If that’s what flashed through your mind, I challenge you to do this: go to your purse, take out three one-dollar bills and toss them in the trash can. If you can do that, you don’t need this blog. But if you can’t do it, then read on!
Reuse Zip Lock Bags
Unless you stored raw poultry or some oily item in it, consider reusing your Ziplock bags. Wash them with your normal dishes and turn them inside out to dry.
Select $3 in coupons or ad sales per week
If coupon clipping doesn’t appeal to you, start small. Flip through the Tuesday ads and coupons that come out and select just a few – $3 worth – to use this week. Look for coupons that give you the best savings (.75 cents or $1.00) on items you really need/use and with just three or four coupons, you’ve saved your $3.00!
Skip a Trip
On average, it costs approximately .36 cents per mile to operate a vehicle. If just one extra errand you run is five miles away (the grocery store, the dry cleaners, etc), by not making an unnecessary round-trip you could save $3.60. Sure, you may want a particular can of soup for the casserole you planned to make, but instead of running to the store for that one item, perhaps you could alter your dinner menu for the evening and pick up the soup the next day when you’re going by the store anyway. I do this with library books…I don’t run to the library to return something that is due that night. The closest library to me is approximately five miles away. Instead of running down to return books, I jump online, renew them so I don’t get charged overdue fines, and then the next time I’m passing the library, I drop them off.
Reuse the Brew
If you brew more than one pot of coffee in a day, instead of using two full portions of coffee, do this: brew the first pot, toss half the used grounds, the add fresh grounds to the half of used grounds that are still left. Brew pot #2. Depending on what brand of coffee you purchase, this could save you anywhere from cents to dollars per week. And, only people who like really strong, black coffee will taste any difference (if even that!)
I was at a friend’s house for the first time and needed a paper towel. When I inquired, she said “Oh, we don’t use them. They’re a waste of money. Here’s a towel.” I admit, at first, I thought it was very strange. “How does a family not have paper towels?” I thought to myself. Then last year I purchased some kitchen hand towels and have slowly begun to use them over paper towels. I admit I’ve been slow to break my addiction to paper and still prefer them for certain jobs. But, I looked into the cost and sure enough…you save money by using cloth towels in the kitchen. Just toss used towels in with every load of laundry and you’ll always have clean towels available and won’t have any additional loads to do, since the towels take up so little space in the machine.
Go Energy Star
According to a St. Louis newspaper article about energy usage, if you replace your five most frequently used light bulbs with Energy Star compact fluorescent bulbs, you will save .16 cents per day. So granted, it takes 18 days to save $3.00, but in a year, that adds up to $20, which isn’t bad for such a simple change. Replace ten bulbs and the savings start to add up!
Stop Renting DVDs
The King County library has a wonderful selection of movies and they stay fairly current. By using their online request feature, you can have any book or video sent directly to your local library. (You may have a little longer wait for the title you want than you would by renting from the Red Box, but if you regularly rent kid videos, you can’t beat the library’s free “rental” system and selection!)
-posted by Donna Venning, whose recent method of saving $3 has been to stop buying a weekly latté. At first she missed her white chocolate mocha, but has learned to enjoy her twice-brewed coffee with vanilla creamer just as much!