My Frugal Life: Save Everywhere I Can

Here goes my life. I try to save everywhere I can. I shop at thrift stores for necessary items. I give a lot to thrift stores, because clutter will increase your cleaning by 50%. Plus, clutter makes me unable to function properly in my environment.

I try to cook many meals at once. I will cook spaghetti, meatballs, and maybe chili. It has all the same ingredients, but you get three meals in one. I try buying store brands instead of major brands, and try to keep good snacks for my kids. Oatmeal, grits, beef jerky, pretzels, Jell-O, etc. I also like the dollar days at Albertson's, and Wal-Mart will match all sale papers. If I have a coupon for an item I already use, I use it. I do not use for items that are more expensive even with the coupon.

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We eat a lot of vegetables and fresh fruits at my home. We do not buy soda pop, only water, juices, and occasionally Gatorade. Especially at restaurants, we get water with our drinks unless it is free with a kid's meal.

We buy from the dollar menus at fast food restaurants, get water, and share the dollar fries. For local restaurants, we find out the days where kids can eat free with a parent. Also the Entertainment book is a buy one gets one free book. You can get one at Entertainment.com, it also makes a great gift, in the middle of the year, and they have sales for the ones that came out around August.

I have ceiling fans in most rooms to help keep our home cool. I have heard, and it does work, if you keep your automatic fan on your A/C on all the time, it keeps it cooler for less. I just have not gotten over the noise yet. I will try it at night, when I am sleeping. I have recently tried putting blinds and thicker drapes at my home to keep the cool air in, and keep the hot air out. I live in LA, it is very hot here. I also go around and repair any cracks and holes that the inefficient construction workers missed. I also use low wattage, energy efficient bulbs in my house.

I buy a lot of our grooming supplies at the Dollar Tree or Dollar General. An antibacterial ointment will be $3.00 to $6.00 at local store or $1.00 at Dollar Tree. Band-Aids are also $1.00 there. I love the health food stores and love to find the healthy alternatives to medicine.

I love clearance racks at stores; I buy items for the next year. I have what I call a gift box in my closet, it is up high so the kids cannot get to it. When I come across a new item in great condition at thrift stores I buy it and add to gift box for later. I have girl dress up sets for $4.00, a $20 Cinderella clock for $4.00 and $20.00 jewelry boxes for $4.00 in my gift box right now. I also have a 70 dollar digital Batman camera that I found for $7.00.

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I love silverjewelryclub.com. They give away free, real silver jewelry. You only pay 5.99 for shipping, and if you want up to a 20 inch chain, sometimes you can add 3.00 to get one with a necklace pendant. I have bought retail items that cost 59.99 to 69.99 for only $6.00. I just bought my niece an amethyst necklace and chain for 8.99. She loves purple. It is the only gift that my brother-in-law said, "save this in a safe spot".

Giving items that are valuable or useable for birthdays is a great idea. Example, for a creative child, a small unpainted item, Michael's has them for $0.99, then you can get paints and you have a gift that will entertain and last longer than a toy that can break. Also, my kids love the disposable cameras, and you can get a photo album to go with it for a great fun lasting gift. My son loves to look at the pictures he took himself. I have found doll furniture that can be stained and painted for 0.99 cents at Michael's. For family members that have everything, I try to get creative. I also make my own soap and bath salts.

I made a family book, I gave questionnaires to the family and then everyone got a book with everyone's information. I put name, address, email, phone, favorite colors, favorite memory, favorite food, hobbies, etc. Then I had the children "Describe grandfather using the letter S", if it is a main gift for grandfather, or "If your grandfather was a car, what kind would he be?" I gave the grandfather the copy that had special notes, the rest of the family got all the other information and a calendar with the family's birthdays and anniversaries all written in. One less thing to do for the New Year. I also had a family list of birthdays and anniversaries at the end of the book.

We love to read, I go to addall.com and find the books for cheap. It gives you a list of who has the book and how much plus shipping. It takes all the time out of shopping for the cheapest item. You can go browse book stores and then go order it online. Also, when you are finished with it, you can sell it on Amazon or half.com and get some of your money back.

I go to the matinee features at the theater, it's always cheaper. You can rent movies from the library, but you have to be the type of person that brings it back on time. I am not that type of person. I try to keep up with the free admission events in my local area. I have a year's family pass to the zoo; we can go at anytime for free.

We only use one car, it is cheaper.

I love to get old wood furniture, repaint, or re-stain the nicks or blemishes on the item. It is easier than it seems. I just got a great all wood dresser; I lightly sanded it and painted it. The dresser was $14.99 and the paint was under ten dollars. It looks great and has lots of value.

I like Fred's, Sam's, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, and Wal-Mart for items. I try to get items before I need them. Also, when we do need or want something, I pray, then I start looking for the item at thrift stores and soon I usually find it. Our TV was going out, I was shopping at Target and saw they had a clearance sale on TVs. They were out of the cheapest one, so I asked if I could get the display. He said yes and I even got a discount with it. I got a $169.99 27 inch TV before taxes for only $109.00 with taxes.

My husband loves telling everyone how much the new TV cost us. My family is always amazed that I get stuff for so cheap. They give me lists when they need something; I bought my mom humidifiers for $3.50. I hope my life will inspire or help someone.

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By Danielle

Do you have a frugal story to share with the ThriftyFun community? Submit your essay here: http://www.thriftyfun.com/post_myfrugallife.ldml

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May 31, 20060 found this helpful

Those are some great ideas you have. You mentioned the fans being noisy. We had this trouble at first, too, when we moved into our house about a year ago. But it seems like the fans were noisy from lack of use. They probalby lubricate themselves as they run, and I don't think the previous owners ran them very often. They made a lot of noise the first few months, but now they hardly make any noise at all. So just wait. The noise from the fans will probably go away.

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May 31, 20060 found this helpful

Hum, I thought she meant that running the fan on the furnace is what was noisy?

We have ceiling fans in nearly every room of our house....hum, probably just the bathrooms do not have one. Some of them have been running continuously for the past 19 years....same fans, never have worn out....they have never made noise either. They help both with cooling and heating by the way!

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May 31, 20060 found this helpful

Thank you for taking the time to share with all of us. Every little bit helps.

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May 31, 20060 found this helpful

I just found a place that is wonderful if you are a reader.It is--Paperbackswap.com--You swap the paperbacks that you have read with others in this club and all you pay is postage.I have already got six books and have sent off seven.Postage is something like 1.59 for the small books and a little over 2 dollars for hardback.I can't keep my housework done since I found this place.There are so many books to look through.I just love it.

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June 5, 20060 found this helpful

Hi There,

I love the gift box idea...I've done this for a long time but have let it slide lately...you've inspired me to keep it at least partially full. I usually go to Bath & Body Works when they have their semi-annual sale going on (Ha...it started today!) and just spend maybe $15 or $20...you can get lots of great stuff for great prices.

We drink a lot of water here too. I don't drink soda, although my husband does, but we buy it when it is on sale. I won't pay more than $3.96 for a case, and I try to use a coupon on top of that. My husband is diabetic and gets tired of water, so the diet soda he drinks is a bit of variety for him. I keep the kiddos away from it, I don't think they need the chemicals and additives. One of my twins loves lime juice in his water. I found dried lime juice on clearance for 75 cents and I had a dollar off coupon. I bought two of them and that was getting the product for free plus 50 cents off of my other groceries...its a zero calorie additive (no preservatives in this product) with a great big flavor kick...well worth it for free. And I always have fresh lemon and lime around here because I cook a lot of veggies and use citrus juice for flavor.

I am going to check out addall.com as well...

Thanks for the GREAT ideas! Blessings, Jen

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December 20, 20090 found this helpful

You have to watch and know your prices because some items are not any cheaper at the dollar stores than other places. And Sams is not a bargain on most items. If you eat a lot of prepared/packaged foods from the frozen food section they are cheaper than the grocery store but most of the stuff in there is cheaper at other places especially if you watch the sales and have coupons. I buy a few items at Sams but coffee, toilet paper, paper towels, etc is cheaper on sale elswhere. People think they are saving by buying bulk but that's not always the case.

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July 9, 20120 found this helpful

I have a Sam's membership only because my Brother has a small business and he gives me one. Seldom have I ever found things cheaper at Sam's. You have to be careful when buying produce there because there are no scales and you never know if you're getting the weight that stated on the sign/bag. They go through those bags of apples, oranges, onions, etc every day and pick out the bad ones but they never get replaced. I'm speaking from experience. Doesn't it make you wonder why they don't have scales. I weigh all my bagged produce when I buy at the grocery store.

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July 9, 20120 found this helpful

We tried running our fan constantly on the furnace/ac and wore out our motor.

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