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What are your latest frugal doings???? - Page 2

post #21 of 62
ooh, ooh, guatemama1 mentioned reusable bags. I use these to carry my sandwiches/snacks around. They have a plastic, washable lining and a velcro top. The whole thing can go in the washing machine, too. I usually just wipe off the plastic with a sponge between uses, then throw it in the wash when the fabric starts to look dirty to me. I currently only have one, but I want to get a few more. We also have small cinchable mesh bags I use to hold beans, mushrooms, and other small items we buy at the market. I have to figure out where they came from because they were a gift. LOVE them! (eta - they came from here).

Also, ditto on the home improvements! Insulating made a HUGE difference for us. We also got a high-efficiency furnace, new windows, and a water heater that heats the water on demand. These were all pretty big investments we made over several years, but it's really saving us money in the long run.
Edited by Tear78 - 7/7/11 at 9:21am
post #22 of 62

Wow, some of you are so ambitious!


I totally breastfeed our twins.

We are living without AC this summer.

Frugal for the future, I researched a lot and bought myself a $269 serger.  LOVE it.  So far, I have made two nursing gowns, a top and a dress for myself, cut off and hemmed 6 pairs of pants for the kids, made a moby-type wrap for baby-wearing, in the process of making two night-gowns for my three year old from fabric I'd bought for the wrap that didn't work (interlock and jersey are NOT interchangeable. LOL), a pillow made from her baby blanket for 11yo DD's birthday coming up and have material cut for an experimental nursing bra.  Total cost for material so far under $20.  Most of my fabric came from our St. Vincent de Paul and from a new jersey sheet set from Goodwill.  I still have several yards of another fabric, but I haven't decided on the pattern to use it.  I'm thinking nursing top or dress.  I also have some fabric leftovers from long ago projects that I'll be turning into usable things.  So my machine is pretty close to paying for itself, and I am so much more pleased with the quality and durability of my work.  I'd sorta given up on sewing except for little odd things here and there, because the durability just wasn't there.  

post #23 of 62

For laundry...


I wash in cold water (except diapers) use homemade soap and hang clothes to dry. 





Also I use coupons to get good deals on food and other household items and pretty much all my shopping is on sale or clearance. 



mylilmonkeys- I'm trying to teach myself to sew! I don't have a serger, but maybe when I get better I can upgrade!

post #24 of 62

I've been trying to repurpose items more before recycling them- glass jars for homemade salad dressing and sprouts, yogurt and butter tubs for dry goods/leftovers/baby play things.


Buying beer in refillable growlers instead of individual bottles. :P


Secondhand and consignment clothes and toys for the baby.


Freezing ripe fruit for smoothies.


DH is not onboard but I reuse paper towels or use cloth instead.


I WOH and I bring lunch most days (I have coworkers that eat out every day, idk how they do it!)


In my dream home improvements we collect rain water in the old cystern in our basement and connect it to the toilet!


I like the emergency blanket reflector idea for cooling the house- may do that on the SW corner which just bakes everything this time of year!

post #25 of 62

- Laundry in cold - this has been hard for me for some reason

- Meal planning - I've been hearing for years that is saves money, and what do you know?

- Selling some unused items in the garage

post #26 of 62
Originally Posted by Detcb View Post

Buying beer in refillable growlers instead of individual bottles. :P

This is Greek to me, can you explain? Sounds like something my DH would benefit from!!
post #27 of 62

Great ideas mamas. Since my DH and I are both really frugal, it makes it easy for us to save and re-use items in our household. So far we've

- stopped using paper towels and started using cloth

- unplug everything when not in use...our electric bill tops $70 each month

- no air conditioner during the day, just fans

- collect rainwater, and use it to water our grass and garden

- planted a tomato and peach tree and started growing cucumbers

- wash and sanitize ziploc baggies and use 3-4 times before they hit the garbage

- mama cloth instead of disposables

- only use the diswasher twice per week


Any tips for being frugal with laundry?? Consolidating loads?? I have been trying to find something, but I don't want to mess up our clothes.

post #28 of 62


Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

This is Greek to me, can you explain? Sounds like something my DH would benefit from!!

 half gallon jugs that can be filled at a beverage center/ draft beer to go. growlers    1/     


post #29 of 62

imanifaith - I've been thinking about adding a spin dryer to shorten dry times: http://www.laundry-alternative.com/drying.htm but haven't taken the plunge yet.  I do not separate colors; I wash everything cold except dipes during the summer.  During the winter here my water gets too cold, so I wash warm.  If you mostly buy used clothes, they're usually well past bleeding.  I only use the minimum amount of soap in the scoop or less.  Lots of people hang dry, but with the size of our family, my dryer is worth the savings of time and personal energy.

post #30 of 62

I have a great deal of my budget going towards food, but I buy it the most frugal way possible. My family and I started a CSA and every 2 weeks we sort, pack and distribute meat, eggs, honey, flour and, coconut oil and dairy and produce to ourselves and others who have joined our co-op. We buy all local and organic and get it at absolute rock bottom prices by doing the work ourselves. Besides that I shop in bulk at Costco once a month and we rarely go out to eat. I utilize all of our food, make my own salad dressings, bread, mayonnaise(when it works, lol!) and pickles. We eat very little bread and grains (for allergy purposes) so a lot of our money goes to meat, eggs, and produce, but we are so healthy because of it!  I use cloth diapers on both my kids, and I hang my cloth diapers instead of using the dryer, I have a compost pile to help with my garden, grow my own veggies and herbs (very little grows well here in Texas though, so right now I mainly have peppers and herbs) I'll be making my own baby food when our baby starts solids. My main reason for all this isn't necessarily to be frugal, but I believe it's all healthier for us and better for the environment. We just installed solar screens on the house to help with our A/C bill. My husband does pretty much all house projects himself(we never hire anyone to do anything). Hubby is a big soda fiend, and while I hate it, we bought that SodaStream soda maker to save money on the soda he buys. Yuck, but whatever. Besides that I recycle and use old cans, jars, anything really to make crafts for the kids with.

post #31 of 62

Oh, I also buy laundry soap in bulk and divide it up between family and other friends so I get the cheapest price per load possible.

post #32 of 62

We're still on our journey to live more simply/frugally, but here are some things we've done so far:


  • built a chicken coop, partly from recycled materials, and got 6 laying hens
  • built a shed from mostly salvage lumber (stopped by construction sites to get cast-offs)
  • broom sweep our hard floors instead of vacuum every day
  • cloth diaper
  • mama cloth
  • shopping at secondhand stores and craigslist before buying new clothes, appliances, or furniture
  • homemade laundry detergent, deodorant, hand soap, and some lotions
  • bought a bread machine on ebay to bake homemade bread (otherwise the bread we buy runs about $3-4 per loaf)
  • grow some of our own veggies and berries
  • bought a FoodSaver on ebay to freeze seasonal produce from our garden and farmer's market
  • can our own spaghetti sauce, apple sauce, jams, peaches, corn, stocks, and sometimes meat
  • take our own bags to the store (some give discounts)
  • went into homes that were going to be torn down to salvage woodwork and flooring to use in our home renovations.  I got some compact fluorescent bulbs, too!
  • I'm still working on meal planning, but it's coming along
post #33 of 62

I love the great ideas! Here are some of mine:


* we use empty kitty litter containers (the big plastic tubs, 14kg) as toy storage (washed out, of course!). They're great because they come with lids and handles.


* no buying any books or magazines, everything is from the library, or youtube.


* upcycling and recycling clothes - everything stained or ripped gets made over into rags, doll clothes, or clothes for us. For example, I've made some pairs of pants for DS and DD using DH's old tshirts, using this tutorial: http://www.rookiemoms.com/make-some-easy-kids-pants/, and a bunch of skirts for myself from old tshirts as well. I use old clothes that are defective (holes, stains), that a second-hand store wouldn't accept. 


* bring food with us when we go out, for picnics, day trips, activities around the city when we'll be out during meal-time, and always for work.


* make our own coffee instead of buying it on the outside in disposable cups.


* grow our own veggies.


* bring our cloth bags everywhere, not just the grocery store.


* cook a big meal and freeze leftovers, and along the same lines, eat all our leftovers, even if it means dinner the next day is just a bunch of little servings of multiple leftovers that may not really "go together".


* use freecycle.org for lots of stuff (a truly awesome site).


* kids run around nude in the house when it's hot, or else wear very little clothing to cut down on laundry and cooling needs.


* Birthday party decorations - instead of buying paper ones that are only used once, I sewed a celebration bunting to be reused for parties (like this http://simoninigans.blogspot.com/2009/04/celebration-buntingflagsgarland.html), and printed, coloured, and laminated a "happy birthday" sign to use over and over. 


* cloth napkins made out of old dish towels and a stained table cloth - cut into squares, hemmed or serged the edges, used for every meal instead of tissues.


* playing board games and doing puzzles instead of watching TV or surfing the net when the kids are in bed and DH and I are relaxing in the evenings. A little friendly competition is a great aphrodisiac. 


* swapping clothes and toys with my other mommy friends. It's such fun to get a mystery bag of old toys and knick knacks from her kids for my kids to explore. 


Ooo, I just thought of this one:

* we put our garbage and recycling and composting on our next-door neighbour's curb along with her stuff on garbage day, so the garbage truck doesn't have to stop at our curb. I think if everyone did this, we could halve the amount of stopping and going the truck does. Plus, it's good exercise (so we don't have to have a gym membership)! 


Edited by atpeace - 7/10/11 at 8:44am
post #34 of 62

I'm selling stuff I don't need/want anymore on Facebook. I've already made more then $50 and I didn't have to sit outside all day in the heat 


atpeace- I am SO trying those pants! 

post #35 of 62

Oh another one I've been doing this year that I just remembered:


* sewing very simple gift bags out of any cloth I can get my hands on (old scarves, colourful sheets, scraps of fabric, etc). Either with drawstring closures, or just the top tied with yarn. Two same-sized rectangles sewn together on three sides, the fourth side hemmed, and voila! The recipient can reuse them for years! 

post #36 of 62

Well, since our garden is awful this year (day after day after day after day of well over 100F temps!), we've been doing what we can w/bees.  Just yesterday we removed a beehive from a doghouse and got 3 more gallons of honey, which we sell for $4/half pint, and we ONLY sell half pints.  We then will turn around and sell the bees themselves for $85 this week.  On the same trip we scored 72 honey supers (where bees store their honey), which I will then turn around and paint w/paint returns from Lowe's for cheap, and sell 30 of them on CL for $18 each.  These were all free for me.




Usually we are busy picking berries, peaches, and sand plums and freezing/dehydrating/canning.  This year there are none at all to be had.  This drought is horrible.


post #37 of 62

Love these threads!




Use less laundry detergent than they state to use. I had another mdc mama tell me years ago, she had a load of nasty dirty clothing and 1 teaspoon of detergent left. the load came out clean. I have done this ever since.


I make my own detergent, plenty of recipes around this site to choose from.


hang your shirts to dry, get a line outside and line dry.


for fabric softerner- use distilled vinagar. Works like a charm




plan plan plan, and yes as a pp said- it saves money. I have a xeroxed calendar sheet on the fridge and we pencil in dinners every night. We plan anywhere from 1-5 nights out.


have a few standby meals you make from whatever you have on hand or what is on sale, in season etc.


you know what your family eats and watch sales to stock up on things.


plan a few meat free meals 1-2 times weekly. Such as a quiche, breakfast for dinner, cheese and veggie pizza etc.


leftovers from last night make a great lunch the next day. DH has taken these to work for years.



post #38 of 62

I have been trying to convert to making whaetver I can at home.


I make my own bread

I just started pickling vegetables. great way to make pickles which I love and to rescue veggies that are going to go out

I make my opwn yogurt - regular and greek.

Straing aforementioned yogurt to get cheese


We've got an herb garden which is great. Plus we are trying to grow a canteloupe for fun. It's very exciting. My neighbour is going to donate some little trees he started from scratch - orange, avocado.


I am getting a lot of stuff I need for free by optimizing current deals that are out there. Like baby gifts for family members who are expeecting and it would be insulting not to get them gifts (these are the kinds of people who dress babies in designer and I managed tog et some stuff for free what a relief) and maternity for me.


post #39 of 62
Originally Posted by Harleth View Post

I am getting a lot of stuff I need for free by optimizing current deals that are out there. Like baby gifts for family members who are expeecting and it would be insulting not to get them gifts (these are the kinds of people who dress babies in designer and I managed tog et some stuff for free what a relief) and maternity for me.


On this idea, I've been picking up new-in-package items from the thrift store that are good generic gifts -- things like puzzles/games/wooden toys/etc. -- brand-new gifts for under $3... trying to reel in the impulse to pick up too many, because I know some kids I will want to give something specific when their birthdays come around...
post #40 of 62

Secondhand and consignment clothes and toys for the  kiddo's

when filling zero water pitcher  I now use a glass instead of the spray nozel at the sink because water is wasted coming out of the faucet when using the sprayer.

milk jugs in back of toilets to conserve water between flushes

shower filters installed working on getting aerators on all faucets

more meal planning

the keeper cup (TMI)

combine trips I need to go to grocery with just waiting til I have to go to work cause I get paid for my gas mileage (:

use ceiling fans and turn thermastate up

full loads for the dishwasher 

liabrary someone else mentioned I do that too! Love it!! Actually my liabrary ordered Lost and Found for me a year ago and yesterday I called to see if Jaycee Duggards new book A stolen life was ordered and she said it was and will be there in a few days (:

Had hubby fix dishwasher instead of calling repairman; since I fixed it last year I knew he could (:

Got my dog's rabbies shot for 3 yrs instead of yearly- didn't think about it til now but that saved 2 trips and gas!

If kids are not dirty we skip baths and only wash face,hands feet kinda thing!

Order from frontier to save on our soaps, shampoo's and essentials and love it when everything comes in Saved on Gas and Time @ a Wholesale price!!

Found a RX savings that is free for all! Since we have no insurance and hubby doesn't qualify for insurance since he had a heart attack this year.  You can get more info from directlabs.com there is also savings on imaging,& lab work done by lab corp if you schedule ahead of time online or you can visit rxcut.com/rxc03570. 

Guess that's all I can think of for now.  Keep the ideas coming this is fun!

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