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17 Clever Ways To Spend Less Money This Month

Realistic ways to be frugal without sabotaging your lifestyle.

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1. Borrow (or rent) supplies and tools the next time you're tackling a home project like painting a room or hanging a gallery wall.

Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

When I recently painted my living room, I slashed costs by borrowing an aluminum ladder ($83.42 on Amazon) from my building's super. I also borrowed some tools from nearby friends, including a paint roller ($7.98), roller extender ($13.37), half-used roll of painter's tape ($3.67 for a whole roll), plastic paint tray ($6.89 for a pack of 10), and spackle (1/2 pint for $3.18).

I DID buy a three-pack of plastic drop cloths ($12.11 ), three-pack of roller covers ($8.49), and roll of painter's tape ($3.67). I used a paintbrush I forgot I had in my toolbox and some plastic soup containers to divvy up paint.

I used a The Home Depot gift card that I already had in-store to get the stuff that I did buy, so the above pricing may be a little off...but you get the gist. (Also, I threw away my receipt. Oops.)

Based on this loose math, I spent $24.27 and saved $118.51 by asking around to borrow stuff. Plus, I got the paint for free because I reviewed it for this story.

If you don't have friends or neighbors with the stuff you need, you can rent equipment at your local home centers like The Home Depot.

2. Clip some Amazon coupons. (Yep, they have them, too.)

amazon.com

There are a million coupon apps -- and some of them are excellent -- but coupons you can clip and automatically apply to your order whenever you actually buy that box of Twinings Chai Latte K cups are criminally easy to use.

Browse Amazon coupons by categories like health and personal care, grocery and gourmet, and beauty, to name just a few.

3. Organize your wardrobe, track return windows, and get notifications about sale items on your wishlist with FINERY.

ffinery.com

The ~free~ platform automates your digital closet by scanning your email inbox for order confirmations. Then it automatically uploads said finds and let's you choose product shots, item colors, and more options to find the exact thing that's in your IRL closet. And that's just the wardrobe part. It also notifies you about return windows for recent purchases and will track sales on stuff that's on your wishlist for you. Aka, it helps you score the best deals and gets you excited about wearing the stuff you already own. Read about all of its features here.

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4. Actually cook something with the stuff you already have (instead of ordering pizza) by sourcing a recipe through Recipe Puppy.

recipepuppy.com / Via recipepuppy.com

I typed in a very weird combination (mustard, swiss cheese, eggs, hot sauce) and look at what I found! Will I whip up that Sea Tail Quiche? No thanks. BUT, sometimes the only motivation I need to not drop $30 on Domino's is to realize that I could make that Sea Tail Quiche, y'know? Regardless, this site is easier than eating up an hour scrolling through your Pinterest boards for recipes you want but don't have the goods to fix. Scrambled eggs and hot sauce it is once again!

If you need some more meal-fixing inspo, search our Tasty archives.

(In case you're wondering, my current fave Domino's order in the NYC metro area of a large 14" thin pepperoni pizza and a stuffed cheesy bread with marina clocks in at $21.21 with a delivery charge. And that doesn't even include tip!)

5. Revive your (otherwise perfectly fine) faded black jeans with ~magic~, aka black dye.

amazon.com, oldnavy.gap.com

A $6.63 bottle of black dye isn't nearly as steep as a new pair of *cheap* $25 jeans. Watch the Nifty video explaining how it works here.

Get an 8 oz. bottle of black fabric dye (enough for a pair of jeans) from Amazon for $6.63.

6. Plan for spring and summer weddings that you need a ~very~ nice dress for by renting one from Rent the Runway.

cosmopolitan.com, renttherunway.com

Sometimes a dress from ASOS will suffice! Sometimes you need something that is significantly fancier but also need to pay rent! Get away with spending about $60 on some designer duds by borrowing a fancy dress for four or eight days from Rent the Runway.

Rent the Slate & Willow dress from Rent the Runway for $30+.

If you're going to back to back to back weddings, consider signing up for Rent the Runway Unlimited for $139 a month. You'll get three pieces of clothing you selected at a time, (say a rehearsal dinner and then a wedding ceremony dress, plus another), they'll dry clean it for you, and you can cancel at any time. The key here is planning.

If you're a first time Rent the Runway user, enter the code FIRSTRTR25P at checkout to receive $25 off an order of $75+.

7. Strategically stock up on stuff that never expires when it's on sale, like pure vanilla extract. (That is, if you can afford the coin, pantry space.)

amazon.com, amazon.com

The key here, as One Good Thing by Jillee points out, is to store this stuff in airtight containers once it's open, aka not its store packaging. Investing in a set of containers won't save you money this month, but it'll save you money and food waste down the line! Look out for pure vanilla extract, maple syrup, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, salt, white rice, sugar (white and brown), and honey. (Note that honey crystallizes, but won't spoil.)

Get them from Amazon: 4 oz. bottle of pure vanilla extract for $7.45 and four acrylic containers for $22.95.

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8. Wash your winter parkas and puffer coats at home! (We all know they're smelly by now.)

amazon.com, amazon.com, amazon.com

A six pack of Woolite sheets (that'll last you for 36 washes) and a set of mesh laundry bags (that you can use, like, forever) will cost you a total of $18.77, which clocks in at less than what you'd pay to dry clean two coats. Probably. (Sorry, I live in NYC where everything is grossly expensive.)

Even if you no longer need to wear a winter coat in April, (lucky you!), you should wash it before you put it in storage. Actually, you should've already washed your coat at least once this season. Your outerwear should be clean, period. But also, removing dirt and built-up grime can lengthen the life of your garment.

First, read the manufacturer label! You'll find that most down/puffy coats can be machine washed. There are some, like wool coats, that you'll still have to treat with some dry cleaning (with Woolite) sheets. Remove fur collars, hoods, or any other detachable pieces and, if they can be washed, place them in a mesh laundry bag before throwing them in the wash, too. After you wash your outerwear, (per the tag's instructions), dry according to those instructions, too. Don't freak out when you see your puffer coat reduced to a wet, crumpled shell of what it once was. It'll be fine once it dries.

Get them from Amazon: set of five mesh laundry bags for $9.89, and pack of six Woolite sheets for $8.88.

9. Forgo the electric air purifier and invest in one of these pretty air-purifying house plants instead.

Andrew Richard / Via BuzzFeed

A high-tech air purifier (from Amazon for $89.99) requires filter replacements, but an on-trend snake plant will up your Insta game and make you feel like you can breathe easier (from Amazon for $11.20 or The Home Depot for $21.16).

10. Avoid clothing waste and cash in at your fave stores like H&M, Madewell, and The North Face by donating old clothes for a discount.

hm.com, madewell.com, thenorthface.com

Sometimes shopping really does save the world. Or at least prevents a few more harmful impacts. Every little bit counts...both for the Earth and your budget!

At H&M, drop off any unwanted garments at an in-store collection bin to receive a coupon for 15% off your next purchase. The clothes get resold, reworn, or recycled. At Madewell, bring any pre-worn jeans in to receive a $20 off coupon to buy a new pair. The used denim will become housing insulation for communities in need through the non-profit Blue Jeans Go Green. At The North Face stores and outlets, drop off your unwanted clothing and shoes to earn $10 toward your next $100+ purchase. Donated items are sent to recycling centers and then repurposed, reused, or recycled into stuff like carpet padding, insulation, and new clothing.

11. Sell the makeup that's been sitting in your drawer (mostly) unused to Glambot, a marketplace for gently used beauty products.

glambot.com

Check out the list of accepted brands and products, (think Bobbi Brown, Tarte, and MAC), check the quality of your products, and request a free shipping label if you have 20+ products that meet the minimum requirements. The team at Glambot reviews the items, then makes an offer in cash (PayPal) or Glambucks (earn 30% more in store credit). If you decline the offer or your package doesn't meet their standards, they'll return your package to you for the cost of shipping. Get the deets here.

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12. Or, host a beauty swap with your friends and allot some time to sanitize the makeup!!!

John Gara / BuzzFeed / Via buzzfeed.com

The stuff that you use every day can gather lots of bacteria. So...you should be sanitizing your makeup anyway. Check out how much bacteria some everyday beauty products had on them before cleaning vs. after cleaning when we tested them here.

13. If you're going on a cruise anytime soon, book it this month!

expedia.com

According to Sara Skirboll, Shopping and Trends Expert at RetailMeNot, cruise lines and booking sites (like Expedia, Travelocity, and TripAdvisor) slash prices during April, so you'll find better deals on destinations like Europe and the Caribbean when you book this month.

14. And upgrade your worse-for-wear luggage while you're at it before you're stuck buying an overpriced replacement in an airport.

amazon.com

Now's "shoulder season" if you're in the travel business. That means not as many people are traveling between the big seasons of winter and summer. Use it to your advantage by checking out our inexpensive luggage picks. It's not cute when you pull your roller bag off the luggage carousel at Charles de Gaulle Airport and a wheel falls off.

Get this two-piece spinner set from Amazon for $79.99.

15. Never turn down a chance to get some free samples.

Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

Tell the cashier, tell your great-aunt, tell your landlord that you L-O-V-E a free sample. I racked up this spread at Sephora checkout when I mentioned that it was the second store I'd visited that night to track down a certain product they didn't have in stock at the first. That Josie Maran butter balm is good but even though I'm not buying it, the little sample saved me a few pumps of body lotion I paid for with my own money.

16. Invest in a TubShroom to prevent drain clogs...for about the same cost as a bottle of Draino.

amazon.com, amazon.com

It'll catch the hair before it snakes its way down your pipes and resulting in clogs. A bottle of Draino costs about $9.98 from Amazon, so you'll make your money back on this investment in about a month or two.

Get it from Amazon for $12.99. / Also available in a SinkShroom.

17. And when your shower water starts draining slowly, use a cleaning combo of white vinegar and baking soda to clear a path.

amazon.com / amazon.com

This elementary school science project-like combo is gentler on pipes than any chemical de-clogger.

Here's how: Remove your drain cover and any hair or stuff you can reach. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain, making sure it all goes down the opening. Then pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar down the drain and cover the drain with a wet washcloth. Let it bubble for about 10 minutes. Then peel back the washcloth and rinse the drain with boiling water.

Get them from Amazon: 64 oz. of white vinegar for $3.50 and 64 oz. of baking soda for $9.75.