Since I began writing my columns, I have received countless e-mails and phone calls from friends, family members and readers who have provided useful tips on how they save money. I have found several of these tips extremely useful and thought I would share them with you.
One of my friends said the way she saves money is by making her own cleaning products. I have actually been doing this for years. I find that vinegar and water mixture makes a great cleaning solution and cleans most areas of your home. There are several websites on the internet that tell you some great uses for the vinegar cleaning solution. I have not really found a cleaning product on the market that cleans better than vinegar. Although the smell may be potent at first, it diminishes as it dries. Baking soda and lemon juice are also a good source of cleaning solutions. You get a clean home for a fraction of the cost.
Another friend of mine said that she saves money is by making her own laundry detergent. She said it takes her approximately 15 minutes to make her own laundry detergent and it works just as well as the major brands. Directions on how to make your own laundry detergent can also be found on the internet.
Cleveland Post reader Jasmine Gibbs said one of the best ways she finds to save money is by cooking every meal from scratch.
“I plan my meals ahead of time around what I have on hand in the pantry and freezer, and what's on sale at my favorite grocery store(s),” Gibbs writes.
Gibbs said that after she discovers what she has in her pantry, she picks a theme for that week’s meals and keep most her family‘s meals under five dollars. She said planning ahead also helps keeps the amount of time she spends cooking to a minimal.
“For example, Monday is my laundry day, so while my clothes are on the line, I put a chicken in the oven to roast. I'll serve vegetables like cut corn, carrots, peas, etc., with it, and prepare extra for later on in the week. After dinner, I pick the meat off the bones for sandwiches or quesadillas later, and boil the bones to make a tasty soup stock. The leftover veggies will go in the soup with some rice or noodles of some sort, and any leftover soup will be thickened and put in a pie crust to make chicken pot pie with the leftover meat. That's four meals for a family of four out of one chicken and some vegetables. Also, I look at some vegetarian or nearly-vegetarian menu items I try to do as much ahead of time as I can, and can have a pretty good, healthy dinner on the table within an hour on most nights of the week because I did all my real cooking on my slow day earlier in the week. Learning to plan like this can really help save money, as most of my meals end up costing about five dollars or less each.”
Another tip that Gibbs recommends is not to use many disposable products. She said her family does not use paper plates, cleans up spills with real towels and she even puts her son, who is in the midst of potty-training, in cloth underpants. Not only does this save money, but she is also staying green.
Once again, I hope you have found this column useful. I truly enjoy receiving all your e-mails and tips about how you save money. If you have any ideas or suggestions on saving money send them to me at email@example.com.