Step 1: Rain Barrels
A good rain barrel should be plastic, not wooden like mine. Plastic keeps out those icky bugs and junk. Also with plastic, you can install a line for your hose. This would be more difficult with wood. Also, it should be covered or else the mosquitoes will come. IF you have a rain barrel, GREAT!. If you want to buy one, GOOD! If your a true DIYer, then i have posted a youtube video of HGTV I found which will go over all the basics
Step 2: Make Your Own Vegetable Garden
Remember, it takes money to conserve money. You will need plants, a chicken-wire like fence, something to till your garden with, water, time and patience. Anyways, a garden is a good idea. I'm not going to go into great detail, but a good garden is a planned garden. When you plan out your garden its easy to do. First, mark out you land. I suggest doing with wooden stakes in the ground. Then, with a shovel, remove the grass to expose the soil. This grass, or sod, can be placed in other needed places, and it was free! Now, you will need till the land. I personally used our roto-tiller. Also, I distinctly remember placing a little play sand in the soil to soften it up. It is optional, but I would mark out the boundaries of the garden with a fence or stone path. Now you are ready to plant, well sort of. You will also need some fencing like chicken-wire to keep all the rabbits out so they don't eat all your blue ribbon carrots. Once you plant out your garden, place the cages around them and don't forget to use your rain barrel to water them
Step 3: Groceries
While are the store, brands are important! I hate to admit it, but the Canadian's Pride maple syrup (fake) cost $6 dollars more than the brand on sale and just about taste the same. Always look for whats on sale. But above all, only buy whats on your list. If your 23 and single, you don't need to buy baby food because its on sale! As long as you look for sales, but only buy whats on your list, everything should work out fine. You can always save a bundle buy bring cheep brands. For scouts, I usually have to buy groceries for 5 meals with my budget being about $12 dollars a person. Now your looking at your $25 dollar new york strip stake and feeling bad.
Lastly, candy is for the weak. If you find your self at the supermarket buying a chocolate bar, put it down! Who needs chocolate when they got
Step 4: Eating Out
Restaurants are the other big spenders. I hope you bring your wallet with you because the $12 soup appetizer isn't paying for itself. How many times have you seen people at restaurants who eat till they are stuff and since they have so little food left on their plate, they decide to throw away the rest instead of taking it home. These people have bad eating habits. Next time you order this meal, I want you to think. When a little half way done your meal, ask your self, Would I be satisfied for tonight if I stopped eating now? If so, stop! Take the rest home with you, you can turn it into another meal like a two snacks or another dinner. This way, instead of just getting one meal out of a meal, you can get up to 3!
For example, I just ate out tonight at an Italian restaurant, got the cheapest chicken item on the menu, and found out it was practically a big chicken nugget with pasta (but don't get me wrong, i do love that place). So when I ate it tonight I was thinking that the pasta filled me up so I might be able to turn that chicken into a sandwich or something tomorrow for lunch because we have nothing to eat at my house!
Step 5: Keeping a Money Jar
Well, I'm a growing person, I need more than that to do anything in today's economy. Well now you can, and quit your bad habits all at the same time. For example, Ladies, are you tired of your husband swearing? Does he need to stop before you have a little baby around the house? Well a "swear jar" is perfect for you. If you don't know what it is, a swear jar basically places a 'tax' on using profanities in the house. As the maker of the swear jar, you assign the jar a price. When ever someone swears they must pay the ultimate price (can be anything, a nickel, quarter, or even a dollar) This money can also be designated for a certain thing so its not just like paying your self. For example, you can use the swear jar to save up for "The Best of Instructables: Volume 1" book. My mom also has what she calls her Disney world fund where she has alot! of money that has gone through the wash. Her policy is that if it goes through the wash then its hers. Just so I wouldn't complain as a child, I think she called it her Disney world fund that way I couldn't complain because it was for a good cause. She has kept loyal to it. Whenever she took money from it, she would always write IOUs to make sure that it would all still be there.
Lastly, from what I've heard, the cost for things such as CoinStar is expensive compared to local banks so please think before you act
Step 6: Packing a Lunch
Step 7: Reusing
Reusing isn't only for the dogs, its for everyday things. You can always reuse old things such as wood. If you started a DIY project of a bird house, look around at your scraps, you most likely are going to have to buy more, but you can still save a bit
Step 8: Biking
First off, find off if you can bike on sidewalks in your area. Biking on sidewalks is safe except in more popular areas where there are many people on the sidewalks. To always ensure safe travel, always yield to any pedestrian or car. If you have to bike in the streets, try to bike in areas with a designated bike lane. You don't want to be biking in a car's headlights. Many people do bike in the streets, and that's okay.
Next, you need to plan out where your going. It can just be mental, but you need a plan. If you don't, you'll find yourself at the edge of town wondering how you got there. Then go for it. Remember to bring your essentials like your helmet, water, and your cell phone.
Its important to know your signals while riding in the street. Pictures will be uploaded soon but in the mean time, I'll explain it verbally. When making a right turn, raise your left hand at a 90 degree angle before making the turn. To make a left turn, hold your arm straight out. To slow down, hold your hand out slightly below what you would do for a left turn, but with a significant difference that way others can recognize it. You can also use your right hand, switching the right and left signals. Generally, you should always try to use your left hand because drivers are on the left side so its easier for them to see it. Also, this started on the left side because cars used to use this before turn signals were made.
For more on bicycling i recommend Killerjackalope's guide to urban cycling