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What are some of your frugal tips?

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      Here are some fun and frugal tips: (I think saving money is fun :))

      1.  Save money on your manicure or pedicure by going to a cosmetology school, or better it yourself!

      2.  Ask if your salon has a training night.  Hairdressers in training often cut your hair just as well as your regular hairdresser would, but for a fraction of the usual cost.  

      3.  If you ever wind up with shampoo that you really don’t like, don’t just throw it away! Most shampoos make good liquid hand soaps and are great for washing pantyhouse and delicates.  

      4.  Avoid shopping as entertainment, take a walk instead.

      5.  Eat before you go to the movies to avoid concessions.  


        Great tips!

        * I used to think that buying large lots of things was cheaper. But since I have a small family, I realized that putting the $5 I would “save” in the bank to earn interest for 6 months was wiser than investing in 40 rolls of toilet paper.

        * Don’t be afraid to return things if they aren’t right, no matter how much (or how little!) they cost. Many stores will take back items even if they’ve been tried and you just don’t like them.

        * Keep very good financial records. We project our spending per line item out to year-end, so we can see if, at the current rate of spending for, say, groceries, we will exceed our budget. Then we can adjust our spending before it’s too late!

        * Buy good quality things, including some indulgences, so you don’t splurge out of a sense of deprivation.


          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 quantities. 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   :-/


            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.



              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 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.


                  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’m a student, and i pay for the campus gym even though i don’t work out.  I shower there though, since i’ve already paid for the hot water!  City pools also have public swim times where i can get a free shower.

                    College campuses are full of people who don’t plan beyond the next exam.  At the end of every semester, there are people who need to move away, but can’t take their furniture, so will give it away.

                    Also, volunteering at soup kitchens gets me a free lunch –  that i’ve worked for.


                      I love the spirit of the free shower/save hot water tips!  Reminds me of when I was in younger and spending an inordinate amount of time in the libraries to study not so much for the peace an quiet or reference resources, but because of the free heat!

                      Other tips I can pass on: never buy anything over $100 brand new (usually anything over that amount, e.g., appliances, electronics, computers, gym equipment, cars, etc. can be bought used) and instead of drinking coffee/soda/or juice, drink water (it’s better for you).


                        Ok, here’s where I’ll really get jumped on. I live in AL
                        but last year my heating gas bill really jumped, even though
                        I only heat a few rooms and keep the rest closed off. From
                        what everyone says, this year will be much worse. Tonight it’s supposed to go down to 23 degrees, with a high today of about 44 degrees. Now hear this: I HAVE YET TO TURN ON MY HEAT! Yep, you read correctly. Now, I know I could go out to the woods and cut up some firewood, but I’m not a country boy, so I rejected that idea. Right now I’m wearing two jackets, scarf and a knit cap and I’m quite snug. My legs are a little cold. I may have to put on the thermal underwear!
                        At night We have an electric blanket, so we’re nice and toasty. My daughter works all day in a heated office. There
                        are no small children here. Yes, I know I sound crazy. What
                        about keeping my water from freezing? Well, I don’t heat the
                        bathroom, so I’ve always had to keep the faucet dripping when it goes below 27 degrees. We use an electric space heater in there when we’re taking a bath or shower. Even though we have an automatic gas water heater, I turn it WAY DOWN when we’re not taking a bath. No, I certainly do NOT
                        recommend that any of you take these extreme measures to
                        keep your expenses down. You’d have to be crazy like me! It usually doesn’t get REAL cold here until January. When my
                        face starts turning blue I’ll probably change my mind. I’m
                        curious to see what my gas bill will be this month. Maybe $20? Let’s wait and see!


                          Bill, this may sound funny to some people who think your measures are a little extreme but I thought your post was really inspiring!  A co-worker in CA took similar measures during the 2002 power crises, going around in his house in all of his camping gear and outfitting each bed in the house with a down comforter (and not turning on the heat), though CA winters might be a little milder than AL ones.  Following your lead I am going to turn off all of the heat here, sleep in my 0 degree sleeping bag tonight and see how comfortable that is…

                          And yeah, thermal underwear is the best!!


                            I do a lot of things to stay within my means.  Often, adjusting one’s lifestyle is what it takes.  Thinking about what you value, etc….

                            I wrote an article about Reducing Personal Expenses so you can see my ideas for freeing up more money for the things that really do matter.



                              Living in a smaller home has really worked for us. 14 years ago my husband and I built a 24’x 24’cabin (670 sq.ft.)that I designed for us.There is an upstairs loft under the eaves of the (8:12 pitch) roof that is the “Master Suite”-sleeping area (9’x10’6″), small full bath, closet, sitting area on small balcony (7’x 4′)overlooking the main floor.
                              The main floor consists of 9’x 8′ bunkroom (formerly for our children, now for grandchildren) and full bath, both placed at the back of the house. The left front is an 11’x 14′ Living Room with built-in book shelves/media storage, while on the right is 8’x 8’6″ dining area separated from the kitchen (10’x 8′) only by a work counter with 4 counter height stools.
                              When people think about small homes they think cramped quarters with no room to turn around and feeling closed in. This is not true of our home nor of the many other homes I have designed since. I typically utilize a fairly open floor plan to visually expand sense of space.
                              Over time I have figured out ways to cut even more square footage without losing functionality or sense of spaciousness. Little houses use modest amounts of Earth’s precious resources, and can still live very large despite their small footprints.
                              Our home is cozy and comfortable, well insulated, easy to heat and cool, easy to clean, attractive with enough room for the people, things and activties we enjoy. Doing much of the work ourselves and helping the professionals we did hire (electrician, plumber), we were able to build our home for less than $20,000 and paid off the loan in 4 years.We recently added a sunroom onto the back of the house because we now have 6 grandchildren under the age of 8 who need more room to play than our 2 kids did. We and our friends did all of the work ourselves and our only cost for 24’x12′ addition was materials, recycled or bought at the cheapest sources.
                              We unplug the water heater when not in use, turn off lights when not in use, use compact flourescent bulbs, and an EdenPure heating unit. This is our first winter with the EdenPure unit and are hoping it lives up to its reputation as propane gas is getting more and more expensive. In summer, we keep the house cool with a small air conditioner placed in the upstairs window in sleeping area and have ceiling fans to circulate the cool air which is naturally going to go downward to the main floor.
                              I hope more people will try living in smaller spaces. It can be done very comfortably and affordably. We have had great fun all of our years here and intend to spend the rest of our years here.
                              You might want to give it a try!


                                Hi there….  my first post on this Forum.

                                I am quite new to the “frugal lifestyle” and find myself feeling pretty darn good about myself!

                                In the course of 2 months, I have saved several thousand dollars by the following:

                                1. Reviewing and downsizing my car and home insurance to more standard levels (saved about $1500 per year now!)

                                2. Gave up smoking (as of Valentine’s Day!) in one year’s time, I will have saved about $3000

                                3. Will be selling my expensive sports car (I also have a daily-driver, a Toyota) and pay off my mortgage with that money.

                                4.  Will save $2000 a year on garaging the sports car.

                                5.  Dropped down my monthly cable bill by $100 – going from the platinum package ($120) to the basic cable rate ($15)as I watch more DVD’s than regular TV anyway!

                                6.  I do not rent DVD’s at all….  I usually borrow them from my local library (about 2 blocks from my house) and those that I KNOW I will watch often, are those that I buy – on sale only.

                                7.  I take the commuter train into work each day, rather than driving.  Saves gas, mileage, and a lot of stress.  My employer subsidizes a portion of the monthly train ticket/pass.

                                8.  I dropped my fast DSL internet connection to a slower version of the same DSL – I same more than 50% and barely notice any real difference in speed.  

                                9.  I now brew my own coffee each morning and bring to work in a thermos.  I save a LOT of money doing this – instead of going to a coffee shop which charges $3 for a small capuccino.  

                                OK, those are the main highlights….  Considering just how short a time I have been thinking about being more frugal and saving myself a lot of stress, I am completely shocked at how much I have saved – both in immediate terms as well as over the course of a year.  I have not really “lost” anything at all, and have gained so much more….

                                I am very grateful for this site and all of you who have shared some wonderful tips and ideas.   Thanks!


                                  Oh Yeah, one more thing I am doing:

                                  Besides actually cutting back my costs (see above post, I am actually trying to SAVE money….

                                  As I am paid weekly, I am now putting an entire paycheque (or as much as humanly possible) away during those 4 months a year where we have FIVE Friday’s.  Based on my weekly take-home salary, I am actually putting away a couple of thousand dollars a year- just based on the nature of the calendar…  who would have thought?  LOL  

                                  Now that I have quit smoking, I am now paying myself a MINIMUM of $5 per day into a jar, which I can not see the contents of.   Any extra cash I find myself in possession of also gets deposited into this jar.  After even a short time, I am not really sure how much is in there.  It will make a nice surprise over the course of time, when I can deposit it into an interest-bearing account, or to pay off more debt.  Sounds weird, but out of sight, out of mind and therefore, out of my spending hands!  LOL

                                  I am very interested in hearing from other’s who also found ways of paying themselves….  

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