A lot of us are trying to save money, especially if we’re saving up to buy another investment property! Obviously, big changes make a big difference. But at some point, you run out of big things to change – enter the slow and steady tactics. We’ve found a lot of little changes over time, can really add up. It’s even easier to use these ways to save money because you’re not having to cut back on anything.
Here are 9 weird ways to save money:
1. Use the bathroom when out
By out, we mean at the grocery, hardware store, mall, etc. It saves on water and toilet paper! Some live by “if it’s yellow, let it mellow… it’s not something we’re fans of because we worry someone will drop by and we won’t remember to flush before they use the bathroom.
2. Collect Kitchen Water
During the summer, we keep a bucket in our kitchen sink to save the water. We use this water for our garden and our compost. Don’t worry if there is some dish soap, it is diluted enough it won’t harm the plants or compost. If the water has a lot of food bits, we recommend using it in a rodent proof composter or digester.
3. Shower together
Now this could end up using more water if you get distracted (wink) but if you can stick to business, you can save on water, reduce time needed to get ready and connect with your partner all at the same time! We call these Business Showers.
4. Wear clothes more than once
On the topic of cleanliness, wearing clothes more than once can cut down on the frequency you use your washer and dryer. Everyone’s tolerance for this is a little different but generally we can wear pants or over layers like sweaters more than once.
5. Lend a hand instead of gifting material things
How this is received may depend on how a person shows love. It really depends on how you show love. The 5 languages of love is a theory by Gary Chapman that outlines 5 ways people show love and feel loved. Helping others is one way that we show love. We still buy gifts for people, but also jump on the chance to lend a hand if we can. Let us be clear, we genuinely enjoy helping others… saving money is not the motivation but is a fringe benefit of giving the gift of service.
6. Make donations directly to charities
While there are a few reasons we choose to donate directly, one of the bonuses of this choice is being able to claim the tax write off. That’s not to say we don’t ever donate in other ways but our preference is to donate directly to charities. If your budget isn’t at a point that you can financially donate, this is another area that giving time can be beneficial.
7. Save receipts
Many stores will give you a price adjustment if items you purchased go on sale within their return policy timeframe – Costco is especially amenable to this. We used to get rid of receipts once they were accounted for in our budget. Now, we keep an envelope for receipts we might need for price adjustments and purge it periodically.
8. Buy second hand/find items for free
This is one of the fairly common ways to save money but we wanted to mention it because it is AMAZING what you can find second hand and for free! We talked about it in our post on how we saved over $2000 on our backyard makeover. While it can require some patience, buying second hand or finding items for free is one of the easiest ways to save money.
9. Dollar Cost Average your gas purchases
Dollar Cost Averaging is great for budgeting and when gas prices are fluctuating. This concept is popular with some investors for buying stocks. To make this work, pick 1 day every week that you will get gas, then divide your monthly gas budget by 4 (the number of days you will be stopping for gas each month). In theory, this will average out the price you pay for gas. For a really detailed math example, check out this post. While you won’t always get the lowest price, you also won’t get stuck filling your tank at the highest price. Another way of thinking about this, as Early Retirement Extreme so eloquently explains it, “you get more of the cheap gas when prices are down… [and] less of the expensive gas.”
None of these ways to save money are going to make you rich. They are small changes that will keep a few extra bucks in your pocket each month.
What are some weird ways you save money? Let us know in the comments!
-Denise and Sean