How to... be frugal? Needing some advice...

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ladybug76135
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Re : How to... be frugal? Needing some advice...

Postby ladybug76135 » Sat May 26, 2007 02:02 pm

Rachel,
We try the store brand of items. If we dont' like it, then we don't buy that. Wasted food is costly, too. I might as well spend 10cents more if it means they'll eat the green beans instead of throwing them away.

I find my biggest savings are reducing the eating out and writing every expense down. I also quit carrying my credit cards and check book with me. No impulse buying that way.

We're saving to buy our first house.

Robyn
Allan 10-2-03 @ 28 weeks due to severe PE
Jacob 1-1-06 @ 37 weeks (chronic hypertension, PIH & GD)

rachel a
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Re : How to... be frugal? Needing some advice...

Postby rachel a » Fri May 25, 2007 11:55 pm

Ouch... delayed gratification? In today's world! That's one I MUST exemplify for my own children, but the hard part is learning to do it myself! Good one! I so agree!

season
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Re : How to... be frugal? Needing some advice...

Postby season » Fri May 25, 2007 04:55 pm

Wow, there are so many great ideas in here.

A few things I do:

No cable: This saves more than just money. The kids and I do nto need all that TV.

Get DVDs from the library - My local library has lots of them for free and my library system has a pretty extensive collection for which I only $.75 for the transfer to my local library. Unless you plan to watch a lot of them this can be cheaper than netflix.

Buy whole chickens. Lately they go on sale for as low as $.69/lb. You can then either cook them whole and use the meat in recipes or cut them up raw to use the pieces in recipes.

Cooking them whole: Place in baking pan in oven at 325. For 3.5 pound chicken bake for 2 hrs for bigger, bake until meat thermometer is at 180. Seriously that's all you do for a yummy chicken and the meat can be used for so many other recipes. What I find is that since I'm home I can just stick it in the oven and not have to think about it.

Target clearance as others mentioned. If you watch it regularly you can get a lot of great deals.

Pack a lunch for outings like the zoo. You'll know your child is eating a good meal and you do not have to pay the awful prices they charge.

Zoo/Museum membership: If you plan to go to one place more than two times a year look into the membership - especially if it includes parking and/or reciprocity.

I'm sure there are other thinsg I do; if I think of them I'll add them later.

anathor21
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Re : How to... be frugal? Needing some advice...

Postby anathor21 » Fri May 25, 2007 02:16 pm

Someone mentioned reducing cost on utilities - different states likely have different programs - to find yours call your utility (electric) company.

In Mass we have a site called "MassSave.com" that will link you to resources available from energystar/utility company/state to improve energy use in your home. One of the starting points here is an "Energy assessment" which is (FREE) visit by one of their techs to look at your house and identify where you can most cost effectively improve things. Then you can identify home improvement projects to reduce utility costs - they also inform you of rebates/grants/loans available to fund more significant things (like replacing ancient HVAC equipment with more efficient units). Just another resource to consider...

Our main cost saving approach is the "keep track of where everythign goes" - we use a financial program and record all our receipts (yes it takes time) and categorize everything so that we know where it goes... it is really amazing how those 'little' things like buying sodas can add up (and how fast a rare treat becomes a regular habit, then an expensive addiction!). When we see an expense category going up we then dig into the numbers to see why.

I also 'troll' many online deal sites - email me if you want a list as i don't wish to appear to advertise them here. However there are some good ones that post things such as "xyz online retailer has diapers on sale this week with $30 rebate if you buy $100 worth and free shipping" (actual event that I've used twice actually). Problem of course is to resist the impulse to buy things you don't already have on the 'must buy' list.

And the #1 best budget saver that my parents drilled into me early: Delayed gratification. Save up for things rather than buying on credit. i.e. never carry a credit card balance and pay interest for something that you don't absolutely have to have to survive. If it can wait, save the money up and wait - likely it will cost less and the interest you save is like money earned. (Runs contrary to American culture, I know.. but oh well!).

Hope this helps someone...

missgamecock
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Re : How to... be frugal? Needing some advice...

Postby missgamecock » Fri May 25, 2007 11:57 am

One thing that really helps is with coupons and sales cycles. Stores routinely will clearance and put items on sale. Every January at the grocery store, they clearance out a brand of diapers. Last year it was the store brand and pampers. This year was the store brand and luvs. I am not particularly diaper picky so I buy everything they have in her size.

Frozen foods, meats (sirloin steaks - BOGOF), chicken. I just recently bought a freezer because I needed storage for this. So now I buy enough to last till the next sales cycle and save coupons to buy when it goes on sale. I routinely use them on bogof and then I get an even bigger discount. Sometimes the store pays me a penny.

Formula - Used this with Sara. I routinely asked the ped for formula coupons. They were all too happy to give them to me, because we used similac advance. WIC was Enfamil. So they never had enfamil coupons, but often their similac ones would go expired. I used to get like 40 coupons for $5 off at a time. This worked great because Similac at Walmart and Target was $4.99. So they paid me a penny each time. I always bought ready to feed with those coupons - free formula. I also bought cases of it off of Ebay. I always checked the feedback/expiration date etc. But I would get like 20 normal sized cans of powdered formula for like $80. You can't beat that. I also use Ebay for other things. Just bought Kirsten a pair of brand new Nike Soccer cleats for $.99 and shipping was $9.99. Last year I paid $25 for cleats because we couldn't find any anywhere (including ebay).

Ped's offices also get coupons for diapers and otc meds as well.

timelessbeauty
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Re : How to... be frugal? Needing some advice...

Postby timelessbeauty » Fri May 25, 2007 11:12 am

I work tonight so I emailed some options for coming together on this. :-)

Also email me which stores you shop in your area. I can give you an idea of a projected menu I would make if I can find their website and ads.


rachel a
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Re : How to... be frugal? Needing some advice...

Postby rachel a » Fri May 25, 2007 10:59 am

Yes... please do! I will call much later this evening. We have awards ceremony in 15 minutes and I won't be home until after 5. Call ya then!

timelessbeauty
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Re : How to... be frugal? Needing some advice...

Postby timelessbeauty » Fri May 25, 2007 10:51 am

If you want me to mail you out some today, call me so I can read what ones I have stored in my overly expanded file that may help you. I can also email you recipes that may help if you want when I have some time this weekend.




rachel a
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Re : How to... be frugal? Needing some advice...

Postby rachel a » Fri May 25, 2007 10:40 am

(Re: Coupons)
Food!! Diapers... if you have it, I probably need it.

We buy our diapers in bulk at S@ms Club, along with dishwasher detergent, paper towels, toilet paper.. we buy their brand and it's a huge savings...

And we decreased the amount Chad was paying into his 401(k), still paying but only a smaller amount.

timelessbeauty
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Re : How to... be frugal? Needing some advice...

Postby timelessbeauty » Fri May 25, 2007 10:32 am

In regards to your cell phone, there are sites I have heard of that allow you to sell the remainder of your plan to another person so you don't incur the "early cancellation" fees.

Rachel, I know what you mean, I was raised with brand name products from the get go and it took awhile to learn to shop store brands. I admit certain stores have better self-brands than others and there are certain brands I am still partial to because of acquired tastes for them. When trying out new detergents, seeing most offer an allergy-free, dye-free, etc-free version, as to not risk skin reactions in my family. Therefore if the deal is better with my coupon, I can use it and know I won't be making a HUGE problem. Check into your market's satisfaction guarantee/return policy if you try something and don't like it. Will they replace it with your favorite brand perhaps?

Can't help you with the car as both of mine are paid off and we are saving up for another after we look for a house.

We did without the cable as I noted above and purchased rabbit ears for our tv. That worked great to get the local channels seeing we are out in the country and PBS is great for kids programing and educational/documentary broadcasts that neat to watch. We watched the episodes about the families that took part in re-enacting life in the pioneer days up in Montana and the series that profiled some other families that re-enacted life in a first settlers town on the east coast. Really puts life into perspective when you are "roughing it without cable" to see those who came from "normal society, cell phone, computer life" in situations of eating salt cured meat from a barrel and living under the rules that governed daily life in the 1700's.

If you really get into a pickle, look at what deductions you have coming out of pay currently to see where you could "lessen" your allowances for retirement for a short duration (not advisable unless really necessary) to help get you over the hump. I say not advisable because it's too easy to get used to that "new income level" when you lessen deductions to get more in your paycheck and then not be able to go back to what you were doing before, Saving!

Call your local library to see if they have a coupon bin or ask at church if anyone gets coupons and doesn't use them. You can always start a group in your community with your friends from teaching that may not use all their coupons to help you out. And you may reward them with your box tops for education or soup labels if you partner up with them in that way.

As far as clothes, I have another far out idea but it was something I saw profiled in a magazine or show once. A group of friends would get together for a "swap" party. Each friend would bring items from their clothing stock that they no longer wished to wear but were in great condition. Sometimes wearing the same few outfits/clothes gets old day in and day out when on a tight budget. They would swap clothes with another in the group and anything left over would go to charity as a tax deduction or be sold in a group/multifamily garage sale. It was great for them to be able to "shop their best friends' closet" for items they always admired, etc. But if you are like me, and have a best friend who is 5'2" and you are 5'9"... you get together just because you can! hehee

Perhaps we could start an email group that wants to trade recipes? We can eventually incorporate this task as a great cookbook idea for the profits to benefit the PF. (A printer source has already been found for this idea) I have many cookbooks now and always enjoy going to check some out from the local library to find new exciting dishes to make. But having a more diverse recipe collection allows me to better adapt what is on sale at my local market.

What coupons do you want me to send you? lol


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