Generation Cedar

10 Quick Money-Saving TipsBecause the more we save, the less we have to make (which frees up more time) and the more we can give away. So I offer you these quick, money-saving tips.

  • Buy whole milk (raw milk’s the best, non-homogonized second-best) and stretch it by adding water.  Experiment with the amount until you discover how much you can add without anyone noticing.

 

  • Turn your thermostat down/up a degree or two and acclimate.

 

  • Mentioned it before, but turning your hot water heater off after dinner and baths leaves enough hot water for breakfast dishes and most of your daily activities.  Turn it on again before dinner the following day and save about $40 a month.

 

  • Bathe less.  I’m serious.  Will a sponge bath suffice, especially for little ones?

 

  • Use shampoo and body wash interchangeably. Body wash and shampoo are virtually the same but many shampoos are much cheaper.  Use less of it as well….it really doesn’t take much more than water to get non-grimy body parts clean.

 

  • Make your own greeting cards. Or if you buy them, at least don’t pay $3/card and consider buying, instead, from a young, talented entrepreneur like my son!

 

  • If you have several children or need to buy multiple gifts, shop on-line for “lot” or “bulk” purchases.  (Example:  all my children have been asking for their own little flashlight.  I found a lot of 5 for $6.00 w/free shipping on Ebay.)

 

  • Reduce, reuse, recycle.  Americans really do have a warped sense of “need”.  We are so accustomed to buying a new something when our old one breaks or we just get tired of it.  But realistically, we could do with a lot less and repair a lot more.  Try it!  (As my dresser drawer awaits some gorilla glue.)

 

  • Clean surfaces with vinegar and water.  Clean the bathroom, TOILETS included, with a bleach/water combination.

 

  • Have dentistry work done at a School of Dentistry.  Excellent work, a fraction of the cost.

My book, Finding Financial Freedom is loaded with the money-saving tricks we used to pay off over $38,000 worth of debt.

79 Responses

  1. great reminders, especially since the Holidays are looming large (even though it’s 5000F this morning).

    We’ve been experimenting with most of these – we make all of our bread products (other than the sandwich bread we use for PB and J) – we’ve gone from using 4 loaves of so-so store bought bread to 1 per week, and are enjoying the benefits (health, yes, but mostly flavor) of baking at home. We’ve also cut back on them, when we’re too lazy to bake, so our sloth has been redeemed by frugality – are you buying that?

    Cleaning products were the other area we were hemorrhaging money – we switched to vinegar for surfaces, and make our own laundry soap. The kids like doing it and it’s cheaper. For soap cleaning, we use diluted dish washing liquid for everything – we get the giant bottle of environmentally friendly stuff from Costco for around $5 I think, and we get it maybe twice a year? – sinks, laundry pretreater, toilet bowls (with a splash of bleach). It is so much easier and less expensive than keeping all those bottles of who knows what around. I’m tempted to add lavender eo to the laundry soap and vinegar spray, for a change of pace.

    Kelly, or anyone, have you ever washed your hair with baking soda? I haven’t tried it, but shampoo has gotten ridiculously expensive for such a poor quality product. My scalp tends to be oily but my hair is dry (go figure) and I wondered what results people have had with regard to the condition of their hair and scalp after using b/s a while. Happy weekend!

    1. “so our sloth has been redeemed by frugality – are you buying that?”

      Absolutely. “No bread tonight but at least we’re saving money and calories”.

      I’ve used baking soda just for a wash or two to remove the dulling effects/buildup of hairspray–which works beautifully, by the way. But I would think long term to be beneficial as baking soda has a conditioning effect on skin but a cleaning effect on hair. Great idea. Toothpaste too if you can get over the non-tingly taste, or you can add mint if you’re really ambitious.

    2. I’ve never used baking soda on my hair but as far as cheap shampoo: you can get it for next to nothing (and a lot of other stuff for super cheap too) if you do couponing. I’m sure a lot of ladies that read Kelly’s blog already are being super frugal by couponing.

      If anyone needs help with it, the best site that I like to follow is http://www.southernsavers.com. It gives you every grocery and drug store’s weekly ad with links to all the printable coupons to buy the sales. You also buy your local Sunday paper for the coupon inserts. For the cheap shampoo and other toiletries, the best bet is Walgreens or CVS. Her (Jenny, who runs Southern Savers) best advice is stockpiling when things go on sale so you’re not out of something between sale-cycles and end up having to waste money on full price.

      As a disclaimer, when you see all these women saving 95% on their grocery bill…it can totally be done BUT you have to be willing to eat according to the sales. We don’t like to do that b/c we try to eat organics/whole grains/etc. but we still save a good chunk of money each month by couponing.

      1. Thanks, Heather…we love coupons, too! My shampoo troubles haven’t been solved by any of the brands I’ve tried, unfortunately :(, some were free, some were $20. My best luck has been with some of the new sulfate free products, but alas, they’re trendy and desirable and thus expensive. Baking soda, here I come.

      2. Couponing is WAY overrated. We save money by NOT couponing. How? We don’t have to buy extra furniture to store our stockpile of junk we got at the store. I know so many people who rearranged their houses and closets just to fit this stockpile of stuff in. I don’t have the room, and thus save money by not storing the stuff. I don’t eat any of that boxed junk food either so the food coupons wouldn’t work for us either. I’m not even convinced that couponing the way I know people doing it is even ethical.

    3. Cottage Child,
      Slice a lime or a lemon in half and scrub your scalp with the two halves before washing. Also, gently massage warmed almond, olive or coconut oil to your hair before washing-leave it on for at least a night, or as long as possible. If the tips of your hair are particularly dry you can use castor oil on them. Wash off with a gentle shampoo without sulfates. Try not to wash your hair too often, and when you brush it, do it in long strokes, from scalp to tips. Hair health also has a lot to do with diet and levels of stress, so make sure you are eating your greens and drinking lots of water 🙂

  2. Make your own greeting cards? I can beat that. Do free ecards. No paper, ink, or energy wasted. 😀
    I seriously want to switch us all over to homemade baking soda toothpaste, but I fear the outcries of protest. Isn’t that terrible? I’m so weak. lol. I think we could save a ton of money on toothpaste if I put all the paste on the kids’ brushed myself. HA!
    Training kids in frugality is a worthwhile way to spend my time.

  3. I love, love love, these type posts Kelly! We all need frequent reminders in this area. It seems no matter how frugal you are being, there is always something new to learn from someone’s tips.

    My questions: Any suggestions on finding raw milk? And can you use it if you are pregnant? We do not live in a situation where we could have a cow of our own, alhtough we would love to live on enough land one day to have several and egg laying chickens as well. Anyway… I currently purchase whole organic milk at $5.79 a gallon and I do water it down. Neither my husband or myself actually drink milk (we have never liked it) so it stretches pretty far for our family of 5. Also I buy organic powdered milk (mix it with water and store in fridge) to use in most bread baking(I make all this myself) and baking in general.
    Next question, Does anyone have a vinegar/water spray ratio they clean with that *doesn’t leave a vinegar smell*? I clean with this, but have a hard time with the smell it seems to leave throughout the house.

    Also, cottage child: I have washed my hair with baking soda (at the time i didn’t have much choice and actually we used this to brush our teeth for quite a while when my husband was out of a job) and although it seemed to improve the oilyness of my scalp, I never liked how it did for the rest of my hair. Maybe it depends on your hair type? I have super thick, super curly, waist length hair, so it takes a bit more of anything I’m using to get it good and clean. Just my two cents-maybe it will help?

    A few other tips, although they may have been mentioned here before…I save the bags from our cereal (which I pay no more than 50cents per box for via coupons)to wrap my husbands sandwhiches for his lunches (one bag will wrap 2 sandwhiches), and use them for anything that you would use wax paper for. I take them apart, wipe them down and they are are ready to use. We don’t have to buy sandwhich bags or plastic wrap!

    Not that it is a “need”, but anyone that likes to wear mascara…when my husband was unemployed I couldn’t spend money on that sort of thing so I used vaseline. Just dab a bit on your finger tip and brush it in an upward direction on your lashes. I’m not much of a makeup wear-er but this works great, and is probably something you could let a young girl do that wasn’t old enough to be wearing makeup yet.

    Thanks for posting Kelly! 🙂

    1. Charity,

      I remember seeing a girl who couldn’t wear makeup yet put vaseline in an empty mascara tube and apply it. Don’t ask me how she got it in there.

      Raw milk: it’s unfortunate if you don’t have a cow or have a friend or neighbor with a cow. It’s really hard to find raw milk since the gov. has made it illegal to sell. (‘Cause we’re all just a bunch of imbeciles who need someone to micro-manage every decision we make to protect us from every possible threat in the universe. Nevermind that raw milk prevents SCORES of diseases that people die from otherwise.)

    2. Hi, Charity – I just put a few drops of lavender essential oil in my vinegar/water (I mix 1/4, by eyeball for everyday, you could probably use less), and I have NO vinegar smell after wiping down the kitchen with it. Essential oils are strong, though, and I would have started with one drop and added from there. This place is lavender-y!

    3. Hi Charity!

      Try visiting http://www.realmilk.com if you’re looking for raw milk in your state. If you find a clean farm with grass fed cows (grass fed cows don’t produce the harmful bacteria that grain fed ones do) you absolutely can drink it while pregnant and pass on all of the wonderful benefits to your baby. We’ve been drinking fresh raw milk for three weeks now after never having had it before and it is amazing in flavor! I didn’t realize how sour store-bought milk tasted until trying real milk.

    4. To get rid of the vinegar smell try stuffing a jar full of vinegar with orange peels and let them sit for about three weeks. It will smell much better and the oils from the peels will also help clean! Oh, you can throw out the peels before you use the vinegar btw!

      Jill F.

    5. Thank you everyone!! I will defintely be trying the “smell helping” tips and checking out the milk link.

      Kelly, if you could see where we live you would giggle at the thought of a cow being here. We just moved (4hrs aaway from where my husband and I both have lived our whole lives, well minus college for me) and we live in a subdivision with very strict rules. It’s quite ridiculous, most of these “rules”, but needless to say we aaren’t allowed to have a “livestock” here. My husband says “why can you have a dog and not a cow? The cow is much more useful!” 😉 My husband’s job transfered him here so of course we are unfamiliar with the area and had ittle time to find a rental house. We are hoping after a while that we can find something a bit more “landy”. 🙂

  4. I will add one: drink water, if you don’t like the taste add a squirt of lemon juice. We have cut way back on juices, soda, even tea by just keeping 2 big jugs cold in the fridge. One is plain water and one is lemon water.

  5. So I’m reading this post aloud during lunch and my 12yo wanders over to listen, leaving the refrigerator door wide open. Frugality helps when your kids are on board ;D

    We try to grow a lot of our own produce. For a $1 of seeds and a bit of work, you can get pounds and pounds of fresh vegetables. If you can’t do that, I try to buy in season when food is fresher and less expensive and then put it up for winter when much of it is double the price.

  6. My frugal tips:

    1. No couponing. It’s a waste of time, space and money.
    2. Grow the foods you eat the most of. For us, it’s sage, rosemary, spinach and other greens.
    3. Buy eggs from friends.
    4. Declutter the house, and only keep the things you use and like.
    5. Be careful how many toys you let the kids have, and only buy toys with purpose, don’t just buy something because you need to find your child a gift. Wait until you find something incredible, even if it’s not a toy.

  7. Mrs. W., with all due respect, I think it’s a bit unwise to put as your number one money saving tip to not use coupons. There are coupons for everything, not just junk boxed foods. Cleaners, health and beauty products, baby products, fresh dairy (cheese, butter, yogurt), fresh baked goods (breads, buns), frozen veggies (I often get these completely free), rice, pasta, etc…. I regularly save $30-$40 per week with an extra time committment of maybe 2 hours per week. That’s worth it to me. So over a year I can save $1560-$2080. And as for storgage, your only limited by your imagination. Some free boxes procured from Aldi’s under the bed work just fine. You can of course spend a couple hundred dollars on some nice shelves or something, but you’d STILL be saving tons of money. There’s always something just about anyone can find that they use regularly and save money by getting it cheap with the combo of sales and coupons. Maybe it doesn’t work for you for whatever reasons, but to deny the fact that it’s saving many households a ton of money is a bit unfair and I certainly wouldn’t list it as #1 on the money saving list. But I agree with most of your list, in fact I’ve made it a mission to declutter as much as absolutely possible to not only save money, but also my sanity!!

    1. Thank you for countering that comment Jamie! It always ruffles my feathers a bit when someone is so harshly against couponing. I feed my family of 5 (with one on the way) for $30 a week and a big part of that is due to my couponing. I refuse to listen to the “coupons are only for junk food” silly-ness because it is plain untrue! Sure there are alot of them for those type foods (which my family doesn’t eat), but there are a *plethora* of coupons for good foods as you mentioned! And by the way, you don’t have to purchase a Sunday paper to get coupons as many recycle centers will let you have the coupon inserts and there are plenty of coffee shops/dr offices etc that will gladly give you the inserts to the papers they sit out for customers to read. “Ye have not because ye ask not”….sometimes you will be surprised what people/businesses throw away that they will gladly give you if you only ask! 😉

      1. Charity, it might ruffle your feathers, but I refuse to unethically freeload off of stores just so I can get my family free stuff. Couponing to get all that free stuff is freeloading and I can’t stand freeloaders. It’s the same as getting government assistance. If you feed your family on $30 a week you are either freeloading or not feeding them properly. Especially if you aren’t growing your own stuff. I have every right to be harshly against those who hoard free stuff just because it is free. It’s just plain wrong. And if you don’t like me being against your wrongdoing, then tough.

        1. You clearly do not understand how manufacture coupons work. Sure, some people are unethical with how they coupon as many are with all areas of life, but do not assume things about me or read into my comments just so you can argue with someone!

          1. Mrs. W,

            Not to argue, but not sure how you consider couponing as freeloading, since coupons are offered by the company that manufactures and sells the product, not the govt. This is part of the free enterprise system, a way for companies to get people to try their product.

            I’m not a regular couponer, I have never found the time to do it consistently. If Kelly offered a coupon for some of her products she sells here, would you consider someone a freeloader for taking her up on her offer to buy her product at a discount?

            Respectfully,
            Jane

  8. It sounds to me like Mrs. W. is trying to ruffle some feathers…

    Technically stores get paid .08 per coupon to process them. Coupons are just another form of payment for a store. Stores aren’t taken advantage of, they get paid and 08 cents extra!
    Its not like government assistance at all.

    Manufacturers want you to use coupons so that you will either try their new product or try one of the seasoned brands in hopes you will become brand loyal to them.

    For the record. some couponers, like myself, do buy things we may not need and donate them to food pantries and soup kitchens. And let me tell you, every time I make a donation they are so happy about what they receive.

    If you are talking about people who go in and clear a shelf of products. Then yes that is not fair to other shoppers who may have wanted to buy that product that day. If you are going to buy a large quantity its best to get the manager to direct order for you. One man did and he got 672 boxes for a food pantry. See the penny experiment dot com.

    Maybe you should direct some of that energy into positive energy and start a blog about how to grow things? There are plenty of blogs about couponing out there, but not as many about gardening.

    1. Ya know, I get so tired of all these “explainations”. The truth is that MOST hoard the stuff, and do not give it away. Their photographs that they proudly display that have these products bursting out of them. Coupons for a discount are one thing, even the occasional buy one get one free is fine. But for people that professionally freeload (aka try so hard to get as much free stuff as possible just because it is free), that is not ok.

      Everybody that I know that does coupons makes more money than we do, most of them over $10,000 a year more and also have far more extravagant lifestyles. They also have no kids or less kids. Yet for some reason they refuse to pay for their food like other people do. Maybe they should quit with some of the extras so that they can obtain food in an ethical manner, by paying for it, like everyone else. Biblically it is right to pay for what you need.

      1. Dearest Mrs W, I do not understand your anger. Especially over *coupons*.

        Instead of just being jealous and angry, why not either figure out how to work an alternative to coupons (sale shopping or whatever), or understand the coupon process? It is neither unethical nor illegal. Stores that do not want to allow “stacking” coupons, or using multiple coupons, can and do have policies against them.

        Personally, I cannot play the coupon game. My brain just doesn’t compute in a way that it makes sense to me, and we do not have the stores that seem to have the best coupon policies locally.

        But if someone can use manufacturers coupons and store sales, all voluntarily offered by stores and manufacturers, to save a lot of money, I say good for them. So they have more money than you or I. So? The wealthy who stay wealthy and those who tend to be more philanthropic are those who maintain frugality when their income increases.

  9. Mrs. W.,

    Others have answered your accusations well, but may I remind you, as I’ve had to do before, not to be so provoking and harsh when you comment. My gracious, if a Christian woman can’t express her disagreement with *coupons* without being snide, I’m not sure she needs to be expressing opinions at all.

    To say it’s unethical and “freeloading” is ridiculous. Stores would not accept coupons if they didn’t make money from them, rest assured. Please use a more pleasant tone if you want any of your other comments to remain.

    1. Kelly, several women have made excuses for themselves, but I haven’t seen anyone answer my concerns about couponing well yet. Most of us work to make a living to buy the food and personal care items we need, while several people in the Christian community think they should be able to get for free what others work for. That’s not Biblical no matter how many excuses are made for it.

      1. Mrs. W.,

        Everyone has equal opportuntiy to take advantage of the couponing system. You can’t cry “it’s not fair”. As Jane said, it’s part of the free enterprising system, and ultimately, products and stores are making money from the couponing system or they wouldn’t offer them.

        A little lesson on marketing may help you understand:

        It’s ultimately about brand recognition. The manufacturer and the store know that if they can get a certain number of people to use their products, even if they have to give it away, they will make loyal customers out of a percentage of them. It’s proven, statistical marketing.

        Whether a coupon offers some amount off or even makes it possible for the customer to get the item free, the manufacturer and the store are doing several things: building a customer relationship by simple exposure to their product or store, making their brand/store more visible and selling “piggyback” purchases. It’s bigger than just one product for free or discount. There’s a lot more going on and they’re making money from it.

        I’ve offered things for free before. It’s beneficial to me for the same reasons I mentioned. It’s smart marketing and it’s available because it BENEFITS the company and offers the customer something of value. There is nothing biblical or unethical about that.

        1. To add to WW’s very clear explanation, coupons are advertisements – the company sponsoring the discount pays huge dollars for placement in the coupon circulars that come in the Sunday paper, magazines, etc. These are companies who have done the dollar cost analysis of their bottom line benefit…it’s built into the price, make no mistake. It’s foolish to NOT use the coupon if it’s an item you’re going to buy anyway. That said, coupons can be a spending trap if you purchase an item only because you have a coupon (there’s the marketing thing again). That’s not frugal.

          Either way, though, it’s not stealing. How strange to accuse such a thing, Mrs. W. I can only assume you’re not feeling yourself today?

          As for stockpiling, you’ve adopted an odd dogma with regard to a scriptural directive. Choice stores are Biblical, for guarding the family and for sharing. It is the undeniably correct thing to do.

          Hoarding is a mental problem. Are you suggesting some of us are suffering from that? Would you clarify for me?

      2. Mrs. W.,
        I know what you mean about ridiculous couponers who borderline on fraud. I’ve seen them in stores and, yes, they are a bit irritating. However, in my entire couponing history I haven’t actually talked to one. All the couponers I know use coupons legally. So, for you to make rash judgements based on the people in your small circle is maybe a bit narrow?

        Also, here is a thought. Maybe something you haven’t considered. Once when I found out I was pregnant I started looking for maternity clothing. I knew I wouldn’t need anything for at least 5 or 6 months but figured I’d shop sales and see what I could get for cheap in advance. You could say I was doing a little stock piling for a future need. I got my wardrobe of maternity clothes at rock bottom prices because I foresaw what I’d need, considered the purchase, and bought while the deal was hot. It took a lot more work than just running into a store and buying them full price, but being a good steward with my husbands hard earned money makes the work worth it.
        I’ve done the same thing with tooth paste, shampoo, soaps, and other toiletries – all with the help of coupons. I don’t usually do this with groceries too much, as we cook from scratch and can’t usually find coupons for that stuff; however, that is our choice – nothing wrong with buying oreo cookies with a coupon if that’s what you want to eat.

        I also have a few questions about some comments you have made.
        Forgive me for not understanding, but are you saying that Christians shouldn’t accept things for free because it means we haven’t worked for it? Or is it just under certain circumstances that freebies are not permissible? Are these reasons Biblical or personal? Can you give specific verses?

        What about the hardware store my husband likes, they often send coupons for free items. Is it wrong to redeem the coupons he is sent? Is it just the act of clipping the coupon you don’t agree with?

        I’m guess I’m just not fully getting your argument, or your implication that couponers don’t work for a living. I’ll assure you that my husband works very, very hard to support his family.

        Not meaning to be snarky at all – just trying to understand where you’re coming from.

        1. I’m not against people getting stuff for free every so often. I’m against those that stock up on a years worth of toothpaste and shampoo and spaghetti sauce and cereal and whatever else they can get their hands on for free. I don’t believe that is right. 🙂

  10. There are abuses out there in every system, but, it really rankles me for someone to paint everyone with the same brush. I don’t see any excuses being made here, just some good advice on how to make it on one income.

    What’s not Biblical about buying products at the best price you can? Seems to me you are being a good steward of your God given resources. Save money at the stores, you have more to give to others and back to God.

  11. one thing you can do is buy freezable items while they are in season and cheap. Like when onions were 39 cents a pound and then later they were $1 a pound around here. I had wished I had frozen some. Also, my Thriftway has discount bags of produce they put out and markdown items so I check for those things. Once I got a mess of bananas for 15 cents a pound and froze them in baggies for baking, smoothies, ice cream, oatmeal etc. They werent even bad..they were just perfect for eating..only the peels looked ugly.

    I have also started making my own yogurt in a crockpot. you can read how to do it by searching for it at http://www.chickensintheroad.com . She has great tutorials on all sorts of things. I buy one gallon of milk and make a whole crockpot of yogurt and then drain some of it for making yogurt cheese that I mix with herbs. She also has a turorial for making your own ricotta type cheese from milk. Then you use the leftover whey for baking or soup.

    I try too to only buy things on sale and to do without if it isnt a need at the moment. Get creative with meals. We have a family of seven and usually spend $200 or so a month on groceries. We dont eat a lot of bread and noodles either and still do fine with potatoes or brown rice as our starch. For healthy bread we go to the discount grocery stores. When we shop we drive to a cheap store for our once a month shopping because the stores around us are usually expensive.

  12. BTW, I’d like to hear more about the coupons. I’ve heard of it but never seem to see any worth using since I buy store brand or sale items and it is always cheaper for me even after a coupon on a name brand. Even the manufacturers coupons I’ve seen usually have a limit of fifty cents even if they are double coupons. So I’m notsure how this works. I do agree there is an unethical way of doing coupons where you could really be stealing but I dont think everyone is doing that. And stocking up is not a sin (it is biblical) unless you have an addiction or are lusting/coveting everything or turning your home into a pigsty because you cant resist more stuff. But just stocking the pantry is a good plan if done right.

    I wanted to mention that even if all you have is a patio you can plant some things like tomatoes and now even hang them from the ceiling of your patio if you have one. Some things can even be grown in a window indoors.

    1. Hi Diana, I’ve been couponing for nearly 6 years now, but Crystal over at moneysavingmom.com explains it much better than I ever could. Check out her site 🙂

      1. Diana, that’s my biggest problem with it. Every couponer I know personally actually steals stuff with the way they do their coupons. There are other issues, but that is the big one. People like to pretend you can get coupons for healthy food out there, but I’ve never seen one, and it hasn’t been for lack of looking. I was going to give the coupon thing a go until I saw so many Christian people stealing, hoarding, eating junk just because it was free and being stingy.

        1. “Every couponer I know personally actually steals stuff with the way they do their coupons.”
          Mrs. W., could you please explain what you mean here? HOW are they using coupons to steal things? You keep saying this, but you don’t give any support to your statements. Using coupons in and of themselves is certainly not stealing, so what exactly are these couponers you know doing that you perceive as stealing?

          And you keep claiming that you can’t get any coupons for healthy foods, but my family eats a mostly whole foods diet and I use coupons sometimes. Certainly, many coupons are for things that are very processed, such as ready made meals, etc. but not all coupons are for those things. There are tons of coupons for things that aren’t even food, such as toilet paper- don’t we all use that?! Perhaps you have a different idea of what constitutes “healthy” vs. “junk”, but recently I have used coupons for Daisy sour cream (a brand with no additives, preservatives, etc. in it- just simply sour cream), Old Orchard 100% juice- which is what I keep on hand to drink when my blood sugar gets low (I have type 1 diabetes), Stoneyfield organic yogurt, whole grain pasta, and cheese. I have also seen coupons for fresh pineapple, salads, and some stores even put out coupons for .50 off/lb. of a certain type of produce, such as apples or broccoli.

          “I was going to give the coupon thing a go until I saw so many Christian people stealing, hoarding, eating junk just because it was free and being stingy.”
          You know it seems like this is the kind of reasoning you use a lot when you discussing things (at least in comments I have seen you leave on this blog)- “well I know Christians who do X and they also do Y (Y being a sinful or bad thing to do or whatever) therefore I am not going to do X and X is bad.” It’s kind of silly reasoning, really. Just because some people go overboard with coupons and do things, such as has been mentioned like clearing out all of a certain item, or use their coupons to buy junk food, it doesn’t mean that you have to do the same thing if you choose to use coupons! If you don’t think it’s right to “steal” and “hoard” then simply use a few coupons to that are for the items you are already planning to purchase in your shopping trip. If you don’t want to buy junk food then just don’t and throw out the coupons for such items. This reasoning is completely illogical and would lead to some pretty silly conclusions in other areas of life.

          Amy

  13. For the record, try reading some posts at Southern Savers and Moneysavingmom and Hotcouponworld. All these websites are very strict about following coupon policy at each store. If someone even mentions illicit coupon use on these boards, they are quickly reminded to not do this by other posters or the host.

    I feel like if I spend the time doing coupons then I benefit my family and then my husband doesn’t have to worry so much about the finances. Being able to live off of one income is difficult, so doing my part to help. You should look at coupons as a way for women to stay home and not work if they can. And I have helped a lot of other women get diapers and lots of food for a good price. There are plenty of organic coupons out there too ya know.

    I am sorry Mrs. W. you have had some bad experiences, most couponers I meet on the internet are very honest and give to the poor.

  14. Kelly, some have mentioned stocking up when something’s on sale. Great idea, and the only thing I have to add to that is that I save the bags our sandwich bread comes in (I don’t bake bread. I have occasionally baked fragrant bricks). I often get our whole grain bread for 50% off. Anyhow, I save the bags after empyting the crumbs and store in a jar or some other bug-proof container, and they are so handy for storage in a pinch. I buy my sale meat in bulk, and used to individually wrap smaller portions for the freezer. Now I just pop the smaller portions into the bread bags and tie off (I save twist ties too). Freezer tape is great for labeling/dating.

    Another tip (to save time, though not money) is to cut the bag open into a sheet and stretch over your food processer before adding the lid. This will keep your lid perfectly clean, saving clean up time (you just have to open to add ingredients, which is never an issue for me). Would work for a blender too.

    Also, maybe you remember asking your readers to give a good reuse for the mesh bag your potatoes or oranges came in. One lady said they make great scrubbers when cut up. I have been so thankful for that tip over the past year; it really works! And since it’s nylon mesh it’s gentle enough for most or all kitchen surfaces. I’ll never buy another scrubber again!

    My last tip is for nearly free cleaner. To really get the gunk up from your stove top just pour a bit of really hot water over and let sit until cooled enough to scrub (use your free orange bag mesh!). It’s the easiest thing ever. I’ll just do that particular deep-clean in the morning w/ the water that I boiled for coffee (I use a French press).

    Love these types of postings! I get so many good ideas.

  15. Love this post. 🙂 We do most of this already. My mom has been urging me to try the Dental School option for my poor teeth, since I have no coverage. I don’t know what’s holding me back.

  16. Thank you once again for the timely money-saving hints. Here are some others:
    1) skip the aerosol air fresheners. I use used matches and/or used coffee grounds to eliminate foul odors in a room.
    2) We use warmed olive oil as a conditioning treatment for our hair during the dry winter months.
    3) I used to get my hair trimed every 4-5 weeks. Now I wait about 8 weeks and trim my bangs myself, in between. This saves about $200/year.
    4) on that same note, you must begin thinking of all your expenses in terms of YEARLY expenses. Then you will truly begin to see how much money bleeds from your household.
    5) There is no need to purchase a gym membership. Your body is a machine. Get active. Take a walk. Do some heavy duty house work.
    6) Instead expensive tooth whitening pastes/kits. Make a paste of baking soda and peroxide (of course don’t swallow). Brush for a couple of mins then rinse well.
    7) Get to know the folks in the meat depts. Ask what time of day they usually mark down meats. Use or freeze immediately. I never buy full priced meats at the store.
    8) Plan ahead and make your own convenience foods and put in freezer if you know your schedule will be full. Most vegetables can be blanched and frozen.
    9) If you must shop, try the thrift stores first and be patient. Many times something i’ve needed has shown up there!
    10)I collect vintage cookbooks. They are a wealth of information about cooking and entertaining. My favorites are the ones published post WWII to about 1970. Use them. Flip through them and get and idea on the most commonly used pantry items. Keep these items stocked and you will never have to run out for fast food again.
    11) Invest in the “Tightwad Gazette” series by Amy Dacyzyn. Unbeatable reading entertainment and information.

    1. This was very helpful, but I don’t understand how you use used matches to eliminate odor. If they’re used, what are they good for?
      I have started cutting everybody’s hair, except for one daughter who has super thick hair and I just can not make it look good. I have learned that I can cut my hair better than most hairdressers.
      I have started cooking and freezing beans twice a week, instead of buying canned. Soak beans one day, cook them the next, repeat. I also gather everyone in the kitchen when I return from the grocery store and we chop all the bell peppers and onions and freeze them. Makes dinner prep super easy and I never have produce go bad before I can get to it all.

    2. Good ideas. As for number 3, one of the best investments I have ever made was to buy a pair of hair clippers for about $20.00 about 15 years ago and have cut husband’s and son’s hair ever since. Imagine how much money I have saved from 15 years of haircuts for them. I also cut my own hair after finding books from the library or looking on the internet for ideas.

      1. Yes! I cut my husband’s and my sons hair so no expense there, and I don’t ever cut or color mine, I just let it grow it’s length. If you don’t cut your hair at all, you don’t have hair salon expenses. 🙂 My only expense for hair is shampoo and conditioner and a product or two because it’s so thick and growing it long means I need to put it up a lot.

    3. Matches are a temporary odor fix. We keep boxes of them in the bathroom. In our family, if there’s a smell, the polite thing to do is to strike a match and let it burn a little before putting it out, to change the chemical composition in the air. :p

  17. A little late. But here are my money saving tips..

    1. This may not be applicable to everyone. But ethnic stores have good value for for bulk rice, wheat, pulses etc. It is so much less than a regular grocery store. They have bolts of cloth, t shirts etc.
    2. While traveling, look for bargains. Most everyone travels once in a while. By car or plane, other states even occasionally countries. Carry a suitcase or a bag. Bolts of cloth, grain, clothes.
    3. Though this may mean changing lifestyle, meat does not have to be a main course. Try ethnic cuisines, that still have meat but small stew meat like portions in curries that can be poured over rice. Just plain white cooked rice.
    4.Vegetarian does not have to be boring or only salads or beans. Looks towards Asian ethnic cuisines again for variety. And spicy does not necessarily mean hot.
    5. There is a way of making cheese at home. A Cottage cheese called paneer.
    6. It is easy to make home made yogurt. Regular grocery store buttermilk used as starter culture with milk. Whole milk at the grocery store is ok for this. No need for raw milk.
    7. Grow vegetables. If you do not know or want to can like me, just cut and freeze.

    1. Sylvia – we love homemade cottage cheese. Homemade yogurt is also delicious, and the liquid content of both can be modified by draining through cheese cloth. We like “sour” dairy, with lots of tang, so we leave home made yogurt in cheese cloth, weighted with a plate, overnight in a colander for a rich, spread-like cheese. It’s also delicious mixed with honey, salt, and pepper, and spread on breakfast breads. Now I’m hungry.

      1. You almsot described how I make Paneer CC. And it is a process learned by experimenting based on where you live etc, but once the yougurt starts forming if you move it into the fridge it will not be sour. But firm, though not as firm as store bought yogurt of course.

  18. I have questions about the milk and water heater suggestions. With the milk, we got through a lot of it- I started buying 2% or less because it was anywhere from $.40-$.70 cheaper per gallon depending on the store. Will I save enough watering down the while milk to justify spending more per gallon? And the water heater bit, my husband is will to give it a try but wants to know where we would save the money- our gas bill (not in the winter) is only $25/month. Thank you! (And as for all those couponing posts I swear by them for diapers and wipes for my twins!)

    1. Not sure about the milk…would have to do a cost analysis, which I’m not very good at 😉 And since we have an electric water heater, I don’t know if the savings is the same there either, though I would challenge you to try it. Basically, it costs more to keep heating the water all day than to turn it off and leave it for 12 hours or so.

  19. Hi Ginger! Yes, matches are especially good for “bathroom” odors. I had to laugh. I learned that from my dear mother in law who lives very comfortably as “queen” of frugality. She is my inspiration. Our entire family has very thick, course hair. I tried cutting it myself and we all looked like aliens. maybe I gave up too quickly? Yes! We chop all peppers and onions too (bought bulk on sale of course.)and freeze. I thought of some other tips:
    1. Where I live is an upscale hotel’s resort complex. They offer “locals” discounts (as much as 75% off slow season)for a night or 2’s stay. This is great if you want to get away with hubby or celebrate a special occasion. Their salon and spa also offer locals discounts. These discounts are not advertised; you must ask.
    2. Unplug all unnecessary electronics. It really does make a difference. This includes any item with an attached power pac.
    3. Ceiling fans can be a money saver, but according to the experts, it will not help if you leave the room. Turn them off in unused spaces.
    4. I hang most of my laundry, inside or out. I have purchased indoor drying racks at thrift stores. We have gas heat which is very dry. Hanging laundry indoors helps add moisture to the air.
    5. I make my own window cleaner. I have a large home with lots of windows so it means a lot.
    Thanks so much for your encouraging comments. It is my goal as a mature homemaker to bring that same joy into the hearts of younger. women. You can be a full time homemaker if you really want to! If I can do so can you!

  20. Yeah I dont use coupons, I tried but they just don’t have the coupons for the food we eat and I just end up with a bunch of junk. For example, I have never found a coupon for Real butter, goat milk, parmesean cheese, feta cheese or any other cheese that is not processed american cheddar, or steal cut coats, or wheat berries.I have even tried the online coupon clippers thing. Couponing also just leaves me exhausted and frazzled. I enjoy going to the Farmers makret twice a week with my girls and having them pick out all the local produce and talking to the farmers we see every time, and then going to the butcher where they know me and cut my meat just the way I like it, for example they will cut my chicken breasts up into bite size pieces, which saves me a lot of time and mess! It’s just a more simple life for me 🙂

    Actually I really don’t even shop at the stores that except coupons. We go to the farmers market for our fruit and veggies, the meat market and then a small market that has the grains we buy and a few other things. It’s nice to stay away from Walmart bc then I am just bombarded with all this stuff.

    I did try coupons for things like health/beauty items, And i got some really good deals, but then I just ended up with a bunch of bottles of lotions etc that crowded up my house.

    I use water and baking soda to brush my teeth. baking soda and vinegar for my hair, Vinegar for cleaning everything. And I use coconut oil for lotion.

    We don’t use ziploc bags or paper towels,paper napkins or those plastic containers, and there are tons of coupons for those.

    SO really when I stopped using coupons I ended up with much less clutter and I enjoy shopping now 🙂

  21. Here are some of my tips with some links for more info, which I wasn’t going to post because people already think we’re nuts enough. But, here goes.

    *I cut my own hair. Who needs a hairdresser when you have youtube!
    *I only wash my hair about once a week or so and last winter I had success with using no shampoo or conditioner at all.
    *make your own dogfood
    recipe here: http://ifyougiveamomacoupon.com/?p=1634
    *use cloth instead of toilet paper
    my system here: http://ifyougiveamomacoupon.com/?p=1471
    *cold brew your coffee (tastes better, too)
    directions here: http://ifyougiveamomacoupon.com/?s=cold+brew
    *homemade baby wipe solution
    http://ifyougiveamomacoupon.com/?p=1524
    *homemade window cleaner (we use this for everything, not just windows)
    recipe here: http://ifyougiveamomacoupon.com/?p=1560

    I also suggest always grocery shopping with a purpose. We create our weekly menu on Friday and shop on Saturday – this has saved us a ton of money and also shows us better where we can cut down when we need to.

  22. I wrote out a comment with links for directions or explanations but it didn’t show. Maybe links aren’t allowed?

    Anyway, here is my non-linked list of money saving ideas. If you want more information, like recipes or directions just ask me.

    *Cut your own hair – who needs a salon when you have youtube!
    *Make your own dogfood
    *Use cloth instead of toilet paper
    *Cold brew your coffee
    *Make your own baby wipes solution to use with cloth babywipes
    *Make your own household cleaners
    *Grocery shop with a purpose. We save a lot of money by creating a menu each week, and shop specifically for the items we need for that menu. Not only does this save money, but time! No more standing in the kitchen at dinner time wondering what to make. Also, the menu is on the fridge – no more “Mom? What’s for dinner?”.
    *Turn used ziplocs inside out to wash them thoroughly.
    *Although I bath daily or every other day, I only wash my hair once a week or so. Last winter I tried no-pooing and found it to be very doable. I did decide that I like shampoo and conditioner way too much to keep from using it though.

      1. If there are multiple links in a comment it will get snagged by the spam folder (which I usually just empty without looking anymore) but since you mentioned it, I found it and released it 😉

  23. I have not read all the comments so I hope I am not repeating, but we put our deep freeze on a timer. It turns off at night and then back on during the day. Everything stays frozen as long as the freezer is pretty full and we are only using half the energy.

  24. These are some great frugal tips. Although I have to admit, I don’t practice many of them. I enjoy having my hair shampooed, I spend $40 a year to achieve it. To me the price is worth it 🙂

    We do have a timer on our water heater. It is on for two hours in the morning (for showers and dishes) and then it is off for the rest of the day until evening when it is on once again for 2 hours(for dishes and kids baths). Only having it on 4 hours a day has really saved money. We also keep our house temperature at 62 in the winter. You do get used to it, and you can always put on another pair of socks or another sweater! It helps that we have an interior full mason fireplace (the brick gives off heat hours after the fire has died). We have a fire every day in winter and very rarely does the heater actually kick on, and we live in Wisconsin! Oh, and we get the wood free as well. Whenever we have storms trees come down and people need help getting them off their yards and houses (and out of the street). They are more than happy to give you the wood in exchange for cutting it up and removing it.

    Oh, and if you have cells phones, get rid of the land line to your house. We did that last year, saving us at least $25/month.

    We have no cable. We watch videos on occassion. (Once when we were at someone elses house my children saw commercials for the first time, they were upset that what they were watching was interuppted!) If they don’t see commercials (or go to school with other kids) they are less likely to ask for all kinds of things. They have no idea what the latest toy or clothes are.

    Just a few of my ideas we’ve been using for years.

  25. A little hesitant to add this because it may seem quaint, even gross and it is definitely a third world method. Apologize in advance for offending.

    I come from a country where for many years even middle class families did not have running water 24/7. As in you could not open a tap and water would come out. We had specific times were the city would open water lines. We would store water in large containers and cement tanks. We drew water from a well, heated it using kerosene stoves. When I tell this story to my American born children or my nieces and nephews in my native country they ask me if I ‘grew up poor’ LOL. The answer is no, we were middle class in a third world country with primitive systems. Water conservation was a big thing.

    1. Bathing – Fill water in a bucket. And use it. When you carry water even for a short distance, you will appreciate it.
    2. Toilet – We had one. Squatting toilets or westerm ones which did not automatically flush. We washed, no toilet paper and we poured water to flush away the mess. Please use your imagination. And before you ask, we had vessels used exclusively for toilets.
    3. Water Heaters – When we became more ‘advanced’ we had water heaters that could be turned on. Sort of like the tankless water heaters now.
    4. If all else fails, ever tried using the brush, twigs etc and heating up water over a fire ? Of course safety is a must.

    So here are some third world middle class money saving tips.

  26. Wow! Gone for a couple of days and tons of great ideas. I shop at stores like Big Lots and Ross and $.99 store. Roaming through those once every 2 weeks has saved tons of $. Especially Big Lots has lots of Kashi and other whole grain cereals and crackers (not that we eat those a lot, but good to have on hand).
    As far as couponing, I use them sometimes, mostly our area does not have it for stuff we like. But when they do (hair dye, makeup, restaurants) I’d consider myself to NOT be a good steward with the money God gave us if I didn’t use them. And, to explain the “wealthy” daring to save money too, we make just above 6 figures, but we give a lot too. Using some coupons and being frugal (buying clearance meat and other stuff) allows us to give a lot above tithe and still live a comfortable life. We are blessed to be a blessing to others too; being frugal enables it at a much larger scale.

  27. I am part of my store’s perfered customer program. They send me coupons quarterly based on what I actually purchase. This time I got the following items FREE – one dozen store brand eggs, one store brand real fruit spread, one store brand 5 lb. bag of sugar, $3.00 worth of free produce (my choice), one 8 oz block of store brand cheese, and one loaf of store brand premium wheat bread. I repeat – these were FREE! With that I also got 14 other coupons for things that I actually buy. Most were either BOGO or $0.50 off.

    At the beginning of this year I decided to try and cut my grocery/household budget in half. I was being very wasteful by not planning well. So far, I’ve cut my budget by 35%. I now do a detailed plan, use coupons for what we already buy, buy only when items are on sale, buy only sale meat, and stopped “picking up extras” as I do my shopping. Also, I’ve elimatated most cleaning products in favor or vinegar and baking soda. I still have to buy $60.00 a month worth of diapers because my little redhead has such sensitive skin she must have a specific diaper to keep from developing welps and blisters.

    I now feed my family of 4 for around 300 dollars a month. That is breakfast, lunch, and supper each day plus snacks. My little ones drink only milk most days. That’s $75.00 worth of milk alone each month. We also take food once a month to breakfast at church and host families in our home twice a month. I also feed my in-laws twice a month. We rarely have a meatless meal. Very careful planning, couponing, cooking from scratch, and eliminating waste has saved us a lot of money.

    1. Hey, Katie Grace – is there a reason your littles can’t drink water? We saved a fortune when we went to a single serving of milk a day for each kiddo, and we got less resistance to eating actual food. You’re right, mil can be a huge chunk of the budget. Just a thought.

      Your plan is terrific. Congratulations on your huge savings – we’re still wrestling with our grocery budget. Someone around here needs to get things under control 😉

      1. Well, I have a very stubborn 28 month old who only drinks milk unless she is hot, then she will drink water. She recently had the stomach bug and had to drink water and pedialite for 4 days and cried for hours for her “mik”. She loves it so much and eats a very balanced and healthy diet even though she drinks about 24 ounces a day. I’ve decided not to worry too much about it. Atleast she doesn’t want sugary juice! She is a little underweight for her age since she was a preemie so the extra calories are a good thing IMO. We buy the more expensive organic “non-cooked-to-death” milk. I’m having some sucess with homemade lemon-lime water but she usually only takes a cup a day of that.

        My 15 month old still drinks 24 to 30 ounces a day of plain milk. She will drink water and anything else if I let her, but I perfer for her to stay on the milk a while longer. She is a picky eater and I am having a hard time getting new foods in her diet. We average getting her to take to one new food a week.

        Growing up on a farm we had fresh milk (cow and goat) most of my life. I would love to provide that for my children but currently that is out of the question. Closest farm milk that I have found is an hour from here and I just can’t make that drive once a week for milk.

  28. I’m a little late on this post, but here is something that has really saved our family a lot of money each month.
    Check with your electric company about off-peak/on-peak hours. Our company has a reduced kilowatt/per hour rate for off-peak hours. From Oct. to April the off-peak hours are 9 p.m to 8 a.m. and 1 p.m to 4 p.m. From April to Sept the off-peak hours are 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. During those hours we do all of our laundry, extra baking, run appliances, ect. You have to be careful, because, if on this program, the on-peak price is a little higher than normal. We also have a timer on our water heater to heat our water during these times, or a couple of hours before we get up in the morning, and not to heat it on the on-peak hours. In the winter we save about $80 a month and the summer around $20. We have extra heating use in the winter.

    This may be clear as mud. Just wanted to let others know about an option we have really made use of.

    Thanks!

  29. Our electric company has a program similar to Kris’s, but we lease our water heater from them (so we have no repair/replacement costs) and the off-peak hours are all later evening to early morning. It probably cuts our electric bill about $20-25/month on average. Works for us.

    A couple of ideas that might have not already been mentioned:

    (1) We have an excellent public library system and always get books, CDs, and DVDs from there before even considering buying a personal copy. For doing personal or school research (homeschooling or otherwise), it also has online access to many databases that you can access from home. I’ve even checked out Bibles to give them a “test drive” for a month before purchasing a new one.

    (2) http://www.freecycle.org. Available in most parts of the country, with local groups. Perfect example of one person’s trash being another’s treasure. People ask what they are looking for (anything from baby items to books to computers … you get the picture), and others list what they want to get rid of. No money changes hands. I’ve gotten a few things there but just haven’t had time to keep up with the posts, but my sister (who once had all 6 of their children at home simultaneously) swears by it. There are groups in every urban area of ~100,000 or so, but if you’re talking about something worth real money (like furniture) it still might be worth your while to check it out even if you have to drive a ways to pick up something up.

  30. A note on cheap dental work — price does not guarantee results, good or bad. however, i do caution people against willy nilly dentist picking. I am still dealing with a tooth that a root canal was done on almost 10 years ago. i’ve had teh root canal repaired, teh crown and tooth rebuilt, the canal removed all together and redone by an endodentist. now it looks like they’re going to pull it and put in a bridge. the original flub was committed by a licensed dentist. but i would think that mistakes in technique (the problem’s origin) might be more likely with less experience (like a student).

  31. Hi Everyone,
    I just discovered this website and have been having the time of my life. Already you have given me so many ideas. I live in New England and life is so expensive up here. Thank you Sisters! I know I’ll never get to sleep tonight – I’ve got so much reading on this site to do! One way our family saves money is no Satellite or Cable TV. And a side benefit of that is your children will never be exploited by Madison Avenue! Home schooling curriculum can be pricey too so all of us homeschool friends always swap and share as much as possible. Our summers are short so we never use air conditioning. I’ll stop there. You experts probably already know all this stuff. God bless!

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