Are you ready to learn how to save money, during these tough, inflationary times? It’s time to improve your skill set!
Many of the practical, everyday skills that our mothers and grandmothers used to save money have disappeared right along with landlines and the yellow pages.
However, the secret to saving money in today’s economy isn’t much different than it was in our parent’s day. I’m talking about doing things for yourself.
Learning to repair, redo and reconstruct everything from our cars to our cellphones to the clothes in our closets, will save you big money in the long run! Let’s take a look at some of these skills that need to make a comeback!
Learn How to Cook from Scratch
If you want to learn how to save money and see quick results, break out the cookbook and start cooking from scratch!
Cooking from scratch has a bad rap and that’s too bad. The good news is that it’s making a huge comeback!
First, it’s not as difficult as people over the years have made it to be! With less than 5 ingredients, you can make homemade biscuits or pancakes!
Next, scratch ingredients are cheap!! Finally, and most important to me is that you know exactly what’s in your food! No preservatives, dyes or chemicals.
Learn How to Change Your Oil
Here’s how you know that you’re from a long lineage of “nutty” frugal people.
When I got my first car as a teenager, my dad came home one day with a “gift” for me….
A set of car ramps and a case of oil.
Dad knew how to save money like no other. He taught my sister and I how to take care of our cars and to save money by changing our own fluids. In his mind, it was a disgrace to hire someone to do something that you could do for yourself.
Yep, the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree.
If your dad didn’t teach you how to change your oil, thank goodness for YouTube. You’ll save a ton of money and pass the skill on to your kids, so they can be “nutty” and frugal, too!
Wash Your Car at Home
Trends come and go over the years, but one trend that has completely boggled my mind is the popularity of high-end car washes.
Here in Ohio, it can cost around $17 to run your car through the car wash!
Deluxe car washes are big business! They even sell “memberships” for a monthly fee (that you soon forget about) so you can wash your car as many times as you want each month!
Now, I understand that you get all of the bells and whistles for that kind of money, but do you really need them? I mean, we’re talking about removing dirt from your vehicle. I’m pretty sure this can be accomplished with a bucket of soapy water (using this spot free car wash) and a hose, at least the last time I checked.
Cut Your Own Hair
As teenagers, my sister and I were always cutting and coloring each other’s hair. Not only did it save money, but it was sort of a female bonding thing.
In my professional years, I still colored my own hair but had my hair cut at a salon. My “look” was important to me at that time, given that I was meeting with clients every day.
Once I had children, I watched videos and purchased my first Wahl hair trimmer.
Although I had no real training as a hairdresser, I found that with some practice, I could trim my daughter’s hair and even cut my boy’s hair.
Over the years, I’ve saved thousands of dollars! Dollars that went to paying down debt, savings and investments.
Fast forward to now, I wear my (uncolored) hair in a pixie and trim it most of the time myself. I will go to the salon a few times a year for a “clean-up” cut.
Give yourself a chance to practice and learn to cut your family’s hair. Remember, it’s just hair. It grows back.
Grow Some of Your Own Food
I don’t need to tell you how expensive food is right now, with inflation in our midst.
Good quality, health-promoting food is even more expensive! Want to know how to save money on your food?
Here’s what the “nutty” folks know….it’s not that hard to grow some of your own food at home! For pennies!
If you’ve never had sprouts, you don’t know what you’re missing! You can sprout just about any kind of seed, right on your counter! No special skills needed, just read the directions and you will have a nutritional powerhouse right at your fingertips.
With a couple of 5-gallon buckets, you can grow some of your own vegetables right on your porch or patio!
Once again, we “frugal nuts” know that there’s always a cheaper (and better) way to do just about everything!
Change or Clean Your Furnace Filter Every Month
Frugal people know that one of the best ways to save money is to keep what you already own in good working order!
Hence, the furnace.
The harder your furnace has to work to push air through your home, the more electricity it’s going to use. It only makes good sense to keep your furnace filter clean so that the furnace can do it’s job.
Hardcore “frugal nuts” go for the washable aluminum furnace filter! I take mine out once a month, hose it off, let it dry and put it back. My washable furnace filter has paid for itself many times over.
Hang Your Clothes Out to Dry
Want to know how to save big money on your electric bills? Maybe even save money on clothing?
Hang your clothes out to dry on a clothesline.
Did you know that most of the world still uses some form of clothesline? The grid infrastructure simply doesn’t exist to supply 220 volts of power to every home, even if they could afford a clothes dryer.
I find that I save a ton of money by hanging my clothes out to dry, but I also extend the life of my clothes. You know that lint trap you clean out after every load? That’s your clothes, in little pieces.
If an outdoor clothesline isn’t an option for you, you can still save money with an indoor clothesline.
Learn How to Save Money by Planning Meals for a Week
If you want to learn how to save money on your food bill, you must put together a simple meal plan.
At the end of a long day, when we’re tired and hungry, it’s easy to order a pizza or pick something up in the drive-thru or worse yet, go out to eat (when it wasn’t previously budgeted for)!
“Frugal nuts” do not let this happen. They plan their week, down to what they’ll eat each day.
It isn’t difficult or time-consuming to make a meal plan. It’s just a matter of writing down a 7-day plan for 21 meals.
How to Save Money by Eliminating Food Waste
“Frugal nuts” never waste food.
We’re weird that way.
I’m one of those moms who inventories the refrigerator every morning to see what needs to be consumed that day before it goes bad. Many times, I will be the one to eat the leftovers, I actually like them. But I can’t eat them all.
Therefore, it sometimes becomes necessary to sneak items into lunchboxes, serve them up for snacks after school or serve them up for dinner (again). One way or another, someone or something (a great reason to have chickens!) will eat all of our leftovers.
Learn Basic Sewing and Mending Skills
A few years ago, I enjoyed a trip to the British Isles for a castle tour. During my trip, I learned a great deal about the Royal family.
Contrary to what you might think, the Queen is quite frugal.
One story that stood out to me was that when King Charles (then Prince Charles) purchased a new suit, he would always order extra fabric to allow for mending and repairs. Buying better quality clothing and taking care of it, so that it will last longer is a primary “frugal nut” principle!
Sewing and mending skills have gone by the wayside in the last couple of generations in this country, but I have noticed that Generation Y and Z are picking up thread and needles again! Upcycling clothing is a huge trend and making the clothes you already have last longer will definitely save you money!
Repurpose and Recycle
You know that you’re frugal when…
-You buy an item not only because you use it, but you want the jar or packaging it comes in for another purpose.
-You refuse to buy produce that comes in those silly clamshell plastic containers, because they serve no other purpose.
-You buy a piece of clothing at a garage sale because you like the fabric, only to come home and make something else from it.
-You made your own grocery bags.
-You buy items with multiple uses, like baskets.
-Your favorite place to shop is the thrift store.
Learning and practicing the habits of repurposing and recycling will save you so much money! Rather than heading to the store when you need to solve a problem, look around at what you already have on hand.
Can you empty out a storage box and use it for what you need? Maybe there’s something in the garage or the junk drawer you can use to solve your problem, rather than jumping on the Amazon app to order something.
Use the “24-hour Rule“
It would be interesting to know how much money the “24-hour rule” has saved me over the years…certainly thousands.
The premise is that whenever you see something that you want to buy, regardless of whether it’s a great deal, that you wait a full 24 hours before making a decision.
Retailers depend upon “impulse” buying, that’s why there are so many items at the ends of the isles and at the checkout. Don’t give into it!
This is especially effective if you find yourself at a store, you simply leave without the item. 9 times out of 10, you won’t think to go back for it.
However, if you’re online, close the window completely and wait for 24 hours.
While you’re waiting, ask yourself these questions:
-Do I really need this item?
-How many times will I really use it?
-Where will I store it?
-Can I sell it later and recover the cost?
-Can I afford to pay cash for it?
Once again, most of the time you won’t bother to buy the item.
Save Up for Something
When I was a kid, earning money by mowing lawns, I was often “saving up for something”. It might be a bike or a toy, but I was regularly squirreling away money for items I couldn’t afford at the moment.
Today, we would call this “delayed gratification” and I still use this principle in my life.
Many “frugal nuts” like the envelope system, where you put cash into various envelopes for items you’re saving for. The envelopes don’t have to be fancy, most of the time mine are plain white envelopes.
Years ago, I saved up for a refrigerator. The one we had was really old and not very energy-efficient, it was just a matter of time before it died. So I started saving for a new one.
I saved for over a year, pinching pennies here and there so that I could stuff my “envelope”. This time also allowed me to research the kind of refrigerator that I wanted. It felt great to walk into the store and pay cash for my new refrigerator.
Most commodities depreciate very quickly after purchase: cars, clothing, computers and phones.
So the question becomes do you want to pay full-price for a brand new item? Or would you rather pay 25-50% of the price (or less!) for an item that still has most of it’s life left?
I would much rather pay pennies on the dollar for a depreciating asset, it’s only going to depreciate more!
Buy what you need used, and forego all the bells and whistles of retail.
Get Rid of Paper Products
This may come as a shock but you don’t need most paper products. Even more shocking, in my mind, is how expensive paper products are! I’m a firm believer that you should spend your food dollars on food, not paper.
I’ll give you toilet paper, but beyond that, there are cheaper and more sustainable choices for every other paper product.
There are very few occasions that warrant paper plates. Use the real ones, folks.
Paper napkins can be easily replaced with cloth ones, you can make or buy them. Just throw them in the wash with the rest of your laundry.
Gift wrap is another unnecessary (and toxic) item, buy or make cloth gift bags that you can re-use forever.
Create a Working Pantry
Buying a little bit of extra food when you have the money or see a good sale is a great way to build a working pantry for yourself and your family.
Having a well-stocked pantry will eliminate the need to go to the store as frequently! You’ll also have plenty of food in the house in case of a storm emergency when you can’t get out on the roads.
Take some time to learn these skills, even one at a time if necessary! With time, you’ll learn new skills and save a ton of money!