Hopefully you've seen yesterday's post about how to fight increasing food prices. Today here are some tips on other money saving things.
1. Re-use what you can. Old clothes can often be remade into other items or blankets. Old towels and sheets can be used for painting or car maintenance needs. Shipping boxes can be used for storage or organizational purposes. Repainting and re-purposing household items or furnishings can redecorate your home --check out HGTV sites for great ideas. I have a child's desk in one of my kids' rooms. I use it as the changing table now. It's perfect. Diapers, wipes, creams, bibs, burp cloths and blankets all fit perfectly in there. When the time comes my daugter can use it for its intended use. It was my mom's and we've just replaced the knobs and given it a coat of white paint.
2. Repair before replacing. As a child I remember my Dad being an expert on this. He can fix anything, I swear. I remember tin foil on rabbit ears to get our TV picture to come in better--at least I think that's what all that was about. They say women often look for qualities in their husbands that remind them of their Dad. I guess that all depends on your experience, but I can say Andy has this in common with my Dad. He can also fix anything and was well trained by his Dad in the field of home repair. You can check out "How To" guides online and at the local library to learn how to make easy repairs around the home and with the car. Obviously if it's too extreme of a repair, call an expert.
3. If you do have to replace something, shop around. We have horrible water where we live. We've been looking at buying a home water system with filtered water for months. Some systems we looked at were around $300, plus water. I found a basic system that would work for $129. After Andy called around we found a very similar system for $60 that includes six months of maintenance and 15 gallons of water. We will still have to purchase additional water bottles, but I am spending $15 a month on filtered water in smaller bottles anyway, so it will likely be a wash in our budget. Even better they are letting us try it for FREE for 30 days.
4. Borrow or Rent. Tools, books, dishes for special occasions, movies, etc. If you aren't sure you need one to survive, or you are only going to use it once, don't invest in it. I had a large dinner I was putting on for 50 people and I was able to borrow dishes and tablecloths so I didn't have to buy anything. Saved me lots of money.
5. Christmas can be a stressful time for many. How to make ends meet and still fulfill obligations and expectations can cause ulcers and insomnia, in my experience. Consider the gift of time or homemade items. I was at Cabella's the other day and saw a Mason jar of tomato preserves. It was $12.95. I almost died! I have the same stuff in my basement --although my doesn't have a fancy sticker or gingham cloth--and there's no way I could pay that much for one bottle. Homemade gifts, if done well and right, can be worth more than other gifts. They take time and thought to create. The gift of time is also precious. Consider a service swap among family members--we did this in our ward a few months ago and I had a great experience and made a new friend through my service. Everyone needs something whether it's babysitting, a meal on a busy night, lawn mowed, housecleaning or whatever. It doesn't cost you anything to do and may make a great gift.
6. Always ask yourself, "Do I need it, or do I want it?" There is room for both in a budget, just make sure the needs are met first. Chances are you can live a happy life without many wants.