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Frugal mamas, share your favorite tips! - Page 3

post #41 of 59
Gotta go back and read but I thought I would throw mine in. I am fairly new to being frugal but have learned the hard way that it is a good idea no matter how much money you make.

1) Take public transportation. I have a mini van, but taking the bus and subway to work has saved me huge on parking and gas

2) This has been said but I find it really helps. Meal plan.

3) Another no brainer...cook from scratch. This is hard with a full time job, but it is not only cheaper it is so much healthier.

4) Stay off of internet shopping sites. This was always a big spending area for me and honestly with shipping, tax and duty (we are in Canada) it is not always the best deal.

5) Hand me downs. We are lucky, we get tons of stuff from friends and all our children are the same sex so we just pass things down
post #42 of 59
Most of the big stuff we do has already been mentioned but I do have a few random things I've picked up I don't know that they save a lot of money but they save some and they make me feel good:

1. When I'm cooking I don't start preheating the oven 'til I'm almost finished with prep. I used to preheat the oven first thing and sometimes if I was doing a new recipe or had a fussy baby the oven could be heated for as long as half an hour.
2. I don't use whole veggies to make soup stock, I just use scraps. IE If I peeled a carrot I will put the carrot peelings into the stock instead of the whole carrot. I usually use onion scraps, carrot peelings, bell pepper scraps, and garlic scraps. Sometimes if i have a veggie about to go bad I'll toss that in too. Then I just add some spices and simmer for a couple hours and it actually tastes very good. If I have them on hand I'll also add a chicken carcass or the rind of a piece of Parmesan (this especially makes delicious stock).
3. If I have herbs that are about to go bad I stick them in an ice cube tray with some water and freeze them. Then I add them to soups, it works really well.
4. Our library has "cultural passes" you can check out for a day. We've used them to go to the local Children's Museum, Art Museum, Japanese Garden, and Chinese Garden. They are free and almost always available.
5. We always defrost meat in the refrigerator both because it's safer and the fridge uses less energy to keep things cold.
post #43 of 59

Go frugalistas, go!

I read the first page and will go back and read everything. Great tips, mamas!
Here are some of mine;

1. join etsy, sell you're crafties, and also be able to trade for handcrafted items and other goodies.. I get alot of gifts from here, and some cash!

2. Invest in some essential oils. They have so many uses and so little is needed that they really last, good way to treat minor ailments at home w/o having to spend $ on other medicines. (of course, take a course, or read some books to understand how to use them properly.)

3. Use you're community colleges and alternative health schools and take advantage of their student clinics; great discounts on many things; dental care, hair, massage, acupuncture, reiki, chiropractic, culinary, all kinds of schools, you get it.

4. Go camping! So much cheaper to enjoy our National parks then it is to do the hotel thing. If you want to upgrade from camping, do hostels!

5. research everything you buy and search for discounts. Even things such as local csa's sometimes advertise on craigslist and you can always find what you want for cheaper, but still a good value.

post #44 of 59
I've got a few more (some of which have already been mentionned)...


1) we don't do whole chicken, but get a double breast with bone in. From that, you get: two dinners (2 huge breasts), boil what's left and you get stock as well as extra meat for use in chicken salad sandwiches or pot pie.

2) Use veggie scraps for your stock

3) Dish out and put away left-overs BEFORE serving dinner. Then you've reserved your stash and have a decent sized portion and are less likely to pick it down to nothing after dinner.

4) do open-faced sandwiches or top it with a lettuce leaf instead of more bread.

5) use the water from the kettle the next day to water plants.
post #45 of 59
Ooh can I play? I have a few, some that haven't been mentioned that I saw.

1. Call around on insurance rates. I've noticed that after the first 6 months the rates tend to creep up with some companies and had a family friend tell me that the policy at many companies is to raise the prices once you've been there a while. By calling around I once dropped our rates by $40/month AND added in renter's insurance to that!

2. Year long memberships. To go to a local kids attraction costs our family $28/visit (they charge for adults). But a pass for $110 is good for the whole family for a full year. We're definitely coming out winners on that one, as in the winter it gets too cold to do anything outside.

3. If there's something you purchase that isn't very flexible, look for local sources, the best prices, and talk directly with the supplier to see if you can get a deal. DD can only drink goat's milk. In the store it's $2.89 per quarter gallon. That's almost $12 per gallon of milk! However, talking to the owner of the farm that supplies it (20 min away), she's more than willing to bring it to a small organic store for us in gallon containers at the cost of $8 per gallon. Yeah that's still a LOT for milk, but it saves us $4 a gallon!

4. Notice gas prices on your normal route. Places close to the highway tend to be a few cents more for example. Where we used to live our bank was a ways away and I'd always wait to fill up until I got there as gas was always 5 cents less. Not worth it going a long ways out of your way, but if you're in that area anyway you may as well take advantage of it!

5. A great way to save money and have a fun evening with friends is to have a "Stone Soup Dinner Party". It's better if you have a general idea of what you're serving, but for example a taco night would work well. One person just has to buy taco shells, one brings a couple cans of refried beans, etc. (usually 2-3 people share the cost of the meat).

6. Learn to sew and preferably learn to sew well. I don't often make the kids every day clothes (time issues), but it's rare that I buy their Halloween costumes. Rather than spend a ton of money for alterations on DH's new suit a few years ago, I deconstructed it and did them myself. LOL I'm always shocked to hear when people pay good money to have a button sewn on, a tear mended or something hemmed on every day clothes!

7. If you have 2 vehicles and are in a town with good public transportaion, evaluate if you really need both. Where we used to live the public transit was awful (nonexistant for the most part) and DH worked 45 min in one direction, me 20 min in the other, so 2 cars were necessary. Where we are now? Not so much. That just freed up $300 a month (and the garage is a lot easier to walk in!).
post #46 of 59
Check if your library offers free passes to museums & zoos!
post #47 of 59
[QUOTE=mum4boys;15208356][QUOTE=eirual;15198832] wash our own cars in the driveway
Quote:

this is really horrible for the environment. The water is going straight into our storm drains and into our rivers and ocean. If you are going to wash your own car make sure you do it on the grass which will help filter out all the gasoline, oil and residues from exhaust fumes that is on the car. Also make sure you use a biodegradable soap.
We wash our cars maybe three times a year. Once in the spring, and that's the only time we go to a car wash - undercarriage wash to get rid of all the road salt from the winter. The other one or two times, we wait for a nice rainy day, head out with rags (no soap) and let the rain wash the dirt and grime off for us. The water is free, and runs off onto our lawn, along with a ll that rain. Every time I tell people that, they look at me like I'm crazy - "washing your car in the rain? But you get soaked..." Well duh, part of the fun of washing cars is getting soaked. Besides, DH LOVES it when I wear a white t-shirt during the car wash...

As for the other four:
2. We wash and reuse plastic ziploc bags, unless they were used to hold meat. I've saved so much by doing this and it only takes a few minutes to do it.

3. We recently bought a front-loading washer. The local water company called us up to ask some questions about our significant decrease in water. Of course, we also line dry...

4. Barter with my friends - one can sew but can't grow anything from seed. She sews for me, I give her half my seedlings in the spring, and "help"/coach her on growing them for the season. Another raises her own chickens. We work a couple hours a week in the coop, cleaning and raking poop, and she "boards" our chickens for us (we live in town w/ tough restrictions on livestock). I'm t rying to get another friend to barter work on his farm for some informal riding lessons for my DD when she gets older. Same thing for another friend whose kids know how to play piano.

5. Get to know your neighbors - I just saved $50 charge by a locksmith just because my neighbor had an extra set of housekeys that we had given him. I know that most people would cring at this, but he's an elderly gentleman who is so helpful - he'll even mow our front lawn occasionally (cause we just never seem to have the time to do it). Of course, they can also save you a trip to town for sugar, butter, eggs, etc. if you run out. Just be sure to share the goodies that you're making with those ingredients!
post #48 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post
HI....

3. I apply for financial aid for DS for almost every activity he wants to enroll in. Most programs have this aid available for families that qualify, just need to ask and fill out the form.
where/how can I apply for a scholarship for my kids? This idea seems so far out of reach for me but would love to try it.
post #49 of 59
I was both blessed and cursed to grow up in a household where we didn't need to be frugal. Now that I'm an adult, things are much different! I'm still learning. I've really enjoyed reading the tips so far.

Some things we've started doing:

1) If you have (and need) a cell phone and have unused hours, call about getting a cheaper plan. My husband had the simple basic plan and was still paying $50 a month, but never used anywhere close to all his minutes. He called the company and after some convincing managed to get their unadvertised plan (100 minutes for $20 a month). That saves us $30 a month.

2) Repurpose everything!

Once in awhile, I buy a tea that comes in a glass bottle. I reuse the bottle to make my own iced tea, carry water when we go out, bring rice milk to drink at work, mix salad dressings, etc. When the bottle cap starts to get gross, rusty, or whatever I recycle the bottle.

Clean plastic containers make decent kid toys. They work for scooping water, sand and dirt. My son loves to fill them with small toys and to simply bang them together to hear the noise.

When clothing is at the end of it's life cycle and not in shape to be passed along, I cut the good peices of fabric to reuse as cleaning clothes. As a child, I used fabric scraps to make doll clothes and doll bedding. Fabric in decent shape could also be used to make quilts and bedding for pets.

Our old towels turn into "dog towels". We keep a pile by the back door to dry off dogs when they've gone out in the rain and to wipe muddy paw prints off the floor.

Old toothbrushes are used one last time to scrub stubborn bathroom scum or to clean out clogged drains.

3) Park further away and walk. Our zoo is free, but they charge for parking. We park a few minutes walk further away and it's completely free.

4) Minimize the amount of water you use in your yard. We don't water our lawn unless it's getting crispy. Low-water species for grass and other plants are best, but it's not necessarily frugal to rip everything up and replant. When you do get new plants, buy species that thrive naturally in your climate so you don't have to spend a lot of money and time trying to keep them alive.

5) Exercise. Honestly, when I exercise (and eat well) I get sick far less often which means less money lost to the doctor, meds, and time away from work.

6) Take advantage of "green" incentives in your area. In an effort to keep compact fluorescent bulbs out of landfills, my town hall is giving away a new compact fluorescent bulb to everyone who brings in an old CF. Another city near us has a runoff problem with rainwater and is actually giving away and installing rainwater barrels to residents who want them.

7) This may not apply to a lot of people, but due to allergies we use non-wheat specialty flours. These can be VERY expensive for a small amount and still result in cross contamination. Unlike their flour, things like dried rice and beans can be purchased fairly cheaply. I have a $20 coffee bean grinder and make fresh rice flour whenever I need it.
post #50 of 59
post #51 of 59
Loving this thread!
post #52 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mouso View Post
Loving this thread!
Glad to assist! Can you add some too?


Frugal this past week:

DD1 made her first communion this past weekend. I was at a resale about 3 years ago when I stumbled on a beautiful white dress sized 8. A little flower girl etc type of dress. $8. Bought it and stuck in her closet. Wore it Saturday!!! WOOT WOOT...and last year, SIL was in town for a funeral. Her dd/my godchild was making her communion 2 weeks after funeral. SIL was saying godchild didnt like her dress because it was her older sisters and before it was an older cousin. Note- both girls are in college now, so it was a bit dated. So I said, look in the closet there is a sized 8 dress, if you like it, take it and bring back at Thanksgiving. I noticed after she left- dress gone LOL. She emailed a picture that day of my niece wearing it and boy was she excited! It came back at thanksgiving, my MIL hand washed it and fluffed it out. My dd wore it last week. So both girls wore and this dress was $8.
Not sure dd2 will be able to wear though since she is more tall on the torso. But I will save the veil, white sweater and shoes....
post #53 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitful womb View Post
where/how can I apply for a scholarship for my kids? This idea seems so far out of reach for me but would love to try it.
Just email or call where every you want to take classes and ask if they have tuition assistance or scholorships. It's very easy, some have a slinding scale and sometimes it's just free. Can't hurt to ask
post #54 of 59

Excellent Thread!!!

I am frugal by neccesity more than nature but here are some things I do, some that have already been mentioned...


Use only cold water to wash clothes/laundrey,air dry most of them.
Plan a menu and stick to it.
Use the envelope system.
Use vinger,bleach and water for most cleaning.
Drive only when nessary(work and doctor)..we walk alot!!
I use cloth for cleaning.
I keep vegetable pots to grow veggies on my porch(tomatoes,cucumbers).
Same with hanging plants for fruit(strawberries).
I grow pots of basil,oregeno,rosemary and others on my porch and window sills.
No cable,internet,long distance,cell phone ect..Free movies,computer time and books from the library..My local video store does rent free kiddie movies.
Meals are at home and from scratch.Hardly any boxed or bagged items.
We drink water..L does drink rice milk and I use it for cooking but that is it.
We play and read books at the park alot...There is a great track/bike trail and L loves to be pulled in her wagon/ride her bike there..
Take advantage of free entertainment..The town we live in have musical and things on the town square all the time and it is free and fun just to pull her in the wagon thru it all..They always give away free things to the kids also..

I work for the YMCA 16 hours a month on Saturdays..This gets me extra $$ for our food budget,free daycare while I work,free membership(she gets to swim,maze time,playground,socialize with friends,and as a staff child gets lots of time to play in the inflatables when they are up for birthday parties(which she adores),reduced prices on activities which is also covered by scholarship(soccer,swim lessons,t-ball ect....)When she goes to school I will be able to enroll her in their afterschool program for free..She loves swimming in their pools..16 hours of my time for all that= Priceless

Haircuts..I let mine grow until it is long enough for locks of love..Then I get a free haircut,new look and someone that needs it gets some blond hair...

I will be

Great Thread!!
post #55 of 59
Shop around for estimates on dental work if you don't have insurance. I recently saved $700 on a root canal w/crown doing this. Totally worth the time. Often dentists will see new patients or give estimates/second opinions for free, so just ask when you start calling around.
post #56 of 59
I stopped eating meat.For the rest of the family I use less meat-more of a side thing than a main part of the meal.

To cut down on the summer water bill I cut the gutters going into underground pipes,and have them going into garbage cans.

I have a red wiggler bin inside,and all my juicer pulp goes to those little guys.I use their poop for my seedlings.

I adjust the heat/cold a few notches to save on money.I wait a long time to even turn on the air.

Stopped using baggies in the kids lunches.Reusuable glass or safe plastics.

I compost the manure from the rabbit and chickens.

I make burgers and fries a few times instead of paying $12 to go through the drive thru one time.

I push water instead of juices or pop.

I pay online for things instead of mailing checks.

I get cloths at the resale shop on 50 cent Mondays.
post #57 of 59
We have breakfast for dinner frequently, since breakfast food is generally the cheapest food of the day and the kids like it -- eggs, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal and french toast. Those foods aren't likely to be consumed in our house in the morning during the week when kids are rushing off to school.

DH actually planned to go into a career where he could work from home so he wouldn't have to commute anymore. I am a SAHM, so we can easily get by with only one car. We can walk to our elementary school and do most days, which also reduces the amount of mileage on the car.
post #58 of 59
1. Take advantage of FREE activities--- even if it's not what you think you would enjoy, if you go into it with a positive attitude of 'I will have as much fun here as I can', you will. there is often free food, sometimes more, and I fing when we do this we are less tempted to spend money to do something fun.

2. Yard sales/thrift stores--- clothes, toys and gifts for cheap. also gives me a "retail fix" (helps me resist the temptation to spend at retail prices)

3. budget---don't always still to this one, but when we do, we save lots (make budget and keep all receipts)

4. put a purchase on hold for 2-3-4 days. often, when I spend too much on something, it was an impulsive buy anyways, so delaying purchase will often prevent it

5. no credit cards

idk if these are super basics... they are the only things we do consistently.... really eager to spend more time and energy being frugal... mama and family cloth, line drying, planting herbs and food, making more from scratch...we'll get there soon.
post #59 of 59
forgot to add #6--- handmaking gifts saves us a TON. when dh would spend $50 on a gift, I can often make something costing <$5-10 and a few hours
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