then. We don’t have cable as the over-the-air is good enough considering that we still use Netflix and Hulu. I almost dropped Amazon Prime and probably should have since I despise their television offerings and we don’t seem to order as much as we used to. Nothing else on the list in the article has changed
- 3-Ingredient DIY Liquid Laundry Soap That Works was a winner for quite a long while but my felt it didn’t do quite as good a job as the store-bought so we’ve recently gone away from it… but I am waiting… for the return of my homemade laundry soap. Personally, if you’re just washing clothes because you wore them that day but they’re not super dirty or smell then this stuff works fine…. maybe you don’t even need laundry soap in that case? I can say that we’ve been adding distilled white vinegar to our laundry and that helps too.
- We’ve recently revisited Turn Down That Thermostat… Put on Some Darn Clothing here at home and my wife and I are at a stalemate. She prefers it warmer (high 60’s to low 70’s) whereas I’d prefer lower (upper 50’s to low 60’s); we’ve compromised and settled on mid 60’s which, if I’m honest, is about as low as I’m comfortable but since we’re on electric heat the bills really add up when we’re also running electric blankets and the occasional space heater.
- Enter Giveaways Regularly: Win Big, Save Money was an attempt to “win” free stuff. I’ve occasionally looked for giveaways online but I really don’t like entering them, it seems.
- Trick Your Kids and Stockpile Their Candy… I think my kids at all their candy this past Halloween so I didn’t even have a chance to steal it!
- Free Admission Spots – we still look for places nearby that are free or relatively cheap, even visiting the same places again but this is getting “old hat” if you will.
When I first started writing this I “felt” like we were doing relatively well but looking back on it all I’d say we’re NOT doing quite as well as I had expected. I can see, too, that there are some areas we can work on and get back to (such as letting dishes air dry) but most frugal ideas I tried which we’ve gone away from seem to be preferences…. preferences that we’re probably not going to go away from if we don’t absolutely have to.
Anyway, how about you? What frugal ideas have you stuck with? Or those that you didn’t stick with and why?
I’d be grateful to hear them.