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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

11 Ways Spring Cleaning Accidently Made Me Over $650 in Extra Money

I learned that the best way to deal with and beat my Cabin Fever that rolls into Spring Fever is to keep myself occupied with a project.

Getting a Travel Fund coin bank and offhandedly thinking that I will spend whatever stray coin I find on our trip to Germany. to corral my spare change weirdly became an incentive to clean out and organize junk drawers, my purses, and random clutter catches like the linen closet.

Pin this post for incentive later!

I hate clutter and living in a condo helps with that. I expected to find a couple of doubles since I can’t always store like with like. I also expected to add more things to put in the charity shop donation box in the garage (which I could get a receipt and claim as a charitable deduction.)

What I didn’t expect was to make a bunch of extra money Spring Cleaning from finding, selling, recycling and using the stuff I already had and couldn’t find. Cleaning and reorganizing turned into shopping the house for unexpected profit.

For example:

1. Once I learned I can cook my home grown dehydrated vegetables in my Instant Pot without dehydrating them first (which I always forget to do)  it inspired a kitchen cupboard shuffle, consolidation, and emphasized Eat This and Give Me Space Back time.

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My grocery shopping list grew smaller and my storage space grew bigger – just in time to plant this summer’s garden! Here are a few things we made:
  • Beef Heart – it tastes like roast beef
  • Mussels with tomato and garlic sauce over whole wheat angel hair pasta
  • Steak
  • Summer Squash Noodles with Spaghetti Meat Sauce
  • Whole wheat and applesauce brownies – I’m still tweaking this recipe before I share it with you.
  • Russian Black Bread
  • English Kidney Stew
  • Flavored popcorn with spices from the spice rack
  • Using dairy free salad dressings I wasn’t fond of  as chicken and fish marinades. I like them much better this way!
Savings: $150 (all numbers are approximate)

2. Cleaned and reorganized our shoe and costume closet (what? Doesn’t everyone have a closet dedicated to their historical costuming hobby?) I found a long black dress I often wore to Scottish Balls I forgot I had.

Lacey supervised every project. I’d be lost without her leadership.
Photo courtesy of my DIY blog Condo Blues

Not only did I save over 200 bucks on a new Concert Black dress for the concert band I will join in the fall but I also made money by selling the dress I bought and was a little too small when I lifted my arms up to play my flute. (Darn Junior’s sizing!)

Savings: Dress $275 + $50 from the consignment shop (I could have made more money on eBay but I just wanted the stuff out of the house.)

3. Went through the the small mountain of travel toiletries, kept a few for travel and put the rest into my on deck area and some travel lotion bottles into rotation by putting a bottle in my desk and extra bathrooms. I kept a few empty bottles to refill for travel and recycled the rest of the empties.

Savings: $10

4. I found a ton of viable vegetable and flower seed packets while cleaning out the kitchen junk drawer and reorganized it with plastic takeout meal prep containers.  This year’s landscaping and patio garden vegetables will cost ZERO DOLLARS, not to mention the money we’ll save on not buying herbs and vegetables this summer.

Savings $30 in seeds + market rate for herbs and vegetables 

5. I made over $10 in change by putting the stray coins I found while cleaning into a Travel Fund coin bank instead of tossing them back into the drawer or leaving them in the bottom of my purses. First round of coffee in a German coffee house is on me!

Savings: $10
6. Reinstalled the Rain Barrel Rock (learn more here) to the downspout to collect April showers to water my May and summer flowers with free rain water. Good thing. I found out we need to replace our outdoor faucet immediately after planting green beans. Yay rain water!

Savings: Unsure

7. Saved 30 bucks by making a pair of pajamas from leftover Christmas present fabric (you guessed it! I made PJs!) I consolidated from several storage tubs into a massive under bed fabric storage box.

I only buy fabric for specific projects (no space for extras) but between costuming, home d├ęcor, and gift sewing I still have a bunch of usable fabric. Luckily I need some new summer clothes, have everything I need to make them when (if?) I find the time.

Savings: $30 +
8. My skin gets so dry it hurts when I don’t drink enough water during the day. I get too wrapped up in work to keep refilling the water glass on my desk. I pulled our army of water bottles out of the kitchen cupboard, filter tap water, and popped them in the refrigerator. I generally don’t buy bottled water so I’m not saving extra money (but you might.) However  I get cupboard space back, put something I should use into use, and drink as much water as I should because it’s now so easy to grab a bottle of cold water when I’m running out the door.

Savings: Unsure

9. Reorganizing the linen closet always makes me feel like a hoarder because it is  it is tiny, gets messy easily, which means Husband or I sometimes accidentally buy doubles thinking we are helping the other one out like during Plague Time (although our doctors insist it is usually the flu) since it is also our de facto medicine cabinet.

Savings: $80

10. Cleaned out my makeup and tossed my expired makeup in the trash instead of back into the drawer. I feel like I have more makeup instead of less because I can find exactly what I want to use and do.

Savings: $0 – I recycled the empty tubes (of any brand) at Origins. Unfortunately I could find a place that would recycle the rest. It went into the household trash.

11. Rounded up our ancient printers and scanner that are no longer backwards compatible and dropped them off at Staples for recycling. They gave me a $10 off coupon which I hopefully will remember to use the next time we need a case of printer paper.

Savings: $10 (potentially)

I did all of the cleaning, organizing, sorting, donating, and recycling in small 1 to 4 hour chunks on the weekend for several months so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed or stop in the middle and leave an even bigger mess waiting for me to find time to finish.

What is the most surprising or embarrassing thing you found when you were Spring Cleaning?

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