I am very frugal already - I actually went and got another job for more cash because I don't have many other ways to save money! Here are some of my tips:
1. buy generic - have not found more than one or two items that are better brand-name
2. make your own salad dressing - you can make a whole bottle for $0.30 - and if you grow your own herbs, it is so much better than anything you could buy at the store
3. buy tubs of yogurt rather than the individual cups - saves money and plastic
4. have a friend cut your hair
5. no manicures, pedicures, or fancy coffee - EVER
6. don't buy books new - exchange your old ones for "new" at a used book shop or go to the library
7. only drink alcohol on weekends and holidays - saves money and calories
8. make your own coffee and try to switch to tea - you can buy tea bags in boxes of 200 at the Asian grocery stores for $1.50 - that is a lot of cups of tea!
9. put a calendar on your fridge and write your food receipts on each day - helps keep track of how much you are spending each week and serves as a great reality check when you want to order take-out
10. no air conditioning in the car - I implemented this rule this summer and saved a lot of mony on gas. My reasoning - why drive 20 minutes to the barn with the air conditioning on when I'm going to spend 2 hours outside riding?
There is no way you can live where I do and not use the A/C in the car for the summer, as it gets up to 115-120* here, but the rest of the year I don't use it.
My BF and I don't buy it if it is not on sale when we go to the grocery store, and sometimes, even if it is on sale, it's NOT REALLY on sale. be sure to be aware of the prices when you shop. Coupons, like someone said, are great ways to save money.
Take the shoes off of your horse if you can. Bugs is shoeless, Frodo just has front shoes on because this desert is so rocky.
If you eat out, look for coupons.
Ross rocks, whoever mentioned that!
I may have more, just too tired to think of them right now.
~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding* My Facebook
3. buy tubs of yogurt rather than the individual cups - saves money and plastic
Actually, in my area, it's usually cheaper to buy the cups. 33 cents for a cup is pretty hard to beat. I've also heard that it's easy to make one's own yogurt using store yogurt as starter culture, but I haven't gotten quite that cheap yet.
For BNF -- I agree that some places can't live without air conditioning, but it KILLS me to see people in those neighborhoods running around without sun shades for their front window (which keeps the heat down some, at least). Also, when it's hot out and you've got the chance, an easy and cheap way to release a lot of that heat is to open the doors or windows before you even start the car. I run out and open all my car's doors while I'm packing it with stuff/people, and usually by the time we're rolling, the hot air has mostly risen out of the car and I just have to blast the rest out with a quick shot of AC.
Using A/C in the car isn't always as big of a fuel-mileage loss as you think. Driving with the windows open is really bad for fuel efficiency, too, especially at highway speeds. Having the A/C on but not set at "deep freeze" is sometimes not as bad as going around with all the windows open. You have to play with it.
My car (a hybrid) has an A/C "Economy" mode that turns the air off when you're idling.
[QUOTE=jn4jenny;3575368]Actually, in my area, it's usually cheaper to buy the cups. 33 cents for a cup is pretty hard to beat. I've also heard that it's easy to make one's own yogurt using store yogurt as starter culture, but I haven't gotten quite that cheap yet.
Yes, that's the cheapest in-a-cup yogurt I've ever heard of. Do you live near the Yoplait plant in Reed City? For the rest of us, homemade may be cheaper. I buy a gallon of milk for $3.39, and small cup of plain yogurt for around $1.39. I prefer Stonyfield Farm because it doesn't have gelatin and a lot of other ingredients, but that's a personal preference. Put a quart of milk in a pot, heat to rolling boil, turn heat down, simmer for 2 - 4 minutes, then let cool to lukewarm (or a bit hotter.) Whisk a tablespoon of the purchased yogurt into the milk. Pour it into a quart glass jar or bowl, cover and wrap it in a towel. Let it stay out overnight. In the morning, put it in the refrigerator. You will have to add your own fruit, or preserves, but the cost is under $.30 per serving. And there's no plastic cup to recycle.
With gas prices going down, I think I'm going to ask the barn manager if the per mile charge for trailering has gone down. There's a show next weekend, and they were up to $2 per mile (or thereabouts) for transport. I would like to see some price rollbacks for other goods if gas prices stay down.
Speaking of air conditioning...one thing I like to do in the heat of the summer is to chill in my local library and read magazines. The library usually has many listings for community activities, yard sales, etc. Plus, I can keep up with 10 publications and not spend a dime. They rent movies for $1.99, and have free rentals on Tuesdays.
Last night we went to a Haunted Hayride - it was loads of fun. 4 of us did the hay ride and had dinner for a total of 60 tax free dollars, plus it was a fund raiser for the fire department.
One thing Mr. Flash refuses to do is to get rid of the high speed internet and the gazillion channel satellite service. So I try to maximize useage by reading the news online, and recording programs to watch for free on weekend nights instead of going out to the movies or even renting movies.
If you have a military ID, go to the Commisary. Really. I was married to a Marine for quite awhile before I bothered to go. It was out of the way, the hours were a pain, I was already a pretty frugal shopper, why bother? Holy crap! For the stuff that you need that doesn't go on sale much (like laundry deterg...we're hard enough on our stuff Tide is worth the extra money, flour, vitamins/drugs, etc) it'll save me just about half off of Walmart/Target prices.
Most of my horses' treats are boring old alfalfa cubes...they don't get it so they think those cubes are seriously good treats! My local grocery store has 50lb bags of carrots for $10...we seem to take turns buying bags for the barn. Cheaper than pretty much any horse treat!
No gourmet coffee. My weakness is blended iced mochas in the summer. I can make them at home by putting ice, instant coffee, & instant cocoa with a little skim milk into my blender. And I can adjust my caffiene levels as necessary Alternatively, I freeze any leftover coffee from weekend mornings in ice cube trays & use that.
I don't do it anymore since we have the Com, but I used to share a Costco membership with a BUNCH of friends. We got 'family' cards for several us then would plan our trips so everyone who didn't have a card in their name could go at the same time. We would also usually take the van so we could carpool & save gas (it was a long drive).
Phone around for costs on things like vet care...I need to get my new kitty fixed & the quotes given range from $100 to $225 within the same small town. Obviously, I checked around on the $100 guy but he comes with rave reviews & has actually treated my elderly dog before. (Migrating foxtail that required surgery, steroid shot, 2 kinds of antibiotics for 14 days plus 3 visits for bandage changes b/c he wanted to see it rather than let me do it...total bill $235! My friend's dog had the same thing & same treatment at dif vet...her bill was $1700!)
Ask the butcher at your grocery store what time they usually put the clearance meat out. That's 30% off often already sale meats. Good deal.
Quinoa in bulk from someplace like Henry's is awesome...tasty, easy to cook, & a complete protein for cheaper than lentils. Which are also awesome.
If you cook a lot (or drink a lot of herbal tea), buy online someplace like Monterey Bay. It will save you around 80%, even figuring in shipping. Also a great place to get things like yucca powder or devils claw if you use them on your horses.
Biggest money saver would be to QUIT SPOILING THE HORSE.
Most of what most people do in line of "spoiling their horse" is really just self-indulgence -- a way to be extremely selfish under the guise of being a "good horse mommy".
There is no inherent virtue in living on Ramen noodles to keeping a horse living high on the hog. The horse would be just as happy (probably even happier) just being a horse.
. I think it's a bit extreme to suggest shopping at Goodwill and eating ramen constantly so that horsie can have an expensive new blanket and fleece-lined boots. But, right now at lot of horse owners are having to make big personal sacrifices just to board their horse, especially in the areas that are especially pricey for board...
Anyway, I do most clothes shopping at outlets, Kohls, Marshalls etc. At the mall, when I (rarely) go, I only touch the sale racks. I have a weakness for certain items at the mall, but I make myself avoid strolling aimlessly as I go to get my fix of bath and body-type stuff. I buy most riding attire on Ebay.
I check my bank accounts daily online as motivation to be good.
I check my bank accounts daily online as motivation to be good.
I started doing this a few months ago and my spending has completely stopped aside from essentials (food and gas). It's a great reality check, esp for someone in college like me.
I don't spend much on food in the first place (before I started using coupons I spent about $85 a month) but with coupons I spend about $40 a month! Luckily I don't have champagne tastes when it comes to food (I save that for horses and tack )and am perfectly happy eating the same thing every day, the most expensive items of food I buy are my vitamin supps usually.
If you're idling in traffic for more than 30 seconds, turn the car off. This may or may not apply to diesels, which idle more efficiently than gas engines.
That is a misconception and it will actually cost you more to do that – your car starter will wear off much faster and will be much more expensive to replace it. Look in to that.
Some of the salad dressings are on sale for 99c – use them as the liquid flavor for your cooking.
Make soups from the left over meat with lots of broth. Broth will fill your stomach, give your energy and will not give you fat.
I also hang clothes on the clothesline instead of drying them in the dryer.
I do that in the summer. In the winter the clothes go onto a drying rack in front of the wood stove blower. My clothes get dry and my house is "humidified" at the same time.
DH and I also switched cell phone plans to a cheaper one with fewer minutes, and now we have "rollover" minutes where before we had use-or-lose minutes each month... and we primarily lost. When we changed plans we also eliminated features like texting, internet access, GPS, etc... basically we just wanted phones for emergencies without the bells and whistles! The cell phone companies don't tell you that you can have these features disabled and they will reduce your bill - you have to ask. That saved us almost $40 per month.
I do go with generic everything now, from canned veggies to shampoo. I'm not missing the brand names. Diapers are the only think I've found I can't go generic on (rash - sensitive baby) but potty training is in the near future.
Cloth diapers!!! By cloth diapering one baby you can save up to $2000 from birth to potty training, depending on what kind of diapers you choose to buy. You also keep 1 ton of diapers out of a landfill.
I also make my own baby food with a mini Cuisinart. Much cheaper and healthier, too.
For grown-ups...If you have a pretty big freezer, buy certain foods (meats etc.) in bulk when you find a good deal.
My parents and in-laws both grew large gardens this year, and during the summer we were overrun with zucchini, corn, and beans. So I froze it. Canning would also work and would be better if you don't have a deep freezer, but it's more effort.
Drive slower and you will get much better gas mileage. I do between 30-50 on most roads and never above 60 on the highways and I have noticed a big difference. I drive stick and so I'll also shift it into neutral and coast when I can. This was a big adjustment for me because I loved driving fast, but it's been worth it. I've been trailer-pooling as much as possible this year too.
We also bundled our internet and phone service and saved some $$ that way. We are unplugging all the appliances not in use and the big ticket ones (tv, microwave) we put in a power strip to minimize the phantom load.
I read somewhere that running a fan in the winter will reduce heating bills as the air motion pushes the warm air up and around, warming the house more effeciently.
Library - free books, magazines, DVDs, etc. If your local library doesn't have a book, try interlibrary loan (google worldcat to find out how to look up where a book is) - you can get materials from libraries around the world. I'm in NJ, and once had a book sent from Kansas. For $1. I love public libraries.
I love Netflix, but I realized that having that monthly ding on my credit card was just hurting me. even though it was small) So we're taking a break.
As far as shopping goes, I think the best thing to do is just stay home. I know, you have to buy things sometimes, but I think we run out to the store 110% more than is neccessary. I've been getting disgusted with how every stop on the way home delays me, now that the days are so short, and I just quit stopping. And I survived. I've realized that no, I didn't really NEED that thing most of the time (and, ok, there were a few times I had to run back out and get the thing because the dog did really need her dinner) and it saved me money.
But since we have to buy something sometimes, and because the holidays are getting closer...
Store cards (either just the loyalty-type or the actual credit type) if you have the discipline to not use them a lot, usually mean getting good coupons and sales notices. Borders, in particular, seems to do a lot of 20% off coupons for weekends.
Yard sales. For some things, you really can't beat a yard sale. Kid stuff in particular is an incredible value at a yard sale. Season's almost over, but they're still out there. People who are moving are often totally disinterested in making a profit - they just want the junk GONE before the van comes. I bought a couple of computer games for $1 at one this weekend.
Thrift shops. Books, DVDs, CDs, furniture, decorative objects, etc. Very good place to get holiday decorations (right now, many of them are setting up special sections just for costumes, so try them before the fun but expensive halloween stores.)
Church bazaars. Good source for small furniture, household items, decorative items, books and sometimes jewelry or houseplants. At the last one I went to, I found an old, out-of-print book I've been vaguely wanting for 5 years (priced on Bookfinder around $10) for fifty cents, a CD for $1, and a really nice heavy-duty plastic tote box (slightly dirty, not cracked or worn out) for fifty cents.
Dollar store - the spices are always very cheap, and that's typically an expensive item in the grocery store.
Library booksales - for books, magazines, DVDs, CDs, VHS, cassettes. Try booksalefinder.com to find local sales.
Craigslist - under Free, search under 'curb' for the most up-to-date trashpicking information If you're sensitive, or the house belongs to your 8th grade algebra teacher, maybe not. But then the free stuff belongs to the rest of us. There is a brick path and a massively nice mission-style settee residing in my mom's house that was once residing in front of someone else's house.