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

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

Postby Linda » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:00 pm

With the economy the way it is, I bet almost all of us are trying to cut back - I know I am. Let's share our collective wisdom.

Laundry
-hanging clothes outside on a clothesline
-washing on cold (I confess I still do diapers on HOT but that's only once a week now)
-only wash full loads
-I don't buy clothes that need special care like handwashing or drycleaning but on the rare occasion my mom sends me some, I generally try washing on gentle in the machine and line drying...usually it works unless it says Dry Clean ONLY.
-my clothesline is homemade - take landscape timbers and set them upright in a 6-8" deep hole (at least). Then Dh found these cool gadgets at the hardware store that let you tighten the rope easily that we fasten to the timbers and run clothesline through. I have 3 sets of lines which hold 2 loads of laundry at a time.

Food
-we're only eating meat once a week (exception being leftover ham or chicken etc...used in another dish), we also eat fish once a week. The other dinners are all bean/pasta/lentil/soup based.
-lunch is leftovers from dinner
-breakfast - we're switching from cold cereal to mostly oatmeal (old-fashioned) or pancakes (I make a big batch up ahead of time and the kids microwave theirs in the morning).
-we drink milk only at meals and I limit us to the needed daily amount. Otherwise we drink water or homemade iced tea.
-I'm gardening...we're already eating lettuce from the garden. I also have broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, turnips and one lonely cauliflower plant growing. We have a wild patch of blackberries as well.

Next?
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Postby April » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:23 pm

Good idea, Linda! The biggest thing I want to take from your post is that I need to learn to garden better! I am counting on Tina to help me do that this year! :grin:

I shop at thrift stores and clearance racks, almost exclusively now. I only buy what I need. Times where I would run out and buy a new dress, I find something I have on hand. I do stock up on things like that (dress clothes) for my kids that I find throughout the year, and keep the next few sizes in their closet.

I skip one shopping trip per month and use up what we have on hand.

I make our lunches instead of having the kids buy.

We have movies in, from the library or what dh gets from Blockbuster. He has the 7.99 per month deal and watches about 10-12 movies a month with it.

Instead of ordering pizza, I get a frozen one from the store. We are all used to it!

I shop at the dollar store for cards, wrapping supplies and lots of other things. Even tiny gifts for people (like V day and such).

Cleaning supplies, I have all but stopped buying them in favor of vinegar and baking soda, so I save a TON there!

We eat lots of cheap snacks, like microwave popcorn and saltine crackers.

When there are sales, I buy girl and boy gifts to put up in my closet for birthday gifts. Someone here gave me that idea and I love it! Clares boutique is a great one for this- what girl doesn't love a purse filled with little toys, jewelry, etc?

I cut wayyyy down on my kids expectation of gifts. I get lots of them at our Goodwill store (new, they have a huge new section). I am arming the easter basket with things already).

wash our own cars instead of going to the car wash. Yes, in winter- but only 25 degrees plus!

My main saving money thing is going to Goodwill regularly. Keeping a list of things I need and invariably finding it, brand spaking new, there. Like the comforter set I bought for alex for 8 bucks that was from Target for 40-plus.


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Postby Nancy » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:27 pm

I have lined dried ALL my clothes ALL the time for years. I can't bring myself to actually use the dryer to do more than fluff for about 10-15 minutes.

I even have racks that I use for socks and undies (when I do a load of whites).

I'm anal that way.
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Postby Sue » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:49 pm

April wrote:We eat lots of cheap snacks, like microwave popcorn and saltine crackers.


We eat a ton of popcorn and I have just one thing to say: Stop buying microwave popcorn.

Think of the nasty orange oil and all of the preservatives in it ...ick!! Instead, buy a Whirley Pop popcorn popper. Don't buy a cheap imitation of this type, the pan is too thin and your popcorn will burn and you will get mad at me. You can get a Whirley Pop at Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond (although it's cheaper at Target, although maybe not with the BBB 20% coupon).

Unpopped popcorn is really cheap (Orville Redenbacher's is good, but more expensive) and you can use healthier oil to pop it. Plus it's fun. Not to mention it tastes so much better than microwave and is tons cheaper.

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Postby ann » Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:50 pm

I like my air popper even better than my whirly pop (which broke after about 8 years of near-constant use) :)
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Postby Sue » Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:54 pm

ann wrote:I like my air popper even better than my whirly pop (which broke after about 8 years of near-constant use) :)


True, true. I have an air popper too. Either one is better than microwave IMHO.
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Postby Tammy » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:21 pm

Linda, I have been washing in cold for a long time now. I began as a means of being kinder to the environment, but I have found that it really does make a difference on the budget, too! My frontload washer is a lot better on the wallet, too. The clothes come out *almost* dry, because it uses less water and spins so much of it out. This makes it so things dry much quicker.

And like you, I do my best not to buy anything that needs dry cleaning. In addition to the cost of the cleaning itself, I hate having to drop everything off and pick it up again. We are saving on gas for that, too. I have found that many dry-clean only garments and linens can be washed at home if you are careful about it. I can't tell you how many times I have washed and dried our down comforters. I don't have a clothesline, but I use a wooden drying rack for many things. I find that it makes them last much longer, as well... Fleece, for example, does not end up pilling if you let it air-dry. An employee at L.L. Bean once told me the worst thing in the world for fleece is a clothes dryer.

Like you, April, I do a lot of sale/clearance shopping and have recently committed to only buying what I need. If I must buy something, it has to be on sale or be bought with a good coupon. I am also working on not getting reeled in by the "but it's such a good deal" thing... If it's not needed, it doesn't matter how much of a deal it is. (I am feeling really empowered by the streamlining effect of all this -- much less clutter around the house, in closets, etc.) Also, when I do have to buy clothing, I am trying everything on before making a decision. No more items that are pretty but live in the closet because I don't like the way they feel or how I look in them!

For groceries, I always shop with a list and plan menus for the week that use similar ingredients, especially when perishables are needed for a certain recipe. I am finding that when I cook ahead on Sundays for the week ahead, we eat out much less. Apparently, time has been a big factor in the decision to eat out for us. I don't know why I didn't realize that sooner. I also buy a lot of store-brand items, but I keep an eye on unit prices, Occasionally, the name brands are cheaper, believe it or not.

We have an upright freezer in our family room, and that comes in enormously handy for saving money. I can make things ahead for the month instead of just the week, and we can always go an extra day or more before shopping if need be. Our local grocery store has really good flatbread frozen pizzas, so I also stash a few of those down there, so when we get the urge to order pizza, we already have something good (and much healthier) on hand.

Has anyone seen a new device that you can plug your household appliances into to measure how much power each item drains even when it's off? These 'vampire' appliances can make a huge difference in your electric bill. Our local library has one of the units, but there is a waiting list for it.

I'm finding that a lot of the ways to save money are creating more fun and family time... like popping popcorn at home and watching movies on the small screen -- or playing games instead. Last night Alec and I played Upwords for about an hour and had a blast. I was so glad I said no when he asked to play Webkins beforehand.
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Postby Angel » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:17 am

oh what a great thread. :)

i do a lot of thrift shopping too. i try not to buy clothes unless we really need them, or if there is a good sale for the future for the kids.

i am determined to actually grow some food this spring/summer in my garden. i really missed it last year and wish i would have tried harder(even though i was preggo! lol). i know it's not going to be this year, but i'm going to be buying some fruit trees and berry bushes to plant that will help feed us in several years when they become mature. :) we have a pear tree that bears tons of fruit. this year i will be more proactive in picking and storing/freezing some. i would like to expierment with a little growing space in my basement(or somewhere in the house) with some grow lights down there. i would love to be able to grow things like lettuce and maybe tomatos and such year round. i have no good south facing windows. :(

i try to cook a lot of our snacks/meals. linda, i think we need to start eating less meat too. that is such a good point. i don't know if i could get dh on board, so i will have to cut down on the amount i usefor each meal to make him feel like he's still getting some. lol

oh we love popcorn! i have an air popper(we don't even own a microwave cause i'm weird about them). we put olive oil and mineral rich sea salt on it! so yummy and very good for you. mmm i think i want popcorn tonight.

april, we've been borrowing movies from the library too. we cut our netflix down to two movies a month, but that is getting canceled this month. we take advantage of broadcast tv(we don't have cable) and dh still likes to buy a movie now and then. we really don't need to be watching too much tv anyway. :grin:

cleaning supplies and personal toilitries i make myself.

i will start hanging clothes outside now that is starting to warm up. i think i will put out another line so i can hang two loads at a time out there. if i had more room inside i'd hang in here, but even as it is my w/d are right in the middle of my kitchen. lol there's just no room.

i'm making all kinds of toys for the kids. :grin: it's not really helping the older kids with their toy addictions, but at least i know rowan has safe simple alternatives to the expensive plastic world.

i'll come back if i think of more.

this wouldn't post last night, so i'm back this morning.

i have one more thing to add! last night/this morning i made my own rice milk, and it was really good! that will save a ton of money! i can make it for about $0.50/quart even with adding things in (like agave nectar, vanilla, ground flax, coconut oil) sure beats the $4 i was spending! i've finally got gabriel drinking it now(i stopped buying cow's milk a long time ago, but he was refusing to try the rice milk lol). i'm going to get some liquid calcium tablets and add that too for an extra boost. :)
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Postby Lesley » Fri Mar 13, 2009 7:29 am

Angel would you please post how to make rice milk? Molly and I love it but it's very expensive.
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Postby Lora » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:43 am

Great ideas ladies!

Linda, thanks for starting this thread, BUT do you have to talk about your garden???!!! You're eating from it and we still have snow and frozen ground and lakes! LOL! (I'm just teasing in case you were wondering.) Last time we did a garden it was a wonderful source of food for the thriving bunny population here. Sigh....Maybe we'll try again. We'll see. We have such a short summer season which makes it hard to put a lot of work into getting one started and with the need to fence it from kids feet and wildlife and the fact that DH likes his grass, it's a tough decision. We do have good farmer's markets at least!
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Postby Anna » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:54 am

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


Staying home. It's saves the most in the shortest period of time.

Otherwise, I'm pretty thrifty.
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Postby WorkingMomx3 » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:58 am

Waah! I miss my garden. Now that our homeowners association owns the property behind us, I may try to squeeze in a small plot there even though I know it may get mowed over.

I wash in cold (except towels sheets and some of Colin's stinky hockey gear). I don't run the dishwasher or washer unless it's full. I cut coupons and go through the grocery advertisements. Since I have a freezer, I buy beef, pork and chicken (DH does Atkins) in bulk when it's at a good price. I use coupons for as many things as I possibly can. I shop Target's clearance endcaps. I watch for things I need on Slick Deals. We have programmable thermostats and use them. I don't heat above 69 degrees and I don't cool below 78 degrees. I don't open the window blinds unless it's above 40 degrees and sunny during the cooler months. Then I only open south facing window blinds. I also keep the blinds closed during the heat of the summer. I have spreadsheets of our gas/electric/water usage so that I can see if usage is going up/down or remaining the same.

I compare gas prices as I'm out and I also check places like GasPriceWatch.

I drink tap, not bottled water. (Keeping up with my fluids for WW)
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Postby Tammy » Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:39 pm

Thought of something else I do that saves us a little $.

I made this change when I couldn't find any soaps that weren't antibacterial. (I don't like using that stuff.) Instead of buying the liquid soap that is sometimes around $7 for a large container, I buy bubblebath and refill all my liquid soap dispensers with that instead. I love the ones with fruity scents, so I usually go with a melon or berry, and each time I have to wash my hands, they end up smelling nice. It's also A LOT cheaper.
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Postby Angel » Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:51 pm

Lesley wrote:Angel would you please post how to make rice milk? Molly and I love it but it's very expensive.


well, i'm afraid it was not as much of a success as i thought it was. it did not pass the kid test. lol i think i watered it down too much? i had it thicker earlier when i had some on my cereal, i thought it was too thick so i watered it down some more and that is what they got.

anyway, it was not hard to make, just boil rice in water(i used 1/2 cup brown rice to 4 cups of water) simmer covered for about 40 min? then you let it cool and puree it in the blender. i added a glass of water to it. after that you need to strain it. i used a wire mesh tea strainer and did it in bits. they say you can pour it in cheese cloth and then squeeze. i then added in all the other things and mixed it up again. there are lots of recipes and directions online if you do a search for rice milk recipe. :) there are several you tube videos too!
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Postby April » Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:26 pm

Holy cow!! I just came from the biggest Goodwill Emporium I have ever seen! It is new, it is the size of a small target! Wow! New stuff galore! I almost dropped over when I walked in.... so now I may have to find a new way to KEEP myself from spending too much there, LOL

Thought I would share... found two spring/fallish type coats for dh for 10 bucks total. New, WT.


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Postby Stephanie » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:01 pm

Turns out that in an effort to eat better, I am saving a considerable chunk of money. We are working very hard to eliminate processed and non-whole foods from our diet. Call me a crazy conspiracy theorist, but esp. after the most recent peanut butter deal, I lost trust in the food industry and have been giving a second thought to how/what we eat.

After reading this article: http://www.westonaprice.org/moderndisea ... rance.html
on the history of grain with a focus on celiac/gluten intolerance I was even more convinced to do away with refined flour in our home. I bought a wheat grinder and cannot believe how wonderful whole wheat bread from fresh wheat tastes!! Once my grain order arrives, I will be able to make a loaf of bread for under $1 per loaf.

Based on that article an many other web and book based information I have been reading, I do not have a single box of breakfast cereal in my house right now! Oatmeal is super cheap per meal and if soaked the night before, whole oats can be cooked in minutes. They taste amazingly better than the quick oats I am used to. And I am told that flaking your own oats from oat groats tastes even better. Not there yet. I also found a recipe for overnight blender batters for pancakes or waffles. They are the lightest, yummiest waffles I have ever eaten!

I have started ordering bulk foods though a local co-op. I am anxiously awaiting my organic frozen berries that will be delivered straight from Oregon. The price per pound was as cheap as non-organic bought in the grocery and MUCH cheaper than buying organic frozen berries.

I ordered enough grains to last at least a year and they will be delivered from the Montana grower next month. The cost is considerably less than any store bought alternatives (flour or whole grains) and the health and taste benefits of freshly ground is unbelievable, I have recently discovered.

Making a meal plan for the week and then sticking to it has also helped us trim hugely from the overall food bill because we are rarely going out to eat. Even though I am now shopping at the more expensive Whole Foods, our overall grocery bill is way down esp. when you consider all the convenience/processed foods we have cut out.

I am in the process of getting the garden in. I am not sure how cost effective it is cause texas is not a gardener's paradise, but when I found some heirloom tomato transplants this week, my debate on whether or not I was planting this year was over. Heirlooms won hands down!! I am still craving the amazing tomatoes from the farmers market in Oregon. I plan to make pesto like it is going out of style this summer and hopefully will win the rabbit war so I can have enough beans to freeze a few. [Lora, I discovered that minced garlic was the most effective on winning the rabbit war. Hopefully the new cats will help as well.]

Oh and I almost forgot about our cow! May he rest in peace....in our freezer and feed us for the next 6 months to a year! LOL Now I know I got a great deal because my BIL's father sold us a cow for what he would have sold it to the feed lots for. It was a pastured, grass fed cow that we split with my sister and BIL. For around $350 I have 1/2 of a cow (something like 200 lbs) in my deep freeze!
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Postby WorkingMomx3 » Sun Mar 15, 2009 7:43 am

Stephanie wrote:Oh and I almost forgot about our cow! May he rest in peace....in our freezer and feed us for the next 6 months to a year! LOL Now I know I got a great deal because my BIL's father sold us a cow for what he would have sold it to the feed lots for. It was a pastured, grass fed cow that we split with my sister and BIL. For around $350 I have 1/2 of a cow (something like 200 lbs) in my deep freeze!


That is what we used to do when we lived in Wyoming. It was easy to have someone raise a cow for us. We also would get a lamb. That and the commissary was why we got a big freezer. I miss fresh beef and lamb.
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Postby Tina » Sun Mar 15, 2009 10:14 am

Planning is my #1 money saver. If I try to wing it, I always end up spending more. I make everything from scratch that I possibly have time for. Some day I may buy a bread machine so I can make my own multi-grain breads. Dh's friend gave us a deer and we only had to pay for the processing ($65). We got lots of venison steaks, tenderloin, chops and roasts. Delish- and what a deal! We VERY rarely go out to eat. We VERY rarely go to the movies, unless we have free tickets. When we do I bring snacks. I try to buy as much in bulk as possible. I don't/can't use coupons because it's rare that they have them for anything we buy/eat/use. I can't wait to get started on my veggie/herb garden this spring.

You know I could save tons of money if my kids didn't eat so dang much. Where do they put it all??
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Postby ruffages » Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:05 pm

Stephanie wrote:

Based on that article an many other web and book based information I have been reading, I do not have a single box of breakfast cereal in my house right now! Oatmeal is super cheap per meal and if soaked the night before, whole oats can be cooked in minutes. They taste amazingly better than the quick oats I am used to. And I am told that flaking your own oats from oat groats tastes even better. Not there yet. I also found a recipe for overnight blender batters for pancakes or waffles. They are the lightest, yummiest waffles I have ever eaten!



Hey Stephanie...I JUST got off the phone with my dad. He was telling me that he heard a great recipe for oatmeal...he said you cook it in apple juice then top it with apple sauce, honey and cinnamon and it is FABULOUS. Thought I'd pass that one on. I'd LOVE to have your overnight batter recipes. My kids LOVE pancakes (I keep buttermilk in the house JUST for this purpose) and waffles and having that on hand to just cook up would be awesome.


I plan to make pesto like it is going out of style this summer and hopefully will win the rabbit war so I can have enough beans to freeze a few. [Lora, I discovered that minced garlic was the most effective on winning the rabbit war. Hopefully the new cats will help as well.]


I make and freeze several batches of pesto each summer. I'm amazed at the number of things I will add a couple tablespoons of pesto to that make take it to a different level. Even in stuff like deviled eggs. I also can my own spaghetti sauce.

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Postby Nancy » Mon Mar 16, 2009 5:55 am

My DH just tilled up an area for a garden. Not huge, but compared to last year (when we had a few plants squeezed in near the compost pile), it will be much improved. We won't plant tons - only what we will/can eat.

I have always washed in cold. And line dry it all (like I said before).

We eat alot of crock pot meals that are heavy lentil meals. And DH always uses dried beans. They are so dang cheap!

I cut coupons and check out online coupons as well. Try to match those up with store sales. We are lucky to have a big freezer as well, so DH hunts for meat deals and buys in bulk when he can get a good price.
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