Friday, October 24, 2008

Catching your dollars with these frugal ideas...

Because of the ever changing economy, it's always helpful to learn ways to live more frugally..I found the following frugal tips from this website .(Which I found on Elizabeth's blog Small Town Spending) I did not copy all of them, because some of them were just plain gross (i.e. don't flush the toilet until you've used it 2-3 times....YUCK!) Anyway, I've highlighted the ones that I will engage in and you may find them helpful as well.

Save Money Grocery Shopping.
Shop for produce at a local farm stand.
Never buy coffee, soda, or other drinks or snacks out. I could never say never on this one. I like Starbucks too much.
Always grocery shop with a list. Yes!
Take advantage of sales on items that you would normally buy. Yes!
Only shop once a month. This would be something to aspire to, but at this point....not practical.
Keep a price book and track prices by unit cost. This is probably a good one too, right now they are all in my head!
Stockpile staples when prices are low.
Buy generic items.
Use the Grocery Game.
Plan meals according to what is on sale that week.
Take advantage of rainchecks if the store doesn’t have a sale item that you need.
Take advantage of rebates at Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid…but only if you’ll use the item and will follow through on the rebate. I really need to figure this one out for CVS, does anyone have an easy way to start this?
Buy enough of a sale item to last 12 weeks. That’s about how long sales take to cycle.
Shop at discount marts: Grocery outlet, The Dollar Store, etc. I shop at Shoppers Food Warehouse and Bj's.
Bring your own bags to the grocery store. Many stores offer a small discount per bag.
Take advantage of stores that double coupons.
Watch out for deals on things that your friends need, and have them do the same for you.

Save Money on Cooking and Eating
Eat less meat. Absolutely!
Become a vegetarian. I almost could do this, but not there yet.
Eat leftovers. Yes!
Cook large amounts and freeze extra for busy nights. I despise freezer burn, and my memory fails me so I would surely forget the frozen food...
Scrape out food jars to use the last little bit.
Cook from scratch.
Never eat out. Um, what fun is that?
Eat from your stocked pantry.
Bring lunch from home (it’s worth it to invest in proper containers). Since I've been on a diet plan, this has been easy to do...
Eat less. The average American eats too much. Same with this...
Don’t use the vending machines at work.
Always have a meal plan. Always. This has worked beautifully!
Use the Once a Month Cooking system.
Keep soup starter jars in the freezer. A little leftover this, a little leftover that. Nothing is wasted. Get creative with leftovers. Concoct new recipes, so nothing is wasted.
Base most of your meals on rice or beans to cut down on meat consumption.
Look for events that entertain and feed you at the same time. Church socials, shopping at Sam’s (think about those free samples)…
Don’t drink soda. Drink water! Oh, if only I could!!!!
Make your own jello cups (or applesauce cups, or pudding cups) for lunches and snacks.
If your kids complain about generic cereal, put the generic in a name-brand box. They’ll never know the difference!
Use Angel Food Ministries if you have one in your area.
Rear your own chickens. I wonder what my neighbors would think about this one?
Join a freezer club. Get together with like-minded people to exchange meals for your freezers. It’s cheaper to prepare a lot of one meal and split it up, than to prepare a bunch of different meals.
Always take a snack and bottle of water wherever you go. You won’t be tempted to stop for expensive fast food or drinks. This is a great one!
Grow your own produce. No room? Try a square foot garden! Or use pots on the patio. Oh, how I really, really, really want to do this....
Freeze, can, or dehydrate your produce.
Cook with the crockpot to avoid using the oven, which warms up the house. Unless it's winter!
Use a convection oven to accomplish the same purpose.

Save Money on Cars and Gas
Run errands once a week and use the most efficient route.
Walk as much as you can.
Stay home as often as possible.
Keep tires filled to their proper pressure.
Don’t suddenly stop or accelerate.
Bum a ride with friends and chip in for gas.
Ride your bike.
Use a diesel car if you have one.
Coast when you see a red light ahead, instead of hitting the brakes.
Use public transportation.
Try to get by with one car if you have two.
If you have one car that you only drive a couple of times a week, consider getting rid of it and using cabs.
Drive your car until it’s old. This works really well when you buy a car that will run for 200,000 miles. I'm driving my Honda Pilot until the doors fall off....
Keep up on your car’s maintenance.
Turn your car off at lights.
Coast when you can.
Limit city driving.
Turn off the engine and coast to a stop. (Only do this if you know your car and know what you’re doing. It could be unsafe, depending on the car)
On a long trip, keep a steady foot.
Make it a challenge to see how far you can go on a tank of gas.
Use a discount card to buy gas. (Many grocery stores offer them, as well as Costco).
Fill up early in the morning when the air is cool, and the gas is dense. You’ll get more gas and less air. I've never heard of this before, but I do it natually...I get gas before work...
Fill up when your tank is half empty.
Shop around for insurance. The rates can vary a lot! Geico had the lowest rates for us!
Use to find the lowest price on gas.

Save Money on Utilities
Turn off every electrical item at the plug every night. Putting everything on power strips makes this easier. There is a central switch that you can install to do this too. I saw it on the TV series "Living with Ed".
Keep the lights off during the day.
Line dry clothes outside when it’s warm and sunny.
Line dry clothes by setting dryer racks over heater vents. Use your shower rod if you need even more room.
Let dishes air dry after running them through the dishwasher.
Cancel the cable. Lately this would not be such a bad idea!
Don’t use hot water in the summer.
Consider a family plan for cell phones.
Use CFL bulbs.
Turn down the thermostat (or turn it off). Use candles in the room to raise the temperature. A set of little tea candles goes a long way.
Don’t run the heater at night.
Open windows on summer nights to cool down the house.
Use a fan.
Get rid of your land line and use your cell phone.
Take short showers. There are some pleasures in life that you simply cannot give up...long hot showers are truly a pleasure for me...but I'll try!
Insulate your water pipes.
Install low flow showerheads and aerators on all faucets.
If you’re going to be in and out all day, park on the street, rather than using the electric garage door opener multiple times.
Turn off the PC if you won’t be using it for an hour or more.
Use nightlights that only come on when it’s dark.
Use nightlights in the bathroom, so if you have to use the bathroom at night, you don’t have to turn on the light.
Keep the freezer full. If you have to, put milk jugs filled with water in the freezer. It’s less expensive to keep a full freezer cold than an empty one.
Never leave the water running when rinsing dishes, brushing teeth, etc. Only use the water you need. I'm working on this one!
Have your young children shower with you, instead of giving them separate baths. Um, no.

Save Money on Medical Needs
Use a flexible spending account or cafeteria plan, so you can pay out-of-pocket medical expenses with pre-tax dollars.
Ask your doctor to prescribe generic medication.
Buy generic medication at Walmart or Target. They have a lot of different medications available for $4.

Saving Money on Clothing
Limit clothes shopping.
Shop at thrift stores.
Shop garage sales.
Sew, using discount fabric (easy to find at garage sales).
Change into play clothes after school to keep good clothes looking nice. Did my Mom write this one?
Re-use jewelry. If you lose a beautiful earring, put the one you have on a chain and wear it as a necklace.

Save Money Around the House
Use only half of a dishwasher tablet at a time.
Use rechargeable batteries for electronics and toys.
Store batteries in the refrigerator. They last longer.
Do repairs (paint touch ups, sewing, etc) one day a week. If you keep things in good working order, they last longer.
Accept hand-me-downs. You can donate them if you can’t use them.
Do home repairs yourself.
Reuse things. An example: Plastic grocery bags can be reused as lunch bags, shoe bags, or laundry bags on vacation.
Email for free samples. You can get some good stuff!
Wash and re-use Ziplock bags.
Make your own Christmas cards by making a collage from the fronts of Christmas cards you received the previous year.
See if your local dump or transfer station offers free firewood or garden mulch. Take advantage of it. I think ours does...I'll have to check it out...mulch can be expensive!
Use water from boiling eggs or pasta to water your plants.
If you’ve bought stuff that you haven’t used, see if you can return it.
If you rent, rent from a person, not a company. You’re more likely to have some of your utilities paid, especially if your place is a room inside a house or a basement apartment.
Move in with roommates. Hmmm....I have five roommates, and only one pays the rent....:)
If you and your family or friends have a lot of websites, consolidate them all into one hosting package and split the cost.
Use a kitchen rag instead of paper towels. I do! plus I use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins!

Save Money on Entertainment
Cancel magazine subscriptions.
Use the library for books, magazines, and movies. See if you can reserve them online and then just pick them up.
Read newspapers online.
Celebrate “no spend” weekends, where you don’t spend anything.
Prepare special dinners at home, rather than going out to celebrate.
Eat out only once a month.
Use hotel points and airline miles for vacation.
Split an entree with someone else when you go out for dinner.
Do free things for entertainment: Hiking, free city concerts, board games.
Only order from the dollar menu when eating out.
Go to the park and have a picnic.
Take advantage of “get in free” days at the museum, etc.
To find special festivals, get a free state tourism guide.
If you find that you go somewhere a lot (a zoo, amusement park), buy a season pass.
Entertain at home. Have friends over for dinner, or have a game night and just serve snacks.
Make your own “take out” style meals. Pizza is a good way to start. And if you do a recipe search for your favorite restaurant foods, there are some good knock offs out there!
Trade babysitting with friends who also need a sitter.

Save Money on Miscellaneous Things
Only get haircuts every 8-10 weeks, instead of every 6 weeks.
Cut your own hair. Now this would be scary. But I would love to be able to cut my husband and son's hair...
Do your own manicures. Done!
Shop for Christmas gifts year round to catch the good sales.
Compost…it’s good for the garden.
Sell something every week. My goal is to learn e-bay...I have enough Longaberger baskets to fund our next lake vacation!
Never spend change. Collect it and put it in a savings account. Never spend $5.00 bills! I have over $100.00 doing this!
Get rid of excess stuff. It costs less to store and maintain.
Sell it on eBay or Craigslist.
Or have a garage sale.
Or give it away on Freecycle.
Sell homemade items on Etsy.
Don’t watch TV. It cuts down on wants. And stress!
Get rid of the TV all together.
Enter blog giveaways. You never know what you might win. (I won $100 last month!)
If you get a raise, don’t increase your lifestyle. Save the extra or pay off debts!
If you’re a two income family, make sure the second income is more than the expenses associated with working.
Use a fee free credit card with rewards. Charge everything to get the rewards. But ONLY do this if you are diligent about paying it off every single month. If you pay interest, it isn’t worth it. This is one that I really can't participate in...too difficult for me to control my spending...not very frugal indeed.
Pay off debt as quickly as possible. Saves on interest.
Make sure you get get the best interest rate on your savings, CD’s, etc.
Invest your money. Make it grow. Anyone know where to do this these days?
Use a budget.
Use a spreadsheet to keep track of variable expenses.
Use cash. YES!!!
Change your mindset. Instead of thinking “what do I need to buy?”, think, “what do I have that I can use?” That’s how people got through the Great Depression.
Give stuff you don’t use to others.

This is actually a good list, and when put all together, I'm sure there will be some great savings! What are you going to try?


jpkittie said...

Those are some amazing ideas! Thanks for posting - there are always things that I have never thought of that just may help me ;)

Giraffe Spender said...


I have been using the grocery game for almost two months...they are offering a 4 week trial for a buck.

I tried it and have decided to continue using it - but I recommend stock-piling coupons for a at least a month before starting the trial program. Elizabeth from Small Town blessings told me about it and i asked her to do a guest post for me about her experiences with it.

This is a terrific list!!!!
Thanks for sharing it with us (me)!

Blessings to You and your Family,

Hello Hubby! Thanks for stopping by and leaving the comment - I'm glad I didn't offend you! =)

Christine said...

Great post!

My picks: definitely make a list grocery shopping (and don't bring your husband - cuz he just grabs stuff off the shelves), go vegetarian (huge saver) and don't drink Starbucks! ;)

Starbucks: if you decided not to consume one drink @ $3.65 three times a week, you'd could save $570! I know, hard to resist a good chai latte or grande mocha.

change is a good thing said...

That is a totally awesome list! I am going to print it out and highlight the ones I am already doing in one color and the ones I want to try in another color. I'll let you know how it goes! Thanks for posting this!! :)

Saver Queen said...

Wow! What a list! That's a good compilation, thanks!