What are you doing to save money and be more thrifty?

Postby Sue » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:37 am

Yesterday I bought 25 pounds of bread flour at Sam's Club for $7.78. Now that isn't a tremendous money saver - given 10 pounds is around $6.00 - but we were always out of flour - it was driving me crazy. The kids bake on their own (cookies, brownies, pancakes, waffles etc) and I'd go to make something and the flour would be gone.

So I made dinner rolls and a loaf of cinnamon bread yesterday which I guess is a money saver because I couldn't have had a dollar in the ingredients and would have spent $5 or so had I bought those things. So I guess I am saving more money than I was thinking. Plus, no preservatives, so that's good too.
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Postby April » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:46 am

To quote Dave Ramsey: Beans and rice, rice and beans.... eating a LOT of it! LOL


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Postby Maelyn » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:58 am

My DH is very thrifty and always has been. Our biggest change has been not going out to eat. We were doing that quite a bit.

I don't wash in cold because of allergens and out new dryer has a steam cycle that can be used in place of dry cleaning and I'm loving that.

DH was so careful with the food bill already and we have both an extra freezer and extra fridge so we can stock up on things when they are on sale. That really helps.

I've always shopped the sales rack for the boys for the season ahead and I can't remember the last time I paid even close to full price for clothes for them.
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Postby Linda » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:58 am

I have to agree with you April - we're eating lots of beans, rice and lentils, even more than usual. It does help the budget ALOT.

I have Cuban black beans in the crockpot today and we'll serve them over rice for dinner.
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Postby April » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:40 am

Maybe a beans and rice thread of recipes would be in order, LOL


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Postby Stephanie » Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:23 am

April wrote:Maybe a beans and rice thread of recipes would be in order, LOL


Seeing as how I just bought a rice cooker and will soon have 50# of brown rice I could definitely use some ideas!

I am going to start another thread with some links to some great new menu resources I have discovered as well as a link to the blender batters.
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Postby erin » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:44 pm

Just a question for those of you with all the pasta, grains etc. do you notice any problems with weight?

We need to cut back on our food budget, meat is a huge thing in our family, but, replacing it with pasta, beans, rice etc, but I am worried about it being an issue with our weight. DH and I struggle enough with our weight and Jacob doesn't gain enough weight as it is.

I am enjoying washing on hot and using my dryer ;) BUT we don't pay electricity at all here.

The major areas I can see saving money would be things like paying down our credit cards faster and getting rid of that. I have some higher interest credit cards we we are seeing if we can get a limit increase on DH's credit card, do a cash advance, pay off my high interest cards and then pay down DH's card (his cash advance rate is 11.9 my rates are 29%) so paying what I pay on mine onto his will help pay it down faster etc. OH and then cutting up mine or closing the accounts.

I also am finally getting some money from my ex for support, so that is going to paying all the boys stuff so my income and DH's income goes strictly to bills and food.

I am also going to get a new/used cell phone so I can get rid of my internet on my phone (that is almost 60 a month wtih all the data plans) and then switch DH's phone to a pay as you go phone since he never uses it. He really only carries it to play tetris when he is bored.

We are debating getting rid of cable, BUT I dont' know if I want to do that just yet, maybe after the baby is born and i have things to do ;0
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Postby Tina » Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:57 pm

erin wrote:Just a question for those of you with all the pasta, grains etc. do you notice any problems with weight?


I've switched to whole grain breads, pasta and rice. Not cheaper (at least in my experience) but a whole lot healthier. The kids got used to it early on and don't miss the white bread/pasta/rice at all.
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Postby Linda » Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:10 pm

Erin -
We're using whole grains and beans (not the white rice, white bread, white flour, white pasta) so while we're adding carbs, we're also adding fibre. They make us feel fuller than the equivalent amount of a non-whole grain so we eat less than we might otherwise eat. They are also low-fat (or at least healthier fat than meat).
Dh is losing weight (which he needed to do). I am also (albeit not as fast as I would like - darn chocolate). Simon is staying stable weight wise but he also eats like an elephant. Cathleen eats like a bird (but always has) and she's actually filling out a bit lately. Annabelle's weight hasn't changed more than 1 lb since she was 18m and less than 5lb since she was 9m but she's still 90+ %tle and healthy.

Portion control seems to be the key (just like with anything else) - I will say that our current menus are based on the diabetic diet that DH is supposed to be on....they could use a little more fruit each day but I'm working on that.
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Postby erin » Mon Mar 16, 2009 3:19 pm

Good to know Linda, that is just a fear, Dh gains too much weight, he can get kicked out of the military (not good). But we need to do something. Or at least stick to chicken.
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Postby Anna » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:31 pm

Erin, a note on the credit cards. Don't close accounts in good standing. They will help you, not hurt you. To keep your credit score high, you want to be at 30% or less of your limit on your credit cards. Also paying double or triple (or more) shows companies that you can afford your cc payment easily. They are looking at that now. They are looking at debt to income... blah blah blah.

On phones. I finally got rid of the house line and trimmed the cable down to basic which cut the bill more than in half. I did get a majic jack for both ds and myself. LOVE IT!

I'm glad you are getting child support. Finally!
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Postby erin » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:51 pm

Anna wrote:Erin, a note on the credit cards. Don't close accounts in good standing. They will help you, not hurt you. To keep your credit score high, you want to be at 30% or less of your limit on your credit cards. Also paying double or triple (or more) shows companies that you can afford your cc payment easily. They are looking at that now. They are looking at debt to income... blah blah blah.

On phones. I finally got rid of the house line and trimmed the cable down to basic which cut the bill more than in half. I did get a majic jack for both ds and myself. LOVE IT!

I'm glad you are getting child support. Finally!


Oh yeah, I wouldn't actually close the cards, BUT a lot of companies are closing them if you pay them off. So we might look at keeping a very small balance, but we have to see if they will increase DH's limit anyway. ;)
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Postby Anna » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:57 pm

I didn't know that! I have several cards with zero balance. That will tick me off. Grrr...
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Postby erin » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:32 pm

Anna wrote:I didn't know that! I have several cards with zero balance. That will tick me off. Grrr...


Yep, Jerks. But honestly I am sure you have a much better credit score then I do, and wouldn't just frivolusly run up a cc and not pay on it.
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Postby Stephanie » Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:05 pm

Erin, the more I have learned in the last month, the more I am convinced we have been sold (and heavily marketed) a lie in the food we eat. It has been about a month since we started making big changes. White flour has been stripped of all of its nutrition, and furthermore, most is chemically bleached.

I had never stopped to question why I am eating something so far from its natural state that it has to then be fortified just to put a little nutrition back in. When I would attempt whole wheat, it was always a cardboard, bad tasting experience. In retrospect, I now know that it was because whole wheat flour has a very short shelf life once it is ground. The reason I could never handle the taste of whole wheat is because it was rancid.

Like Linda said, eating whole grains is extremely filling because the fiber has not all been stripped out. I wish I could remember where I read about how eating whole grains keeps your blood sugars more regulated and prevents the crash and tiredness of refined foods and sugars. Basically, our body sees white flour as a sugar, but the same is not true with whole grains. I am less hungry and have much more energy than before....seriously, so much so that dh and I opted to start replacing coffee with black and green teas. Not because of any reason other than it takes so much longer to make coffee LOL! But I don't miss the higher amounts of caffeine from the coffee a bit.

As far as weight goes, I had really started to loose tone ever since I had pneumonia this summer. I hadn't gained a ton of weight, but I was loosing muscle and my clothes were not fitting well. We are now drinking raw whole milk (another one of my crazy extreme changes but I recommend reading up on the benefits), after being nearly a lifelong skim milk drinker. That in addition to the grains, I figured I was toast and would gain more weight, however, I am loosing weight with little effort.

The only things I am doing that have contributed to the 5-7 pounds I have lost was about a week of journaling my food and keeping track of calories with a cool iPhone app. I have also been trying to work out but I have not at all been consistent or worked very hard in that area...though dh is setting up our first P90X work out as I type.

I have never had great will-power, but amazingly I am not craving junk. After getting rid of refined white sugar and refined flour along with most other processed foods for only a short period, I now find I don't want to eat them. I have six boxes of girl scout cookies and they taste terrible to me! I think that it helps that we have been making minor diet changes for quite some time, so the getting rid of refined/processed wasn't as daunting of a step to take. It kind of makes me sad that I have a Cadburry cream egg in my cupboard but have no desire to eat it because the last one was so insanely sweet I couldn't enjoy it a bit. For all of you that have never liked them to begin with, this just proves what a drastic change for me this is because I have always looked forward to the day Easter candy appears and I can stockpile some cream eggs!

I know I am going on and on, but honestly, it is because I am in such amazement at what a change we are in the midst of experiencing.

If your interested, this isn't the most compelling of articles I have read, but it was the one that jumped to mind when I read your question about grains and weight issues...
http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/nutrit ... _bake.aspx
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Postby Nancy » Tue Mar 17, 2009 5:56 am

Stephanie - the benefits of raw milk are awesome. We live next door to a dairy and finally got the nerve to convert and loved it. Unfortunately, they stopped milking last summer so we lost our convenient source of raw milk. But it is SO good for you if you drink milk.
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Postby Cheryl » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:02 am

We have changed a lot. We eat out just one lunch a week now as a family. Better meal planning makes a huge difference. Costco. I have started substitute teaching at dd#2's school. It keeps me from spending any money. The kids and I are packing our lunches not eating out. I have canceled my fitness boot camp and will cancel my gym membership when my year is up. Though cheap ($7) a month added on to the JCC membership, I still have a free lifetime one at 24 hour fitness. We use the library more and the bookstore much less. Dh and I shortened our annual kids-free vacation from a week to 4 days and went on a cruise which saved a ton. We are going to do the same this summer with the kids. You still feel you went away at half the price. We cut our cleaning lady's hours in half and are trying to work up the nerve to fire our yard guy. He raised his prices to double this year. We will still hire someone, just someone cheaper and I will take over the job of the flower beds.
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Postby April » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:15 am

Erin, I highly recoomend reading Dave Ramsey's book: Total Money Makeover. He is all about paying off debt, then not worrying about credit but getting things to the point where you won't need credit. It REALLY helped us out! Just to share, dh and I paid off 2/3 of our 26,000 debt (including 2 cards, braces loan and cc) in the past year and a half. In less than a year, our only debt will be our home, and we will refinance that to a 15 year mortgage and will have that paid off in 12. There is no quick answer, it takes a lot of perserverence and keeping your eye on the goal. BUT, we can finally see it and it is amazing.

Now, dh and I don't have to worry about our credit lines, we have cut up and closed them left and right. we can do that because now we have an emergency fund built up for big things, and will be paying for any cars with cash.

He has an awesome show on the Fox Business Network (you get it if you have digital cable) and dh and I watch it together regularly.

Just some random ideas for you, take what you need out of it. 8)


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Postby Esmeralda » Sat Mar 21, 2009 2:51 pm

Like Anna, I have made more of a committment to staying home. That keeps me from using gas and buying unnecessary things. I strive to not drive the car one day per week (and some weeks, I can go 2 days).

When my People magazine subscription is up, I am not going to renew it. That was my birthday gift to myself for the last 2 years, but something I don't really need. I can just go back to checking it out at the library.

We have definitely gotten better about eating at home. And when we go out, no one is allowed to order a soda (unless it is a Mexican restaurant!). That saves a ton of money. Water, please.

Like Linda, I do not drink bottled water -- it's straight from the tap. The kids use a refillable water bottle to take water for their lunches at school.

More nights at home (although we never really went out at lot anyway). The last movie we saw was over Chirstmas break. The EB might bring movie gift certificates in an egg, so that may end soon.

I have always been very good about the grocery -- having a list, shopping with coupons and on sale items, and not impulse buying. I am sure there is room for improvement, but not exactly sure how I would do that.

I still wash with hot water. I want those germs killed!
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Postby jane » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:23 pm

Esme I hear you on the sodas at restaurants. I hate how soda is included in the kids meals. Sometimes I let them but usually it's just milk or water. We also quit buying any pop or chips for the house last fall when DH had borderline blood sugar.
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