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#1 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Every time someone talks about being frugal, they mention that they make their own laundry soap or bar soap and that it saves so. much. money. I haven't even bothered because I don't see it. I buy laundry soap when it's on sale, $3 for a bottle that lasts a month or two which is cheap enough in my books. And those are just a few examples. There are plenty of other frugal things people mention that leave me scratching my head. 

 

I guess what I'm saying is, do all you who do the tiny little frugal things also act very frugally on the BIG things? Or on the day to day latte factor type spending?

 

Because personally, I much prefer putting more focus on the bigger things and making sure they are done right and as frugally as possible, keeping a close eye on the "medium" spending and sort of to hell with the pennies. I know, I know, pennies add up to dollars!!! lol.gif But I'm just saying, does it *really* make a difference? Is the extra time involved really worth it? Or does it just make you feel good, like you're in control when things are spiraling? (I could see that, and think I was there once upon a time).  


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#2 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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I focus on both the little AND the big things.

I do think the little things add up. I used to use conditioner before I went no-poo, for ex. -- and I was a good shopper, so rarely spent more than $1-2/month on it. But that adds up to $12-24/year... using ACV I spend maybe $2/year... so that's $10-20 savings per year. So then add in all those other little savings (family cloth, saves about $20/year; making our own laundry and dishwasher detergents = $50/yr, homemade toothpaste = $5/yr, etc.) those right there add up to about $100/year, but that doesn't factor in that I'm out in the stores WAY less, using less gas and less likely to make impulse purchases, as well as have healthier hair, healthier teeth, etc. which means less maintenance and other products to correct the issues some of the store-bought products can cause. Making coffee at home saves minimum $500/yr (really more, DH is a BIG coffee drinker!)... It adds up quite a bit IMO. But, maybe $100 doesn't sound like a lot to you?? It does to me, especially because the money we save goes right into savings & earns interest. My DH was laid off and spending so little on the little things means we have a lot in savings and that we don't really need to adjust our spending much to survive unemployment because our monthly spending is already very low.

Of course we pay attention to the big things too, but TBH we don't tend to make many big purchases so it has less of an impact.

IDK though, it's probably kind of subjective, because to me $5 is a big and wonderful savings, but a lot of people I know wouldn't want to bother with any extra thought/trouble/inconvenience for what is a small amount to them. And yeah, if you're only saving $5 ONCE then it won't have much impact, but if you are saving that much on a weekly (or daily!) basis then it will really add up. But even $500 is much to some people I guess. To me, it's a lot, but I've always lived with a frugal and kind of minimalist mindset, and prioritize the security of savings over the enjoyment of things... Either is valid, I just opt for the security, plus I happen to really enjoy the creativity, research, etc. that goes into saving on the little things.
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#3 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 09:46 AM
 
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The little things do count when you're living right on the edge of Enough and Not Quite Enough.

 

Also, they matter when you're trying to bootstrap your way up into some kind of financial security.  Scarce jobs, high taxes, and abysmally low returns on conventional savings and investments make frugal pursuits relatively profitable.  But it's a lot like taking off clothes in hot weather, there's only so much that you can cut out, and at that point you're better off looking for a new external source of income.    

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#4 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 09:58 AM
 
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We've found that little things do make a HUGE difference. DH has to travel for work so it's very important that we have enough money for him to get gas every month so he can make money. $5 may not be a big expenditure itself, but if you add up just 3 or 4 $5 purchases, that's one less tank of gas my husband has to use for work. We've also found that sometimes if we just had an extra $20, $10 or even $5 we could buy something we really need instead of waiting until pay day. DD came down with a cold a few days ago and has been running a mild fever. I give her Tylenol at night to help her feel a little more comfortable so she can sleep better, but we ran out. DH had to run out to get some quick and it was around $3. We only had $6 available to spend in our checking account. Imagine if we had spent a little extra on something earlier in the month and didn't have that money available. If you itemize your spending, you'll probably be amazed at how much you spend on little purchases. They can really add up and put a huge dent in the money you have available for necessities if you're not careful.


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#5 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 10:18 AM
 
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We don't make a lot of big purchases, so the little things we do to save money really count. Simply buying things used can save TONS of money, especially when they can be big purchases. Accepting hand me downs for DS, in clothing and toys & baby equipment/accessories, has saved us LOTS of money. Cloth diapering has saved us a lot of money. We use mostly flats, prefolds, Dappi covers and wash cloths as wipes. I did just get a smoking deal on one size wonder wrap covers for $4 each, that will last my DS as well as my new baby through the diapering stage. I LOVE them. And it's a lot less expensive than buying diapers and wipes on a regular basis.

 

One thing that we won't buy used are car seats, but we shopped around and were able to use a coupon for 20% off. When we bought DS's car seat, Toys R Us was giving coupons for 25% off with the donation of an old piece of baby equipment.

 

To touch on things like laundry detergent, we'd been buying Purex Free & Clear (DS has incredibly sensitive skin) at $5.77 for 100 oz. I recently discovered this recipe for extremely cheap liquid laundry detergent: 

 

http://www.duggarfamily.com/content/duggar_recipes/30455/Homemade%20Liquid%20Laundry%20Soap-%20Front%20or%20top%20load%20machine-%20best%20value

 

I can't say enough good things about this recipe. There are only 3 ingredients, all cheap and all found at Walmart. A container of Borax was $2.98 and the Washing Soda was $3.24. Fels-Naptha Soap was 97 cents a bar. Following the recipe, when all was said and done, it cost us less than &1.70 to make 10 gallons of liquid detergent. That's less than 17 cents a gallon. It was so easy to make, not at all time consuming, smells nice and clean and I LOVE using it! Absolutely! In fact, it brings me great joy. We usually do a load of laundry a day, plus a load of diapers, so we go through laundry detergent. It also cuts the shopping bill because things like cat litter and cat food can be expensive. It's nice not to have to add laundry detergent onto the bill, especially when we feel so much better about the detergent we make. Honestly, it's so cheap that I feel like it's almost free, in both labor and cost.

 

We also clean with baking soda and vinegar. It works well and it's wonderful not to have to add cleaning supplies to the shopping list--and not to have the chemicals in the house. Added together the little things really do add up, at least for my family. And I find we can save the most there because even though they cost less, we purchase them more often. Things like car seats (which for us is a bigger purchase) aren't bought very often. (But we try to save on those purchases, too.)

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#6 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 10:25 AM
 
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They don't make that much of a difference for me.  First of all I found making my own bread/soap/whatever did not really save me much money.    I could never slice the bread as thin so we went through it faster.  The homemade cleaners did not clean anything unless I used a truck load of it.  Also I work full time and time is money.  I can only do so much in a day.  Spending an hour making laundry detergent means I won't have as much time or energy to cook and shop wisely.  (and the laundry soap mentioned above....it didn't clean our clothes, left residue in our washer and molded long before we could use it all.  waste of time and money).   I don't generally mess with coupons (there is not doubling here and the store I work at does not take computer print offs...so it really is just pennies here).  I do focus on the big things.  I have an efficient car and drive carefully, I don't run my AC unless it is over 90 degrees, I watch for sales (although I don't drive all over the world to save a few dollars on groceries), I collect rain water to water my garden.  I do a lot of my shopping online which prevents browsing induced impulse buys and saves on gas, when I indulge my daily starbucks habit I get something cheap (iced coffee in my own cup is $1, brewed coffee is $.50...this is only at my starbucks though) and teach my kids to like that too.  I do swag bucks but use the gift cards for fun and frivolous spending.  I pack my lunch instead of buying it at work....

 

I guess I do some little things but I do them selectively.  If it is easy.  I know that may sound lazy but the few hours I have a day are worth the money and have to be used wisely.   And saving $100 year...just not that big of a deal to me.  And yes, I live right on the edge.  This month I have gone completely over the edge....but all that work for so little savings, i would rather spend that time and money enjoying myself a little.  

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#7 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaske View Post

The little things do count when you're living right on the edge of Enough and Not Quite Enough.

 

Also, they matter when you're trying to bootstrap your way up into some kind of financial security.  Scarce jobs, high taxes, and abysmally low returns on conventional savings and investments make frugal pursuits relatively profitable.  But it's a lot like taking off clothes in hot weather, there's only so much that you can cut out, and at that point you're better off looking for a new external source of income.    

 

ITA with this. 

 

$50 per month makes a big difference to my budget.  I do enough small frugal things to make at least that much difference.  A few $10-20 saving per month in different areas really adds up.  We save $100-200 per month in winter just on heat-related frugality.  Assuming these are irrelevant, I realized, is just rationalizing for me.  I give myself permission to indulge consciously but I don't think to myself that a few dollars doesn't matter when I do so.  I also choose my frugal practices with care because I am super busy and no--not all of them are worth for me personally.  I always think about my time's value and whether an activity has other fringe benefits when I decide, along with $$$

 

But the big stuff:  We chose to live where we can walk to work and to work where we can walk to home in a town where everything is within a few miles-- so cars last longer, less gas is used, and vehicle emergencies aren't really emergencies.  (There are also multiple small benefits with these choices: We are in easy reach of one another so things like cell phones and fast transportation and even (now that our kids are older) babysitters aren't needed.  Workday lunches are eaten at home so not even in a pinch are restaurants or packaged convenience foods tempting.)   We choose lots of free humble entertainments that are close to home instead of pricey treats and even in-state travel, we haven't made a car payment in about four years due to our approach to vehicles (nor have we had significant repair expenses--maybe about $100-200 per year)

 

Another benefit of many frugal practices is the heightened attention to the rhythms of life.  I find it very enriching.  I also get a lot of exercise doing real work and things like that.  I made a commitment to be actively productive as a way of living, and I love how in tune I feel when it's going well.  Frugality isn't only about money.  It's about wise and efficient use of resources and appreciation for those resources.  That can have deep effects on a person's life and spirit and relationships in a community.
 

 

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#8 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 10:30 AM
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little things can and do add up, but you really have to do the cost-benefit analysis of whether or not it's worth your time. 

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#9 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 10:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lilyka View Post

They don't make that much of a difference for me.  First of all I found making my own bread/soap/whatever did not really save me much money.    I could never slice the bread as thin so we went through it faster.  The homemade cleaners did not clean anything unless I used a truck load of it.  Also I work full time and time is money.  I can only do so much in a day.  Spending an hour making laundry detergent means I won't have as much time or energy to cook and shop wisely.  (and the laundry soap mentioned above....it didn't clean our clothes, left residue in our washer and molded long before we could use it all.  waste of time and money).   I don't generally mess with coupons (there is not doubling here and the store I work at does not take computer print offs...so it really is just pennies here).  I do focus on the big things.  I have an efficient car and drive carefully, I don't run my AC unless it is over 90 degrees, I watch for sales (although I don't drive all over the world to save a few dollars on groceries), I collect rain water to water my garden.  I do a lot of my shopping online which prevents browsing induced impulse buys and saves on gas, when I indulge my daily starbucks habit I get something cheap (iced coffee in my own cup is $1, brewed coffee is $.50...this is only at my starbucks though) and teach my kids to like that too.  I do swag bucks but use the gift cards for fun and frivolous spending.  I pack my lunch instead of buying it at work....

 

I guess I do some little things but I do them selectively.  If it is easy.  I know that may sound lazy but the few hours I have a day are worth the money and have to be used wisely.   And saving $100 year...just not that big of a deal to me.  And yes, I live right on the edge.  This month I have gone completely over the edge....but all that work for so little savings, i would rather spend that time and money enjoying myself a little.  


Wow, it sounds like we have had completely opposite experiences with this detergent.  I haven't had it mildew or leave residue in my washer and it has done a very good job cleaning my clothes, better, I would say than the commercial detergent I'd been buying. I'm very pleased with it.

 

 

 

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Originally Posted by Vaske View Post
 

The little things do count when you're living right on the edge of Enough and Not Quite Enough.

 

 

 

This is so true. A couple years ago, DH and I were both laid off from our jobs at the same time and saving in the small ways made survival during that time possible for us.

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#10 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 11:06 AM
 
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Yes, I do think the little things do add up.    Of course not always, but sometimes.  I used to bake our own bread because all the "cheap" store-bought brands were full of processed ingredients and the decent brands without all the junk in them were much more.  So, it was definitely cheaper to bake my own bread with wholesome ingredients than to buy the "good" bread with wholesome ingredients.  Of course, if I were to buy "cheap" bread, that would be cheaper, but I don't feel comfortable feeding that to my family..  Now, we are gluten free, so I bake our bread since it is much cheaper as gluten free loaves are more expensive...plus it's healthier as I can control the ingredients more.

 

Definitely little things like coffees out, dinners out, a quick drive-through all add up.  At the grocery store, little differences in price add up.  Sure, maybe 20 cents more for a carton of eggs or 50 cents more for a gallon of milk of X brand or Y store doesn't seem like much...but all those small differences add up quickly.  I have read several "frugal mom" type blogs or books and they all say to keep a price book and commit to never paying more than X amt. for an item.  Stock up on sale when it is at that price, buy it at the cheapest store, etc as all those 20 cent and 50 cent and 1 dollar differences can add up to 25 (or more) extra dollars a week on groceries which would be 100 dollar difference each month.


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#11 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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One factor you have to consider is that the savings for 2 people or a small family just won't be as great as savings for a larger family.

 

Eg.  I make most of our bread, tortillas, cookies, muffins, etc.  If you only go through 1 or 2 loaves per week, this won't seem like a big savings.  When you go through about a loaf per day, it really starts to add up.  I also never just bake bread, I make some cookies or muffins or brownies at the same time, so we have desserts/sweet treats ready at the same time.

 

I don't make my own laundry soap either.  I tend to buy the giant jugs at costco when they're on sale, and those last me about 6 months, even with doing laundry for 6.  I only use about 1/2 of the suggested amounts.

 

I rarely buy coffee out, because that would also involve getting in the car and I tend to try and avoid that whenever possible.  For someone that does buy a coffee every morning, making it at home would be a huge savings over time, and probably better for you if it means you avoid buying the occasional doughnut too.

 

Grocery shopping carefully saves me only a bit at a time, but in the big picture it allows us to eat well on a limited budget.  As has been said, saving a few cents per item really adds up over the course of the month for us.

 

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#12 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 11:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaske View Post

The little things do count when you're living right on the edge of Enough and Not Quite Enough.

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Originally Posted by littlest birds View Post

I give myself permission to indulge consciously but I don't think to myself that a few dollars doesn't matter when I do so.  I also choose my frugal practices with care because I am super busy and no--not all of them are worth for me personally.  I always think about my time's value and whether an activity has other fringe benefits when I decide, along with $$$


I think this is key. Few of us will be 100% frugal in both the big & the small things. There will always be things that are just not worth the time, effort, sacrifice, etc. compared to the money savings, and there will also always be people who will go above and beyond to save 5 cents. IMO, the important thing is an awareness of what you're doing and what it will cost you (and not just in terms of money!!) Most of the 'frugal' things I do take very little time & effort. We make our own 'detergents' but we don't premix or cook them or anything, so it's not really different from dumping in the store-bought stuff. I do spend about 5 minutes a month mixing up toothpaste but sometimes I'm too lazy even for that and we just use baking soda or water only. Sometimes we use canned beans so we don't have to remember to soak dry ones & cook 'em for an hour. I am lazy (that's not the right word, there's a lot more to it than that, but you get the idea). So of course sometimes I choose things that are more convenient and make my life easier, but I try to do it with an awareness of and appreciation for what it will ultimately cost me. And I'm much more motivated to do 'make your own' projects when the alternative is not as good for health etc. so it's certainly not all about money anyway.

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#13 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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I think that it is helpful to be frugal with big and little things but what saves significantly for one person may not be worth it to another.

I don't make my own laundry soap either. Maybe some day I'll try it but right now an inexpensive store bought detergent works and lasts for a good while.

I don't think a loaf of homemade bread saves us money because my family will consume a homemade loaf in a few hours vs. a store bought loaf that lasts a week. I can't keep up with their demand so it becomes less worth it on a daily basis.

I  do think cooking from scratch mostly  and dh taking lunch from home instead of buying it or skipping lunch is generally more cost effective and important for my family though.

 

We recently went through our bank records and were horrified that we spent so much on small purchases. I know we can cut that way down.

 


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#14 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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And really, if I find a practice inherently unpleasant for me I don't do it.  I have a pretty broad range of ability to enjoy doing frugal things so it works okay for me.

 

 

I am slightly picky about detergent --not health food types but some of the cheapest bother me and seem too diluted...

 

Anyhow, I would spend about $5-8 per month at the store and a $10 investment lasts me over 6 months making my own.  For a family of 6


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#15 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 11:43 AM
 
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Quote:
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And really, if I find a practice inherently unpleasant for me I don't do it.  I have a pretty broad range of ability to enjoy doing frugal things so it works okay for me.

 

 

I am slightly picky about detergent --not health food types but some of the cheapest bother me and seem too diluted...

 

Anyhow, I would spend about $5-8 per month at the store and a $10 investment lasts me over 6 months making my own.  For a family of 6

What recipe do you use?
 

 

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#16 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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For me, I start caring when I think of effort to savings ratio.  To me, it's not a big effort to not buy coffee every time I'm out, even though I want to, saving probably... $20/month.  But it is a big effort for me to shop around and stock up on a bunch of stuff in order to save $20/month.  So, if it's something I feel like I can easily do something to save a little money, I do it, and I think it adds up.

 

I don't think saving $20, 50, or 100 makes a "difference" for us financially, but I think it's a good practice that does positively influence our finances.

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#17 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 01:28 PM
 
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I think it is a bar of soap, a cup of washing soda, and a cup of borax for a small batch that fills two jugs.  I'm only about halfway through my borax and my washing soda, and have used four bars of soap--in four months.   I estimated the $10--think these actually cost around 12 dollars but I think it will last longer than 2 more months--and I even gave a jug away too.

 

 


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#18 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 01:58 PM
 
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I think it is a bar of soap, a cup of washing soda, and a cup of borax for a small batch that fills two jugs.  I'm only about halfway through my borax and my washing soda, and have used four bars of soap--in four months.   I estimated the $10--think these actually cost around 12 dollars but I think it will last longer than 2 more months--and I even gave a jug away too.

 

 


Cool, those are the ingredients in mine, except mine is half a cup of borax and it makes 10 gallons. It's exciting to save so much money. My family can spend a lot on laundry detergent. :-)

 

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#19 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 04:23 PM
 
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For us, this is exactly why I'm so disillusioned. We save and save and save and live on a shoestring budget. Really. We just cancelled Netflix because it was $8 a month too much. (And that was our only source of entertainment that we paid for - we never go out for fun at all. We don't eat meat at every meal, and I try to stretch a pound of ground beef through several meals. I don't buy the kids toys, I get them freecycled or make them from felt myself for pennies. I am the queen of frugal (i.e. cheap).

Then we get stuck with 30K in medical bills in the course of a month. That's more than three times more than we spend in an entire year, and for what, two ultrasounds and advice to go home and rest? Or our transmission blew and we had a bunch of car trouble, so we had to pay $6000 in one month, before we had to just say screw it and buy a new car. Then our furnace died, $2000. Our roof started leaking, another $3000 to fix. Then our dish washer, stove, and fridge all died in the course of a month. OK, so that's another couple of hundred right there. It's just insane how many pounds of meat - heck, organic, free range, hand-fed, flower-lei-wearing beef we could have bought for the price of those things.

It ate all our savings, left us in complete debt. When my phone broke I couldn't afford to replace it with even the cheapest version - but we're tens of thousands in debt for things out of our control.

I'm a bitter, bitter person over it. If I'm in debt I want it to be because I'm living it up. Not because I'm doing everything "right" and STILL getting screwed left and right by unexpected blows. I know it's a cruddy attitude and I'm trying to get over it, but I want to believe that all our "sacrifices" are worth it. It doesn't seem like they are... greensad.gif

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#20 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 05:07 PM
 
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Then we get stuck with 30K in medical bills in the course of a month. That's more than three times more than we spend in an entire year, and for what, two ultrasounds and advice to go home and rest? Or our transmission blew and we had a bunch of car trouble, so we had to pay $6000 in one month, before we had to just say screw it and buy a new car. Then our furnace died, $2000. Our roof started leaking, another $3000 to fix. Then our dish washer, stove, and fridge all died in the course of a month. OK, so that's another couple of hundred right there. It's just insane how many pounds of meat - heck, organic, free range, hand-fed, flower-lei-wearing beef we could have bought for the price of those things.

It ate all our savings, left us in complete debt. When my phone broke I couldn't afford to replace it with even the cheapest version - but we're tens of thousands in debt for things out of our control.

I'm a bitter, bitter person over it. If I'm in debt I want it to be because I'm living it up. Not because I'm doing everything "right" and STILL getting screwed left and right by unexpected blows. I know it's a cruddy attitude and I'm trying to get over it, but I want to believe that all our "sacrifices" are worth it. It doesn't seem like they are... greensad.gif

Wow that's some BAD luck. I thought we had it tough with the car and computer and phone etc. etc. all dying at once and DH getting laid off at the same time, but I have to say, I think you've got me beat. greensad.gif I truly hope things start looking up for you. hug.gif

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#21 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 07:22 PM
 
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Yes, I do think the little things do add up.    Of course not always, but sometimes.  I used to bake our own bread because all the "cheap" store-bought brands were full of processed ingredients and the decent brands without all the junk in them were much more.  So, it was definitely cheaper to bake my own bread with wholesome ingredients than to buy the "good" bread with wholesome ingredients.  Of course, if I were to buy "cheap" bread, that would be cheaper, but I don't feel comfortable feeding that to my family..  Now, we are gluten free, so I bake our bread since it is much cheaper as gluten free loaves are more expensive...plus it's healthier as I can control the ingredients more.

 

i bake our bread (well, usually...i go through cycles) for that reason.  we are a sandwich-loving family of 7, so we go through about a loaf a day.  it's $5 for a loaf of organic bread here; a small loaf, like the homemade size, not the commercial size.  i make ours from organic ingredients and magical coconut oil.  honestly, i've never done the math to see how much it saves, but i love my bread anyway.

 

 

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They don't make that much of a difference for me.  First of all I found making my own bread/soap/whatever did not really save me much money.    I could never slice the bread as thin so we went through it faster.  The homemade cleaners did not clean anything unless I used a truck load of it.  Also I work full time and time is money.  I can only do so much in a day.  Spending an hour making laundry detergent means I won't have as much time or energy to cook and shop wisely.  (and the laundry soap mentioned above....it didn't clean our clothes, left residue in our washer and molded long before we could use it all.  waste of time and money).   ......


yup.  i found that laundry soap to absolutely SUCK.  i love the idea of it, it's fun to make and makes me feel good to use, but it just.doesn't.cut it.

 

 

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#22 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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They don't make that much of a difference for me.  First of all I found making my own bread/soap/whatever did not really save me much money.    I could never slice the bread as thin so we went through it faster.  The homemade cleaners did not clean anything unless I used a truck load of it.  Also I work full time and time is money.  I can only do so much in a day.  Spending an hour making laundry detergent means I won't have as much time or energy to cook and shop wisely.  (and the laundry soap mentioned above....it didn't clean our clothes, left residue in our washer and molded long before we could use it all.  waste of time and money).   I don't generally mess with coupons (there is not doubling here and the store I work at does not take computer print offs...so it really is just pennies here).  I do focus on the big things.  I have an efficient car and drive carefully, I don't run my AC unless it is over 90 degrees, I watch for sales (although I don't drive all over the world to save a few dollars on groceries), I collect rain water to water my garden.  I do a lot of my shopping online which prevents browsing induced impulse buys and saves on gas, when I indulge my daily starbucks habit I get something cheap (iced coffee in my own cup is $1, brewed coffee is $.50...this is only at my starbucks though) and teach my kids to like that too.  I do swag bucks but use the gift cards for fun and frivolous spending.  I pack my lunch instead of buying it at work....

 

I guess I do some little things but I do them selectively.  If it is easy.  I know that may sound lazy but the few hours I have a day are worth the money and have to be used wisely.   And saving $100 year...just not that big of a deal to me.  And yes, I live right on the edge.  This month I have gone completely over the edge....but all that work for so little savings, i would rather spend that time and money enjoying myself a little.  


yeahthat.gif This is totally how I feel. Time is money for me. I save the most by staying out of stores and not chasing sales.

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#23 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 07:40 PM
 
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yup.  i found that laundry soap to absolutely SUCK.  i love the idea of it, it's fun to make and makes me feel good to use, but it just.doesn't.cut it.

 


Wow, interesting. I've only heard good things about this detergent and it's seemed to do a great job so far. I wonder if the negatives are things you notice after a period of time? It's possible that I got excited too quickly.  I did read that homemade detergents don't work in cold water, that warm or hot is best, and also that it doesn't do so well with hard water. But it will be interesting to see if I run into the same problems with it. I do hope that it continues to work for me because I've just fallen in love with the "idea" and frugality of it.

 

It's good to read differing opinions. 

 

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#24 of 75 Old 07-20-2011, 10:21 PM
 
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hmmm, my parents make huge batches of homemade detergent for themselves, my older sister and me.  It works great, even in my little portable washer.  I'm not sure their exact recipe though.

 

I think its an individual thing as far as what you want to/can do to be frugal.  I don't do every frugal thing I could because for one reason or another it doesn't fit my lifestyle.  I don't do family cloth, for example because dh won't do it and I forget about using it half the time if there's tp there anyway.  I can never 100 percent commit to cloth diapers or wipes.   I've never had great luck making my own bread, but if I got a bread machine at a yard sale, etc maybe I'd try again.  However, I don't buy detergent, I don't have to pay for any haircuts since I barter with my sister the hairdresser, I rarely go out for entertainment/to eat, I buy mostly used or accept handmedowns, etc.  There is only so many BIG things you can do, and I'm not really interested in sitting in the dark or sweating my butt off/shivering my butt off.  That's just me. 

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#25 of 75 Old 07-21-2011, 03:03 AM
 
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When I was flat broke, heck yes, the little things counted.  

 

Now that I have more income, I find that I either focus on the little things or my spending can quickly spiral out of control.  And my attitude sets the tone for the household.  If money seems loose, dh will spend more and more.  And if he is spending and I am spending, all of those little purchases add up really fast.  

 

Now, I don't make detergent, but buy it twice a year and use 1T per load.  Conservation is my preferred method of frugality.  I simply use less of everything.  


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#26 of 75 Old 07-21-2011, 05:43 AM
 
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hug.gif..... Seawitch.  

 

Yes, little things make a difference, but big things are the place to put your energy.  Make sure you have the lowest cost you can get that meets your needs on insurance, TV, phone, etc.  Reduce driving, and do not speed.  Shop less and with a list. Consider food prices - meat and dairy can be very expensive.  Cut down on heat in winter and AC in summer. 

 

There are small areas where I am frugal, but it is more due to me being ticked off with the cost of xyz (that I think should cost less) than the savings.  Bread can be one.

 

 

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#27 of 75 Old 07-21-2011, 07:45 AM
 
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The little things make a difference, but they also are easier to see what you are doing on a day-to-day basis. I also try to save on the big stuff such as not buying a more spendy vehicle than we actually need, not overheating or overcooling this house, and just trying to live a lifestyle we can actually afford.

 

I make very thoughtful decisions about how I am willing to spend our money. The occasional latte while out, taking my daughter to the newest Harry Potter movie (and buying her popcorn and soda), going out to eat as a family 1-2 times a month and such are all ways that I am willing to splurge. I also skip some of the frugal things like washing ziplock bags to reuse, making laundry detergent (instead I use a fraction of regular), making bread (unless it is winter), etc. I have found ways that make large impacts for our family though! We can save roughly 50% on our grocery bill simply by eating all our leftovers and planning our meals well so that any extras from one meal get repurposed into another. This was a huge deal to us when we realized it and started being more careful with the food we bought. I am a big coffee junky and could very easily spend $5/day on a latte from the lovely independent coffee shop here in town. Instead, I have a beautiful espresso machine that makes wonderful coffee drinks and I can save myself about $150/month. I also squish all my prenatal appointments into 2 days a week so that I only have to pay for daycare on those days rather than 5 days a week and that saves us another several hundred a month. We cut cable and that is another $50/month we save. I shop clearance racks for my kids for clothes and try to buy a season ahead (got winter jackets for $8!) and stuff like that. Overall, these are small things that add up to big money. Saving a buck here or there on things you don't mind saving on will allow you to have the buck to spend on something you really would like to indulge in.

 

I think it is about prioritizing for yourself. What is important to you and your family? When you look at your monthly spending are there areas that you know could be trimmed down? Are there areas you are unwilling to trim? Some of the frugal things are fun and others seem like torture, so choose what makes you feel good :)


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#28 of 75 Old 07-21-2011, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here, you've all given a lot of food for thought. 
 

Here's where I'm coming from:

We've been poor before. I also grew up in a large family where my mom had to stretch everything to make ends meet. So I get that. 

 

DH and I bought a house almost 2 years ago now. We looked for quite awhile but knew it was so important to get it right. (It was after the mortgage crisis had started).  We ended up finding a house that was in the perfect location, perfect for us and cost $50,000-60,000 less than other houses we looked at.... which were already on the low end. bigeyes.gif It's a Fixer Upper. So yeah, we spend a LOT of money on repairs. The first year and a half, we paid for materials as we went (did all the work ourselves minus the electrician). During that time, we lived frugally in order to put as much money as possible back into our home. Then the roof leaked. Instead of just patching it, we refinanced to get a chunk of money to redo the roof with metal (even thought it costs more it's guaranteed 40 years) and a couple other BIG things. We had a 15 year mortgage (our payments were very low so that we could use that extra money each month to put back into repairs) when we refinanced, we kept to the 15 year time frame and just upped our payments... which are still very low. So that is part of what I'm talking about by getting the big things right. If we had bought our house 10 years earlier we would have made so many mistakes!

 

Since day 1 we have been all about INSULATION. Our house is cold. On the coldest winter days, you can just FEEL it radiating through the wall in some spots. We heat with electricity and keep our heat fairly low. Even still, we're spending up to $300/mth on heating.... and I'm still freezing my ass off while dressed in layers. (Makes me appreciate the heat and humidity today!) It is so much cheaper in the long run to insulate NOW instead of paying crazy high heating bills. So that's another example of a BIG thing. 

 

Our car. We had an old car for 7 years and should have gotten rid of it SO MUCH SOONER. Towards the end, it was costing more in repairs that a new car payment. Plus it would randomly stop working and would have to be towed. Not fun. So we bought a small, full efficient car. Yes we have payments, but the peace of mind is priceless. I also believe that overall, it's cheaper than the old car. 

 

So those are examples of the big things. Maybe it's something that most people don't deal with? 

 

I do all the medium saving stuff: gardening, hang clothes to dry, wash in cold water, cook from scratch (mostly), stock up on sales, buy second hand clothes, just about all our furniture was bought second hand but our appliances have been all bought new when they were on sale as we could afford them and we chose "simple" items with less gadgets. (better to buy new than to keep buying old appliance after old appliance, eventually spending the same amount of a new appliance... except for those OLD washing machines that are built like tanks) 

 

There's a lot of things we DON'T do: we don't have cell phones, don't have cable, don't really buy gadgets of any kind, don't go out to eat (often), don't drive all over the place or go shopping for the "fun" of it. 

 

Then you get to the small things (imo): making laundry soap, making bar soap, washing baggies, all the 'penny pinching' tactics. And it seems like THIS is where people go "oh, you can save SO MUCH MONEY!"  I suppose you can save some eventually.... and especially with a larger family. But I guess my point is, why don't people focus on the BIGGER things? Where you can see more obvious results much sooner? Or have they already done that? 

 

 

 


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#29 of 75 Old 07-21-2011, 08:26 AM
 
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I think most people have already done that, or it's too late for them, or whatever.

We bought one of the cheapest houses we could find -- there were a few a bit cheaper but they were in bad locations (= bad investment!) or not structurally sound. Our house is a fixer-upper as well and we are doing everything ourselves. We took advantage of a first-time homebuyer program in our area that had low fixed rates. But houses are expensive in our area, yet at the same time the local economy has taken a real hit. Our appraisal has gone down drastically but the real estate tax rate increased. We thought we were buying at an all-time low, but of course house values just continued to drop & drop & are still dropping here. So yeah, it would have been nice if we could see the future & know that we could have saved a ton by waiting a few more years, but I don't think even economy & RE experts knew that??? But anyway, we insulated our house and keep the heat on low. We ripped out all the sheetrock and made some of the walls thicker to allow for even more insulation. We put in flooring that would hold up over time, etc. We buy our cars in cash to avoid paying interest, get the cheapest car with the highest gas mileage in our price range, take into account which models need more frequent & expensive repairs & maintenance, etc.

I guess I don't really understand what you are saying. We still can do those things & do the little things too. If we make a 'mistake' with the big things (not sure how it's a mistake to not have a crystal ball...), it's kind of over & done with, we don't really have the opportunity to go back & redo it. The medium & small things we can tackle more on a daily basis though, and if we have a 'lapse in judgement' and buy a latte, we can still make up for most of it by going back to making our own coffee. I guess what I'm saying is, if you've already taken care of the big things (or already screwed up on them) and you are still not making ends meet or not able to save up & get ahead, should you just throw up your hands & declare yourself a failure? To me it makes more sense to keep on working at it with the things I can control. And it will add up, $1000/year adds up to $30K over 30 years, all just by making our own coffee and laundry detergent and savings ten cents on gas etc.

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#30 of 75 Old 07-21-2011, 01:59 PM
 
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I've always assumed that people whol are saving a lot of money are also people who are picky about what they are using. For instance, the unscented eco-friendly detergent I buy never goes on sale and has a coupon once a year. One. So I probably could save a lot of money by switching to a regular detergent that is always on sale or cheaper or from the dollar store or something. The only way I could spend less and have the same quality is to make it myself. The way I do save on it is buying it in bulk from WF or amazon but I pretty much have to buy enough for a year to get a break on price.

 

The same is trure for bread, jam, take out, etc. I have expensive taste =) If we don't cook we spend a lot outside the home because we both want to eat organic good quality food. And we live in a big city so it is easy to find, it just costs a lot. I can buy delicous and wonderful bread with organic flour and made with blessing to the full moon or whatever but it costs $7 and goes stale the next day.

 

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