Save that money honey

In the past months, I've significantly added to my list of blogs that I've been following, and have found a trend of money-saver lifestyle choice tips in multiple blog entries by multiple bloggers. I thought I would add to that trend with our own frugal abilities. Now, I am by no means a poster child for being frugal in all things. I have a tendency to throw an occasional tantrum when I can't get something I want (imagine a grown woman in the middle of Banana Republic, picking out a dress, trying it on, and her husband admiring what he sees but with a stern voice of reason says "honey, we can't spend what that costs right now" and that same grown woman refusing to take the dress off until she gets what she wants. Yea, that happened. And yea, bless his heart, he gave in.) But times are tough and we are ready for the challenge of spending less, putting our heads together and doing a little for the environment while we're at it.

First thing's first:
Buy. in. bulk
We buy a ton of our non perishable items in bulk. The only beef I have with this is the waste of the wrappers. Which leads me to my next money saver tip..garbage.
We used to spend 50-100 dollars on garbage/recycle curb side pick up per month. We live in the country so we can get away with this, but we now have about 8 or so garbage cans that we take to the dump when they're full. The dump is about 10 minutes away and the cans get full every couple of months or so. When it's time for the dump trip, we load up our hound dog and leave within 15 minutes only spending about 14 dollars to dump our garbage. Yup. 14 bucks. How?

We compost all of our "food garbage" and we also are very good recyclers. So all of our plastic/paper/card board/bottles/glass garbage is free. Everything else amounts to 14 dollars bi-monthly.
Next, always store food in plastic containers. It keeps your food fresher and they are much more visible so you know what you have. We also rarely use ziplocs or disposable storage. When we do use them it's for travel and they are always reused.This is our travel drawer in our bathroom. It's not pretty. But it is sure useful. We keep our travel toiletries and ziplocs in here. We often throw our face wash/astringent/whatever else we think will leak on our luggage in a ziploc. Also, we rarely use paper towels for cleaning. We more often than not will use cleaning towels that we can just wash and reuse. I also hang dry almost all of my clothes. I've never considered the money I save in electricity sans dryer for my portion of our laundry but I'm sure it helps in a little way. It's also MUCH better for your clothes.We also buy things that are recycled as much as possible. For example, for school I use notebooks-duh-. Non-recycled notebooks can cost up to 10 or 15 dollars! Crazy, right? These recycled notebooks were .79 cents. Reused items are also a definite money saver. We often will cruise our local recycling center for material for new projects.Another tip is to keep your things neatly organized. Yes I do this in part to satisfy my OCD tendencies but it's also a money saver. I find that if my things are neat and visible that I'm less likely to buy doubles of things. There are certainly things in the house that I do not need multiples of.
This is my bare and fairly unorganized and tiny pantry. It's bare because we are undergoing a challenge. A weird one but nevertheless we're taking it on. We are cooking until we don't have any more food to cook. We are literally using every ingredient we have in our house before we buy anything else. A world traveling friend of mine said that she would often empty her house of basically every ingredient before she would grocery shop. I was shocked when she brought that up, thinking how impossible this would be. Now, I'm challenged to do it. It's a great way to get rid of things that may be nearing their expiration date. But it's also (remember I'm a teence OCD) a great opportunity to get things CLEANED! The little nook and crannies of my pantry, spice cupboards and refrigerator are getting emptier and emptier therefore nearing a cleaning spree! Excuse my odd excitement.Another tip is to eliminate as many monthly expenses as possible. One expense that Jeremy and I have eliminated is our gym membership. Our membership was somewhere in neighborhood of 100 dollars a month. Now, we have our own gym-granted it's not state of the art, nor do we have the luxury of a trainer. But this set sure get's the job done! We have the machine that can be switched around to do just about any workout, the ab bench to the left, a giant mirror for squats/lunges/cleans, free weights and a few yoga odds and ends.

The next tip is something that my husband is much better at than I am. Keep-Everything. I'm trying to reign in the hoarder side of this money saving tip and meet in the middle by keeping only things that have a purpose in the near future. This wood for example is a great thing to add to the keeper pile. In fact, most of our "left over" wood is what we make a lot of our DIY projects with.

All of these furniture pieces at our house were made with "scrap" wood

These are our bed side tables for our guest bedroom.
Our pet python ( i know, but he's cool) benefited from a corner kitchen cabinet that Jeremy tore out of a house he was working on and built the book shelf under neath.
This is one of 2 bed side tables in our master bedroom.
This is our corner DVD shelf.
Obviously it's often times not as economical to build your own furniture. But in this case, since we were using left over material which had already paid for itself, we ended up with twice the project with one set of material. On that note though, cruise the second hand stores or craigslist for used things that simply need some updating or re-purposing to get just look you want for the purpose you need it for.

Ok, that's all I have for you for now. I hope some of this gave you a few ideas on how to save where the saving is easy. Feel free to fill me in on any money saving ideas you use!

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