I love finding ways to save money. Not because I want to live an ascetic lifestyle, but so I can budget my money in alignment with my values. As an example, I bought tickets to an upcoming Liz Phair show for myself and my two oldest daughters. Experiences and making memories gives me more happiness than a lot of other expenditures. (This GenX girl is very excited about seeing an artist I discovered as an angsty 17 year old!)
Here are five things I did last week to save money:
I used A.I. to create a meal plan using ingredients in my fridge.
As I mentioned recently, I’m determined to save money on groceries by avoiding food waste. Love it or hate it, A.I. is here to stay. I decided to make it my friend so I could save a little time and money. I typed the ingredients I had on hand and asked it to create a meal plan with recipes, and within seconds, it did. (I found myself saying “please” when I first began using AI. Maybe it will remember I’m a nice person when it takes over the world? Ha!)
Not only did this save me time Googling for recipes, it also saved me money because I didn’t shop for more ingredients.
I bought a 6-month supply of kitty litter for under $8
Our found feral kitty is 3 now, and he’s a frugal pet for sure. All told he’s cost me less than $10 a month (I use Mint to track my spending, and the “pets” category tells me this info).
I use pine pellets for litter. The cheapest clumping clay kitty litter would cost me $10/month. One 40 pound bag of pine pellets from the local tractor supply is less than $8, lasts me six months, and it controls odors better!
It doesn’t clump, but rather falls apart when wet, so I use an old plastic cup to scoop it out when soiled. That takes a little getting used to, but otherwise it’s a superior solution in my book.
I used shoe glue to repair two pairs of kid shoes.
I had a few pairs of kid shoes that just needed a bit of glue to get them looking great again.
I used a little bit of shoe glue (affiliate link) to fix them. I’ll probably be able to repair another dozen pairs, at least, with the remaining glue. A $10 tube of shoe glue to salvage 10-15 pairs of shoes? That’s a bargain.
I sold a bunch of random stuff on Facebook Marketplace.
I love the ease (and no fees!) of Marketplace. I like making a few extra bucks this way, without the hassle of a yard sale. I also like keeping perfectly usable things out of landfills. It takes me a couple of minutes to snap a few pictures and then a few more minutes to communicate with the potential buyers.
I had to give up coffee because of my heart symptoms (and I’m feeling and sleeping so much better! This probably needs to be its own post), so I sold my beloved Nespresso machine. I might have wept a little. That thing saved me thousands of dollars by keeping me out of coffee shops.
I exercised at home instead of renewing my gym membership.
During the pandemic, I had a membership at a local gym. It was reasonable – $10 a month – and was in a location that, at the time, was extremely convenient. I faithfully went three times a week to lift weights, and loved it.
But when my membership expired last October, I decided to exercise at home. I bought a new stationary exercise bike (on Facebook Marketplace, where else?) dirt cheap, and I’ve used it faithfully ever since. I much prefer walking or hiking when the weather is nice, but when it’s cold and wet in winter or sweltering in summer, I wimp out and exercise indoors. Besides, my bike is now located in my sunroom, and the view isn’t half bad!
I found that by putting my laptop on the built-in desk, I could watch Netflix (for fun) or YouTube videos (for education) and barely notice that 30, 40 minutes had passed.
When we moved to our current home, the gym location was no longer convenient, and I knew that if I re-upped my membership, I wouldn’t go regularly. If I’ve learned anything about establishing habits, it’s that they must be convenient to be sustainable.
A few weeks ago I had a treadmill stress test. The nurse practitioner said my cardiovascular health was excellent. I was pleased to hear that! I do miss the weight machines at the gym, but at my age, I think it’s crucial to spend more time doing stretching, bodyweight and balance exercises. This helps ease my aches and pains, whereas lifting weights sometimes triggers pain and exhaustion for me. Thankfully, YouTube is an endless source of free exercise tutorials.
I also have a set of free weights (bought at yard sales for pennies on the dollar) that I sometimes use while I watch TV with the kids. I love fitting movement into little pockets of my day.
What did you do to save money recently?