1. Swap Disposable Paper Towels for Reusable Cloths. Swapping disposable paper towels for reusable cleaning cloths is an easy way to save money. If you keep a large stash of cleaning cloths on-hand you’ll barely notice the difference. Simply toss them in the wash along with your towels and you’ll always have a stash that’s ready to handle almost any mess.
2. Swap fast food for homemade convenience meals. The key to preventing yourself from running to fast food as a dinner option is to keep a stash of ready-to-go meals in the freezer; make it even easier to eat from your freezer than to order fast food. Focus on creating a stash of freezer meals that simply require you to transfer them from the freezer directly to the oven. Or, if lunch-time-takeout is your budgeting nemesis, focus on stocking your freezer with homemade microwavable meals like these or these. I have a free printable grocery list if you’re hoping to save money on groceries.
3. Swap store-bought cleaning products for homemade solutions. It may come as a surprise to see just how simple and inexpensive it is to make your own cleaning solutions. You likely have many of the items already needed that most recipes require such as vinegar, baking soda or rubbing alcohol. If you don’t like a recipe you try, don’t swear off of homemade cleaning products forever – just move onto a different recipe until you find something that works for you. I cleaned my drip pans (one of the toughest jobs in the kitchen) with a homemade solution of baking soda and dish soap and I was quite happy with the results.
4. Swap contract phones for low-fee plans. The allure of getting a shiny, new smart phone at a discount can be enough to make you sign a contract that you don’t need (it has happened to me). However, if you’re willing to pay cash for a less expensive phone, you can slash your $100+ per month contract phone bill in half. Several companies offer cellphone service with unlimited plans at $50 or less per month. This way you can still get all the functionality of a smart phone with the added bonus of an instant 50% discount each month.
5. Swap body wash for bar soap. As much as I love body wash, I consider it to be a huge money-waster. While both tend to provide a similar number of uses, bar soap can cost less than $1 for a pack of three to four bars for the low-end and store brands. Body wash, however, can typically cost $3.50 to $5 for just one bottle. So, your cost-per-use is automatically lower when using an inexpensive bar of soap vs. an inexpensive body wash.
What did you wish you would’ve known when you began your frugal journey? If you have any money saving tips for beginners, please share them below in the comments.