People always ask me about my couponing skills, but that’s not the only way I save. There are many ways you can cut your grocery and household budget just by finding inexpensive alternatives for the things you buy often. Here are a few of my favorite swap outs:
- Microwave popcorn – We swapped microwave packets of popcorn for plain old popcorn kernels. Hubby even timed it (yes, we’re nerds…). It doesn’t take any more time to do it the old fashioned way on the stove than it does in the microwave. Seriously. As an added bonus, when we do it on the stove we only use a couple of tablespoons of oil and then we season it with spices or a popcorn sprinkle like cheddar cheese or kettle corn (we like Archer Farms brand) so it’s healthier too.
- Canned/boxed broth – We used to use a lot of boxed broth and I hated the expense. When I shared my frustration with my best friend she suggested we try bouillon cubes instead. I can get 6 cubes in a pack for about a dollar. Each cube makes a couple of cups worth of broth. We like using it instead of plain water to cook rice, cous cous and bulgur wheat. I still use boxed broth for some things (the bouillon can be a little salty in large quantities) but bouillon has been a real money saver for me. I’m also working on making my own broths – that’s the next step. Oh! And if I make bouillon and don’t use all of it, I just let it cool and pour it into an old ice tray and freeze it. Those cubes of broth come in handy. 🙂
- Bottled salad dressing – We don’t buy bottles of salad dressing anymore. Instead, we buy salad dressing bases from our favorite spice company Penzeys Spices (click HERE) and add oil and vinegar (or in some cases sour cream, etc). Each of the regular spice jar sized jars makes a few salad’s worth of dressing. We follow the recipes on the bottle and throw everything in a mason jar and shake. We’ve even branched out by coming up with our own spice mixes. So much cheaper (and not full of sugar or salt)!
- Paper towels – Yep, we’ve been accused of being hippies because don’t use paper towels (much), but seriously, think about how expensive paper towels have become and how much money you are literally throwing away. Instead, we’ve switched to microfiber cloths for cleaning and a really durable kitchen towel from Ikea. You can read more about how we’re trying to go paperless in the kitchen, here. I still buy a single roll here and there just for dog messes, but that’s about it!
- Bottled water – I have to give Adam the credit for this swap. I was perfectly happy buying bottles of water, but he wasn’t. He encouraged me to invest in a Brita Ultramax – you can see it here. We just fill it up with tap water and it gets filtered and popped into the fridge to chill. You do have to replace the filter periodically – but they offer coupons and great sales on those.
I’ll admit that the Brita and the microfiber towels are a bit of an investment up front, but over time you’re not continuing to shell out your hard earned cash on things you’re just going to throw out! This week, take a look around your home and see what you can swap (or eliminate all together!). The result will be less spending and healthier habits. Your wallet, your health and the planet will thank you.
What can you swap? Leave me a comment and let me know!