"No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow." ~Lin Yutang

Sunday, January 9, 2011

money-saving tips

i'm frugal.  abstemious.  canny.  careful.  chary.  cheap.  conserving.  discreet.  meager.  meticulousmingy.  niggardly.  parsimonious.  penny-pinching.  penny-wise.  preserving.  provident.  prudent.  savingscrimping.  sparing.  stingythrifty.  tighttightwad.  unwasteful.  and wary. (thank you http://thesaurus.com/)  ...not to mention poor!  ;)
so, i've come up --yeah right.  i did NOT come up with this.  actually it's how i was raised.-- i've FOUND WHAT WORKS for us by living the frugal life.  i actually enjoy it.  i am content with our wages because it promotes this healthy lifestyle of frugality.  and yes, i truely believe it is healthy on a number of levels.  (perhaps that will find itself in another blog though).  here are some of the things i do to make pennies last and last and last.  i know it's the thing to do nowadays to live green, so it's nice that how i live (and how i will always live, no matter what our income level) is "in".  for a while, at least.   
the following hints are in no particular order, just my thinking pattern:
  • a good way to start is by cutting out things that aren't NEEDED (different that wanted). 
    • examples being:  telephone plans (cell phones).  tv and cable.  vehicles.  etc
  • homemake everything.
  • do things the old fashioned way.
    things that i can make that save me big bucks:
    1. laundry soap 
    2. dishwasher soap
      • dishwasher soap is equal parts baking soda (yes, BAKING, not washing) and borax. you only use 1 Tbsp per load (1/2 in the prewash spot, 1/2 in the wash cycle spot). if your dishes are not sparkling like you wish you can throw some vinegar in with the rinse cycle. we pre-wash all our dishes before we put them in the dishwasher because our dishwasher is a piece of crap though, so i don't do the vinegar rinse.
      • you can use that same powder formula for washing dishes by hand too. it's kinda weird because it just doesn't seem like the liquid soap we're used to... but it works. cuts the grease really well. i still prefer the liquid though and i haven't found a substitute that i like. i like the bubbles. it makes me feel better about the clean dishes for some reason. :) 
    3. shampoo & conditioner.
    4. bread.
    5. food (from scratch).
    6. haircuts.  (don't be scared... it's not as hard as it looks.  and, if you mess up... it'll grow back!)
    7. i've heard of others (lotion, deoderant, etc.) but haven't gone that extra mile yet.  go here and seek out some awesome recipes and ideas for natural healthy living.
  • things that i (as a mama) use to help me save mulah:
    1. cloth diapers.
    2. cloth wipes.
    3. cloth napkins.
    4. reusable stuff (meaning not disposable anythings).
  • tips to make things last longer:
    • reuse things*.  and by "things*" i mean anything!  even things that you don't think are made to be reused. wash it and try to use it again... if it works, it works. if not, no harm no foul.
    • use ALL of things*.  just because it's hard to get out, doesn't mean it's not there!!! 
  • make a meal plan and stick to it. only go grocery shopping once/week (at most). don't EVER eat out. it's just not worth it. i think that's one of the most frivolous expenses that can save you so much money!!! not drinks (coffee included) or anything. all take-out food is WAY OVER-PRICED! instead pack lunches and snacks.
    • a meal plan tip that i do is plan out and get groceries for about 8-10 dinners but don't set them for a certain day. then you know what your options are and can decide each day. that works so much better for me for some reason. you'll find that you'll naturally want to use the recipes with fresh ingredients first (so they won't go bad) and then usually the other recipes are easier so as the week goes on and you get more tired each day... the recipes will be less work (crockpot recipes, casseroles, etc.)
    • eat less meat. 
    • cut down on portions. 
    • stay hydrated with water (it comes out of your sink... not from a bottle.  if you're scared of drinking tap water, buy a filter.  but you don't have to change it as often as they say.  you can taste the difference when you need to change it.)
  • always be prepared.
  • turn the heat/air down a few degrees. in the winter bundle up.
  • don't buy things* at full price!  shop clearance, big sales, yard/garage sales, or second-hand stores. you can find some amazingly awesome deals at thrift stores!  
  • use coupons.  
    • here are a few of my favorite sites to find deals through: thethriftymama.com (she's not local) and krazycouponlady.com (this one IS local). i found that a lot of things i thought i could find cheapest at my favorite stores (winco) can actually be bought dirt cheap with coupons at places like walgreens and rite aid! (which i'd never shopped at before) before starboy was born i stocked up on medicine cabinet items and toilet paper. i got about $80 worth of FREE items (by single check rebates through rite aid) and bought several months of toilet paper really really cheap! i knew i didn't want to be pressed to run to the store for something stupid like that right after the baby was born.  it was eye-opening how much coupons could save me...
  • conserve.  turn off lights.  turn off water.  use less water. 
    • people don't NEED to shower 3 times/day.  most people don't NEED to shower once/day.  if you do shower every day you surely don't need to wash your clothes after every time you wear them! 
    • wait until your clothes are DIRTY before you wash them and then use cold water. 
    • use energy-saving appliances and low-watage flourescent bulbs.
  • drive slower, stop less.  you can't control stop signs and stop lights, but by adjusting your speed to hit them green (the lights, not the signs...) you can stop less frequently and save gas.  also, when on the freeway, instead of traveling at 75, slow down to 60-65.  it saves gas and only increases your ETA by minutes.
  • carpool when possible.
  • stay home more.
  • recycle.  most places give credits for using the recycling program. 
so, that's all i can think of.  i've racked my brain too hard...  i'm sure there are more, but this will do.  hopefully with this post, i can do my part in changing the way people think.  i mean, i have readers ALL OVER THE GLOBE!  so, if you found this helpful, share this with others...

    Try to remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."


    Robin Armstrong Seeber said...

    but eating NO meat is so much better for ya :)

    Trenicker said...

    AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME blog! we love pinching pennies too!!!! and we love you!
    way to be awesome at conserving sister, it's amazing.

    troydanielbecker said...

    After reading a bahundred comments on http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2008/04/09/making-your-own-laundry-detergent-a-detailed-visual-guide/ I think I'm going to talk to bonnie about it. It seems too simple to not do.

    Of course I'm a little concerned about the new HE washing machine we just bought--but I read up on that too.

    But, according to your recent blogs, you still eat a lot of meat.