Hey guys! I’m excited to share some tips with you today for how to save money by doing something pretty simple: not wasting it. But first, some thoughts on money. If you read Home Made Modern regularly, you know I’m a bit of tightwad. Some people like to say, “frugal,” or “thrifty,” but really…I’m just cheap. It’s a personality-trait of mine that I’m not always proud of because being miserly is the exact opposite of being generous. So if I watch our bottom line too closely, I must be selfish, right? I struggle with that. We tithe at church, which I think is super-important, and I do think I’m very charitable with my time. But when it comes to money, I’m definitely more stingy. Can any of you relate?
My miserly ways, however, do have some benefits. I keep our household–and our business–in the black by finding ways to save money, and it teaches our kids not to be wasteful consumers, and to appreciate what we have. I am proud of those things.
And sometimes, I get on my high horse and take the stance that mindless spending is just stupid. Who would pay more when you can pay less? That’s the attitude I’m taking today by sharing this list of things that I see as a complete waste of money.
Greeting Cards–Yeah, you gotta send ’em. But between birthdays, graduations, sympathy, and thank you cards, you could spend a small fortune! I’m sorry, but I’m not paying $5.29 for a piece of cardstock that will get thrown away. At least not for things like kids’ birthday parties. Solution: Every store has a 99-cent section of cards, so I look for those, and I also buy them in bulk at the dollar store.
Goody Bags–What happened to the good ol’ days when kids used to go to a birthday party and were happy getting a piece of cake and maybe a balloon out of the deal. Sheesh. Goody bags are full of junk and are a complete waste of money. Solution: I don’t do ’em. And I don’t think anyone cares.
Party Supplies–Party supply stores are kinda pricey, in my opinion. They do have a better selection, though. Solution: Buy the paper plates and napkins, streamers, and whatever else I can find at the dollar store, and supplement themed elements with stuff from the party store.
Cheap Dog Toys–Our dog, Leo, destroys dog toys. In my typical fashion, I was buying the cheapest ones I could find until I got smart and realized I was actually spending more than if I invested in the good ones, which actually last. Solution: Buy Kong brand toys; they’re the only ones our dog can’t annihilate in one afternoon.
Shipping–I used to never shop online because I hated paying shipping. Now, I do almost all of my Christmas and birthday shopping online and almost never pay shipping. Solution: We subscribe to Amazon Prime, which pays off in shipping costs, and I always Google “promo codes” or “coupon codes” plus the store name before checking out online for free shipping or other discounts.
Groceries–This is a big one, guys. There’s all kinds of advice out there on how to save money on groceries and most people agree that limiting your trips, going with a list, and buying in bulk will help you spend less. All of that’s true. I spend about half what my friends do on food for our family, and they all ask how I do it. Solution: Shop at Aldi. You’ve heard this before, but have been resisting, right? Why? Aldi rocks! Their produce is amazing, and they have imported stuff that is downright delicious. Plus I save big on staples like spices, toilet paper, baking ingredients, bread, cereal and milk. I used to do about 60% of our shopping at Aldi, but now it’s up to about 85%. I feed our family of four for about $400 per month.
Bottled Water–This is the biggest racket in the world to me. Sure, there are occasions when you have to pay for a bottle of water, but in most cases there are ways around this. Solution: Fill bottles with water before leaving home, and if you’re out and about and want more, find this really cool invention called a drinking fountain.
Lottery Tickets–This is just the definition of crazy to me. Enough said.
Vitamins–Unless my doctor says I really need a vitamin for a special reason–such as during my pregnancies–I don’t see a need for a multi-vitamin. Solution: Get my vitamins from food! Duh.
ATM Fees–What a ripoff! Why would I pay the bank to access my own money? I wouldn’t, actually. Solution: Use debit whenever possible, or plan ahead when I know I need cash so I can get it from my bank’s own ATM. I sometimes will get cash back at the store if I’m already there making a purchase.
So what would you add to this list as a complete waste of money?