We all have tips and tricks for saving money. Some are becoming widespread enough that they’re almost a social movement! Consider cable. I know so many people in my social circle who have cut the cord. I also have a fair number of friends who bring their own lunch to work instead of dropping $15 on dining out. These are definitely tried and true ways to save money. For the super hardcore, I want to share some unconventional things I do to save money. I get it, they’re not for everyone but I want to show you that if you look hard enough, it’s possible to save more money.
Cut My Own Hair
Okay, this is not for the faint of heart and I definitely do NOT recommend it if you have short hair. I have thick, straight, long hair so it hides a lot of sins. I’ve been cutting my own hair for 4 years now. My hair grows pretty fast so it felt like I was constantly needing to get it trimmed. The salon I went to was mid-priced and charged $40 a cut, and I went about 4 times a year. My stylist was really good but he was sooooo slow. Every cut took forever. I got tired of paying the money and wasting so much time just sitting there.
I decided to try cutting my own hair because I figured that if something went wrong, I can always go get it fixed. So, I bought a pair of hair cutting scissors and never looked back. The first time I cut my own hair it took over an hour because I was super nervous so I went super slow. Now that I have 4 years of experience, I can be finished in 15 minutes, no joke. Not only does cutting my own hair save money, it also saves time, win-win!
Reuse Ziploc Bags
In an ideal world, I wouldn’t use any plastic storage bags but I haven’t figured out a way around it. I mainly use them for freezing extra portions of food and meats bought in bulk. My weird way to save money when it comes to Ziploc bags is to reuse them. You read that right, I reuse Ziploc bags.
Even I have my limits though. If a bag was used to store raw meat, I toss it. The possible contamination makes it more trouble than it’s worth. But, I also use the bags to store extra portions of bread and homemade dumplings. Those items don’t leave behind residue. At most, I just shake out the bread crumbs or bits of flour and reuse it again. This way, I get to save money and send fewer bags to the landfill. We have a tendency to eat food if it’s there even if we’re full.
Use Small Plates to Serve Food
Food makes up a large portion of most families’ budgets. To save on food costs, you need to buy and eat less food. It’s easier said than done but I do have a trick — I like to serve food on smaller plates. It may sound stupid to you but it works. Pay attention the next time you go to a restaurant. You’ll see that they serve food in gigantic plates and bowls and diners tend to eat up most of what they’re served.
At home, I dish up our meals on appetizer plates. It really does help us eat less food. Many people (myself included) have the tendency to eat whatever they’re served no matter the portion size. Therefore, I reduce the portion. If we’re hungry we can always get more food. But, by serving smaller portions, I find that we’re usually full by the time we’ve cleaned our plates.
Use Newspaper and Vinegar to Clean Mirrors and Windows
This is a trick that I learned from my mom. Growing up, we always used newspapers and vinegar to clean mirrors and glass instead of paper towels and Windex. I thought we were just being frugal but it turns out that newspaper actually does a really good job of cleaning and cutting out streaks.
I get my newspapers for free from the Asian grocery store I shop at. One copy is good for the entire month. Vinegar is extremely cheap and I love that it doesn’t have added coloring or extra ingredients like name-brand glass cleaners.
Cut Cotton Squares in Half
This one might be more applicable to the ladies. I go through a lot of cotton squares because I use them to take off eye makeup. It bums me out that I go through them so quickly and that they all end up in the landfill. To alleviate this, I cut each cotton in half. It doesn’t sound that much but by doing this, I double my supply of cotton squares!
It doesn’t minimize the effectiveness because I only use a small surface area of the square anyway. With an easy step, I essentially doubled my supply without increasing the cost. To look at it another way, you can say that I cut the cost of my cotton squares in half.
Turn Old Clothes and Socks Into Rags
What do you do with clothes and socks that have holes? What about towels? Instead of throwing them away, I like to cut them into squares and use them as rags. I usually use the rag pieces to mop the floor. I’ve already paid for their cost when I bought the clothes so the rags cost nothing extra. You can wash them in the washer if you wish or toss them after you’re done cleaning.
Do you have any money-saving habits that are considered weird or odd?