Monday, January 14, 2013

The 15 Changes that Save us over $13,000/Year

It's been a while since we started our debt-free journey (over 2 years).  Over time, we have cut our budget slowly but surely.  We've been doing "without" some things for so long, that I've started to forget that they were ever a part of our life.  This short, three part series will detail a few of the things we have cut, and the approximate savings each item cuts from our budget.

In total, I'll be sharing 15 changes and "cuts" that helped our family SAVE over $13,000 per year!!!!

They may not all be applicable or usable for your family, but I'm hoping that there will at least be something that is beneficial to you and your family as you creatively seek to save money and be better steward's of your money.

Here are the first 5...

#1: Haircuts

Ben has been cutting his hair for most of our marriage.  I help him out in the back where he can't always see, but he mostly does it all on his own.  He cuts his hair once a month.  At the price he used to pay (years ago), this works out to a savings of a little over $150/year.

Ben also cuts Aaron's hair.  He has been cutting it every 4-6 weeks (and he's really good at it, too!).  I trim the girls' hair now about every 3 or 4 months.  Between the three kids, cutting their hair ourselves saves us approximately $270 per year.

I just recently stopped getting highlights with my hair cuts.  I only get my hair done twice a year.  Cutting out the color portion of my appointments saves us $160/year.

#2:  No Paper Towels or Napkins

This may have been the hardest on Ben.  I really almost gave up on it, actually.  It was very hard for him to not be able to just grab a paper towel for quick clean ups or drying his hands.  He eventually adapted :)  We stopped using paper towels and began using rags and towels only.  We use cloth napkins instead of paper.  We just throw them all in with our normal load of towels laundry.  They can be used over, and over, and over again.  They are worn and ugly, but we don't care.  We figure that this saves us an average of $60/year.

#3: Make our own Hand Soap
I'm not gonna lie.  I love Bath and Body Works hand soap.  But with three littles who like to wash their hands, and guests regularly in our home, we went through a lot of it.  Bath and Body Works soap runs $3 a pop!  While it's certainly my favorite, hand made soap is far more economical.  It will run you about $2 for a little over a half gallon.  This has lasted us over a year so far, and we still have more.  I really don't like the texture of it all that much, and I do wish that it bubbled more (something about bubbling makes me think it's really cleaning), but for $2 a year, I'll keep with it!  Making our own soap saves us about $70/year.

#4: Make our own Granola Bars.

We began making our own granola bars over a year ago.  My entire family loves them.  We change up the ingredients every so often, and always enjoy the different tastes.  My best estimate is that we save around $70-$80/year making our own bars.  We eat more of them, but they are cheaper to make :)

#5:  Make our own Cleaners.

This is our newest change, and so I don't have much feed back yet (though I've heard many a person rave about this exact method, so I'm sure it'll be great).  We bought oranges last week for snacks.  We saved the peels, and stuffed them into jars. Once full of peels, we filled it with vinegar.  You can buy two large jugs (I'm assuming they're gallon sized) from Costco for just $3.49.  Shake every couple days, but let it soak for two weeks.  Pour 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water (or even a little more heavy on the vinegar if you want) into a spray bottle to use.  To use on windows, add a drop or two of dawn dish soap to the mixture.  Seeing as a bottle of all-purpose cleaner will run you about the same price as those two huge jugs of vinegar, and assuming we go through one bottle a month, we will easily save $38 using homemade cleaner.

Total savings from #1-#5: $818/year!

Do you do any of these things?  Do you find a huge savings from them, as well?  Leave a comment below!

Find Part 2 HERE, and Part 3 HERE.

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