Tightwad Tips for Tuesday

Heather says:

We all have months where there is more month than paycheck. Here are five tips to help stretch a budget to reach the end of the month. Not all of these tips are feasible long term, but they can be a lifesaver in a pinch.

Shop your pantry before the grocery store.

Try to see how far you can stretch the odds and ends lurking in your cabinets and freezer. Use these items to frame your menu, then fill in with necessities.

Add noodles, rice, or oats to stretch recipes with ground beef.

Carbs aren’t a mortal enemy, but overgenerous portions may be. If you use this technique don’t allow yourself to head back for seconds and thirds.

Entertain, but potluck it.

Invite friends over for cards, games, movies, or just to visit and when they ask what they can bring have an answer ready. If you have small children, invite other families in the same situation. Sure, you do end up playing referee part of the night, but at least you aren’t paying a sitter.

Use the local library.

Talk to the librarian if your favorite author isn’t available, ask who they recommend. They are there to help and you are already paying for the services through your taxes. Take advantage of them. Check out their DVD collection, sure they aren’t new releases, but isn’t it time to actually watch some classics instead of nodding and hoping to look knowing the next time someone brings up Citizen Kane? In the interest of full disclosure, I have yet to see it.

Stay home.

Without getting up, look around the room. How many projects are half finished? Do you have a yard in need of attention? Spend time taking care of these things instead of heading out looking for entertainment. I’m willing to bet you have an mp3 player of some sort. Download free podcasts if you need some company during boring tasks.

Tell me Home Eccers, what are your favorite tightwad tips?



9 Comments

  1. Carol on March 25, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Grocery shop alone if possible! I save a lot more money when the kids and Daddy are home. I always shop on sale, and hopefully combine it with a coupon. Doing that I am able to save at least 50% off my grocery order. I try to buy meat in bulk and use our food saver to wrap it up to freeze.

    We love going to the library for books, even though I prefer to go alone. I miss my days of wandering around the library for an hour looking for a pile of books to read. But bringing the kids with me, will teach them to do the same thing.

  2. Judith on March 25, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Helpful and realistic ideas, Heather. We have always been users of the library and are frugal about what we cook, buy, etc.
    I want to encourage families to do things together ….. play cards or board games, do crafts together (scrap paper, crayons, glue and glitter … you get the idea), play hopscotch on the driveway or draw with sidewalk chalk. You can do yard games (Simon Says, Hide and Seek, etc), take walks to local parks or playgrounds, meet with neighbors to do things together.
    There’s a world of stuff to do out there that doesn’t cost much, if anything at all.
    This may be a real learning curve for the kids, of course. They may be used to paid lessons or events, to going to the mall for entertainment. They could even be resentful that their “usual” is no longer happening.
    We have friends whose kids reacted badly — for a while — when they gave up going to restaurants and started eating at home. They complained that they didn’t want to eat what was prepared (of course: they were used to picking what they wanted off of menus!) but the parents worked at involving them in planning for and preparing meals and that really helped them settle in to a new pattern.
    I think the same thing may apply to families as they go through changes. Be open about what is happening and why. Encourage the kids input. Stay the course ……. YOU are the parent!

  3. Carol on March 25, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Make your own cream soups, when you have some cash buy in bulk, no paper towels, no paper napkins (I even use cloth sanitary napkins – $20 to buy, should last at least 5 years) make my own laundry soap.

  4. Liz on March 24, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Thanks for the library shout out! I’m a librarian, and we always appreciate it. I don’t know about your library, but ours always has the newest releases. For big stuff, like The Dark Knight, we get maybe a dozen or more copies…that way you don’t have to wait long. In lots of ways, the library is better than blockbuster. There’s new stuff, but also old stuff you can’t get anywhere else. You’ve already paid for it, so why not?
    Thanks again, ladies. I always love reading you!

  5. dani on March 24, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    We buy chicken when it’s on sale….lots and lots of chicken. Then we freeze it, individually wrapped, for later use. It saves a lot of money.

    Also, cream of whatever soups are usually pretty cheap, and when you mix that with some chicken, noodles or rice, and some frozen veggies, you have a casserole that will feed the family for a couple of days!

  6. Daniel on March 24, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Completely agree on your thoughts on carbs not being the enemy. We often use rice to stretch most of our meals, and one time I did the math on our rice cooker and found that it paid for itself in less than two months! It has to be the most profitable tool in our kitchen.

    Dan
    Casual Kitchen

  7. nil zed on March 24, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    be sure to see what on-line resources your library has. I place holds on books I want. Then, we I take my toddler for storytime, I can just pick up my items when I check out.

  8. Heather on March 24, 2009 at 9:16 am

    I think the change in lifestyle is what many people find frustrating. It’s a learning process to take advantage of all your resources. Food and entertainment are usually the first places to get cut, so that’s what I focused on today. I believe, in America at least, we’re so used to having a world of options that we forget to take advantage of the more humble, but still gratifying choices all but those in the most dire situations have. Our idea of poverty is massively skewed compared to some areas, but the adjustment from a comfortable lifestyle to one where choices have to be made can be painful for the individual undergoing the process. It’s easy to just say stop whining, but I’d rather help people find joy where they are.

  9. Trixie on March 24, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Hello,

    Great tips, Heather! We don’t do a lot of entertaining or, purchasing of entertainment type stuff so those aren’t biggies for us but we do shop from the pantry and practice staying home. Those two things save us a bundle!

    You know it’s a funny thing, if you go to the mall not needing a single thing, you usually come home with a bag full of things;)

    Take Care,

    Trixie

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