With so many folks unemployed right now, and money tight for many families, it’s time to look at real ways to save money during trying times. They got it right during the Depression – nearly 100 years ago. We can do it again. Here are seven sensible ways to save some bucks right now – and some of them just might be fun and entertaining!
- Grow your own. In the 1930s, everyone had a “Victory Garden” in their back yard, side yard, rooftop or patio pots. You can grow basic vegetables, like tomatoes, from seeds or seedlings, to augment the grocery store produce that is becoming increasingly expensive. You can grow herbs in your kitchen window. And you can tap into lots of help from your local gardening club, horticultural society or university extension office.
- Cook your own. It’s tempting to do take-out or drive-through meals if you don’t like to cook. But they’re often not that healthful and they can be relatively expensive. And while hose meal delivery kits are handy, they also are pretty pricey. Sure, groceries have gotten expensive, too, but not as much as pre-prepared and pre-packaged meals. There are lots of simple recipes online. Just google your key ingredient (salmon, broccoli or pasta, for example) and you’ll get more recipes than you’ll ever make in a lifetime. Many of them even have videos to show you each step. Food Network has tons of them.
- Fix it yourself. Got a leaky faucet? A toilet tank that runs? Some simple home repairs can be done by the most inexperienced do-it-yourselfer with the instructions that come with the repair kit. Ask the guy or gal in the correct department at your home improvement store. Or check out the multitude of DIY projects online courtesy of YouTube. You might be inspired.
- Have a home car-wash. The days of getting a cheap car wash are pretty much gone. Instead, wash your car in the driveway (turning off the hose in between rinses so as not to waste water, of course). This is a great family task and kids will love getting wet (and getting each other wet) and cooling off on a hot day, besides.
- Go retro on entertainment. Maybe ditch the expanded cable for a while. Dig out the old electronics and check out a movie from the library. And while you’re at it, check out some new music and a few good books. Maybe even some board games. If you find one you really like, invest in one for yourself –cheap entertainment that lasts for hours. And if the power goes out, you can always play by candlelight.
- Get a job. OK, you’ve been laid off from the restaurant, bar, gym, or wherever you were working. There are lots of new jobs out there, from shopping for groceries for shut-ins to delivering packages for online retailers. Check out the local jobs center for listings. You might be surprised at what’s available.
- Finally, look at your monthly bills. Is there something that can be cut without much pain? Did you forget you had a gym membership? A magazine subscription you rarely read? Little things can add up to a lot.