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The Annual Mothering Frugal Ideas Contest - Page 5  

post #81 of 118

I have made a lot of lifestyle changes in the last year. I have become a stay at home Mom which requires a lot of frugal ideas. I make my own cloth diaper covers, which is a huge savings. We were given quite a few that cost around $20 a piece, I can make them for about $3 each or less if I use recycled old clothes. I also made our wipes out of old towels and a bathrobe. We planted a vegetable and herb garden, which is amazingly healthy and delicious plus it saves us gas and at least $400 a year. We became a one car family. This was a hard adjustment, but it encourages a lot of walking and creativity. I have started making my own: glass cleaner, laundry detergent, hand soap, and a lot of other household cleaning supplies. The other plus to making my own cleaning supplies is that they are less toxic, which is nice for baby. Breastfeeding has been a great money saving alternative to formula.  Since my baby has begun eating real food I make all my own baby food from vegetables from my own garden. Meal planning has come into play in my house. It helps to utilize left overs when you have a plan before hand. I line dry all my laundry. Even in the winter I have an indoor rack. I discovered a thrift store in my area that has 30 cent Thursdays, which means all clothes are 30 cents. That has been really nice for me, I can get new clothes on the budget I have been allotted. We have been limiting our light use and burning candles instead, we melt down old candle wax and make new ones, or we buy tea lights in bulk. I buy food in bulk. By using dried beans instead of canned we have saved a lot of money. I have gotten really good with coupons. I cut my family's hair, which is a great savings. I made almost all of our Christmas gifts this year. We don't have cable, which a lot of people don't realize how expensive that is. Not having cable saves us at least $1000 a year. Instead of buying books we go to the library.

I would definitely consider myself a frugal Mama, but I don't feel like we sacrifice anything to live this way.

post #82 of 118

I don't know our alltime best frugal tip but we have done a lot of little things that add up to big savings over a longer term. First, stop driving the minivan! It's expensive on gas and too many trips mean too many fill ups. Stay close to home. We (three kids) pack our own water and snacks and lunch when we go anywhere. Even the little snacks have kept our expenses down by not having to get something on the go. We hardly ever buy kids clothes or boots new. Gently used on local swap sites on facebook. We also cut out cable, home phone, took data off our cell phones. We make coffee at home to bring out. We sell items we aren't using-like the extra bike trailer, the furniture we don't use. Then we use that towards the extra things we do each month-try to go swimming, and playzone type place when raining, etc. The second biggest saver has been vigilantly couponing. It's not as extreme here in Canada as the US as we can't stack that many coupons in hardly any stores but my savings (and just starting) are incredible! I am saving at least a couple hundred a month on groceries just on coupons. Last month I got toothpaste for 0.04 c each!  It takes watching sales, organizing, and trading coupons for what we use. We also don't use any cleaning products (only vinegar) in the house so we don't spend 15 bucks on new cleaners each month, etc. We definitely see the benefit of planning home meals to cut down on quick trips to the grocery store (without coupons!) and having savings (from planning ahead)!


The best part of it all? The kids see the benefit and enjoy being frugal. Why buy the most expensive thing if there isn't a reason for it? Do we have a coupon for that? Turn off those lights-wasting energy! They are more earth/eco conscious as well which makes me more proud too!

post #83 of 118

I save glass jars from grocery items and use them for tons of things! Food storage, to store leftovers, use as to-go containers or in lunchboxes. I take them to the grocery store to buy "bulk" spices(that i dont grow), oats, beans, rice, ect. I use them for rinsing paintbushes, organizing craft materials(beads, stickers),as craft materials, for flower vases for my table or for gift-giving! I use them to drink from, give chili bean "mixes", or cookie "mixes" in.  I make and store sidewalk paint in them, cleaners in them. I use them to shake up drink mixes. The possibilities are endless and most of the things they replace can be pricey!  treehugger.gif

post #84 of 118

I am on a a mission to get out of debt. With that in mind I have cut a lot of extras out of my spending. I avoid advertising and stay out of stores. This has really helped me cut back on my budget. When I don't shop, I don't spend money.

post #85 of 118

Last year, I was given the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I make the basic recipe and practically never buy bread now. This bread costs my family about $.30 per loaf and where I live junky bread casts at least $2 per loaf. This one things has saved us a lot on groceries. It is fast, simple and I enjoy baking fresh bread for my family and friends. The bread makes an inexpensive meaningful gift. everyone feels valued when they get a loaf of homemade bread.

post #86 of 118

Eat less meat. Seriously. We save SO MUCH on our grocery bill by being part-time vegetarians. When we do eat meat, it's not in huge quantities/servings, it's usually mixed in with rice/pasta/veggies etc., so this makes the meat that we do buy go further. There are so many high-protein yummy meals out there that don't need meat. You'll save money, and perhaps weigh less and become healthier!

post #87 of 118

Go with a midwife! belly.gif

They almost always charge less than doctors. Frugal? Yes. Wonderful for a million other reasons as well? Absolutely. luxlove.gif

post #88 of 118
Our kids take a lot of splash-and-relax baths without soaps. To off-set the water usage and to make use of plastic milk jugs, we fill old milk jugs with the old bath water and store them to water the garden and flowers in the summer. It's a great way to get a lot of use out of our water and to save on summer watering bills!
post #89 of 118

Two years ago I made a full sized quilt for my son, the top was all new material I bought, but the back was a queen size cotton sheet I bought from the good will and dyed.  The part I am most proud of is the lining!  I sewed together all my no-longer in use prefold diapers and used them as the lining/batting on the quilt!  It has a great weight and is warm.


Fletcher's quilt 2010


Fletcher and his quilt 2010

post #90 of 118

We enjoy eating chicken occasionally.  I buy a local chicken, about $11 depending on the size and cook it up at home.  I will roast the whole thing and use it as the main dish, roast the chicken & then make soup or casserole out of it. (The soup or casserole cooks faster when the meat is already cooked, I LOVE that!)  I can then usually make ANOTHER soup out of what's left on the bone.  I also learned how to cut the chicken up into peices (breasts, thighs, wings) from my grandma so I can cook them faster, cook them in the pressure cooker for really fast or just not use the whole thing at once.  If I buy organic chicken in peices it will cost me $6 for 2 breasts.  I can only get one meal for the 5 of us out of that vs the 2-3 with the whole chicken.

post #91 of 118

Our city hasn't approved it yet, (come on Billings!  Get with the program!) but raising your own hens is a great source of healthy eggs!  My inlaws and sister in law have raised chickens for years and enjoy feeding the chickens veggie kitchen scraps.  A great way to ensure you are getting healthy food, a great way to teach the kiddos (and myself!) where food comes from.  PLUS they make sweet noises when they are happy!

post #92 of 118

We eat alot of meat, but we don't pay much at all for it.  Nearby (and soon on our land, I'm sure) there are many, many, many wild pigs.  They are very destructive and dangerous.  They are cleared for aerial shooting (which means just shooting and leaving them to rot) around the Red River.  My mom's dh traps many of them as a favor for nearby neighbors.  We go and process them and fill many freezers with good meat and bones for stock.  We worm them and feed them for a month first.  No antibiotics, just wormer which gets out of their systems completely before they are butchered.  With as many as there are out there, there is no reason for anyone to be hungry!  We save ALOT of $ this way. 


We also raise meat rabbits, which are lower in fat and calories and higher in protein than chicken breast (we also raise chickens, though).  Very economical way to put food on the table.

post #93 of 118

I'm making a rug out of old jeans.  They would have been thrown away (friends and family gave me a ton) otherwise...I braided strips and am currently waiting on my hemp twine to arrive so I can finish.  It will be for my mudroom and will hold up to lots of washings.


post #94 of 118

We purchased a "nearly new" birth tub from aquadoula for our third birth and now we rent it for $200/month!  We love the extra income and being part of the birth community.

post #95 of 118

My mom got a second water meter for outside water.  This way all the water for the garden you only pay for water (not sewage) it paid for itself in a year. This might vary with the area you live in.


Along with meal planning I plan to have a few very simple meals. We live in Japan so brown rice and miso soup, I might also serve a side veg. depending on how many veg are in the soup. Another night I do a soup and homemade bread. (or variation of bread like biscuits or cornbread)  I keep a well stocked pantry so I can make dinner quickly when something in the plans goes amiss.  We rarely eat out.


Others have already mentioned the best tips.




don't shop

pay cash

don't drive


make yourself 


Here is to a frugal and happy life for all.

post #96 of 118

Hunt.  Eat Meat.  (please remember this thread is about being frugal not about lambasting each other for personal decisions, I know most of you are vegetarians and vegans, just trying to show the other side of it)  Most animals that we choose to eat, graze off of lands where we can NOT grow crops.  Living in an area that allows it, purchasing a "tag" and responsibly hunting has allowed my household to eat frugally and healthfully.  We avoid mass produced meats, which are pumped full of antibiotics and are not raised in healthy conditions and opt for venison that has lived wonderful lives grazing off the land.  I cannot describe the money we have saved and how better I feel when I eat this way.  So, send your hubby out to hunt!

post #97 of 118

Quit buying stuff.  Use freecycle.com or swapmamas.com, post an ISO in your local moms groups and offer to trade for the item you need.

post #98 of 118

I cut up our old cotton t-shirts into rags for the kitchen. We keep a whole stack of them handy, and we use these in place of paper towels. They are soft, absorbent, easy to wash, and, because because they're cut from old t-shirts, there's no need to finish the edges--no fraying! We have a BIG collection of these rags, which makes them just as easy to use as paper towels--I can grab one quickly to wipe up a small spill, and throw it right into the hamper to be washed and reused. We've used pretty much the same stash of rags for five years now, and they are still holding up well. That's a LOT of paper towel money saved :)

post #99 of 118

Go No 'Poo!  No Shampoo that is!  Use a bit of baking soda to wash your hair and then apple cider vinegar to "condition".  Sooooo inexpensive and if you allow it will improve your hair health!

post #100 of 118

 don't have any patterns to offer, but for the diapers I truly just tore a flannel sheet into squares.  (I zig-zag stitched around some scrap squares to make cloth wipes, too.) There are YouTube videos a-plenty to show you how to do the origami fold.  I didn't hem them because it made them bunchy and bumpy.  Some of the edges frayed a bit in the wash, but usually by the time they lost much size my little guy had grown and was ready for me to rip up some new diapers for him. 


The long pants are easier to make than the briefs.  Find a sweater that's at least 80% wool (cashmere works too, but doesn't felt as well so needs to start out dense or you'll need two layers) and wash it in hot water, cold rinse and pop it in the dryer.  Check it now and then to make sure it isn't getting too stiff.  Sometimes they need a couple of rounds to get tight enough. If you have a pair of pants that is the size you want for your soakers, lay that on the sleeves to get length and crotch seam lined up.  Stitch up the crotch seam with the sleeve cuffs becoming the ankle cuffs, and the sweater's waist band can be stitched on for the diaper waist band,  Sometimes I add thin elastic threaded in and out of the waist to make a paper bag style waist, or put wider elastic through a folded over and stitched casing.  I cut appliques from scrap wool (other fabrics will wick the moisture and end up soaked) and hand stitch them on.  I've also needle felted some cute designs onto some of them.  I have some more pics of some that I have made here for some more ideas: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Smiling-Hearts-Custom-Critters-and-Clothing/156271894414477


Good luck!

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