My frugal tip would be "Enjoy your local library". We don't pay for books, magazine or tv - we get all of these at the library. Bonus is you get to return them at the end of the week and they don't clutter your house. Also it is a free Saturday afternoon activity which the whole family can enjoy.
The same idea applies to toy-lending libraries - just borrow, don't buy. A new and different toy every week to keep kids interested.
Another frugal tip - be aware of companies that are based in your area.
When we move I always check on this and ask new neighbors or co workers for tips.
I try to get on email lists or Facebook pages for these local companies so I receive notice when they are having warehouse sales.
Have been able to get many beautiful clothes for the kids and bedding at not much more than thrift prices.
The kid clothes can then be sold to the local resale shop for not much less than I paid new.
Here's my precious girl modeling a locally made organic cotton dress purchased for pennies on the dollar :-)
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Flexibility is key. Whether it be groceries, clothes, airline tickets or date night, you will save hundreds by being flexible. Many grocery stores (including your local Co-op!) and restaurants have mid-week specials. Hit these up instead of joining the masses on Saturdays. Seasonal clearance is a great way to buy high end clothing and save bundles, if it doesn't fit when the season comes around sell it on Craigslist for what you paid. Planning far enough ahead will usually allow you some flexibility in your vacation plans. Always us the month view to look for the cheapest days to fly and pack small so you can carry on. The best day to purchase airline tickets is Monday and Tuesday; after the weekend agencies release their holds and demand is lower. Allow flexibility in your life and enjoy less stress and less spending!!
One new tip is 'Portion Control'...with every product I use. For example, I missed fabric softener sheets when we switched to a vinegar rinse so I buy a box of sheets and then cut the stack in half before they are used.
One of our top frugal tips was cloth diapering. We decided on cloth diapering for the environmental reasons as well as cost savings, but learned quickly after we both became unemployed just how much we were saving. I always say if we hadn't used cloth diapers our DD wouldn't have had anything on her bottom. We also had the benefit of no diaper rashes and learning to use the potty at a young age.
So this is me, at the age of twenty-seven, learning how to crochet. What inspired my sudden need to be crafty? Christmas. Every year we spend more than I would even like to admit on gifts. It isn't that I mind buying gifts, but sometimes I just can't think of the perfect gift for someone and I end up buying something that more than likely ends up a white-elephant gift at another party. I love to give heartfelt gifts so I started thinking about two things; how to spend less and how to give from the heart. My favorite gifts I have ever received have been handmade. One was a mix CD from my sister when I turned eighteen. Another was a drawing my husband did for me of our oldest daughter. One was a beautifully framed snapshot of me and my baby from my mother in law. So, I have gotten more crafty. My frugal tip is this; Make gifts! They come from your heart, but not always your wallet.
Baking Soda and Vinegar are good for almost anything! I wash my hair and face with a mix of baking soda & water, and rinse with apple cider vinegar and water (can also be used as a toner). I also use it to clean my entire house -- I have gotten stains out of my carpet by watching the two bubble together. Vinegar is used as a rinse aid in my dishwasher. Oven cleaner, facial scrub, fridge deoderizer, window spray.... the list goes on. These two items have brought down the grocery bill and emptied my cupboards of many extra cleaners and toxic substances!
Make your own air freshener or fabric freshener by adding a few drops of essential oils to a spray bottle of water. If you use an oil that has disinfecting properties, you're killing germs, too! Not to mention the aromatherapy you get from it.
Always shake before you mist!
Another great way to save in my home is in regards to my carpet cleaner. We've got 2 dogs and I'm insistent about having clean floors, so I break out my carpet cleaner every few weeks to a month depending on the season. Carpet cleaning solutions are expensive and loaded with chemicals and I've found that this simple solution gets my carpets even cleaner anyway.
Add about 1 cup of white vinegar to the reserve and fill with HOT water. Add a few drops of essential oils for aromatherapy. To avoid sudsing, add a small squirt of dish detergent as the last step... I like blue dawn.
Pop your reserve tank on the machine and set it to rinse. Your home will smell of the vinegar for about a day, but you can keep reminding yourself that it just killed all the germs in your rugs.
Lots of great tips here!
I found that I saved money by not using baby food! I chose to give my kids appropriate food from my plate when they were ready for solids, saving my time and money by not buying or making baby food at home. Also don't have to remember to take baby food with you if you go out!
My second tip would be barter for what you want/need. You don't need a special skill or product, just a willingness to ask! One thing that almost all of us could have to offer is babysitting. You could offer to babysit in exchange for baked goods, essential oils, yard work, etc. If you want local produce but don't have space for a garden you could offer to help maintain a garden in exchange for a share of the produce.
*I buy most things second hand. I find thrift stores that usually have the best deals. I shop goodwill and I use craigslist. I buy most of my child/baby stuff on craigslist. Jumperoo, baby toys, tummy time mat and so on. I have bought a lot of furniture this way. I bought my mobywrap on CL. I get everything for pretty darn cheap. I've saved thousands of dollars this way. I also buy everything on sale. I almost always buy the cheaper priced items, unless there really is a quality issue I know of.
*I want to start going to collecting rain water in a rain barrel and go back to frugal country living. Including growing some of my own food and cannon and drying.
*I have also heard of root cellaring either in the north or the deep south. In the north you can use it as a regular root cellar. In the south where the ground temp isn't optimal for storing food, at least not most of the time, you can keep your refrigerator and or freezer down there so it doesn't have to work overtime in order to stay cool. You can cut costs on energy that way.
*Make your own soap or laundry soap. Wash dishes my hand in 3 tubs the old fashioned way. One soapy water to soak and scrub. the second hot water, the third cool water with a tad of bleach, then air dry.
*Make your own bleach for a fraction of the cost with a much longer shelf life: Buy pool shock with a high percentage. It has a 10+ year shelf life and it's extremely cheap. Add a couple Tbsp to a quart. Make it as you need it. Also a great thing to have if you are a survivalist. Regular bleach in jugs at the store lose their potency every year.
*Use rags for napkins and for cleaning instead of paper towel.
*I recycle coffee grounds since my coffee isn't cheap. I only use it for two brews, though. For the second, I just add a little extra coffee grounds. While I'm at it, I've looked into buying a coffee plant, which can be done.
*Make your own citrus cleaner by filling a mason jar with orange peels and fill with white vinegar. Let sit for 10 days and then strain and discard peels. Put in squirt bottle.
*Become part of a local food co-op and you can get fresh local organic food for wholesale prices as well as lots of other natural products.
*Make food from scratch.
*Plan meals ahead of time and you can save a lot of money
*Also, don't ever go grocery shopping while hungry. Eat something before you go.
I could go on for a while on this subject...
Some of the things our family does to stay thrifty:
We make a budget and stick to it.
Always pay our savings account first.
Make our own cleaning supplies.
Buy kids clothing used.
Make our own bread and condiments.
Shop in bulk.
grow our own veggies and can/freeze as much as we can.
Be happy and grateful for all that we have (ignore every message that tells us consuming more = more happiness)
There are several things that we do:
*I turn my sons shirts into pillows and blankets
*buy in bulk if possible. saves on gas and things seem to be cheaper that way
*make your own cleaners
*hand me downs...I bought a stitch shirt for my niece who is now 10 and it has made it's way down to my 3 year old....that is 10 kids.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" --Leonardo Da Vinci
The library saves me SO much money (provided I remember to return the books on time!) We makes trips weekly and get new reads for the whole family. I love having current magazines around and waisted a lot of money on them before I realized I could get them for free at the library!
Instead of buying the expensive natural cleaning products, make your own! Laundry detergent, all purpose cleaner (my favorite is to soak citrus peels in vinegar for a couple weeks, then use 50/50 vinegar and water. Sometimes I add a touch of dishsoap to add to the grease cutting power.), window cleaner (no need for ammonia either, just 1 cup of borax to 4 cups of water (keep off wood!)), dishwasher detergent, etc. Can't get any cheaper!
Buy food on sale, or grow it when possible and store it! Whether canning or freezing, it's a great way to stock up on items that tend to cost more the rest of the year. We even can meat when it's on sale so that we have simple easy meat to use. And because I forget to take the meat out of the freezer until 4:30!
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