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Old 05-28-2004, 02:38 PM   #31
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Okay, 2 questions...

*What brand of toilet paper do you use? I've been buying Charmin for years and the price is way high. I have 4 bathrooms! Help!

*How could I develop a small garden? My backyard is about 20'x30'. I'd like to grow some tomatoes, maybe lettuce and cukes...salad stuff.
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Old 05-28-2004, 02:57 PM   #32
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Okay, I have most of the tips in a Microsoft Word document. If someone knows an easy way for me to forward it on to you, just let me know. It's 9 pages.
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Old 05-29-2004, 08:18 AM   #33
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Okay, I've found more tips...

*Keep a squeez bottle of soapy water by the sink for those small one or two dish jobs.

*Don't throw out that lipstick case when it runs out. Use a lipstick brush and apply from what's left in the case.

*June is the big wedding month. Try this for an inexpensive wedding gift. Put together a gift basket by using a family favorite recipe. Put the recipe with all non-perishable items in the basket and do it up with a bow or other decorative items. They won't be taking this one back.

*While waiting for hot water from your sink to get hot, place a milk jug under the faucet to collect water. Use this water to water plants, pets, etc. You'll be surprised with how much water you've collected.

*This tip comes from Teri Spaulding. I make cloth napkins out of sheets and scrap material, no more bills for paper napkins. I stopped using paper towels, hand towels work just as well, no cost.

*One easy way to cut on cooking costs and time is to take one week and triple the amount of food needed for each meal. You then eat one of the meals and freeze the remainder for meals that are quick and easy to prepare in the weeks to come.

*Make your own bubble solution. 10 cups water, 1 1/2 cup Joy dishwashing liquid, 3/4 cup glycerin. Let set for a day or two. Add food coloring for fun. Try using empty thread spools and plastic cores from adding machine tape for making bubbles.

* I found out many local grocers (Albertsons being my supermarket of choice) have an very unknown rule. If the shelf has a food item that has expired, and you bring it to the service desk, they will give you an unexpired item of the same product for free! I amassed about 70$ in milk and cookies in one month!
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Old 05-29-2004, 08:37 AM   #34
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*I have a tip you might like to add to your list. If you have certain products that you like, see if their is an 800 number on the package and give them a call. I did this with Tropicana orange juice to tell them it was great and since they probably get more complaint calls, I figured they'd appreciate a compliment. Anyway, they did! They sent me coupons for FREE juice and also $.50 coupons for future purchases.
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Old 05-29-2004, 08:37 AM   #35
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* I had an expensive clear shower curtain with Mickey Mouse on it that I had gotten on sale. It's 3 years old but still looks good. Three of the ring holes ripped through and the curtain was hanging crooked. My 12 year old son is rough on some things. Anyway I tried to figure out what I could use to fix it so that I wouldn't have to replace it. I took the clear lid from a yogurt container I had saved and cut 3 squares from it about 2/3 in. each. I punched a hold in the center of each square and then hot glue gunned the squares matching holes to shower curtain holes. Voila! It's held up for 3 months so far and you can hardly tell where the clear patches are. I could have cut circles but I was thinking of more surface patch area.
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Old 05-29-2004, 08:38 AM   #36
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*Use empty plastic bags from cereal boxes as freezer bags after the cereal boxes are empty. (I wonder if you could use these with the FoodSaver Vacuum thing?)

*In the interest of sharing the wealth (is that the appropriate word?), here is my favorite frugal idea: revive faded solid-color clothing, curtains, etc. by dyeing them. I've had tremendous success in restoring perfectly good but faded black jeans and curtains badly faded by the sun.

*Telephone books constitute a major waste problem in the US. I use them to make booster seats (bind tightly with strong tape and cover with faric, old wallpaper, etc., and to clean windows--they are only newsprint, after all. They are great for packing material, coloring books for toddlers, etc.

*An inexpensive way to remove eye makeup is to use a baby bath product. I use Johnson's Baby Wash, or something like that (I'm not sure of the exact name, but it comes in a big yellow bottle). I put a few drops of the solution on my fingertips, then rub it onto my eyelids. After removing the soap with water, the makeup is completely gone and it doesn't burn the eyes!
At approximately $1.50 to $2.00 per bottle, the product lasts a long time (I'm not even halfway finished with my first bottle, which I bought a year ago).

*This tip is actually from me! I buy a big bottle of baby shampoo from the Dollar Store and use it for bubble bath for my boys.

*I make my own jewlry cleaner by adding water, lemon juice and a small amount of amonia. Next I heat it in the microwave for about a minute and a half. Soak the jewlry, and clean with a old tooth brush. Your diamonds will sparkle, and it's much cheaper than the store bought stuff.

*Here's my latest frugal pet project: We were looking for a "cat condo" for our new kitten, and were surprised at the expense of even the smallest ones. Making our own playhouse wasn't too hard (but it would turn Norm Abram pale). I used a cardboard display box with wide, precut handles - a pickup on the last trip to the warehouse club - and covered it inside and out with two bathroom rugs that were losing their non-slip backing. I hot-glued the backing to the box, making the inside and outside nice and soft and fun to play in. To add height, I covered three old telephone books in remnant fabric and glued the carpeted box on top. The kitty loves her new home - and we love the money we saved. I made the box in about two hours on a rainy Sunday.

*If you buy dry cereal in boxes (using coupons and store specials of course) use the package liner for waxed paper. Wiped off and cut in half it makes a perfect substitue for waxed paper you buy in rolls. I even roll it around a cardboard roll such as the kind found at the end of the paper towel roll and secure it with a rubber band.

*Save cereal boxes to be recycled for gift boxes. Just open the bottom end and store flat.
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Old 05-29-2004, 08:42 AM   #37
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Here's a sample of some of the answers to last weeks question about what to do with leftover soap slivers. Thanks for the tremendous response.

Put the soap bits in a quart jar with water and make your own liquid soap.

If you or someone you know sews you can use soap "slivers" to mark fabric for cutting when sewing. It makes a fine line and washes right out!

Save them and mix with a little water and melt in a sardine can to form new bars.

For the left over soap bars dilema, how about using gauze fabric and tieing the soap inside for a disposable loofa type scrubber for bath or shower?

Sew a bag from a washcloth, leaving one side open and stuff the soap silvers into it. Proceeed to scrub!

We place them in a small amount of boiling water(bring to a boil and remove from stove) after it is disolved and cooled we pour it in our liquid soap dispensers..

Using soap slivers: 1) put one sliver in a jar with water, shake-give the kids the bubble blowing sticks. 2) slit side of a sponge open, insert sliver, wash car,dog,kids,windows. 3) Grate sliver into hot water wash one largish sliver will do a load. 4) Shave the different colours into an attractive jar use in the bathroom as "bubble bath". 5) Give the sliver to the kids in the kiddie pool a)cleans the kids b) cleans the pool c) at least an hour of fun d)doesn't hurt the grass (good for it, actually)e) waters the lawn. 6) Put sliver/water/cloth in peanut butter jar use during long car trips for sticky fingers.

I use leftover soap bits outside. I hang soap bits collected in the toe of an old nylon stocking from my back porch along with an old towel and a short length of garden hose running into an old bucket. This combination creates an instant clean up area my children can use BEFORE they track it all into my house. I'm a tightwad and I hate to clean!

Put small soap bars in dresser drawers. Keeps clothes smelling fresh. Put in containers of screws & bolts, lubricates threads & slows corrosion. Scratch old bar of soap with fingernails before greasy or dirty projects. A little soap under nails make washing up much easier.

To use small pieces of leftover soap, I put them into a small bag made of nylon netting that I tie in knots at both ends. This can scrub the skin and it feels great! The netting can be reused over and over.

I read in a book some years ago a suggestion for using leftover soap slivers. It's been years, and I don't remember the exact measurements, but with a little common sense the end result will still be the same. The author saved her soap slivers in a clean glass jar. When she had accumulated an adequate amount, she poured boiling water in the jar and dissolved the soap into a mild "liquid soap" suitable for handwashing. Another suggestion I have heard over the years is to make sachets with them for dresser drawers.

You can put the old soap slivers in a mug. When the mug fills up use a shaving brush with the mug to make a foamy solution to shave your legs.

I remember my dad having a can under the sink & depositing all the soap fragments in it. He added water when it was full & got the soap all soft. Then he pressed it down and drained off the excess water. I don't remember how he got the soap out of the can. (sorry) This mass of soap would have to cure again so it would be hard enough to use without becoming a gummy mess. Another option is to grate the small pieces into a container, then use the fine gratings in a dish near the sink, or in a shaker type container. Personally, I open all my bars of soap when I get them, and then put them in drawers & on closet shelves....... for months!! This will cure the soap so it can be used down to the last piece without it getting soft. Soap manufacturers wrap their soap just so it stays soft, so it will get used up sooner.........so, yes, we will buy more. By doing this, I don't have soap that isn't used up......but, it takes ages to use a bar using this method.

Save up the ends until you have what looks like a bar's worth. Place them in a small flat-bottomed container. Microwave on low, watching constantly, until it looks soft, melted and a bit bubbly. It doesn't take long, maybe 30 seconds. Take the dish out and with a butter knife, shape the soft soap into a bar. When cool, pull it off the container bottom. Hope this helps!

I recall a nylon washcloth-like pouch that you'd slide the slivers into and would have a washcloth and soap in one. If nothing else, drop them in the toilet and let them desolve. Then scrub the toilet.

Cut off the bottom 12" from a stocking and put all the leftover bits of soap in it. After a dozen bars you tie the end of the stocking and hang it in the shower - your very own soap on a nylon rope!
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Old 05-29-2004, 08:42 AM   #38
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Thanks for all the responses to what to do with newspaper plastic bags. Here's some of the ideas that came in.
I use the plastic bags from newspapers to pick up gross stuff, like dirty diapers, dog poop, anything you want to pick up, but not touch. Pick up whatever it is, then pull it in to turn the bag inside out and remove it from your arm. Then tie the end and chuck it.

Keep a bag with your umbrella in the car so that your wet umbrella doesn't drip all over the car and leave a wet,mildew smell.

Why not cancel the newspaper and go to the library or a coffee shop that has newpapers out when you want to read it. Cheaper and easier on the environment too.

I use our when I clean the catbox. Need I get more graphic, eeww?? It saves the use of a new bag, permits me to discard less plastic than if I used a sack from the grocery, and as long as it is, I can tie a slip=knot in the top, keeping odors and, er, debris well inside. Probably I shouldn't bag 'em at all, but chucking them directly in the wastecan isn't always an option.

As for the plastic bags that your newspaper comes in - we use them for lunchbags to take our lunches to work

We use the plastic newspaper bags to dispose of dirty diapers. If you tie a knot in the bag (with the diaper inside) it keeps the outside trash cans from stinking. The price of "diaper disposer" bags at Wal Mart was almost $3.00, and the newspaper bags are free, almost, since we got our newspaper subsctiption at half price

Cut into long strips, crochet into doormat. (Ends stick together easily when slightly moistened)

Save them and give them back to the paperboy

Use them as disposable gloves for dirty jobs

Make a wreath from them. Fashion a circle from a wire coat hanger. Cut the bottom out of the bags leaving a tube. Cut the tube to the desired length and tie them onto the wire circle, pushing them close to each other as you add them on. This yields a rather fluffy looking wreath.

I read on another list to tie them together & use as "twine" to tie up your newspapers for reclying.

Sew several bags together lengthwise with heavy thread, like fishing line. Spray paint in holiday or seasonal color(s) and use as decorative banner, too high for pets or kids to get to.

To assign chores among family members, write down different chores on small pieces of paper. Put the papers in the bag, and have everyone pick a paper.

Use the bags to keep together household items like paper clips. As long as they're kept in a drawer, they pose no threat to kids or pets and when they get old, replace them.

Using a permanent marker, carefully draw a face (eyes, mouth, et cetera) on one side of the bag. Create puppet shows to entertain the family, avoiding the expense of a movie, popcorn and soda, dinner out, and a babysitter. If you do this a lot, you can create a "Cast of Characters," with different looks and personalities. Cut a couple chunks of hair off of family members with different colored hair and use them to make hairdos for the puppets. Old buttens and bits of fabric can be used to simulate clothing, and helium from leftover birthday balloons is good for doing different voices (though take care not to use too much helium, it can be dangerous).

Here's a thought for your consideration... Cancel your subscription to the daily newspaper. Okay, I know it's drastic, but what do you REALLY need that landfill clogger for? And a daily plastic bag adds insult to injury. Eight years ago, I left my job as a public info rep and went to work in a university print& graphics dept. After 6 years of required reading of 7 regional dailies and weeklies, I had enough of newspapers, but it took me a couple of years to taper off. When they started offering subscriptions to the local weekend paper, I dropped the mon-fri. Didn't miss a thing. Then they split up the sat and sun, so I dropped the saturday. Finally, when I realized how much precious time I lost reading JUNK! on beautiful sunny, sunday mornings, I dropped the sunday paper too. Been paperless for at least 4 years now and it is so nice - especially on recycling day! Everything I need to know is on local news. I immediately felt like I'd reclaimed a lost part of my life. For those newspaper employees who read this, sorry, but maybe it's time for things to change.
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Old 05-29-2004, 12:30 PM   #39
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Be careful using the plastic bags the newspapers come in for food. My understanding is that they are not food grade and can give nasty stuff to your food and then to you.

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Old 05-29-2004, 12:45 PM   #40
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How could I develop a small garden?
For what you want to grow, You can just use containers. Tomatoes grow beautifully in large pots as well as cucumbers.
Depending on where you live, it may be too late for lettuce this year-- it is in Texas and lettuce likes it nice and cool. You might check out Square Foot Gardening. I used that method when I lived in the city. It is a great space and time saving method.

Homegrown vegetables have great advantages-- besides being really good for you, it gives your kids a sense of accomplishment. My 4 yo has 6 stawberry plants and just love tending them. It helps them get closer to nature. ( He just loves it when God is watering his plants-- raining ).

Quote:
Use empty plastic bags from cereal boxes as freezer bags after the cereal boxes are empty. (I wonder if you could use these with the FoodSaver Vacuum thing?)
While you could certainly use these to store food short term with the Food Saver, I wouldn't freeze stuff in them. It would be a great idea for pork rinds, chips, rice, macaroni, etc...
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Old 05-29-2004, 02:07 PM   #41
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Check the clearance racks...with such good deals

I was just getting a summer blouse yesterday & noticed a
couple large clearance rack in the store.
OHhh, the racks was full of winter sweaters, coats, & vests.
Beautiful name brand items for $3.00 - $10.00 each.
Unbelievable deals.

AnnieM...
I'm still taking Cathy with me when I go shopping
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Old 05-29-2004, 02:28 PM   #42
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I didn't read all the posts but wanted to contribute something that has saved us alot of money.

I have 3 kids, and a hubby who gets pretty dirty while at work.... I learned how to make homemade laundry detergent from some of the Amish/mennonite women I know from my MOPS group.

It is very easy and very cheap... I make a bucket full once a month and it takes about 15 minutes to do.

1/3 bar grated Fels Naptha soap (or you can use IVory.... Not sure how well the Ivory works but I saw it as an alternative)
1 Cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 cup Borax laundry booster.

Fill big bucket (I used an old Lego Bucket) Fill it with 2 gallons of HOT tap water.
Grate bar soap into small saucepan and add just enough water to cover flakes, heat on medium stirring continuously till flakes are melted. Add the melted soap to the bucket and stir...
Then add in the borax and washing soda..... stir until well mixed.... let cool overnight... it will turn gelatinous... stir before using... I use about 1 cup per load and you can always pre treat with fels naptha or with laundry booster & water made into paste.

The cost for this stuff is minimal...
I pay 1.15 for the fels naptha
2-3 bucks a piece for the soda and borax...so for about 6 or 7 bucks you get 3 months worth of laundry detergent!!! So I pay about 21 bucks a YEAR for detergent that cleans better than most of the name brands.

Hope this helped...!!
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Old 05-29-2004, 03:44 PM   #43
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Melissa - Thank you! I'll try that. Where do you buy the fels naptha?
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Old 05-29-2004, 04:17 PM   #44
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I made up about 30 cloth napkins.

Here's another for the shower curtain. Take clear contact paper draw a circle then stick on both sides & cut a little hole in the center. I use to do this before I put the curtain in my kids bathroom. It give it a long life.


I use do this one when my kids were young. I have a box for birthdays and other holidays. When toys , crafts and other thing came on clearence I would buy up all kinds of things and put in this box. Then I always had something for birthday parties and rainy days.

As my girls grew up they said that's something they would always have in there closets. And they do.

Mom's goodie box.


As for gardening ---I don't know where you live. But I live in the inland Northwest on a mountain. And our gardens have only been in a few weeks.

If this is your first garden check and see if you can get some plants already started & plant in a garden .

Sungold cherry tomatoes are the best.

Good luck.
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Old 05-30-2004, 09:05 AM   #45
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fels Naptha

Well I live in a small Amish/Mennonite town in Iowa so I can get it at our local grocery store... but you can get some on the internet, not sure how much it costs... I would check your local walmart too... it would be in with laundry or dish detergent stuff. But like I said you can use Ivory soap and it works too... and Ivory is pretty cheap too.
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Old 05-30-2004, 01:20 PM   #46
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I get fels naptha at our Albertsons, and I've also seen it at Safeway... wonderful stuff!
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Old 05-30-2004, 07:17 PM   #47
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Oh my gosh! Look what I just found. Have you guys figured out that I'm OCD yet? LOL

Basting Your Swiffer

I recently purchased a Swiffer Wet Jet. I didn't realize that the bottle isn't refillable. I tried everything to remove the lid. While I was preparing to inject my Thanksgiving turkey with yummy flavorings, I thought about injecting my own cleaning solution back into the Swiffer bottle. It worked great. The top of the bottle has a rubber seal, so the end of the syringe slides right in. You can buy the injector at most grocery stores for under $2.

I use my swiffer for my laminate floors. So here's a cleaning solution I found.

Cleaning Laminate Floors

I have Pergo brand laminate floors in the kitchen and dining area. They get quite dirty very quickly. I use a mixture of vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and water (equal parts) for mopping. The floors dry spot-free. They also dry rather quickly, reducing the possibility of people tracking through the wet floor. I think my floors look better using this mixture than they do when I purchase the expensive recommended brand cleaner.

Last edited by Kingschild; 05-30-2004 at 07:20 PM..
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Old 05-30-2004, 08:01 PM   #48
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Originally posted by MsSpot
[B]OK, here's one that is cheap and works REALLY well.

Clean your phones, stainless steel, steering wheel, keyboard with rubbing alcohol. It 's cheap, disinfects, cuts grease, dries streak-free. All for about 89 cents a QUART.

I keep this in my travel trailer to quickly clean dishes, silverware, and cups quickly without water.

Ya got a bug bite? Put some rubbing alcohol on it.

Yur sunglasses dirty? Use rubbing alcohol to clean them.

It dries fast and germ free.
this reminded me so much of the dad in My big fat greek wedding with the windex
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Old 05-31-2004, 08:06 PM   #49
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I'm making the change! I made up a dishwashing liquid - it works great! And some cleaner for my automatic dishwasher - my dishes sparkled when they came out! And...the window cleaner - vinegar and water, with newspaper - my windows have never looked so clean! And there's no lint. I'm like crazy cleaning woman now. LOL

I'm trying the Pergo floor cleaner tomorrow.
And I've made my own disenfectant wipes in a container for the bathrooms.

I took a couple of old towels and cut squares out of them for dinner napkins instead of paper ones. What else...hmmm...I'm attempting to make my own pull-ups for my kids. I'll let you know how that goes. LOL We've been spending $50.00 or more a month on pull-ups!


Thanks for all your help - EVERYONE! I know all these changes will save me a lot of money.
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Old 06-01-2004, 02:31 AM   #50
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http://moneycentral.msn.com/Content/...y.asp?GT1=3515

I just came across this article today on MSN homepage.

The Basics
20 ways to slash your grocery bill


Would you know a good price on peanut butter if you stumbled across it? Here's how to spot bargains, cut waste and work the system.

By Dana Dratch, Bankrate.com

When it comes to the grocery store, the rules are the same as those for the stock market: Do your homework, don't fall for the hype and buy low.

Here are 20 ways to bring your food bill under control without sacrificing time, your family's health or your own sanity:

Eat your fruits and vegetables. "When you think about it, fruits and things like that are really fairly inexpensive compared to the packaged things," says Gary Foreman, publisher of The Dollar Stretcher, a Web site devoted to living better for less. And almost any time of year, stores have "a good selection no matter what you like," he says. "You're bound to find something year-round that's in season and, therefore, affordable."

Want to find the freshest and the cheapest? Investigate a local farmers market. With less middlemen involved, the produce tends to be "fresher, treated with less chemicals and cheaper," Freman says.

Give those shelves the once-over. "The marketers aren't foolish," says Foreman. "They know that we're generally lazy." So they position the items they most want to sell on the shelves between knee- and shoulder-height. "The highest markup items are the ones at about chest level -- to make it really easy for you to grab it and toss it in the cart," says Foreman.

And that's where the most expensive name brands will be, says Jyl Steinback, author of "The Supermarket Gourmet." "You can save up to 40% by selecting house or generic brands."

Stick to the edges. For the most part, the healthy, less processed foods are at the edges of the grocery store: dairy, fruits and vegetables, meats, etc. Those are the most nutritious options, and they also go further in the kitchen. In addition, "the main areas where you're walking, the paths to milk and bread, are usually strewn with high-priced land mines," says Ellie Kay, author of "Shop, Save, and Share." "Avoiding those pricey areas will really help."Point. Click. Pay.
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Shop early and alone. "Try to shop when you're alone," says Steinback. "Those little helpers can quickly boost your bill." And if you shop early in the day, you get through the store faster with your list and spend less, she says.

Set your shopping mood. Nearly everyone knows that if you shop for food when you're hungry, you'll buy more. But did you know that you're also more likely to reach for those expensive snack foods if you're tired or angry?

"When you're tired, you try to get more energy through food," says Steinback, who has many of her personal training clients keep food diaries. "And people will grab the wrong choices: more sweets, more high-carbohydrates. When you're angry you go for crunch food, the junk food. So if you just had a fight, that's not the time to go shopping."

Operate by the book. You really want to beat the stores at the pricing game? Start keeping a book, says Foreman, who has a background in purchasing. His theory: most families prepare the same 10 to 20 recipes again and again.

His advice: Start a notebook, with one page for each item your family buys regularly. Note what you usually pay. If you see an especially good price, make a note of where and what it is. Without a book, "I can't remember what I paid (for something) six weeks ago," says Foreman.

But if you have a crib sheet, you know if a store sale or special is hype or a good buy. When you find a real bargain, stock up.

The trick is "to buy on the markdowns," he says. "It's not at all uncommon for people to save 15% to 20% on groceries. You don't have to change your habits. Just buy when (items) are at low cost."

If you want to win the savings game, learn the rules. Read that weekly food section and check the Sunday paper to see what's on sale.

And don't forget the fine print in those offers. For example, at some stores "buy one, get one free" items ring up at half price, which means you can use a coupon on each one and double your savings, says Kay.

But other stores mark one item full-price and give you the other for free, allowing you to use only one coupon.

In addition, some retailers guarantee that if the item doesn't ring up at the correct price, you get it for free or at a discount. "Be sure you pay attention to the details," Kay says.

Know when to use a list. For staples, stick to what you'd already planned to buy before you walked into the store. "The only time to go off list is if you can combine savings factors (store sales, double coupons, etc.) and get a good buy," says Kay.

Know when not to use a list. When it comes to produce, take the farmer's market approach: Buy what's fresh, inexpensive and in season. Then adapt your menus accordingly. That way, you get good buys and your family gets the freshest food.

Grocery stores are for groceries. "Avoid purchasing nongrocery items at a grocery store," says Steinback, who advises consumers to weigh convenience vs. cost when they pick up supplies like painkillers, contact lens solution, mouthwash or toothpaste at the grocery store. "I know it's convenient," she says. "But, you double your cost."

Take a rain check. If you know that your store is offering a great price on something you use, but it's all gone when you arrive, get a rain check, says Kay.

Know the system. When does your store mark down goods that expire, like meat or bread?

"You can get significant markdowns on meats if you buy things that are about to expire that day," Foreman says. The deal: Use them that night or freeze them, he says.

Your store might also have a small section where they discount products that aren't as popular as the manufacturer had hoped. This area can be a gold mine for bargain hunters, Foreman says.

Realize that more isn't always cheaper. "It's not uncommon for readers to say they found things in lots of 24 where the unit price was higher than if they bought one," says Foreman. "The days that you could take one big package and know you were saving money are over."

His credo: "Unless you're better at math than most people, shop with a calculator."

Request price matching. Want to get the best prices on everything without driving all over town? "Find a store in your area that will honor all competitors' ads," says Kay. You'll save money, time and gas.

This is also a good way to get bargains on things like meat or vegetables, where coupons are rarely an option.

Look for double coupons. "In most places, what you will find is that a coupon will let you buy the nationally advertised brand at the same price as the generic or house brand," says Foreman. Instead, if you favor coupons, look for stores that offer double coupons, which "can be a real saver," he says.

Weigh before you pay. All 10-pound bags of potatoes "are not created equal," says Kay. "There could be a pound's difference." Weigh the pre-packed bags and get the most for your money.

Beware of "discount store syndrome." Just because you're in a bargain store doesn't mean you're getting the best price on every item. "You have to consider whether it's a good bargain or not, and not mindlessly buy because it's a thrifty store," says Kay.

Her example: a warehouse club sells paper towels for 89 cents a roll that you normally see in your grocery store for 99 cents. Good buy? Not necessarily. If you have a 40-cents-off coupon that the grocery store will double, the grocery store cost is 19 cents. So do your homework before you shop.

Realize that sometimes the best bargain isn't the lowest price. There are times when you want to spend a little more on things that are important to you. For instance, a good-quality ground chuck with a little less fat or a loaf of really good whole-grain bread. Saving is great, but beware of buys that could be "penny-wise and pound-foolish," says Foreman.

"Your health is worth that," he says. "Medical bills are tough, even if you do have a good health plan."

Check your receipts. No matter how careful you or the store staff might be, mistakes happen. "I can't say it's widespread, but I do get reports of people saying they check grocery bills, and very often they find mistakes," says Foreman. "And, 4 to 1, they are in favor of the store."

Put your savings to work. Whether it's a trip, a car or a savings account, have some specific goals for the money you're not spending on food. Says Kay, "What good does it do to save all this money in the grocery store if you don't have a plan (for) what to do with that money?"
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Old 06-01-2004, 09:10 AM   #51
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pooticus - thanks for the tips! I'm actually going to start doing the one about keeping a notebook of store prices. For those that asked for a complete list... I'll be updating it today, then I'll e-mail it to you.
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Old 06-01-2004, 09:30 AM   #52
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I keep hearing that Farmers' Markets are a cheap place to buy produce. Not around here! The produce here at the Farmers' Markets are higher than the regular price at the regular grocery stores like Safeway. It is fresher, and usually better, but it is not less expensive. So be sure to comparison shop at the Farmers' Market, too. And the prices may vary somewhat at different stalls, so take a quick look around before you buy. And finally, occassionally a stall at the Farmers' Market will have seconds that are cheaper. One stall here last summer, for example, usually has tomatoes for $1 per pound, but seconds were 50 cents.

(By the way, I love the Farmers' Market and get a lot of stuff there. It's just not the cheapest place to shop. Besides which, I usually buy way too much because it all looks so good!)

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Old 06-02-2004, 02:09 AM   #53
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Mysti- Thanks for all the great tips!

Have you tried the Pergo cleaner one yet? We just had our floor installed and so far I haven't purchased the cleaner they suggested... waiting to see if the one you listed really works (and is safe.) This floor has to last us a long time, and I want to be certain this is a safe idea! Thanks!

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Old 06-02-2004, 05:38 AM   #54
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Hi Mysti!

Great thread! As a stay at home Mom, family of 4 on one income -who have recently bought a new house (the mortgage and utilities are killing us!) - I can identify with living on a strong budget!

Gosh - where do I start..let's see....

1) If you have babies - give cloth diapers a try. I use them often and they've saved us many weeks when we were in a bind and couldn't afford to buy disposable ones. I have over 100 of them and when they get too worn or shrink they get turned into cleaning rags. They are AWESOME cleaning rags for the car or dusting furniture, etc.

2) BORAX!!!! Buy it! It can be used for so many different things.

3) Buy your cleaning products at Big Lots or General Dollar, Family Dollar, etc. They are much cheaper. All I really buy is a window cleaner, furniture polish and an all purpose cleaner (like Mean Green) and it totals less than $5. Mean Green can be used as a stain remover, carpet cleaner, surface cleaner, etc. SO MANY USES!

4) Give the cheaper detergents a try. Often I buy Purex ($3) or Sun (100 oz for $1.99!) and add borax to the load. Clothes come our clean and it saved a bunch of $$$!

5) Buy chicken breast with the skin and bones and just deskin and debone them. Save the bones for stock. You can even make "chicken rinds" out of the skin by rendering the fat. I've done this a few times and my kids love them.

6) Buy a few whole chickens (.67/lb) and cut into sections and seperate the parts into thighs, breast, legs, wings, etc and freeze in baggies.

7) Shop early on the weekends. I've found the best prices on "Quick Sale" meats on Sat & Sun. My best luck has been at Sam's, Albertson's, and HEB.

8) Check the weekly newspaper ads (if you are fortunate enough to get the newspaper - I can't afford that kind of luxury so I go to my Mom's and look at it or she saves it for us). Walmart does match prices on any item! Remember that at Christmas!

9) I buy my spices at Sam's or at Big Lots. It's much much cheaper. For specialty/hard to find spices I go to the health food store and buy in bulk.

10) Save your old containers from yogurt, cottage cheese etc to use to store stuff in. I use mine mainly as "grease"containers to throw my fat from meats in. Better than going down the drain or risk smelling up the trash can. You can also use them to start off seeds for plants, flowers, veggies, etc.

11) Buy dry beans - so much cheaper than the canned.

12) Check out Wild Oats or Sun Harvest Farms. They are a grocery chain that sells produce VERY CHEAP. Celery is 2/$1, Green Peppers 3-4/$1, Cucumbers 3/$1, etc. I've also gone to Fiesta mart for produce (and meat if it's on sale). I've gotten apples 12/$1 and same for oranges. Just stick to the produce and meat sales though - everything else is too expensive - that's where they catch ya!

13) Buy the BIG BAG of scoopable splenda and the cheap 10/$1 Kool Aid. I think its cheaper than buying the crystal lite or wylers sugar free drinks. We just started doing this. Although we LOVE unsweet decaf tea with lemon or lime! Mmmm refreshing!

14) Dollar Store Pine Cleaner has so many uses! Buy it for under a buck - get a spray bottle - dilute it with water and you have a multi purpose cleaner. I prefer this to vinegar which is also cheap but I hate the way vinegar makes the house smell.


15) No ajax? try using baking soda or even SALT! I've done this on my stove when I needed to scrub out a greasey spot. Works beautifully!

16) Got kids and marker stains on the walls? Go to home depot and get Graffitti Remover. It saves you money. You don't have to repaint - just wipe those marks away! It works on many surfaces!

17) When your fresh veggies are past their "prime" - blanch & freeze them and save for soups. I like the idea of saving the leftover veggies from the serving dishes for soup too - but we generally eat the leftovers the next day for lunch *lol*

18) Have you checked out a meat market lately? Sometimes they have great deals. A whole side of beef for 1.99 a lb! Too bad I don't have a big freezer.

19) Buy in bulk when meat goes on sale. The best times are Memorial Day, 4th of July, and of course hams and turkeys are cheap at Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, etc. If you have a deep freezer you can buy for a year.

20) Buy a cow! *lol* Seriously, my in laws are farmers and they will get together with friends and buy a cow at these cattlmen shows or livestock shows. Then they have it butchered and split the meat.

21) Grow your own veggies and herbs. If I can do it ANYONE can!

22) Buy the store name brands. I almost NEVER buy a fancy name brand product unless its cheaper.

23) Give yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores a try. You'd be surprised at what you can find!

24) Buy a mulcher. That way you can turn you leftover fresh veggies into mulch - then turn around and use it in your garden. You can also make a bin to place scraps in that will turn into mulch. My Mom made one just in the corner of her yard with leftover fresh veggies and a bunch of leaves and yard clippings.
Her garden is BEAUTIFUL.

25) Check out your local dollar cinemas for a cheap dollar movie. Want to have family fun without spending alot of money. Check out a local park. Buy a season pass from the park & recreation department. That way you can have fun at the lake, beach, woods, have picnics, etc all summer long at a really reasonable price - plus it gets the kids outdoors!

26) Buy SCOTT bathroom tissue (or similar 1000 sheet 1 ply tissue). It really does last longer

27) We use cloth napkins instead of paper. I've even bought white cheap washcloths (15/$5) and used those as our "finger towels/napkins". I just bleach them with the rest of the white towels. When they get too old or worn to use as "finger towels/napkins" they get turned into a rag. I only use paper towels for cleaning purposes. Otherwise we use regular towels to dry our hands. I'm even too cheap to buy kleenex. We just use toilet paper when we have a runny nose.

28) Often my son and DH take showers that are way too long. Use a kitchen timer and tell them they have 5 minutes or less! *lol* Our water bill was $199 last month!!!! We have a garden tub and my husband takes a bath in it everyday. It's killing us financially. Those things were desinged to make the water department rich! *lol* I told him he has to cut back on the baths and just take a quick shower. We haven't even been using the sprinkler system! Imagine if we had!

OK - I'm sure I can think of more - but that's it for now
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2003 - (443lbs to 429lbs) 14 lost, 2004 - (429 lbs to 306lbs) 123 lb lost (WLS 1/15/04), 2005 - (306lbs to 260lbs) 46 lbs lost, 2006 - (260lbs to 236lbs) 23 lbs lost, 2007 - 21 LB GAIN (236 (AFTER HAVING BABY) - 257 ) 2008- (257 to 231) 25 lbs lost!), 2009 -(231 -?)
<>< Dear Sweet Jesus, I pray that I may walk by your side as you guide me down my path. Hold my hand, Dear Lord, and never let me stray. <><

Last edited by SnowWhite; 06-02-2004 at 05:50 AM..
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Old 06-02-2004, 10:05 AM   #55
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Melissa - you reminded me of something that I have heard about but haven't done. You know all those toilet paper tubes? First, they make great cat toys. At least my cat loves them. But she doesn't use nearly as many of them as toys as I produce. I have heard that you can cut them in half so you have two short tubes, and use them to start seeds in. Fill with potting soil, and so forth. Then, when the plants are ready to transplant, just put the whole tube in. The paper disintegrates and the roots grow right through. I have bags of the silly things saved in case I ever get motivated enough to start my own plants.

I have also heard that buying at ethnic stores (Mexican or Asian, for example) is cheaper for some things. And not just cheaper for "ethnic" groceries, but for produce and meats, too.

Buy into a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm if you can. The farmer sells "shares" in the produce, and every week you get your share of whatever is produced that week. The prices and variety vary tremendously by location and by farm. The one I belong to is $350 - $450 (you decide how much to pay!) for 20 weeks of produce. This time of year it's pretty sparse since only the early produce - lettuce, spinach, herbs, garlic and scallions - is ready. In the middle of the summer there is lots! Since I'm single, I share a share with my neighbors, so I pay $200 for 20 weeks, or $10 per week. It's a bargain! And the farmer lets me pick extra stuff when it's available to freeze or can. The produce is fresh (she picks it that day) and organic and clean (she washes everything before she puts it out). And you get to try new vegies because she tries to have over 12 different vegies each week during the main season.

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Old 06-02-2004, 10:12 AM   #56
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Quote:
Originally posted by Raini
Mysti- Thanks for all the great tips!

Have you tried the Pergo cleaner one yet? We just had our floor installed and so far I haven't purchased the cleaner they suggested... waiting to see if the one you listed really works (and is safe.) This floor has to last us a long time, and I want to be certain this is a safe idea! Thanks!

Raini
Raini - I'm actually cleaning my floors today. I'll let you know how the solution works.

And I'm STILL WORKING ON THE MASTER LIST. There's so many good ideas that keep coming in...it's hard to get it finished.
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Old 06-02-2004, 10:26 AM   #57
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Here are a list of frugality/simple living/voluntary simplicity sites that I have bookmarked. Simple Living or Voluntary Simplicity advocates, among other things, living less expensively so you don't have to spend so much time working and can have more time to enjoy life along the way. Of course, the same ideas for living expensively also apply to living in a down economy or any other time money is in short supply for reasons either beyond or within your control. I haven't looked at some of them in a while.

http://www.simpleliving.net/forums/default.asp (My favorite site for frugality and cheapskate living. See the bulletin boards for frugality and for cooking. Simple living tends to advocate eating less meat and more rice and beans and grains, so you’ll need to close your eyes to a lot of ideas on the cooking board. I used to get lots of idea back in the pre-low carb days! Unfortunately, low carbing is NOT cheap!)

http://www.stretcher.com/stories/02/02mar04c.cfm (The Dollar Stretcher - frugal newsletter. This is just one article. Look at the rest of articles, too.)

http://frugalliving.about.com/mbody.htm (A series from about.com with lots of good articles. This is just one.)

http://www.earthlypursuits.com/ (A bunch of gardening stuff, with lots of other stuff thrown in. You may have to dig a bit to get to the good stuff.)

http://www.mommysavers.com/Articles/how_to_save.htm (How to Save When You Don’t Have Any Money - the idea is that so many ideas about saving money cost money up front. Like buying a side of beef or buying in bulk. This article talks about what you can do if you don’t have the money to spend money up front.)

http://www.ivillage.com/money/life_s...244273,00.html (Spend Less By Nurturing Yourself More - the idea is that if we always feel like we are depriving ourselves to live cheaply, we’ll end up spending more to make up for it. At least that’s what I remember it being about - haven’t read it in a long time.)

http://www.thefrugalshopper.com/ (Coupons, articles, sales)

http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/veggies/ (Watch Your Garden Grow - A Guide to Growing, Storing and Preparing Vegetables)

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Old 06-02-2004, 10:28 AM   #58
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Too Funny... :)

Country Cleaning
by Tina Shake
A clean home without toxic fumes

My daughter, Petunia, is distressed. Last month, while she and I were cleaning and moving the bat houses outside (I mean as we were doing our regular cleaning), little Eugene had developed a small rash on his cheek from an ill fitted gas mask. I told her that finding a proper fitting gas mask was getting more difficult by the day. However, Petunia informed me that she had visited a friend as they were cleaning their home and the whole family did not have to wear those contraptions. Why that family could even burn candles while they were cleaning? That family didn't have to open every window in the house for an hour to air out the rooms. Imagine that, if I could have learned their secret last year, I wouldn't have had to shovel snow out of my living room when I tried to clean during a blizzard. It took an hour to find Eugene that day, but on the bright side, he is the only two- year-old that knows how to build his own igloo.

Petunia and I ran over to her friend's house and learned the art of chemical free cleaning. I was mesmerized on the differences in households. The poor dear, although she was a whiz at cleaning a house and had plenty great tips for me, I felt that I should help her out. I wanted to let her know that she needn't buy fancy dusting cloths. Eugene had some old diapers that he had grown out of, and the brown stains just matches the dust residue perfectly. No need to waste money.
Petunia said I shouldn't take her glory, and I should just hold my tongue. So I listened to her cleaning secrets quietly.

The first secret was ketchup. Ketchup is great for cleaning copper, even spaghetti sauce will clean copper effectively.
Here is the scoop. Please clean one or two articles at a time.
If you decide to smear ketchup on every pot and pan that you own, you will have company come over. It is hard to explain to a guest that you are cleaning your kitchen. Resist the temptation to draw pictures on the pans with your fingers.
Ketchup is not finger paint. Just leave it on the pan for a few hours and you will see a huge difference.

Now, if you are like me and are tired of hunting through Russian mail order catalogs for updated gas masks, you will love this next tip. To make a great all-purpose cleaner, combine two cups of rubbing alcohol, one tablespoon of liquid dish washing detergent (not the dishwasher detergent as it contains bleach.), one tablespoon ammonia and two quarts of water. Stir well, and fill a clean spray bottle. Spray to cleanse an area and rinse. This works wonders on your kitchen floor. Those possum tracks are so difficult to remove. Not that I have a possum problem, my neighbor does.

Cornstarch cleans and deodorizes carpets! Just sprinkle it on and let it set for a few minutes before you vacuum. Do not let your dog roll in it before you get the vacuum out. My poodle "Killer" rolled in it and I found out that vacuuming a dog is not a proper thing to do. Killer is almost done with his doggie counseling.

Lemon juice will whiten items and cut through grease and stains on aluminum and porcelain. Please use straight lemon juice. Do not listen to your husband when he says that making lemonade and using that will work the same. Lemonade will make your surfaces sticky. Yes, it does work as a fly catcher, but flies stuck to your aluminum and porcelain are not sanitary according to the Department of Health. Not that they ever had to visit my squeaky clean home.

Clean silver like "magic!" Put foil in the bottom of your sink, and then add baking soda, salt and very hot water. (The hotter the better.) Place your tarnished silver and silver plated items in the sink and let them soak for a few minutes.
The tarnish will magically disappear and deposit itself on the foil. Your neighborhood won't believe its eyes. Oh, don't charge admission to your neighborhood. You need to have a business permit and comply with zoning laws. Not that I tried that.

Anyway, we are a gas mask free family now. Killer's counselor has suggested that we find a chore for Killer to raise his self-esteem. I am thinking that maybe he could help clean off the ketchup on the pans. Hey Petunia, how's the new fly catcher doing? Oops, here comes the Department of Health.
Those darned spot inspections.
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Old 06-02-2004, 10:37 AM   #59
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We love going out for coffee/tea.

Lately, (DH's suggestion)
We make our tea at home, put it in our "Borders" travel cups, and go to Borders to read. This way we still have our tea, and it seems to be from Borders, yet we're not spending any money.
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Old 06-02-2004, 11:20 AM   #60
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HappyMe - that's a great idea. Buying coffee type drinks are so expensive!

Just wanted to share a new discovery with ya.

I spend WAY too much money on facial cleansers, moisturizers, etc. I was searching on the Net yesterday and found time and time again people suggesting these 3 things...

Makeup remover (eyes and face) - Baby Shampoo
Toner - Witch Hazel
Moisturizer - OLIVE OIL!!! (This is for normal to dry skin)

I bought some baby shampoo (at the Dollar Store) for $1.00
I bought the witch hazel (in the band aid area in Wal-Mart) for around $1.50.
I had some olive oil.

Okay, I cut up an old towel into washcloth sized pieces. Folded 7 of them and placed them in a Ziplock throw away square container w/ lid. Then I mixed hot water (about 1 cup) with a few drops of the shampoo. Shaked it up and poured it over the washcloths. Before I went to bed, I took one out and cleaned my whole face - and eyes. It worked great! And then threw the washcloth in with my dirty towels.
Then I took a cotton pad, put some witch hazel on it and ran it over my face. My face felt so clean. Then, I {gulp} put some olive oil in my hand and started dabbing it all over my face and neck. I rubbed it in (not a lot) on my face and hands, then I washed it off my palms. My face and hands are STILL soft this morning! That stuff works great. Unbelivable.

I was spending like $40.00 - $50.00 on my skin care system! Not any more.

Just had to share. I'll try to find out a good moisturizer for oily skin and post it.
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