It is so easy to run to the store and grab this or that.  I remember when we bought our first house it felt like we were $29.99’d to death with the things we needed to pick up. Whether it is a tool from the store, groceries, travel or your utility bills, there are a lot of things you can do to be more self-reliant and to save money in the process.  Here are 15 of our favorites.

  1. Have a cooking party. Make big batches of food on the weekends and refrigerate or freeze leftovers to eat during the week.  Way better than takeout.

  1. Create a Tool Sharing community.  Whether it is with one friend or a few families on the block, make a list of tools that you have communally and borrow from the pool instead of each person buying new.  Put a few dollars in a pot to replace anything that gets damaged and needs repair.

  1. bread-basketMake your own bread. This simple recipe really takes 5 minutes a day for yummy, healthy fresh bread at a fraction of the cost of store bought. No kneading, no fuss, no muss. (This is the bread I made for our family.)

  1. Skip the gym with an outdoor workout. Run, bike, walk, do pushups, burpees, squats and lunges, or find a quiet spot to practice yoga and stretching.

  1. Ditch the cable and switch to netflix and the internet. There is a lot available to watch and you will save every month. Even better, plan family time playing board games, telling stories or playing outdoors.

  1. Buy high quality coffee and to-go cup.  Make it at home and take it with you saving money and the planet in throw away cups.

  2. Use your windows. Manage summer heat by opening the windows at night and closing them and the curtains during the day.  If you have to use A/C, raise the temperature a bit – each degree you increase it will save you 7-10% on your bill.

  1. Replace your old fridge with an Energy Star model.  There is an upfront cost, but you can save up to $1000 in electricity costs over the life of the appliance.

  1. Do a home swap for your next holiday. Use a site like to find a suitable family to trade homes with in the country you want to visit.  Saving on hotels and car rentals leaves money for excursions and food, keeping the overall cost down.

  1. Use vinegar and baking soda for most home cleaning jobs.  Not only is it less expensive, but it is much better for you since you are not breathing in all of the chemicals from the cleaning products.

  1. Choose a Bed and Breakfast over a hotel for cost savings and ambiance.  Use to find one where you are headed for business or pleasure. Or, if you want your own digs, try to rent a space of your own.

  1. spring-flowersBuy in-season vegetables and fruit at the farmers market or direct from the farm and store it, freeze it or can it for the winter. Or, you can try a Community Supported Agriculture basket where you get farm fresh food delivered all year round.

  1. Plug your appliances into powerbar strips and flick the switch to off when you are not using it.  This eliminates “phantom loads” where appliances continue to pull electricity even when they are turned off.

  1. Wash your clothes in cold water.  Friction rather than head does most of the cleaning. Consider using soap berries to reduce costs and the impact on mother earth.

Make grab-and-go foods easy, yummy and healthy, replacing candy, chips and snack bars. Muffins are easy and quick to eat on the run.  Make cold tea for the fridge instead of boxes of fruit juice.

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Personal finance expert, Karen Collacutt is founder and CEO of Make Friends with Your Money.  Karen works with ambitious people who are making good money but are wondering where it all went at the end of the month. She helps her clients to get clear on their money life challenges and opportunities, matching their money to their goals.  They build a plan, confidence and peace of mind around their money. Certified Money Coach and Certified Financial Planner, Karen brings over 15 years of finance and business experience to her clients. Coach, speaker, author and change catalyst for those ready to create a positive and empowered money life, Karen delivers a fresh perspective on how to make friends with your money.

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