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:
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.
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!
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.
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.