Frugal Friday Free For All and a Giveaway

Heather says
Until recently many of my friends merely humored my frugal traits, now everywhere I look someone is writing about how to be frugal. It seems we’re trendsetters and everyone is jumping on the frugal bandwagon.

It’s been a long week here at Home Ec 101. I’ve been under the weather and Ivy’s family is facing the death of her grandma. So tonight, I’m cheating and asking you, Home Eccers, to chime in with your favorite frugal tip. As an added bonus,  tomorrow night*  Saturday February 28th at 9pm Eastern, I’ll randomly select two comments and send them each one of our coveted Martha who? t-shirts. That’s it. We’re not asking for links or tweets, just tell us one of the little things you do to save money. While it won’t earn an extra entry, we’ll all enjoy it more if you share some of your quirkier habits.

Have fun!

*edited for clarity, the time wasn’t changed


  1. SaveMoney on June 18, 2009 at 4:33 am

    Save on paper towls, spend 8-10 dollars on a long strip of flannel, purchase a piece of pvc plastic tube about the size of a the tube found in a roll of paper towls, cut each piece of flannel to the size of a papertowl and roll onto the tube, when done wash and re-roll onto tube.

  2. Powell Furniture on June 4, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    My frugal habit that drives my husband bonkers is that I tear paper towels in half, or even in quarters (if I even use one at all!) I hide the roll, so it’s not out on the counter so it’s only used in “emergencies”.

  3. Christina Martin on February 28, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    * We compost our coffee grounds, eggshells, and vegetable peels, that sort of stuff. It really reduces our trash output, and it gives us fantastic soil for gardening without the cost of storebought soil and additives. Also, some of our compost grows; we have gotten everything from free potatoes and onions to a whole yard full of pumpkins. When we use green onions, we snip the top leaves off and leave the onion growing for future use.

    * I make my own laundry soap with one part Borax, one part soda ash (which can be bought in pool supplies if your store doesn’t have it in the laundry section) and two parts grated bar soap. Even cheaper, because we can use the bar soap scraps.

    * Flip flops and barefoot. We mostly go barefoot around the house, and in the summer everyone in the house has flip flops bought the previous autumn at $1 a pair. This saves wear and tear on our “real” shoes.

  4. candy on February 28, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    We use homemade cleaners made from vinegar, baking soda, pure (castile) soap, essentail oils, peroxide(in place of bleach) and borax. We just started using Charlies soap in the laundry which requires zero fabric softener. We shop at thrift stores as mush as possible. We do not use paper towels or paper plates. We do not puchase sweets unless on a great deal, and Americans used to eat a lot more beans so we are now using beans in place of meats several days a week. I will try the laundry list, thanks.

  5. Heather on February 28, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Entries are now closed, but you are still welcome to share your favorite frugal tips.

  6. Susan on February 28, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    We don’t have a television (no cable bill) and watch just about anything we want on our laptops on our time schedule – huge savings!

  7. Jen on February 28, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    I use crisco as my facial moisturizer. Way cheaper than anything else around. A tip from a little elderly woman with beautiful skin and no wrinkles led me to smelling like I’m baking when I get in bed.
    It feels a little slick when I put it on, but not bad. By morning my skin feels so soft and smooth, and this winter, no crocodile forehead. That’s saying something. Nothing else has had done that.

  8. Mary Stump on February 28, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    My husband and I planted a large garden last summer and froze practically all of it. He also came home with 60 pounds of cherries that we pitted and froze. On average, the two of us have eaten for about $80/week including lunches that I send to work with him. The only things we buy are milk, bread, and meats. One meal each week is meatless. You’d be surprised how good chicken is when it is cooked with a few cherries!

  9. Barb Szyszkiewicz on February 28, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I use 1/4 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of fabric softener. 1 gallon vinegar is about $2. Fabric softener is at least 4 times the price.

  10. Katie on February 28, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    I make a weekly menu. I shop once a week so I don’t waste $ going back and forth to the store. If I purchase an ingredient, such as asparagus, and don’t use it all for the planned meal then I use the rest for a different recipe on another day so it doesnt get wasted. I have started to purposely plan 1 less meal than I need so I can make that meal out of leftover ingredients from other meals.

  11. Nancy on February 28, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    What keeps me from spending too much is making a grocery list. I make my weekly menu, then make my list, then figure out how much my list costs. If it is too much, I start crossing things out until I am within my budget. Usually the snacks get crossed off first (I think I am losing weight because of this). Then while I am in the store, I keep track of how much I spend going into the cart. And I am weaning myself off the credit cards and only using cash (but it is hard).
    When I pack lunches for the kids to go to school, I use no plastic baggies, just reusable containers that easily go into the dishwasher at the end of the week.
    My latest challenge has been breakfast sandwiches. My husband likes to eat these when he is running out the door in the morning. They are biscuits with egg, sausage and cheese in between. I have started making these at home, including making the sausage, and have gotten them down to about $.60 apiece. Plus, I know exactly what is in them.
    It keeps him out of the 7-11 (where he will also buy snacks and sodas).
    I look upon frugality as a journey with no end point in sight. There will always be a cheaper way to do things.

  12. karen on February 28, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    The thing that seems to save me the most money, is to stop throwing away food. I have heard that it is common for people to throw away 50% of the food they buy because they don’t use it before it, when I heard that I didn’t believe it was true of me but decided to take a good look at our habits and just double check, well, needless to say I was horrified. Without realizing it, I was throwing away good food EVERY DAY! And here I had thought I was so frugal.
    One of the things I was throwing away every day was milk left undrunk in the kids cups, so now I pour smaller amounts and put leftovers in the fridge. Another common throwaway was produce that ruined before I used it, usually because I had bought it without a clear plan for using it. This is such an easy area to save on. Now I only like to buy produce with a clear plan for using it. Hope this helps somebody.

  13. Carye on February 28, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Several things that saves my family money: I don’t throw away leftovers…ever. I try and estimate correctly so that we don’t have leftovers but when we do, I scrape everything into a freezer bag I keep in the freezer. Everything, even that last pea, goes in. All types of meats, leftover gravy, all veggies…and when the bag is full (or even halfway) I make refrigerator soup. I go through any fresh veggies we may have, add ground beef (or turkey or chicken) and any other meats I might have (that one cube steak we didn’t cook), any tomatoes that are going to go within the next few days, add a no salt boulion if need be, and then add the leftovers once this concoction has simmered a bit. The leftovers make the soup taste like it has been cooking all day, and any potato adds as a thickener if you want. Or add a few instant potato flakes if you use them.

    I don’t do paper plates anymore. I have a dishwasher who has residence in the back room and she’s quite capable of doing dishes. Good for her soul. Same with paper towels. Now I do admit to having one roll on hand but only I am allowed to touch it. LOL. We use newspaper for lining bird cages, shred it for packing, clean windows with it, you name it.

    I cut dryer sheets in half. They work just as well as a whole sheet, leave less residue on our clothes and yes, our clothes still smell wonderful. I reuse dryer sheets after they are done in the dryer to add to pj and dainties drawers. Keeps our delicates smelling nice and I’ve been told keeps out buggies. Never seen a bug. Thank goodness.

    I only use cold water. Exclusively. If something is particularly dirty, I presoak right in the washer, then proceed as usual.

    Lots more but I can see you already have some terrific ideas. Can’t wait to go finish reading them. Toodles!

  14. Princess Leia on February 28, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    My favorite places at out grocery store are the “reduced for quick sale” bins, especially the produce one. I love getting green bananas for half price just because they’re singles rather than in a bunch! They apparently stay fresh longer that way too! 🙂 Last week I got three romaine hearts for just over a dollar when they’re usually on sale for $2.50!

  15. Tara on February 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I make a weekly menu for all meals and shop from it. I print the menu on the computer so it looks fancy and it makes me happy to see it. I also keep a list on the outside of the freezer with what’s inside to help me plan & shop.

    I use rags and cloth napkins. I have paper towels, but generally only use them if the dog has an accident (and she is finally completely housebroken).

    I have a part time job (about 4 hours a week) at a clothing store for the discount. I need to look nice and professional at work, and now I get to “look the part” for far less money.

    3 month supply of prescribed medication saves money over buying a month at a time.

    I drip dry my “work” clothes since it saves money, keeps them in better shape, prevents shrinkage, and helps them last longer!

    If I use a dryer sheet, I use a half or a quarter.

    I make good use of the public library for books & books on tape!

    I know I need to do more, but I think I’m making a good start.

  16. Judith on February 28, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    I go the menu planning route, too, which, lately, was constantly being sabotaged by my work schedule. I’d get home late, hubs would say let’s go out, and we would! We talked recently — no more! We’ll be planning a date night out once a month, but we’re going back to menu plans. He’s going to cook more,and I’ve been cooking out of the freezer and can cupboard to get space for our better planning.
    I do use half-sheet paper towels for greasy spills or with bacon, but use clean cloths every day for everything else. Microfiber cloths are cool! Vinegar, baking soda, Bar Keepers Friend, and (real) Windex are my cleaning products.
    The single thing that has saved me the most money is my questioning EVERY purchase. Many items I think I want, I put on a list in my “Wishes” folder. Then I look for sales for those things that turn out to be something I could really use.
    For me, it’s money saving to invest in good quality tools — good cookware, good appliances. We’ve been using the same cast iron cookware for 25 years (bought at a yard sale!) I got a really good food processor (on a good sale), same for bread machine (I make most of my own), coffee maker. My basic pots and pans are not non-stick and have lasted/will last a long time. I bought them individually, not in some big set which would have included things I don’t need. Don’t anticipate buying any more, ever. Non-stick need to be replaced periodically, as they don’t last like others.
    Yard sales and thrift stores, plus Freecycle, are my friends.

  17. tink on February 28, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I don’t use dryer sheets. I have a spray bottle full of fabric softner — 3 sprays of fab softner on a designated wash cloth and toss it in with the drying clothes.

    One bottle lasts for months, and as an added bonus, there’s no waxy buildup (from commercial dryer sheets) on your dryer screen – soit also saves energy and prevents a fire danger.

  18. laura on February 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    One more thing…

    I calculate how many hours I have to work to pay for something.

    Ex: That great perfume I want is 49.99 plus tax. That brings it up to 54.99. That’s a little over 6 hours of work! Eeek! I don’t know if I want it that much…

  19. Keter on February 28, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    @Lenetta – A cheaper alternative to LemiShine is plain old citric acid crystals. You can usually find this on the baking aisle. One tablespoon per dishwasher load in addition to your normal washing powder. BTW, I have hard water here, too, and have found that using a dishwasher powder that is free of chlorine (check the generics/housebrands) eliminates lime buildup and etching on glassware. Primarily because my house uses a septic tank, I’ve experimented with cutting back on the amount of detergents I use, and have found that for everything but the greasiest dishes (which are rare in my household), filling each cup of the dishwasher only halfway still cleans perfectly well. I’ve also halved my liquid laundry detergent (White Lilac Tide – the only perfumed detergent I’ve found that I’m not allergic to – so it’s a little indulgence), supplementing with borax for my husband’s filthy work jeans.

  20. laura on February 28, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    The one thing that has greatly helped my husband and I is using paper clips and sticky notes to separate cash in our wallets. We noticed that when we used our debit cards that we didn’t realize how much we were spending. With cash, we actually see the money leave. (Separation anxiety makes spending more difficult.) The paper clips keep us from spending money ear-marked for something else. Now if only the government would learn this method…

  21. tara on February 28, 2009 at 11:17 am

    You must know, I am a minimalist. But couldn’t handle all the “perfectly good” tupperware I was throwing away (via butter and cottage cheese containers). So, I now keep them (and other reusable containers) on one shelf in my kitchen and use them to freeze homemade spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, etc. When the shelf is full, I recycle them. I resist the temptation to hoard extra containers on other shelves–reusable containers all on one shelf!

  22. Awesome Mom on February 28, 2009 at 11:05 am

    I use white vinegar instead of fabric softener on my clothing. It makes your towels a lot more absorbent.

  23. Courtney on February 28, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Plan, Plan, Plan…

    My husband and I plan each and every meal now. We write it down on a dry erase board, and if we want to make a switch, we can. We are also starting to clip coupons, too. No kids, yet, but we are starting frugality now so it’s not as hard when kids are in the picture.

    We also have a set amount of money we now have for “fun” each month. I wasn’t into that at first, but it enables us to plan and look forward to fun outings and occasions.

    I use the library for books (because I could spend hundreds upon hundreds in a book store); we also Netflix movies and shows, and don’t spend money on expensive cable channels or go out to movies.

    We use Nalgene water bottles and fill them out wherever we go…we’ve also learned how to make some of our favorite food items ourselves, rather than buying the expensive stuff at the store.

    I’m loving all of these comments! Great advice!

  24. Amanda on February 28, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I don’t buy paper towels at all any more. My husband was using them for stupid stuff (as deemed by me, of course, LOL), so I just quit buying them. The only times I really miss them is when I’m draining bacon or something. Fortunately, I’ve found that the cheap Gerber flat diapers from Walmart work GREAT as “paper” towels. (Which is good, b/c they don’t work worth a cr@p for diapering!)

  25. texasaggiemom on February 28, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Just wanted to give my sympathies to Ivy. I miss my grandma daily and wish my children could have known her.

    My husband and I own an automotive repair (specialty) shop and my tip to everyone out there with a car–find a good mechanic that you trust. We get so many customers in our shop who have been royally taken advantage of by unscrupulous car repair places (including dealerships, unfortunately). Find a good one through word of mouth, years in business, etc. and ALWAYS ask lots of questions! And you ladies out there—don’t be intimidated by car talk! A vehicle is a big chunk of money on wheels–get to know something about it!

  26. Lenetta on February 28, 2009 at 8:58 am

    I mix borax and washing soda 1:1. I put a tablespoon in with the wash and then use just a drizzle of Tide. I also mix it 2:1 with Cascade powder (so actually you need 2 cups of the mix, which ends up approximately 1 cup each of borax, washing soda, and Cascade) for the dishwasher. If I run out of Cascade, I can use just the b/ws in a pinch.

    Caveat: our water is crazy hard, and I’ve started using LemiShine in the dishwasher. My dishes look brand new and not all filmy and yucky, and since they’ve cleared up, I have backed off considerably on the amount of Lemi I use.

  27. Bridget on February 28, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Eating out is a luxury but also a way to spend great family time. (No TV or cells) So we always box up half of our meals to enjoy later. Not only do we get two for one, we help our waistlines by not eating too much at one time!

  28. Caanan on February 28, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Not only do I look at the sale paper before I go to the store, but once at Bi Lo I keep an eye out for the purple Close Out stickers. A few weeks ago I got three or four boxes of Frosted Cheerios for half price because they were on close out (nothing wrong with the box, not old or anything).

    I’ve found that it helps to be flexible with my menu to take advantage of unadvertised deals in the store.

  29. Dana on February 28, 2009 at 8:20 am

    Good Morning 🙂

    Here’s to a better week for everyone!! So sorry for the the loss of your Grandma Ivy :(((

    As for the frugal tips let’s see…

    At our House, we.

    1. Cut our dish washing liquid in half with water. It seems to last longer, then using it straight from the bottle

    2. Use amonia for cleaning, it’s cheap and works well!

    3. Use the library on a regular basis for books and DVD’s. They have a wonderful used book sale twice a month that we love!

    4. Take all hand me downs that are offered. If you can’t use them now, store them, or hand them down to some one that can.

    5. Read the newspaper on line. It saves yous the subscription cost!

    I think that’s all I have for now 🙂

    Thanks for offering a nice giveaway!

    Take care,


  30. Cara Mirabella on February 28, 2009 at 9:06 am

    First, I hope you’re feeling better soon. And my condolences to Ivy.

    My favorite, most useful frugal tip: Pay Cash. I don’t carry credit cards in my wallet anymore. I only use cash.

    Having a limited amount of money with me to spend really makes me question my purchases. I’ve really spent a lot less money than I used to thanks to this tip.

    Plus, I’m not incurring credit-card debt.

  31. Kat on February 28, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Okay, am just a day late and a penny short, but with the times they way they are it not surprising that alot of people are trying to be “frugal” these days. As you know our household has been trying to be frugal before so, but much more now. I find that since Ian has “educated” me on some of the food we eaten he has shown me that we eat healthier and save money as well. All the comments are great! Its like that we’ve discovered something “new” when its not really, if you think about it… our parents, their parents and so on…been doing some of the things that we’re just “finding” now! IT seems we are going back to where we begun! Okay, just me pence worth…. 🙂 So who did ya pick? 😀

  32. Suze Perplies on February 28, 2009 at 7:45 am

    Use it up, wear it out, make it do or go without. My manta in the stores. We yard sale shop, ebay shop, and thrift store shop. Anything to try and keep from paying full price. Also, if we do buy something at full price and we are not satisfied and if possible we always return it for a refund.

  33. Leigh on February 28, 2009 at 6:53 am

    These are great tips! I’ve started the cash system for grocery store trips, and it really helps me elminate the “extras” that always wind up into my cart. And I barter – babysitting, sewing projects, organization skills – for other things/services I need or want. It saves a lot of money, and I’ve gotten some amazing stuff!

  34. Fawn on February 28, 2009 at 12:52 am

    I don’t have any great tips to share, but I did want to express my sympathies to Ivy for the loss of her grandma. We’re in mourning for a grandfather at our house (he passed away last week) so I thought I’d share our hugs.


  35. Annette on February 28, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Since I always take water with me everywhere I go, I bought four high quality metal water bottles that I can fill with the filtered water from my faucet. I used to buy a case of bottled water every other week for me and my kids (more in summer). Now a case lasts way over a month – the kids still take them to school – they can’t take metal bottles (might be filled with something illegal, I suppose).

  36. Diaper Cakes Becca on February 28, 2009 at 1:40 am

    I also want to express my opinion in regards to papertowels….I find them completely useless. I don’t buy them but my husband will. I will put them under the cabinet and then forget them. We use ZERO on the days he works and then use half a roll on his day off. I have always used newspaper to clean glass or mirrors because it is superior and does not streak or leave lint…plus it is FREE. I use a dishcloth or cheesecloth to wipe down cabinets and tables and then put it in the dirty clothes at the end of the day.

    Bottled Water is BAD for the environment and you can’t reuse those bottles more than a couple of times or they start breaking down and contaminating the water inside. I am all for buying a reuseable container and filling it up with the filtered water from the sink/fridge.

    No junk food…..if my kids have a hankering for something sweet I will let them grab something off the icecream truck (with THEIR money). Once again…my husband might pick up some sweets but I refuse to buy them.

    I, personally, look back at my wastefulness during my early 20s and am mortified. I never bought generic ANYTHING, I bought all my clothes brand new from high end shops, I paid for salon shampoos and hair care products, I bought High Octane gas… dog even wore a designer collar. RIDICULOUS!

    I love being frugal……makes me feel more in control of my life.

    I am really enjoying reading everyone’s posts!!

  37. Kendra on February 28, 2009 at 12:28 am

    I know I am one of those above people. I used to snicker when friends would be frugal-holic. Then life and beliefs changed…I find myself making it a habit to save money.

    1) My kids ride the bus to and from school now. Saving gas.

    2) Meal plan and strict grocery list. I completely avoid the snack, prepackaged sections now.

    3) Buy local produce. Not only is it cheaper but helps local economy.

    4) Shopping thrifts store for items instead of ebay or internet shopping. Found a great sewing cabinet for $15!

    5) Decreasing our meat intake and replacing it with more beans.

    6) Stop buying paper towels and using newspaper instead.

    7) Homemade cleaners

    8) Becoming more crafty by making my own kitchen and cleaning cloths, drapes, and wishful wants like a recipe box, etc.

    The list is long. Especially for me…who once was a just “buy it” woman..who now looks at quality, price, and comparison shops. And one more thing on a personal note…LOL…instead of waxing..I now shave a home..saves a few pennies and its a lot less painful.

  38. Rachelle on February 28, 2009 at 12:10 am

    I’m big on the vinegar/water solution for glass and mirrors! I also use newspaper to wipe them clean so I don’t waste paper towels. It works incredibly well at not streaking!

  39. Rina on February 27, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    I clean with vinegar and rubbing alcohol not only to save money but because it’s better for the environment and our health.

    I wash clothes in cold water, always (well occasionally the barfed on baby things get warm).

    We do NOT buy paper towels or napkins – might as well dry your hands with $5 bills and throw them out, plus it’s horrific for the environment.

    I coupon hunt like crazy.

    We make a 2 week menu and never go out to eat, although we do order pizza 1 or 2 times per month (usually on the nights when I do grocery shopping…who wants to cook after grocery shopping, and at 8pm??).

    My quirkiest frugal habit…


    That’s right folks. I lay them flat, scrub them down, rinse, then turn inside out and scrub and rinse. Make sure the sides are sticking to eachother and air dry.


  40. Milehimama on February 27, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    Oh, and here’s my grocery list/menu/receipts post if anyone’s interested!

    Another quirk – I clean the toilet with toilet paper (outside of bowl) and bleach spray instead of pricier wipes or scrubbies. Then I can just flush all the germs away! I do use an old fashioned brush on a stick for the inside, though, but again, I spray inside with bleach spray (homemade) instead of expensive cleaners that gel and cling.

  41. Milehimama on February 27, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    I started blogging my grocery receipts! It really keeps me in line, knowing that all of Cyberland is going to see that I bought a bag of Cheetos even though I’m pregnant, diabetic, on a tight budget, and the kids can’t have food colors, LOL!

    My frugal habit that drives my husband bonkers is that I tear papertowels in half, or even in quarters (if I even use one at all!) I hide the roll, so it’s not out on the counter so it’s only used in “emergencies”.

  42. Keter on February 27, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    First of all, my condolences to Ivy and her family. :~(

    I have a lot of things I do to save money, but here are my favorites.

    1. Waste not want not. I plan my meals to rotate ingredients forward, so the leftovers of one meal form the beginnings of another. This includes making my own stock. For each $6 roasted whole chicken I buy, I get two meals (one meal of roast chicken, and a second of chicken scraps made into soups, casseroles, or salads), and two full jars of stock from the carcass. That stock is better than even high-end organic free-range stock, at $4 a package. So I actually “earn” $2 from each chicken by not buying stock. I do a similar routine with pork chops and ham.

    2. Plant a garden, turn $25 worth of seeds into hundreds of dollars NOT spent at the grocery store, plus incalculable health benefits of eating fresh, pesticide free food. Long on the to-do list for this house, this is the year the garden is finally going in.

    3. Buy low, sell high. I keep a running list of things I’m looking to buy, everything from a great pressure cooker to bras that fit better than the ones I have, so when a great sale comes along, I know exactly what I’m looking for and have already coolly considered the criteria and price that must be met to make the purchase. When I buy things, I ask myself: will I still love this two years from now? Will this thing pay for itself somehow? How much will this thing cost to maintain? How will I get rid of it? Consequently, one use items and dry clean only clothes rarely make it into my house, and I tend to buy excellent quality things that last a long time and hold their value for resale. Big ticket items like cars, wood furniture, and appliances I try to buy used – and let the first owner absorb the depreciation. Freecycle, Craigslist, and eBay are my department stores…except when Macy’s is having a big sale. (Last year I got a nice leather coat for $40 there – and yes, a good leather coat had been on my list for a decade!)

    Quirks – well, here’s one for the record books. I’m going to have to redo some of the plumbing in the master bathroom showe because I now hit my head on the shower head. I didn’t when I bought the place eight years ago. I’m still slowly growing, about 1/8″ a year. Just never stopped like most people. At this rate, I’ll be 6 feet tall by the time I’m 112. Of all the superpowers to have, mine must be the most underwhelming of ’em all. ;o)

  43. Erin on February 27, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Save money on glass cleaner…just wet a towel with water, clean the mirror, and dry it off. Try it!

  44. Diaper Cakes Becca on February 27, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    There are several things we do in our house to save money (I consider this one of my top jobs, saving money. I make money and my husband makes money but it is MY job to economize what we spend to make sure we aren’t wasting any):

    1) We unplug everything when not in use….this is supposed to really save on the electric bill. The canopener, the stereo, the video games (we only play these on the weekend), the computer…all the things that can suck up energy when not on but still plugged in.

    2) We look to see what is on sale at the local supermarket BEFORE we even make a list. We eat the things on special. We do NOT go to WalMart to shop because we have realized that we tend to by too many non-food items when we go there and those can really bust a budget!

    3) We are on a time-of-day energy plan out here in Phoenix. In the winter…this means between 9am to 5pm is the least expensive time to run electrical items. In the summer….this means anytime BUT 9am to 5pm is cheaper. We run laundry, dishwasher, oven according to this schedule.

    4) Since a lot of my friends and family are on the East Coast, we have an unlimited long distance plan. This saves US a lot of money plus it means I can call my clients without having to worry about costs.

    5) With 5 kids we are all about nicely used clothing. I love Freecycle and Yard Sales….you can often get great things that are hardly worn. The kids get new things, of course, but we can supplement their wardrobes for weekend wear and the occasional nice outfit this way, too!

    6) Orange Juice gets watered down….its way too expensive, these days, and my kids don’t seem to notice (don’t tell them!)

    7) I sign up for EVERY frequent reward program that applies to us.

    8) Lights off when no one is in the room… exceptions.

    9) We buy generic laundry detergent because we really don’t see the difference. We’ve found that as long as the clothes are appropriately loaded (not stuffed in)…..any detergent works on the basic laundry needs.

    10) We do our basic daily cleaning with some vinegar and water…..we save the heavy duty cleaners for the twice monthly deep cleans.

    **That is our top ten, anyway!

  45. Mrs. Micah on February 27, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    To save a little on laundry (and because I hate having to do laundry…I’ll admit it), I hand-wash about 3 shirts a week. This means that I only have to wash my clothes twice a month, at $8.50/month (or a little more, depending how many dryer loads I do, most times I combine lights and darks) instead of every week at $17/month.

    I like that it means a) fewer nights doing the laundry b) asking for quarters at the grocery store less often and c) a little less in monthly expenses. To me that adds up to make a few minutes of handwashing worthwhile.

  46. Angela on February 27, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Mine is onlt frugal when I get it right. I tend to find things I like and if it is crafty or fabric I will try my hand at it and if it is wood work I will give the picture to my dad.

    I have made blankets, cloth diapers, quilts, bags, birth anoun, holiday cards and much more.

    I have had my dad make me: book shelves, a toy box with book shelves above it, a toddler bed (made out of a old futon) and a kitchen set.

    These are only frugal if they work out and you are not out buying more and more stuff to make more then you need of certain things:)

  47. Margo on February 27, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    When I go grocery shopping I take cash only…that way I’m not tempted to over-spend and pull out the card or check book. It works! There’s my two cents. (hey it all adds up) 😉

  48. Mom of three on February 27, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    The biggest thing that is saving me money lately is a monthly posted menu. The kids and Hubby can see what is coming up and if they don’t like what it is, they can request a change (which they have to suggest), but by having a menu, I am only buying the food for the week that we will be eating. At the end of the week, the freezer and pantry are mostly empty (only staples and meat I bought on sale left). By laying meat out in the morning, it’s not only ready at dinner time, but I feel guilty if I decide to eat out, because it might go to waste.

    When I go to the store, I take my menu (each day has a menu appointment on my cell phone) and I buy the food I am going to need for just that week. With the food in the house and fresh, we actually like eating at home more.

    I plan eating out as well (it is actually on the menu). So tonight the kids had pizza and Hubby and I had catfish from our favorite restaurant. Eating at home saved us $20, because we didn’t have to buy expensive restaurant drinks.

    Tonight Hubby and I are having computer night, surfing the internet, while the daters are watching a rented movie in the Living Room (with frequent visits by mom or dad). Our date night for three couples and a preteen (dinner and a movie) cost under $50.

    Had we all gone out and then to the movie, it would have been $150, so tonight we saved $100 and still had a great time! And the teenagers aren’t out driving on a rainy Friday night.

  49. Heidi @ Carolina Dreamz on February 27, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    I have blue balls in my dryer. LOL

    Really. I don’t buy dryer sheets, anymore. I also bought some wool yarn to make my own dryer balls. I won’t be making them blue, of course.

    Make your own dryer balls:

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