Stop Throwing Things Away
One thing I noticed when I looked at our spending is that we spent a ton of money on things that just got thrown away. I've already talked about how you can save money by using dryer balls instead of dryer sheets and turn trash into toys for your little ones, but there are lots of other ways to save.
1) Kitchen Supplies
Let's be honest. Paper plates and paper bowls are a great invention, especially for people like me who hate doing dishes. Heck, I've thought about throwing away my regular plates instead of washing them sometimes! Paper dishes fall under the category of "lazy tax." If I had extra money, I would definitely pay for things like this so that I didn't have to work quite as hard. (Also, hiring someone to clean my house falls into that category, and you know I would be ALL OVER THAT if I could afford it.)
Sadly, though, we don't buy paper plates or bowls anymore, and I've even switched to cloth napkins. I mainly use kitchen towels instead of paper towels, too, although I do keep some disposable paper towels around for cleaning up things I'd rather just throw away (like bugs) or things that are hard to clean out of a towel (like shea butter).
2) Air Filters
Did you know they made reusable air filters? Me neither, until my genius husband suggested it! This was great news, because we change our air filters pretty frequently. See, our return vent is in the hallway floor, so in addition to the normal dust, ours collects a fair amount of dirt, a few leaves, and the occasional magnet letter from the fridge.
We have two reusable air filters for our heating/air conditioning unit, and when one is dirty, Brian replaces it with a clean one and then washes the dirty one with a hose. So easy! Plus, they get changed much more frequently than if we are waiting for me to remember to pick one up while I'm out!
I feel like rechargeable batteries are kind of retro. I remember when they first came out. I was a kid, and they were so awesome. But now, it seems like you see them less and less. They are still awesome though, and they have apparently improved quite a bit, because they definitely work better than the ones I had when I was a kid.
A few months ago, I finally bit the bullet and bought some. They cost a bit more, which is why I'd been putting it off, but it has already started to save us money! I got a couple of packs of AA and AAA, and a charger that works for both sizes.
Between just our cameras, the video camera, the remotes, and the baby monitor, we use quite a few batteries each month. Just make sure you have enough so that some can be charging while you put new ones in.
Cloth diapers are another huge money saver.
I am not going to go into tons of detail, because they really deserve a post of their own, but the average family spends about $1,000 per year to diaper one child. I have spent about $200 on diapers in over a year. Pretty cool.
Brian also switched to an old-school razor instead of disposables, because the kind he was using cost as much as like, all my makeup and hair care products combined. This one is similar to the one he uses now, and it costs as much as one disposable package used to.
Then he just bought a shaving brush
and a box of blades like this.
A box this size lasts 2-3 years, he says. Pretty cool.
And he gets shaving soap at Walmart for like, $3 in the men's shaving section. So much cheaper! You can also find shaving kits online that might sell some of this cheaper, or more expensively. There are lots of options.
I love Clorox wipes and Swiffer wipes and Magic Erasers and all those other amazing cleaning innovations, but again, you are paying a lot extra for things that just get thrown away. A bottle of homemade all-purpose spray and a towel does just as good a job as a Clorox wipe, and it costs less than a cent per use. In some cases, you might have to use a little more elbow grease, but that's part of the trade off.
Go through your house, and especially your kitchen, and think about how much you are paying for disposable packaging.
Take those squeezable fruit pouches that all the kids are eating nowadays, for example: Yes, they're convenient, but they're extremely wasteful with so much packaging, and you're paying so much more for the same applesauce you could buy in a large container for way cheaper!
You can buy reusable squeeze pouches,
Hopefully, this gives you some ideas of things you can reuse or do without to save a little cash. I just pay attention to things around my house that are disposable, and ask myself if there is a reusable alternative. It's also better for the environment, which is an awesome bonus.
Read How to Be Awesome at Saving Money: Part One
Read How to Be Awesome at Saving Money: Part Two