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Old 05-11-2009, 12:17 AM   #1
JessicaR
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Ideas for saving money and/or wasting less
Things are tight all over and was just wondering how y'all are pinching pennies. I'm learning new ways everyday and thought I'd be great to get everyone's input from here!

Tonight, as suggested in a Consumer's Reports mag, I cut all my dryer sheets in half. I usually try to use them at least twice, but this just makes it easier! I also use those daily facial clothes and cut those into fourths, they are still big enough to do the job. I buy pop top type bottled water every 2 months or so and refill them. They eventually get misplaced, or chewed up by a dog, then what's left is recycled. Milkbones started getting broken in half because I still give all of them potty treats. We haven't been out to dinner in forever and we order pizza a lot less. We actually broke our Pizzazz pizza oven we use it so much now.
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:21 AM   #2
Jan in CA
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Here's what I do -
  1. I drink tap water and use reusable bottles
  2. Run full loads only in the dishwasher
  3. Turn water off when brushing teeth or doing dishes
  4. I don't use facial cleansing cloths I use liquid face wash and my hands or a washcloth
  5. Use generic when I can
  6. Eat out less often
  7. Use coupons when I can find them
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Old 05-11-2009, 09:09 AM   #3
Simply_Renee
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We are definitely feeling the crunch- & here is how we save money.

Food:
I shop at Save A Lot (a discount grocery here) as well as the local store. Some of the deals are better at the regular store, so you have to be careful. I also cook 99.9% of the time- we don't eat out much at all. (Eating out is a killer for wasting money.) We also drink tap water- and iced tea because it's cheaper & better for you than pop. I also buy meat in bulk- see if a local church does Angel Food Ministries (or something like it- where everyone goes in together & buys it wholesale, then the cost for it is much cheaper. We do this once a month and can get close to a week of groceries for $30.)

We also don't eat meat every day- a few veggie dinners really lower the food bill. Tonight we're having taco soup (2 cans of Rotel, corn, pinto beans, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 pack of ranch mix & 1 pack of taco mix. Don't drain anything- just throw it all together & serve w tortilla chips & cheese & a dollop of sour cream.) It's great & cheap. You can add meat but tonight we're not.

I do use coupons- but only for stuff I buy anyway. Sometimes name brand stuff is cheaper than the generic with a coupon. I also use generic most of the time. (except for certain things, like laundry detergent- because I tried that and ended up not being able to get some stains out & ruining a bunch of clothes.)

Travel:
I combine errands on 1 or 2 days a week so I am not making tons of little trips. We also buy gas at the cheapest place & use their gift card to fill up. We also like to pack a cooler on trips.

Utilities:
We have one small window AC unit that only gets used when it's desperate or we have people over, and in the winter we set the thermostat on 60 degrees. (kids, get a sweater already!) The windows are open from spring to fall.

We are slowly changing over to the energy conscious bulbs as they burn out.

Household items:
We make do most of the time with whatever we have. (I don't even have a dishwasher) Freecycle is a great way to get new things that are needed as well as bless others with what you don't need. I love it!

Clothes:
We buy almost all of our clothes at thrift stores or places like Ross or Burke's Outlet. The clearance sales are great- I got a wardrobe of shirts for the kids at 2.99-4.99 each. We also don't have very many clothes- they're unnecessary and just clutter up our house. Even the teenager is cool with this and is very creative at creating her own style with accessories (most of which she makes.)

Entertainment:
We never get a babysitter- I trade off with friends. Usually our "dates" are watching a movie after the kids are in bed. We also do a lot of free or low cost things, like festivals, going to the park, etc. Kids are happy hanging out with friends, or sometimes if it's really hot we'll head to the mall and ride up & down the escalator over & over (this makes the 6 yr old ecstatic!) or something similar. We went "skating" in the kitchen with socks and soapy water- kids loved that too. We don't usually do movies but do the Blockbuster Online thing to keep hubby happy. We also like board games. We use our library a lot too.

If something is expensive and important, we do it. (for example- we travel to CA & NY to see family and took a trip to Europe last year.) If it wasn't for being able to live frugally, we never would have made it. We also have a pretty cool computer & fun games, I have my yarn, & the kids get that toy or dress they're dying to have on occasion. We do our best to prioritize and spend wisely. I know we're a little weird, but saving money is kind of fun.
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Old 05-11-2009, 03:59 PM   #4
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I try to use multiple use products for everything. Example, I used to have 3 or 4 different lotions, one for my hands, one for my feet, one for everything else and one heavy duty one. Now I just have one huge bottle of Vaseline brand lotion i bought with 2 coupons for everything except my face.

I use Simple Green for everything from the floors, to the bathroom and counters and the laundry.

I buy Purex laundry detergent when Target has the extra 30% free bottles with a coupon.

We rarely ever eat out and when we do it's never an expensive place.

I get books, movies, and magazines from the library.

This may upset people but the laundry mat I use (right next to my apt) has unsecured wi-fi so I use that instead of ordering my own. Also, we don't have cable.

I shop at a store called Sprouts that always has really good deals on fruits and veggies and a lot of bulk items. I bought fruits and veggies for 2 people for 2 weeks for about $35.

I buy things like oatmeal, rice, nuts, and dried fruits in bulk when I need them. They had oatmeal 2 pounds for a dollar a couple of weeks ago at sprouts.

I buy meat only when it's on sale and I try to go for the managers special. This is meat that only has a few days left on the expiration but if I cook it in the next couple of days then it's fine. I've made huge roasts in the crockpot for less than $4.00 this way. And, it feeds 2 people for at least 4 meals.

We don't have an AC and since we're in SoCal now in a proper house (our apt is the 1st floor of the house) we don't turn on the lights. Our electric bills are like $10 a month.

Even with yarn. I found a store near my house called Twist I think it's in Manhattan Beach. She has very beautiful yarns at very reasonable prices because she buys directly from the yarn Co-ops in Central and South America. So you're saving money and helping people in need.

There are lots of things you can do you just have to be a little creative.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:07 AM   #5
LadyFirelyght
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I...

Shower with my hubby (ooo la-la!)
Use a quarter-sized amount of shampoo for my mid-back length hair
Use the same amount of conditioner
Only do laundry when I have a full load
Hang heavy items up to dry most of the way before putting them in the dryer to "fluff".
Use only a partial pump from the soap dispenser at home (half of the soap falls off anyway if I use a full pump!)
Reuse any packaging I get in the mail from things I've ordered. I haven't had to buy boxes or packing materials in a couple of years.
Reuse gift wrap/boxes/bags and tissue paper
Check online for my local grocery stores' weekly ads.
Go to www.slickdeals.net for other deals
Knit in the dark
Turn off computer if I'm not using it for more than half an hour
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:43 AM   #6
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I'm not living in US, but i do a few things to save money, especially now, that hubby is unemployed. We buy clothes rarely and only on sale. We don't have huge discount clothes stores like in the States, and those we have - i rather not buy there, because the clothes fall apart after 2 washes. I buy only basic food, with no extras. We buy veggies and fruit at the market. Meat if only on sale, the same with fish. I turn the lights off everywhere i'm not present at the moment. The same with water - shorter showers, no dishwasher, full load in the machine on half cycle. No yarn, unless it's a present, no models for hubby.
The only thing i'm not saving on is food for our pets - they get the best!
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:21 PM   #7
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Great suggestions from everyone!

We use cold water for all of clothes washing.

Also, for things that we use regularly (pet food, recycled paper products, etc), I use Amazon's subscription service. No delivery charge, and an extra 15% off their price. Their base price is usually better than our local stores anyway, they have a lot of things I can't find locally, and saves on errands.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:41 PM   #8
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Ahh...great thread!!

I've been laid off twice since October, so pinching pennies is the name of the game.

We installed three retractable clothes lines in the garage. I have dogs that would have a field day if I tried hanging clothes in the back yard. We rarely use the dryer...the only one who did was severely reprimanded (the hubster). During the first two months of not using the dryer and adjusting the thermostat, we saved $100.

I try not to turn on the air, but I live in north Florida, and it's very humid here. I've relented to turning it on at night with the setting at 80. It's cheaper to run the ceiling fans than the AC. We froze during the winter but whatever.

We only wash clothes in cold water and, like others said, only full loads. We've starting unplugging our small appliances after using them.

We plan our meals every two weeks...as soon as my dh gets paid...and grocery shop around the meals. I know it's saved tons of money as we used to eat out a lot.

I've gone down to generic dog food. The kids do my grocery shopping for me, and they compare prices to get the best deals.

I've learned to search online for coupons for yarn stores. They're out there, and if you're trying to make gifts for people, well worth the hunt.

We cut down our cable service to the basic. I really want to get rid of it, but my dh would freak. It's his down-time, and he doesn't have hobbies, so what can I do? We also cut out the paper subscription last year.

Oh, and I've discovered that baking soda cleans almost anything! Such a cheap alternative too!

There are many ways you can cut...a little goes a long way.
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:10 PM   #9
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How to make 1 chicken last for 3 meals:

Remove breasts and use them for one meal. You can stretch 2 breasts into a meal for 4 by using them in a cassarole or stir-fry application.

Remove legs and use them for another. 2 legs & 2 thighs for 4 people, especially if 2 of them are children.

Use remainder to make chicken broth and use for a third. You can even pick any leftover meat from the bones and use it if you like. I add carrots, celery, onions, and herbs to the stock pot to make a rich broth, and use the broth to season beans, or make soup.
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Old 05-13-2009, 02:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by MoniDew View Post
How to make 1 chicken last for 3 meals:

Remove breasts and use them for one meal. You can stretch 2 breasts into a meal for 4 by using them in a cassarole or stir-fry application.

Remove legs and use them for another. 2 legs & 2 thighs for 4 people, especially if 2 of them are children.

Use remainder to make chicken broth and use for a third. You can even pick any leftover meat from the bones and use it if you like. I add carrots, celery, onions, and herbs to the stock pot to make a rich broth, and use the broth to season beans, or make soup.
Exactly what i do! If i make a whole chicken in the toaster oven, it's enough for 3 days too.
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