Easy ways to save money

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Some of them will cost you time, and not all of them will work for you (#4), but most of them can be made into quality family time, fun experiences or at the very least, a trial experiment.

1. Try watered down white vinegar (50%) as a laundry fabric softener. It’s super cheap and leaves clothes really soft.

2. Use everyday household ingredients such as bleach and vinegar to clean your home cheaply and effectively.

3. Avoid the iron and the dryer by using coat-hangers to dry shirts on the clothesline. Try pegging the shoulder if it’s a windy day.

4. Try modern cloth diapers on your baby. They look and fasten like a disposable diaper, but are made from fabric so they can be washed and reused hundreds of times—save money and landfill.

5. Cook once, eat twice. If you’re making a family favourite (such as lasagna) double it and freeze half for any easy meal another night. This could save you from picking up expensive take-out on a busy night.

6. Freeze brown bananas. Don’t waste them—pop them in the freezer for the next time you do some baking, they can be turned into bread, muffins or put on a stick for banana popsicles.

7. Keep a laundry basket per person to save time. Wash, dry and put away each family member’s clothes all together. It saves a lot of sorting time and makes it easier for other family members to help out.

8. Buy groceries in bulk where possible. For instance, meat packs from butcher’s can be split up at home, labelled and frozen.

9. Swap toys at mothers’ group or on Facebook. This is a great way to give your baby variety and stimulation without constantly forking out money to purchase new toys.

10. Squash the toilet roll before popping it on the holder. It may sound silly, but it avoids the entire roll running away by an enthusiastic toddler.

11. Get the kids to squeeze toothpaste across the toothbrush not down the length of the brush. This way they can’t possibly use too much, saving you money and mess in the bathroom.

12. Watch for supermarket specials. Generally, supermarkets stock items at a special price every four to six weeks or so. If you can, wait for these items to be available at the special price and buy enough to last a while.

13. Try baking a couple weeks’ worth of muffins, cakes, muesli treats and pop them into the freezer (dedicate a morning to baking or have a baking day with the kids on a school holiday). Each morning pop one into their lunchboxes to save on complaining kids “I never have anything good…Rebecca always does” and it will save money, not to mention the preservatives on pre-packaged foods.

14. Fruit can be easily made more appetizing in the lunchbox. Use Popsicle sticks to make fruit kebabs and send them with yogurt for dipping. Another idea for kids is to put a fun sticker on mandarins and bananas. JELL-O—who doesn’t love JELL-O? It’s pennies per serving and with fruit mixed in, can’t get much better!

15. Facebook, Kijiji and AM 1220 classifieds are great websites to buy at much less than the retail cost for clothes, household items and all sorts of other things that you need but someone else might not.

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