I didn’t realize this until my sister came to visit, but there are some ways I live my life that are inadvertently frugal. I conserve and reduce/reuse/recycle/compost/hug trees/etc, and I didn’t realize that some of my “hippie” ways are actually saving me money. Hardly any of these are intentional, and therefore, I feel like I’ve tricked myself into saving money.
Here are ten sneaky ways I’ve been able to save money:
- I don’t put shampoo in my hair. Ever. The intended goal was to eliminate dandruff, and that totally worked, but the unintended consequence was that I never buy shampoo anymore!
- I buy drugstore conditioner. And mousse. And lotion. This is mainly because I wasn’t going to the salon because I had banned haircuts for the end stretch of getting out of credit card debt, and I picked up a bottle of Suave at the grocery store. It turned out to be awesome, so now all my hair products come from the drugstore. This saves me a lot — and not just money. Spending time in a department store like Nordstrom makes me feel: too fat, too broke, too ugly, and too fresh-faced. It’s a hit to my self-esteem, and I hate the way I feel. It’s easy to wish I could afford to spend $150 on a tank top and spend enough on makeup to make me look like a street-walker. Ten minutes after leaving that kind of store, and I’m my normal self again.
- I don’t use paper towels. Because I love the earth and it shows. I’m trying to reduce my carbon footprint (by the way, every time I see those two words together, I think that it would be an amazing name for a monster truck, but only in an arena where it had to roll over twenty Priuses or something) and cut the amount of paper that gets used in my house. That means I have cloth towels. It hasn’t yet extended to cloth napkins, but that’s only because I have a boatload leftover from my mom. That also means that at the grocery store, in the paper aisle, I’m really only buying toilet paper, ever.
- I clean with vinegar. And baking soda. And I use a bagless vacuüm cleaner. The goal was to be able to clean without getting a headache, but as I phased out the traditional cleaning supplies, I phased in the natural ones, which are better for my lungs, and furthermore, better for my pocket-book.
- I’m growing my hair out. The voice of reason likes long hair, which has discouraged me from getting a hair cut more than is necessary. This has meant that instead of getting my hair cute every six to eight weeks, I’m getting it cut every three or four months.
- I use box hair dye. The new foam stuff is really hard to screw up, even for me, and it looks good. The trick to box dye (other than to use the foamy stuff) is to keep it within a shade or two of where it once was.
- I keep my nails short. And unpolished. Initially, this was because long fingernails are NO GOOD for bouldering. But now? It’s unlikely that I’ll ever paint or file my fingernails again. Toenails are another story, though. And flip-flop season is right around the corner!
- I eat leftovers. All the time. I rarely ever throw out food. This is my paternal grandmother in me. The one who was hungry during the depression. I guess this trick is overtly frugal, but it surprised my sister how everything in my refrigerator was still fresh.
- I don’t waste space. This is because I don’t have extra space to waste, but it leads to nearly constant decluttering, reorganizing, and eliminating things from my bookshelves, my cabinets, and my closet. Interestingly, it also keeps my house clean, since there’s no clutter.
- Laundry is included in my rent. This probably only saves a few dollars a month, but it saves a lot of headache since now I don’t have to hoard quarters! I’m also a bit less disgusting, opting to wash instead of do a smell test, washing my sheets more often, etc.
Do you trick yourself? Do you have any sneaky ways you save?