Sunday, November 23, 2008

Mission: Frugal/Save Money

Give me your best frugal tips - the ones that you're kind of embarassed to tell other people about because they will look at you like you're a cheapo (and the ones you're not embarassed to share).

I'll start:

1. I cut dryer sheets (fabric softener) in half. A 200 sheet box of Bounce dryer sheets that I bought on clearance at Target has lasted me over 1-2 years (can't remember when I bought them.

2. I put a bucket under the hose that comes out of the washing machine to catch the rinse water and I pour it into my next load for the wash cycle (water in Homer Glen is guaranteed twice as expensive as yours... $100/month vs. most people paying less than $100/quarter).

11 comments:

Marissa 7:36 PM  

Oh geez. I am a cheapie. I don't even use dryer sheets at all! I have gotten some microfiber cleaning cloths which means I have not bought paper towels in I don't even know how long.

I bulk buy toilet paper on sale like I'm planning to live underground for years at a time.

I make grocery lists and stick to them. Whenever I go in with a "list in my head" I always end up with junk food and random clearance items that I don't really need (not to mention the bill is double and 2 days later my husband is already asking me what there is to eat.) I use coupons too. SavingDinner.com revolutionized my grocery bill and our whole dinner routine.

I do research on the internet for the best prices whenever I'm buying a gift or even a household item that is a little pricier than norm.

I shop eBay. A lot. I got my 18 month old's entire fall/winter wardrobe on there for $25. I have found it to be a great/cheap way to buy lots of books for her as well.

Me & Craigslist are BFF. I have sold and bought on there and other than one random incident (involving some crazy lady, who was unable to bear the thought of getting rid of any of her stuff even after she agreed to sell it, DRIVING AWAY with an item so it was unable to be purchased) have always had awesome experiences. I'm not a garage sale person, but have found garage sale-like deals this way and get to pick things up on my own time which has been great.

I participate in Freecycle. Good to give and good to receive.

Most of these are not new ideas, and I'm sure I've got more. Those are just off the top of my head.

Jen 8:11 PM  

I also do the 1/2 dryer sheet thing. As you have read on my blog, we've gone to Bento Boxing for school lunches and though it was an investment off the top to get the high quality boxes that will last several school years, I have already paid for them with the savings in Ziplocs and wasted food. Bentos are much easier to gauge how much your kid is eating b/c they bring home the leftovers instead of throwing them away.

I don't know that I'm so much frugal as a smart shopper. Like my kids clothing. As you also know, fashion is something that I personally enjoy~putting together patterns, styles ect. Instead of just moaning that I couldn't afford what I liked I found a way to do it via Ebay. I make about a 50% profit on their clothes. Like if I buy an outfit for $25 I can usually count on selling it for at least $40.

I'm working on the grocery bill but it's been hard b/c there are things that we are not willing to give up. Milk, high protein breakfasts, Lean Cuisine meals being a few and I now have a child on soy so that's added a few $$ per week. I enjoy cooking with high quality, fresh, often organic ingredients so that's not cheap. I have gotten to about $450 per month for a family of 6 so I'm happy with that for now.

We are a family who enjoys going out to eat. We have found Bar Louie does $1 burger nights. We can feed all 6 of us (including tax and tip) for under $20. We do that twice a month and it's lots of fun!

It's all about what works for your family. We all have things we love and things we can live without. The trick is figuring out which is which! :-) Then you take what you love and figure out how to do it for less!

Brenda B 8:27 PM  

I saw on GMA how you can re-use those foaming soap pumps. When u refill them you only put in 2 tablespoons of reg hand soap and then fill with water. After the initial investment for the bottles you could make a refill last for a long time. I'll try to think of more.

Ginger 12:51 PM  

I just do the Bulk-Buying thing. I buy my meat and anything that can be stored in ziploc bags in bulk, I also re-use my leftovers. ( usedd to just throw them away ) but now when I make spaghettie sauce I can use it again for pizzas and freeze some for goulash at a later time. Everything with a few exceptions is generic unles I find a coupon for name brand. I cut dryer sheets in half then use them a second time..using two used ones on the third load. I don't notice a difference with my clothes. We also have water that costs alot..minimum $50/month due to not so smart city managers..now if we want to shower and wash clothes add for each of those. CLothes are washed after 2 waers instead of one unless obviously dirty/stinky, showers every other day unless a quick wash doesn't cut it. just a bunch of little things that add up.

Brenda B 4:35 PM  

for further water conservation purchase low flow shower heads, either purchase damns for the toilet tank or just place a brick (stand it up) to lessen the water used with each flush.

Consider space heaters for commonly used rooms instead of keeping the whole house warm. Dress a layer warmer and turn the thermostat down a few degrees. Turn the thermostat down a few more degrees when you leave the house for long periods of time.

purchase whole chickens instead of deboned skin off - with a litte work you can save a lot of money. Can easily cook whole chicken in crock pot then use bones stock for soup - strech into two meals.

when making meals use more veggies, pasta, rice, beans and less of the expensive ingredients like meat.

kkoois 5:57 PM  

ok, some of mine are kind of embarrassing, but here goes...

*every so often, we have a "clean out the fridge and pantry week." i will not go to the grocery store and we eat only what is in the fridge or pantry. even if it means our dinner consists of spaghetti with a can of tomato sauce poured on top and cornbread for a side. it helps to clear out all those cans and other misc. items that i have bought, but never seem to eat.

*instead of throwing away pieces of paper that i don't need anymore, i save them, cut them into fourths, staple in the corner and use those as my scratch pads

*when making tacos or anything that calls for taco meat, i only use half ground beef/turkey and mix a can of refried beans with it. it gives you at least 2 meals worth of taco meat.

*dry beans instead of canned beans

*i reuse pieces of aluminum foil and plastic baggies if it didn't get stuff all over it

that's all i can think of right now. i may have more - especially if i follow my husband around for a few hours...i know he has a few up his sleeve...

Mommy Brain 6:28 AM  

This morning I reused my coffee grounds...and it's not the first time. I feel like I'm at an AA meeting..."Hello my name is Christine" We ran out and it works but only once.

Amy 6:46 PM  

We do the scratch pad thing too.

We try to get buy every month with only paying $200.00 in groceries. We sometimes go a little over, but are pretty consistent. That's for a family of four. Of course our kids are small and don't eat as much yet. That usually means at the end of the month we're eating interesting meals. My kids and myself eat a lot of fruits and veggies and not a lot of junk...so I am OK with it.

I buy about 3/4 of my kid's clothes consignment, Goodwill, or hand me downs. They get 1-2 nice outfits from Gymboree or Children's Place each season. I buy most of my clothes from Goodwill...we have an "upscale" Goodwill here. The ones when we lived in GR were not nearly as nice.

I guess the biggest thing is we make a budget every month...we have a "budget meeting" and figure out expenses for the month. We do everything in our power to stick to it.

April 9:39 PM  

I just changed to the Sam's Club brand of TP to save money on it. I think it is a $3.00 savings compared to Charmin. It isn't as soft, but it does do the trick.

I also re-use the foam soapers and refill them with a little soap. I think it also saves water becuase it is much easier to wash off than straight up soap.

Shopping at Sam's and just getting what we use all the time has been great. Shopping at Trader Joe's and getting everything else....priceless!

Shopping online for other things and getting free shipping has been helpful.

Talking my chiro into ordering supplements for me and he charges me less than other places, I love it.

Garage saling these past years has saved me oodles on clothes for my family. eBay was great for me for a while, but I have loved the garage sales deals now.

Selling stuff on eBay is awsome and so is craigslist. I always love a good deal and love to extend them. If I sell things for a lower price than others, I guarantee a quick sale and get money back quickly to reuse elsewhere.

I am sure I have cheapo things, but mostly chosing not to do lots of activities with my kids keeps expenses down. We don't go out to eat with them. Maybe a little dollar menu on McD's.

Mommy Brain 5:15 PM  

I have to second Amy's budgeting idea. We still do the envelope system of budgeting that we started when we first got married...when I stray from that because I think I'm too mature for it I always spend too much and feel broke. When I'm using my cash in my envelopes I always know how much I have and how much I can spend. It's the best tool to make me feel like I have the freedom to spend money any way I want.

Jen 9:55 PM  

-coupons- for example, I needed Pull-ups today; I had 1$ off plus they were on sale for $2.50 less than full-price. Then I had a 3$ off of 10 and I bought 4 rolls of wrapping paper which were buy 1 get one. All for 10 bucks!

-look around your home and re-use anything! You'll be surprised how creative you can be. I put stickers on brown bags and then they are "gift bags".

-boxed greeting cards- Hallmark are too expensive! My neighbor makes her own cards and I'd like to start doing that

-find a friend whose kids are a little older and buy their things- they want to get rid of it and will sell it to you cheap! I have gotten swim trunks, shirts, toys, etc. from families whose kids are a few years older than mine

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