Oh, I am so glad to find this thread! I have a reputation for being cheap, but I think I have lots of room for improvement. (Which maybe says something about the spending habits of my friends and family! :LOL )
Tnrsmom, I love Schwan's Golden Nuggets! We could easily go through a box a week, so I purposely buy only 1 or 2 boxes a month. I'll bet we could come up w/ a recipe. Hmmm... Spread softened vanilla ice cream into a 13x9x2 pan, sprinkle w/ peanuts (or other nuts), spread caramel ice cream sauce (I probably have a recipe somewhere). Freeze, and spread a hard-shell chocolate sauce. (I know I have a recipe somewhere...). Freeze and cut into squares. It would only have chocolate on top, not all the way around, but I think it might taste the same. Let me ponder me some more and get back on this.
Someone asked about buying microfiber towels. I found them in the automotive section of Wal-Mart. 4 for $5, I think.
Ok, here are some of the things we do to save money:
--No cable, dial-up internet only, 1 cell phone w/ low minutes.
--We're not buying new cars until we drive these into the ground. They're 8 and 16 years old and going strong so far. We also save $ b/c Dh and FIL can do a lot of minor repairs themselves.
--We set our thermostat for the low 60's and just add layers of clothing.
--See if your employer or any organizations you belong to get you discounts. For example, I taught one class at the college last semester, and as a state employee, I got 20% off our cell phone bill.
--When we do decide to buy something big, we wait until they have 0% financing--our washer and dryer, furniture, laptop.
--We're in the process of clearing out everything we don't need/use/wear/etc. and selling it. Some things go to the consignment shop, some in a garage sale, but most will go on eBay.
--Almost all of our clothes and DD's toys came from the clearance rack, the thrift store, or garage sales.
--Check out books and movies free from the library.
--My grandma and in-laws give us the coupons from their newspaper. I clip them, file them in a small box w/ index cards, and take the box w/ me to the store.
--Along those same lines, we cut the "Paw Points" off our cat litter boxes and now have enough for several months worth of free litter. Also, the brand of TV dinners we get has coupons on the boxes for a free game of bowling. We clipped enough of these for my little brother to have a completely free bowling party for his birthday. (I know, we need to eat healthier.
--Ask when businesses you frequent have the best sales. Our movie theater has BYOB Tuesdays. Bring your own bucket and they will fill it w/ popcorn for 50 cents.
--Make friends w/ a an employee at your favorite stores. Always ask for them and make sure they get your sales, and they're likely to tell you about specials, offers, or even look out for things you need. Trust me, I used to be that employee.
--Don't be afraid to utilize friends' and family members' talents. My parents are lawyers, my brother is a computer specialist, DH's grandma sews, my FIL is handy--and, in return, my accountant DH helps w/ taxes and I help w/ gardening problems (my degrees are in horticulture).
--We're trying to convert to using staples like baking soda, vinegar, and liquid soap to clean our home and bodies. I used to fall into the trap of having seperate cleaners for everything.
--We're also trying to rid ourselves of disposable, throwaway items and use cloth when possible--diapers and wipes, napkins, cleaning rags, family wipes (if I can convince DH :LOL ).
--When something goes on a big sale, we stock way up. January is a big month for meat sales!
--We have 2 deep freezers, so that helps w/ the above, plus we do tons of freezer cooking.
--Experiment and try to reproduce the meals that tempt you to eat out. We never go to the steakhouse any more. (Now, if I could just find a recipe for General Tsao's chicken... :LOL)
--Grow some of your own produce. Also make sure that your friends, family, and neighbors know that you'd be happy to take any overabundance they may have. Where we live, almost everyone has a garden, so that's not a problem!
--Buy from the farmer's market or local growers. You support "the small guy," but still save money by skipping the middle men. We're looking into buying a cow and pig from a local farmer and having them butchered, and getting our eggs from a family down the road.
--If you know any hunters that don't keep their kill, you might be able to have the meat for just the cost of butchering. That's pretty common for deer around here.
--Harvest from the wild (w/ landowner's permission, of course). We collect morel mushrooms, raspberries, blackberries, and gooseberries.
Wow, I should probably stop now.... :LOL