By contributing writer Laura
Sometimes it seems like I have more time at my disposal than money, although lately I feel pressed for time too! Besides being a frugal gal who likes to save money, I simply dislike wasting items that can be reused or repurposed. I feel resourceful and creative when I challenge myself to stretch our family budget and make the best use of what we have.
Any person who considers herself a penny-pincher will probably admit to occasionally (or perhaps frequently) participating in tedious, time consuming tasks in the name of saving money. Each person can evaluate whether she feels it is worth the time to participate in various tasks that will help cut down costs. So here are a few tedious and some unusual tasks that I’ve done to save money and flex my frugal muscles.
1. Wash Plastic Bags
Reusing plastic baggies is somewhat common among thrifty folks, I believe. I personally hand-wash my plastic baggies, which include sandwich size, snack size, gallon size, etc., so that I can reuse them. Some folks may wonder why I wash and reuse plastic bags, even if I can get a great deal on them at the store. If I can get them inexpensively, isn’t it better to just dispose of them and move on to the next fresh pack?
Although, yes, I can get great deals on name brand plastic bags when I pair manufacturer coupons with a great sale or store promotion, I still feel it is worth it to reuse and stretch my current supply while they hold up and still function well for storing food and other items.
2. Wash Swim Diapers
This is an unusual task that I first learned about when researching different ways to save money on diapers. Did you know you can wash disposable swim diapers and reuse them? If you’re spending a lot of time at the pool with a child that is not yet potty-trained, you can quickly go through a pack of swim diapers, which are more expensive than regular diapers.
So instead of throwing away that swim diaper after one use, put it in your washing machine and dryer. You can reuse it a few times, allowing you to stretch your dollars. This isn’t really a tedious task, in that it doesn’t take much more time to wash and dry, but it is an unusual concept to most people who are accustomed to disposing of them after one use.
3. Clip Coupons
Clipping coupons and pairing them with a great sale or store promotion has helped me strategically save thousands of dollars per year on groceries. Now, as with any hobby or activity, you could spend hours clipping coupons and planning out your shopping trips to maximize your savings, but thankfully so many bloggers, apps, and online forums now do all the hard work for you!
So even though clipping coupons can be time consuming and tedious, I’m a strong proponent of realistic couponing: simplifying your coupon clipping and shopping list to what is manageable for you. You might consider clipping coupons tedious, but you can definitely spend a reasonable amount of time clipping coupons without getting burnt out.
4. Wait in Line for Free Food
Some people may baulk at the fact that I’ve spent a lot of time waiting in lines for free or extremely cheap food. With so many restaurants offering special promotions for grand openings and special days, such as National Flip Flop Day and Free Cone Day, there are a lot of opportunities to get freebies. I can tell you, collectively over the years, I have spent hours waiting in line for free food, since these events are often crowded and popular — hey, they’re giving away free food after all!
For me, it is often worth it to wait in line, if I have the time to spare and my kids aren’t having a complete melt-down. Particularly worthwhile are events like Chick-fil-A’s First 100 in which a newly-opened Chick-fil-A restaurant gives the first 100 customers free meals for a year. You can save a lot of money over the course of a year, when taking advantage of these special free food promotions.
What other tedious or strange tasks have you done to save money? Be sure to leave a comment and share with me!