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Old 07-09-2005, 03:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are in the process of buying our first home. We have stretched ourselves a bit here- and I will be needing to REALLy cut back.
Help me to generate ideas on how to do this.
I have alotted $300 a month for grocery( YIKES!) family of 3- baby on the way( of course bf and going to CD)
I am also trying to think of ideas to make some extra cash since there are things we want to do to the house... and it is time for me to do this( for me as well!)
I am not against working outside the home 10- hours a week or so- but have thought more about doing some in home babysitting-... tho I fear since I am new to town it will be hard.
Please let me know what you have done to get over the hump!
Thanks again for great ideas!

a few things I plan to do- or already do
use cloth wipes
no paper towels-
NO eating out- and that means NO eating out!
Making my own detergent
That is as far as I have gotten!
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Old 07-09-2005, 03:46 AM
 
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In addition to using cloth dipes, one of the best ways to save $$, cut down on tons of laundry, and decrease the number of cloth diapers (over the time you would normally just diaper your child, which here in the western world is edging up into 3-4 yrs of age!!!) is to consider practicing elimination communication (EC) with your baby-to-be.

Not only is EC an awesome way for you and your dp to bond w/ the baby, but it's a fantastic way to save $$ and time cleaning diapers. And oh, even your kids, if they're out of diapers themselves and interested (which they often are interested and in tune), are usually great at knowing when and how to potty the baby, too!

EC is extremely gentle, amazingly like breastfeeding... very similar in learning to read signs/cues, going on timing ("I can tell it's time to nurse!"), and gradual (just like the transition from EBF to solids). Keep in mind, too, that it's not an "all or nothing" thing, can be done part time, and using diapers as much or as little as needed. Very flexible and adaptable to your family's needs/preferences.

We started EC w/ our dd at 8 or 9 mos old, and she was done before 2 yrs old, but going very reliably on the potty for many, many months before that. I hadn't cleaned a poopy diaper in, well, AGES long before she was "done by 2 yrs old." The bonding/communication is the best part of EC, but a nice perk of EC was not having to deal w/ cleaning up poop from diapers.

So, if you're intrigued AND wanting to be frugal AND don't mind the icing on the cake of being environmentally very kind, here's more info on and support for EC:
Local support groups --> http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/
Online support --> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eliminationcommunication


Oh, and I should share that when I first heard about EC, I just laughed and laughed -- was *extremely* skeptical. But the more I read about it, the more I was drawn to it. As soon as we started w/ dd, both dh and I were hooked. Grandparents hopped right on board within a few weeks, too.

SO, congrats on the new house AND of course the new babe on the way! I'm looking forward to other's suggestions for frugal living, too!
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Old 07-09-2005, 03:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks I have thought of this and will check out the link.
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Old 07-09-2005, 10:04 PM
 
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Don't buy anything! Simple, right? Every time you are going to buy something- anything at all- think about whether you already have something that can perform its function or if there is a cheaper alternative. Every single time. You might be surprised at how much non-thought-out buying you're doing.
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Old 07-09-2005, 11:56 PM
 
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limit your trips to the store...we're doing this now and needed some items tonight. I just did without and ended up making a very nice dinner and we're getting really low on meat here. LOL But I"m proud of myself for not going to buy whatever it was I thought I needed. This caused me to make a menu for the week cause it's going to be crazy here this week...dad having surgery, church having vbs and i'm working it, etc. I also made tuna salad for lunches next week.

Cd, bf, of course. Make your own baby food...cheap, easy and very healthy. Freeze in ice cube trays for easy thawing out later and already a serving size.

Hang dry your clothes instead of using the dryer. Lights off during the day. LImit your a/c if you can. Making laundry detergent is an awesome way to make your dollars stretch. Don't buy convenienc foods...make your own. I'm getting ready to make premade pkgs of pizza crust, french bread, brownies, cookies, etc. Anything I would have normally bought I'll ahve ready to throw in the oven with adding just the wet ingredients.

Hand me down clothes, yard sale for clothes or thrift stores are awesome places to get clothes. I just got my son's bday presents at a yard sale today. My oldest saw them and it was all he could do to not play with them. LOL Well that's all I can think of now. Good lucka nd it can be done. We've all been there.

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Old 07-10-2005, 09:51 AM
 
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I agree with the PP about garage and rummage sales. They have saved us the most money, by far. I only buy clothes from these. One church near us has clothes pretty cheap on Fridays and then on Saturdays has $1/bag. I always go back (they have more stuff as people drop more off) and I've gotten things that are more risky (shirts for when DS is slightly older, sandals/ice skates I'm not positive will fit). There is even a church in the next town over that does free clothing give aways twice a year. I went once at the very end to pick through leftovers because even though money is super tight, we're not really that needy.

I have a list of house/clothing stuff we need and stick to it.
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Old 07-10-2005, 11:02 AM
 
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My top money savers: Food shopping sales and stocking up and cooking out of my pantry (this takes a bit of time to learn but is well worth it for time and $$ savings -- plus it keeps you out of the grocery stores)

Yard sales -- I go out yard saling for about 2 hours every Saturday morning during yard sale season (from approximately March through end of October). I mostly have a list of what I need for the kids and household and stick to it. I generally offer about half what they are asking. 90% of the time they take me up on it. Don't forget to look for things that make good presents at yard sale, as well (if you like to give presents!) And anticipate what you will need for the next year. If you find the yard sales are not that great in your neck of the woods, it may be worth driving a bit to find a better area.

Baking from scratch -- Baking is a huge money saver. Learn to make your own bread (by hand or you can often get a good bread machine for under $5 at a yard sale, often even a new one still in the box). Also making your own cakes, cookies, pies, etc. is a great treat.

Asking for what I need/want -- This works especially with children's things. Let your friends and family know that you happily take hand-me-downs. I now regularly get HUGE bags of decent clothes from my friends. I just go through it, take what I like and pass the rest on to my other frugal friends or the thrift store. Freecycle is another wonderful way to get things for free.

Public library -- Free books, free videos, free entertainment for kids. Especially check out their books on frugal living and their usually very extensive cookbook section. Many libraries will actually purchase books or magazine subscriptions that you request.

Read -- books on frugal living, especially The Tightwad Gazette.

Have fun! Frugal living CAN be fun and when you get the hang of it usually is more fun than the consumerist lifestyle.
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Old 07-10-2005, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I love to yard sale. I try to go every other Saturday.
We got all of ds's birthday presents at yard sales this year. i have also gotten a few presents for next years christmas for family members.

I am on free cycle as well. I fear they will not have one where we move!
My only prob with yard sales is I sometimes buy things I do not need!
My mom yard sales too- and gets us a ton of clothes- toys etc. Right now she just got us this great art desk for ds, a great tool workbench for ds and one of those toy organizers! AWESOME!
I also got a queen size bed at one this year for $30- they were asking $50. It is really quite nice. we had been all sleeping on a full size bed! ARGH!

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Old 07-10-2005, 12:26 PM
 
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Never (almost never) buying new clothing. I am awestruck by how cheap clothing is at places like Saver's. And how great they are. Cheaper than Salvation Army and I nearly always find what i am looking for--which I don't at yard sales (although i do love yard sales).

I went to a mall last week because we simply could not find a bathing suit to fit my oldest daughter (skinny with a long torso). I was blown away by the prices of even T shirts. So my top thing to get what my kids need is to hit Savers nearly every week. I look for winter coats, boots, jeans in the next size etc. Even Saver's is cheaper in the off season. Right now kids summer shirts are 3.99, but they are more like 1.99 in the winter. Coats are cheap now. Huge selection of mittens and gloves, too. I found a nice patagonia pair for .99. They would prob be 3.99 in winter. i try not to buy what i don't need. That's hard sometimes when things are so cheap. But it makes no sense to clutter things up. If I see something really nice, I will buy it to give at gift times. My family and I are all OK with Saver's or yard sale Christmas presents.
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Old 07-10-2005, 12:48 PM
 
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My city has these great kids sale at the park days when people bring their kids stuff to sell at the park. So it's like going to 50 yard sales, all in one place. And prices tend to be lots lower b/c of all the competition. Plus, it's only kids stuff so i'm not tempted to buy stuff i don't really need. Maybe your community has something like this?

Also, just staying home has really helped me to save $$. It really works.

Also, could you cut out things with a monthly fee like cable, cell phone, etc. Just tell yourself you'll get rid of them for like 3 months and at the end of that time, you probably won't even miss them!

There's a book called Living More with Less that has great ideas on living simply. It's written by Mennonites, but you can take or leave the religious aspects.
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Old 07-11-2005, 03:48 AM
 
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I love this thread.

Staying home! [and don't internet shop! lol] Turning off lights & the tv. Hand washing & hang-drying clothes - actually , I"m really into that right now - i just bought a hand-wringer - actually out of necessity - we have no W/D hookup and I cant' stand the laundromat - the only trouble is the humidity - it takes a little longer for stuff to dry. I love garage sales... but i found that doing a serious garage-sale run can cost a LOT of $$ in gas, so I generally don't do those, unless I happen to pass by one.

And cancel subscriptions ... the on-going $$-drainers that you mostly don't have time to use....
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Old 07-11-2005, 04:00 AM
 
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All of the above but also review all of your bills to see if you can consolidate any services. We just saved about $20/mo by switching our cable modem and long distance around.

Can you refinance for a lower %?

Save to pay off any high interest loans?

I turn off the furnace the whole summer and don't use the dryer at all.
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Old 07-11-2005, 06:33 PM
 
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re-reading the title of this topic ~

all of the aforementioned things are about cutting the cost of expenses ~ As for actually *saving* money, I would suggestion *dillegently* taking 10% [or whatever amt you can reasonably afford] of every paycheck, and putting that into your savings acct. [personally I recommended ING direct, NAYY] ... also, I like to collect all my coins from my wallet and roll them myself [the coin cashing machines cost too much $$ now!], and either save that $ or buy something for your home or for yourself. It's a nice, unexpected bonus.
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Old 07-11-2005, 10:12 PM
 
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No cable, no land line (DP & I have an add on cell phone from MILs family plan...$10/month....but this is temporary, as we are moving soon and will probably go reverse: no cell phone, but have a land line), no magazine subscriptions, etc. The only monthly things we pay are power, water and rent (won't be paying rent once we move). We barely use toilet paper (I grew up on Guam, where there is a lot of philipino culture- part of that is washing instead of wiping). Don't but bottled water, we have filters, and a Brita also (brand new from a yard sale- $5). We have one checking account each, with free online banking that lets us look at all our purchases immediately, and even transfer money or pay bills automatically. NO credit cards.
Every couple months I CLEAN OUT the house and we sell/give away stuff. I usually bake huge batches of cookies (or something else) and sell those at the same time. AND I love to paint, so I set out my paintings as well. I usually come up with at least $100 by the end of the day. At LEAST.

With baby #1 on the way, I plan on ECing, but will get a stash of cloth diapers (we're in the middle of moving, so no time to make em myself...but MIL is offering to pay for them since we can't find any good seconds... maybe I'll try ebay? I just can't tell DP--he gets kinda grossed out by "used" things ). Also plan on slingin- no stroller, using cloth wipes, having an unassisted birth, and just staying away from the whole consumerism world.

Now, my weakness is food. : I didn't grow up learning about cooking/baking, so I'm STARTING NOW. Total ameteur. Luckily my mom knows a lot (ha, just never passed it to me!), so i call her often. My fear of overly processed food helps with my desire to learn to cook/bake just about everything. Once we move, I plan on getting a good startup stash of cooking/baking supplies (from a yard sale of course! :LOL ) and I want to make my own breads, pie crusts, granola, purees, etc etc etc. Eventually when I get into the swing of things, I think itd be nice to bottle my own stuff too. Ha, lets see how I get into that swing...

this is all a long steady learning process. Just from reading this thread, i learned you could make your own detergent. i didn't know that. : Next on my list of things to MAKE! lol.

Creating Art. Living life on Guam. Sharing my Journey.

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Old 07-11-2005, 10:32 PM
 
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Grocery shopping can be easier than you think.
Think of buying dried beans, a roast if you eat meat and cut it into a few meals (when I ate beef we could make a roast, roast beef sandwiches, beef and some noodles, beef mexican wraps and a stew all from one large roast)
Make your own soups, compare prices of fresh, canned, dried, frozen of the same items. You can buy powdered milk for baking, cooking.

I would say start backwards though as cutting grocery money can get depressing and lead you to order a pizza (antother cheap family pleaser if you make your dough)
Make your meal schedual, and you can also cut down on cooking. When I am organised I used to go to the farmer's market on Saturday, cut the veggies, peel potatoes etc on Sat afternoon then Sunday make a roast beef and a roast chicken. I'd take meat off chicken then make soup.

There's so many ways to save money learn to make stovetop popcorn vs micro Yogurt makers, I got an icecream maker for christmas its great cause of the food allergies in the house. Also you'll have to be honest with what you consume for me it was the $2 a day in fruit juices - for me! I switched to water and lemon or iced tea made with herbal teas.

Proper meal planning, limiting grocery shopping, buying direct from a market or farmers is often good too. Costing out things like luncheon meats vs egg salad vs peanut butter per sandwich. But you have to educate yourself especially when buying bulk its not often the savings it could be.

Cleaning with baking soda, vinegar, bleach can save money on cleaning. Windows often look better when done with vinegar and newspapers.

I am also trying to think of ideas to make some extra cash since there are things we want to do to the house... and it is time for me to do this( for me as well!)
I am not against working outside the home 10- hours a week or so- but have thought more about doing some in home babysitting-... tho I fear since I am new to town it will be hard.
=actually it might be easier as if everyone knows everyone else.
You might want to think about looking for a job that would get you cheaper on one of your bills - like a grocery store, etc.

8 might be enough
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Old 07-12-2005, 04:48 PM
 
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www.freecycle.org

Kristin -- mom of Erin (11/5/02) and Leah (9/29/05)
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Old 07-12-2005, 04:53 PM
 
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just : for ideas

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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Old 07-12-2005, 07:05 PM
 
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:

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Old 07-13-2005, 05:49 PM
 
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Some good ideas mommas! I do have a few things to add that weren't on the pp's. I make my own cleaners and detergents and have saved us a lot of money, such as:
dishwasher detergent and I use vinegar as a rinse aide
laundry detergent (except for what we use on cloth diapers)
I use vinegar and water w/ essential oil to mop floors clean the kitchen and parts of my bathroom.
Glass cleaner and Toilet bowl cleaner
Etc. etc.

I also want to start using cloth wipes for the whole family. I'm still working on dh about that. Another thing we did is examine our monthly output. We switched car insurance to a six month plan and we put a certain amount into our savings each month for it which saves us $80 a month. We applied for low income discount for PG&E and our land line and we recieve WIC. Whenever I'm looking for something like a piece of furniture or what-not I put out the word to several friend and relatives, letting them know that if they see it at a thrift shop or yarsale or know someone getting rid of one to let us know. We've gotten a lot of stuff this way and sometime people will just want it out of their house and give it to us for free.

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Old 07-15-2005, 04:05 PM
 
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To add something new, learn to cut hair, I do all the family haircuts, even a cheap place at 10+ bucks a time adds up. It's really not hard.


Along with everyone else, don't go to the store, it's amazing how I go someplace and walk out with 6 other things we "needed".

Mom to ds 9 dd 7 : and dd 3/08 : if I can I go to
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Old 07-16-2005, 11:30 AM
 
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Emansmom...I cut my family's hair also. I've been doing that for about 6.5 years. The first year or so my dh felt like we were so poor instead of making a decision to spend that money on other things which is the way I look at it still. Now we're pros at giving haircuts. It's so easy and cheap. My son asked me one day if we could go get his haircut and I said sure but then we can't go see spiderman or whatever movie was out that we'd planned to take him to see. He understood real quick why we cut his hair. Anyway just had to share. Getting your own clippers often comes with a video for giving haircuts. I had to break down and buy new clippers this year to get a better variety of blades. They now come in all sizes and when I first bought them you only got 4. So anyway happy haircutting mamas.

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Old 07-16-2005, 12:06 PM
 
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SAHM trying to get ideas here, but not sure how many of them I'm up to.

DH, who used to get $25 haircuts now does his own, & mine is just long & uncut. He says knowing me has made him more frugal; when we're at the store (& I do try to limit trips) he thinks twice about every purchase. AND I like using leftovers, don't have cable or pay for cell service, & shop (for myself) at thrift store (rarely). We also have a garden, & don't spend $ on entertainment. But we could do a lot better in the following areas:
eating out (still a few times/month)
healthfood store expenses (equiv @ grocery have bad ingred)
not being DIY around the house (e.g. want clothesline but need help)
(please don't be shocked) disposible diapers (we have issues with our well that we can't afford to fix and don't want to strain it further)

This thread is inspiring me to do better because I need to do better to continue at home, so please keep writing!!!

Jenny, reading & writing mama of dd(18), ds(6), and ds(3)
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Old 07-16-2005, 11:27 PM
 
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Okay, this is what we have been doing in the way of frugal living:

*We bought a duplex and rent out the other apartment...the rent pays a huge chunk of our mortgage.
*We don't have a vehicle, BUT are able to walk everywhere we basically need to go, we live three blocks from the hospital, and my IL's let us use one of their vehicles if we are in need
*No cable television or landline
*No dryer
*Make my own cleaning supplies...vinegar/water/baking soda/EO
*We don't buy much in the way of "snacks" and extras (soda or juice)
*We don't eat out very often...which is okay because my DH is a chef! :LOL
*We use netflix for movies (no late fees which used to plague us!) and use the public library
*cloth diaper during the day and I use disposies at night :
*I don't get my hair cut often, but DH has his brother cut his (he cuts all the little boys and male relatives hair)
*Buy clothing and stuff second hand...freecycle

Please, note I have come a LONG way in my path to frugal living!! Pre-children and DH I was the type of gal who would pay $75 every 5wks having my hair trimmed and colored, I ate out at least 4 times a week, went to the "bar" with friends too often than I care to admit, only bought clothing and stuff at full retail price because I was "too busy" to dif thu thirft stores, drove a gas guzzling SUV, smoked cigarettes...need I paint the picture any more?!! :

There are three things I learned about life. It goes on. -Longfellow

 

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Old 07-16-2005, 11:27 PM
 
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Good thread. I don't have much new to add.

We are pretty frugal and I didn't even realize until dh and I sat down to figure out if we could save anymore money. LMAO. Not really.

No car, No cable, no cell phone, Public transit monthly pass for dh, I walk everywhere I need to go, shop at a no frills grocery store, CD, cloth wipes, BFing (twins, I can't even breathe when I think of the formula cost there), utilities are includede in our rent as well as laundry, so I just have to think about conserving for the earth not the pocketbook on those accounts. We almost never spend money out, the museum and art gallery are both free once a week in our city. I only buy new clothes for ds if he needs stuff (like summer is upon us and I haven't found him many shorts), it can be hard to find second hand clothes in good nick for an 8 year old boy, they tend to destru things. WE and the babes are pretty much all second hand. All the baby toys and furniture and their swing and jumper are all second hand.

Our biggest throw away is that we are paying rent, so we need to get something together for a home, as soon as dh finishes school.

Just constantly re-evaluate what you NEED. you will be surprised how little you need.
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Old 07-17-2005, 01:43 PM
 
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Alright, since everyone's posted all my big ideas, here's a thrifty tip I just figured out last night...

When a recipe calls for toasted pine nuts (ex. pesto), substitute sunflower seeds. Pine nuts are expensive!!!
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Old 07-17-2005, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Good One! Vivanna!
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Old 07-17-2005, 07:35 PM
 
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Energy saver bulbs. You can get a 6 pack for $10 at walmart and they really do cut down on you energy bill. I don't have a dishwasher, I turned down the water heater and wrapped it with insulation. There are a ton of ways to cut down on your energy bill.

I also shop at the dollar store, you'd be surprised at some of the stuff you can find there.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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Old 07-18-2005, 12:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miziki
In addition to using cloth dipes, one of the best ways to save $$, cut down on tons of laundry, and decrease the number of cloth diapers (over the time you would normally just diaper your child, which here in the western world is edging up into 3-4 yrs of age!!!) is to consider practicing elimination communication (EC) with your baby-to-be.
Thanks for the great idea, I bought the book so hopefully I can have the patience to make it happen, It would be great if it works.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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Old 07-18-2005, 01:03 AM
 
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Read & follow the tips in Your Money or Your Life . This book helps a person get an honest perspective of their spending habits, clarify those values that are most important to you so that you can align your spending with your values, etc...and its quite inspiring.

I also recommend using Quicken or Microsoft Money on the computer to track your spending & income. Invaluable information is gathered this way that allows for wise planning.
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Old 07-19-2005, 05:37 PM
 
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Pay bills online or have them automatically deducted from your bank account so you save the stamp - granted 37 cents isn't much, but it does add up over time.
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