Last week I wrote about 12 Frugal Tips for Living with Less Money. Most if not all of those tips were fairly benign. They were simple, easy, practical and common sense rules for pursuing a frugal lifestyle. There was nothing controversial and certainly nothing to be be embarrassed about.
Today I present another list. These are my own quirky, funky and yes, crazy things that I do to save money. For some, this list may seem silly. For me, they are a way of life.
1. Cut used paper from the printer into scratch paper: Using my paper cutter, I cut a stack of 8.5 x 11 sheets into note paper and set them out in my desktop note holder. This only takes a few minutes and I get four pieces of note paper from each sheet. I have done this for over 20 years.
2. Re-use the back side of paper in the laser printer: A person can only use so much scratch paper. The rest of the paper spilling out of the printer is flipped over and used again, this time on the back side. But I don’t stop there. I also use the back side of documents and flyers that arrive in the mail. Since I am 99% paperless, nothing gets filed or saved. Instead it gets scanned, flipped and added to the stack of “blank” paper destined for the printer. Nothing hits the recycle bin until it has been printed on both sides (or cut into scratch paper as described in #1).
3. Re-use remittance envelopes that arrive in the mail: Since I pay all of my bills online, I have no need for all of those envelopes that come stuffed with bills that arrive in the mail. I slap a label over the pre-printed address on these so-called junk envelopes and I am good to go. I use these envelopes for all sorts of things: bank deposits, grocery coupons, receipts, you name it.
4. Hoard cardboard boxes: I am sure this is some sort of sickness. I buy almost everything online which means I get a lot of boxes. An entire section of my garage is stacked to the ceiling with boxes of all sizes. In all fairness, all of my stuff in storage is organized in labeled boxes that are stacked neatly in another section of the garage so it is not as though the boxes don’t get used. Still, one of these days I am going to have you send some to recycle.
5. Spend one hour online comparison shopping in order to save a dollar or two: This is bad but I can’t help it. There is always the thrill of the bargain but at some point we all need to value our time. Like I said, this girl just can’t help it.
6. Wash and re-use zip lock bags until they are ready to fall apart: If you have ever priced the cost per bag, you will understand why I do this.
7. Dumpster Diving: Admit it. A lot of good stuff can be found by keeping your eyes peeled for dumpster goodies. Some of my finds? One night a week, the local grocery store throws out bouquets of flowers in anticipation of fresh arrivals the next day. A lot of the time, I can pluck four or five bunches, toss out the wilted blooms and end up with a gorgeous bunch of flowers that adorn my home for the next three or our days. Once I found a huge gift basket – less the goodies inside. The basket still had the cellophane wrapping on it and would have cost me about $20 or more at a specialty store. This was a find as was the brass colored party tub I found, again, still in its cellophane wrapping.
Okay, enough said. It is somewhat embarrassing after all, to admit to dumpster diving.
8. Squeezing the last bit of product out of tubes and bottles: You will not believe how much product can be rescued from almost empty tubes and bottles. I will cut off the ends of tubes and dig out the remains with a popsicle stick. There is one face serum I use and by employing this rescue method, I get another 4 or 5 days worth of product. Maybe it is only pennies that I am saving, but in my mind, it is more.
So the question is: Why can’t some smart packaging wizard figure out a way to get every last drop out of those bottles? I end up turning them upside down over a funnel into a smaller, squeeze type bottle. Is this being cheap or thrifty? I prefer to call it frugal.
9. Re-purpose empty bottles and jars (and especially spray bottles): Like boxes, I tend to hoard empty bottles and jars. I keep them in a box in my closet of all places and when the box starts to overflow, I weed it down to half a box. These re-purposed bottles work great when concocting my home made cleaners and for breaking down products from bulk packaging into manageable and useful quantities.
10. Burn DVDs on re-writable disks instead of throw-aways: The initial cost of rewritable DVDs was about triple the single use type. Furthermore, burning these disks is slow and the results are often unreliable. It is not unusual for it to take 3 separate efforts to make a single, readable, DVD. Still, over the long term I am sure I have saved at least $100 dollars by using the DVD-RWs. Plus, I have saved a lot of waste from the landfills and that just seems to me like the responsible thing to do.
11. Re-use gift wrap and bows: This is pretty self explanatory. Have you priced gift wrap and bows lately?
12. Garbage soup: Call it garbage soup or hobo stew. I save bits of leftovers in a freezer bag and when it comes time to make soup, it all goes in to the pot. The combinations are never the same. How about a combination of turkey carcass, homemade chili, brown rice, and chunks of baked potato? This may not sound good but whatever goes in to the soup somehow melds together in a delicious as well as nutritious brew. I usually add some lentils or beans and perhaps some canned tomatoes as well. Almost nothing food-wise goes to waste in my house.
So now that I have bared my soul, how about you? What are the silly thing you do to save money?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
In the News: Just a bit of personal news today. The past four days have been spent celebrating the marriage of my niece, Allison to a most wonderful young man. I feel honored and privileged to have been a bridesmaid in their wedding and hope that you will join both Survival Husband myself in wishing Andy and Allison a joyous future together.
By the way, that is your very own SurvivalWoman + Survival Husband in the photo to the right.
From the Bargain Bin: Emergency Essentials has their Volcano Stove with the propane option on sale for $129.99 which is just slightly more than the non-propane version that I purchased a couple of months. If you have had your eye on a Volcano II Collapsible Stove, this is a really good deal.
After reading reviews on products from various vendors, I am not going back to these 300cc Oxygen Absorbers which are sold at Amazon. This is one area where you want to make sure you are getting a quality product. Currently, a pack of 60 (in three 20 unit packs) is $13.99 with free shipping: 60 – 300cc Oxygen Absorbers in Bags of 20 for Long Term Food Storage.
Shelf Reliance 55-gallon Water Barrel: This is the water barrel that I have. I purchased it as a kit – just like you see here. The only difference is that I paid about $20 more than this. If you have been procrastinating the purchase of a water storage system, this is a great deal at $138 with free shipping.
Other SurvivalWoman picks:
- Lodge 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet: The basic standby for all types of cooking, inside or out.
- Lodge Set of 2 Pan Scrapers: A must have to go with that skillet.
- Presto 1755 16-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner: The price on this goes up and down by about $5 so if you happen to catch it for under $70, you are getting a deal.
- 550lb. Type III Paracord 100′ Black: I wish I had known about Paracord years ago. With a recent price reduction to $7.47, there is no reason not to have a few hundred feet around your home, in your car, and in your bug out bag.
- 20 Gallon Size Mylar Bags: I found a different source on Amazon for only $8.25 for 20 bags. This qualifies as a screaming deal. Shipping is free, of course.