5 Strange Things I Do to Save Money

I'll try just about anything to save a buck! I tried these 5 peculiar things a while ago and now I do them religiously... all in the name of saving money!

I was just thinking recently about how most people find it really strange when I tell them about some of the things I do to try to save my family money.  Is it really so strange to make products yourself or to give up a half hour of your life each week in the name of keeping a little cash in your bank account?

It seems like most people would say yes.  Not me, though.  I’m trying to stay frugal, which means I’ll take any opportunity I can get to save money!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, check out my disclaimer.

Here are just 5 of the weird (and apparently unusual) things I do to save a buck:

1. Homemade Cleaning Products

I’ve read all over the interweb that making that making laundry detergent yourself really doesn’t save you any money, but I have been doing it for years and I adamantly disagree with those looneys!

My detergent costs just under $25 to make and lasts me about 4 months (it used to last me just over 6 months before Bee was born!).  I used to spend a lot more than that on 4 months of detergent back when I bought it pre-made!

I also make my own carpet shampoo concentrate. A gallon costs me less than a dollar (depending on what products I use) and works JUST AS WELL as any of the stuff I’ve bought at the store.

2. Cut Dryer Sheets in Half

This one I learned from my mom growing up and was so excited to stop doing when I moved out of her house!  I felt so cool throwing my ENTIRE dryer sheet into the dryer every single time I did laundry!  But now that I’m not working, it’s hard to rationalize continuing this practice.

I’ve never had a single issue with using half a fabric softener sheet instead of a whole one.  My clothes don’t come out super staticky or anything.  And by turning one sheet into two sheets, I’m doubling how many sheets are in that $2.97 box.

3. Money Making Apps, People!!

I’m a HUGE supporter of the rebate app movement.  It’s even gotten to a point where I’ll mail a rebate in just to get a couple bucks back!

My favorite app is Ibotta (and they’ll give you $10 free for signing up if you use this link!), but I also use Checkout 51.  I tried Mobie Save and wasn’t impressed with their rebate selection, but they do send the money straight to your PayPal account, so that’s a plus. A downside to Ibotta is that you have to wait until you’ve reached $20 to cash out your money.

I’m a big fan of the Wal-Mart Savings Catcher, too.  I’ve been told that people who live and shop in smaller towns don’t get much out of this, but I live just outside of and do all my shopping in a large metropolitan area.  So when I scan a receipt into the Savings Catcher, Wal-Mart sees all 20-something of it’s competitors in my area and compares the prices I paid to what the other stores are offering.  If I paid more than I would have at Target, I get the difference back from Wal-Mart.

Then there’s Receipt Hog.  It doesn’t pay you huge amounts of money, but I have over $10 on there and all I had to do to earn it was take a picture of my receipt after shopping trips.  It’s way easy and I might as well do something with my receipts before throwing them away, right?

4. Grocery Price Spreadsheets

Speaking of doing things with receipts prior to tossing them into the garbage can, I also keep track of what my groceries cost at various stores.  Right now I only keep tabs on Wal-Mart, Albertsons and Winco (because they are the only places I really ever shop), but it’s come in handy multiple times!

I used to try to memorize which place had the cheapest gallon of milk or where I could buy the lowest priced Windex, but now all I have to do is open up my handy dandy spreadsheet and take a look.

It is time consuming… I double check the prices in my spreadsheet after every trip to one of those stores.  Prices are always changing, so I try to keep up with them.  I’m positive it’s saved me money, though, because it allows me to plan out a shopping trip where I hit all three stores and only purchase what I know will be cheapest there.

You can get a copy of my spreadsheets here!

5. Homemade Coffee Creamer

I started dabbling with this last fall.  I haven’t found a good recipe for the french vanilla dairy creamer Hubby loves to use, but I came up with a great substitute for the chocolate powdered creamer he uses daily!

The Coffee Mate version is about $4 for 22 ounces.  I can make my version for *roughly* $1.75 for those same 22 ounces!  Hubby goes through about 22 ounces every week, so cutting the creamer price by over half helps a LOT.

So, there you have it.  5 things I’m always doing to save money!

Do you do anything odd or unusual to save a buck?  Lemme know!

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16 thoughts on “5 Strange Things I Do to Save Money

  • August 2 at 4:28 pm
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    The dryer sheet one made me laugh! I rip napkins in half. There’s usually no need to use an entire one!
    TenThousandHourMama.com

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    • August 2 at 4:38 pm
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      Great idea! You’re right! My husband is going to think I’ve lost my mind the first time I hand him half a napkin!!

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  • August 2 at 10:19 pm
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    Great ideas to save money! The homemade coffee creamer would be perfect to me as I am a huge fan of coffee!

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    • August 2 at 10:24 pm
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      Thanks! I definitely need to get that recipe on here! It’s so great and my husband swears it tastes just like the Coffee Mate creamer he used to use!

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  • August 2 at 11:05 pm
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    This is a great list of ways to save money. I like the idea of making your own coffee creamer. The grocery spreadsheet is my favorite idea.

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    • August 3 at 12:13 am
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      Ya know, I have been trying to come up with a freebie I could offer people who sign up for my newsletter and I didn’t even think about offering that until I wrote this article! I think I need to start fine tuning it so I can share it with anyone who subscribes!
      Thanks for visiting, Crystal!

      Reply
  • August 3 at 11:46 pm
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    Great tips to save money. It’s so nice to know that DIY could really save some bucks. I want to try making the creamer since I’m a coffee addict that needs her creamers.

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    • August 4 at 2:39 am
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      You and my husband both! Next time I make it, I’ll share the recipe on here!

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  • August 7 at 4:23 pm
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    Definitely, a great way to save some bucks in today’s hard world. I am going to try Coffee creamer, dryer sheets for sure. 🙂

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    • September 15 at 8:13 pm
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      Good thinking! I’ve heard about that and I use vinegar all the time for cleaning, but I haven’t tried using it in place of Windex yet!

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  • September 26 at 2:11 pm
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    Great tips, I really need to make my own creamer, I’m so cheap I just started drinking my coffee black and I miss my yummy creamer.
    About 6 months ago I used my very last roll of paper towels (actually, that’s a lie, I use them now to make my own baby wipes). I bought a bunch of micro-fiber cloths in different colors and use them all over the house for cleaning. One color for the bathroom, one for the kitchen, one for everywhere else. I don’t miss having to buy all those paper towels, I can just throw the cloths in the washer with everything else.
    Thank you for sharing your tips! Way to go on your money saving.

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    • September 26 at 2:36 pm
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      Great idea, Cara! I’ve tried doing that, too. I’m not going to lie, I still buy paper towels. Just not as much as I used to. We’ve definitely cut back on them, but I just can’t bring myself to completely kick the habit!

      Reply

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