A Penny Saved: How to trim every area of your budget, Part 1

Welcome again! We’re going to talk about saving money today. I know, I know, the economy is something most people are about as tired of hearing about as rich, senselessly famous people whose initials are K.K. But we all know that the reality is that most of us are living on less than we did a few years ago, things are costing more, and we are more concerned about saving for the future. So what can you do to make the money stretch a little further? How can we get more of the proverbial bang for our buck?

Well, you could spend hours each week searching for, clipping and organizing coupons, then watching the sales fliers to find out when the best sales are and stopping at 4 different grocery stores just to hit all the sales. Of course, if you have a family, a job, or just like to have that blessed little bit of rest time each week, that’s not a great option.

But there is a better way! You could just make a few simple, easy changes to your habits and purchases, and you will find yourself saving money right and left. So here I submit to you my ideas for easy, healthy, fairly painless ways to shave dollars off your budget.

Today we will take a look at how to save money on health and beauty needs. In coming articles, watch for ways to save money on household care, food costs, travel, clothing, and entertainment.

Little House’s Ways to Save Money on Health and Beauty Products

  • Streamline your beauty routine. Instead of 3 or 4 moisturizing, firming and anti-aging products, find one good moisturizer and use it in the morning and evening. Estimated savings: $150 per year
  • While you’re at it, downgrade your makeup as well. Unless you are on the runway or the red carpet frequently, you really don’t need top of the line cosmetics. The higher-end drugstore brands are much better than they used to be, last throughout the day, and give a look that is nearly indistinguishable from the more expensive department store and boutique brands. Estimated savings: $125 per yea
  • Instead of going to the spa for a facial or buying expensive mask treatments at the store, make your own. There are literally hundreds of recipes online. Estimated savings: $30-$300 per year.

  • Use salon brands of shampoo and conditioner. Yes, I’m actually telling you to buy the more expensive stuff. Here’s why: because salon brands of shampoo and conditioner are so well-formulated, you are able to use much less of them, and they work significantly better. A large bottle of one of your salon brand shampoos will cost about $15, but will probably last you a year or more. I have rather long, thick hair, and I have definitely found this to be the case. Estimated savings: $10-$20 per year, plus your hair will be healthier.
  • Use drugstore brand styling products. This doesn’t seem to go with the point above, but here’s where the formulation doesn’t seem to make as much difference. Don’t buy the cheapest brand, but don’t spring for $20 hairspray either. Estimated savings: $40-$50 per year

  • Don’t buy fancy body washes or shower gels. While you’re at it, don’t buy drugstore brand shower gels either. Instead, buy a value size bottle of basic shampoo and use it as body wash. The cleaning elements are basically the same, there are still plenty of nice fragrances, and it will cost far, far less.  Estimated savings: $30 per year over premium brands, $10 per year over drugstore brands
  • Make your own bath salts. You can control exactly what goes onto your skin, as well as choose your own scents. Estimated savings: $60 per year.

  • Make your own toothpaste. Not only will you greatly reduce the number of harmful chemicals you put in your mouth, you will save quite a bit of money. Bonus savings: if you faithfully floss and brush, your dental bills will be much lower. Estimated savings: $30 per year

If you implemented all of these changes, you could expect to save around $500 per year, depending on what you are changing from. I don’t know about you, but I could think of a lot of things to do with $500 dollars.

Happy Savings!

2 thoughts on “A Penny Saved: How to trim every area of your budget, Part 1

  1. Pingback: A Penny Saved: How to trim every area of your budget, Part 2 – Around the House « Little House In The Mountains

  2. Good thoughts all.

    One of the biggest expenses most of us have is our automobiles. This may seem pedestrian (pun intended), but if you want to save a ton of money then become religious about routine auto maintenance. Modern cars are so well made that we can abuse and ingore them and they tend to keep running in spite of our neglect. Nonetheless things do wear out. And since these cars are so well built the cost of replacement parts is outrageous. So, rather than waiting until you need a $2,000 fuel injector replacement job pay the money and take the time to have your injectors cleaned. Rather than paying $800 for a new set of tires take the time to have your tire shop rotate your tires every 3,000-5,000 miles. I know it’s a hassle, but most of them will do it for free if you bought the tires there. They will also do a free inspection of the suspension. While you might have fears of being sold services you don’t need, just find a reputable shop, establish a personal relationship with the manager and trust that he/she will do the right thing to help you keep your car running for years to come.

    I always say – the cheapest wife/husband you’ll ever have is the one you’ve got right now. The same is true of cars. Replacement costs on either are out of sight.


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