The overall idea is to think about the cost of everything you do, and to calculate the savings if you could make a minor change to that thing. Here are some ideas.
(Photo Credit: Flickr)
Step 1: Save on Health and Beauty Products
Now do the same with your shampoo and liquid body soap - use a little less each day until you find the least amount you can use and still get the results you want. Try it with shaving cream, hair gel, etc, etc. In your bathroom alone, you can probably save $50 or more per year just by trimming the amount you use of each product.
Step 2: Household Cleaners
Use a little less toilet bowl cleaner, liquid disinfecting cleaner, and laundry soap. Try adding a little water to your liquid cleaners to stretch them (so you can pour out the same amount you're used to without actually using as much).
Step 3: Other Household Products
You can do this with aluminum foil as well if it's clean or can be wiped clean.
But you can save even more by not using baggies or foil or plastic wrap if you can help it. Reuse butter tubs for food storage when you can.
Step 4: Food
Try the same thing with tea bags (using them twice cuts your cost in half).
You can reduce other food costs by simply using a little less - a little less peanut butter on your sandwiches, one less sweetener packet in your coffee. If you use drink mixes (chocolate milk, powdered iced tea or kool-aid type mixes) try using just a little less each time until someone complains. A little less butter in your mashed potatoes, 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips in the cookie mix instead of 2 cups...You're not likely to even notice the difference - until you look at your grocery bill!
Step 5: Utilities
Your electric bill can be trimmed by being vigilant about turning off lights and appliances when they're not in use. You can also replace regular bulbs with fluorescent and really cut electric use for lights. Turn your heat down a degree or two - do it slowly and you'll hardly notice. Better yet, get a programmable thermostat - they're cheap, about $20 for the no frills kind, and easy to install (I'm sure there's an instructable somewhere!). It can turn your heat down for you when you're asleep or away, and turn it up before you get home or before you get out of bed in the morning. You'll never know it was turned down.
Step 6: Gasoline
Instead, try to plan ahead and combine trips - get all your groceries together, pick up groceries when you're running other errands, or have your hubby stop on his way home from work!
You can also work out a carpool with parents of other kids in your neighborhood. Seems like we're always driving to school to get the kids after a function and we find our neighbors are all there to get their kids, too. What a waste!
(Photo Credit: Flickr)
Now to enhance the effect, translate those savings into hours at your job. How many hours would you have to work to earn that much money? (In our house, I'm a stay at home mom, so I translate every dollar I spend into how long my husband has to work to earn it. My money-saving efforts are my way of contributing to the family's finances.)
I hope you find something useful in this instructable. It's not important to do everything listed here. But start thinking about the little things you can do. Start with one or two and you'll find it addicting! Soon you'll be partying like it's 1929!