Money Saving Ideas

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by ML, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. ML

    ML Guest

    Hello friends,

    Perhaps a year ago there was an awesome thread about what we're doing to conserve money in these economically challenging times. My searching skills are pretty pathetic and I can't find it. I would really like to revisit those great ideas as part of surviving in the new year. Maybe, if folks feel like it, we can start a new thread.

    I keep saying I'm not going to use credit cards any more but then just in December I had a flat tire and needed two new ones and two new (busted out by the wind) windows. I do realize that the ideal is to have an emergency savings to cover these things but I can't seem to get there because I keep having to pay the credit card payments.

    Any ideas?


    PS I'm off to work today. I won't even complain because I am grateful to have a job!
  2. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I'm planning a bigger garden this year so I can grow more greens and legumes. Fertilizer courtesy of some friends who keep miniature horses, plus homemade compost. Last year our garden soil was still too poor and the veggies were ok but not great. I just hope my arthritis will permit me to do the physical garden work this spring - or maybe with the my eating style (vegan all year, as opposed to just during our religious fasts) my level of inflammation will subside. I'm hoping!

    Plus I'm working on lowering our utility costs more, trying to cut electricity use to the bone.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I don't know how to find old posts like that either. But the ideas there were great.

    I just bought 2 family paks of pork chops out of the manager's bin at krogers for only 3.95 each. They went right into the freezer. I don't normally buy the chops because they've gotten so expensive lately. I pay close attention to the price of meat. I was going to buy 2 beef blade roasts as they're normally the cheapest. (and I make more than one meal from them) But last week it turned out that english cut was far cheaper, so I got a better cut of meat at a better price. (and twice as much meat) I won't even discuss our walmart prices on meat. It's outragious! And I've watched the quality go down.

    I've gotten awfully creative with hamburger.

    I'm a scrooge about lights, the thermostat, and water. We cut out unecessary trips in the car. I bought those as seen on tv draft stopper things that slide under doors. (they work great) husband weather stripped the front and back door. During the day curtains are opened to let sunlight help warm the house. I cut up my credit cards. I pay only with cash. I make bulky meals that last a couple of days. We don't do fast food anymore. husband is balking because he won't drink generic so I've put a strict limit on pop. And we roll our own cigarettes. (1/3 the cost of buying them) I shop at aldi's and buy generic. Unless I find a sale for name brand where it's cheaper. Can't just assume generic is cheaper anymore. For a longish time walmart had velveeta cheaper than their generic brand. I know they do on other foods too.

    Oh, and I haven't bought junk foods in over a year. Which made xmas more fun. lol
  4. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Daisy, I don't know if it's this way everywhere but I got a big pork roast yesterday very reasonably ... the kind with the bone in it, but there's a ton of meat on it and I'll get several meals off of it. I haven't bought much pork lately because it's been super expensive, especially the chops. But yesterday when a package with four little pork chops was almost five dollars, this big roast was only $3.59! I made it last night with cubed up potatoes and onions roasted with it, enough for at least three more meals, then what's left I make BBQ out of and take for lunches at work!
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2009
  5. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Here are a few things that we've done lately:

    1) Switched our cable and internet to the same provider as our phone service. Significantly cheaper because of the bundle discount (and I was most displeased with the old company after the 5-techs-to-repair-one-cut-cable debacle)

    2) switched our car and home insurance to a different company with much better rates

    3) husband and I have been packing all meals and snacks for work. I have always packed a lunch, but sometimes used to go to the coffee shop for a cup of tea or a little snack. Now I bring tea bags, a carton of milk, salads, large tubs of yogurt, whatever, and keep them in the office fridge. I have a bowl, a plate, a mug and cutlery in my desk. Thankfully, my co-workers are not the type to raid other people's lunches. I've worked in offices where they were, which was very bad.

    4) Wherever possible, husband and I carpool, combine trips and cut down on the amount of driving we're doing.

    5) I've stopped taking public transit. I know...that one sounds weird, but I get free parking at my office, my car gets really good gas mileage, and with the price of gas having dropped so low it's less expensive for me to take the car. If it's close enough to home, then I walk or take the bicycle (I have winter tires on my bike)

    6) I've learned to cook squash in ways that the family likes. Can't beat the price, it's filling, low in carbs, full of vitamins, compliant with husband's diet, and can be had for about $0.50 a pound.

    7) Making a lot of crock pot soups and stews. Filling, warms you up in the winter, ensures that the food in the fridge doesn't spoil or go to waste, and easy to pack for work lunches.

    8) Took all of husband's old T-shirts that don't fit him anymore and cut them up for wash cloths. I have stopped buying paper towels entirely.

    9) I'm experimenting with re-making some of husband's clothes that he has shrunk out of. There is enough fabric in some of his old jeans and chinos to make some very cute little skirts for me. I can use the leftover legs to sew tote bags for the grocery store. They are charging 5 cents per plastic bag now, so carrying my own bags saves a lot of money.

    That's all I can think of at the moment.

  6. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    husband and I broke our financial situation into a list of problem areas. We have tried before to tackle the whole problem and it hasn't worked for us. This time we are tackling each smaller issue one at a time. Our first goal is to get our spending on food under control. We have a chart that we fill in each night with what we spent that day. I'm hoping that the "in your face" aspect of it will keep us under control.

    If anyone knows of any good grocery coupon sites, I'd love to hear them...!
  7. ML

    ML Guest

    2 things. Re-use plastic bags. Sometimes I just put grapes or veggies in them and they can easily be rinsed out and used again. Just one of those little things that add up.

    Also, I still think we should have a board garage sale. Kind of like Jo's giveaway idea. I have clothes that manster doesn't wear anymore that I would happily give away if someone would pay shipping. Size 12/14 mostly. Also, we could swap dvd's that we no longer watch and possibly get new ones.

    This thread has me really pumped!
  8. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?
    Some stores don't accept internet printed coupons but for stores that do, when you print some off you can click on the back button and get a duplicate set. The site will alert you to grocery store deals in your area (you have to register), expect to get lots of mail, so set up separate email acct. It has a forum in which warrior couponers alert the on line community to great deals and how to best use their coupons.
    Hmmm...a warrior community out to help inform and support each why does that sound familiar???
  9. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Trinity, excellent ideas! I printed this thread out so I can refer to it.

    I already reuse my baggies and other plastic bags. I also have a few totes for grocery shopping. Our local S&S gives us a .05 cent discount for every bag we use of our own.

    Food: Thank goodness it's stew and soup season - I've been making lots of good hearty meals that offer leftovers (for H and me only since easy child refuses to eat leftovers and difficult child usually eats on the run).

    I ordered a vegetarian cookbook I found at the library and loved through Amazon used books for only $4. I can't wait to get it and try some recipes. I also ordered another Thai cookbook for $6 used as well. H and I want to expand our tastebuds using vegetarian meals.

    It is getting difficult to stretch a meal around here, because we always have an extra dinner guest. One of my goals this year is to get better at planning a menu and sticking with it when I go grocery shopping. If I don't include H in my shopping, I can do better. When he comes with me he comments on every little thing I pick up and nixes the meal before I even have had an opportunity to try it. It's better if he stays home.

    Lights, tv, heat - I am a nut about turning those down though I do have to admit that since I'm always freezing and since I've been home throughout the holidays, we've been using more. I even skip turning on the Christmas lights at times to save. easy child asked if I would buy her an electric heater for her room! I said no and that she wasn't allowed to have any heaters anywhere in the house - put on a sweater and an extra pair of socks if you're cold. Dang it! Can you even imagine? I also have to learn to take shorter showers and H has to stop taking two a day. That bugs me.

    Can't wait to see some of the food saving tips people post about - I sure could use the help.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Go to I've lost my favorites due to updating to vista. But that's what the site is called. They have coupons and a forum full of freebies. Susie tipped me off about it if I remember right. You wouldn't believe the stuff I've gotten in the mail!

    Another place if you're having a real hard time putting food on the table....... Angelfood You can order food boxes from them for super cheap. And it's good food too. There site has each months menus and prices. You can type in your area code to find the one closest to you. They're awesome.

    Donna.....I've been buying pork roast more lately than anything for the same reason. It has been super cheap. I'm going to try pork and noodles soon. Supposed to be yummy, but I've never had it. (we can only eat so much BBQ pork as left overs lol)

    ML also sign up for the Yahoo groups called Freecycle and Cheapcycle. Cheapcycle may not be where you are yet, but thanks to the economy, it's catching on fast.

    I've already warned easy child and Nichole that yard sale items this year will be priced super low to move. (I have a whole family room full) We have too many people out of work here to price things normally. And what doesn't sell is going onto Freecycle and cheapcycle. I'm not storing it for yet another year. ugh!
  11. amazeofgrace

    amazeofgrace New Member

    Once I am officially Divorced, I plan to pay off all my debt and save save save for house while I study study study to get a degree!

    my little cheats:

    -I take a few extra napkins when eating out and keep them in the car for tissues
    -I save any extra dipping sauces for nuggets/fries we have at home.
    -I save leftover french fries and chop them up to add to omelettes.
    -I spoiled my parents with one of those krups single cup coffee makers - it uses the little k-cups of coffee, we found a k-cup we can fill ourselves, my Dad has a heart condition so he can only have decaf, so this helps alot when we just want a quick cup, normally we were always running to Dunkin Donuts.
    -I already have chopped up and frozen all leftover holiday chocolate so I can make cookies for valentines day. (helps me with the dieting as well)
  12. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I only buy meat on sale. Period. I only buy anything on sale. lol. It is crazy. The grocery stores around here will put chops, chicken breasts & legs, certain roasts on sale for under 2$/lb. I have lots of chicken tenders (smaller breasts), at least 2 packs of chops, and several roasts in the freezer. A couple times a week I make dinner for my mom who is caring for my grandfather, so I cook for 7-8 people a couple times a week. If it is not on sale, I buy it at Costco. Milk, cheese, eggs. I buy difficult child's instant breakfast there.

    I wish husband would leave the thermostat down!!!
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    What a great thread! Thanks, ML for starting it!! I'm going to have to read through it again and take notes- there are some ideas here that I could incorporate pretty easily!

    What comes to my mind right away:

    1) Ground beef- I get the 85 or 90% lean and it's still relatively inexpensive. One week, I might make chilli, another week spaghetti, another meatloaf or tacos. Another good thing is that most these meals can be eaten as leftovers, too.

    2) I get fruit for snacks- it's not the least expensive thing to do but it's healthy and I cut down the amount of other snacks I'll buy and worry less about a big variety of vegies at dinner. So, I might get a cantaloupe for snacking on and we can have potoatoes and green beans with dinner.

    3) On my grocery bill, it is the drinks that seem costly. I'm still working on that, but I do compare prices to try to get that expense lower. I drink more water instead of grabbing a can of soda. They have little packets now that hardly cost anything and you can mix the packet of powerd in water to get a desired flavor (lemonade, for instance) but I can't difficult child to actually do it.

    4) I buy more store brand stuff than I used to.

    5) We eat more eggs. They're inexpensive for all the nutrition in them.

    6) Space heaters (electric) are usually big bill raisers. difficult child has one in his room and I have him set the timer on it for 1 hour instead of letting it run all night.
  14. ML

    ML Guest

    GREAT ideas and I am printing these out.

    KLMNO, I wish husband would give up the soda habit but I won't say anything because at least it's not vodka lol. The cigarettes are also expensive. I won't even go into the costs of medications.
  15. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I wish I could get husband to kick the soda habit as well. I swear the man is addicted to coke. sheesh And it's not just the cost either. It packs on the pounds and it causes him stomach issues. Which of course on both those points I'm dead wrong. lol sigh I can't say I blame him too much for not going generic with it. Somehow they've never gotten the formula right for generic cola. bleh But all the other ones taste the same, and a few I've found are actually better. lol I do iced tea with splenda (generic form). So don't miss the pop.

    Some generics that tend to not save money or just plain don't taste good.......

    1. paper towels. They may be dirt cheap at the cash register, but if it takes a half a roll to soak up a spill that would take one Bounty, then it's not saving money. I picked up a brand called Oasis this time. Cheap, but not bad. I actually got a brand one time that was textured so that I couldn't get a spill up with a whole roll! Never went near it again. It was like tossing notebook paper on a spill.

    2. toilet paper generic prices are great, but again if you're using twice as much it's gonna end up costing you. I go for inbetween brands. Charmin has become too darn thick anyway.

    3. peanut butter most generic peanut butter is disgusting, either in texture or taste. One I've found that tastes like name brand that I've bought since my kids were little is kroger brand.

    4. hot dogs some generic hot dogs are downright gross. So much so, that I still by name brand, I just wait until it's on sale.

    5. lunch meat be careful here too. Buy a small pack and try it first. Some are good, some are awful.

    I also won't go generic or off brand for my laundry soap. I tried it for a while years ago when husband was out of work. Noticed how quickly our clothes faded and became worn and never did it again. I'll go online and search for free samples and coupons before ever doing that again.

    Also......I don't recommend going generic on kitty litter. PHEW!! Nichole talked me into it last time......and let's just say it didn't take us long to go out and buy the normal brand. :rofl:
  16. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'm totally with you on those things, Lisa!! And, I "splurge" on facial tissue to get the kind that won't leave our noses raw. So, the things like soda, bathroom tissue, soap- I buy in bulk to at least save some. Also- watch those sales prices listed only at the shelves. Sometimes they say "2 for $5 package", but 1 only cost $2.25. I buy some meats in larger packages and freeze part of it because it saves.

    Things I do buy store brand- milk (our milk must be made around here- store brands exprire later than name brands), olives, condiments/spices and foods that will be "mixed in" well with other foods, things like rubbing alcohol, bread.

    Still, between rising prices and difficult child's increased apetite, my weekly bill for food and misc items has doubled.

    It's amazing how much difference in price there is from one store to another around where I live. We have a large family-owned chain of grocery stores that everyone around here loves. When difficult child was a baby and I hadn't lived here long, I went to that store and bought everything because people recommended it and 1-stop shopping saved me time. When I changed grocery stores, I immediately started saving $20/week. Then, when I went to walmart, I saved about another $40/week. I couldn't believe it. Of course, I was buying things like a certain brand of diaper (difficult child broke out with excema otherwise), formula, cleaning supplies, baby stuff like A&D ointment, wipes, etc. Still, there are a lot of people around here that refuse to shop anywhere but that one chain.

    Cigarettes: It's not the best answer, but I smoke generic and smoke outside - not in the house- so the amount decreases in the winter anyway. Then, I just keep trying to stay busy to lower the amount I'm smoking more.
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Look for a tobacco store in your area. Often they sell a cigarette rolling machine, papers (with filters) and tobacco. The machine costs like 20.00 or so. Papers and tobacco will run you 1/3 of what you're paying after the initial investment. If they sell the machine, they should have someone there to demonstrate it and help you find the brand of tobacco which is closest to your brand.

    It is not hardto do. Just somewhat tedius. I make husband roll them as he smokes more than twice as much as I do. lol More than worth it. We've bought generic cigarettes for years. But this saves us so much more. And you're not getting alot of the additives either.

    I'm lucky that our town is so small that all our food stores are clumped together in one area. So when there are sales I can go from one to another without worrying about adding gas prices. Only downer to this is our nearest aldi's is 20 miles away. But I've sat down and figured it up.....We still save over 75.00 shopping there even when gas prices were sky high. And their brownies.....OMG they are to die for. lol
  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks, Lisa!
  19. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    When husband decided to retire early (SIGH) I found this:
  20. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    There are certain things that I've started buying from the Dollar Store because their prices are so much cheaper for the same things. My same hair coloring is a dollar cheaper there than it is at Walmart. And a 4-pack of light bulbs is $1.00 vs. $2.99 at the grocery store! From what I can tell, they last just as long. I buy a lot of my paper products there now because it's so much cheaper and things like brand name laundry detergent and dish washing soap are quite a bit cheaper too. A 2-liter bottle of Dr. Pepper (my addiction!) is anywhere from 99 cents to $1.29 vs. $1.79 at the grocery store. Because more people are going there than ever before they've expanded their grocery section. I would never get some of the weirder off-brand grocery items they have but I found the BIG cans of Campbells soups there for the same price as the smaller size can at the grocery store. And name brand things like cake mixes are much cheaper there.