give me some tips!

rosessecretgardenDecember 23, 2010

hi all!

I just saw this interesting section of the forum. Money saving tips. I am famous in wasting money and not saving much.

But by the passage of time i am realizing i must save but i really need some good tips to act on that. Can you help me?

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Here's one first step: when you're buying something, stop and ask yourself if you really need it. Maybe walk out of the store and think about it overnight.

Shop with a list. The biggest waste of money in the kitchen is wasted food. Do you toss out old leftovers? Do you scrape a whole meal's worth off the plates after dinner? Preparing too much and not using leftovers wisely is an enormous waste.

That's a start for you. Others are sure to chime in with some great ideas.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 1:30PM
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Have a set amount automatically deducted from your paycheck into savings.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 2:02PM
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I'll say that many people here will tell you to save money by growing a lot of your own food and doing a lot of canning. That's just not always feasible or even fun for many of us, but I appreciate the good tip. But if an idea here isn't appropriate to your own life, don't reject it completely.

Another tip is to learn to shop several stores in one area. I am not talking about driving out of your way, but merely shopping your list for items on sale at one store and then the next. I am amazed at the people who spend so much on groceries and practically brag about it. My menus are based on what's on sale, quite often. If chicken is on sale, we'll be having chicken. But I'm not about to buy non-sale chicken and then complain about the price! (There are always exceptions, usually related to the holidays, like my prime rib for New Years and the duck for the Christmas cassoulet, but the duck was even on sale.)

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 2:15PM
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Roses... I've noticed whenever you participate in a forum, any forum, it's always one short sentence or two to inquire what others do. There's never any opinion or input from you so there's really never a sense for exactly what you're looking for.

When it comes to savings, we all have different ways; we all spend in different ways; we all have different priorities and needs.

What do you feel you waste your money on - clothes, entertainment, "stuff", groceries that are purchased and never eaten and eventually thrown away?

Are you starting to think about retirement and how not to be a burden on others in your golden years? Do you need to make a major purchase?

Sure - the common suggestions that always show upon these forums... make a list of exactly where your money goes. Choose things that can be eliminated. Throw spare change in a jar; get a second part-time job; don't eat out; make your own clothes; grow a vegetable garden. Some or all of that works for somebody.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 2:16PM
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--Save your $1 bills. I always save at least $500 a year, and have saved as much as $1000, just in $1 bills. (Note: we use cash -budgeted amount each week- for nearly all purchases. If you use credit/debit cards or write checks, this may not work as well for you as it does for us). I deposit it into our Emergency/Christmas Savings Account once a month. If you have a Credit Union where you live, open an account there and you'll earn a little more interest than at a regular bank. For folks who collect change, you're missing out on interest by filling jars and not banking it.

--Found money... That's money that has been gifted to you, money from a garage sale, recycling metal and pop cans, doing odd-jobs, rebates, tax return, selling "stuff", etc... Add that to your Emergency/Christmas Savings Account.

--Saved money... I cut my own hair and budget $20 per month to cover the cost. I take that $20 ($240/year) and put it in the savings account. Now I REALLY have saved by cutting my own hair. If you don't bank "savings", you will tend to spend it on something else.

--We live on 2/3 of hubby's income and automatically have the other 1/3 put into savings. When it gets to a certain point we invest it. The house will be paid off in 2011 and we'll reverse those numbers. Live off 1/3 and bank/invest 2/3. We won't require Social IN-Security for retirement because we made the right choices sooner, not later, in life. I have a friend (58) who has never started any kind of retirement fund, although she has had fantastic jobs and an income to match. But she regularly spends $300-$500 a month on her large assortment of pets, hundreds more on her "upkeep" (hair, nails), runs-up every credit card she can get, then refinances the house to pay them off. She will be bankrupt when it comes time to retire and better plan on working for a l-o-n-g time.

--I agree with sushipup - wasted food is the most expensive we purchase. I love using my dehydrator for food that might go to waste. Can't use all that celery, dehydrate it. I buy large packages of discounted mushrooms and dehydrate them. That discounted fruit at the store makes great fruit-leather I make in the dehydrator. I bought a container of discounted fresh bay leaves for 98-cents and dehydrated them. I now have a pint jar filled with bay leaves from that one purchase. I rarely pay full price for ANYTHING at the store.

--I have a set amount for groceries and stick to that amount. Above and beyond all other ways to save money on food, that's #1. Food dollars are only spent on FOOD - not magazines, hair-care products, and the 101 other things people purchase at grocery stores. Non-food items come out of another budget amount.

I spent 18-months building our home food storage (1-year of most foods and 3-years of the "Seven Survival Foods" - grains, legumes, sprouting seeds, oil, sweetener, salt and powdered milk). I had a $200/month budget (for two adults) when I built our food storage. In 2010 I reduced the amount to $150/month. In 2011 I'll reduce it to $125/month. I can do that because of our food storage plan.

--I only purchase food at rock-bottom prices. I try not to spend over $2-pound for meat, and no more than $10/week total. Even a can of tuna can be over $2-pound when you figure the price by-the-pound. A 5-ounce can of tuna at $1.29 = $4.12/pound, while tuna that costs 59-cents a can is $1.88/pound.

--Cook from scratch. Stock your kitchen with ingredients (which tend to be less expensive) rather than convenience foods. The same ingredients you use to make a cake (fat, sugar, flour, flavoring, salt, milk, leavening) you can also make into pancakes/waffles, cookies, quick breads, desserts... I make gifts-in-a-jar type mixes as my "convenience" foods. Vacuum-seal them with a FoodSaver and the jar sealer and you will extend the shelf-life. I mill my own flour from wheat and an assortment of grains/beans/seeds and make all our breads and baked goods. Not only are they higher in nutrition, but I can still make a loaf of bread for around .50-cents. I can bake 2 loaves in our Sharp Convection/Microwave for .03-cents, or free using our Solar Oven.

--Make at least one day per week a vegetarian day (that's Friday for us) and save on that high-priced meat. Make three other days small amounts of meat PLUS meat alternatives (peanut butter, eggs, beans, gluten) to equal a serving of protein. I mix all ground meat 50/50 with homemade ground gluten. Gluten has nearly the same amount of protein as ground beef, so you are "stretching" expensive protein with less-expensive protein. You can't "stretch" meat by adding a carbohydrate (noodles/rice). What you end up with is less than a serving of protein and too many servings of carbs for the day. You still need a certain amount of protein servings, and a certain amount of carbs. Just knowing what a serving size is, how many we actually need per day, and keeping servings sizes to those standards will save most people a "ton" of money on groceries. Over-eating ANYTHING is wasted money.

--Eliminate "junk" food from your groceries. Eliminate single-serving sizes from your purchases (price your food per unit - figure how much an 18-ounce jar of applesauce costs per ounce, compared to the snack-pak size and portion your own single-servings from large amounts). Purchase 100% juice (frozen concentrate) and add your own water, rather than juice boxes or juice from the refrigerator case. A serving of juice is 3/4-cup (adult) and counts as one fruit for the day.

--Pay for quality classic clothing and shoes, not cheap here-today, gone-tomorrow fashion (I find most of my quality classic clothing at thrift stores). I'm wearing the same snow boots I bought in 1976. Take care of your things - whether it's shoes, clothes, or things around the house. Learn how to mend and alter clothing.

--And from my old "friend" - The Tightwad Gazette I - there are three of them - by Amy Dacyczyn...
1. Buy it cheaper
2. Make it last longer
3. Use it less

--Use everything like it's your last. Ever notice the difference in use of a full bottle/tube of something, compared to the last of it? We found by using a small plastic tub for after meal clean-up, and dishes we don't put in the dishwasher, we could reduce the amount of soap from a generous squeeze to 1/8 teaspoon. We also went from using 6-7 gallons of water to using 1-gallon. Be conscious of how much of EVERYTHING you use, and could you get by using 25% less, or even 50% less, and get the same results. If you tend to be a "dumper", start measuring. That bucket of Charlie's Detergent (1,280 loads) lasted us 3 years. We only use 1-tablespoon per load of clothes.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 3:29PM
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Best way I ever knew to save money was just don't cash your paychecks untill payroll girl calls and begs.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 8:09PM
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LOL, Mikie! Thanks for the laugh.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 10:45PM
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Always check the rates and fees before opening any account. The credit union that used to be only for employees that worked in a certain industry does not pay the way apparently most of the poster's here that has them. I am including a link to the current rates which change ever so often. As you can see not good.

I only use it to hold money for a trip and personal expenses so is generally in and out within 4 months so interest would be zilch for me higher rate or not.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mazuma Credit Union

    Bookmark   December 23, 2010 at 11:56PM
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You have a lot of good suggestions here. I'm not sure what kinds of tips you are looking for, but here are some that I use.

-I put extra change and 1 dollar bills in a jar. We call it our emergency money fund.
-Watch the grocery adds in the paper. Things go on sale in cycles of about 12 weeks. (Some things more often) We have what we call the basement grocery store. We stock up on things when they are on sale and try to buy only things on sale.
-Check out the day old bread rack. I love good breads, but don't want to bother with baking them myself. I often pay $.99 for a $2.99 loaf of bread. I put extras in the freezer.
-Check out the thrift stores for things you might need. (Not stuff you want.)
-We grow a lot of our own vegetables and can and freeze for the winter. (I realize this isn't for everyone, but I enjoy doing it.)
-Try not to eat out. If you do, try to pick a cheaper place.
-When we want to splurge, we will get carry out from a local Chinese restaurant which gives enough food to last three meals. That way we don't feel like we are going too far overboard.
- Make food items ahead and freeze them. Then, if you don't feel like cooking, you can grab something from the freezer and you won't be tempted to pick something up on the way home from work or whatever.
- Use the library as much as possible.
-Have friends over for dinner rather than eating out together. If you trade back and forth, you really can have all the fun of eating out, without the expense.
-Try to limit car trips. Gas is supposed to go to close to $5.00 a gallon this spring.
-Make a list of everything you spend in a month and see what you can do without.

---Work to change your mindset. We as a society have become so materialistic and gizmo oriented we need to think more about what luxuries we have today that we sometimes think of as "normal".
-Make a list of all the luxuries you have in your life now, that you didn't have as a kid. Then, when you go to use them, revel in it. (For example, if you're old enough, revel in the use of your microwave, post-it notes, or electric hair curlers.)
-Make a list of little cheap or free pleasures you can give yourself. Then, once in a while indulge yourself in them. (Examples, tea in your prettiest cup, cut flowers from your garden, a bubble bath, a pedicure you give yourself. Swap ideas with friends, they may have a treasure trove of ideas you didn't think of.)

Well, I don't know if this is useful to you or not, but I hope I helped,

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 10:51AM
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"Roses... I've noticed whenever you participate in a forum, any forum, it's always one short sentence or two to inquire what others do. There's never any opinion or input from you so there's really never a sense for exactly what you're looking for. "

no coming back to let us know if WHAT we posted was worth the time....

    Bookmark   January 8, 2011 at 1:55PM
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no coming back to let us know if WHAT we posted was worth the time....

That's endemic on many/most of the forums here and on the garden side. It's the old I'll just ask and have someone do all the research for me because I'm entitled syndrome.

One thinks, perhaps, other followers of the threads get something out of them.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 1:21PM
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"Roses... I've noticed whenever you participate in a forum, any forum, it's always one short sentence or two to inquire what others do. There's never any opinion or input from you so there's really never a sense for exactly what you're looking for. "
no coming back to let us know if WHAT we posted was worth the time...."

Perhaps roses is A) getting info for her blog... or
B) getting info for an article she publishes in newspaper or magazine.


    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 1:25PM
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Well then, maybe we should get paid for being research assistants!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 2:04PM
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Don't people who blog do so because THEY believe THEY have something to say?

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 2:20PM
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I thought it was spam too. But it may also be a BAD idea. When water in a water heater gets too cool it can develop bacteria like Legionnaires Disease.

* 70 to 80 degrees C (158 to 176 degrees F): Disinfection range
* At 66 degrees C (151 degrees F): Legionellae die within 2 minutes
* At 60 degrees C (140 degrees F): Legionellae die within 32 minutes
* At 55 degrees C (131 degrees F): Legionellae die within 5 to 6 hours
* Above 50 degrees C (122 degrees F): They can survive but do not multiply
* 35 to 46 degrees C (95 to 115 degrees F): Ideal growth range
* 20 to 50 degrees C (68 to 122 degrees F): Legionellae growth range
* Below 20 degrees C (68 degrees F): Legionellae can survive but are dormant


    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 5:56PM
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I don't know who roses is but I am glad she asked the question. I will be using several of the tips you kind people have provided. I think the best tip was changing my mindset. Thank you! Andrea

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 1:24PM
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It's best to start saving when your are young. Banks don't pay as much interest now, but you can shop around for the best rates. Some of the online banks are offering better rates then the bricks and mortar banks.

We have a couple credit cards that offer a percentage of what you charge back. Right now one of our cards is offering 5% back on grocery store and drug store purchases. I have been using my charge card to take advantage of the extra savings, but I pay the bills off immediately when we get them. In the meantime my money is in the bank earning a little interest. CAUTION-this only works if you have the discipline and the extra cash to pay all bills in full without draining your accounts.

We own our home free and clear. Our only house payments are insurance, taxes and maintenance. We take care to keep up on repairs before they become a problem.

We are teaching our two teenage daughters to save their money. This year I gave each of them $200 for their back-to school expenses. You would be surprised how carefully they shopped with their money, trying to figure how they could get the most for their money. It actually cost us less this year then in the past. The girls really planned how to stretch their dollars.

We found we could save a lot just by bargaining. We were unhappy when our propane bill when up, so my hubby called a few other propane companies to compare prices, We called our suppler back, and he was happy to match the best prices then to lose us as customers. We saved a great amount just by making a few phone calls. If we have to do it every time we need the tank filled up, we will. Our time costs us nothing.

All these ways to save add up over time. After a few years, you can have a tidy sum in the bank. The hard part is just to get started thinking about saving instead of spending.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 12:13AM
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Water from the tap rather than bottled. I haven't felt the need to drink from a bottle for years ... though now, possibly approaching second childhood, I may need to reconsider.

Most bottlers of water, based in cities, source their water from the municipal supply.

Walk ... bike ... to run certain errands.

Arrange your affairs so that you accomplish several chores with one trip.

Hi again Grainlady,

When you referred to "legumes" as part of your major supply of staples, I assume that that includes lentils?

ole (frugal) joyfuelled

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 7:19PM
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Hi ole joyful.

I'm with you... I can't believe the amount of bottled water people buy. The perfect propaganda campaign!!!

LOTS of lentils (and lots of varieties and sizes of lentils). Lentils have a much longer storage time than other legumes and they cook much faster so they save energy. They also sprout nicely.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 6:38AM
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I got my credit card just a few months ago. I used it to purchase almost everything and never bothered about the amount of money I was spending as I thought I will pay off the debt as soon as I will receive my paychecks. But paychecks were spent on some other things and I was not able to pay for the credit card bills, this resulted in an ever increasing outstanding credit card balance. Today credit card bills occupy a major place in my budgeting (hope to pay it off soon).

Hence my biggest money saving tip is to use CREDIT CARDS as LESS as possible meaning pay cash everywhere possible. This way you will have a better account of your spending.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 6:44AM
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and I use my CC as MUCH as possible to get 1 to 5% back on all purchases.

And the CC gives me a BETTER account of my spending it has everything listed on the bill.

lawrenceherbert63, my trick it to not charge unless you have the cash, and to pay the charges on the CC once or twice a week. No need to wait for a bill to come in....

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 12:49PM
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Interesting about the CC. I think it depends on your income level and what you consider to be "normal" expenses. We use our cards for groceries, gas, a weekly meal out, incidental purchases. If we are buying something over a certain amount, we talk about it, shop around, and make sure we have enough in checking to cover the bill.

It has worked for us so far.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 9:54PM
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I've always found that if people can't manage their credit cards, they can't manage their cash either. I tried the "envelope"/budget system. Didn't work for me. My natural gas bill can be $200 in the winter and $25 in the summer and in-between, in-between! My electric bill will vary too. Water bill is pretty constant. I was far better off establishing a budget, knowing what I'd need for electricity, gas, and other utilities. Know what your income is and know what your expenses. There's of course the usual, turn off unused lights, close off unused rooms, insulate, turn down heating/cooling and dress appropriately, don't turn up your nose at second-hand and the like.

A pantry is priceless. You won't spend money if you don't go to the store, including internet stores. Granted, making for 1 or 2 people is more difficult. Face it, cooking up a 20# turkey for one person isn't easy to use. Yes you can freeze and use later, but management skills are required. However there are options like grocery sharing with other single friends or buy a turkey breast or legs/thighs instead of whole.

A price book is priceless. Track your common purchases at every store you enter. I carry my digital recorder and note prices. Write them down and see who has better prices. You'll be surprised at times. Learn prices of frequent purchases then fan out and track less frequent purchases. Learn the cycles of when things go on sale, and learn what is a good sale price, not a sale sign price.

Tightwad Gazette series is required reading and a good purchase. The phrase that pays is reduce, reuse & recycle. Another good one is modified from WWII: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, then do without." Justify your purchases. Ever work for a place where you put in a requisition for something, get it approved then a purchasing system is used to get the best deal? That can help save a lot. My uncle always made my cousin wait a week or two before spending his money on something big. Make sure he still wanted/needed it after that time, in other words, justify it, not rationalize it. Avoid impulse purchases.

Shop from lists but be open to buying when you see a real deal. I didn't need dish liquid but I bought 4 bottles on clearance for 86¢ each and when I used 55¢ coupons on them the net cost was 31¢ per bottle. I'll give some to others who need dish soap and I'll use some as hand soap.

Cleaners: Big savings to be had. Few specialty cleaners are really needed. Bleach, vinegar and baking soda, microfiber cloths and the like take care of a lot of cleaning needs. I don't buy fabric softener. I use vinegar on occasion when I feel I need it. I aim for laundry soap to be 5¢ per load or less and occasionally will buy Tide if I get it for about 8¢-10¢/load or less. I've bought laundry detergent free after rebate and at times I've been paid to buy it. Watch the clearance aisles and watch coupons but don't get hung up on coupons. They don't always save money.

Don't get too penny-wise/pound foolish. Pay bills on time. No late charges. Don't let your oil tank run dry requiring a service call, ahem, I won't name names! :D

Some get so worked up over water. I proudly buy bottled water to have with me. For about $1/month, if I save buying even one can of pop, it's paid for. And yes, I get thirsty when I'm out and about and no I'm not drinking from a bathroom faucet. I stop at a drive thru occasionally and rather than spend $2 for a fountain pop, an 8¢-10¢ bottle of water works much better financially, and I have something to drink when I'm working to avoid dehydration issues.

Cell phone. Dump your contract and get prepaid. Most will do far better. I just added to mine and it cost about $5/month to cover me for the next year and a half. I could have gotten a better deal I'm sure if I had shopped but I've been busy with other things. I usually aim for about $3-$4 a month for cell service. And that gives me all the time I need. $60-$200/month for cell? Not here. Nope.

I dumped cable and satellite back when funds were low and can't find a reason to get it back. I did get a low-end broadband and I can watch a lot of the shows online. Since I need internet for work it justified part of the broadband upgrade and considering the extra benefit of movies and tv shows, I justified it and it's working well.

Earn more. Spend less. Make your money work for you. I get 5% back on my gas card purchases. I have to buy gas anyway so I get a free tank worth from the rebate every few months.

By not going to stores, you also save gas. I don't like trying to trick myself into saving money. I like the challenge of saving money. I manage my money out of my checking account. I don't save cash to redeposit. I avoid withdrawing! I'll transfer to savings when appropriate and live out of checking. Paychecks are direct deposited as are tax returns.

I save probably $30-$40 a year just on postage and mailing expenses for bills. I pay on the internet. No check fees, envelope costs, postage or chance of lost in the mail late fees. I have proof it's been paid. My bank will even mail a check for me, at their expense and guarantee it will get there on time!

Anticipate needs and shop ahead. If you know you'll need a new washer, watch for pricing so you know if you find a good deal.

Shop for insurance. Car and homeowners insurance rates vary a lot. A good driving record and the type of vehicle you drive makes a big difference in rates. Where you live makes a big difference on insurance and cost of living. Maybe you want to move to save some money.

No ideas are set rules. What works for me might not work for you and vice-versa. For instance, I agree with Grainlady about avoiding single serve for the most part, however, occasionally the portion control of single serving can save money. Do some math and examine your uses and needs. For instance, if you need 1 rib of celery and buy some from the salad bar, it could be cheaper than buying a whole stalk of celery and having to waste the rest if you wouldn't use it for anything else.

Keep in mind that even using convenience foods can be cheaper than eating out. And can be healthier. Sometimes you don't have time to cook from scratch but pop something from the freezer is cheaper than ordering a $20 pizza. Even a tater tot hotdish is better than going out, even if you use all convenience foods in it. Balance things out - there's no absolutes in money saving.

Use reusable when possible. Cloths over paper towels and napkins. But there's practicality too. Sometimes it's better to use paper towels for the real grungy stuff. Again, weigh options. Reusable bags receive credit at many stores. Many places around here give 5¢ credit for each reuseable bag you use. I always carry some plastic bags to put refrigerated and frozen things, especially meats into before putting them into the reusable bag. And watch for deals on them. I just bought a bunch more and I technically got *paid* to buy them. 99¢ each minus 11% off (on sale), plus tax made them 95¢ each and I got a rebate of 99¢ each. I've given them as gift bags, given them away, and I use them for all kinds of things. I keep a bunch in the vehicle and bring them in with me. 5¢ a bag isn't a huge thing, but the little effort, I'll do it when I remember it.

I too cut my own hair but I don't "pay" myself. I look at it as a saving ritual. Money doesn't come out of the bank to cover a haircut and tip. Haven't been to a barber in 20 years? There too, it's not a huge savings. I didn't do frequent haircuts. 3-4 a year probably but again, it adds up. The Flowbee paid for itself many times over.

Lately I don't have to be clean shaved for work. I don't like shaving so I let it grow out a week or so and use the clippers instead of expensive razors and blades and shave cream. Laziness can result in savings on occasion!

Downsize. Smaller home often, but of course not always requires less heat, a/c, maintenance, taxes, insurance, etc. Being close to work and shopping saves money. Check your garbage service for cheaper options.

Help and be helped. "Barter". Share your expertise for others' expertise. Maybe you can fix your buddy's car and they can paint your house. Maybe a house painting marathon. Get several people together and help each other paint. Maybe a neighbor likes to garden and you mow their lawn for them? Get creative. If you have something you don't use. Say that ricemaker didnt' work out like you thought - offer it to friends that would return the favor. Lower your standards. Associate with people who would appreciate a gift of something used. How far do you want to go?

Track your expenses and income for a while. Several months minimum, a year is better to go through the seasons. Then examine where the money goes, variations in income and look for ways to modify your lifestyle without suffering.

Last tip for now anyway: Wash your hands! Stay healthy, it's far cheaper than getting sick. Washing hands is by most experts accounts the single best thing you can do to keep from getting sick.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2011 at 10:35AM
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cynic -

You are a frugal dynamo and much to be admired....

I'd like to share one point for you to ponder. The mark-up for bottled water from a grocery store is 4,000% (yes, that's four-thousand percent). I distill a gallon of water using a home distiller for 21-cents worth of electricity. Plus, the water is 99.9% pure when I'm done - commercially bottled water - who knows??? I keep refillable bottles (I got free) in the refrigerator for on-the-go use. We've distilled our drinking water for nearly 30-years. Each distiller cost around $100 and will last about 5-6-years of daily use. As another alternative for purifying water we also use a non-electric Berkey. Our concern with our local water is from farm-related run-off and pharmaceutical drug residue in the drinking water. Water treatment plants treat bacteria, but they don't have a treatment for the farm-related chemicals, nor the parmaceutical drugs. We get those free of charge ;-)

You may enjoy the article I've linked below - that's where I got the mark-up information. If I can make, grow, or find a cost-effective substitute for these grocery store items, I figure I'm money ahead.


Here is a link that might be useful: Biggest Grocery Store Mark-ups

    Bookmark   March 2, 2011 at 4:41PM
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Grainlady, how did you learn to cut your own hair? I've always cut my husband's hair (the few times I've sent him to the Salon or Barber, he comes back & the cut looks no different), so I must be doing something right there. But I've never tried cutting my own. I always wear it short (wearing it longer would be less expensive), but I like it short. Suggestions?

As for water, we don't buy bottled either. We use an undermount water filter. Cost about $1.50 or less per week.

Cleaners: I've tried vinegar, bleach (neither of which I've found, clean the dirt). I buy liquid castile soap & put around 1 tsp more or less per 24-32 oz. spray bottle. Works well, but you may need to adjust accordingly.

We're also considering a toaster oven to save cost when heating up small items or baking a single dish. However, I know they are not made as once were (read lots of reviews). Anyone have a toaster oven that you're pleased with?

Best advise I could give someone....have a goal on when you want to pay off your home so that you own free and clear. Remember, obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal. (Wish I could remember who said that.) Applies to so much in life.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2011 at 4:08PM
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southerngal25 -
Necessity is the mother of invention, or hair cutting in my case (LOL). I watched how the hair-dresser cut my hair as a kid - asked her some questions about holding the scissors and she explained the different angles for holding them. Even showed me how to divide the different sections of my hair for cutting it. I've cut my short hair since I was about 12-years old. I used to take my barber scissors to school and I would trim the long straight hair and bangs for friends. I suppose those scissors would be considered "armed and dangerous" in today's world.

I've had my hair cut professionally off-and-on over the years, but after going through a number of hair-dressers that charged too much and did poor jobs, I've cut my hair myself for the last 9-years.

You can go on-line for instructions and videos about cutting hair. My sister is another Flowbee fan - the girl who wasn't much at mastering hair-care in general. Her hair is always cute in a layered pixie style.

I have a short hair-do I can best describe as a cross between a wedge and a pixie. A little longer and fuller on the sides in the winter than the summer and short-cropped in the summer. It's using the clippers with a 1/4- or 1/2-inch guard on the back of my neck that was tricky for me, but I eventually mastered that as well. Check the link below for some ideas.

How about a small toaster/convection oven? Convection ovens bake even faster. I have a Sharp Microwave/Convection Oven over my stove and I use it more than my regular oven. I can bake a loaf of bread in 20-minutes, two loaves in 25-minutes, and NO preheating and it uses a lot less electricity than a full-size oven would (3-cents to bake 2 loaves of bread). Most things bake in 25-50% less time.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tip Nut - How to Cut Hair

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 10:15AM
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Hi again cynic,

I'm fortunate that when I let the oil tank run dry I didn't have to take the fuel dealer's offer of giving me the name of a furnace repair contractor.

My landlord, a sod farmer with multiple skills, brought his air compressor and we got the oil through the line to the furnace successfully.

It did cost me a pint-sized pack of cream, though, that I'd bought on sale for 99 cents ... and for which my landlord offered to reimburse me ... which I refused!

For those of you unaware of the story, I asked over on KT last week whether it was wise for a landlord to enable people in their stupidity.

Have yourselves a great week - what's left of it.

I'm off to the church tomorrow to prepare more tax returns for low-income folks: started on mine last night, and it looks as though I may be able to get by with a minimal amount to pay, again this year.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 7:48PM
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Greetings all,

If anyone may be interested in the saga of the guy who let his oil tank run dry, resulting in the house getting down to about 56 degrees and him unhappy at the chill, it was written up over on the Kitchen Table a couple of weeks ago.

ole joyful

Here is a link that might be useful: Landlord enabling stupidity?

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 8:14PM
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My ex-mother in law was very thrifty. She taught me a poem "Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without." I think that sums up the advice given above.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 10:39AM
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Adapt a coupon wallet to be your budget.

My husband and I sit down at the end of every month and talk about the next month. We cover - what we each need for spending money, any lawn maintenance, house maintenance needs, events we want to attend, gifts, plus all the normal grocery, gas, etc. I tally it all up, head to the bank and have a list of the money that I get back (how many $20s, $10s, etc.) that I need so I can divvy it up. I give him an envelope with a month's worth a spending, an envelope with a month's worth of gas, and an envelope with petty cash in it (for the times that I ask him to stop and pick something up). The rest of it goes in a coupon wallet that I've adapted as our spending budget. I know that when the coupon wallet is empty of cash - we're operating out of savings. It helps prevent the impulse buy. Here are some of my tabs - Grocery, gas, petty cash, date night, events, spending, church, home maintenance, barber/salon, etc. Thankfully we are in sync with our financial goals and I find we always save more when we plan our spending.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2011 at 4:51PM
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I am glad this question was asked and I enjoyed reading all the useful tips.

I am looking at all my spending habits to see where I can save money. I just changed my home/auto policy and saved $1,700 per year! It was that big a difference so you may want to price yours against other companies. Next I will look at the phone/cable bill.

I clip coupons and use my store cards (CVS/grocery store etc).

We do a lot of work around the house ourselves. For snow removal alone we save hundreds a year compared to our neighbors who hire someone.

I do not have a garbage service, I take the trash to the dump myself for $5 per visit and save hundreds of dollars per year compared to my neighbors.

I use half the amount of laundry and dishswasher detergent than what the bottle calls for. My things are just as clean and I am saving money and being 'green'.

As far as cutting my own hair, I tried that a few times and my hairdresser always says "I see you cut your hair again...."

Thanks for sharing the great tips!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 9:54AM
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- Go to the library and check out "The Millionare Next Door". Best book ever written.

- Saving money, being thrifty needs to be on your mind when you plan your week, month, life. It is not so hard and actually fun most of the time. I go cheap on somethings like tv, home electronics, but paid more for a very nice home in a great location. Buying a Toyota van vs Dodge because you get more miles out of a Toyota. A 2000 sq foot, 3/2/2 home vs 3000 sq ft home.

- Never pay to rent a video/dvd. The local libraries have become the new blockbuster and it's free, same with books. Never buy them unless you see them at a estate/garage sale and then only if it is not available from a library.

- Estate Sales - Sometimes, if you are early, you might find something useful. I have saved a ton of money buying my lawn equipment/tools at these things. But beware, estate sales sometimes/usually are overpriced and the auction companies that run them sometimes have stores on the side. They bring that stuff and put it into the home to sell. You have to be patient and careful. Resist the urge to just buy something "because it is cheap".

I got a brand new Sony Triniton 37 inch, brand new, 100 dollars. The owner was a doctor and was downsizing his home. He was just like me and great guy to chat with. He rarely used it and even helped me get it home. Weighs 250 lbs, wife and kids about killed me because it is not the latest flat screen for 1200 bucks. So what? Great picture, great sound, easy to fix, last another 5-10 years. They learned to like it.

- Extended warranty - I buy them for my major appliances. I found HD is a bit cheaper than Lowes. But a 5 year coverage for any major appliance is worth the cost. Sears - seems a bit too expensive when compared to HD or Lowes. Sears was an icon growing up but bad management has killed that place. I think they will be bought out by some Chinese company soon.

- Major appliances - go with a mid range, quality, non-imported brand, Whirlpool is my favorite and has never let me down. Korean brands cost more to fix same with the European brands.

- Craigslist - I got a lawn edger for 30 dollars, new in the box. Took me six months of waiting, but it showed up one day. Also, I usually, unless it is a real bargin, wait a day or two before calling on CL. That allows the seller a time to get beat up or ignored and the price comes down. CL is a great place to pick up stuff for your home. I have never been burned and never pay the asking price. I would furnish my entire home if my wife had not stopped me. I would not buy a matress used, and the couches are "hit or miss" so I stayed away from them. But bookcase, desk, chairs, dinning room table, bed frame, dresser, all off CL. Be nice, polite, but brutal and honest with the seller. Know what you want to pay before you show up and really look the item over. Remember, stuff on CL is one step away from a garage sale or the curb. That stuff is like the city bus "if you miss one, the next one will be along in 15 minutes".

- Yard - Never buy new tools, mower, etc for yard work. Visit garage sale, estate sale, CL. Mow your own lawn. You can get a nice self-propelled mower that makes it a snap. If you can downsize the yard size to reduce the time mowing watering etc..that is a great idea.

- Home - Big "blood sucking money pit". No two ways about it. A home is a 1 year old that never grows up. So plan carefully, very carefully where, when, what you buy. Bigger is not better. Location is the most important factor. Don't buy a "fixer" unless your husband is a GC and even then, why tie yourself to a home. Americans for the last 50 years have been "house poor" and now the housing bubble has killed many a retirement dream. Use your ceiling fans, take a quick cool shower if it is hot, turn down the heat after you go to bed.

- Real Estate Agents - When looking for a home use 5 or 6 of them at the same time before you go with the one you like. Treat them like they are "last years Christmas present. You will have to be smarter and know everything about the area you want to buy in before asking them any questions.

- Single story, CBS, Brick is great. 3/2/2 is the classic size.

- Tires - You have to call around. I don't recommend the cheapest tires since you could get killed. I usually go with Goodyear and the local Goodyear store since they always give me great service. But not all the stores have the same prices. This one is the best price and great service. With your car you have to be careful with the service. You should be able to do your own oil change using the synth. oil but be careful the first time. The quick lube places use cheap oil and the synth oil is worth the little extra cost. WM usually has it on sale.

- Banks - Credit unions usually have free checking and are more friendly.

- Debit Card - Don't have one, can't see a reason to get one. Two credit cars for my entire life and only charge items over 50 dollars to get the points. Cash in the points for gas card or Macy card.

- WM vs Target - Target stores seem to have nicer kids clothes (young kids), but WM has cheaper prices on food, dry goods. It is all about how far of a trip to save gas. I mix and match food with WM brand and national brands depending on the items.

- Utilities - Check your a/c/ furnance and know when it was serviced and by whom. Ceiling fans can save you some cash and they make some very energy efficient models, not sold at HD or Lowes.

- Online - Free shipping/tax free (FLorida, for now anyway), makes it a bargin. Amazon seems to be the best for most of what I buy.

- Garage Sales/Estate Sales - you can go broke saving money so don't buy what you don't need/use. I am amazed to see how much junk people buy in their lifetime. You see it at Estate sales. Tons of china, dishes, household items, tools etc....

- Get yourself a good AM/FM portable radio, Japanese brand, from the 70's. All new radios are Chinese and junk. If you have a natural disaster that is going to be your lifeline for communications. I see these radios all the time at garage sales, estate sales, very cheap. If you see one that has a SW PB band that is a big plus too.

- Natural Disasters - The best advice I heard was "most homes are just a week away from starving". Which means we all just have about a weeks worth of food. When you see quality brand can foods on sale, buy some and stock up. It will save you if there is a major disaster or even a minor one. Food prices really jump. I live in FL so when hurricane season approaches I get more canned food, buy some bottled water (that kills my sense of saving money).

- Bottled Water - Waste of money unless for emergencies.

- Starbucks - Been there twice in my life. I make my own coffee in the morning.

- Coupons - Sometimes they can save you money but look closely and if you use the product without the coupon maybe it is worth the buy.

- Part time job - I have had part time jobs for years and it really saved me some money. The big plus is you are working and not spending so it all adds up.

Life is a game. I like playing the game and saving money. I'm cheap, but I have friends that are much cheaper and we all enjoy our lives. The idea of owning the latest I phone, I pad, computer etc...never appealed to me. But if that is you, cut corners elsewhere so you can have those toys.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 12:02PM
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#1 Common Sense

#2 Quit using Plastic even debit cards(It started the problems) Use cash when you can it alot harder to hand someone $200 dollars than it is to swipe $200.

#3Track everything down to a stamp,coke,gumball etc...

#4Clean out your closet and put into a box for a month if you don't go looking for it then it's yard sale, craiglist, ebay time.

#5 Coupons and track what you save you'll cut out more the next month.

$6 One of my favorites it to save my $5 bills put them in an envelope 1 at work and 1 at home so they don't stay with you. Once you get $100 tape that envelope up like crazy duct tape so its not easy to get into it. Come Christmas see how many you got.

All suggestions are great here. Thats the easy ones and yes "The Millionare Next Door" is a great read and should be read by everyone who cares about money in the future. If live for money today and like all the status stuff then he may not need it.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 4:01PM
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