Share a frugal tip, hint or thought

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Star*, Nov 14, 2007.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Since the 'mentor' thing bombed out (so sorry)

    How about sharing a frugal tip you use in your home to save money. With the holidays coming quickly - we could all use a few cents more. Actually I could us something that makes a LOT more sense -

    My tip is dishwasher soap. I found that the Dollar General powdered soap (lemon or regular) can be used 2 TBS in the soap cup for normal loads and extra heavy loads 1 TBS in the pre-wash cup. It's pennies per load, does a great job (just as well as cascade packs) and for the rinse compartment we fill it with white vinegar.

    If you really want to save money and still use your dishwasher make drying the dishes a chore for consequence. Putting them away is another consequence.
  2. I'm going crazy!!!

    I'm going crazy!!! New Member

    I love using coupons but I was always letting them run out because I'd have this huge stack or even when I would use one of those dividers I would still get tired of looking through them all. I read this tip in a magazine: buy the refill pages for baseball cards and put them in there that way you can see all your coupons with just a flip they hold 9 to a page and are only 1.54 for a 10 pack i get them at walmart i also put them in by expiration date
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    First, cook from scratch whenever possible, eat your leftovers or create another meal. One turkey will easily serve my family four meals as long as I pack and freeze the left overs. Plus, it saves time when preparing meals. Second, use what you need only. If the recipe calls for 1/4 cup of mozzarella, don't use 1/3 cup. That just runs up your cost for the meal. Third, buy only what you need. Prepare a menu for the week and build your shopping list from it. Don't buy 1/2 lb of ham at the deli when you really only need 10 slices. Also, buy your meat in the club packs and freeze. I'll look through all the packages to find the cheapest package because I'm really not going to notice if my pork chop or sausage link is one tenth smaller than in the more expensive package.
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I take teabags, a travel mug and a thermos of milk to work with me, and make tea rather than buying it at the local coffee shop. Believe it or not, I save about $25.00 per week just from this.

    I buy solid coloured cotton T-shirts in the boys department at Wal-Mart, to wear as "blouses" under suit jackets at work. Boys shirts have a little extra room in the shoulders and back (which translates nicely into extra room for...umm...womanly curves). AND they're often on sale for $2 or $3 apiece. Under a suit, no one can tell the difference.

    I searched around until I found a spot that has all of the major grocery stores within a few blocks of each other...when they deliver the discount flyers with the sales, I make a list of which items are on sale in which stores, and then go from A to Z. This also means that I'm not burning away in gas what I just saved in store discounts.

    One year when money was really tight and I couldn't afford to get gifts for anyone, I baked and decorated cookies. I made little care packages out of cling wrap tied with christmas ribbon, and gave one to everyone on my list (I baked gingerbread cookies, because the ingredients were very inexpensive, and used icing sugar/butter frosting)

    Canadian Tire (a department store, sort of like Wal-Mart), gives away Canadian Tire money every time you buy something there. It comes in denominations of 1 cent, 5 cents...up to 1 dollar. I buy little things there, and fill up my truck at the gas bar. Then when I have a big-ticket item to buy I can use the Canadian Tire money to buy it.

    Coupons...I don't really do this anymore. I've found that the coupons that are available are for really expensive products, and even with the discount, there's always another product that's just as good but less expensive.

    This is just off the top of my head. If I come up with anything else, I'll post again.

    All the best,
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    In recent years I have saved a bundle on meat/seafood items by
    shopping at the end of the day. Where I shop they mark down all
    packages that are within 24 hours of "sell by" date. My store does not have a consistent time of day for doing the markdowns
    but probably 75% of my purchases are discounts. The seafood dept
    also used to do this but a company policy change requires that
    they toss away. What a waste!

    I discovered a couple of years ago that Outback Steak House has
    a "Joey" menu for kids that is available at the drive up takeout
    no matter what your age. There are seven choices and the most
    expensive is $7.99.....that's the sirloin steak which if you opt
    for the baked potato all the way will fill a teenager! They also
    usually toss in a loaf of pumpernickle and butter. Such a deal!

    The biggest money saver for my family is avoiding impulse stops
    to eat. I usually have my meals planned in advance and sometimes
    partially prepared. I always keep a frozen meal available so on
    nights when I am too tired, or there someplace to gets
    nuked and eaten off paperplates. That's faster than fast food
    and alot healthier and cheaper too. DDD
  6. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Star I'm telling easy child about that soap and vinegar thing. Wow.

    Hmmmmm. I also don't use coupons as I can usually find things they are just as good and way cheaper.

    A Note to Jif Peanut butter users, Krogers brand I swear to God is exactly the same and costs ALOT less! Since my family are big pbj eaters this was a huge deal.

    I buy generic whenever possible and the standard is the same as name brand. Peanut butter is usually not good in generic, unless it's Kroger's brand. I don't do generic tpaper as the family just uses more of it.

    I never shop without a list, and I rarely vary from the list. (unless it's just a plain steal) I won't shop when hungry. I always look at the weekly ads. And since all our grogery stores are located pretty much in one area I go from one to another. They're to close for me to be wasting gas, and I save tons this way.

    Big Tip

    If your grocery, pharmacy, gas station, ect offers a Reward Card get one and USE it. I have one for Krogers, Speedway, and CVS. With krogers you not only get the initial savings, but points that count toward discounts on gas. Speedway has all sorts of rewards for their card.

    I can't believe how many people think these are a waste. Huh? You're saving money!!

    I buy those fleece throws and we keep the thermostat down to 65 degrees during the day and turn it to 60 at night. You won't believe the savings. Also on Sunny Winter days open your drapes and blinds and let the good ol' sunshine inside to help warm the house. (also helps with seasonal depression).

    I have these stuffed "snakes" that cover the drafty cracks at the bottom of my outside doors. Those drafts make you chilly, and can also cause your furnace to kick on when it really isn't needed.

    Oh, and I do all my cooking and baking from scratch too. I avoid fast food places and restaurants.

    I can't think of any more right now.
  7. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    Here's what I do. I go to cvs alot- I google cvs coupons and get lots of them that you can use together, like $4 off $20, combined with $2 off $10, plus I use manufacture coupons combined with sale items. Yesterday I paid $1.50 for the new Shrek 3 dvd! Google a store's name, and the word coupon, and you'll be surprised at the money you can save!-Alyssa
  8. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I drink a great deal of coca cola soda. I really thought that the my coke rewards would be a joke. However there is a magazien that the whole family reads that I can continually add time to my subscription just by keeping track of the points and then doing the subscription.

    I almost always by my books used. They are so much cheaper and they are really not in too bad shape most of the time.

    We also do meat bundles. Depending on what you get at what store they can be a great savings but you have to watch what you are picking. I like Fairway as they have a pick and choose bundle program. If you use the compact flourescent bulbs in my area our one grocery store has a rebate program every few monthes (I think through the manufacturer) that makes the bulbs only a few cents. I watch for it reagularly. They also then save elsewhere.

    Those are what I can think of right now. I will have to think a bit for anything else.

  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I also buy most of my books second hand. When we lived in Dayton, our whole family was seriously addicted to the store Second Hand Books. lol And even in this little town we have a reg book store that is smart enough to deal in 2nd hand books too.

    And you reminded me of one..... You can "rent" movies from the public library for free. Travis does this on a consistant basis. :smile:
  10. Penta

    Penta New Member

    Due to life circumstances, I am the Queen of Thrift.

    No landline, just cell phones on a basic shared family plan, no newspapers or magazine the paper online and magazines at the library, no DVD rentals or book purchases, borrow from the library instead, all meals and baking from scratch, make most of my Christmas gifts for family and friends, spend very little on entertainment, my city offers so much that is free.

    These are just some of the things I can live without in order to have the life I want.
  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I live like a cave-person.

    Seriously, the only light on in my home EVER is the one in the room that I am currently in. It took 3 weeks for that to become a habit, but now those lights go OFF as I walk out of a room.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Use the freezer. I freeze -

    * leftovers, in plastic containers, labelled. I often deliberately cook large casseroles in order to have leftovers to freeze.

    * sliced bread. We bake our own (another saving) and slice it. One loaf gets left out for those who reckon frozen bread just isn't the same even when thawed; the other loaf gets frozen for those who know better. If I need croutons I make them fresh from the unfrozen loaf.

    * grated cheese. I buy it already grated (about the same price) and keep frozen parmesan, frozen cheddar and frozen mozzarella, all grated and each in its own bag. I use it frozen, if I need it thawed I just get it out a bit earlier.

    * bulk meat. We buy a whole sheep at a time, or a whole rump, sliced, because it's cheaper than buying it piecemeal.

    * fruit. Some fruit tastes great when frozen and is a great thirst quencher. You can also make frozen smoothies which you can eat with a spoon - like sorbet, only easier, cheaper and healthier.
    A frozen lemon or lime can be zested while frozen, then refrozen for the juice later (thaw in microwave for juice).

    * prawns. I keep frozen prawns because when you cook them up they taste fresh and can make a fairly ordinary meal seem luxurious. A prawn omelette for breakfast? With a pinch of fresh coriander leaf, maybe some freshly picked shallots and parsley? Fabulous! And if the eggs came from our own chooks...

    Other cost-cutting tips - I grow my own herbs, make my own herb blends. I dry bunches of herbs hanging from the ceiling and keep then dried, ground or whole leaf in jars ready for use. Some herbs don't dry well, so I make them into sauces (such as making basil into pesto, or tarragon into bearnaise) and freeze the sauce. Or you can chop the herbs fresh and freeze them.

    We try to grow our own vegetables but simply can't grow enough. Still, it's good to have some, to help add a bit and to have something really fresh. It's also been good to teach the kids to appreciate really fresh, home-grown food.

    Meat - when cooking a beef stew, I use the absolute cheapest cut I can get - gravy beef - and cook it on a slow simmer (so the surface is barely moving) for three hours. It tastes fabulous. I've done the same with mutton (especially for Indian curries).
    For stir-fries, I freeze the meat until it's firm, then slice it while still frozen. It gives much thinner slices and makes it easier to take up marinade flavours fast. This works equally well for chicken, beef or pork.
    A low budget beef stir-fry tip - use whatever cheap steak, don't worry about only buying rump or fillet. This works for blade, topside, round - whatever. Slice it thinly and soak the meat slices in 1 teaspoon bicarb soda mixed with 1 Tablespoon warm water (not so warm it fizzes). Only soak for half an hour or so, then rise it (to get rid of the sodium) and marinate again in whatever you want. or just stir-fry from there. It will be as tender as fillet.

    I also have a number of recipes which follow on from each other. A roast chook (chicken) one night, chicken sandwiches next day for lunch, chicken caesar salad as an alternative, then chicken supreme (our kids love it) for dinner. With what's left I make chicken stock which I can use to freeze (and make the next lot of chicken supreme) or make risotto, or chicken soup, or chicken and corn soup.

    I think it's important, whatever you choose to do, to stick with it and follow through. There's no sense in cooking enough to have leftovers if nobody eats the leftovers or puts them in the freezer. But if you plan, and check the fridge before you give up and open a packet of something, you can often throw a meal together with what you already have.

    Anyway, that's just a few ideas which should translate OK from across the Pacific...

  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Two from Witzend.

    Use motion activated lights in the kitchen and the attached garage. They are both incredibly well-lit rooms, and I'm the only person who seems to know how to turn off a light. If no one is in the room, the light turns off in 10 minutes. There are two 200 watt bulbs in the garage that could stay on for days if my husband went in there.

    Make your own eye-makeup remover by mixing one part store brand baby shampoo or body wash to three parts water. Don't make too much, as it will "settle". Put it in a cheap travel bottle and use as much as you need.
  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Marg, you make my mouth water! Guess who's having prawn omelets next weekend!
  15. mom_to_3

    mom_to_3 Active Member

    I am a frugal type of person and basically live by the motto "waste not, want not". My mother and father were products of the depression. My father is okay, but my mother absolutly will not waste a thing! I try not to, but I don't have to rinse out ziplock bags to reuse or save EVERY single plastic or glass container that passes my way. My mother will, I kid you not save a tablespoon of leftover food from dinner. If I can't get my husband to eat it or one of the girls,so as not to waste, I don't have a problem tossing it.

    I know I have lots of things I do to save money, but right now I can think of using less fabric softner than the product usually calls for. I would say I use 1/4 of what Downey recommends and my clothes are static free and smell nice. The other thing my mother taught me and I feel compelled to do is to cut a plastic bottle in half, dishwasher soap, ketchup, anything plastic that cannot be diluted with water and then use a rubber spatula to get the last little bit from the bottle. Of course you all know to add water to the bottle of shampoo, dish soap, conditioner, liquid laundry soap, etc. to get the last little bit remaining, don't you? :smile: When using tomato sauce or paste or even diced/ crushed tomatoes and you need to add more water to whatever you are preparing, you DO know to fill said can with the water to get the remaining product from the inside of the can???

    My mother reminds me ALL THE TIME to do things like this. Drives me bonkers if I dwell on it. She means well, but God knows that I am actually a grown woman with adult children of my own! :smile:

    I thought of a couple more things...... Others have mentioned buying used books. When my children were young and money was a factor, I used to buy them books at goodwill and at garage sales. Then when they finished reading those books, there was a used book store that would allow you to trade a book for a book. My girls were avid readers and this worked out well for us.

    My two younger daughters are taking college classes and instead of buying their books on campus or other college bookstores, we order on line from half priced books or used from Amazon. This has saved tons of money!
  16. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    The one thing that comes to mind - use it every winter. There are always bits of vegetables, rice, even pot roast, chicken, etc leftover after a meal; never enough to make another meal - generally thrown out.

    A couple of years ago, I started keeping freezer bags on hand. At the end of each meal I'd add all these bits & pieces to a freezer bag, label the date & store in the freezer. I'd do this for a couple of weeks & have enough for a pot of soup.'

    Add stock of your choice, add'l meat/poultry if you choose & seasonings. I've done this for a while now. It doesn't make a huge pot of soup enough for a meal or two. I've used up what would have been wasted food & it's a simple meal to put together on top of all that.

    Keep a coffee carafe on your counter. Pour your morning coffee in the carafe & you should have warm coffee at the end of the day (or like me, coffee through the day).

    Use a carpet sweeper between vacuuming - will keep your carpets cleaned, less worn. Whenever possible mix up your own glass cleaner (don't have the formula on hand); I use bleach & water for cleaning in the bathroom (toilets, bathtubs & sinks) unless you have a specific finish.

    As for clothes, stick with classics - skirts, blazers, pants, etc. You can always update the tops & accessories, but if you have classic clothing on hand you won't have the need to update yearly.

    by the way, thanks for this thread, Star - I'll be using many of these ideas.
  17. goldenguru

    goldenguru New Member

    Wow. What great ideas and what a great thread. Thanks Star.

    I too am a fan of frugal.

    I buy most of my clothes from the GoodWill or Salvation Army. I went 'shopping' just the other day and found a great pair of Kenneth Cole shoes for $2.99. They are so cute - that my daughter (19) asked me for them. Of course, I gave them to her. LOL.

    I also go to garage sales in the summer. I have bought the greatest things for just pennies.

    To save on laundry costs - I only wash clothes that are visibly dirty or smell dirty (exception being undergarments of course). I can get 2 -3 days out of a pair of jeans.

    To save on gas I designate two days per week as 'no drive' days. Unless it's an emergency, I stay home. Period.

    We never eat out without coupons. Period.

    Thanks again for the hints.
  18. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    GG, I'm with you.

    Clothes get washed when you can see the dirt, smell the dirt, or when the pants can stand up on their own.

    Most detergent does not require the amount stated on the bottle. A little less here, a little less there, and before you know it, you've got an extra 4 or 5 loads out of a bottle. Same thing goes for the fabric softener, as Mom to 3 stated.

    Last year, I was broke as a joke. For Christmas I made body scrub for all the ladies on my list. I bought a jar for each lady at the dollar store. I mixed up in a bowl:

    raw sugar
    peanut oil
    little bit of orange juice
    tiny bit of sweet almond oil

    I don't have the exact amounts. You want a lot of sugar, enough to fill each jar about 3/4 way; enough oil to cover each pile of sugar; honey and orange juice combined to fill the rest of the container; and almond oil for the scent. Literally a tsp for the whole shebang, and I made 8 jars.

    Anyways. Mix it all up, and before it settles, scoop it into each jar. Close the jars and clean them off. Decorate the jars if you feel so inclined.
  19. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    Great post!!!

    I know I'll be using some of the tips I found here. I already use coupons for items that I normally purchase. I plan all of my meals around the weekly specials in the supermarket. I buy bulk foods, cleaning products, laundry detergent, and paper goods at my local warehouse store as long as the prices are cheaper than the generic items at another store.

    I keep the thermostat turned down low. I also shut off lights in rooms that no one is in. For special occasions, my best friend and I share dresses and shoes for our daughters whenever possible.

    I'm constantly trying to teach my kids the value of a dollar. I take them shopping with me and have them look at the receipts to see how much we've saved by buying specials, things in bulk and using coupons.

    To the extent I can, I buy clothes out of season. For example, I'll buy winter coats in the summer and shorts in the winter. This was easy to do for the kids when they were younger but harder to do now because easy child has to be "in style." However, I still do it for husband and myself. I buy classic things that really won't go in and out of style this way.

    Unfortunately, easy child at 13, now rolls her eyes at me every time I try to explain how important it is to be frugal. However, I keep explaining my shopping habits to her. It's amazing how she uses my shopping methods when it's her own money involved, lol!!!

    Thanks again for posting this. WFEN
  20. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: trinityroyal</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I baked and decorated cookies. I made little care packages out of cling wrap tied with christmas ribbon, and gave one to everyone on my</div></div>

    My mom use to do this. She use to start baking at Thanksgiving, cut-out cookies by the tub full, as well as all other holiday cookies. So much candy...then she would hide it.
    I just did this for a lady at school who is retiring. Had a nice tin, several different cookies, made candy, decorated very nice. I make a quadrupal batch of anything I make. Sometimes i bake half one day and half another, other times I do the whole thing.

    All have so many good ideas. I'll have to think about what I do.