I am all about saving money! I have taken a few steps, like building my own furniture, making laundry and dishwasher soap by hand, and getting rid of cable, to lower my monthly spending. I still have a lot to learn, but there are some quick tips I can give you to help put you on the right track.
1. Cut your dish soap in half. Simple enough, this tip doubles the life of your dish soap. I am a dish soap snob. I LOVE Mrs. Meyers and I won't buy anything else. I love the way it cleans, the way it smells and the way it makes my hands feel. I don't really love that each bottle costs $4.00, which in the scheme of things isn't a ton, but it adds up. I have a really simple way to stretch that even further. When I buy a bottle, I empty half of it into the old bottle, and fill both with water. Shake it up and there ya go. Your $4 now goes twice as far :) (Told you these were easy!)
2. Make a plan. We find we spend 40% less on groceries if we have a plan. We used to go to the store, buy what sounded good and spend way more on groceries than two people really should. We started making a plan, a menu, before going shopping. And we make a shopping list. We put extra things on the list, like snacks or fruit, but we really try not to stray from the list. Making a list also keeps us from buying multiples of things we already have. It also helps us plan to use any left overs we might have. For example, we will make tacos on Wednesday with ground beef, beans and Rotel. Then Thursday, we have the base of our chili, only needing to add kidney beans and diced tomatoes (and maybe a little seasoning). Then Friday, we have Chili dogs! One meat for 3 meals. If you don't like three similar meals in a row, spread it out. It has saved us a ton!
3. Buy whats on sale, and freeze it. I am not a couponer. It takes too much time, and I find the deals aren't that great unless you buy 50 things of toothpaste, and I refuse to buy a million of something just because it is on sale. But when I am shopping and I notice something we eat often on a really good sale, I buy it up! For example, this whole month, Jennie O Turkey Hot Dogs have been on sale for 10 for $10. I didn't buy 10, but for turkey dogs, $1 is a GREAT deal! Another example is buy one get one free ground beef. We always eat ground beef, so buy it and freeze it! We even got the super lean ground beef bogo.
4. Clean out your pantry! If you are like the old me, you hoard "non-perishable" foods. We had a whole pantry full of soups and hamburger helper we were never going to eat! We decided to go through everything and donated everything we weren't going to eat to the Food Bank. We gave them two large boxes of food! Each month since, we go through the pantry and do the same. It keeps us aware of what is in there so we remember to use it before we toss it. And if it's been in there more than two months, it goes in the box.
5. Cook for the family you have. I grew up in a family of 6 so all of my recipes feed 6 people. Andy and I would always either overeat, or save the left overs to just rediscover them in the freezer months later, not sure what it was to begin with. We have learned to cook for 2 and only save left overs if we are really going to eat it. If it's still in there when we do our menu for the next week, we either eat it, freeze it or toss it.
I hope these tips help you save some money! Please share your tips in the comments!