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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    38 Clever Christmas Hacks That Will Make Your Life Easier

    Take your holiday season from CRISIS to CHRISTMAS with these easy tips and tricks.
    posted on December 13, 2013 at 12:30pm EST
    Peggy Wang
    BuzzFeed Staff

    1. Use shiny green tinsel to make your Christmas tree look fuller.
    Be sure to layer the tinsel on the inner branches to fill out the tree.

    2. Use plastic cups to neatly store your ornaments.
    Use plastic cups to neatly store your ornaments.
    Mom's Party Cafe

    3. Use egg cartons to store your smaller ornaments.
    Use egg cartons to store your smaller ornaments.
    Too Stink Cute

    4. Wrap Christmas lights around a hanger to keep them from getting tangled.
    Wrap Christmas lights around a hanger to keep them from getting tangled.
    Sharon's Scrapbook

    5. Making gingerbread cookies?
    Turn them into ornaments that will last for years with three coats of varnish.
    Swanky Decors

    They won’t rot! Get the recipe for gingerbread cookie ornaments here.
    Or poke holes in them and string them as a garland.
    Donna Hay

    6. if you suck at nail art, just do this as an accent fingernail.
    With just a little tape, you’ve got an easy Christmas manicure.
    http://Goodiy Blog

    7. Old Saran wrap or aluminum foil containers make great boxes for gifting cookies.
    Get the full directions here

    8. Freeze whipped cream on a cookie sheet and use a cookie cutter to make hot chocolate hearts.
    The Sweetest Occasion

    9. Store your ice cream in a plastic bag to keep it soft and ready to serve.
    Full Punch

    10. Christmas candy sleighs make cheap and easy gifts for kids and teachers.
    A Day In The Life Of A Bored Navy Wife

    11. Reuse your leftover Halloween pumpkins to make snowmen.
    This way, you can still have snowmen even if you live in a climate that doesn’t get snow!
    Nola Girl At Heart

    12. Turn an old bulletin board into a pin-the-nose-on-the-reindeer game for the kids’ table.
    Directions Here

    13. Master the Christmas tree napkin fold.
    You won’t need to buy any special holiday napkins or napkin rings.

    14. Cut off the fingers of gloves to make an adorable finger puppet kit.
    Get the directions Here

    15. Jars of candy cane Play-Doh makes an insanely easy gift for children.
    Get the recipe Here

    16. Pretzel rings, Fruit Roll-Ups, and frosting are an easy way to make delicious snowman cookies.
    Get the directions Here

    17. Make adorable “elf” donuts out of Cheerios.
    Directions Here

    18. Keep the kids busy with three-ingredient snow slime.
    Get the recipe Here

    19. Pulverize candy canes and add them to EVERYTHING.
    Icing, cookies, ice cream, mousse, hot chocolate, and cocktail rims are just a few ideas.
    Check HERE for more ideas.

    20. Use a cardboard box wrapped in gift paper as your garbage receptable on Christmas morning.
    It’s prettier than seeing a trash bag in all of your family Christmas photos.
    Look here for good ideas.


    21. Cut branches from your Christmas tree to make easy table decor.
    You can even hang ornaments on them!
    Other ideas here.

    22. Command hooks and popsicle sticks make easy decorations that you can hand anywhere.
    What else can you do? Check here.

    23. You can also use Command hooks to hang wreaths seamlessly over a door.
    More ideas are here.

    24. Glue two candy canes together to make easy place card holders.
    ClickHERE!

    25. Hang ornaments from a light fixture to transform it into a Christmas chandelier.
    Check it out!

    26. Load your icing into condiment bottles for an easy cookie decorating party.
    Make sure to wear an apron or a shirt you don't mind messing up.
    Could be an Icing Fight

    27. Attach rope to your presents to make a handle.
    Good for that western flair
    Just mosey on over HEREfor some good ideas.

    28. Just a simple burlap garland will spruce up any front porch Christmas tree.
    http://HGTV.com

    29. Use cookie cutters to make festive shapes out of your fudge and brownies.
    Here's some good recipes to try that out on.
    Betty Crocker

    30. Green food coloring and M&Ms turn Rice Krispie treats into a Christmas dessert.
    I've heard Santa really likes these as an alternative to cookies with his milk.
    Cookies and Cups

    31. For the adults: one made out of JELLO SHOTS.
    God bless whoever brings this to their holiday party.
    Shot ideas HERE

    32. Put your crockpot to good use when making food for the whole family.
    LOVE those crockpot recipes. Here's some HERE
    You can make hot chocolate and Christmas morning vanilla bean French toast, all in your crockpot (albeit not at the same time!).


    33. Serve guacamole the festive way with pita bread and pretzel sticks.
    Serve guacamole the festive way with pita bread and pretzel sticks.
    bettycrocker.com
    Such a perfect party appetizer. Get the recipe here.
    34. Reuse a wastebasket or a wine crate to corral your wrapping paper.
    pinterest.com

    35. Green sherbet and Sprite make fun Grinch-inspired drinks for the kids.
    They’ll have something to sip on while the adults are enjoying their eggnog.
    Recipe HERE

    36. Use double-sided tape for a more professional looking wrapping job.
    Get more tips here

    37. Hang your wrapping paper on hooks using curtain rings.
    More ideas here

    38. Got an ugly Christmas sweater party to go to?
    Hot glue tinsel and gift bows to make something spectacularly tacky.
    More info Here!

    Make sure you take some time to look around these sites for other ideas for every day life and other holiday to-do's
     
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  2. Jan Veteran Member Member

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    My cooking tip, much like others on the thread, is to cook from scratch (I do this with everything except pasta - I do buy that - though perhaps I shouldn't.........).

    But I bake bread at least weekly. If I'm going out, I just proof it in the kitchen aide and then put it in the fridge to rise slowly. When I get back, I take out some, punch it down and put it in the oven for a second rise. A short time later, I just turn it on and then it's done. It takes very little effort.

    For my daughter's snacks, I bake once a week (this week I made a cake an put individual pieces in the freezer for the week). Later in the week, I'm going to make muffins and put those in the freezer (so I have choices for her lunch box).

    I even make crackers (very easy, too - and much better than the store bought ones).

    Also, we use a crock pot for dried beans (very easy - and you don't have to soak them :).

    Most of my savings is from our food budget :).
     
  3. jklmnop storm in heaven Member

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    h/t to balazon2k for prodding me to add to this thread...I need to go through and read it more closely but there is a LOT of good info in this thread already.

    I am a foodie on a rice and beans budget. It is very important to me to eat as well as possible for as little as possible. There are things I won't skimp on, like this amazing bag o' nutrients. So we gotta save elsewhere to make it work. That basically means a lot of deals on raw ingredients, a lot of home cooking, a lot of price monitoring. Your basic homemaking, really. For example, I can swing that muesli in the budget because I make the yogurt that goes with it. By the gallon. There's some in the oven right now, actually!

    See if any stores in your area match postal mail grocery flyers. I HATE most things about Wal-Mart but we do buy a fair bit of produce from there because they will price-match any produce item if the quantity matches the packaging. E.g., avocados 4/$1, bananas 3#/$1, eggs for less than .99/doz., etc. When you have more time than money, that few minutes of research every week can really pay off. I try not to buy much else there. Always check your local flyers.

    If there aren't any matching stores then the next best thing is sometimes the local asian market. We are spoiled in this regard but asian grocers can have some great deals on fresh vegetables.

    Find out when stores in your area mark down meat and other products. This is surely elsewhere in the thread but markdowns are a great way to save on meat. Ask the store manager or regular staff and then try to shop at markdown time. Factory-farmed meat is not the healthiest protein source as far as I'm concerned but the savings can be significant. If we could afford locally-sourced, free-range chicken, beef, and pork, that's all I'd buy. But we can't.

    Costco has its advantages. I like Costco. They treat their workers well and it shows when you are there. The shopping funnels, lack of navigation, constantly moving product around, I hate that bullshit. But if you do your homework on prices it can be worth it. Costco's meat and frozen sections are probably my favorite thing about the chain. Their cheaper meats (e.g., chicken thighs) are as good as you're going to find wrt conventional production methods. The frozen Normandy vegetables are blog fodder. They have competitively-priced organic versions where it counts -- carrots, berries, spinach...otherwise pesticide-laden foods. Frozen and canned fish sales are occasionally good. They've started carrying a pretty cheap 12-pack of Tetra-Pak tofu, cheaper than H-Mart ffs. Outside of that you have to know your prices cold and never go there hungry or it's a budget apocalypse waiting to happen.

    Walgreens rotates discounts on snack nuts.

    I use Swagbucks and PerkTV daily to pad my Amazon budget. Amazon can have good prices on dry goods. For example, chia seed is cheaper from Amazon than from Costco (exact same product). Certain snacks are cheaper as well.

    Also here are the recipe/cookbook links I had posted before:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/eatcheapandhealthy
    http://www.budgetbytes.com/
    Good and Cheap Cookbook

    For anyone new or relatively new to cooking for themselves, I would add to this Mark Bittman's fantastic reference tome How to Cook Everything. Great gift for younger people. He's put out several versions now but the first version is still fantastic and can be had for as little as $5 used on Amazon.



    Non-food savings? I knit, crochet, weave, and spin my own yarn. Wool is not cheap these days but there are a couple decent discounters left. Companies like Knitpicks have changed the market for knitting yarns by sourcing themselves instead of selling others' discount labels. This has led to some price stability among private label wools and a contracting of the low end of the market (RIP elann). I could get waaaaaay more into this but that's probably best in a PM if you are a yarnie, too ;)

    If you buy acrylic yarn at a thrift store, if any part of the yarn is tacky or sticky, throw that shit out, it's breaking down and you don't want it absorbing into your hands!



    Outside of food spending, the main way I save is simply to buy less stuff. The usual "do I really need this now?" kind of thing. Saying no to buying something, in a society where we are conditioned from birth to consume...it is VERY difficult. It takes practice. But it gets easier every time.
     
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  4. jklmnop storm in heaven Member

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    Thought it would be worthwhile to add this recipe. I kinda loathe canned tuna but it's cheap so we have a lot of it. I found a simple recipe from Martha Stewart of all places. Anyway I added a second egg and a bit more (1/2tbsp) lemon juice, sambal, leftover onion and cooked thin, flaky cakes in some bacon grease leftover from thanksgiving. Paired with brown rice and broccoli it was a really cheap but hearty meal. The recipe looks like it would serve as a very good base fried cake recipe for any minced meats/leftovers/beans. Frankly I'm kind of flabbergasted how well it turned out.

    Tuna cakes
     
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  5. Framework43 Croissant Enthusiast Contributor

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    For anyone who is big on shopping from Target, here's a way to save 10%.

    The Sallie Mae Mastercard gives 5% on the first $250 each month of gas, $250 of groceries(Target & Walmarts included but YMMV), and $750 of bookstore items (Buying items sold directly from Amazon counts as a book store; to purchase 3rd party items from Amazon just buy a gift card).

    https://www.salliemae.com/credit-cards/sallie-mae-card/

    The Target RedCard(this is a reloadable debit card) also gives 5% off Target purchases. This card can have its money reloaded by the Sallie Mae card, earning you 5% from refilling and getting 5% off purchases.

    http://target.com/prepaidredcard

    Redbird is currently only available for purchase in the following states:
    Alabama
    Arizona
    California (YMMV)
    Colorado
    Indiana
    Maryland
    Massachusetts
    Michigan
    Mississippi
    New Mexico
    North Carolina
    Ohio (Cleveland area only)
    Oklahoma
    Pennsylvania (note for fellow Pennsylvanians: west PA only)
    South Carolina
    Tennessee
    Virginia
    Wisconsin

    However, you can use this card in any Target store. I ordered mine online from eBay and had no problems.

    Read more on the Target card:
    http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/the-complete-guide-to-redbird-the-target-prepaid-redcard/
     
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  6. clickhappier ★★Ⰼ₳ՖŦξᚱ⌚ Contributor

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    ^ Good info. That site has a good comparison of the similar programs, too: The complete guide to Bluebird, REDcard, Serve, and SoftServe - The Frequent Miler.

    Speaking of the 'birds', anyone who's doing the Walmart Savings Catcher stuff, remember to redeem your savings to your Bluebird card soon to ensure you get your doubled dollars - any money left in your Savings Catcher account at the end of the calendar year will be automatically redeemed as an e-giftcard that doesn't get doubled.
     
  7. AngryRobotsInc Robot Master Contributor

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    Bumping this a bit, with a cheap (free) thing for both language learning and Netflix, for Chrome. If you're learning a language, and want to watch stuff in your target language and Netflix is available in that country, here's a nifty little thing.

    Hola Better Internet

    You use that to switch to seeming like your browsing in you're country of choice, and then log into Netflix as normal. Tada! You get whatever the selection for that country is. I've used it for German, and I hear the selection for Spanish and French is good too. Not sure about any of the other countries it is available in though.
     
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  8. LemonCake MTG Elite Contributor

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    Wow. Great tips. I'm thrifty but you guys have me beat. Taking notes..
     
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  9. AngryRobotsInc Robot Master Contributor

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    Bumping this thread with a site

    http://lightningdrops.com/

    Tracks the price of things on Amazon. So now you can always tell if something is a good deal or not, and get a general idea of price trends. S'how I found Annie's Mac and Cheese for 12/$15. Not a bad deal at all considering how pricey they are for a single box (buying one box by itself is $8.99 on Amazon right now).
     
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  10. clickhappier ★★Ⰼ₳ՖŦξᚱ⌚ Contributor

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    Nice, hadn't seen that site before, I've always used the venerable http://www.camelcamelcamel.com/ for similar purposes :)
     
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  11. AngryRobotsInc Robot Master Contributor

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    I've used that one before in the past too, and it's nice as well. For some reason, I like LightningDrops interface more overall, though (all the colors, I think).

    Unrelated, someone brought up the sweepstakes Mars is running in one of the Awesome Hits threads, and people in this thread might be interested in it as well. Free to enter daily, so there's nothing to lose. I just won the second place prize today, a digital download of a Xbox 360/One game, priced at $15, so not a bad deal at all for a free entry.

    https://familyfun.mars.com/
     
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  12. rainmayyetcome New Member Member

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    Invest in your own chicken coup out in your yard. You'll have a never ending supply of eggs. I also hear chickens don't run away.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  13. AngryRobotsInc Robot Master Contributor

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    Yeah, no. Most people don't eat enough eggs to make chickens a worthwhile investment, unless you know people you can off load most of them out onto. Initial set up is expensive enough, that even if you eat A FUCKTON of eggs or know enough people to offload them onto, you are not going to make back your money in savings for a good while. Maybe if you sell them, but that's regulated on an area by area basis in whether or not you'd even be allowed to.

    Then you also have to account for feed, and vet care for the chickens whether it is provided by an actual vet who sees livestock (good luck, in an urban area) or adminstered by you.

    Chickens are cool, and it's interesting to see the taste difference between an egg you got out of your chicken coop that morning and something from the grocery store. But they are not a good method of saving money.

    ETA:
    Here is a decent link on why it's not actually cheaper to raise your own chickens
    http://www.flannelguyroi.com/raising-chickens-worth/
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
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  14. rainmayyetcome New Member Member

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    Can't see a $500 start-up cost for a chicken coup and some chickens. Costs for upkeep depends on how you want to raise them I suppose, and I rarely hear of people taking their chickens to the vet often.
    Iregardless, thanks for this post. I would say I'd still want to and it's the better bet against the risk of commercial collapse... plus you get security in knowing where you're getting your own protein.

    As long as the chickens aren't drinking rainwater.... urban areas are bad for your health to begin with.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
  15. Xandro Batchologist Contributor

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    Phone Bill:

    I used to have a 50 dollar, Verizon phone bill. I switched over to h2owireless.com. I do a $10 dollar for 3 months plan. It's 5c per 1 min call and 5c per text. I used the google voice app for free text messaging when I'm at home.

    I got my phone bill down to ~$2 a month.
     
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  16. balazon2000 Queen of her domain Contributor

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    Christmas and other year end holidays are fast approaching. For me this is a very stressful time due to lack of finances to cover gifts for all the grand children. I have been looking at a site that seems pretty damned good for most everyone on my list! (I don't get any kick back) Here's the site:

    www.sammydress.com

    They have something in there for everyone not just clothes. I've placed an order and I'll post on here how reasonable the time was.
     
  17. clickhappier ★★Ⰼ₳ՖŦξᚱ⌚ Contributor

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    FYI FWIW, the company ('ShenZhen Global Egrow E-Commerce Co Ltd') that runs this site has a number of other similar domains, and among many other sources of similar complaints, I found a blog post about how the sizing of their clothing products tends to be much smaller than the advertised measurements, suitable for slender American kids or very petite Asian women. I hope you receive what you ordered and at least some of the items are usable for your target recipients. :\ The non-clothing accessory items are a better bet than the clothing with sites like this. I also found comments indicating that for the usable clothing items, they are often made of materials that are better to be washed on gentle/delicate settings and not put in the dryer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015
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  18. Tigerpants Professional Captcha Transcriber Contributor

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    on phone bills, I use Ting, which is fucking amazing, I'll never go back to prepaid or contract-esque phone service. I still feel like I can use my phone how I please, while saving at least $20 a month, up to $30 for me. IT'S NOT FOR EVERYONE, though, if you're a heavy data user, this is not for you. They have a handy dandy savings calculator, which will tell you if it's worth it for you to switch or not. And they do a bring your own device, any sprint phone. They use a buckets/tiered system, where anything between X and X is Y charge, and X -X is Z charge, and so on. If you spend most of your time on WIFI, your bill will only be like $20.

    For example: I used 55 minutes (S), 203 messages (M), and 416 Megabytes (M), which puts my bill at $20 + $6 line charge + taxes, or about $28. A month. I was paying ~$53 for garbage service on some "unlimited" plan that found all kinds of reasons to charge me extra. This way, I only pay for what I use, nothing more or less, and no nonsense data 'throttling' or 'speed caps,' without feeling like every second I spend on my phone is costing me $$.

    The best part, the fucking customer service is through the roof. I called once, it rang 3 times, and someone picked up and said "Hi, thank you for calling Ting." I fucking hate phone trees, that was amazing.

    I have a referral link, but please, don't feel obligated to use it or anything, I just fucking love this service so much I want people to try it. https://zsc4s437oa8.ting.com/

    edited to add: I just learned that if you use the referral code, you'll get a $25 credit for your account and $25 off any ting phone if you buy one.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2015
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  19. Jan Veteran Member Member

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    I see that this has already posted, but I was looking through it today -- Good and Cheap --(you can download it for free). She set her budget at $4.00 a day.

    Here's her page: http://www.leannebrown.com

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Kevin Jurgens Well-Known Member Member

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    Grow your own fruits and vegetables.

    Raise chickens.
    Raise goats.
    Raise hogs.

    Get a milk cow. Milk it. You can get 3-6 gallons of milk a day. You can feed the extra milk that you can't drink to your dogs and cats.

    If legal in your area, grab a beer and a 22. and sit on your back porch on your day off. Squirrel is good, rabbits are delicious, and Dove fried in olive oil is amazing. Rattlesnake is ok, raccoon is great on the BBQ if you live in an area where they don't eat garbage. Possums you can cook and feed to your dogs.

    Shop at thrift stores.

    Don't buy shit you don't need.

    No video games or television.

    When it rains stand outside with a bar of soap instead of wasting money on your water bill by taking showers.

    Build an outhouse and save more money on your water bill.

    Pick change up off the ground.

    Only use your credit card to buy packs of gum and pay your bill in full each month.

    That's all I've got.
     

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