In the last month I’ve been keeping a list of a number of ways we save money in surprising ways. Most of the time, these ideas also end up saving us stress and make us benefit from some healthy exercise.
1. Buy Local: I like to support local businesses but I mostly do it for selfish reasons. We live in a community that is about a 30 to 60 minute drive to the nearest Walmart, Costco or other big box stores. We also have a smaller resale market in our town on kijiji and Facebook. So I am often tempted to travel to get something I need, especially because we buy most things second hand. For example, the other day I wanted to get a new bicycle for my son and I couldn’t find any reasonable ones on kijiji locally. Because we wanted one right away, the only option I have in town was a new bike at $150. I found a couple of feasible used options for about $100 between 30 and 60km away (60 to 120km roundtrip).
If you read our post about the true cost of driving, you will be able to quickly do the math and see that the cost of going out of town to get a used bike would be $24 to $48. That doesn’t even include the time cost, which would be at least 1 hour of my day and the risk of getting there and the person not being home or the overall small risk of buying a used product that does not work as planned. So with all this in mind, I went with the brand new bike as it was a break even outcome.
This applies to many things we normally shop for. We used to go to Costco pretty often to stock up on cashews, almonds and other bulk items since they come out cheaper than buying them at our local grocery store. But when we do the math, the nearly 200km roundtrip to Costco doesn’t make sense. Unless we are saving at least $100 and we’re willing to give up an entire day.
2. Put Things in Kijiji Storage: What is Kijiji storage? It’s an imaginary service that lets you store any item you don’t need until you need or want them again. Oftentimes for free or even for a profit. I’ll explain how it works.
Let’s say you have an item that you haven’t used in a long time but you are keeping it because you think you might use it in the future. A good example would be a piece of furniture that doesn’t currently fit your current house or design choice (maybe a coffee table). So you keep it in a storage room or shed because it’s got value and you don’t want to just throw it away.
What you should do is sell it right away on Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace and you will get exactly what it is worth on an open market. In a couple of years, when you need a coffee table, you just go back on Kijiji and you are bound to find one that suits your needs and likely for an even better price. You will have saved yourself from storing a bulky item and you may have earned interest on the profits you made two years prior.
One of my favorite Mr. Money Mustache quotes is “If you wouldn’t buy it now, you should probably sell it”. He used this quote to convince a reader that they should sell their inefficient vehicle if they thought they made a mistake in buying it. But the quote applies to so many purchases or items in your life. Look around your storage area and use this logic to every item. If you wouldn't buy that item today then you should probably sell it. The 2 year old barely used bicycle you bought because you thought you wanted to start cycling but now regret it. Sell it even if you will take a loss. You may have bought it for $300 and are afraid to sell it for $150 now because you are losing $150 in the process, but if that same used bike was for sale by your neighbour for $150, would you buy it? If not, then you should probably sell yours.
3. Pump Tires with a Bicycle Pump: As you might expect, I always change our summer/winter tires myself. I don’t like to pay to get such a simple service done and I don’t like to make an appointment and then wait at the garage for a couple of hours. But every fall and spring when I would change my tires, I always went to the gas station nearby to pump the tires back to their required PSI, because they would lose some air while in storage. The minimalist in us forbids us from owning a fancy air compressor and it only costs $1 to pump the tires at the gas station.
But this past week, after I had changed my tires, I decided to try a new idea that would check off 2 boxes on my to-do list. I took out the bicycle pump and did a 30 minute arm and chest workout. Yes, you can pump car tires with a manual bicycle pump! It took about 100 pumps to increase the PSI by about 5. So in total I counted about 500 strokes. I saved $1 and I used the same amount of time it would have likely taken me to drive to the gas station.
4. The 4-in-1 Bathing Suit: The credit for this one goes to Danielle but I’ll share the story. Danielle needed a new bathing suit for the upcoming summer so she went shopping online. As a true minimalist she was proud to show me the bikini that showed up yesterday. Not only was it very reasonably priced, it can be worn in 4 different ways (6 or 7 if you consider going topless). Both pieces of the bikini are reversible with one side being patterned and the other a matching solid colour. So you can wear both pieces as one model or the other. And then you can mix it by wearing a pattern on the bottom and a solid colour on top (or vice versa) to add 2 extra options.