I am in a pickle here. I already do so much to be frugal, water down the dish soap, reuse the jars and plastic tubs, wash in cold, turn of he lights all kinds of stuff. But due to an unforeseen situation making a lot less money than I planned and there are 2 of us and children on the weekend. Any frugal tips would be appreciated. Thanks.
Kathleen from Export, PA
Here are a few things I am doing to cut down on expenses:
1. Use coupons and try to match them with the weekly offers from CVS and Walgreens. This week the Gillette razor is on sale at Walgreens for $8.99 with $4 back in reward bucks and there is a $4 off coupon in yesterday's Sunday paper. It only costs about a dollar then. If you do not get a newspaper, try to find another way to get coupons either on freecycle or Craig's List.
2. Put requests on freecycle for items that you need. Last spring I asked for a young men's tuxedo for my son's junior prom. Someone gave me a tux for free. It saved me about $100 in rental fees! In turn, if you have something you don't use that you can offer, it's best to post it on the site.
3. Try not to buy paper napkins, cups and plates.
4. Make dressings and sauces from scratch. I found a homemade chocolate syrup recipe that is a lot less expensive than buying Hershey's syrup.
5. Save "my coke rewards" points to earn free movie rentals at Blockbuster (only if you drink Coke products or have people give you their unused points). Or go to the local library and check out DVDs or videos. Use the Redbox kiosk for $1 per night. Borrow or swap DVDs with your friends.
6. Volunteer at local festivals by taking tickets or working a food booth. Sometimes you earn free admission or food coupons to the event just for volunteering.
7. Try to shop at a bulk food store for flour, sugar and spices. It can be much cheaper.
8. If you can get by with 2% milk, use it instead of whole milk. It's usually less expensive.
9. Try to have a few meatless meals each week. It's less expensive and better for you.
10. Shop the dollar stores for cleaning supplies. Or make your own cleaning supplies using vinegar and baking soda.
Here are some tips my mother-in-law did.
Wash and reuse your plastic bags. Do not use waxed paper, saran wrap, tin foil, sandwich baggies, etc, if you can use a recycle plastic bag instead -- bread bags, produce bags, and so on. Use the wax paper from the inside of cereal boxes.
Use worn out socks and tee shirt, even boxers for cleaning cloths -- no swifter cloths or stuff like that.
Eat food that is in season, buy day old bread from the bakery, or better yet, make your own. If you live in a rural area, you can get eggs and produce from local farmers that will be less expensive, and much nicer likely than that in the supermarket.
Shop at the thrift stores and garage sales for clothes, dishes, items that you would ordinarily get from Walmart.
If you haven't already done so, reduce the amount of phones you have, the services you pay for, -- figure out which is cheaper -- land or cellular. Here in Canada, land lines are cheaper. Get the cheapest TV service you can -- maybe an antenna and only local channels are the way to go -- borrow videos from your friends or the library. Listen to music instead. Play board games with your kids.
Ask relatives to give money for Christmas and birthday gifts instead of toys or clothes. Or have a list so the gift is something that you really need and not a luxury item that you could do without, or have a cheaper alternative from somewhere else.
Use rechargable batteries.
Grow a garden.
Don't throw out leftovers. Use them for the next meal somehow, or have them for lunches. Freeze single servings for times when there is only one person to feed. Make "soup of the day" out of leftovers. (For example, you have one meatball, a few mixed veggies, and some rice. Make soup for two by crumbling the meatball, adding the veggies and rice, some chicken boulline powder, maybe some spices or ketchup or something.)
Don't waste anything. My mother-in-law made a quilt out of woolen sock tops. It's not a particularly attractive quilt, but because it was woolen, I'll bet it was warm. I love that quilt because it is so characteristic of her. She wasted nothing, re-used and recycled everything.
My best money saving tip. Buy a bottle of soap that comes out as foam. When the soap runs out, put about a tablespoon of the cheapest hand soap you can find and fill the rest up with water. Give it a little shake and you have a brand new bottle of soap. It has been 7 years since I was first given a bottle of the foam soap free with a purchase and when it ran out, I bought a half gallon bottle of hand soap at Walmart for 3.50 and have only used about one fourth of it. It has now been seven years and I have had to replace the foam pumpers a couple of times but am still using that first bottle of soap I got at Walmart. I can't think of a better way to say money. It actually even lasts longer than bar soap also. You can also use dish soap if you have a favorite. Just be sure not to use too much soap. I have sometimes only used a teaspoon. It's been fun to brag about my savings all of these years.
Excellent ideas so far! Here are some more :-)
Unplug appliances that aren't necessary like coffee pot, toaster, TV, radio, computer, electric tooth brush recharger, etc. when not in use. Turn down the thermostat even just one more degree (or up if central air).
This one sounds gross: If you pay for water flush the toilet only about every four uses (unless it's brown) and even if you don't pay for water it conserves our water.
Turn the water off while brushing teeth until it's time for the rinse cycle and ditto when soaping down in the shower or soaping/scrubbing the dishes ...
Check out '10 for 10 dollar' deals at your local grocery stores (coupons can also be deducted on top of that) but only stock up on items you usually eat or use.
Sell items you no longer need or use on consignment at thrift or second hand stores.
Last month my 'bundle' for cable (phone, computer and TV) came up for renewal and the price was going to double (which would have become the amount of 1/3 of what I pay for my apartment rent) :-o I simply called and said I couldn't afford and needed to possibly cancel my services and was there something they could do to help me ... The agent put me on hold and came back with a new 'bundle' that cost less than the year before.
Hope these ideas have been help for you :-)
When cooking this is how I try to save. I cook two chickens plain in the crockpot or oven roast and then store for different. Meals like tacos, burritos, sandwiches, chicken and biscuit chicken pot pies etc. This way you only use oven or crock pot once. I got two 3 pd. chickens in my crockpot (took the same amount of time to cook two as one)!
Things like that can help save a little bit more. You already are doing great. One thing I know the worst electricity current suckers are electric toothbrushes that are left plugged in! And computers and tvs. Unplug what you can. Good luck lots of good ideas here.
You're doing all the right small stuff, but now it's time for a biggie. Take in a room-renter. It's saving me. Someone interesting can be a contribution to your kids' education. Even if you have to get your kids into fewer rooms, which teaches them to get along (you can tack up sheets as room dividers, which helps them immensely to feel like they have their own space).
Thank you all for these tips. I am going to try the foam pump and a lot of others for sure!
There are recipes on the net for homemade laundry detergent (really soap), that is much cheaper than buying it. The main recipe says to use Phels Naptha soap, but you can use any bar soap--laundry or bath; I use my left over slivers. I also don't buy paper towels, but use old clothing rags instead. Cloth napkins instead of paper. Homemade from scratch is so much cheaper than convenience food, and I think the largest money saving thing a person can do. I use a rack instead of my dryer for at least two loads per week. Look up frugal websites, every now and then I find a great hint that I'm able to put into practice. This site alone has so many wonderful hints, like using the Angel Food monthly food program. God luck.
I don't think I saw these tips: Drop the cable tv and use the library for books instead. Where we live now we don't have tv...at all. We could have cable at the rate of $50.00 per month but since we don't watch much anyway we decided to skip it.
Don't make unnecessary trips to town. Combine errands. When you live 30 miles from town like we do you learn how.
If you need clothes for the kids shop the resale stores. Even if all you can find are play clothes, well, they have to have those too!
Like another poster said, cooking from scratch is the way to go. Check out Family Circle mag. online and you'll find a whole month of menus. Plan ahead so you don't get stuck having to cook out of a box.
Only run the dishwasher when it's full. Turn the heat down and wear long sleeves. So many people dress for summer in the winter!
Don't buy cold cereal! Try old fashioned oats for breakfast. Better and better for you.
Only shop grocery store sales. It may take a bit of planning but it'll pay off. Use your coupons and keep them with you.
Probably more ways to cut down but it's time to turn my computer off! I've used enough electricity for one day!
If you have a food dehydrator, or if you know someone who does, use it as much as possible. Fruit chips, veggies for soups and dinners, homemade jerky, all these and even more can be yours for the low price of sales and a little work. I have a constant sweet tooth that I feed with banana and apple chips, and it is much cheaper to make your own, and you don't have to worry about artificial preservatives. the uses are endless, and it is great for school or work lunches and snacks, plus you are getting the nutrients you need, sweetness you crave, without the sugar. just be sure that everything gets dried completely, or it will go bad.
Another way to save, if you have the freezer space for it, is to have a "cooking day" as my aunt calls it, where you make up a boatload of different meals, enough for the week or for several, and freeze them into proportioned bags. It saves not only on your utilities, cause it takes the same amount basically to cook a weeks worth of food as a meal's, but it also frees up time during the week for other things, like family time, gardening, etc. My aunt has anywhere from 5-9 people at her house at a time, so she knows how to be thrifty.
Mix powdered milk with fresh. you don't even know the difference. When I was 10 til 12, we had to go on welfare. My mom mixed 1/2 quart milk and equivalent of 1/2 quart mixed powdered milk. With prices of milk these days I started doing it again. Adjust for flavor.
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