Cutting Costs Around The House

I'm looking for ways to help save money on a tight budget. My wife and I have two young boys and are in the process of buying a new car. We are looking for ways to save money. Can anyone suggest ways to cut costs around the house?


John from Iowa

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By Harry (Guest Post)
July 22, 20080 found this helpful

Well for one thing I would not be buying a new car. You could save by buying a program car. that is a car that has been leased from a dealer or shop car rental companies. I used to buy new but no more. I buy lease cars from dealers. The excise tax is higher on a new car and because cars depreciate as soon as they are driven off the lot one could find themselves paying more for a car than what it is worth.

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July 22, 20080 found this helpful

We switched to for our phone. It is through the computer. Free 30 day trail. We got 5 years of service for $90 - that saved us $5500 on our phone bill!

We are very happy with the service and connection.

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July 22, 20080 found this helpful

Check out the answer I posted about saving money at the URL below. I've gotten letters from several ThriftyFun people who have enjoyed it & there are also some very helpful posts from others as well...


Balancing Bills On One Salary

* But, I'll tell you one thing. I'm 53 years old & have NEVER owned a "NEW" car. Mine have always been at least 8 years old, but they have ran well & lasted me for many years. You can get yourself a good little older Subaru, Honda or Toyota for under $3000 & if you have someone go with you that knows about cars, it'll last you for years with few repairs. I just LOVE my '91 Colt. I've had it for 6 years & it's been a real gem. I paid $1,500 for it & have only had to do minor repairs.

But if any of you have your heart set on buying a New car, then why not buy a car that's at least 3 years old, that way you won't have a car that's depreciated just by driving it off the dealers lot.

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July 22, 20080 found this helpful

Get up early every Saturday & drive up & down the main drag of your town to check for garage sales (most start at 9 or 9:AM) You'd be amazed at what you might find. I once came across a garage sale in the home of a man who worked for a Breakfast Cereal Manufacturer where I bought many boxes of qulity breakfast cereal for only a quarter a box. These were not "past pull date" (always check for that). You can also find things that can be sold on e-bay & you can have a whole day of fun for under $20...(plus gas) I once came across a garage sale that was being put on by a boy scout troupe & we bought all kinds of camping equipment from them for under $20. Our family went camping close by for vacations instead of financing trips to Disneyland & the like.


You can save money by getting rid of your Cable internet & using dial-up (it works for me) This is usually sufficient unless you need a speedy internet for business.

Change your light bulbs to compact swirly florescent. This can save you lots in power over the year. & turn off your TV, computer & lights when they are not being used. Also, hang your clothes outside, it will save you quite a bit in the way of power bills. Also, take shorter showers & turn your hot water tank's temp down. In the winter throw a sweater or a comfy fleece jacket on you & the kids instead of always turning up the thermostat & turn the heat down or off at night & use warm blankets instead.

---> REMEMBER if you use Vonage or another internet Phone service, you won't be able to make phone calls when the power goes out... & If you plan on using your cell phone as your back up, be sure to have a back-up way to re-charge it... We had a 6 day power outage 2 years back & because many people had "bundled" their cable service with their phone & internet service many people were left without a way to contact the outside world... & unfortunately they'd taken out many of the pay phones people needed because of possible drug calls. The non-electric plug-in phones were sold out all over town. Plan ahead.

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July 23, 20080 found this helpful

Here's a few ideas:
1. make your own cleaning products (safer for you & the enviroment)


2. use a cell phone plan where you purchase minutes (I bought the phone for $20.00 & $20.00 worth of minutes last me 3 months. Cost per month after the phone purchase is less then $7.00). I figure my other cell phone plan was almost $500.00 per year. This way I am paying about $84.00 per year.
3. Bundle high speed computer, cable, & telphone. All 3 can be as low as $99.00/monthly.
4. Have meat less meals 1 or more times a week.
5. Do only full loads of laundry/dishes. Hang clothes out.
6. Buy a few quality pices of clothing (pants, coats, skirts, whatever) in basic colors (black, navy, brown) & work from there. The quality will last longer.
7. Try to find clothes that don't need to be dry cleaned.
8. Add liquified powdered milk to regular milk. Saves $ & calories.
9. Sell your paperbacks on or eBay (the stuff you sell, as I understand, is not taxble income because it is assumed you sell for less then you paid).

10.Stay out of the stores! Try to grocery shop infrequently.
11. Have a garden - even a pot of tomatoes helps.
12. Keep up your teeth.
13. No manicures/pedicures (saves me about $800.00 a year)
14. Get an easy care hair style.
15. Potluck supper parties.
16. Buy gifts all year when on sale.
17. Smaller gifts with more meaning (pictures, homemade stuff, a special book, etc.)
18. Flexible spending plans at work.
19. Heavier blankets = lower heating costs
20. Less a/c (thermal screens, draw the drapes when the sun is out, close the blinds, close off unused areas of the house when able, higher temperature setting, turn off whole house system or turn down & use window units (I saved a ton on this in Louisiana).
21. Use the crokpot or grill or microwave rather then heating up the house in the summer, the reverse in the winter.
22. Take care of the cars, the heating/cooling systems, etc. They will last longer & run better.

23. get rid of credit cards
24. shop the sales & buy in quantity when it's on sale.
25. eat more beans
That's all I can think of today.

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July 23, 20080 found this helpful

I guess I would have taken the bulb out (I am not sure if that would be safe either), & called someone. It's terrible that new things don't work right anymore.

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July 23, 20080 found this helpful

So many excellent ideas posted here! The first thing I thought when reading your question was the same as a couple of other posts here. DO NOT BUY A NEW CAR unless you truly have your heart set on it because the value drops 'drastically' just driving it off the lot :-( !

Shop around for a a couple to ten year old car (some makes and models are like new even if a decade old) and then have a mechanic thoroughly check out the one you really have your heart set on to make sure no problems before shaking hands on the deal. Also, you will pay 'premium' through a dealer so would be worth your while to shop news ads, keep an eye out for 'for sale signs' in car windows, etc, etc.

Also, if you could hold off a bit longer for a new(er) car, save up your money and pay cash (or at least as much cash as possible)! It's amazing how much finance fees, etc add to the cost of a vehicle.

Oh, and some makes and models of previously owned vehicles do have transferable warranties so be sure to check on that, too :-)

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By Rita (Guest Post)
July 23, 20080 found this helpful

No one has mentioned clothes yet. If you know someone who is the same size as you and your family and gets rid of their clothes, ask them what they are doing with them. I get a lot of "free" clothes that way. I have not had to buy any clothing for years now.(except bras and panties). I was even given socks. I know quite a few people who give clothing away and I always tell them that I will get rid of the clothes for them but let them know that I will be going through them first. I have a complete new wardrobe from 2 years ago. As I get something "new" I get rid of something in my closet to make room for the "new" item. Hope this helps.

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July 23, 20080 found this helpful

I know food is what most people think of scrimping on first, but that's not it. House and car are the two vultures in your finances. Assuming you don't get a divorce ever, that's too famous for being a disaster financially for both. As I'm sure you knew.

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By Nicki (Guest Post)
July 26, 20080 found this helpful

Two things we have done in our family:

Home made laundry soap. You can google this and find good recipes. I do laundry for our family of 6. A 5 gallon bucket of this soap lasts us for 6 weeks. It was very inexpensive to make, too.

Also, we cut back on the paper towel usage. I always have kitchen towels hanging up for drying hands, but we were going through lots of paper towels for napkins. So I got some $1/yard fabric at WalMart and cut out big squares (10"x10" or larger) with pinking shears. This eliminated the need to hem. I tried to make enough for a week's worth of meals before having to wash them.

One more thing: eat lots of beans, rice and potatoes. Have breakfast for dinner occasionally. Pancakes and eggs are cheap.

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July 29, 20080 found this helpful

Make a budget! And try to sitck to it.
Avoid eating out, or buying from vending machines, if at all possible.
Check out videos at your local library instead of paying rental fees. See if there are children's programs available for your kids to participate in at your library.
Teach everyone to turn off the lights when they are leaving a room. If natural light is coming into the room, maybe no lights need to be turned on.
Check with your local electrical utility company and see about home inspections so that they can help you save energy costs.
If you can afford it, get a geothermal heat pump for your home.
White vinegar is cheap & great for uses in cleaning & laundry. It will works as a fabric softener, will not leave a smell, and is somewhat of a disinfectant.
If you use dryer sheets, get the cheapest ones, cut in half, then use only half a sheet per load.
Either drop or cut back on satellite or cable channels and play board games, read, play charades or do puzzles in lieu of tv watching.
Sell items on Ebay or, collect aluminum cans, and recycle; all put money in your pocket. Save all the change in your pocket/purse at the end of the day. It adds up.
Take your lunch to work. Go meatless one night a week. Use coupons if they are for items you normally buy, look for sales and double coupon days. Buy generic/store brands if the quality is the same, or nearly the same. Buy 2% or 1% milk rather than whole. If your children are over 2 years old, lower fat milk is okay for them.
Make a grocery list and stick to it! Eat before you go to the store so you won't be tempted to eat out or buy extra snacks, etc.
I'm trying to implement these ideas in my home.
Best wishes.

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