Personal Finance

June 24, 2014

Kat’s Money Corner: Saving every day on the everyday

All the little everyday things add up – to a lot more than they have to. But, a little bit of planning and ingenuity can save you money.

Four things I feel like I do every single day: drink coffee, pack lunches/leftovers, clean and do laundry. Of course, there is more to my life, but these daily tasks help me stay on track. And guess what? They all cost money. Not a lot, individually. But all the little everyday things add up – to a lot more than they have to.

I’ll start with coffee. My husband and I know we’re going to drink it. It has pretty good shelf life. We like the same beans and blends. So we buy in bulk. Instead of $11 per pound at the grocery store, we get two pounds for $13 at Costco.

Do the same with staple groceries like dry pasta, canned beans and soup, tomato and spaghetti sauce. These happen to be the bedrocks of some of the best meals made for leftovers.

Speaking of leftovers, you can’t beat good Tupperware for keeping them fresh and packing for lunch. Prices and varieties have gotten so good they almost seem disposable today. But you can reuse them forever. I can’t remember the last time I bought any, and I keep every good carryout container!

If you think that’s extreme, you should see all the Ziplocs hanging on my drying rack. Once is not enough for these things (unless they had raw meat in them). I may buy two boxes per year, tops.

When I do throw them away, they rarely wind up in a plastic trash bag. We line our kitchen trashcan with brown paper grocery sacks, double bagged. Sure, they don’t have the capacity, but it’s one more thing I don’t have to buy.

Did you know you could usually reuse your vacuum bags? Just take a garbage can outside and pull/shake out all the dirt and debris. Yes, it’s dirty, but it’s easier than you think and easy to clean up afterward. Your vacuum will never know the difference.

If your furnace can accommodate a reusable/washable filter, get one. They’re easy to clean and, again, one less thing to buy or make a special trip for.

Making your own laundry soap and cleaning solutions is another way to save on the everyday. With a few basic ingredients – vinegar, bleach, baking soda and the like – you can clean the whole house and everything in the closets.

Will saving a few bucks on laundry soap and lunch bags make you rich? No, not right away. What it does is fuel a frugal mindset. Saving money feels good, and it has a way of snowballing. One good idea leads to another. And another dollar in your pocket. Small change adds up (pun intended), and remember, saving just $20 a month per year will be more than $1,000 in five years without interest. You do the math!

Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little one, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click

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