Frugal/Cheapskate/Money Saving Tips

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by balazon2000, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. balazon2000 Queen of her domain Contributor

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    Saw the suggestion in the main forum and thought it was a good idea.

    Easy tip:

    In order to save money at the grocery store:

    1. Don't go hungry. If you are hungry, you'll buy more
    2. Make a menu.
    3. Make a shopping list.
    4. Leave the kids at home. They tend to "help" with the shopping when your back is turned.
    5. Try to have a little bit of a back up grocery wise. The Mormons had a good idea with having a food storage plan for rainy, bomby days.
    6. If you don't have a food storage, try to stock up on at least 1 of the more expensive items each time you go shopping. ie, olive oil, etc.
    7. Making something from scratch not only tastes better, but is cheaper.
     
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  2. balazon2000 Queen of her domain Contributor

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    I also have a cookbook put out by a student researching for her Masters on how to live on $4.00/day. That's the average a person getting food stamps gets each day. Some of the recipes are not bad. I'm not sure how to send a file through here or if I need to send it to your email address. I'll ask Zingy.
     
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  3. clickhappier ★★Ⰼ₳ՖŦξᚱ⌚ Contributor

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    In-forum attachments aren't enabled on MTG.

    If it's a PDF (or you can convert it to such), upload it at https://pdf.yt/ ('PDFy') and post the link here! :) Great free PDF host.
     
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  4. balazon2000 Queen of her domain Contributor

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  5. CatsOnEverything Pizza Master Contributor

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    Some random frugal life skillz I've picked up:

    *Stop using paper towels. Use re-useable rags instead and wash them in a big load when they're dirty.
    *Don't buy expensive chemical cleaners. You can clean everything safely with either bleach, vinegar, or baking soda. Make diluted bleach and vinegar spray bottles and stop spraying chemicals everywhere. Prob way better for your health too.
    *Buy groceries/home products on sale. When something you eat a lot is on sale, buy a TON of it and store it. It costs more up-front but over time it costs WAY less to buy in bulk on sale.
    *Beans & Rice. Buy a big 20lb bag of rice. Buy cans of flavored beans. Buy cans of flavored tomatoes. Make rice. Pour some beans and some tomatoes on top. De-fucking-liscious and super cheap and healthy-ish. Stupid easy, too.
    *Learn to cook. Also, if you work out of the house, make your own lunches.
    *Stop drinking soda and juice. Learn to love water. You'll be more hydrated, less prone to diabetes and other health problems, and water is practically free. Cha-ching.
    *Cheap shampoo seems to work just as well as expensive shampoo. See how little an amount of bath product you can use for it to still be effective. You'd be surprised how little shampoo you actually need to get the job done. Also, a huge $18 bottle of Dr. Bronners lasts my husband and I 2 years. Dilute it. We use it in the shower to wash faces and other parts. Plus, the peppermint Dr. Bronners is fantastically tingly.

    This stuff is just the tip of the iceburg. I'll post more if I think of it. I started being frugal by necessity and now it's just fun. I like saving money. Hope these tips help.
     
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  6. AngryRobotsInc Robot Master Contributor

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    For grocery shopping, buy in bulk of things that don't easily go bad, or are easily stored to prevent them from going over. Flour, rice, dry beans, etc. The price may seem higher, but you're paying less per unit of weight for a 10 lb bag of rice, vs a 5 lb bag, or a single box, or what have you.

    Also, meat is out. Unless it's chicken. Meat's expensive, yo. And only buy whole chickens, and find out how to split them yourself. Again, you're going to end up paying less per unit of weight, and a whole chicken is something you can do a million things with. Stock, soups, stew, roast chicken, render down the fat, etc.

    If you absolutely want red meat, offal. Learn it. Love it. Unless you live around a million foodies who are all about the 'obscure' stuff, the offal is going to be way cheaper. Tongue and heart are good starters for newbies, but it's all delicious.

    Beans and rice are the go to "I am broke/saving money, but still want to eat" meal. There are roughly a gabillion different ways to make beans and rice.

    Produce. Seasonal. Seasonal seasonal seasonal. Shop by the season. And find a farmer's market, and go toward the end when people are trying to shift stuff. Potatoes and onions are going to be your bros forever, if you're trying to save money. Always have them on hand, with anything else as needed and by price.
     
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  7. AngryRobotsInc Robot Master Contributor

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    Oh, another note. We're going to throw down a little bit more money than could be considered cheap here, but with the internet, you don't really need cookbooks anymore. But you're going to be buying one. And that book is....dun dun dun...

    [​IMG]

    I don't care if you get it digitally, or a physical copy. But if you get a physical copy, put that sucker in your kitchen and never let it go anywhere else. Get this bad boy, and by God, you will know how to cook ANYTHING.
     
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  8. Defluo Veteran Member Member

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    Here's another one (same project maybe?) by Leanne Brown, also completing her Masters: https://8b862ca0073972f0472b704e2c0...xd6wdCBD_2tdUdtM0d4WTJmclU/good-and-cheap.pdf

    Edit: Uh, my biggest frugal tip: Don't drink. I spend too much on that.
     
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  9. coffee Veteran Member Member

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    We live out in the middle of nowhere and the only grocery store is Walmart, which really doesn't have the best prices/quality. We spend around $50-80 a week on feeding 3 people, shopping mainly at Walmart.

    If you shop at Walmart, even sometimes, use their price match program:
    http://corporate.walmart.com/ad-match-guarantee
    Walmart will match any ad prices within 50 miles of your location. We are about 40 miles from a large city that has 6 great grocery stores that often have deals on lots of things, but I especially watch their meat and produce sections. You don't need to bring in the ad, just write down what item, size, quantity, store name and price you are matching and tell the cashier you have price match items.

    We have an ALDI store that we go to for some of our staples every other month like oil, sugar, spices. Walmart will pricematch ALDI's meat and produce prices so I'm always looking at the ads. We buy bulk rice, flour, and a variety of beans.

    Expand your knowledge of recipes from around the world and find a way to cheaply replicate them. You don't need no fancy pants sesame seed oil or coconut milk or things like that. Just make do with what you have. Fried rice, curry, and jambalaya are some of the cheapest things I know how to make; they are totally inauthentic but taste really great, fill you up, and stretch really far.

    Make your shopping list like you run a restaurant. Don't just buy something because you have a vague idea of what to use it for or because it sounds good. While you're making your menu, you should be taking inventory of your pantry, try to use up what you have, and only buy what you really need for that week.

    I am crazy good at remembering prices, so after I make my shopping list I mark down beside it how much money that item is going to cost and then tally it up. After I know how much it's going to cost for what I think I need, I consult the budget and my mturk dashboard, and cut things/postpone them if I need to.

    Make big meals and MAKE PLANS for the leftovers or freeze it to use next week. Everyone hates eating something for three days in a row, but if you can dress it up and turn it into something different, it's a lot better. A popular string of meals at our house is big pot of chili -> Indian tacos -> nachos -> chili baked potatoes.

    The whole chicken idea is a good one, and there are even ways to improve upon that. A gal I knew used to take a whole chicken, roast it, debone it, and would place it in the food processor- skin and all- to finely shred it up. She'd freeze the cooked chicken meat and use that in recipes. She told me she could get six meals from a single chicken this way. She was feeding a family of 8 :0 We don't go that far, but we routinely make one pound of meat last for two recipes (4-6 meals).

    If you have space in your yard or on a porch or a window I highly recommend learning to grow plants and herbs. I am not a great gardener, but this summer we planted 8 tomato plants in buckets in our backyard and had fresh tomatoes all summer long. I have a dozen gallon sized bags of frozen stewed tomatoes that I use for spaghetti, chili, etc. I have about 20 quart jars of tomato sauce that my neighbor generously helped me can using her canning things (she got paid in sauce lol). The amount of tomatoes our plants produced was astonishing, even though we pretty much neglected the crap out of them because we were still learning. All from 8 tomato plants that cost a dollar each, 8 free buckets from a local bakery, free dirt from my backyard, and free fertilizer from my rabbits. I'm already starting to plan next year's garden. In September all the seeds at walmart cost 5 cents a pack (normally they cost between 50 cents to $1.50), and I bought all the seeds I will need to have a bigger better garden.
     
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  10. makingitwork Member Member

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    Oooooo I love this discussion
     
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  11. Jaded Veteran Member Member

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    This is fantastic, thank you!
     
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  12. Turkin' For the Weekend Well-Known Member Member

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    I really wish I could be more frugal, but with how hectic mine and my wife's schedules are, sometimes we just can't do some of it. And in some cases, such as buying in bulk or buying fresh, it actually costs us more as we often have to throw out most of it due to not having the time or space for it. Strangely, I think we're actually going to be saving much more money once our child is born, because our biggest offender is going out too much.

    Here are some of the ways I save money. You may notice some of it's unnecessary, as there are always more frugal ways to live, but I think they're pretty helpful for people who don't want to or simply just can't sacrifice their time or
    change their lifestyle.

    This is going to be long, so I'm hiding things in spoilers. Also, the grammar is going to be atrocious.

    Do NOT be afraid of thrift stores, or buying used:
    I'm completely fine with saying that a bulk of my wardrobe comes from Goodwill. Now, I don't buy all of my clothes there, but when I had an office job, 9/10s of the time I was buying my dress shirts and slacks there (the other ten percent of the time it was the clearance racks at Kohl's which, if you have one in your area, join their mailing list. They send out 10-20% off coupons almost every week and they can be used on clearance items, too.) I think the usual price is $2.50 for a shirt and $3.50 for pants. Anyway, I used to work in a law firm, and I couldn't tell you how many times I was dressed better than the male lawyers who worked there and bought their clothes at higher prices.

    Also, learn to sew. I cannot comprehend why people would throw out clothes just because they have a hole in them. Sew it up! It's easy! I have the least steady hands in the world and I can mend a hole. Or, patch it up! Plenty of websites offer free fabric samples, which I use as patches to give my clothes a more personalized look. You can also get a small sheet of fabric at Walmart for a steal. I got this great coat at Goodwill once that unfortunately had some holes in the back. I went and got a little bit of fabric from Walmart that matched the coat and patched it up. I've gotten compliments on the coat from professional interior designers and other fashion types.

    Also, the great thing about Goodwill (or yard sales, etc.) is the fact that some people throw out electronics which may not necessarily be the newest or the "best," but are still completely functional and perfect for what you need. Especially if you have a little know-how with upgrading/putting things together. Most of our AV equipment is used. I call it Frankensteining. For instance, we splurged about a year ago and got a 46" LED TV and, like most flat panels, the sound absolutely sucked. We picked up a really nice 5.1 speaker set at Goodwill for $12.99 and found a great 7.1 receiver at a yard sale for $5. The wires to hook it all together cost more than both of those. We also got a practically brand-new powerhouse of a computer because her office was going to throw it out because "it's broken." The damn thing needed a new graphics card and that was it. Her office was throwing out some other ones, too, which were truly broken, so I took those and saved the disc drives and card readers and put them into the other computer.

    Also, don't be afraid of dollar stores, either:
    This one's a bit tricky. We sometimes buy a few things here and there from Dollar Tree. You have to be really mindful that you're actually getting a deal, though. For example, you can get generic (and sometimes big brand name) condiments there. However, the price/volume ratio makes it not worth it when you take into account that you can get almost double the amount at a regular supermarket for only a few cents more. But it's not a bad place to go if you keep that in mind, and you only need one or two things. Also, sometimes you can find CDs, DVDs, and even Blu Rays there. They also take up to two manufacturer's coupons per transaction.

    Coupons!
    There are countless sites out there to get coupons and information on how to maximize your savings with them, but I'll share my favorite:Krazy Coupon Lady. They have a database of most of the major retailers out there, and each week they'll go through each store's ads and show you how much you can save with coupons, complete with links to the online ones. They also provide the coupon policies for each store, too.

    Gas and Groceries:
    Most major supermarkets have a rewards or loyalty program. Join it. Now! The major supermarket around here is Winn Dixie, and they always have tremendous deals for those with a rewards card. A lot of BOGOs on meat, for instance. In addition to manufacturer and printed coupons, you can also load your Winn Dixie card with ecoupons, too.

    One of the best reasons to get the Winn Dixie card is their FuelPerks program. Depending on what you buy and how much you spend, you can get so much money off a gallon of gas at any Shell station (up to 20 gallons). Every $50 you spend gets you double the perks, and its cumulative, too.

    In addition to Winn Dixie's FuelPerks program, Shell has their own free rewards card. They usually have a sign up bonus of $.20 to $.25 cents off your first fill-up (again, up to 20 gallons). And every time you use your card at a Shell station you get three cents off a gallon. You can actually tie your Winn Dixie account to your Shell account and use whatever FuelPerks you've earned on your Shell card. The Shell card is crazy, folks. You can also tie your debit/credit card to your Shell account and accrue bonuses through purchases with it (mostly lodging, dining, and some online retailers). I think you get bonuses on every purchase you make if it's a Master Card, in addition to a nice little bonus for linking it to your account.

    Obviously, both Winn Dixie and Shell are rather regional, so see if any stores and gas stations in your area have something like this. I know BP has a gas rewards program, but theirs kind of sucks. I think it's if you accumulate over twenty gallons over your next two fill-ups you get five cents off your next fill-up. We signed up for our BP Rewards cards while on a road trip. Obviously, there aren't many in Louisiana anymore, so we don't get much use out of them.

    Here's the link for the Fuel Rewards Network, with a lot more information.

    and

    My referral link. I get a .20 bonus, and you get the same on your second fill-up.

    OK, I'm getting tired of typing, so I'm going to make the next few rather quick.

    Apps:
    Target Cartwheel- Instant coupons on select merchandise.

    Shop Kick- Earn points towards giftcards just by entering stores and scanning items. Depending on what stores are in your area, you can accumulate enough points for a $5 Target giftcard very quickly. There are a lot of bad reviews on this app, but I found out the hard way it's because you need a pretty powerful phone with good service to use this app. It craps out on me, but my wife can run it just fine. And, for every referral you get, you get half of their points for two weeks. Be a doll and use my wife's referral link?

    Walmart's Savings Catcher- It's like a retroactive price match guarantee. Scan your receipt, and Walmart will find the prices of the same (or similar to an extent) products at different stores and if there's a difference, Walmart will credit it to you in the form of a giftcard.

    Ibotta- Cash back on grocery purchases by scanning your receipt. Again, my wife's referral link.$5 bonus for every referral who redeems a receipt.

    Gigwalk- It's a secret shopper app. Gigs may not be available in all areas. Some of them are pretty basic- take a picture of a store display -and the pay is OKish.

    Around the House, etc. (I'm keeping this really short):
    -Energy efficient bulbs. Walmart has generic brands.
    -Energy/water saving shower heads
    -Thermal/blackout curtains
    -Wool dryer balls
    -Be smart about your electricity.
    -Learn to love your library. In addition to all the free stuff there, you can often download ebooks and audiobooks (and more) through affiliated apps like Overdrive and Hoopla.
    -Reuse! Reuse! Reuse! Keep anything glass, or anything that could be used as a container.
     
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  13. clickhappier ★★Ⰼ₳ՖŦξᚱ⌚ Contributor

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    If someone smokes, quitting smoking is also a huge money-saver. :nod:
     
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  14. JLO47 Member Member

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    Rumor has it that there are good Gas-saving tips on Wordpress
     
  15. coffee Veteran Member Member

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    Turkin' For The Weekends post reminded me of another not-so-common way I save money.

    I sew, crochet and knit as well as other handicrafts for fun, but I also put those skills to use sometimes. 2 years ago I found cotton yarn on sale for 0.40 each at wal-mart, and bought about 20 skeins. They're normally 1.49-1.99 each. With the yarn, I knitted (crocheting is faster and more fun for me, but knitting takes less yarn) a couple dozen dishcloths. I stopped buying paper towels and disposable dish sponges and we use only these in the kitchen. I color coordinate them; the ugly green ones are for the bathroom yucky stuff cleaning, the pretty pink and yellow for the dishes, and they are washed separately because I'm a clean freak. At our last house we had hardwood floors and always had to buy swiffer pads; they were expensive. I made up a pattern and knitted 3 swiffer shaped cloths that could button around the head, so I could wash them after each use. I still have yarn left, maybe 10 skeins, so that's enough to last me a couple years at least. I figure I was spending $5-10 a week on disposable cleaning stuff, and now that's all money saved.

    Yarn prices have really skyrocketed the past few years so you'll have to keep a sharp eye on sales. There are also video tutorials around the web that show how you can take old thrift shop sweaters and unravel them and recycle the yarn for different projects. Over the summer, I recycled a fancy but too-small wool sweater I got for .50 at goodwill, and knitted the yarn into a doggie sweater for my dog to wear this winter.

    You can get fat quarters at walmart for .99-1.19. Hobby Lobby has them for the same price, but they used to have a deal on them every summer, I think. I don't shop there anymore, but I used to a few years ago. There's also a smaller independently owned craft shop that has fat quarters or remnants, and every fall they drop prices to 0.49 each. I don't buy all my cloth there, I only use it to supplement what I buy from thrift shops. Thrift shops sometimes have cloth, but I usually just cut up old clothes to get what I need. A local thrift shop often has clothes for $1 a bag, which I can cram full of 10 items or so. When I look at clothes at the thrift shop, I don't imagine myself wearing it, I imagine what I can turn it into. I've turned t-shirts into skirts and a rug, frankensteined different things together to make them fit better, made long sleeved shirts into short sleeves, turned pants into shorts, used them to patch like Turkin' For the Weekend, and even made a whole patchwork quilt and a dog bed out of cheapy thrift shop clothes.

    Also, on the dollar store note: these are so great for craft stuff for your kids, if you have them. We go to the dollar tree a couple times a year and bring home bags and bags of glue, glitter, water color paint, colored paper, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, and other such silly things. I can't believe some of the prices for these things in regular stores, when you can get the same stuff at the dollar tree for 1/10 of the price, and it all ends up in the same place anyways - all over your floor :p
     
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  16. AngryRobotsInc Robot Master Contributor

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    On yarn, some thrift shops will also even have outright skeins for sale. Grandma goes to a nursing home (or...you know), and the family donates a whole bunch of her stuff. I've picked up some nice skeins of yarn, sewing patterns, various craft bits and bobbles, etc. at thrift stores.
     
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  17. cicada MTG Elite Contributor

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    I'm the most frugal person I know. One thing, I don't usually buy anything new, and when I do, I shop around for a while to find the best price...I use eBay a lot. I even built my desktop using used but perfectly functioning parts, and I saved a loooot of money that way. Lucky for me, most of my hobbies are pretty cheap or free. I've gotten really lucky at thrift stores more than once. I found my current computer monitor for $12...It didn't work, but I found a bad transistor and my dad's friend replaced it for me...I also found a CRT PVM for $1 that I've seen go for as high as $500 on the internet.

    Food...I buy all of my dry goods and tea in bulk and fresh produce in season or on sale. I have a pretty simple diet and I don't eat meat...I only drink water, coffee, and tea. I know a million different ways to prepare the things I eat, so they don't get boring...Knowing how to cook helps.

    Hygiene...I buy toothbrushes at the dollar store and brush my teeth with baking soda. Baking soda is cheap and effective and a box last a long time. The only soap I use is Dr. Brommers castil soap...It seems a bit pricey at first, but it lasts forever and feels and smells nicer than other soaps and body washes. Most people probably won't want to do this...But I haven't used shampoo or conditioner for roughly two years...My hair actually looks and feels nicer than it ever had when I was using shampoo and conditioner and my dandruff problem I had my entire life is pretty much gone.
     
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  18. Defluo Veteran Member Member

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    I save $100 or so a year by shopping at Costco. Membership costs $55 a year and I easily make that in savings. As an example: I bought a 20 pack of soap for less than Amazon Prime prices, etc. Cheapest I've seen it anywhere. You can find a lot of deals like that. Good beef for cheap, etc. Only store that's cheaper is ALDI but I don't like the quality of some of their food. If you have a family and can manage a budget and menu than you can make Costco work. Management is required though, since you have to buy in bulk. Buying 4 pounds of beef only works if you can use it all before it expires. I'm a single guy living alone so I typically don't buy too many perishables from Costco. When I do I end up feeding my neighbors. Also, they have $1.50 hot dog and soda for that unhealthy quick lunch.
     
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  19. AngryRobotsInc Robot Master Contributor

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    If you buy perishables in bulk, a good, albeit expensive, investment (if you have the space) is a chest freezer. Good for buying meat on the cheap, and making bulk meals, and freezing them.
     
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  20. clickhappier ★★Ⰼ₳ՖŦξᚱ⌚ Contributor

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    They don't have to need all that much space, there are smaller chest freezers available. :) When I was in college, I knew a guy who actually had one in his dorm room!
     
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