How to save with Life’s Substitutions

Often times, when we talk about savings, we associate the word with making some form of “sacrifices” to get the savings. This is not always true.

Here’s a list of things Amanda and I have bought where there was no sacrifices involved. If anything, we got more benefits from buying these items than the more expensive option which was specifically designed to meet a purpose.

1. Cat Litter to replace Ice Melters/Salt

When we bought our house, we were excited to have a house with a brand new concrete driveway. It looks great, but a lot can go wrong in the winter time when there’s snow. Using salt and ice melters to make the driveway less slippery can actually damage the concrete driveway. It leads to cracking, pitting, chipping, and flaking.

We did some research and learned that cat litter was a great alternative to salt and ice melters on concrete because cat litter could provide a high level of traction without the damaging effects of salt and ice melters. Cat litter can often times be at the same price or cheaper than salt.

It’s important to stress the amount that’s saved (likely hundreds of dollars) from not having to repair/patch damaged concrete as a result of using salt/ice melters.

2. Baby Wipes to replace Makeup Remover Wipes

Amanda is a regular makeup user. She used to use makeup remover wipes to get rid of her makeup until she stumbled across an article that talked about using baby wipes to do the same thing. I’m not going to make scientific claims about which is better, but I think it’s safe to assume that baby wipes which are designed for babies are safer to use on the skin than a makeup remover wipe. If baby wipes works, I personally don’t think it makes sense to use makeup remover wipes which likely has harsher chemicals.

She used to be paying about 33 cents for a makeup remover wipe. She’s now paying about 3 cents for a baby wipe. Assuming she uses a wipe per day:

Makeup Remover Wipe @ $0.33 per wipe x 365 days = $120.45

Baby Wipe @ $0.06 per wipe x 365 days = $21.90

The choice is obvious that the “safer” and “cheaper” option is better.

3. Post Cards to replace Wedding Invitations

The only people benefiting from everything we’ve been doing with our wedding are the vendors that we are paying. Whenever we reach out to businesses and mention the word “wedding”, our quotes somehow end up being double or triple the price had the service/good not been for a wedding (flowers, photographer, videographer, venue, etc.)

One way we found we could get back from being gouged this whole time was to look at how we got our wedding invitations. By luck, we learned we could order postcards and design them as if they were wedding invitations instead of going with the actual wedding invitation option on the online print shop.

Here’s the difference in cost:

Postcard @ $0.10 per card x 100 invitations = $10.00

Wedding Invitation @ $0.80 per invitation x 100 invitations = $80.00

The post cards are slightly smaller than the standard size of an actual wedding invitation. But we didn’t care, and I don’t think anybody’s noticed. For once, we finally felt like we didn’t have to get ripped off. It’s a great feeling to have for anybody’s ever been married or about to be married.

4. Poncho to replace an Air Conditioner Cover

When we got our house, I made the mistake of buying an air conditioner cover to cover our air conditioner during the winter. It’s one of my dumbest mistakes.

When we bought it, I had some doubts, it was super thin, and it looked like it was easy to tear. It literally looked like a thin garbage bag with velcro straps. Maybe because I already paid $35 and opened the package, I subconsciously convinced myself that it was worth it and believed it would do exactly what I needed it to do (protect the air conditioner).

It did more harm than good. On more than one occasion, the velcro on the cover failed to hold up and ended up flying to our neighbour’s yard. To prevent this from happening again, we had to tie the cover up with rope. This was silly when we bought an air conditioner cover that matched the exact size of our air conditioner.

What seemed like something that was designed specifically for air conditioners failed to make it past this recent winter storm. I’m not sure what happened but likely the impact of a flying rock or stone cut it open leaving it totally unusable.

When this winter comes, we’re just going to buy a rain poncho to cover the air conditioner and tie it with rope. This should cost us less than $5.00 and be 100 times better than the actual air conditioner cover we got.

I hope to share more substitutions/alternatives that we use instead of the actual products itself. If you have any to share, I’d love to hear.

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