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27 Things I Make Instead of Buy to Save Money

Are you looking for ways to save money? You're not alone! It can be tough to keep up with when you have surprise expenses.  By changing some of our daily habits, my family started to make some of our household items instead of buy them to help use reduce waste, save money, and frankly because it can be more convenient. I added the items on this list bit by bit over the years. Please do not think you have to make everything all at once! Sometimes I don’t have to make more of something because I made a bit too much the first time and we are still going through it (looking at you Must Can All the Jam! bender a few years ago.) Other times, it’s a one and done kind of thing like sewing on a button, and sometimes I buy the item instead of making it (like yogurt) because I’m too busy with other life things to keep up with the supply and demand.   Save this list of money saving ideas to your Pinterest Boards for later! Share it with your friends!  In othe

15 Ways I Saved Money this Fall (and You Can Too!)

Our family tends to spend more money in the last two months of the year due to the holidays. That isn’t always a bad thing because we know that it is coming and try to plan accordingly.
how to save money early for christmas
 Save this list of ideas to your Pinterest boards for later! Share it with your friends!

Here are 15 ways I saved money in November to prepare for the extra Christmas holiday spending in December.

15 Frugal Tips for November

1. Use the program on our programmable thermostat. Many people install them but for some reason do not use them and guess what? It doesn’t save money on their heating bill. What a missed opportunity! We noticed as significant decrease in our heating bills almost immediately after I installed our programmable thermostat because we use the program with a few temperature tweaks for personal comfort.

There are fancier programmable thermostats with more bells and whistles but the Honeywell 5 - 2 Day Programmable Thermostat is easy to use and suits us just fine. (you can get more information about it here.)

I suggest you get a programmable thermostat with separate programs for weekdays and weekends since most folks are away from home during the weekdays and home all day long on weekends. It is easy to readjust the programmed temperatures by a few degrees up or down at the beginning of the season and let it go until the temperature changes. That’s what works for us.

2. Was the first  to call dibs on the Thanksgiving turkey carcass and made crockpot turkey stock (read my easy slow cooker stock tutorial here.)

3. Froze the extra batches of the Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe I created for my Good Day Columbus TV segment. It paid off because we already had a few easy homemade meals to eat when we came home from vacation to an empty refrigerator.

Click to get Chicken Enchilada Soup recipe here. Your taste buds will thank you! 

4. Husband publicly sang All of Me to me on my birthday at an impromptu birthday gathering of friends and made me swoon. Husband thinks it one of the most romantic songs written because John Legend wrote it for his wife to be and the video has footage from the song being played at their wedding.

5. Paid for our Florida vacation with cash/debit card.  Many of you tell me you use a rewards credit card and pay the bill off at the end of the month. That’s a great idea but I’ve lacked that discipline in the past. This is the method that works me. Either way, we don’t have to worry about being slapped with a credit card bill in December.

6. Vacationed the week before Thanksgiving when Universal Studios Orlando ticket prices are lower and the parks are less crowded.   I’ll write more about the how, when, and why we planned our Universal vacation for less in a later post.

7. Got a It’s My Birthday button from Universal Orlando Guest Services. This totally made my vacation!  The birthday wishes and the nifty free Universal souvenir was enough, but when a few places surprised me a birthday discount it was the cherry on the top of my lactose free sundae. How nice!

8. Universal lets you bring snacks and food if you have a food intolerance or allergy. The first day we brought lunch in our back packs because I wasn’t sure if here was anything I could safely eat in the park. I felt a little cheapskate even though I have a legitimate need. We bought park food during the rest of our trip and I paid for it. I guessed wrong more often than not and was sick for a chunk of the trip.   You’d think being sick would cure of me feeling weird about bringing my own food. Nope. It doesn’t.

9. Husband and I made $15 each being a test audience for a TV show at Universal. It took an hour out of our day to watch a 30 minute test pilot and fill out a survey. We had three day tickets so we could spare the time. It is not like Universal didn’t get their money back. We spent our new fortune on extra cups of Butter Beer and Pumpkin Juice. So Good!

10. Used my Hard Rock Rewards birthday month buy 1 get one free special for dinner during our vacation.  I have a thing for Hard Rock Cafes.

11.  Husband bought needed running gear and shoes at at the ASICS outlet store in Orlando for 50% off clearance price. Woot.

12. Got 75% off at a retailer in the same outlet mall on Christmas gifts. I can’t name names or it may spoil the surprise but the gifts are something they will flip for and use. We lucked into this one.

13. Christmas shopped on line on Black Friday through Cyber Monday. I don’t think Black Friday automatically makes people fight over buying a bunch of cheap junk, it just more exciting to show on the news than slow checkout lines due to the crowds.  I shop just as responsibly and carefully on Black Friday as I do any other day of the year. Shopping on line allowed me to compare sale prices from several stores at once while in my PJs with a dog on my lap and nursing an upper respiratory infection. I might have been miserable but at least I was somewhat productive.

14. Bought a few household things (bulk coffee and baking soda) and finished my Christmas shopping with a free 60 day trial BJ’s Wholesale Club membership. The free trial isn’t a special blogger thing, you can get one too. I posted the details on Lazy Budget Chef here.

15. Made four Christmas gifts with fabric from my stash. I’m probably happier about cleaning out my fabric stash than saving money. Either way, I’ll take it.

Looking for more quick, healthy, and cheap recipe ideas? Check out the following - and more! – below!

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