Favorite Frugal Tips

justgotabmeJanuary 27, 2007

Hi All! I'm new here and thought it would be fun to start a thread with everyone's favorite frugal tips.

Probably one of my favorites is using store brand liquid fabric softener in a spray bottle so it can be sprayed onto an old washclothe and tossed in the dryer. Once it's been sprayed a number of times you can use it for days or weeks, depending on how much laundry you do, without respraying. You'll be able to tell when it needs it when it feels a bit dry.

So now what's your favorite frugal tip?


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Eat a lot of (store brand) macaroni .. no salty sause nor cheeze...I just cook it up by the bunches with just some margarine and fresh frozen veggies all at the same time. Knowingly make me left overs for the fridge. Cheap low sodium eats, a bit healthy too I think. For a change I mix in some mayo occasionally, chop in some fresh onions for the crunch and have macaroni salad.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 11:06PM
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Keep the furnace turned low, use a couple of electric fan heaters in areas where I spend substantial time inactive, e.g. at the computer.

It seems to me that scarcity of fuel for its various uses, plus the multiplying of carbon dioxide in the air (including the new action that we've been doing of hauling thousands of tons of it up into the high atmosphere in recent years via airplanes), and resultant global warming, is a serious issue that we all need to confront.

Ten years ago I bought a seven-year-old car, 1.5 litre engine, 5 speed tranny, that sipped gas. Ran it for over 8 years, and about 120,000 mi., at initial cost of about $2,600., probably $5,000. or so repairs.

A year ago now I bought a 13-year old Taurus wagon, 3.8 litre, with about 110,000 mi. on it, $2,000., drove it about 12,000. mi., not too hard on fuel, almost nil repairs, was rear-ended by a gravel truck a month ago.

Though it makes no economic sense to repair it, I am considering doing it, for it takes a large amount of precious energy to build a new vehicle, so if I can retread say 20% of the life of that vehicle by using a small amount of materials and quite a lot of work - maybe it's the responsible thing to do, despite the price.

Bought a 14 yr. old Mazda 323, small engine, 5-speed, $2,500. as it's in good shape, that'll be easy on gas.

Was able to pay cash for it, without sweating blood about where I'd find the money to pay for it - and that without whatever settlement the insurance co. may be willing to make.

I prefer to pay $2,000. for an older car in good condition - fortunately, I've come to know some skilled mechanics during my (almost 78) years of life - and they help me pick 'em. Rather than $20,000. or so for a newer one.

If I get two or three such vehicles before running into a lemon (or one that the police repossess as stolen ) I'm laughing.

The repossessing situation is somewhat less frequent in our province in recent years, for private sellers must provide an officially provided history of ownership to the buyer.

When I ask new car salespeople whether they can provide me with about 100,000 miles of service for about $5,000., they just look at me and laugh.

Or snort a bit ... and walk away.

Suggestion: check my Christmas gift that I offered to everyone here, at Christmas - it'll be about pp. 15 - 20 now, no doubt, for some ideas that should save you hundreds, more likely thousands, during your lifetime.

Look upon your frugal activities not as a chore - but as a game, that requires some creative ingenuity, folks.

ole joyful


    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 2:27AM
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My old car bit the dust and as an older woman who lives in the middle of no where. I bought a new car. But i bought an 06 demonstrater after the 07,s came in. Saved $8000 and still had 30000 mi. warenty

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 8:32AM
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I had savings and bought a four-year-old car for cash. Better gas milage than the twelve-year-old car that was totalled.

We haven't had a car payment since 1985.

Don't use fabric softeners at all. We have a front loading washer, not the fancy brand, the cheap one. Although Sister who works for the utility company said we'll never recoup the extra money we spent to get a front-loader on lower hot-water bills. Maybe if we add in reduced use of detergent...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 3:36PM
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It's not a very exciting tip, but it's the one that saves me the most money. Always ask yourself if you really need something before you use/buy it. Usually there is an alternative that makes more sense.

Oh, and don't ever buy disposable anything unless you really have to, it's just like throwing away your money.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 4:27PM
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"Although Sister who works for the utility company said we'll never recoup the extra money we spent to get a front-loader on lower hot-water bills. Maybe if we add in reduced use of detergent..."
When we got the front loaders, our water bill went down 25%. THAT is a huge savings!
And I only use a tiny amount of regular detergent.... nowhere near what is recommended.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 5:21PM
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My parents were from the Great Depression/WWII crowd. The old saying, "Make do, make it over, or do without." still makes good sense for those of us who are frugal. It goes along with bry84's suggestion.

I purchase food that is as close to nature as possible so that I only pay for mininal processing and little to no packaging. I also keep to a set amount for groceries - $50(US) for two adults.

When weather allows, I use a solar oven for cooking and baking.

Make your own cleaning and laundry products - they are cheap and better for the environment. Such as:

Homemade Scouring Powder:
1 c. baking soda
1 c. borax
1 c. salt
Use as you would any commercial scouring powder.

Make things last as long as possible. This means using polish on shoes, cleaning and waxing cars, removing stains from clothes before laundering, dyeing all your black clothing using Ritz Dye when they start to fade instead of getting rid of them, etc.


    Bookmark   January 28, 2007 at 5:33PM
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bry84, i sure agree with you on not using disposable things. not only do they cost more but they add to the rocky mt. high garbage pile that polutes everything.
grainlady,will have to make your scouring powder. have used just plain baking soda for scouring. Also dilute my washing powder with it as it cleans better than plain washing powder.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 11:37AM
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Best thing I did was to buy a solid and adorable but undervalued home in a not-so-great area of the city in 1988--for $50,000. I was 29 years old and it was somewhat of a bold move for a single female. Paid it off in 12 years. Meanwhile, the urban neighborhood grew much more stable (even desireable), 1920s bungalows are now in demand, and the house is now worth 5x's what I bought it for. Meanwhile, since paying it off I've been socking the money I spent on the mortgage into a retirement plan. Without a mortgage I've also been able to afford to travel, fix up the house, and do all sorts of other things (with careful planning) that many of my over-mortgaged, keep-up-with-the-Jonses acquaintances cannot afford.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 5:43PM
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Yard sales/ garage sales Thrift stores has saved me a ton of money over the years. I clothed my youngest child from birth to age 10 when she out grew kids clothing for 300.00 by resaling what she had outgrown and going out and buying more clothes at the garage sales. With the price of gas now tho I wouldn't drive near as far as I used to.

Last summer less than a mile from my house I stopped at a garage sale had loads and loads of boys clothing. I now have a gbaby. I restrained myself only bought a box that was a 3 foot square for 25.00. The next day I had to go to store and stopped by the sale again the woman had so many boys clothes I couldn't hardly tell anything had been sold yet. I asked her how much for the rest of the boys clothing? I walked away with another 8 boxes a 3 foot square for 30.00! All name brand stuff from baby gap disney store, carters, oshgosh etc and I have clothes up to size 5. They are sorted by size and stored in boxes with moth balls and cedar in my dotters shed till needed.

Then another sale not a half mile from me was a day care going out of buisness. I bought a truck load of TOYS and books got a little tikes picinic table, couple of push toys and ride on toys all in good condition too. Along with a complete set of Beatricks Potters and Winnie the Pooh books another complete set, a few puzzles and smaller toys all for 8.00

Also last summer I bought paper back books at yard sales most I walked to or was driving by anyway. I usually got the books 2 for a quarter. It did not matter to me if I was going to read the books or not tho some of them I did read. There is a used book store near me that I trade books at. I get 1/4th the cover price when I sell books and I buy at 1/2 the cover price. I used the yard sale books as books to sell to feed my reading habit on the books I want to read. Considering I have no more than 25 cents in any book I got at the yard sales the cover price on the paper backs has been no less than $6.50 and I get 1/4th of that for selling the books I not doing to bad on feeding my reading habits. Yes the library is still cheaper but then I'm limited to reading the book in X amount of time and might end up making a special trip out to return book or books.

If I don't need to go no where I don't start the car and drive no where.

Fabric dryer sheets get torn in 1/4ths for most loads here.

I use white vinegar for almost all my cleaning.

The notebooks and folders that my dotter has leftover at the end of the school year become my paper and folders for my use. I don't care if the notebook isn't full or the folders don't look new anymore.

Always stock up on school supplies just before school starts while they on sale.

Rarely do I buy anything that is not on sale. When I find an item on sale or clearance that I know I'll use I usually buy more than 1. Once bought 25 white tank shirts all my size for 25 cents each new off the store rack. I dyed a few of them other colors. I still have a stack of new ones from that bargain in my closet and I bought those things almost 10 yrs ago.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 5:02AM
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When I get to the end of a bottle (sauce, BBQ, dressing) I simply add water, shake, and use it as marinade.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2007 at 11:07PM
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Most of the stuff that you buy at goodwill, yard sales, etc. come with minimal or no packaging.

The city of Toronto, about 3 million, being crabbed at for a couple of years now for shipping 100s of truckloads of garbage to MI, recently bought a "dump" (yes, that's a 4-letter word, and works out about the same, whether or not you use "dressed up" language to describe it) ...

... about 2 miles from my house.

So - I ask you - please make a substantial effort to cut down on all of that darned packaging.

Which very often is much larger than the stuff that it contains.

Wait minute - it sort of *must be* larger, right?

Tell the manufacturers and stores that you resent all of that, as well.

ole joyful ... for the moment - soon to become "ole joyfoul"

    Bookmark   February 25, 2007 at 1:52PM
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As far as cars go, I prefer to buy a good quality new car, and maintain it well. Last car I had, ran over 18 years, and only had 3 major repairs in all that time. I don't like to buy someone else's problems, nor one that I really don't know how it was maintained. I know too many people who let their oil go more than 2000 miles before changing it, or who simply don't do the necessary routine maintenance to keep their car in tip top condition.

One of my favorite frugal tips--I buy my bar soap way ahead of time. As soon as I get it home from the store, I unwrap it, and put it in a basket, letting it dry for at least 2-3 months before I use it. Not only does it make the closet smell nice, but the 'dried' bars (which are noticeably smaller--about 1/4" thinner), they dissolve much more slowly. You still get plenty of soap for washing yourself, but not as much is simply being washed down the drain. The soap we buy today seems to have a significantly higher water content that that from years ago. And the softer the soap is, the faster it just washes away.

Laundry? I use 1/4 the amout of detergent recommended, warm or cold water, and the shortest wash cycle on my washer. Not only am I saving money on detergent and fuel, but I'm not stressing my fabrics as much, AND I find my clothes are actually CLEANER than using a full amount of detergent (too much residue on clothes) and the longer cycle (which gives the opportunity for dirt to be redistributed on clothes).

Cooking--I generally always plan for leftovers. Whatever I make tonight will be nuked and served again tomorrow--cuts prep time in half, saves energy. We try to use meat as a favoring agent, rather than eating slabs of it. I make meals on top of the range, in a few minutes, rather than putting food in a crockpot or the oven and letting it cook all day, running up the fuel bill. I can adapt almost any crockpot, all-day recipe to one that can be done on top of the range in 20-30 minutes tops (often less). Not only saving $$$, but saving major nutrients that are lost in long-cooking.

We tend to make a few big shopping trips a year to a nearby state that doesn't charge sales tax. We buy all our larger items there, and save hundreds of $$$ that way.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2007 at 8:31AM
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General savings: Buy older (2 to 10 year old Toyota's) one-owner cars with low mileage. Carry minimum insurance (in Florida, this saves mucho $) - put money saved into "car maintenance account" for repairs/accidents)____Buy recycled plastic items. More expensive up front, but last much longer with less maintenance costs (esp. in FL)______Recycle Starbucks foil coffee bags. Great for used kitty litter - residual coffee seems to temper the odor______vinegar only for cleaning_______Use essential oils (in glass containers in a sunny window) instead of expensive room freshener sprays or plug-ins________Re-use spagetti sauce jars for pantry storage ______No "dry clean only" items______Buy used whenever practical. Bought a used $50 lawn mower - still going strong after 3 years!_______Sprout flower seeds rather than buy plants______Use only organic fertilizers (tend to be expensive at first, but less frequent applications)_____Use dish soap & water for pests_____compost kitchen/yard waste - free fertilizer!

Electric savings: Compact flourescent bulbs_____timer on water heater (looking into solar)____use space heaters/fans rather than central unit (BIG savings).

Water savings: Re-use dish and bath water for plants_____ rain barrels______front loading washer (20% monthly savings plus a LOT less detergent use).

Wow, I could probably think of more...

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 10:41AM
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My favorite frugal tip is - no sport shopping. No buying stuff at the dollar store that I wouldn't normally buy just because it's cheap, no trips to the outlet mall to see if there are good bargains (there are, but I'll probably buy more than I need), no QVC and Home Shopping Network.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 7:45PM
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Eat less.

Eating too much food, more than necessary ...

... "don't want good food to go to waste" ...

... and the excess goes to waist.

Leading, often, to health problems later.

Buy now ...

... pay later.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 9:39PM
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My best money savings tip besides "ONLY BUY ON SALE" is not spending change. We put all change in a big jar in our safe, not penny's, and it holds close to $1300.00 when full. It takes about 3 or 4 years to fill it. So far we have filled it 5 or 6 times, It's almost full again and the money is put in our savings account. Penny's we put in a 5 gallon sparklets bottle that I told my grandson he could have when it's full. I don't think I will live long enough.LOL

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 3:49PM
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I was ordering some things from footsmart.com and just before I placed the order I did a search for FootSmart promotional codes. I found one for free shipping on orders over $60 and saved almost $13 in shipping! They have some codes that are good through the end of the month. Below is a link to the codes.

FootSmart sells insoles, arch supports, shoes, ankle supports and things to help with foot care.

Here is a link that might be useful: FootSmart

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 9:48PM
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See something you think you just have to have? Put it down and give yourself 24 hours to think about it. Chances are you won't make the trip back to purchase it.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 9:55PM
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Memo to Not2old,

Suppose you have a full-time employee who has worked for you for 3-1/2 years, who announces that he's tired and is going to sleep - isn't going to come in to work for about 3/4 of a week.

Would you consider such action peculiar?

Working 50 weeks per year (2 weeks vacation) at 40 hours per week, means 2,000 hours per year, which in 3.5 years as about 7,000 hours. He figures that he'd like to sleep for 35 hours, 0.5% of that time.

If you've read my story about teaching kids about handling money, I say that each of our Dollars is an employee - if we send a couple out to buy ice cream, the ice cream tastes great ... and those Dollar-employees worked for us ... just once.

If we hang on to them, they don't ask us to pay them ... actually, they'll pay us, all of the time that we hang on to them, if we manage them skilfully.

It takes 3 - 4 years to fill your change reservoir, let's assume 3.5 years, and assume also that the collection grows on at a constant rate throughout the period.

On the day that you empty your change reservoir and take the $1,300. or so to the bank, the bottle is empty, and only stays that way for a day or so. When it's filled, it is in that condition for only a couple of days. So, on average, there's the equivalent of $650. in that bottle, all of the time, so to speak.

Suppose your total assets are $130,000. That $650.00 is 0.5% of the total asset.

I tell the kids that those dollar-employees work for you as long as you keep them, with one exception ...

... if you put them into the mattress - they go to sleep.

It looks to me as though 0.5% of your assets are sleeping ...

... every day. In a bottle, rather than a bed.

Wouldn't you prefer to put them to work?

Growing at 5%, that's over $32.50 per year, isn't it? (Before taxes, of course).

Better than a kick in the head!

Not only that - those employee-Dollars of ours, sort of like humans, deteriorate with age.

Each of those dollars will buy slightly less at the end of each year than at its beginning. The value of each Dollar deteriorates annually, due to inflation.

So if those dollars just sit there, not only are they sleeping ... they're shrinking slightly, every one of them, each year that they sit there.

Not my idea of skillful employee management!

Can I interest you in a replacement for your Human Resources employee(s)? Looks like they're not doing a skillful job of employee utilization!

Hope you have a delightful week - good wishes to you and yours.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 1:09AM
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