While it’s nice to treat yourself now and again, it’s even better to save money; but how? One of the best ways to save money is to take the initiative, and do for yourself what you would ordinarily pay someone else to do. Here are 8 great DIY tips that can help you and your family to save money. Although these tips may not all apply to you, there’s a good chance that at least some of them will.
1. Learn to Cut Hair
If you imagine that everyone in your family needs to get haircuts and that trips to even the cheapest barbers will cost at least $5-10 per person, you’ll be quick to conclude that the amount of money spent on your family’s hair adds up at an alarming rate. If you can learn to cut the hair of some of the people in your family, you can cut out those barber visits and encourage some major savings; it’s a win for you and the family!
We’ll add, you can easily prepare for the men in your family who like having their hair cut short by purchasing some electric clippers. No matter how hefty the bill, look at that purchase as an investment; if it saves you from bimonthly trips to the barber, it will likely pay for itself quite quickly.
2. Pack a Lunch
Whether you’re at the office or at school, when lunchtime rolls around, it’s easiest to either swing by the cafeteria or hit a restaurant. But you pay a price for such a convenience. You see, you stand to save quite a bit of money by packing a lunch from home. Plus, you can enjoy the added benefit of better controlling your diet. When you eat at a restaurant, it’s hard to know what’s gone into your food and what your meal’s nutritional content is. On the other hand, when you bring a lunch from home, you can make sure to cover all your nutritive bases while avoiding excessive amounts of fat.
3. Grow a Window Herb Garden
Herbs are a great way to bring life to food without filling it with salt and fat; but if you’ve ever tried buying fresh herbs from the store, you’ve learnt they’re often expensive. Plus, herbs frequently come packaged in large bunches that are hard to use up before they go bad.
If your house has a small window, you’ve a fighting chance to grow a window garden, and to keep a few herbs on hand in manageable amounts. This will help you save money, and you may even find that your homegrown herbs taste better than the ones you used to buy from the store.
4. Form a Babysitting Co-op
If you have kids, you know that sometimes you need to get away from them, whether it’s for a doctor’s appointment or just to maintain your sanity. But no matter how much you need it, paying for babysitters can sometimes be expensive. Try forming a co-op with other parents in your area. Each week, one of you will take all of the children and let the other parents have a night off. This way, for one night of work every month or two, you get weekly babysitting for free!
If you have preschool-aged children, you can also try setting up a preschool co-op.
5. Plan and Prepare Meals on the Weekend
When you’re midway through the week, meals can sneak up on you without you having any real idea of what you’re going to make. Then, it’s easy to just decide to order in pizza for dinner again, or to stop for greasy, double fried, breakfast sandwiches on the way to school. But of course this can quickly get expensive.
If you make a meal plan on the weekend when life is (presumably) a little less complicated, you’ll have a firm grasp on what you’re going to eat every meal of the week—and have the ability to make sure you have the necessary ingredients. If you have enough time, you can even get ahead, and do some of your meal prep on the weekends. You might try making a few dinners to freeze and then eat throughout the week, or you might try making some granola or yogurt that you can have for breakfast.
6. Workout Alone
If you spend a lot of money on exercise classes or trips to the gym, you may be able to save some of that by working out alone. You can exercise along with DVDs for free, and go for jogs—both are inexpensive alternatives. You can do pull-ups at a playground, yoga, or animal flow movements in a field. What’s more, if you have the space, you can assemble a decent home gym with a reasonable initial outlay.
7. Track Your Expenses
If none of the items on this list so far have seemed applicable to you, try this: track all of your expenses in detail for a month. Don’t try to control your spending, just keep track of it. Then, look at what you spend your money on, and try to think if there are ways that you can save money on it through DIY projects.