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I have a restless saving syndrome. I have a great deal of fun in finding wacky ways to save in everyday ways. My biggest items are already super saved:
- Our mortgage APR is at 2.25% and we throw an extra $200 on top of a bi-monthly payment schedule
- I drive my free(ish) 2014 Subaru around like the winter warrior she is
- I pay my credit cards off every month
- College was free compliments of the GI Bill
- Utilities are optimized by our conservative habits (annually, we pay more for internet than gas and electricity)
- I married someone who also enjoys saving shenanigans
Big ways to save are finished like a hot cup of coffee on a -13-degree day.
Big purchases are rare, but research and negotiation have helped drive down costs and increase savings. The big wins were stressful initially but now are on autopilot.
I still have plenty of freakish excitement for saving or decluttering.
Instead of letting my restless take a permanent vacation, I focus on little ways to save. Sometimes it turns into wacky ways to save, but I doubt it will inch me any closer to TLC’s “So Freaking Cheap”.
No one in this household of two is interested in reusable toilet paper. No. One.
The Secret Sauce Is Sauce
We rarely eat out. Occasionally, I pick up grocery store sushi. I live in a small(ish) town and sushi options are as limited as a California roll.
We have ended up with a bunch of tiny soy sauce packets. Instead of throwing the salty sauce away, which was never an option to begin with, I cut them open and add them into our large soy sauce container.
It’s a tiny amount but it reduces our need to buy soy sauce by a tiny amount.
Small wins are still a win and statistically, they are more motivating than big wins that rarely happen.
Everyday progress—even a small win—can make all the difference.Harvard Business Review
More than Filler
I can’t take credit for this idea, it’s all Mr. BuLL.
Mr. BuLL is also on the same wacky-ways-to-save page, and it shows because he reuses the cotton at the top of pill bottles.
We are fortunate to have robust health and rarely need prescribed pills, but we take supplements like vitamin D because 6 months of winter is a thing. I take super enzymes to help with diary indigestion along with joint supplements for Mr. BuLL’s knees. He is an avid weekend hiker. His pack averages 40 pounds and with 2000 feet of elevation gain, it can be hard on joints.
With a random supplement conglomerate, we accumulate random amounts of cotton. Instead of throwing it away, we reuse it. Not for first aid, but it’s fine for cleaning a phone screen.
Frogdancer Jones gets it, “Mostly it’s to do with respecting the time and money I’ve put into things. I feel that buying something isn’t a waste of money if you use it. […] This is why I try not to waste anything. Time, money and hours of my life have gone into the things I have around me.”
Containing Food Savings
Fresh fruits and vegetables don’t need a container which is a win for the planet and our trash. Plastic and glass aren’t recycled in our area. Cardboard, paper, tin, and aluminum are, but you have to drive to a facility, there is no curbside service.
The price of semirural America.
Our diet consists mainly of things that don’t need to be contained, but some things do. Ice cream, butter, honey is essential and, occasionally, reused.
Ice cream pails become buckets for dirty chores like cleaning out filthy coolers or compost buckets. Large honey containers are used to collect produce from our teeny garden. We bought bulk mushrooms from Costco and reuse the container for our local store where their mushrooms have free range bins.
We haven’t fallen into the butter meme of 50 butter containers with none of them containing butter, but there’s still time.
Finding Free Envelopes
Junk mail is on the same list as spam email and as-seen-on-TV Christmas gifts.
When I receive junk mail, I call the offending company to get removed from their mailing lists. I call because I prefer not to have a mailbox full of useless magazines and pointless letters that end up instantly recycled. It’s a weekly game of receiving, recycling, and requesting to be removed from lists. Similar to other chores like washing dishes, dropping off recycling, and
forgetting to water house plants.
Unlike other chores, there are times when junk mail sends a free envelope. Then there are times when there is an envelope with free postage-paid like a white elephant gift that is actually enjoyed instead of feeling annoyed.
Restless Saving Syndrome
I’m fortunate that my restless saving syndrome causes lucrative savings. By lucrative I mean, small and cute.
I find it fun to repurpose, reuse, or wear out items just a little bit more. Our world is wrapped up in discarding when there is no such thing as away. Ten miles down the road to a landfill the size of a suburb is not discarded; it’s a short road trip to a future suburb. Every small way, even as a wacky way to save, is a way to make the long game of saving fun for my finances and the planet.