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Kingschild 05-27-2004 02:20 PM

Cheapskate Tips!
Okay, we're hurting financially...who isn't, right? ;) And I need some tips on saving money.

I'm sure there are others out there that could use them also, so anything you can think of - POST IT! :)


MaryMary 05-27-2004 02:34 PM

When I buy meat, I only buy the ones marked "Manager's Specials" in my price range. These are items that aren't on published sales but the last date of sale is within one or two days and they are looking to move the merchandise. This is where a freezer comes in handy.

I don't buy any low carb products other than splenda. If I get davinci syrups they come from TJMaxx or Marshalls at $5.99 bottle.

When I buy products, I look to make sure sugar in any form is not in the top four ingredients and that there are no trans fats.

Our menus consist of protein, fresh or frozen vegetables, fresh or frozen fruit, salad dressings, olive oil & butter. We use the generic yogurt ($1.49) when possible as it is half the price of Stonyfield ($2.99). But some on here make their own for 85 cents a quart. We only buy the plain whole milk kind and flavor it with spices, like cinnamon/splenda or dill for veggie dips.

Soy nuts are cheap ($1.29/lb.) and make for a crunchy mix for yogurt or salads. Tofu is a cheap protein and has many uses.

Hope this helps.

pooticus 05-27-2004 02:41 PM

We are experiencing horrible utility bills right now...so DH reads the meter daily and figures out how much we spent that day in electricity. I turned the a/c up 5 degrees and saved almost $11.00/day!!!! in electricity! Oy! We were on the road to heartbreak hotel with our electricity bill!!!! Now maybe we will avert the cliff.

I only buy meat on sale. I buy the cheaper ground beef and drain the extra fat instead of buying ground sirloin. I buy lots of cheaper cuts of meat on sale like country style pork ribs, boneless beef shortribs, eye of round, roundsteak, skirt steak, chicken thighs that I bone and defat, and I buy lots of beef bones so that I can make soups which we love. I buy wings with the tips on them at the grocery because I use the tips along with necks that I buy to make chicken stock.

angiemama 05-27-2004 02:48 PM

I do a lot of shopping at Save A Lot-- it doesn't have too many familiar brands, but their brand is pretty darn good!

I buy chicken leg quarters when they go on sale -- I don't like chicken breast too much anyway.

I have my own chickens( for eggs-- I couldn't kill them:eek:), and garden, so that saves a bit.

I use vinegar to clean the toilets and countertops and windows. It is better than most cleaners, and non toxic. And at .97 a gallon, it is a fraction of the cost of most cleaners, even the ones you can get at the Dollar store.

I am lucky that I have 2 little boys 2 years apart, so little bitty boy gets lots of handmedowns. But Goodwill should have some great stuff, because I know I donate a lot of nice stuff to them.

I do once a month cooking so the only thing I have left to cook or buy for that matter is veggies (during the winter after all frozen has been exhasted), bread, milk. I plan all the meals, cook over a period of a week, and then the rest of the month is a snap. Example-- Monday-- 4 meals Cheese Shells and thats what my guys have that Monday night and I freeze the rest..., It saves a ton on going out to eat, because there really isn't a need when dinner is in the freezer.

I squeeze every penny til it squeals because we are a one income family of 5. And I want to stay at home with my children until they get to the first grade.
What is killing us right now is gas since we live 30 miles out of town :(

blboopsie 05-27-2004 02:48 PM

Save money by shopping at thrift stores and always shop sales at the dept. stores and discount houses. Make a list and stick to it so you don't shop for what you don't need. Learning how to sew or mend really helps as well as cooking things in batches. Learn to can if you can get produce either from your garden or a farmer's market. Raising your own really saves money. Save by eating tuna, canned salmon, sardines, etc. for good protein. Buying the things you use in bulk at Costco or Sam's club can really save if you do the math. There are some good books at the library which can give you ideas. Couponing at grocery stores can help if you use the ones for products you would normally buy. There are a couple of good newsletter which help for us to be frugal. I think one was the "Tightwad Gazette" or something close to that. Pay cash for as much as you can don't run up debt. I hope these ideas can help.

kimebear 05-27-2004 03:18 PM

I'm not sure if this would help, or if it is even something you could do, but since I am in real estate, it's the only idea I can contribute. My husband and I, along with alot of family and friends have refinanced our mortgages since the rates are so low now. You could save hundreds of dollars a month.:)

Jesse 05-27-2004 03:33 PM

When I first became a stay at home Mom, I used many tips from the Tightwad Gazette, there are four volumns, which in good tightwad fashion, I checked out of the library:D I sure didn't use every suggestion, but there were many thatwere helpful to my family.

cuddles 05-27-2004 03:56 PM

bumping because I'm interested in this one!

vixendrop 05-27-2004 04:17 PM

ebay! It's my friend! I've saved TONS of money by buying things I needed there... true, not everything is super cheap, but you can find tons of stuff for a lot less expensive (even after shipping) than you could find at a store.

I also buy our meat on sales and I find that Sunday mornings is the best time to go meat shopping... lots of great deals on food that are reaching the *sell by* date... I've found chicken breast as little as .39 lb that way! And generic sodas... in fact, generic everything is usually (though not always depending on the sales) cheaper... you'll save if you don't care about name brands.

A tip from my mom about getting stains (even old stains) out of clothes so they last longer... get Fels-Naptha soap... it's a bar of soap sold with the laundry detergent... wet the stain and rub in the Fels-Naptha soap, let it dry and brush it off then wash the clothes... most stains I've found come out on the first try... some REALLY stubborn ones will take a couple tries... around here the bars are less than $1.50 and have already saved me 7 shirts and 4 pairs of pants!

bostongal 05-27-2004 06:23 PM

Alot have already been mentioned - shopping at thrift stores, yard sales, etc. Buying meat on sale. I buy my produce during the summer months at Haymarket - which is a large wholesale Farmer's Market. Make as much as possible from scratch - use up everything - this is great for soups, stews.

Get meat ends and cheese ends at the deli.

Buy in bulk when you can and freeze/store the extra. Check out stores like Whole Foods where it is often cheaper to buy nuts or oats out of the bulk bins.

Davinci syrups I get at TJ Maxx for $5.99 a bottle too. It's a great saving.

Don't be a slave to name brands. Sav-A-Lot is a great store if you have one nearby.

I can recommend the Tightwad Gazette books - some great tips in them.


briley88 05-27-2004 08:18 PM

If you have kids that often help with dishes, dilute your liquid dish soap...they always use twice as much it seems as is needed. This way they will only be using about the right amount.

Use coupons! You can save a lot that way.

When you buy socks for the kiddos, buy the same brand, style and colors each time...then when one is lost, you will have a mate. Saves time in mating them too.

Try shopping at a restaurant supply...you can save alot of money..I got a gallon of mayo for $4.95!

You have received some good ideas already...Good luck! barb

aeraen 05-27-2004 08:20 PM

Been there... still doing that.

You already have a lot of good ideas. On of my favorites is the "soup" container. At the end of each meal, I scoop the last of the veggies from the bowl (nobody ever wants to eat the last spoonful of veggies from the serving dish!) and put them in the "soup container" in my freezer. The container is just a 32 oz plastic container from Dannon Yoghurt. When that gets filled up... I bake a chicken.

Everyone enjoys their chicken dinner. I pick the last of the meat off the bones to make a casserole on a different day. I boil up the bones and make stock, adding celery, onions and basil, then my containers of veggies. Voila, chicken veggie soup! I consider this our free meal, since it was made entirely out of table scraps that would otherwise have hit the garbage. I'm not fussy about what veggies I use either... asperagus, broccoli, french-cut green beans... they all go into the pot. Cauliflower, in big pieces, actually tastes a bit like faux dumplings.

By the way, one chicken=3 meals worked better when the kids were smaller. These days, my DS could lay waste to an entire chicken by himself. I sometimes bake two chickens at once now... one for dinner, one for the cooked chicken meat to use later and double up on the stock. I make soup out of half of the stock and save the other half to use in recipes later. Chicken legs are another good option. I found a sale on legs and thighs for .39 a lb recently and bought 30 lbs! Thank God for a good freezer!

We also like to go to Sam's Club early in the morning. They reduce the price of the meat that is reaching it's expiration date, but you have to get there before everyone else beats you to it. We use that for our meals through out the week, or freeze what might not be used within a reasonable length of time.

Good luck... now's the time to get creative!

RenRen 05-27-2004 08:47 PM

you can dilute your shampoo conditioner liquid laundry soap liquid fabric softener and dish soap half and half with water still does the same job as full strength working just as well.

if you have ziplock baggies that have been gently used just put them inside out in the dishwasher and reuse them they are pretty expensive to have to buy all the time.

use old newspapers for cleaning windows mirrors and any glass it works just as well as paper towels *if not better* must be something in the ink your hands will be a little black but it washes off really easy.

a place that i like to go online is frugalfamilynetwork*dotcom they have alot of good ideas on how to live well witout breaking the bank.

raini 05-27-2004 11:04 PM

Lots of great tips! A number of those mentioned would have been on my list, too.

Do you have a Dollar Tree in your area? I always buy my gift bags there, so no more spending $4-$7 or more wrapping a gift. And of course we always save the gift bags we receive for the next gifts we give. Dollar Tree also has the best pork rinds I've eaten... and at the best price. And I no longer pay $20.+ dollars per pair of sunglasses (that I always lose anyway.) I get them at Dollar Tree.

Speaking of gifts... a couple of years ago we bought nesting gift boxes from Costco. We got two stacks of 12 for around $10.00 each. They are very sturdy, and we use them for most of our Christmas gifts. No tape, no wasted wrapping paper. And yes, we save our ribbons for the next year too. (They iron up nicely.)

My DaVinci and Torani SF syrups come from Cash and Carry, for less than $4.00 per bottle. If you don't own a business, just make sure you take cash to shop there. I just bought 3 heads of lettuce for under $2.00 and tomatoes for less than half what they go for in the regular grocery store.

I saved a bundle buying my spices in bulk at WinCo. I'm using more chili powder, cumin and a few other spices on this WOE. I couldn't believe the savings!

With higher gas prices, we now really watch our "running around" and misc. errands. On payday, dh heads to the bank straight from work (closer than coming home first) and does all the banking that we used to do together. And I'm often finding shopping on e-Bay cheaper than my trips to the malls, even with postage. (I always compare first, though.)

Great thread,
One more thing- I've noticed a big difference between Walgreen's vitamin prices and WalMart's. Same bottles, same brands... much less at WalMart.

Great thread! I always need more ideas!


VAbornGApeach 05-28-2004 02:12 AM

I love threads like this, I always learn something new.


Don't be name brand loyal. With the exception of a couple of things, store brands are as good as or better than the name brand. If you have young children who "must" have the name brand cereal.........buy one box of the name brand and keep refilling it with the store brand.........they will not be able to tell the difference. Did that with my kids for years........now as young adults they know that store brands are usually just as good and much cheaper.

Coupons can be good, but only on products you would buy anyway. A coupon, plus a sale...........love it!

When meat is on sale........stock up!! I have a huge freezer and manage to purchase enough to get from one sale to another. I refuse to buy meat at full price. I'm a chicken snob and really only like the boneless skinless chicken breasts so when they are on sale, I look like I'm buying for a small country :eek:

cook from scratch, its cheaper and better for you to boot

buy in bulk from Sam's whenever you can, but only if you can use the large size product up, if you end up throwing part of it away it would be better to buy the smaller size.

take sale ads to Super Wal-Mart, they will price match and it saves you from going store to store to get the best deals.

I know many reuse plastic baggies, no problem with that, I just don't do it........wish I could, I just can't wrap my brain around it:)

great thread..........keep the ideas coming

Hannamom 05-28-2004 04:14 AM

See if your library has The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dychezn. I'm not sure if that is the correct spelling of the last name but you could search for it on Amazon. It's hundreds of pages of great suggestions.


Kingschild 05-28-2004 06:54 AM

Oh my gosh! What creative suggestions. :) I'll make up a master list and post it so we can all print it out.

Here's some ideas I got off the web last night...

*I purchase Handi-wipes, cut them into squares (about two per each wipe) and then put them into a small container with a tight lid in which I have a little antibacterial solution (I currently use Lysol cleaner with some water). These are my answer to those very expensive counter and bathroom wipes. After using the wipes I simply throw them in the laundry, dry them on the clothesline and throw them back in the solution. I keep a canister in the bathroom and the kitchen.

*I used to buy fully cooked smoked ham in the deli section at my grocery store. However, a couple of weeks ago I realized that they had a store brand, whole, boneless, fully cooked smoked ham ($1.89/lb.) in the meat section. I took the whole ham to the meat counter and asked them to slice it for sandwiches. They did (gladly) and I saved at least $2/lb. I put the slices into freezer bags and will pull out as needed. It freezes great!

*Use Vinegar to clean toilets instead of expensive toilet cleaner.

Cleaning products absolutely KILL my budget. So, I'm going to be looking up cheap solutions today on the internet. I'll let you know what I come up with.

Kingschild 05-28-2004 07:38 AM

Another good idea I found...

*What i use when we rent a Rug Doctor to shampoo our floors, we jut did that this weekend on the rent house.

I take regular liquid clothing detergent, i usualy get either Surf or All 99 stain lifter and then a liquid stain remover, like Shout or Spray N Wash, i prefer Shout.

Then, to two gallons of hot water, i put one capful of the detergent and about 1/2 cupfull of the stain remover.

When we still had OUR house, we had kitchen/dining room carpeting, so you bet we shampooed all the time, like once a month. It turned out to be cheaper this way as the detergents were cheaper than the carpet shampoo and it worked better. We did an experiement once, did the kitchen carpet with one and the diniing room carpet with hte other, they are adjoined so we just eyeballed it down the middle and guess what? The detergent was so mcuh cleaner and brighter!!!

Plus, another good thing, you will have extra left over and you can do a load of laundry. LOL

Kingschild 05-28-2004 07:41 AM

*Ok,ladies..I HATE to iron and do just about everything I can to get out of doing it!!! I became hooked on Downy Wrinkle Releaser, but when you have as much laundry as I do, it can get real pricey real quick!!! While surfing the net , I happened upon this recipe for it.... I didn't want to post it til' I had TRIED it...So I tried it on 100% cotton button downs that I have and LOVE but never wear because they need ironed, and some wrinkled t shirts and , Doggone it, IT WORKED!!! REALLY WELL!!! Here it is, and it couldn't be simpler...Just be sure to use DISTILLED WATER (You can get it in a Gallon at the grocery for.99)

1 tsp. Downy Fabric Softener

Spray bottle (got mine for .99 at Walmart in cleaning Dept.)

Mix Downy W/ water in a spray bottle, shake to mix.

Just a side note...Don't get too close with the spray bottle or you'll have a longer drying time...I like to use it a minimum of 2 hrs before I wear the clothes....You want to use a light mist and smooth the wrinkles out as you spray ;)

Kingschild 05-28-2004 07:47 AM

I've never thought of this! :eek:

Put your sponges you use into the dishwasher when they get dirty and start smelling (usually when i toss mine) but you can also put them into the dishwasher and run a regular cycle and voila they are like brand new sponges

Kingschild 05-28-2004 07:51 AM

To clean showers/baths...

Flylady recommends just using cheap shower gel & a loofah and cleaning while you're in the shower. Haven't tried that one yet, but I have used car wax on the walls (not the floor) after a good cleaning - water beads up and it's a lot easier to clean!!!

Great tip!

Kingschild 05-28-2004 08:14 AM

Basic Laundry Detergent

1 cup soap flakes
1/2 cup washing soda
1/2 Borax

Liquid Laundry Detergent

1 cup of the above mixes
2 Tbl glycerin
2 cups warm water

For the detergent recipes, mix all ingredients and store. To use measure 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of the mix and add to the laundry. Launder as usual. Each of these recipes yields approx. 12 oz.

Note: you can buy glycerin at many pharmacy's or health food stores

Homemade Pre-treating Stain Remover

1/2 cup ammonia
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tbl. liquid soap
2 qts. water

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle. Spray the liquid onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. Launder as usual.

Fabric Softener

1/4 cup baking soda
1/2 cup white vinegar

Fill washing machine or basin with water. Add the baking soda, stir it around to dissolve, then add the clothes. After rinsing the clothes, make a final rinse and add the vinegar to it. Another way to soften clothes is to add 1/2 cup baking soda to the wash water, or use 1 part soap flakes and 1 part borax in the wash water before you add the clothes.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

1 cup borax
1/2 white vinegar

Flush the toilet to wet the sides. Sprinkle the borax all along the sides of the inside of the bowl. Drizzle the vinegar over the borax and leave over night. Next day, scrub with a toilet brush and flush.

All-Purpose Cleaner and Disinfectant

1 tsp. borax
1/2 Tsp. washing soda
2 Tbl. lemon juice

In a spray bottle that will hold at least a pint, combine the ingredients. Add 1 cup very hot water and shake well, mixing and dissolving the dry ingredients. To use, simply spray and wipe. This can be stored indefinitely.

Lemony Furniture Oil

1 cup olive oil
1 tsp lemon essential oil

Mix well. Apply with a soft rag. Wipe and buff well to a gleaming shine.

Window cleaner

2 tbl. vinegar or lemon juice
1 qt. water

Combine the ingredients and put them in a spray bottle. Use like any window cleaner.
Tip: Use newspaper to dry your windows. It's cheaper than paper towels and it leaves windows shiny and streak free. Also, coffee filters work well!

Dishwasher Rinse

1- 1 1/2 white vinegar added to the rinse compartment of your dishwasher.
Don't overfill. Add before washing.

Dishwashing Liquid

This inexpensive soap does not suds up very much, but it cleans so well. Use with hot water. Do not use in an automatic dishwasher.

1/4 cup soap flakes
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup glycerin
1/2 tsp. lemon essential oil

In bowl combine soap flakes and water and stir until the soap is dissolved. Cool in lukewarm water. Stir in the glycerin and the essential oil, leave to cool. As it cools it will form a loose gel. Stir with a fork and break up the gel and then pour into a narrow-necked bottle.
An old shampoo bottle makes an excellent container. To use, squirt 3 tsp. into hot running water.

Oven Cleaner

1 box baking soda (16 oz.)
1/4 cup washing soda

In a container mix the ingredients well. Wet the floor and walls of the oven using a rag or paper towels. Generously sprinkle the walls and floor with the mixture.

Kingschild 05-28-2004 08:20 AM

This explains the washing powder...


gman 05-28-2004 08:24 AM

Two things that have saved me is a good freezer and a vaccum sealer (foodsaver). I buy hamburger around 4th of July when all the stores run their biggest sales and then break it up in 1 pound packs and freeze it, only need to buy it once a year. Do the same at thanksgiving for turkey and Easter for ham. I also have a bunch of jars and buy as much in bulk and vac everything.

I would also say coupons, I usually hit all the three stores every week or two, go through their adds, see what I need and if I have a coupon, save a bundle and I don't ever buy anything if it's not on sale or if I don't have a coupon. watch for the super double coupon days, saved over 50% the last time Giant Eagle ran a S.D. sale, Quite a few things they paid me to take home, it felt great to see a $150 total drop down to $72 bucks after the coupons.

Also don't pass up on the Clearance racks at the stores, almost all the home improvements we've done have come from the clearance sales.

vixendrop 05-28-2004 08:33 AM

These are WONDERFUL tips! We've just recently been accepted to a better apartment, but teh rent is nearly $75 more per month, so I'm going to be using TONS of these ideas!

vixendrop 05-28-2004 08:39 AM

Oh! I just remembered one for people with kids... my daughter loves asking for *just one thing* when we go to the store... nothing expensive but it can still add up... so when I'm out on my own I look for little toys, or crafts, etc on clearance... DEFINATELY clearance... and put them in a box she doesn't know about so she can't get into it... then, when she asks for something, or implies sweetly that this *one thing* would be ever so much fun to have ~laughs~ I can say no, but I have something already for her to distract her that I know she'll like and will have cost probably a LOT less money!
Her favorite things are small wood cut outs (letters, shapes, etc) that she can paint... I can find the cutouts for like .49 and the paint costs less than a $1 for a bottle which lasts for nearly forever! It keeps her occupied and happy without me having to keep buying new toys.

thindreams2reality 05-28-2004 09:13 AM

Cool thread!!! :cool:

angiemama 05-28-2004 09:30 AM

Here is a few more...

I buy cans of juice for the kids. Those kind that are shelf stable and you add water to. I add about 2 cans more of water. The juice is still tasty and it last longer, and the kids get extra water and not even know it.

You can also put a spot of Downey on an old rag or washcloth and voila-- fabric softener sheet. at a fraction of the cost.

The vacuum sealer is a great tip. The good ones keep thing super fresh for a super long time (even in the fridge) I opened up a canister of grapes for kids that I put in there 2 weeks ago-- they were perfect... really. Foodsaver is worth it's weight in gold because you throw away alot less food-- and food is expensive.

If you must have bottled water, it is so much cheaper by the gallon. Refill a smaller bottle or better yet, get a reusable cup. A gallon of Reverse Osmosis water at a water place here is .25 (the kind where you take your own container)

monkeyjill 05-28-2004 10:57 AM

I love those cleaning product "recipes", Mysti :) My bf is chemically sensitive so, although he does a lot of the housework, I have to do all the jobs that involve chemicals. Now not only can we save money, but we can trade jobs once in a while - thanks!

MsSpot 05-28-2004 01:02 PM

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.

Another handy item that saves money is an ordinary dry paint brush. Use it to dust fragile knick-knacks, clean your books and bookshelves, detail your dashboard. And you can buy a set of 3 at Dollar General for $2.00:D :D Oh, yea.......also great for cleaning out the crevices in your computer equipment.

Got a splinter or tiny piece of glass that you can't see? Slap a piece of duct tape over it and pull off in the direction that will pull it out of your skin. Or let a drop of Elmer's glue dry over it and peel it off along with the splinter or piece of glass.

Hmmmmmmm, don't know how much money some of these will save you, but they WILL save time and worry. HTH :)

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