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What are some of your frugal tips?

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A lot of money can be saved through investing in the right improvements. Finding the air leaks and sealing them as well as adding insulation cuts heating and cooling costs. Installing 1.6g toilets and low flow shower heads and faucet aerators pay for themselves in a short period of time. The payback on these improvements is significant, especially if you have an older home.

Negotiate with friends. You know, "Hey Jim, if you'll do the body work on my car I'll install your new kitchen."

Here's one of my favorites. If you'll only use it a couple of times, rent or borrow it. Do you really need to buy that $200 tiler for a one time job?

Get free mulch from your township if available.

Lowes and Home Depot often have clearance items as well as "oops" paint at great prices. Ask yourself if you really need it though before you buy. When I knew I'd be remodeling our bathroom, I purchased piece by piece at discount and stored them until we had everything we needed.

Buy generic. I rarely see a coupon for a name brand that saves me more than a generic product.

Cheap shampoo works just as well as the fancy stuff.

Make your own wrapping paper at Christmas. Brown postal paper, decorated with painted shapes made out of old sponges and tied with twine or rafia are special. The recipient knows that love went into that gift!

I don't have a second freezer. I can't see it paying for itself, even for my family of 5.

If you have a convection oven, use it for all its worth! Mine can do 6 lasangas at a time (but then I'd need that extra freezer...can't win!)Great for holiday cookies!!!

Why pay for gym membership? Grab a friend and go speedwalking.

Buying your furniture unfinished and doing the work yourself saves a bundle. So is refinishing an older, serviceable piece.

Dump the SUV and save on gas! A friend from San Francisco once asked why any Californian would need 4 wheel drive. Unless you were in the sticks or on a mountain, I'd tend to think he is right.

Consider your next home to be under 2000 sq ft. The savings are too numerous to mention.

Vow to never again pay late fees again.

Sorry, I get carried away. I've used all of my own suggestions and have saved thousands in just the last 3 years.

I have a few tips I would like to share:

All laundry is washed in our home using cold water only.  This saves on the cost of heating hot water and our clothes are as clean as if we had used hot water (which actually wears down the fibers faster).  The tip is to only lightly fill your washing machine, do not pack the clothes in there tightly.  When I dry our clothes, I use a "medium heat" setting and run the dryer for about 15 minutes.  I hang my husband's shirts on hangers and let them air dry.  

When I go to the grocery store, I buy meat that is on sale in bulk, take it home and divide it into smaller portions, then freeze.  I buy whole chicken (which is cheaper by pound) and cut it up myself.  If you don't like to, or don't know how to cut up a chicken yourself, even the "whole chicken cut up" is cheaper than buying only "split chicken breasts."  I bag my chicken pieces together by type of part (bag all breast pieces together, bag all wings together, etc..).  

Fast food is the root of all evil!  When my husband and I desided to stop eating fast food, he lost 65 pounds and I lost 45 pounds.   - Also on weightloss... the best and most cost efficient diet plan is "DRINK MORE WATER!"  We bought a PUR water filter pitcher and faucet piece and have saved tons by not having to buy bottled water.  

We grow our own vegitables in the garden.  I have an outside pet rabbit who lives in a hutch and the manure is a great fertilizer (and it doesn't cost a ton of money).  Gardening is fun. It takes a bit of time to tend, but it is well worth the effort.

Another way to save money... join Freecycle.  Just about ever major town has a web site and it is set up for folks who want to recycle their items to others who could use them.  

I also do a lot of thrift store shopping in the winter months, and yard sale shopping in the spring/summer/fall.  I have my own yard sale at least once a year.  This eliminates clutter and earns me some extra cash (to spend at other people's yard sales!)

This seems to be a great site and I've picked up quite a few new tips myself.  I hope some that I've shared have helped someone else.

Those are all great tips so far!  I have a few:

-Use a digital camera instead of the film type.  >2 years ago I purchased a refurb'd 1.3MP Olympus camera for $75 (probably worth $25 now), and it easily paid for itself in both time, film, and developing costs.  Instead of spending >$100/year on photos I now spend $0 even though I take about 4X as many photos (digital allows that ;D).  I also don't bother to print them, as the web is the best media for sharing photos!

-Instead of spending $100/year on CDs (compact discs) now, I check out them from the library, and save only the songs I like in MP3 format onto my computer.  (it helps that my computer is hooked up to the home sound system and I have an MP3 player in the car)  I also did this with my entire CD collection, after which I donated them all to the library, which not only frees up space but gives a nice tax deduction. ;D

-Instead of specifying a long-distance phone carrier on my basic home phone plan, I specified nothing and use a calling card (I use that charges just 2.9cents/minute to anywhere in the U.S., at any time.  I store the 800- number in the phone's memory so it is not a hassle to dial it.

-When I had cable (now I just use rabbit ears since I hardly watch any TV at all, except for The Apprentice ;D) here in CA, I subscribed to the little-known "basic basic" package ($13/month), as opposed to the "basic" package ($29/month) which many of my friends have since they didn't know about the "basic basic" plan.  The cable salesman warned me that with the "basic basic" package one only gets, CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, and a few others, but I was getting like 40 channels?

-For dial-up 'net access I use, for $5/month, instead of the more popular $10 Netzero or $20 AOL plans, with good results (been using it for 1.5 years with no connection problems...)

-I almost never buy electronics new anymore, avoiding instant depreciation and sales taxes.  Usually buy used off of Craigslist, eBay, or  Also, I see little need to buy the latest and greatest equipment when something 3 years old often is more than adequate and gave its previous owner lots of satisfaction when he bought it brand new...

-I had to LOL when someone wrote something like "with gas prices the way they are, we may have to start bicycling to work" since I've already been doing that 3X a week... in fact I was driving my 2 cars so infequently that I think I only had to buy gas once a month, and hence I never really noticed how high gas prices had risen until all of a sudden: "Woah!  Gas prices are like 40 cents more than when I last got gas 5 weeks ago!"

-frugal felix  ;D

I use the library instead of renting movies or buying books. (Except books used for my freelance business which are tax deductible.)

I use cell phone minutes instead of paying long distance charges.

I use vinegar to clean just about everything in my home.

My husband brings his lunch to work instead of buying. (I did too before leaving my job.)

I use coupons and stock up on loss leaders at the supermarket.

I do a lot of things home made -- for instance I make Christmas gifts, ornaments, and instead of purchasing expensive gift wrap, I let my son color and paint on a giant roll of white paper or paper bags and use that.

Reuse ziplocks and plastic takeout containers.

I don't buy "convenience" products.

There's so much more. I write a weekly Frugal Living column, so it's always nice to read other people's tips and ideas.


I'll probably get a lot of 'flak' from others about what I'm about to say, but I've got a thick skin.  ;D

As we all know, gasoline prices are increasing rapidly, where we may soon have to ride bicycles or motor scooters instead of driving cars. :'(   For a good while now
I've only been going to the grocery store every two
weeks instead of a couple of times a week. We have a freezer and we make good use of it. I buy my bread from the 'day-old' bread store about 8 loaves at a time and freeze it. I know that 'enriched' white bread does NOT freeze well, so I buy the REAL whole wheat bread, which DOES freeze well. I know what canned goods and other non-perishables I'm going to need for the next two weeks
so I buy them as well as the meat, which I also freeze.   ;)

Many will ask what I do about fresh vegetables. Well,  we
just don't buy them. At least not in large quanapplesies. I can
hear some of you now..."I want the very best for my family
and the very freshest, and etc."  Well, if you can afford the
gasoline, keep right on doing what you've been doing.
Many farmers can their vegetables for home use and I see
no difference in buying canned from the store. All of our
tastes are different so there's no need to bring that argument up now.
Combine trips! Do NOT make several trips in the car when
one will do. Here's an example: One of my daughters lives
in a suburban area and the stores are roughly 5 miles
from her home. She makes trips to the grocery store DAILY
for food and then makes ANOTHER TRIP to get her kids from school. Do you see how much gas she is wasting?
I've tried to point this out to her. If she has to pick the kids
up anyway, why not do her shopping at the same time?   :o  She could go right before school if she doesn't want to drag them through the store. Also, I've been there to dinner and she'll say that she has to go to the store to get some milk. I told her to get it the next day...why not?
Another thing, I told her to MAKE A GROCERY LIST. She says she does, but she leaves it hanging on the refrigerator when she goes to the store!  ??? It's NOT doing anybody any good there! She's always saying she forgot to get this or that   :-/


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