Apr 302012
 
Since I’ve had quite a few posts dedicated to my shallow consumption habits in the past few weeks, I decided to share a few areas in my life where I try and save money (aka, am a cheap tightwad). I’m personally not one of those people who believes that I can save my way to a new house by going latte free at Starbucks, but there’s just certain areas in my life where I don’t like to spend a lot of money. Here are four categories in which I try to save some moola:

 

Tea:

I’m pretty sure that it’s a genetic obligation for little ol’ Asian me to feel outrage when coffee shops charge $3-$4 for tea. I understand that Starbucks makes a fatty profit margin on all their drinks, including tea’s caffeine cousin – coffee – but at least coffee preparation involves some level of skill and/or machinery (correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not a major coffee drinker)!

Tea however, just involves ripping open a tea bag and dunking it in hot water, for most shops around here. For this service Starbucks charges around $3, which just begs the direct comparison to an entire box (30 or so) of tea that you can buy at Target for the same exact price! I just can’t do it. I usually either bring my own thermos when I’m heading out – or if I’m meeting friends at Starbucks, I’ll buy a pastry instead and ask for a cup of hot water, and then shamelessly make my own. Yes, I keep tea bags in my makeup pouch at all times.

 

Cleaning Supplies:

Since I’ve spent most of my life in the Bay Area and  did my undergrad at Berkeley, I’m kind of a hippie about certain things. Luckily my granola tendencies and cheap behavior merge over the topic of cleaning supplies. Harsh cleaners not only can cost quite a bit of money, but are actually really bad for the environment as well – you can read about it here. Here are two examples of “natural” cleaning supplies that I use. Vinegar, baking soda and boiling water have worked better for me at clearing drains than the harshest Drano – you can read instructions here. And I use Dr. Bronner’s soap for everything from refilling our hand soap containers (a 50/50 mix of soap and water) to wiping down countertops. A large bottle is $15 on sale and will last you for years and years. Economical and guilt free!

 

Hair Treatments:

This is kind a stretch because I still like my expensive conditioners (this Kiehl’s version is one of my favorites). They’re a little treat for me. However, I also buy lots of cheaper conditioners, (my favorite is Herbal Essences Hello Hydration) and the one thing that makes all of my drugstore versions perform really well is mixing Jojoba Oil in (I use this one). I keep a bottle in the shower and put it a few drops in the conditioner before applying to my hair – and it’s worked wonders, seriously! Try it.

 

Movie Tickets:

I know this is going to make me sound old and crotchety - but when did movie tickets get so expensive? Every time I go to the theatre, prices seem to have risen. I was so happy when I went back to grad school and got my student ID card so I could qualify for the student discount- but then discovered that most theaters had changed “student ticket pricing” to be between something like 9 – 11 AM on the 2nd Tuesday of every month, or something equally inane. Huh? Anyway, now I either wait for a Costco sale and stock on tickets that way, or I buy them on eBay. Usually my costs don’t exceed $6 a ticket. Way better than the $13 my local theatre charges at the door! I always keep a few in my wallet.

All right, now it’s all your turn to share: what are some small (or not so small) areas that you save money on? If you all like this post, I’ll do another one later and will post up some reader answers too! I love reading about ways people save.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Where to go next? Why dont you... visit a random post!

  61 Responses to “Small Savings”

  1. I love this post! So funny to read after seeing your collection of bags!
    Happy Monday Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/

  2. It's cool how you made this post to compensate for the very expensive fashion items you buy :) More suggestions are definitely welcome :)

    I often share books,magazines, dvd's,cd's with my mom and friends. Here in Belgium Elle magazine costs more than 5 euros and I read it within an hour, so…

    When it comes to fashion or beauty products I always check for sales or special promotions when I shop or see if I can find it for a better price online. I am suprised how many of my fellow friends that are still studying don't really compare prices.

    http://www.tripsandtreasures.net
    new outfit post

  3. Excellent post!
    I totally agree with you about cinema tickets. We generally wait for the DVDs to come out :-) And I've been using a detergent/chemical free cleaning system for about 9 years now since we all have allergies plus I don't like the idea of loading so many chemicals in my home and the environment.
    As I have 3 growing kids, the areas where I can save centre mostly around them. Whilst I don't believe at all in buying cheap food, there are lots of ways to eat very well on less. Also entertainment for the whole family is always very expensive so I look out for free fun things to do in my community such as parks and museum visits, talks and shows at the library or community centres. The key for me is planning ahead and organising as much as possible:

    *make a weekly meal plan to include kids' packed lunches and snacks if required so I know my basics list and can rotate ingredients for variation
    *bulk buy essentials household essentials when they are on special offers
    *shop around for special offers on everyday or seasonal items (*ahem* eg mangoes!)
    *online grocery shopping gives me free delivery over 100GBP which is perfect, saves petrol and time (=money) plus every so often they give you additional money off coupons
    *since I got in the habit of cooking and baking, I find I really hard to part money for cup cakes etc from stores so I bake regularly and cook most meals from scratch – I save so much from doing this plus I know it's healthier for my family
    *I switched to a normal priced brand natural unperfumed face cleanser and saved my money for expensive day + night creams that get to stay on my face instead
    *it pays to book holidays well in advance to get the best priced tickets so if you can plan ahead, it's worth it
    *I walk everywhere I can intead of automatically jumping in the car

    Look forward to the next part!

  4. I absolutely LOVED this post!!! That Jojoba oil mixed in with conditioner is an AMAZING tip. I like to use coconut oil on the tips of my hair after I shower. The great thing about coconut oil is that you can buy HUGE jars because they're usually sold as cooking oil. I buy mine at a local bio store…you can use coconut oil on your face, body, hair…it's definitely worth the price!

    Cheers from Montreal!
    http://www.atelier630.com

  5. I like The Laundress wool/cashmere shampoo. it's much cheaper and less damaging (cracked buttons) than taking knits to the dry cleaners. I've even seen on their website/blog of them home washing chanel jackets and wool blazers, but I'm not so brave myself!

    I've gotten more selective of going to the movies. Usu I just get the dvds from the library.

  6. i agree about the tea! i always carry around my own. i do a few things. first, i really dont like spending a lot of money on food. or more-so, i hate wasting. i have a store 1.5 blocks away from my house and i'll stop there after work and pick up a salad or fruit for dinner. its so cheap, maybe $2. when i have food at home it seems to go to waste. i also plan my driving so i get the most out of gas. i'll plan all of my appointments that are in one area for the same day so i dont have to drive everywhere. there are probably other silly things i do, but i cant think of them atm!
    amber Easy Petite Looks

  7. Oh man, I can totally relate. I love just about every kind of tea (more of a tea drinker than a coffee drinker), so I can't fathom the thought of spending more than $3 on a cup of tea. That's a big no no. I also use Kiehl's! I use it for more skincare stuff since my skin is sensitive to just about everything. Boo! I also buy movie tickets from Costco!

    Michelle
    http://www.michelleesque.com

  8. Excellent tips! And I loved this "I'm personally not one of those people who believes that I can save my way to a new house by going latte free at Starbucks" I keep reading comments by folks saying they bought a house by not going to Starbucks – er how?

  9. I tend to save money on: clothes (especially supertrendy styles), movie tickets (download & watch with HDMI cable on TV or get it on pay per view etc.), gas (I try to take the commuter train whenever possible to get into work), and certain skincare items (e.g. body wash, face cleansers).

    I like to splurge on: shoes/bags/other leather goods, glasses/sunglasses, treatment products (e.g. moisturizer, serums), lipstick (I LOATHE DRUGSTORE LIPPIES) and good food/drink.

    I have to admit though, I've been trying to live frugally after having catalogued all I own, I'm in the process of editing all my possessions so that I don't buy duplicates or end up with a truckload of stuff.

  10. Kiehl's olive fruit oil is the best! I've tried a million alternatives, but I keep going back. For $18, mine lasts a good 4 months at least, so it's an awesome deal! My (Asian) fiance has taught me the benefits of being thrifty in areas like this too and it really helps!

  11. movies are crazy expensive. i now refuse to go to the theater unless it's something i absolutely have to see on the big screen.

  12. I enjoyed your post and this was very helpful. Do you use the Dr Bronners for laundry detergent also? I just can't give up my Tide but need to find an alternative. Thanks.

  13. I totally agree with you on the Starbucks ripoff! For the price of a small latte I can buy a whole gallon of milk which can make more than 10 lattes!! We also buy our movie tickets from costco. And also the eateries and the pubs around the theater give you discounted tickets if you buy food and drinks and then head to the movies. We've been doing that coz we end up going to those places to eat after the movies. So why not before and get the discount, plus you tend to get sober by the time you finish the movie even if you get high :-D

  14. i stock up on cotton balls/pads and nail polish remover at the dollar store. why pay crazy amounts at target when i can get it all for 1.00?
    i don't get my hair done (no dying or fancy treatments) and do face masks at home instead of at a salon (although with my wedding coming up i've been toying with the idea of getting a facial just to see if it helps my pores). i also have stopped taking muni unless absolutely necessary (say cross town trip) and walk everywhere. :)

  15. I only go to the movies now when I have the Costco tickets! I refuse to pay over 20 dollars for my fiance and I to go. It really has become so ridiculous! Great post :)

  16. Vinegar + water is the ultimate cleaning solution (especially for people with dogs)! :) I buy my movie tickets from Costco too!! Whenever I buy an iced tea at Starbucks I always ask for a venti ice water because it makes me feel like I'm getting a better value. lol It also encourages me to drink more water so hey, I'm fine with paying the $1.50 for my favorite Starbucks black iced tea. lol

  17. Thanks for sharing these tips- well def try the drano combo. I find the movies the movie $$ ridiculous too. But I love going to the movies too much to boycott. So now, we try to go on Tuesdays when it's like $7 at the local theater.

  18. AMC is insanely expensive! Luckily we have a locally owned theatre nearby that charges $6 a ticket otherwise we'll wait for the redbox!

  19. Ugh, I feel you on movies. Prices seem to have skyrocketed over the years. Nowadays I try to catch a movie before noon for $6-6.50 at AMC. Otherwise a matinee showing it is for movies I really want to watch. I almost always refuse to go to night showings anymore, haha. IMAX or 3D? Forgetaboutit.

    I'm a huge fan of not spending money on books. Libraries are like my second home. Aside from textbooks, I think I own two paperback novels. I just can't bring myself to spend money on them when I can just wait a few days.

    I'm intrigued by the cleaning supplies. Can you share the ratio you use to create an at-home Drano? I'm also trying to find ways to cut off Swiffer detergent and cleaning towels. Boxes and bottles here and there really start to add up. The one thing that keeps me going back is the smell. I just love the scent of cleanliness lol.

  20. I can't agree more! LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. Movies are a treat these days. I just can't understand why they charge such ridiculous prices. Oh, don't get me started on the tea too! I live right in town. I often tell my friends, why bother going to the cafe when my place is 2 min walk. Free tea and home baked cakes too!

  21. I can't agree more! LOVE LOVE LOVE this post. Movies are a treat these days. I just can't understand why they charge such ridiculous prices. Oh, don't get me started on the tea too! I live right in town. I often tell my friends, why bother going to the cafe when my place is 2 min walk. Free tea and home baked cakes too!

  22. I am so happy to learn that CostCo sells movie tickets! I love going to the theater to see movies, but I agree that the prices are absurd! Groupon did a great deal a few months ago that allowed you to purchase tickets for $5/ticket, so I stocked up on those! I recently signed up for a "Stubs" card from AMC that allows you to receive a ten dollar gift card for every hundred spent. You also get free upgrades (ie: pay for a small popcorn, get a medium for free).

    I have been saving money by switching from Moroccan Oil shampoo to the generic Argan Oil brand from Sally Beauty (I actually like it even more!)

  23. Oh those Groupon deals are awesome! Thank you for the Argan tip :)

  24. I'd definitely stop by your place for home baked cakes and tea!

  25. Yes! I do about 1/2 vinegar and baking soda…let it soak for about an hour…followed by gallons of hot boiling water.

  26. Thanks for sharing your tips! I always wonder how you got such great shiny hair! I can't help buying those expensive shampoo to keep my hair in shape.

    I can totally relate to your saving tips. For me, there are a lot of things that I don't do compare to others say my ex coworkers – no gym membership, no nails (yes I do my own nails), no movies, not much coffees, and Mr. Classy picked the cheapest phone plan (unlimited data for $35/month). These little things really adds up like you said.

    We used to do groupons too like the lady suggested above – just that it was a pity that they expired or I never get stick it through with them. I bought a photoshoot package that the photographer backed out, and a crazy french class which i went once only, and a high-tea one at the Plaza hotel that I missed. $500+ down the drain, and feel like I actually don't need to consume those, they were like impulse shopping for some reason.

    Good luck!!!! maybe I will write up something similar down the road to share!

  27. Another great, informative post! I save money by giving myself manicures (I save the pedi for the pros). I have it down to an art and find that Revlon Quick Dry Base Coat, Revlon Quick Dry Top Coat and Essie are the best among drug store brands. My home manicures last just as long if not longer than professional ones. I also save money by buying accessories from Forever 21. I am so fickle I get tired of things very quickly so the cheapie accessories don't break the bank or make me feel bad if I don't wear them often.

  28. 1. Dumped cable and movies for Netflix (haven't been to the theater since 2009 to see Inception with my dad).

    2. I do buy Starbucks tea but get 2 for 1: Ask the barista to separate the two teabags into two venti cups – you get twice the (good) tea for the same price. I'm actually very particular about tea; the grocery garbage won't do so I'm willing to pay more at a specialty store that knows what it's doing.

    3. Shop on eBay! (Almost) Everything I have has at some point been on eBay. BMW included!

  29. Great post! First of all, I'm a big fan of Kiehl's. I used to toss the used empty bottles, but now I know that if you bring in your empties to a Kiehl's store, they stamp your stamp card and you basically trade it in for freebies at certain intervals. That's my favorite and most exciting way to save, help the environment, and get more products for free. I also save on hemmings. I traded a rotisserie machine for sewing machine. Ever since, I've been hemming my work pants and making little alterations here and there. My biggest savings is on toothpaste. I love pairing it with a good coupon and snagging free toothpaste!

  30. Haha! I love this post! I use Dr Bronners as well on my counters, my wood floors, my hand soap pumps. I also use jojoba oil religiously on the baby belly for fear of stretch marks (I know they're genetic, but it makes me feel better). My friend with bad acne said she uses natural raw honey (as a cleanser) and then jojoba oil (as a moisturizer) and her face has never been better. She stopped having to go to the dermatologist!

    I like your homemade Drano. Definitely going to try it soon!

  31. I love reading all these tips – they're so much fun! I also carry teabags with me – but for a different reason – I often don't like the taste of teas sold at the stores – so I just order a superlarge tea – toss out their bag and use my own – not a thrifty tip I know…

    When it comes to hot drinks – I like my home-made coffee and tea better than store-bought ones…so I buy the dixie insulated paper cups with lids – and make my own tea or coffee before heading out. I also have the ceramic reuasable cups – but sometimes you don't want to carry back an empty cup. I guess that is a way of saving money – but for me it's more due to my picky taste!

  32. What a cool post. Can't just imagine that you're doing such things. But it's a nice way to save some that can be added as a budget for some personal preference.I'm not really good in budgeting, However I find myself buying coffee beans from Starbucks so I can brew by myself. I can drink 2-3 cups a day so I think that can save me much php. In relation to this I also bought tea box from grocery store so that I always have them when I needed them most. On hair care I try to buy hair mask and treatment and do it at home mode so I can lessen my visit to Salon from monthly to quarterly.Love this post that I can read opinions and eventually help me to have budgeting skills.:)

  33. Oh gosh! We could be long lost cousins! Our methods of saving money are very similar! I always buy the boxes of Tazo, Awake Tea from Target. Drinking tea this way is 1/20 of the cost of ONE Awake tea from Starbucks! Crazy!
    And I always buy my movie tickets from Costco…there's just no other way! :)

    Have a wonderful Monday!

  34. I never thought to buy movie tickets on ebay, I'll have to try that! Great post with great tips, thanks for sharing!

    keepcalmandcarrylipstick.blogspot.com

  35. 1) I save on stuff that goes down the drain within a min, i.e. cleanser of any sorts. I usually pick the cheapest (or value for money in terms of size) without SLS.
    2) I try to pack lunch to work (leftovers from last night dinner – just cook a bit more)
    3) I bulk buy on hydrosols or rosewater/witchhazel (instead of expensive toners).
    4) I drink at home now, instead of pricey cocktails at swanky joints.
    5) I make sure that I can match at least 5x for any clothing article (shoes, accessories, bags, clothes) that I buy, and I also avoid high street fashion. (hey, you can go overboard and end up buying clothes you don't wear/need). Also, I try to stick to the "5 Piece French Wardrobe" with a list.

  36. I'm a firm believer of baking soda in utility closet too! Cleans everything!
    Great post!

    http://mrsjackofalltradesdaily.blogspot.com/

  37. Oh wow, my boss just gave me a bunch of those tickets since he knows that I go to the movies a lot.

  38. FYI: Starbucks in the states uses Tazo tea…which you can buy in bulk at any Target for $3.99 for a box of 20. Also sold at WHole foods for 5.99 I believe.

  39. Since my building has a massive gym and olympic- sized pool, I stopped being such a brat and ended my Bar Method membership which was kinda bonkers. I'm being self driven to hit the gym myself and go swimming 2-3 times a week.

    I also ALWAYS do my own mani pedi to make up for the fact that most of my nail polish is Chanel.

    Also for black tie events, I actually do my own hair and watch youtube to learn how to make the chignon!

  40. I make all my tea at home. Even if you buy good tea it is cheaper than going somewhere like Starbucks. You're cleaning supplies look just like mine! Don't you love them? And Kiehl's is the best!!!!!

  41. I do go to Target every month to stock up on Tazo but I've fallen in love with the full leaf version only available in Starbucks. I don't make a habit of it but hey, it's a vice.

    WF Tazo prices are unreal though.. I can't believe they're in the tea business when the Target next door sells the same goods for half the price (and it does go on sale rather often).

  42. Awesome – I love this post! I need to try your cleaning tips. Yes, lately I have discovered that I like drugstore shampoos/conditioners. I won't talk smack about Tres Semme again! I try to go to matinees if I really want to see a movie. Also, I only get a pedicure once a month and I try to extend brow waxing every 3 wks. I started subscribing to my favorite magazines since it's more economical to pay $8-$25 for the entire year vs. $3-$5 a month for an issue of Allure or People Style. I have also started bringing breakfast/lunch to work more often and I try to allow myself to go to Peets/Starbucks once a week but not spend more than $5. Also, I've been playing bartender at home with a cocktail book my husband bought for me last Christmas. But booze can be expensive so we invest in the liquors we love, which is sadly a lot. haha

  43. Again, thank you so much for your kind words and advice everybody! I LOVED reading the comments here! Will def. be a part two coming up :)

  44. I have an unhealthy obsession with handbags and sunglasses. So, in order to get them at a price within my budget, I have to do resale shops, consignment stores, eBay, Craigslist, and discount stores such as TJ Maxx and Marshall's. I only have two requirements-designer (for both) and leather (for handbags).
    I am going to start buying my movie tickets from Costco. I never even thought about that, and I have a membership.

  45. Great post! I do the exact same thing with the movie tickets! I don't remember when was the last time I could use my student ID for a discount… My way of saving a little money is to wait until something I want goes on sale. To me it hurts when I buy something full price and then the next time I go in the store it's on sale. So now I just learn to be more patient because it will eventually go on sale. I got this fur vest at Urban Outfitters for $20 on sale, while my friend got it a month before at full price for almost $200, crazy right?

  46. I love this post! I use the same household cleaners – good on the wallet & the environment. I ditched cable for Netflix which is even better (especially streaming). I do my own manis like some of te other ladies.
    This is a psuedo saver tip: I sell all of my stuff on eBay when I'm done. Everything will sell for a price. Be sure to list items at he beginning of the season not when the season is over. I keep that money in my PayPal account. I make a list of all the items I want/need and buy items off the list as the money rolls in. It's a great way to make money and ultimately save on future purchases.
    XO
    Annette

  47. I agree with on the movie theater tickets, its crazy at the amount of money it cost to go see a movie. I just wait till it comes out at Redbox and never knew Costco sold movie theater tickets. You learn something everyday! I am a bargain shopper, and love great deals. Only recently I bought something was ridiculously cheap and loved it.

  48. We don't have cable. I do my own mani/pedis. I check out books from the library – especially books on decor and cooking – and only buy those I really want after that. The library has saved me loads.

  49. Oh and I practically bought all my furnishings secondhand on craigslist or at antique shows.

  50. Absolutely nothing cleans like vinegar and baking soda, nothing!
    And I'm with you, movie tickets are ridiculously expensive, and add some popcorn and a drink and you might as well have gone out for a nice dinner… it's only matinees for me! :)

  51. I have stopped subscribing/buying magazines because I noticed that I almost never read or look through a mag more than one time… and then I ended up throwing away tons of mags after having them in piles and felt kinda sorry about all the money spent on mags, especially on fashion/beauty/lifestyle mags. I get to read them all the time on planes and airports for free since I am travelling a lot, so I just stopped all subcriptions and discipline myself not to buy any more…

  52. I loved this post! I try to save on coffee by brewing it at home. I really need to try out the Dr. Bronner's soap! I also have a pair of AMC tickets from Costco in my purse as well :D

  53. great post! just an FYI, you can buy Dr. Bronner's castile soap at Trader Joe's for only $9.99! i believe Target charges $15.00. :)

  54. Kat, thought I'd answer your question here regarding the Le Pliage leather tote. It's made in Tunisia but the workmanship is definitely not bad for the price. The leather is buttery soft and the strap works a treat. My only concern would be the protruding corners because they will get worn down pretty quickly.

  55. Kat, thought I'd answer your question here regarding the Le Pliage leather tote. It's made in Tunisia but the workmanship is definitely not bad for the price. The leather is buttery soft and the strap works a treat. My only concern would be the protruding corners because they will get worn down pretty quickly.

  56. Kat, thought I'd answer your question here regarding the Le Pliage leather tote. It's made in Tunisia but the workmanship is definitely not bad for the price. The leather is buttery soft and the strap works a treat. My only concern would be the protruding corners because they will get worn down pretty quickly.

  57. Great post! I love reading all the tips. I will have to try the jojoba oil and your trick for clogged drains. I hate using drano type products because I know how bad they are for the environment.

  58. Thanks for your jojoba oil with conditioner tip. I’ve been going through a very dry hair period, and the oil has worked miracles on my hair! I have super straight Asian hair that never seems to be able to hold a curl longer than 10 mins. What products do you use? Your hair always looks great.

    Btw, I always get such a kick when you refer to your cheap Asian side, being Asian myself, I believe it’s ingrained in our DNA. :P

  59. I MORE than agree with you about the movie tickets. Since I’m a single woman w/oa care in the world (yeah right) I like to go to the dollar theater near my job to see movies. Tuesdays is $0.50 night!

    I also shop at Aldi, purchase my produce from the Farmer’s Market, meat from Albertsons (who ALWAYS has badass sales on meat) , and cook at home.

    To save money when going out we typical pregame at the house so we buy our own bottles. This works for me since I live in the Downtown area and drinks are NOT cheap. After three drinks I could have purchased a 750ml of alcohol. Just sayin’. LOL

  60. [...] Savings – Part Two Jul 232012   A few months ago, I did a post on small savings – all the wee little ways I try and save some moola here and there. I loved all the comments [...]

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>