These days, it seems like everyone has adopted a do it yourself (DIY) mindset. Whether they brew their own beer or knit homemade hats, lots of people have joined the “maker movement.”
Not only can the DIY mindset teach you cool new skills, it can also lighten the load on your budget. Fixing or making stuff at home tends to cost less than hiring a professional or buying a finished product.
Even if you’re not crafty, you can replace common expenses with DIY money-saving habits. Want to share in the pioneering spirit of frugality and self-sufficiency? Read on for nine saving money tips.
Saving money tips: ditch these nine common habits
1. Eating out at restaurants
Generally speaking, eating out at restaurants costs a good deal more than cooking at home. In the past few years, the price of groceries has fallen by 2.2 percent. The cost of restaurant food has increased by 2.3 percent. And yet, more people eat out at restaurants than ever before. To save your budget, shift your habits away from dining at restaurants and toward cooking at home.
2. Buying cleaning products
Instead of buying all your cleaning products, consider making your own. You can make large quantities for a lower price, plus you’ll end up with simple products free of chemicals.
Check out these 27 recipes to clean every room in your house. Baking soda, lemon juice, and vinegar are all common ingredients. You can stock up at a grocery store or bulk store such as Costco.
3. Getting a daily latte
Fancy coffee drinks are a common guilty pleasure. At Starbucks, a grande caffe latte goes for $3.65. One latte a day adds up to $25.55 a week, $109.50 a month, or $1332.25 a year! Just think what you’d save if you skipped the latte and invested that money or used it to pay back student loans.
For example, let’s say you had a $10,000 student loan with a 5.7 percent interest rate. By making a $110 monthly payment, you’d pay it off in 10 years. By increasing your monthly payment just $82 to $192, you could pay the loan off five years earlier! Not only would you be free of that monthly bill five whole years earlier, but you’d also save $1,626 in interest.
Now, these money saving tips may have convinced you to skip the daily latte. But how can you still get your caffeine fix at a lower price? Try making coffee at home with a coffee maker or a French press. Time estimates the cost at only 28 cents per cup. You could also make your own latte with this great recipe (or try this one for a French toast latte).
4. Purchasing skin and haircare products
Buying pricey skin and haircare products is a major weakness of mine. I always think the next product is going to give me perfect glowy skin or frizz-free hair. In reality, a lot of products make promises they can’t keep. Many come with a high price tag, plus they contain a laundry list of unnecessary chemicals.
You don’t have to be a lifestyle guru to make your own beauty products. Coconut oil, witch hazel, and sugar are all common ingredients. Check out these 19 simple recipes for face wash, moisturizer, toner, shampoo, and other products.
5. Buying full-price furniture
If you’re a broke college grad, you probably have a bunch of saving money tips and tricks up your sleeve for furnishing an apartment on a budget. Instead of buying full-price furniture, consider making or fixing up your own. You can buy unfinished pieces from a crafts store or refurbish antiques.
You can also scour the free section of Craigslist for pieces that need some love. Secondhand stores are also a good bet. A can of paint may be all you need to breathe life into an old desk or dining room table.
6. Getting oil changes at a car dealership
Oil changes are a regular part of car maintenance. According to CostHelper, a professional oil change costs between $20 and $55 for standard oil and between $45 and $70 for synthetic oil. Changing the oil in your car yourself only costs between $10 and $20. For money-saving tips on oil changes, check out these instructions by Pennzoil.
7. Paying for bicycle tune-ups
Are you a cyclist? Instead of paying for professional tune-ups, learn how to do them yourself at home. This five-step checklist from Triathlete explains how to do a bike tune-up, including how to clean the chain and center the brakes.
8. Buying drinks at bars and cafes
Do you drink beer? What about fresh juice? Are you into kombucha? If you spend a lot on drinks, consider making them at home. Once you’ve got the initial equipment, you can make big batches for a low cost. Plus, you can teach yourself an impressive new skill.
9. Paying for an expensive gym membership
Some gym memberships charge well over $100 a month. While the facilities can be great, you can stay fit for free by exercising outside or at home. Use an app to track your run or workout. Alternatively, you can check out YouTube videos for free exercise classes.
If the gym brings a ton of value to your life, then this may not be a great area to cut. However, if you’re really trying to watch your spending, you could swap the gym for a home workout to save every month.
Money-saving tips: embrace the DIY mindset
If you don’t track your budget, it’s easy to spend all your disposable income from month to month. There are always opportunities to spend money; you have to try a little harder to find saving money tips.
That’s why embracing a DIY mindset can transform your spending habits. In most cases, buying your own ingredients or relying on your own labor will be the more cost-effective option.
When you adopt money-saving habits, you can use your extra money to save for retirement or pay back student loans. In the end, you’ll probably be happier that you paid off a loan instead of spending your money on impermanent things.
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