Lean Time Tips........Bring 'Em!!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Star*, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I can appreciate the struggle we're ALL facing with trying to put gas in our car to GET to work, budget cuts, job worries, and as if it weren't bad enough WE are all blessed with difficult child's....and some of us health issues.

    I have been working 15 hours a day M-F and all day weekends until last week to try to get "ahead" or catch up. 20 extra hours even at minimum wage is still bringing an extra $100 a week in.

    I had my home phone turned off and asked for a customer retention specialist to Make A Deal about keeping it, vs. just getting internet service. I got the usual "offers" but stuck to my guns. I got a track phone on line and paid for double minutes card, and have been using it. DF has a cell that we cut ALL goodies off of to just have a plan.

    Cutting the home phone: Savings $100
    Adding JUST the internet: $19.99 a month - NO taxes :tongue:

    WE have been bottling and rebottling my bottled water - I just take the empties home, pop them in the dishwasher and refill from home - then pack them up and take them to work - I have saved $30 a month !

    We stopped Blockbuster - we can always turn it on later
    Savings$29 a month

    We plan our grocery around meals - and stick to it that means ONE trip to the grocery and that saves on gas.

    I have REALLY began digging in cabinets and drawers to find USEABLE shampoo and soap and stuff that I put aside because I didn't like it or whatever- and now I'm using up ALL the stuff like that in the hosue
    That has been a HUGE savings.

    I signed up for an on line sample site - and get deoderant and toothpaste regularly.

    I used coupons last month with the ads and got $65 in savings in one trip. Yeah I was popular with the cashier Deb - lol

    We make sure the grass is mowed every week - to do it every other is doing it twice anyway and doing it once the first time saves gas.

    We turned off the air - period - get a fan......have an ice cube.....
    My electric bill for last 2 months $450 - outrageous.

    I'm asking Santa for longjohns for Christmas - and wood.

    ANd we started selling stuff on Craigslist - I've already sold nice things that I cleaned up for a fair price - and I'm saving that money to repair my house.

    We have been walking and collecting aluminum cans - and went through the yard and hauled out 2 loads of scrap steel - (at an all time high for steel scrap) and banked that bit o cash.

    Maybe if we all put our ideas or tips here - reuse/recycle.....cut this back -do that. We can help each other.

    IT's not going to be better for a while - just wondered what you are doing or trying. Iv'e ALSO stopped buying WW and just take leftovers from tonights supper for tomorrows lunch. I pay myself $5 a week for ONE day out for lunch.


    We're all too smart NOT to figure out something here gals - OH and if you turn your computer off COMPLETELY at night? IT saves BIG BUCKS on your electric bill - like $20 a month! (if that's not big then send your $20 to Star c/o the Dragon:censored2: Ranch, Cola SC) lol IT all adds up
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hmmmmm. Some of this is "normal" living in our case. lol

    1. turn off all lights, tvs, ect when leaving a room.

    2. No air conditioner. Haven't even run the fans in almost a month (thank goodness we haven't needed to)

    3. computers shut down always at night, plus monitor, and speaker. I'd just do the power strip but then I wouldn't have a phone.

    4. husband has a 12.00 trac phone from walmart and buys prepaid mins. Used only for emergencies as he drives 11/2 hrs to and from work. Kids hopped on the same band wagon.

    5. I use Travis employee discount at krogers. (they're treating him MUCH better) Got a whole cart full for 100 bucks just buying kroger brands.

    6. Suppliment by going to aldi's. easy child and I make the trip together and share the gas.

    7. carpool to school with Nichole with our classes at the same times. (taking turns)

    8. I buy meat cuts that make several meals instead of just one. Example a chuck roast with mushroom gravy one night becomes beef and noodles for the following 2 days. I'll be making alot of homemade soups this fall/winter.

    9. Dog food is being supplimented by table scraps.

    10. I use all the shampoo, deordorant, lotion gifts husband gets from work. (cases of the stuff) What I can't use I give away to those who can and who need it.

    11. There are no more small loads in the washer. It had better be full when it's run. Cold water for everything except whites.

    12. We stopped eating out. I can make the same foods at home way cheaper.

    13. no spontaneous purchases. None. If we can do without it, we don't buy it.

    14. heat won't go above 62 degrees this winter.

    15 when using the oven and it's cold outside, when your done leave the door open to let the heat escape into the room.

    16. Put blankets rolled up at the bottom of drafty doors. Close off unused rooms and close the vents. (lowers heat bill)

    17. In winter leave curtains/blinds open to let the sun help warm the house.

    And I'm tired and that's all I can think of for now. :faint:
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I'm movin' in with Star.
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    My money saving tip is to trade my kids in for hamsters.

  5. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I pack husband a lunch from the previous night's dinner at least three days a week. He works from home at least one day, so his diminished lunch outings have gone down about 60%.

    I buy the majority of Duckie's clothing used. The only possible exception to that is socks, underwear and shoes but those are bought on sale.

    I pick up clearance items throughout the year for gifts. Ex: I bought for 12 Webkinz for $48, I haven't needed to buy a birthday gift in months.

    My bff colors my hair: $8 vs $36 at the local salon.

    I plan trips to the major shopping areas 40 minutes away. I go once a month at most, saves a lot of gas.

    Duckie and I carpool with friends whenever possible.

    husband works from home whenever possible.

    We seal our windows in the winter and use thermal drapes.

    I plan every single meal... I've being doing that since 2005 and have probably saved thousands of $$$ by limiting grocery trips. I also shop at Wegman's for their everyday low prices, but swing into Tops for their sale prices on the way home. I literally carry the Tops weekly ad with me while I shop at Wegman's. I save about $30 a week.

    I say "no" a lot to Duckie because she doesn't need yet another frivolous piece of garbage I'll be throwing out next year.

    husband and I drive our cars into the ground, saves on car payments. My car was bought new in 1999.

    I make a lot of stuff, like teacher gifts... cookies at Christmas, chocolate covered strawberries for Valentine's day... and other homespun gifts for the end of the year. Duckie and I bought some paint, embroidery thread, good glue, colored felt, and googly eyes. We then took a ride to lake and harvested a bunch of flat rocks that we made into decorated paperweights for the twenty-some odd adults she comes into regular contact with at school. They loved it and it cost me about $20, that's less than $1 a gift.
  6. house of cards

    house of cards New Member

    I am trying to teach my crew what a serving size of snack is. I don't buy the single serving size but that isn't a savings if a large bag of chips is gone in one day.

    I work on the lights on in empty rooms

    Lots of soup this fall/winter

    My heat will be set to 65

    getting my oldest off our car insurance

    getting my 2nd born off our phone plan
  7. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    If the meat is not on sale, we do not eat it. It usually has to be under 2$/lb. For the next few weeks, we have pork loin, hamburger, and chicken. I love to cook with chicken breast, but wait untill it goes on sale to buy it. Otherwise it is over 2$/lb.

    I am trying to convince husband to turn the heat down and put on clothes, but the man is so cold blooded it is awful. I wonder if that has to do with the chronic pain? Oh well.

    I try to do errands in a line, or on the way to somewhere. I do not buy mochas (unless I have to people watch for my psychiatric class, coffee shops are great places to people watch).

    Trade the kids for plants, they only take water.
  8. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    I watched a program the other day where they said not only to turn things like computers, etc off, but to unplug them as they still use electricity to keep things like internal clocks going- one woman said her electric bill went from 200 and change down to like 40.00 doing that. I am going to try it to start unplugging. My toaster and coffee maker are unplugged now - that was my start. :) SO complains about having to reprogram the coffee maker every day and I told him to leave it - we don't need to know what time it is via the coffee maker, there is a microwave and oven right next to it which shows the time which are eating electricity even though we are not using them.

    My bill is just outrageous now because I have all of the office equipment - printers, fax machines, not to mention four computers going, mail machine, phones - I wish I could blame air conditioning, but I don't have any. I was doing so well before with just a switch in lightbulbs alone - that had brought it down about 30.00. Went from 80.00 or so a month to three times that. I have light strips in both bathrooms - 6 and 8 bulbs each - they are now down to two. Dining room chandelier has 7 bulbs, that is now down to three. We hardly use the dining room anyway. Kitchen fan lights are off most of the time and at night, there is enough light from the microwave to get a glass of water or whatever. Plus all of these rooms have enough windows - its just a bad habit of going into a room, even during the day, and turning on the lights.

    I do grocery shopping daily now (its only two blocks from my house) armed with coupons and meals are built around whatever is on sale and I can make food with enough for leftovers the next day. Anything I buy on line goes thru ebates first to see if that place has any coupons for that particular store. If you go thru their site, you get cash back which is mailed to you quarterly.

    Costco and Sams are now once a month and I bulk shop on stuff like Pasta. Winco has been added to the list of grocery stores - you fill bags of what you need from barrels. Bird food we now get for 40 cents a pound vrs a few dollars for the same thing from the pet food store. We had been buying the laundry detergent from Kmart for like almost 9.00, and at Winco same thing was 2.99. I hate driving all over creation to shop for food, but such is the times. We have not entirely given up eating out, but now we scan the tons of bulk mail that comes seems like every day. Most times we can find a coupon for our favorite place.

  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hubby and I take our lunches rather than buying.

    Since I don't work every day, if I have to go out for something (physical therapy), I do other errands at that time. There are days I don't leave the house.

    We're buying less prepackaged stuff, and I'm doing more cooking from scratch. I plan for dinner and Hubby's lunch the next day.

    Target has pretty good prices on cereal and other food items.

    We don't eat out as much.

    We're driving the cars till they die, and Hubby's will be paid off in June. Then there will be no more car payments for a while.
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Okay - Let's do the math =

    (easy math b'cuz I hate math)

    If replacing one of the lightbulbs in your home STOPS the power plant from using 200 lbs of coal a YEAR.........

    WHERE is the best deal on these bulbs....?

    Has anyone seen a change in your bill from using them?

    CAN WE REALLY GO GREEN when they are MORE expensive?

    LOVE the idea of not buying meat unless it's under $2 a lb!!
    Love the idea of painting rocks for gifts - must find rocks

    OH and husband had one - that REALLY does make a huge difference in our fuel bill for cars - WEEKLY make sure your tires are inflated correctly - The difference can be as much as 3 gallons a WEEK! (there's 12 Bucks) and it's NOT hard to learn how to do.

    Does anyone compost or raise worms?
  11. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I just thought of another one I have been working at to save gas that really really made a difference. My foot has lost weight. I drive a 94 chevy blazer with a 6 cylinder. Not the best on gas, but it is reliable, has low miles, and is paid for. I started just being easy on the gas pedal, and the amount of miles I get per tank went from 250 to 300. I think my mpg went up about 2mpg or so? I was impressed enough to drive slow, and I was notorious for my lead foot.

    Also keep your vehicle tuned up, and make sure to change air and fuel filters as often as you are supposed to (I don't even know when that is, will have to ask husband)
  12. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Whew! These are some great tips. Here's what we've been up to.

    - Downsized our car to one that's smaller with lower payments, lower insurance, and 1/2 the cost for gas
    - Pack lunches for work AND prepare snack packs for anytime that we're going to be out at meal time. That way we have food on hand and don't have to buy out. (This is mainly because of husband's diet, but it has saved us hundreds)
    - Now that the cold weather is here, I'm cooking lots of crockpot soups and stews
    - During the boom time we stocked both of our freezers. We are now eating through the contents, so we only have to buy perishables such as milk, cheese, eggs and some fruit/veg.
    - Don't buy a lot of pre-packaged foods
    - Didn't turn on the air conditioner at all this summer. Haven't turned on the heat yet. When it gets cold, we bring in some wood from the pile in our backyard and have a fire
    - Chain together errands as much as possible. Costco, No Frills, Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart are all clustered in the same shopping district, so it's fairly simple to get most errands done at one shot.
    - Last winter husband and I did all the snow removal ourselves. We have a long driveway so it's tough sledding, but hiring the bulldozer guy is just too much money. We plan to do the same thing this year.

    A few other things I've been doing...
    - I've been trying to find smaller clients and more of them for my work. The big companies I work for have started laying off contract staff. This way I have smaller jobs to backfill.
    - Taking on some tasks myself that I would normally hire people for (website design and maintenance, putting together marketing materials, etc.)
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Star you can get those lighbulbs anywhere. We buy them at walmart. Not too cheap upfront, but not bad either. And they last a long time. They look like someone twisted the lightbult into a corkscrew shape.

    Some more tips:

    1. If you don't need bright lighting in a room, change bulbs to 40 or 60 watts. If you have a fixture that takes more than one bulb - half the number of bulbs you put in it.

    2. Get one of those water saver shower heads for the shower. (the massaging ones are great by the way)

    3. Buy generic A few exceptions: Most generic peanut butter is gross. Kroger brand however tastes like Jif.

    4. Want to save gas money and get exercise? Buy an old fashioned push mower. (we have one)

    5. Never go shopping if you're hungry.

    6. Hit clearance sales for out of season stuff. (I save a small fortune on clothing this way)

    I'm gonna have to remember that tip about unplugging appliances ect. I didn't think about the microwave ect. lol
  14. Marcie Mac

    Marcie Mac Just Plain Ole Tired

    Star, last time I bought those bulbs were about three years ago at Costco - I can't even remember what they cost, maybe 12.00? 18.00? Only one has burned out so I still have some left. It definately DID make a diference in my bill..about 30.00 or so

  15. Pam R

    Pam R New Member

    A good many of these things I've been doing for the last 20 yrs.

    Because of severe health issues, we've had to clean up our food. But we could not afford to buy organic or grass fed. So we are raising it. Expensive the first year with start up but should be much cheaper next year.

    We're doing grass fed beef, pastured chicken and layers. Also started up the big garden again. When we built 25 yrs. ago, we built a passive solar house, backed up by wood heat. Never been cold in 25 yrs, and not having to worry about it now.

    DS will be moving out by March. That alone will be a HUGE savings. He left for school this morning before I came downstairs and left 4 lights burning. Sigh.

    We make only 3 or less trips off the farm a week. Combine as many errands as possible on a trip.

    Mostly I buy bulk, as coupons are seldom for anything but highly processed, nutrient deficient foods. Have 2 freezers (large), a big pantry, and a root cellar.

    Have tag saled (garage sale, yard sale) aggressively for decades. It's our main survival technique. We buy EVERYTHING we can at them. Seldom shop in stores, except for some food.

    The power strip thing is important. I also do laundry just once a week, and hang it out. Full loads in dishwasher. I use small lamps to light the area I am in. Because of SADS, I use full spectrum bulbs in many of those, but the rest have the florescents.

    We almost never eat out. We bring our meals with us, if we are away from home for any reason over meal times. Have done this for many years, due to food issues.

    Have never had snack stuff around, could not afford it.

    We reuse and recycle as much stuff as possible. We just built the winter coop for the layers for $100. That included a ceiling, flooring, insulation, electric, roosts, nest boxes, and an inner wall of protective hardware cloth. Most of it we had from other things and stored for future use.

    We got 7 rolls of the 4' high heavy duty rectangular fencing with the green plastic coating at a tag sale for $60. Each roll new goes for about $100. It was enough to do the entire chicken yard, and plenty for another project.

    At the same sale, picked up 35# of 16d and 20d nails for $20. They go for $1/lb. Don't need them now, but probably will use them sometime.

    Mostly we just plan way ahead, sometimes years ahead. Didn't even know about storing foods the old way, but thought having crocks to do it might be handy. Been buying them for years. Now it's something I have to do for health.

    I had clothing for DS up to age 12, by the time he was 3, all bought at tag sales or given to me. Was a good thing because he was wearing 12's by the time he was 8-9. Stored it in the 6' x 9' cedar closet.

    So that's how we've survived the last 10 yrs on a single disability income (this equals 60% of a real income). The real test will come in February when that income will be cut by 1/3, when DS turns 18.

    Pam R.
  16. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Pam.........you wouldn't know how to can garden veggies, now would you? We may be having a chat come next year when I put in a garden. :) Or maybe this year if Nichole's boyfriend's Dad keeps sending over his garden extras. lol
  17. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Thanks for starting this thread--I'm really needing to make some cuts and I love the idea of unplugging some of this stuff. I've been really lax because I had no idea how much difference it could make.

    I'm canning savvy so I can help you there, but it doesn't always save you money. Jars can be found secondhand or free but lids, ingredients, electricity for the stove, and keeping the house cool if you use AC can eat up what you think you might be saving pretty quickly. Also, we live in town and our water rates soar in summer so watering a garden puts the kabosh on savings. I do still it for fun and because we like it--for instance this summer my kids did jams and pumpkin butter for the fair. I'm sure it cost more than store bought but the experience was worth it.

    I've been shopping at Kroger and other stores for the clearance items. Yesterday bandaids, calomine lotion, and pain relievers were half price in a bin. Last week I found packages of 10 AA batteries for $1.12.

    Replace nonstick spray with a mixture of 1/2 flour and 1/2 oil brushed on with a pastry brush or bit of paper towel. It works great.

    I shop at the same stores most of the time and being friendly with the staff helps. I'll ask the butcher what she's having for supper tonight or what's the best deals and she's helpful. One of the checkout clerks sometimes points out discounts to me (and visa versa). ie Last spring when I was checking out she asked if I'd seen the candy on clearance since she knew I needed chess club snacks every week.

    There are some things for now that cost more that I'm not ready to give up but I do make adjustments. AC is one of those--I'm dying of hot flashes these days. I do things like put the crock pot out on the deck so it's not heating up the house and do my baking on cooler days when I can. Men in my husband's family have a serious history of heart problems and since my kids love peanut butter, I stick with the reduced fat stuff.

    We don't have cable TV so I buy nearly all of our DVD's at a pawn shop for $3. If it's something I just want to see once I might go with a VHS tape for 50 cents. Periodically we weed them out and I take a stack back and they credit me with about half what they sell them for.

    by the way, I probably saved someone some money last week in the Kroger checkout line. They've started offering a Kroger credit card as you checkout and after the guy had finished his spiel about all the free groceries I could earn I loudly answered "I checked those out online and the late fee is $39 for a balance of $250." :devil:Everyone in line burst out laughing and he looked pretty sheepish. I know he was just doing his job but it's such a rip off.
  18. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I know people who have done really well with this but it wound up costing me in the long run. My youngest was a really big kid who refused to wear jeans until 2nd grade and difficult child had serious sensory issues and needs very specific items to be able to cope. Sadly, my first big garage sale I sold boxes and boxes of clothes that I had bought second hand or at very cheap prices that my kids never used.

    One more clothes tip--sometimes it's worth asking around moms of kids your ages. My daughter is just starting to grow a little chest and a friend gave me a heads up on the Old Navy sports bras which her daughters liked the best and are only $5. Saved me a lot of trouble and no doubt, $.
  19. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I just thought of one I am doing now. Some of the conditioner we buy comes in pump top bottles. They always stop squirting before the bottle is empty. I unscrew the lid, find a squeeze bottle, and put the pump top bottle upside down on the squeeze bottle so it drains into the squeeze bottle and then we have conditioner/shampoo that daughter will use instead of trying to throw it away.
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Family Dollar is NOW selling packs of 10 AA and packs of 8 AAA for $1.00 in our area as a Christmas promotion.


    BEFORE you go to the doctor - check places like

    Walmart, Kmart, Publix for THEIR LIST (available on line) of generic drugs. Most can be had for $4.00 -
    What's the catch?
    1.) You have to KNOW what drug is available in generic
    2.) The participating pharmacy requires a 90 day prescription from the doctor
    * you ONLY have to take /pay for one month at a time
    3.) Not all participating pharmacies have the same medications on "special"

    ALSO right now there are pharmacy wars - MOST places (Kmart, Publix, CVS) are offering a $10 (kmart) to $25 (CVS) gift card if you transfer ONE prescription - if you can do it - you can have it transferred once, get the card - then switch it back the next time and your pharmacist will do all the work and call - ;)

    FREECYCLE - www.freecycle.org - and CRAIGSLIST www.craigslist.com BOTH have FREE areas where you can POST for things to GET RID OF /SHARE and RECYCLE if you no longer want them.....and the WANTED has been GREAT for things we need/can't pay a bunch for.

    It's fantastic for friends I have that have kids - they meet someone somewhere and get free clothes for the kids/selves....nice stuff sometimes, other stuff? Doesn't fit, wrong style - goes to salvation Army

    If we all keep this up we're going to be the greenest board on the web!



    ALSO for those of you who make under the poverty level on wages -

    Check out your local LIHEAP office for a one time payment on an electric bill - there are some requirements - but find out about it - it's free.

    FREE schooling is available throught the WORK FORCE INCENTIVE ACT or WIA - information should be available through your local unemployment office but you do NOT have to be unemployed to get the free college tuition money.


    I get the Sunday Paper - and cut all the coupons out and have found different places to coupon train (You cut yours out - send them to me - I take out what I want put some in, send the rest to the next person) - I stopped doing the trains but have some people that I swap with on a bi-weekly basis - I HAVE NO NEED FOR HUGGIES COUPONS.....see? But I LIVE For CAT FOOD COUPONS....and

    You can actually write MOST companies via their web sites to SEE if they are /can sending out samples, coupons.

    TYPICALLY for those of you who don't coupon - if you WAIT about 3-4 weeks and get ALL the grocery sales ads - the coupons you get today will have maybe one or 2 items on sale - (if lucky) if you WAIT and check the stores - you will have better chance to USE those mature coupons.

    Also REBATES - OMG there are so many rebates out there it's not funny - I got butter sticks for free - you have to be savy and get one rebate per house, so when I get them I buy separate and then send the recipt to a friend who is glad to give me the check when it comes - OR it's a nice surprise for my Mom - when she gets a few checks a month that add up to $10-$12.....all for the cost of a stamp and a rebate. :peaceful::tongue: