In saving money, there are many items throughout our lifetime that we simply don’t need to purchase, or can be replaced with items that cost less. This is a short list of five. Many people probably won’t agree with me on this list, but if you truly want to save money and spend less, this is a place to start.
Let’s start at the beginning. You are getting married. A happy day for sure, but it doesn’t mean that your bank account needs to run dry because of this happy occasion. When I got married, I thought I had to have the usual wedding in order to please certain relatives, especially our parents. Unfortunately, it’s not until you’re older and have a bit of life experience that you realize that your wedding should be just that – your wedding. It should be planned to your tastes, not old Aunt Betsy’s tastes who you haven’t seen in 20 years. Unfortunately, parents seem to have an influence in this department. Do I sound like I’m venting? Okay, let’s stay on topic. Don’t use your wedding budget for a big, fancy, poufy dress that you will never, ever wear again or use for anything else!!! There are so many beautiful dresses that you can buy in a department store, yes, a department store that could be used for your wedding gown, and then be used again in your regular wardrobe. Buy one that is white, if that’s the colour you want, that you could fancy up a bit yourself by sewing a ribbon in your wedding colours around your waist or add your own beading to. It could cost you hundreds less, and in some cases, thousands less. I think, from what I’ve seen, that the millennials (those born between 1982 and 2004) seem to be doing this one right. Some are getting away from the princess gowns and are going for something much more reasonable in looks and in their pocket book. Along the wedding lines, forget about the limo, the fake cake, the rented tuxes for the guys and the fancy photographer. But that is for another blog post!
My husband and I started out with rabbit ears on our TV so we could pick up local stations. That’s all we needed. We never paid for cable when we were first married. Once we had kids, we had someone close to us (who shall remain nameless) tell us that it would be embarrassing for our children not to have cable. They would be ridiculed at school. I couldn’t make this one up if I tried. Yes, someone actually said this to us. I think they might be more ridiculed if they went to school with no coat or shoes but, you know, if we paid for cable at least they could watch the latest kids’ shows. Okay, I know, I’m venting again. It wasn’t until much later, and when we could afford cable, that we did subscribe. The funny thing is, last year we got rid of our cable again, along with our landline, kept our Internet, and are saving $200.00 per month. We now pay $73.00 a month for Internet only. We put an antenna on our roof which cost us $80.00 to buy, my husband and my son installed it, and we now can receive up to 30 channels.
When you are starting out in your own home, cable is one of those things you don’t need to buy. It will cost you a great deal and the cable companies will keep increasing your costs over time. Buy an antenna. It is a one-time cost and an antenna will provide you with all the channels you will ever need, and today, with the use of the Internet you won’t miss out on anything else.
You don’t need them! All you need is a jug of vinegar, some dish soap and water. That’s it. I can buy two 5 litre jugs of vinegar at Costco for $5.99. I have been using vinegar and water to clean my whole house (except for my wood furniture) for years now. In fact, my mother-in-law was the one who taught me that that’s all you need to use to clean and disinfect your home. Matter of fact, she used to use wine vinegar to clean. My father-in-law made wine at home, so that any wine that turned to vinegar, she would use to clean with. Now, that’s recycling!
I bought two large spray bottles at the dollar store and fill them with 10 cups of vinegar, a couple of squirts of dish soap, and fill the remainder of the bottle with warm water. I’ve gotten a little fancy in the last year and add a few drops of essential oils to this mixture as well. Lemon and peppermint oils also help to disinfect, but you don’t need the oils to clean. For wood furniture, you can use a microfiber cloth which picks up a lot of dust and doesn’t leave any residue behind, or if you really feel it’s necessary to clean with something, use a little olive oil. Again, if you like essential oils, you can mix a little lemon or orange oil to your olive oil for something that smells nice too. You don’t need anything else to clean. Most of the cleaning supplies that you can buy in the stores are full of chemicals, do not clean any better, and will cost you much more money. Along these lines, don’t buy paper towels which are just thrown away. Use rags – from old T-shirts to old towels. They work effectively, you pop them in the washing machine, and they are ready to go again. Some people even use newspaper to clean their windows. I haven’t tried this one myself, but some say newspapers are great for cleaning your windows and leave no streaks.
Many manufacturer warranties will cover their item, whether it be electronics, appliances, or furniture, for up to a year. Paying for an extended warranty can cost quite a bit, and the stores offering these extended warranties are the ones that benefit from them, usually receiving at least 50 percent of the extended warranty costs. I’ve heard of some people paying $300.00 for an extended warranty. Chances are what you buy won’t break down within that extended warranty period anyway. Usually, if there is something wrong with your item, it will break down shortly after you buy it which is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Also, some of these extended warranties don’t cover all of the cost of fixing your item, for example they may not cover labor. Don’t forget, sometimes it is less expensive to replace the item than to pay for an extended warranty. Consumer Reports has some great information on extended warranties.
I know some don’t like to wear other people’s clothing, but wearing used clothing saves quite a bit of money in the long run, especially if you work in an office and need more pieces that are professional looking. There are a number of used clothing and thrift stores pretty well in every town and city such as Value Village and Salvation Army. In some of these stores, you can even find items with the price tag still on them. People have donated them without even wearing them. My daughter works at Value Village and she has brought home quite a number of professional looking blouses and skirts, a few that are brand new. Also, for kids, these are ideal places to buy children’s clothing at a much lower cost than brand new. Kids grow out of clothing so quickly that it makes sense to buy used. You can even find vintage pieces that you wouldn’t be able to find in regular stores. For someone working in an office, it saves quite a bit of money to buy good, used work clothes. Also, I’ve noticed for those who work in health settings, you can buy used scrubs for half price. Shoes, boots, ties, scarves, even jewellery can be bought at a gently used clothing store allowing you to keep money in your pocket.
This is just a small list of five things you don’t need to buy or can buy at a cheaper price. There is so much more you can do to save some dollars but starting with this will help to put money in your pocket and not someone else’s pocket. They are easy things to do and sometimes hunting for a good buy is much more rewarding than paying full price.