I’ve been collecting a bunch of interesting little money saving tips over the last few months. Here are ten worth looking into.
Buy a turkey and put it on ice
Turkeys sold in June are roughly half the price of turkeys sold in November. You can freeze a turkey forever, and after only six months, there’s virtually no degradation in the quality of the meat. So if you have a deep freezer, go buy your Thanksgiving turkey the first weekend in June. Others might think it odd, but you’ll laugh all the way to the bank.
Drink ten or so glasses of tap water both days
It’s summer. Drink more water. Not only is tap water absurdly cheap and very healthy, it also curbs hunger, which means that you’ll eat less for meals, which can directly save you some cash. Get hydrated with a big ol’ glass of water!
Plan your summer vacation – but not this year’s!
Right now is the time to plan next year’s summer vacation. Identify what you want to do now so that you can book things early, get exactly what you want, and save a ton of cash. The last time we went on a significant summer vacation (2006), we booked a campground site almost nine months in advance, paid a pittance for it by check, and had the most beautiful site for four days of memorable camping with my wife and my baby. We’re bandying about ideas for next summer’s vacation right now.
See if you have any missing money
The NAUPA (National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, a collective of state agencies that handle unclaimed property) have set up a website where you can search by name and find out if any unclaimed property belongs to you. Check it out at http://www.missingmoney.com/. After only five minutes’ worth of searching, I found unclaimed property belonging to two different people I know – I sent them both emails letting them know about it.
Clean out your pantry/cupboards
Every time I do this, I end up saving a bunch of money. First of all, I usually discover several items pushed to the back that I’d completely forgotten about, which inspires meals. Second of all, it’s a good way to inventory the kitchen staples you have on hand. Third, it lets you get rid of stuff that has become outdated. Fourth, it lets you rotate stuff around so that things are easier to find (making home meal preparation easier). A pantry cleaning is an excellent little weekend project that can save you money in multiple ways.
Look for corn, lettuce, blueberries, and peaches at the grocery store
These vegetables are in season and will be pretty inexpensive on store shelves. Take a look at this list of cheapest fruits and vegetables month by month. Around here, lots of summer produce can be had very cheap in late July to late August when gardens and small sweet corn patches begin to produce. Also, don’t forget the humble cabbage – it can be very tasty when properly seasoned and boiled. Give it a try – you might be surprised.
Sharpen your kitchen knives
Many people get frustrated in the kitchen and give up on cooking at home because their blades are atrocious, making it difficult to cut anything up. If you’ve got a standard knife set (and there seems to be one of these in almost every American kitchen), you can take care of that “cheap knife that doesn’t cut” problem with the honing steel that’s likely included. Watch this video to see exactly how to do it (seeing it is much better than explaining it):
I sharpen all of our knives about once every three months, and I sharpen my chef’s knife about twice as often.
Start planning for homemade Christmas gifts
My wife and I are planning on giving homemade gift bundles to many people this Christmas. These gifts are much more gifts of time than money, and that means we have to start planning now for items like homemade soap, homemade beer, homemade wine, and so forth. I’ll write a detailed post on these kits in the future, but if you’re planning on making such items for gift giving, now’s the time to get started. Homemade gifts can be quite inexpensive, but they take some planning to execute well.
Go grocery shopping at midnight
Many large grocery stores with a meat counter and a bakery will price many of those fresh items left over from the day at huge discounts to sell overnight, because if they don’t sell by the morning, they’ll have to be tossed. Go about midnight, and you’ll often find baked goods and fresh meats with enormous discounts. Grab some and have cheap fresh doughnuts for breakfast and a very inexpensive steak for supper.
Use vinegar as your fabric softener
Instead of using expensive fabric softeners, just use two caps full of vinegar in your wash as a fabric softener. The vinegar will gently soften your clothes and the rinse water will wash away all of the vinegar, leaving your clothes soft on the cheap. Do NOT use vinegar if you’re using bleach, however; the two will produce a chlorine gas that you do NOT want to breathe and could possibly damage your washing machine, too.