There is an English proverb that is the motto of the penny-pincher, "Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves." The penny-pincher is just as concerned with the small savings as the large ones, because savings will add up. Saving money is saving money, so start on the path to truly frugal living by making every single saving possible. Here are a few ways to start really looking after the pennies, or should I say, cents.
TUTORIAL: Budgeting Basics
Do you, or the ladies around you, often get runs in their nylons? Not only does it just look bad, it's also annoying because every run makes that pair useless. If you get a run in one pair a week, that's $8 down the drain, every time. Over the course of a year, that's almost $400. (For related reading, see Top 6 Unusual Money-Saving Tips.)
Did you know that if you put your nylons in the freezer it will extend their life substantially? Go and put them in now, there are dollars to be saved.
If your family or visitors are using your toilet paper like it's going out of fashion, before you use it, give the roll a good squash to flatten it. This will ensure that the roll doesn't spin on the dispenser when pulled and will save both your purse and the environment. An average family spends $140 a year on toilet paper, so even if you can shave a third off this figure with this trick, that's a saving of $47 a year.
By turning down your thermostat just two degrees you can save thousands on your heating bill. For each degree you turn down the thermostat in the winter, you'll save 5% on your heating costs. Even with the cost of a new thick sweater you'll see a large savings.
Do you cook with ground meat? Meatballs, bolognese or chili dishes are good family favorites. A good trick to make your ground meat go further, and to save money on these dishes, is to add oats to the meat; it'll go twice as far! The oats soak up all the juices and flavorings, so it's tasty too. Over the course of a year this could save you $100.
Penny-pinchers like putting things in their freezers it seems. Did you know that candles burn for longer if you have frozen them first? Get your money's worth out of candles by giving them the cold shoulder before burning. Popular scented candles can be $20 or $30, so it would be financially worth extending their lifetime.
Birthdays and special occasions come around all the time and greeting cards and wrapping paper can be expensive, but don't despair. The super-scrimper knows that wrapping paper can be reused. This isn't "cheap," it's economical recycling. Sheets of nice wrapping paper can cost as much as $2 to $3. When given a gift, delicately unwrap it. This will have the additional bonus of seeming like you are taking pleasure in unwrapping the generous and well considered gift from your friend. If, at a later moment, you then iron the sheet of paper, you will find that any remaining tape will peel clean off and you have a fresh sheet, as good as new. (For related reading, see Be A Holiday Saver, Not A Scrooge.)
Penny-Pinching - A Step Too Far?
So are these strategies too extreme? If you are trying to save money then surely any savings possible should be embraced?
TUTORIAL: Maintaining Your Budget
The Bottom Line
These tips will cause you to start considering where you spend every cent of your paycheck, which can only be a positive outcome on the road to financial freedom.