Got "hard core" frugal tips? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 04-18-2010, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, y'all. I'm already very frugal, and I've read many "frugal tips" threads. I need to tighten my budget significantly, since my stbx seems to think I should raise two children with no help from him.

I buy everything possible at the thrift store (or often, don't buy it at all). We're vegetarian. The dc and I utilize the library and free activities. I have nothing left to sell.

Our rent includes utilities, so cutting their use won't help financially. We have no pets. We eat out maybe once a month, usually at Subway. We have no yard, and almost no natural light in our apartment, so gardening is out.

I await your wisdom.
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#2 of 20 Old 04-18-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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I would try then to get most everything free off of craigslist or the newspaper instead of buying even at a thrift store.

Heidi
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#3 of 20 Old 04-18-2010, 08:24 PM
 
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Yes and also peruse the streets on trash day. I sound like a crazy person saying that but I very often walk/drive around the neighborhood (and the nearby wealthy neighborhoods, they throw out good stuff!) for things we want/need. Just the other day I got some wooden palates to build a compost bin, and a desk we really wanted. I even sanded down the desk & painted it with a free sample pint of paint I had gotten online, and it looks awesome! Next trash day I'm on the lookout for a chair for the desk... & I'm always looking for (& finding!) toys etc.

OHHH and if you're handy at all and have the time you could even take the stuff you find on the side of the road & refinish it and sell it! I'd love to do that but I don't have the time.

Anything else you could cut out? Work pays for my internet & we don't have cable... we use family cloth, mama cloth, cloth diapers, cloth paper towels (make most of those thing from cut-up t-shirts & sheets etc.) and are making our own household cleaners, toothpaste, etc.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#4 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 01:12 PM
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You say gardening is out--but if you put the word out, there are often local gardeners with too much harvest. I am sure many would be happy for you to relieve them of the extra. I know that I give my extra harvest away to anyone who might appreciate it. There isn't enough for me to try to earn extra cash with, and I feel good giving fresh (grown without chemicals) food.

Also, lots of older people can't garden anymore (or at least not like they used too). You might get lucky and find someone who would let you use their old garden plot. You would share the harvest and the work. Even if they could just turn the water on daily, you wouldn't need to come then but twice a week or so.

Amy

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#5 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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We rent our garden plot for $23 a year at our county park. It is a multifacited blessing. We spend a great amount of time outside (DS thinks the whole garden plot area is his backyard), we get exercise, Free family time, and don't forget the food

S & Yrainbow1284.gif (Vermont Civil Union 7/8/03) DS1 Holdennovaxnocirc.gif (4/25/07) and two in heaven  angel.gif1/10 &  angel.gif5/10 our rainbow1284.gif is here  DS2 Keegan(5/23/11)homebirth.jpg
 
 
 
  

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#6 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 02:20 PM
 
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Well, I think your STBX may need some straightening out regarding his duties to provide for the children.

My most hard-core frugal tip is to get in tune with Providence--by which I mean work on your spiritual health. A lot of things will serendipitously fall into place when your spirit is faced in the right direction.

Beyond that, you could try to estimate how much less you'll need for household supplies and food once he is gone. I suspect he wasn't nearly as frugal as you are. Housing is a major cost, can you move to a smaller, cheaper place?
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#7 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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I would review your monthly expenses.

Do you have cable, cell phones, trash pick-up, other kinds of bills to pay each month that could be cut or eliminated?
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#8 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 02:31 PM
 
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If you have interest in gardening, I might put an ad on CL. I have a garden plot that is unused currently-- I'd love to have someone come by and plant here.

Texmati-- Knitter, Hindu, vegetarian, WOHM. Wife to superdadsuperhero.gif and mom to DS babyf.gif24 months, and DD boc.gif 8 months! .

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#9 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 03:15 PM
 
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i was also going to suggest community gardening. we have that here and i believe it's a sliding scale fee, so the space could be free.

if you have the space and the time, you could offer overnight babysitting for a mama who works nights (and whose kids are old enough that you would actually get a good night's sleep).

but mostly i agree that you do need to seek child support and any other aid you qualify for.
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#10 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AAK View Post
You say gardening is out--but if you put the word out, there are often local gardeners with too much harvest. I am sure many would be happy for you to relieve them of the extra. I know that I give my extra harvest away to anyone who might appreciate it. There isn't enough for me to try to earn extra cash with, and I feel good giving fresh (grown without chemicals) food.

Also, lots of older people can't garden anymore (or at least not like they used too). You might get lucky and find someone who would let you use their old garden plot. You would share the harvest and the work. Even if they could just turn the water on daily, you wouldn't need to come then but twice a week or so.

Amy
I put the word out to all our neighbors that I am happy to harvest their garden while they go on vacation. In return I bake/cook them something (like a loaf of zuccini bread) from the garden bounty.

Suzan, mama to DS 9-18-07 and #2 EDD 3/4/10 GIRL!.
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#11 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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Look in freecyle.org for your local free cycle list. You could ask and receive stuff that you need.

Can you call child services on your DH - for child support? I have no idea whom you'd call, but there should be somebody to call so they ask him to give child support for your kids. It will be garnered off his wages if he wouldn't send it to you.

I also like the craiglist ad idea - looking for a small plot to garden - in return you could share a part of the produce with the owners.

On Food front - you might be already doing all these - if you are using canned beans, you could soak dried beans and cook it yourself... try making all your meals/snacks at home, almost everything can be made at home. bread is really easy to make.

lot of greens grow in shady areas - you could try growing your own salad leaves -mesclun, lettuce, spinach, mustard greens, etc.. these don't need light. And you could ask for seeds in a gardening forum.

you can register with meetup.com and find local meet up groups that interest you - most are free of cost and you could have a community.

Almost everything can be cleaned with vinegar and baking soda.

I dont remember where I saw it, but there might be neighboring farms that offer volunteer programs/internship programs where you get some produce and food for the work you do. Check out your nearby CSA farms.

nerdy mom to DD1 7yo, D2 infant
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#12 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Shakti77 View Post

Can you call child services on your DH - for child support? I have no idea whom you'd call, but there should be somebody to call so they ask him to give child support for your kids. It will be garnered off his wages if he wouldn't send it to you.
Some lawyers will help you out pro-bono...it doesn't hurt to make a few calls.

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#13 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 08:21 PM
 
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i'm there. It's really hard. You sound like a strong, "'do what ya gotta do" type of mom. I know you can make it.

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#14 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 08:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
Some lawyers will help you out pro-bono...it doesn't hurt to make a few calls.
and if you have a university nearby that has a law school, they can often give free consultations. your stbx needs to step up, for sure. don't let him get away with shirking his responsibility to his kids.

ariana, mama to beautiful redheaded girls (oct 07) and (nov 10)

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#15 of 20 Old 04-19-2010, 11:04 PM
 
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You could grow your own sprouts. I do, and it saves me money on fresh produce, and ds (4 y.o.) likes to help harvest them. PM me and I can help you figure out how to get started.
I also buy in bulk. Our local health food store has monthly specials on bulk items, so I try to set a little money aside (even if it's only $2) every week to be ready if something goes on sale. For example, organic garbanzo beans are usually about $4.50/lb. When they went on sale, I bought a 25lbs bag for about $40, which came to about $1.50/lb, 1/3 of the price! I also invested in a good quality food processor (the new one from Cuisinart, got tired of inneficient cheaper ones) and now we make our own hummus. I also use them in soups and stews. I also bought 25lbs of sunflower seeds, and make a vegan pate with them (pm me for the recipe).
If there are Farmer's Markets in your area, show up during the last 30 minutes, often you can get end-of-day specials.
Another way I save money is by making my own bread. You can probably find a used bread machine on Craigslist. It costs me aboutm $1.50 to make a 1lb loaf or organic bread, versus at least $3 for store bought, and it's fresh and yummy! It takes me about 5-10 minuters to get a loaf going.
If there is a Whole Foods in your area, check the dumpsters. My ex found a 40lbs block of cheese that had been dumped because the plastic wrap was torn!

"That boy, Frank, he lives inside his own heart. That's a real big place to live." ~ Karl Childers (Billy Bob Thornton) in Sling Blade
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#16 of 20 Old 04-21-2010, 05:23 PM
 
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food stamps, medicaid. I have an ex who is in that same mindset, unfortunately if they are just crappy people there's no changing their mind But child support enforcement is a help! They will hold him accountable for child support, so when he doesn't pay, they keep track and take him to court, take it out of his unemployment, take it out of his taxes, etc.

we are on food stamps, and still make everything, tortillas, crackers, well, not noodles yet, but hopefully soon! I do garden. Do you have any neighbors that you could garden with? Our farmers market takes food stamps.

Beyond that, making more money always helps Doing some babysitting, dog walking, house-sitting, etc are all things you can do with little ones in tow.

Also, we're phasing out christmas - they get something made from me and maybe something I' buy if I've got the funds. BUt my relatives get near nothing, maybe some cookies mailed to them if I've got funds, but I'm over being guilting into buying presents for people other than my kids! Even birthdays, relatives get a nice phone call, which is way nicer than plastic crap anyhow. Birthday gifts for other kids are all from the thrift store or yard sales or something my kids dont' want anymore or something made by me.

Soap is bad for the earth, so we so rarely use it. It takes me about a year to get through a small bottle of dish soap. No paper towels or paper napkins (we use cloth napkins and have a drawer of cloth rags for cleaning messes, etc. that are old diapers and beat up wash cloths, etc.).

Walking and taking the bus are big. Our town has disounted rates for kids but you have to ask special - they are school kids discounts. We do eat out, because our natural food store has a hot bar & salad bar that they let kids eat free at once a week, and it goes 1/2 off at a certain time of night, so we go then, and all eat really yummy food for about $4-$5 total.

I also resell things I find curbside on craigslist (not trashed things, actually good things that people just are tossing out).

I rarely use the library actually, b/c I accrue so many late fees! I just borrow books from friends, and have my kids do the same.

I'm sure I'll think of more, that's what's on the top of my head at the moment

love
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#17 of 20 Old 04-21-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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Hey,

I know that if you befriend local bakeries and green grocers, most of them give away a good portion of their stock on Friday's because it won't keep til Monday. Some of it will need to be thrown away but a lot of it is perfectly good and can be used either right away or else frozen or canned for use later.

And I second the family cloth/mama pads/cloth paper towel idea made from old clothes or cheap ones from thrift stores.

(Maybe someone else mentioned this already, I'm pressured for time and can't read all the posts right now... this looks like an innovative thread! I love it!)

-Deedee
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#18 of 20 Old 04-21-2010, 11:07 PM
 
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yup, and reusable menstrual products are a must! I use a diva cup - well worth the small investment, luna pads or homemade similar pads would work if you don't do tampon-type products.

Julie
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#19 of 20 Old 04-23-2010, 10:45 AM
 
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Track every penny you spend

Look for extra small jobs ... for example house cleaning, ironing, elder care or daycare while the kids are at their dads.

I am sooooo hoping your EX can be made to pay child support!
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#20 of 20 Old 04-23-2010, 02:23 PM
 
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OP I hope you can use some of the great advice you've been given. I also hope STBX doesn't turn out to be as much of a deadbeat as it sounds like he may

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzyLee View Post
I put the word out to all our neighbors that I am happy to harvest their garden while they go on vacation. In return I bake/cook them something (like a loaf of zuccini bread) from the garden bounty.
Wow, this is a great idea and one I have never seen before. So logical, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CliffRose View Post
Our local health food store has monthly specials on bulk items, so I try to set a little money aside (even if it's only $2) every week to be ready if something goes on sale. For example, organic garbanzo beans are usually about $4.50/lb. When they went on sale, I bought a 25lbs bag for about $40, which came to about $1.50/lb, 1/3 of the price!
I think this is one of the biggest/most important out there! This is a great example of needing to be able to invest money to save money. If you can get a small stash of money to be able to stock up on those great deals, it will make a huge difference.

The last thing I want to add is--- SOCIAL SERVICES. You are doing the world a favor by raising wonderful children. Make sure you take advantage of the services available to you--- WIC, food stamps, health insurance, etc...

 

 

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