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  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-19-2014 09:44 AM
EnviroBecca Easier than felting soap is to get a tube of nylon mesh (take an old scrubby puff, or buy one on sale for $1, and cut the cord that holds it in a puff; you'll have a long tube that will make 3-4 of these), tie a knot in one end, put in your bar of soap, cut the mesh to desired length, and tie the other end to whatever hook or towel bar you may have in the shower or to the pipe behind the showerhead. Great lather, no soap wasted, and no gooey mess or mildew under the soap! When we stay in a hotel, we bring home the leftover soap and put it in our soap saver.

I wrote a big anthology of thrifty tips for my site a few years back; let's see if I can just paste it here!

Cutting your own hair (or family members cutting each other’s hair) saves a lot of money! I don’t even know how much because I’ve had only one professional haircut in my life . . . and I was snipping at it by the end of the day, so I decided it hadn’t been worth the money. My parents cut my hair until I was a teenager, and then I began cutting it myself. A couple of times when I’ve wanted to change the style or solve a problem (like ends flipping outward) I have found helpful illustrated books in the public library. I do my own nails, too, and have never felt seriously tempted to get a manicure or pedicure.


Speaking of the public library, it lets you read lots of books and magazines for free! Our local library also has some wonderful toys in the children’s room, so it’s a fun place to hang out for a while between errands. It also sells used books at nice low prices! I rarely buy new books because I find that plenty of good ones come my way used or can be checked out of the library.


Use your public parks instead of spending money on swings, climbers, basketball hoop, etc. for your own yard.


Look for coupons in newspapers, magazines, and ads that come in the mail. Scan weekly sales circulars for particularly good prices, and stock up on things you know you’ll use. Look for opportunities to get more for your money by buying a larger package. (But check out this advice on when you should NOT bulk-buy.) Plan your meals around ingredients you already have and things that are on sale or in season now. Consider using customer loyalty cards that give you discounts or extra coupons. When you plan to visit a particular store, see if its Website is offering coupons that might be useful to you–I often find good coupons for Target. Use multiple shopping lists to organize trips to the stores that have the best values on your staple items.

Don’t throw away food! Here’s how to use not-so-fresh fruit, odds and ends of vegetables, leftover beans, not-so-fresh tofu, stale bread, and cauliflower leaves. When your favorite vegetables are in season, make your own frozen vegetables. If you’ve peeled tomatoes for canning or sauce, make the skins into Penniless Parenting’s Tomato Basil Garlic Spice Blend. Penniless Parenting also explains how to turn citrus peels into candy or all-purpose cleaner and how to eat other fruit peels in Banana Peel Chutney, Watermelon Rind Curry, and Watermelon Rind Salad. If you accidentally froze some cucumbers, they’ll work fine in one of these cucumber salads. Also check out Katie’s 9 Ways to Cook with Garbage and these many ways to use citrus peels and Danielle’s ways to preserve bulk-purchased bell peppers and ways to use the stems from Swiss chard.


Don’t throw away things you can reuse!


Don’t waste your money on tissues, disposable diapers, disposable pads and tampons, or other instant garbage.


Use less electricity for lighting your home.


Instead of paying gym fees, try these exercise ideas.


Avoid buying new stuff by Running Things Into the Ground.


Instead of spending hundreds of dollars every time you need furniture, use The Five-Part Furniture-Finding Plan.


Line-drying your laundry lowers your electricity bill (or natural gas, if you have a gas dryer) and makes your clothes last longer.


Has your kid ripped the knees out of all his pants? Make them into shorts!


Entertain kids with these easy indoor games and knee-bouncing games, or teach them to amuse themselves playing The TV Game.



Instead of buying Gatorade or other expensive drinks full of weird chemicals, drink Homemade Electrolyte Replenisher.


Instead of soda or fruit juice at a party, serve lemonade.


Eat beans instead of meat. Even canned beans are less expensive than most kinds of meat.


Save money on plastic food bags!


Have you been making a recipe that uses a processed food as an ingredient? Maybe you could make it at a lower cost using the ingredients that are in that processed food, like I did with Raisin Bran Bread.


Do you really need a cell phone?


How much gas can you really save by driving a hybrid car?


Avoid unexpected fees when you’re in the process of switching bank accounts.


All-ages game night is a fun event for just about any group and costs almost nothing to run, assuming you already own a bunch of card and board games.


Quit buying expensive facial cleansers and just use honey. For occasional exfoliation, try this easy two-ingredient recipe that’s a great household cleaner, too! Consider not wearing makeup or using less of it.



Will shopping at a warehouse club store save you money?
09-17-2014 06:23 PM
EmsMom
Quote:
Originally Posted by naturally frugal View Post
One thing that helped me with the pantry eating was to make a list of all the meals I could make with what we had at the beginning of the month. Then, I just kept going back to that list when I was menu planning. Cooking with what I have definitely makes me try new recipes, such as pumpkin alfredo & chili mac.
that's a good idea. I need to use up my pantry items and save some money for the next few weeks so I think I am going to give that a try. Thx!
09-17-2014 11:07 AM
naturally frugal One thing that helped me with the pantry eating was to make a list of all the meals I could make with what we had at the beginning of the month. Then, I just kept going back to that list when I was menu planning. Cooking with what I have definitely makes me try new recipes, such as pumpkin alfredo & chili mac.
09-17-2014 10:59 AM
naturally frugal
Republic wireless wasn't available in my area either

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyms View Post
Aw man just checked the maps. The Republic Wireless isn't available for me. Maybe I'll find another one.
Hi there I posted a comment about ting in the frugality section, but just in case you missed it. I wasn't able to get republic wireless in my area either so I checked out ting. They are offering sprint minutes so they have the same coverage as sprint. The ting plans are not unlimited plans but we still saved a ton of money with the switch over. There is a calculator on their site that helps you project what your bill will be. We also started using google talk (it's free) at home to cut down on cell phone minutes. [Link removed by Moderator]
09-17-2014 08:23 AM
PoetryLover
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmsMom View Post
I wanted to update on the cell phone I got from Republic Wireless. I am very happy with it. The price is as they reported; it is easy to change between plans. Right now I need to skype from it once a week so I have the $25 a month 3CG plan on their cheaper phone. The connection is better than my old and more expensive android. It also charges much faster and holds its charger much better. There have really been no issues at all. With the price of the phone I am ahead expense wise after just months on this phone as I ported my home number. This month I am going to port my cell number; to do this I will have to pay for cancellation. HOwever, I will come out ahead in about 6 months which is cheaper than waiting for the plan to conclude. Also, the "home number" will just become the home phone and probably also be used primarily by my son. I will switch that phone to the $5 a month talk, text, and wifi data which means he can use it at home with no issues. If he goes on a trip or something, I can just switch the plan to the 3 G for a specific amount of time, which is pretty cool.

I have managed to sock away some good money; getting ready to close on the house in a week or so! Very excited!
Thanks for the update and info. Very interesting!
09-12-2014 04:12 PM
EmsMom I wanted to update on the cell phone I got from Republic Wireless. I am very happy with it. The price is as they reported; it is easy to change between plans. Right now I need to skype from it once a week so I have the $25 a month 3CG plan on their cheaper phone. The connection is better than my old and more expensive android. It also charges much faster and holds its charger much better. There have really been no issues at all. With the price of the phone I am ahead expense wise after just months on this phone as I ported my home number. This month I am going to port my cell number; to do this I will have to pay for cancellation. HOwever, I will come out ahead in about 6 months which is cheaper than waiting for the plan to conclude. Also, the "home number" will just become the home phone and probably also be used primarily by my son. I will switch that phone to the $5 a month talk, text, and wifi data which means he can use it at home with no issues. If he goes on a trip or something, I can just switch the plan to the 3 G for a specific amount of time, which is pretty cool.

I have managed to sock away some good money; getting ready to close on the house in a week or so! Very excited!
07-24-2014 05:02 PM
EmsMom
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post
Absolutely. We already do a number of those things, and the kids all help out. My 13 yo has been helping me paint and repair the house and helped me replace the toilet. We've tried to join 4-H in the past, and they never get back to us (long story). One reason we are trying to move is that it's nearly impossible for the kids to make friends here. It's a very small rural and clique-y place, so the activities sound fun, but when we've tried that in the past, it didn't work. I agree that involving the kids and tightening the belt definitely brings you all closer.

that sounds hard! I am sorry!! Just stay strong and focused! You can do it!
07-24-2014 08:02 AM
kittywitty
Quote:
Originally Posted by allirue View Post
Hello everyone, still here plugging away at frugality and taking in all the comments on this thread. I have been working at eating what we have in the house...yesterday I cooked and baked for a few hours. I really do love to do that and it's so rewarding! My kids really loved what I made which was extra nice. I didn't need to buy anything at all in order to prepare everything which was doubly great!! I'm also trying to look at out budget in general and see where we can save more $$. Thinking about going down to a one car family since my husband walks to work. We have two cars that are paid off but one is on it's last legs I'm afraid and since we don't really need two cars for employment I'm thinking of just not replacing it and seeing how that goes. Anyone else a one car family?
We were for years, then my FIL gave us a cheap used Truck, but seeing as how it wasn't safe to take kids in and a gas guzzler, we couldn't afford it any longer, so we sold it for cash. So we're a one car family again. Not quite sure how that will work this winter when I need the car one day a week when dh needs to get to work!
07-24-2014 08:01 AM
kittywitty
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmsMom View Post
Welcome to the club! Would it help to think of the time without the activities as a special family bonding time? It could very likely become that if you approach it correctly. My kids really appreciate the times we all pull together to make something special happen (like the house we are buying or other large goals). It seems to be very good for them in the long run -- character building, working as family team, etc. Depends on the individual child, but I find that quite often kids actually are happier with days (especially summer days) that have some serious useful feeling work balanced by plenty of time to day dream, write, read, draw, pick flowers, etc. I am about to hand off another significant household task to my 15 year old. I acquired a second hand bread machine and I am going to put her in charge of a daily or every other day loaf of bread. My kids already do much of our regular baking such as cakes and cookies and they really enjoy the process as well as the results. One time during an extended (10 day!) power outage, I put them in charge of "morale" -- they were so creative engaging the neighbors, starting silly games, etc. You can explain to your kids exactly what is going on -- not that you are "poor' or broke or anything like that but that at the present time you see the house repairs as a critical need but that they help move it along by doing (fill in the blank).

And for socialization, you can throw crazy parties every week with homemade food and whoever can come -- create some water balloon games, manhunt, kick the can, etc. I find even mainstream kids will start to get in the fun if you throw in some homemade cookies, etc. This weekend we are organizing a potluck group picnic at a Shaekspeare in the park event. Free event not too far away, potluck picnic. My daughter is organizing and I am supervising. I will provide paper plates, etc. (or perhaps even bread out the camping plates). Events like this are far more social in the end than being in instructed in a class together anyway. Maybe you can even offer some kind of class in your home yourself? Sewing, cooking, whatever. 4H used to be widely available in rural areas and quite inexpensive.

I really am not kidding when I say that these periods of belt tightening can really bring a family closer. I just read an article about how critical it is to get food to hungry children during the summer months when they are not getting free school meals; knowing there are children who are going HUNGRY for days really puts things into perspective. Whether your kids see the missing activities as a real deprivation will depend mostly on you.

Hope I don't sound preachy; I remember how hard it was to cut my kids off from things and how hard it still is to say no. But the positives are really also there if you look for them.
Absolutely. We already do a number of those things, and the kids all help out. My 13 yo has been helping me paint and repair the house and helped me replace the toilet. We've tried to join 4-H in the past, and they never get back to us (long story). One reason we are trying to move is that it's nearly impossible for the kids to make friends here. It's a very small rural and clique-y place, so the activities sound fun, but when we've tried that in the past, it didn't work. I agree that involving the kids and tightening the belt definitely brings you all closer.
07-24-2014 05:23 AM
allirue Hello everyone, still here plugging away at frugality and taking in all the comments on this thread. I have been working at eating what we have in the house...yesterday I cooked and baked for a few hours. I really do love to do that and it's so rewarding! My kids really loved what I made which was extra nice. I didn't need to buy anything at all in order to prepare everything which was doubly great!! I'm also trying to look at out budget in general and see where we can save more $$. Thinking about going down to a one car family since my husband walks to work. We have two cars that are paid off but one is on it's last legs I'm afraid and since we don't really need two cars for employment I'm thinking of just not replacing it and seeing how that goes. Anyone else a one car family?
07-24-2014 03:34 AM
EmsMom
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittywitty View Post
I need to join here! We have a lot more house repairs to do and things have been beyond tight, already. I feel bad, but we have had to cancel piano, gymnastics, and aikido for the kids for awhile. We are very rural so this was the only real way for our kids to socialize. I need to make every penny count, so I'll be reading along for ideas!
Welcome to the club! Would it help to think of the time without the activities as a special family bonding time? It could very likely become that if you approach it correctly. My kids really appreciate the times we all pull together to make something special happen (like the house we are buying or other large goals). It seems to be very good for them in the long run -- character building, working as family team, etc. Depends on the individual child, but I find that quite often kids actually are happier with days (especially summer days) that have some serious useful feeling work balanced by plenty of time to day dream, write, read, draw, pick flowers, etc. I am about to hand off another significant household task to my 15 year old. I acquired a second hand bread machine and I am going to put her in charge of a daily or every other day loaf of bread. My kids already do much of our regular baking such as cakes and cookies and they really enjoy the process as well as the results. One time during an extended (10 day!) power outage, I put them in charge of "morale" -- they were so creative engaging the neighbors, starting silly games, etc. You can explain to your kids exactly what is going on -- not that you are "poor' or broke or anything like that but that at the present time you see the house repairs as a critical need but that they help move it along by doing (fill in the blank).

And for socialization, you can throw crazy parties every week with homemade food and whoever can come -- create some water balloon games, manhunt, kick the can, etc. I find even mainstream kids will start to get in the fun if you throw in some homemade cookies, etc. This weekend we are organizing a potluck group picnic at a Shaekspeare in the park event. Free event not too far away, potluck picnic. My daughter is organizing and I am supervising. I will provide paper plates, etc. (or perhaps even bread out the camping plates). Events like this are far more social in the end than being in instructed in a class together anyway. Maybe you can even offer some kind of class in your home yourself? Sewing, cooking, whatever. 4H used to be widely available in rural areas and quite inexpensive.

I really am not kidding when I say that these periods of belt tightening can really bring a family closer. I just read an article about how critical it is to get food to hungry children during the summer months when they are not getting free school meals; knowing there are children who are going HUNGRY for days really puts things into perspective. Whether your kids see the missing activities as a real deprivation will depend mostly on you.

Hope I don't sound preachy; I remember how hard it was to cut my kids off from things and how hard it still is to say no. But the positives are really also there if you look for them.
07-22-2014 05:27 PM
kittywitty I need to join here! We have a lot more house repairs to do and things have been beyond tight, already. I feel bad, but we have had to cancel piano, gymnastics, and aikido for the kids for awhile. We are very rural so this was the only real way for our kids to socialize. I need to make every penny count, so I'll be reading along for ideas!
07-22-2014 03:40 PM
SpiralChrissy I haven't tried Restaurant.com yet. We do Groupon but probably not as much as we could!
07-19-2014 10:40 AM
jessaroo One way that we save money on eating out is buying Groupon certificates, Restaurant.com certificates (when there is a good coupon code), using 2/1 meal card for donating to local radio station. I also believe there are apps for locations where children can eat free.
07-18-2014 11:38 PM
happyhats I like to have a few convience items in the freezer. Its not the same as eatingvout as a date/occasion but so often we eat out bc we are frazzled or dont want to cook for some reason. I dont spend money on convience products all the time so its a treat all the way around.
07-18-2014 05:26 PM
crazyms
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpiralChrissy View Post
This is a really wonderful thread! Thank you everyone for the great ideas! I'm planning on trying a few things that you've suggested already. I am going to save my veggie scraps and make a tomato veggie soup, add baking soda to my detergent and have a snack night at home.

Here are some of the things we do: We switched to Aldi's several months ago for groceries. I buy my meat at Lucky's but we get everything else at Aldi's. I do some price comparisons to make sure I'm getting the best deal. We use the clothes line except for those times when are super busy and rushing around. My DH and DS like meat but I don't really care about it so often times I'll cook some meat for them and I'll just have a little bit and eat mostly veggies or I'll make myself some frozen seafood that's much cheaper. I use Swagbucks and save the points for Xmas. I've also recently started doing Bing Rewards. You get points for searching thru their site and those points can be turned into giftcards. I got 1 $5 Amazon card already and I'm working on my 2nd.

What I should be doing: I should cut out the cable, at least in the summer when we really don't need it. I should cook at home more. I should put more money into savings at the start of the month so I have less to spend.

What I need help with: I LOVE going out to eat. It's one of my favorite things to do in the world and where I still spend too much money. Does anyone have suggestions on how to eat out cheaply?

Thanks everyone!
I think I may have already mentioned it in this thread but we bought a digital antenna. It was about $40-50 and gives us 20-30 channels free (after the initial antenna purchase). It's not the same as cable or satellite with lots of channels but it gives us enough to have the local news, weather, some cartoons, and a few other channels or shows. For the little we watch tv it's sufficient and free! Plus it helps us NOT sit and watch tv when we don't have 24/7 access to a good show.

As for going out I don't know if this will help you but... I love going out too. For me the biggest thing though was that at home I bought groceries frugally and we always had cheaper meals (pintos and fried potatoes, black bean soup, etc.) but if we ate out we got the *good* stuff (burgers, tacos, pizza, etc.). I started a one night a week "dine in" night at home. We would buy the stuff to make pizza, tacos, etc at home one night a week. This wasn't quite the same thing but it was enough to stop tempting me to go out to eat. Those meals are more expensive than our regular meals but still way cheaper than eating out with a family of 5! Maybe something like that would help you? If it's the atmosphere and getting out of the house that you like more what about making the dine in meals and then going to a park or somewhere to eat them?
07-18-2014 05:03 PM
SpiralChrissy This is a really wonderful thread! Thank you everyone for the great ideas! I'm planning on trying a few things that you've suggested already. I am going to save my veggie scraps and make a tomato veggie soup, add baking soda to my detergent and have a snack night at home.

Here are some of the things we do: We switched to Aldi's several months ago for groceries. I buy my meat at Lucky's but we get everything else at Aldi's. I do some price comparisons to make sure I'm getting the best deal. We use the clothes line except for those times when are super busy and rushing around. My DH and DS like meat but I don't really care about it so often times I'll cook some meat for them and I'll just have a little bit and eat mostly veggies or I'll make myself some frozen seafood that's much cheaper. I use Swagbucks and save the points for Xmas. I've also recently started doing Bing Rewards. You get points for searching thru their site and those points can be turned into giftcards. I got 1 $5 Amazon card already and I'm working on my 2nd.

What I should be doing: I should cut out the cable, at least in the summer when we really don't need it. I should cook at home more. I should put more money into savings at the start of the month so I have less to spend.

What I need help with: I LOVE going out to eat. It's one of my favorite things to do in the world and where I still spend too much money. Does anyone have suggestions on how to eat out cheaply?

Thanks everyone!
07-18-2014 02:01 PM
PoetryLover
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmsMom View Post
Back to food - I have discovered that cooked dried beans or canned beans can make a great substitute for chicken and meat in many dishes. My mom used to make tuna noodle casserole, but my kids are vegetarian so I make tuna chick pea casserole. I will also make chicken salad, chicken pot pies, etc. with chick peas instead of chicken. This would also work very well to make meat stretch further == half meat, half beans for example. In general, I try not to serve too many refined carbs but casserole type dishes can really provide a lot of food for not so much money.
I'll have to try a casserole with chickpeas instead of tuna. Another place where beans work really well is in pasta dishes in place of meat. I just mix them in with the sauce.
07-17-2014 11:37 AM
crazyms
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmsMom View Post
Back to food - I have discovered that cooked dried beans or canned beans can make a great substitute for chicken and meat in many dishes. My mom used to make tuna noodle casserole, but my kids are vegetarian so I make tuna chick pea casserole. I will also make chicken salad, chicken pot pies, etc. with chick peas instead of chicken. This would also work very well to make meat stretch further == half meat, half beans for example. In general, I try not to serve too many refined carbs but casserole type dishes can really provide a lot of food for not so much money.
Interesting. I've done the beans as a meat substitute for ground beef or turkey and I have made bean burgers but that's it. I never thought of using chickpeas in place of chicken or tuna! Oh I have a ton of chickpeas here. I think we're experimenting with that tonight. Thanks!
07-17-2014 03:34 AM
EmsMom Back to food - I have discovered that cooked dried beans or canned beans can make a great substitute for chicken and meat in many dishes. My mom used to make tuna noodle casserole, but my kids are vegetarian so I make tuna chick pea casserole. I will also make chicken salad, chicken pot pies, etc. with chick peas instead of chicken. This would also work very well to make meat stretch further == half meat, half beans for example. In general, I try not to serve too many refined carbs but casserole type dishes can really provide a lot of food for not so much money.
07-16-2014 08:23 PM
apeydef I cook my own beans and make my own cream if chicken soup for recipes!
07-16-2014 08:17 PM
crazyms Really good points on the grocery shopping. Making things yourself at home and keeping a simple diet really help. I know a lot of people on these boards are on specific diets so some of this may not be relevant to some but I'll toss it out there for those it would help. Some of the ways I've managed to stretch groceries over the years:

- Only very rarely serve meat as a sole main dish. Meat is only used in a recipe with other items to bulk it up and then only half the amount. I can make my family a meal with 1/2 # of meat just as well as the 1# called for and get two meals out of it that way.
- We do eat vegetarian more now to save on meat costs. Things like chili, spaghetti, etc can easily be made without the meat.
- If you buy regular milk and can drink/use the 2% instead of whole milk then: buy the whole milk and mix it half and half with water. You get two gallons of essentially 2% this way for just a few cents extra than the 1 gallon would have cost. (Obviously this method shouldn't be used for drinking milk if you have a family member that is drinking whole milk for health reasons)
- Buy dried beans by the pound or in bulk and cook in the crockpot in batches then freeze in smaller portions in the freezer. 1 1/2 cups cooked dried beans replaces one 15oz can of beans and you can get 6 cups from 1#. That's 4 cans worth of beans for $1.25ish instead of the 1.25 or so it costs per can.
- Homemade cream of ____ soup. There are recipes all over the web for this and it works great. This really lowers the cost of those expensive little cans.
- I found that frozen veggies go much further for us than canned getting at least 2 cans worth of veggies out of one 16 oz bag of veggies. I stock up on these when they are on sale paying no more than .99 each for them.
- One local store often runs 10/$10 sales and I watch for them to but the frozen fruits on these sales. When they do I stock up. This is also cheaper than the canned versions.
- We also try to make snacks and things at home like baked goods since they're a lot cheaper.
- Freezer cooking really helps to make this all more manageable. Even things like pancakes can be pre-cooked in bulk and frozen.

Of course the homemade cleaning and bath and body products and reusable replacement items popular here save money too!

I'm really trying to find ways to get back into more of this since we've fallen off the wagon with a lot of it.
07-16-2014 06:36 PM
apeydef Walmart will price match also.
07-16-2014 06:19 PM
EmsMom I have a habit when I grocery shop that I have developed over the years. First: I shop primarily at the one local store that consistently has the best prices. I really try to never run out of anything that might tempt me to run into the more local store. Second: I buy the vast majority of my food only when it is on sale at a very good price. I buy large amounts of the following when they are on sale: the large packages of eggs (2 1/2 dozen); blocks of cheddar and jack cheese when they are less than 1.99 each; our favorite salsa, canned beans, light tuna, whole wheat pasta, flour, toothpaste, canned tomatoes, toilet paper, olive and canola oil, 4 lb bags of frozen fruit. Even vegetables and fruit go on sale and I buy what is on sale. We have been eating a lot of broccoli because it is always on sale for .99 a lb. Some things don't go on sale often so I make occasional swings to the stores where I know they are cheapest -- good quality whole wheat flour, whole wheat tortillas, 25 lbs of oatmeal from the local health food store, things like that. I keep a big stock of herbs and spices and I know how to cook. If I had a higher income I would shop the same way but I would probably buy a lot more organic food that I can't really afford now. I store my food carefully and rotate the stock, very rarely missing an expiration date. I think because we keep a very simple diet based on just the basics, we eat well at a very low cost. And right now we are almost exclusively eating out of the very inexpensively created pantry because I really need to get some money in the bank quickly for closing on a house in a few weeks. ALso great if I am sick for some reason. I can't remember the last time I made an unplanned trip to the supermarket. It took a few years to get to this level of organization, but it has been really worth it. And we only buy processed food such as store bought cookies or chips on the rarest of occasions when they are on a great sale. 90% of "treats" are homemade: brownies, cookies, popcorn, toast, etc. I started making my own jams a couple of years ago. Hard sometimes because I work full-time and commute almost an hour each way; I keep it going though and it has really helped us. this summer, my favorite store has a $10 coupon off $100 purchase every week. I can't really spend that much every week, but I have taken advantage of the coupon by filling out my grocery order with things we will need for the new house: compact flourescent bulbs (sale plus coupon) and things like that. I may also grab some Chrristmas presents to put away.

You know I happened to be in Walmart today to get some packing boxes; the prices at my local Shoprite are far, far better, especially when I shop the loss leaders. I have generally found the same thing with the warehouse clubs. walmart wanted $2 for generic cream cheese; Shoprite regularly carries their own brand for 1.25. It really does pay to track prices.
07-16-2014 02:42 PM
crazyms
Quote:
Originally Posted by apeydef View Post
We also bought our own modem to avoid the monthly fee, and drive older vehicles. My husband says a used vehicle should not cost anymore than $100 a month or $1200/yr for repairs and if we go over that he's says it's not cost effective and we need to purchase a new (used, new to us) vehicle. This way we have this amount set and we are not wasting money in repairs.
We also drive older vehicles. Actually dh is getting excited because we only have a couple more years before we can get antique tags on our vehicles because they're so old. We are actually working on a large makeover for one of the vehicles right now. It'll be costly but still cheaper than a new car and it will essentially make this old body a "new" car. We get the best of both worlds that way - new car with old car prices for insurance, tags, etc. It's a very strange custom makeover that dh is doing to convert the vehicle to a standard and a small diesel engine to save on gas and maintenance. This will lessen the amount of maintenance and parts to break on the vehicle making it easier and cheaper in the long run. It's also going to increase the fuel mileage by a lot. If I can just calm my nerves about the money for the makeover it'll be a great thing.
07-16-2014 02:31 PM
apeydef We also bought our own modem to avoid the monthly fee, and drive older vehicles. My husband says a used vehicle should not cost anymore than $100 a month or $1200/yr for repairs and if we go over that he's says it's not cost effective and we need to purchase a new (used, new to us) vehicle. This way we have this amount set and we are not wasting money in repairs.
07-16-2014 12:49 PM
PoetryLover This is an awesome thread! I was just talking to DH the other day about how we need to start saving money. We tend to live frugally in general, but during times of stress can eat out too much, etc.

Some things that we have done to save money:

1) We bought a mobile home in the country and now pay less money for lot rent, mortgage (with taxes and home owners insurance) than we paid for rent. Plus, we can pay our home off within a couple of years, freeing up lots of money to save for a down payment on a house.

2) My husband got EZ Pass for his work commute, saving 30% of money paid for tolls.

3) We didn't buy a dryer at the new place; instead, we purchased a clothesline and put our deep freezer in the space meant for a dryer. We live in New England where the winters are tough, so we will use indoor clothing racks in the winter time. Even cloth diapering 2, I was able in the past to keep up with laundry washing 1-2 loads a day.

4) Upon moving we went with a different cable internet company, saving us money. We also bought our own modem which saves us $8 a month and will pay for itself after a while. We opted not to pay for their insurance.

5) We switched our phone to Ooma and pay only $3 something a month in taxes. It goes through the Cable internet and I can make all the local and long distance calls I want for free, excluding taxes.

6) We don't have smart phones. We have 2 trac phones that we only use if we're out and about and need to communicate with each other or in the event of an emergency.

7) We don't pay for cable TV. We don't even have a TV, as we gave it away when we moved. We do pay $8 a month for Netflix, as DH has some things he likes to watch on his laptop or kindle. This is something that we could easily cancel, though, on a month to month basis.

8) We drive older cars that have been paid for, so we don't have car payments. We also have good driving records, thus, good car insurance rates. When we moved from the city to the country, our insurance went down and then again when we got home owners insurance through the same company.

9) We bought DH a small vehicle that is good on gas and also good in the snow for his commute. He may ask to work from home 1-2 days a week, as well.

10) We make our own laundry detergent. It seems to clean our clothes well enough. We use the Duggers recipe for liquid detergent. It's super easy and we use it in the HE washer we bought upon the move. We've been using the recipe for years now.

11) Also, when moving, knowing we could anticipate spending lots of money at a particular store, we went online and bought discount gift cards, saving roughly 10% or about $150. DH works full time and goes to graduate school. He likes to study at Starbucks which can be expensive. I found discounted gift cards for 17% off Starbucks.

12) We save veggie scraps and put them in a gallon freezer bag. When it's full we make a pot of homemade veggie broth. People who eat meat (we're vegetarian) can toss in bones or what not, too. Broth can be expensive, so this saves a lot of money over time.

13) We save a lot of money buying certain staples at Costco. Things like yeast for bread, maple syrup and coconut oil are much cheaper there. I'd like to check out Sam's Club, as well, especially as it's closer since our move. We buy huge cans of diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, etc. for a couple dollars and freeze them in roughly the amount in a 15 oz can. We just thaw them before using them.

14) We keep a price book. This is so important. Mine is actually on an excel spreadsheet.

15) We cook certain things in bulk and freeze the leftovers, things like several kinds of beans, rice, soup, chili, etc. I measure them out in the portions I will use them.

16) We make our own bread, pancakes from scratch, etc. and freeze the extras.

17) We shop thrift stores and end of season clearances for our sons and sometimes ourselves.

These are the things I can think of offhand. I may be back later with more ideas, but I will definitely be checking this thread. :-)
07-16-2014 10:39 AM
apeydef Does anyone shop at Aldis?
07-16-2014 07:03 AM
pumabearclan
Quote:
Originally Posted by veghappy View Post
I am interested in making our own laundry detergent but I tried it years ago and DH complained that our clothes never felt or smelt as clean as they do when we use store bought detergent. Maybe I can try adding essential oils. Does anyone have any favorite recipes they'd be willing to share?
I found that essential oils left a residue on the rubbery parts of my washer that eventually encouraged mold.

I use Tide Free powder, but only 1/4 the amount recommended, add baking soda, and do slightly smaller loads. My rationale is that what I would save by using less effective laundry detergent doesn't equate to what I save by taking very good care of our clothes by keeping them clean and stain-free.
07-16-2014 03:47 AM
veghappy What an awesome thread!

Our cell phone contract ended so we switched to metro and are now paying $70 a month instead of $170 a month. We still have smartphones and data, so DH is happy and I'm happy we are saving $100 a month! That was an easy $1200 a year raise!

DH and I went vegan a few months ago so our food costs have changed dramatically. We no longer buy expensive meat or cheese , which freed up our grocery budget to buy organic. I am thrilled with that. On top of that, being vegan eliminates the majority of fast food/dining out options, which that alone seems to be saving us about $400 a month. (Holy guacamole were we eating out too much!!) That equates to a $4800 a year raise! Wowza!

Between the cell switch and not eating out, we are saving (which I equate to getting a raise) about $6000 a year! Being in debt payoff mode, that's a huge help to us.

I am interested in making our own laundry detergent but I tried it years ago and DH complained that our clothes never felt or smelled as clean as they do when we use store bought detergent. Maybe I can try adding essential oils. Does anyone have any favorite recipes they'd be willing to share?
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