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Frugal budget trimming


greenbeanmama
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We already live on a rather frugal budget (don't pay for cable/dish/satellite, don't pay for cell phones, most money goes for bills and groceries, one-vehicle family driving an 18 year old van).  We need to cut about 20% from our budget.  There is no time to build up to this - one "normal" pay cycle left, and then we are in true frugal mode.  Ideas/suggestions welcome!

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can you cut out the dryer?  hang clothes to dry.

 

check out the tightwad gazette by amy dacyzyn.  she lived very comfortably for very little for a family of six.  

a lot of it is probably online. definitely others in the same vein.

 

check what you buy for groceries.  no convenience foods.  no ice cream, no chocolate, no store-bought yogurt,lower cost cuts of meat.make your own spaghetti sauce - not a jar (it will also taste better.) root veggies have a long shelf life.  cook from scratch.  make your own soup, your own chili, your own baked goods.  no mixes.  buy spices in bulk - you pay A LOT for the jars. make your own syrup (maple flavoring and sugar syrup water). . . etc.

 

 

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I just made an easy cute that I wished I had thought of sooner. I got a few free quotes for car insurance from Geico and Progressive. They were about $75/month lower than what we're currently paying. I e-mailed our insurance rep to let him know and he magically was able to match the quotes I received. Our insurance is high because DH has two accidents (minor - one he was backing out of a parking spot at night in a snowstorm and hit a parked car behind him that was completely covered in snow and parked in a weird spot. The other, he was trying to cross a main street from a side street, he had creeped out a bit to gauge traffic and an elderly woman stopped and waved him to go. As he took his foot off the brake, she forgot she let him cross and he ended up hitting her car in slo mo) on his record which bumped up our prices. 

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I have been working on cutting our grocery bill.  Here are some things that might help you.

 

Pasta is a pretty cheap meal.  We have it twice a week.

 

ETA:  Eggs are also cheap.  Omelets for supper might be another good choice.

 

Find ways to stretch meat.  For instance I can buy one small package of steak and feed all eight of us by turning it into a "side" with rice and vegetables, similar to what is served in a Japanese steak house.  If we were to have steak as the "main" part of the meal, I would need two or three times as much.

 

Find cheap bread.  For us, the bread from Walmart's bakery is the cheapest at $1.00 for a loaf of French or Italian bread.

 

Comparison shop on brands.  The generic is not always significantly cheaper, but sometimes it really is.

Edited by Junie
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I agree with others if it is already that tight it will probably be really hard to cut another 20%. But it has to start with looking at what are you spending money on, where is every dollar going? If your already tight you need to look at everything. There is not likely to be any big thing left to save on. I also agree that looking for some ways to bring in more income would probably be very, very prudent even if it is temporary. Good luck!

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We went through a really tight few years.  

 

We spent $500/mo on food MAX, including toiletries/paper goods/dog food (5 people, 2 dogs)

We budgeted only $100 to eat out for all of us. It is amazing what coupons/BOGO/freebies you can find when you want to stretch that!

We cut out all extra curricular unless they were free or next to free

We went to every free day for museums/movies/etc....we could find.  They boys thought we did SO MUCH, and we did!  All free

We accepted all free clothing donations and bargain hunted at yard sales ($1 jeans, etc...)

 

I used YNAB and calculated every dollar we had and every dollar we spent.  

Edited by DawnM
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Ignore if not applicable

 

Use apps for some money back. You can scan Walmart receipts into Savings Catcher. You can shop through affiliate links online for money back (your credit card company or other sites like ebates). You can see if the Plenti card would be worthwhile. You can consider pick up options at grocery stores and see if it helps by limiting impulse buying and/or saving by paying online. I think some grocery stores charge a fee for the service while others may not. Maybe use the pick up only for non food items if the grocery option isn't free. Some non food items qualify for pick up discount at Walmart now. So, if I know I'm going to WM and want an item, I might look at the item online first to see if I'll get a discount by ordering through their ship to store option. If I buy through an affiliate link in the process I could earn a small amount back.

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do you already print coupons or clip digital ones? I'm not consistent with it, but some people are very good at it. Kroger has their own digital ones. Dollar General, Family Dollar, CVS and Walgreen's all have digital, but definitely look around to compare prices.

 

Do you have a big box store membership and/or would you use it? For some people this is worthwhile. We renew our membership with a coupon (like get a $25 gift card when you renew) and at the end of the earning period we've earned enough to get savings toward a grocery trip. Summer months are tight for us, but that happened to be when our cash out happened so we got $90 off one of our recent shopping trips which was a huge relief. But this only works with some of the plans. We signed up for Plus membership at Sam's. I don't know how other stores work.

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Seems like you got the normal steps already done. You may be doing all this as well, but anyway:

 

On Utilities

• Call your utility companies and see if they offer either assistance, rate reductions, or have special plans for off-peak/on-peak rates.

• Go to parks, library, groceries, errands, etc., more at the height of the day so you can stop running the AC at the hottest times. Make sure all vampire power suckers are turned off/unplugged when you leave the house.

• Don't let that one person that likes to wear 2-3 layers and light sweater all the time touch the thermostat. If they say it's too hot, they can strip down to the last layer. 

• 'Natural' AC makes a difference. IDK where you live, but keeping our curtains drawn keeps the house much cooler in the summer; the year we got curtains our electric bill dropped considerably. Maybe you need to have your windows open for a breeze. Or maybe breeze at night, curtains in day. 

 

On Food

• Call the food bank and see if they have a list of outlet food marts, or programs that source local vegetables for low income. Not food stamps, but community gardens, etc. 

• And use the food bank.

• Depending on your water rates, buying a tomato plant (full grown?) at Home Depot or the grocery store may be cost effective. For me, having a garden won't work because my water costs a lot. And I kill plants by proximity. But, I know that for a lot of people this is a way to save money.

• Keep hydrated.

• Plan your meals only after the sales sheets have come out. Get to know the sales cycle, i.e. if rice is on sale this week, it won't be on sale for the next 3 weeks, so you buy enough to get you through that time period. Or what stores seem to "switch sales".

 

General

• Cloth napkins, no paper towels. Obviously if you go out and have to BUY cloth napkins this won't save you money exactly, but if you have these in the closet, use them instead.Or if you have useable fabric.

• Go to the dollar store when you need to buy stuff for the house first, to see if they have a useable option. 

• Home haircuts, for the not-fashionably-killable. I cut DH and boys. They look good, but I don't have the confidence for DD yet.

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Ignore if not applicable

 

Use apps for some money back. You can scan Walmart receipts into Savings Catcher. You can shop through affiliate links online for money back (your credit card company or other sites like ebates). You can see if the Plenti card would be worthwhile. You can consider pick up options at grocery stores and see if it helps by limiting impulse buying and/or saving by paying online. I think some grocery stores charge a fee for the service while others may not. Maybe use the pick up only for non food items if the grocery option isn't free. Some non food items qualify for pick up discount at Walmart now. So, if I know I'm going to WM and want an item, I might look at the item online first to see if I'll get a discount by ordering through their ship to store option. If I buy through an affiliate link in the process I could earn a small amount back.

 

eBates offers 2% back on purchases at Walmart (some restrictions apply, etc). So if I know I need stuff at Walmart, I'll find it online, buy for pickup-at-store option, making sure eBates is activated. So I save money, and save time at the actual store since I'm not going around finding everything myself, and not being tempted into other stuff. (Though, if I forget one thing on the list, I don't have the opportunity to remember by seeing it in an aisle) eta: I actually have to check if beats works on pickup at store. I think it used to but they change their % and terms a lot, so this may have fallen off. 

 

ibotta is another app, that I have downloaded but haven't used. But it looks good and I feel like I'm throwing money away by not using it. 

Edited by Moonhawk
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eBates offers 2% back on purchases at Walmart (some restrictions apply, etc). So if I know I need stuff at Walmart, I'll find it online, buy for pickup-at-store option, making sure eBates is activated. So I save money, and save time at the actual store since I'm not going around finding everything myself, and not being tempted into other stuff. (Though, if I forget one thing on the list, I don't have the opportunity to remember by seeing it in an aisle)

 

ibotta is another app, that I have downloaded but haven't used. But it looks good and I feel like I'm throwing money away by not using it. 

 

I have not personally used ebates. I usually use swagbucks. It alternates the percentage back for Walmart and other sites I use. I think they have similar restrictions. I thought if I used a coupon I wouldn't get any percentage back, but one time I used a coupon and I think it just rewarded me for part of the order (which was fine with me). I'm not really sure how they are supposed to work, though. Usually around Christmas they include toys or something like that I buy in the Amazon category on swagbucks but most of the time I have no use for it with Amazon.

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Yup, it's the supplemental source of income that has disappeared - I've been babysitting AND working 20 hours a week outside the home.  On the plus side, I should have enough time to get back to cooking from complete scratch again.  I do have my name on the local childcare provider email list, so we'll see what turns up.

 

IF this lasts only a few months, we're actually in pretty good shape to get just the bare essentials for grocery shopping (produce and dairy).  We do have a Costco membership, but since we drive 75 minutes into "the city" to get there, we don't go often (mostly only when we have medical appointments).  But we are good for a few months on flour, rice, toilet paper, pet food.  We buy a portion of cow each year, and still have about 150 pounds left in the freezer.  My son's saxophone lessons are paid through next May.  My daughter is already registered and paid for soccer.  No more curricula needs to be purchased for this coming school year.

 

The dryer!  My husband doesn't like "crispy" clothes, so I gave up line drying years ago.  I think it's time he adjusted, or at least if I only used the dryer for his, that's still four other people's clothes NOT using that electricity.

 

I've never ventured into the grocery-saving apps.  I'll have to do some research on that.

 

For those of you who are religious, how do you handle giving/offerings when something like this happens?

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one thing I'm experimenting with is "filler foods" with dinner - I was reading a book recently about Yorkshire England and the off comments about how they would use Yorkshire pudding (and one family used rice pudding) as the first course helped to fill hungry bellies and stretch the meat further. The Yorkshire pudding recipe was easy and everyone loved it, and I didn't need seconds of the main dish to feel full (and I tend to need a lot more to eat because of a really high metabolism). 

 

Also, write down prices of foods you spend and where you buy them - I recently figured out that 2 bags of apples at Walmart cost more than 3 bags of apples at Aldis. Makes it easier to know where to buy what foods. (We feed 6 people gluten free and partly dairy free on $600 a month)

 

Regarding giving/offerings - we don't give 10%, but we give something. 

 

Regarding the "crispy" clothes - if you give the clothes a vigorous shake when you take them off the line, it can help - also try vinegar in the rinse cycle. (and if all else fails, movement from wind or a fan can help prevent the crispiness), You could also try line drying then throwing his clothes in the drier for a "fluff" (no heat) cycle to see if that helps!

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We do have a Costco membership, but since we drive 75 minutes into "the city" to get there, we don't go often (mostly only when we have medical appointments).

We do the "18-month club" with Costco: Since we only purchase a few items there, we stock up during the last month of our membership and then we let it lapse for several months until we feel we need to go back. The main things we purchase there are cheese and hot dogs, with the hot dogs being more of a luxury item. We eat a lot cheese, but I've never really felt that the price of the Costco membership could justify that. Virtually everything else is cheaper at Aldi in WV, since that is a cheaper area and they have no sales tax.

 

But we are good for a few months on flour, rice, toilet paper, pet food. We buy a portion of cow each year, and still have about 150 pounds left in the freezer. My son's saxophone lessons are paid through next May. My daughter is already registered and paid for soccer. No more curricula needs to be purchased for this coming school year.

 

The dryer! My husband doesn't like "crispy" clothes, so I gave up line drying years ago. I think it's time he adjusted, or at least if I only used the dryer for his, that's still four other people's clothes NOT using that electricity.

Yes, that's a real savings. Perhaps $200/year.

 

If you live in the northeastern quarter (roughly) of the country, check out Erie Insurance. None of the national brands can touch their prices.

I've never ventured into the grocery-saving apps. I'll have to do some research on that.

:popcorn:

For those of you who are religious, how do you handle giving/offerings when something like this happens?

That gets cut, but not eliminated.

 

Here are a couple of ideas for homeowners which require an up-front investment, but can provide significant savings:

 

1) Purchase a heat-pump water heater when you replace your regular water heater. This change saves about $400/year, more with a large family or high electricity rates. If you also have to run a dehumidifier in your basement, it can save another $200/year since it dehumidifies the air. If you live in a hot climate no can put the unit in your living space, it will save money on air-conditioning since it cools he air in the house. The savings will pay back the ENTIRE cost of the water heater in about two years with savings during the rest of the life of the unit. For instance, if you ALREADYown a normal water heater, you will spend about $1200 for electricity during the next two years. If you purchase a heat-pump water heater, you will spend about $800 up front and then $200/year thereafter, so your two-year payment is $1200, but you will save $3200 over the following eight years of the unit's life.

 

2) Purchase solar panels. The payback here depends on where you live, but, unlike the water heater where you have to make the entire investment up-front, with solar panels, you can purchase them one at a time and add them as time goes on. Figure about $200/panel+inverter. Savings will accumulate as your electricity consumption goes down and you can add more as the opportunity arises.

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I also use swagbucks, and ibotta, and recommend them.  Ibotta occasionally allows me to get a pepper, and onion, a carrot, and an apple free, or for only a few pennies each.  While most of their options are processed foods, they do have a good handful that aren't, and I'll happily take a little off my food bill.

 

 

 

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My wife is now trying a laundry detergent that is FAR lower in cost than the FAB detergent we have used for almost 20 years. My SIL told my wife about it and I think she is happy with it, based on only 1 kilo, which is what I bought for the first preliminary test. I will buy 2 or 3 kilos more of it, probably this morning, so she can do more testing with it.    My wife is cutting back on the number of eggs she uses for our Breakfasts. Other cuts to food we buy, that are not going to leave us hungry, but might cut about 20% of the food budget.  I usually am the one to shop in the supermarket and I am careful to look for things that are on sale. There is one day of the week, for example, when fruits and vegetables are 20% off.  There is another day when store brands are 25% off.  Etc.   I think after eliminating cable TV and cell phones that the easiest place to save $ is in the supermarket.

 

OH...  To my absolute astonishment, my wife converted us to Vegetarian Diet, after she watched 1 or 2 videos about how they slaughter the animals people eat for food.  I cannot begin to imagine how much $ that is saving us, although the reason she did it at the time was not financial, but emotional.  We were spending a lot of $ on Meat and Chicken in the supermarket. Plus the time I sometimes spent waiting for my turn to be helped. Sometimes 2 or 3 minutes, sometimes 20 minutes, when they are busy.

 

ETA: The other laundry detergent is in a store that sells out of boxes. No credit cards and bring your own bags. It is about one block from the supermarket where I normally shop.  I do most of our supermarket shopping.  Everything there is their own brand.  I also bought a package of 3 bars of soap for the bathrooms there that was much less expensive than what we normally buy.  My SIL told my wife their cleaning products (soap, etc.) are very good, so we will check them out.  I doubt that we will buy food there, but if we can save a lot of $ on laundry detergent and things like that, that helps the budget...

Edited by Lanny
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Another idea: Drop your land line and internet and replace it with a cell phone. This works best if your internet needs are minimal and you have a family member who can add you onto their family plan. We have done this with MomsintheGarden's mother and I have proposed it to my mom. With my mom, she pays the telephone company $100/month for her landline and internet access. She also maintains a TracFone for travel and pays about $125/year for minutes. We can move her telephone number to our plan (my carrier will normally waive the fees for us) and replace everything she has for $10/month plus taxes. A used smartphone for this plan costs about $50 on eBay. In other words, she can reduce her monthly expenditure from $110/month to $14/month, keep her main phone number, eliminate her 'extra phone number, have faster internet (up to 4GB/month, slower afterwards), and have much more flexible calling and internet.

 

The savings is over $1100/year and begins in the very first month.

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I told my wife about this thread. She's very happy, with the results of the first preliminary test of the laundry detergent from the store that sells out of boxes. I will buy several kilos of that later...  She suggests that when the time comes to buy a new washing machine, that you buy a big one. Ours is a 14 kilo Samsung.  She says with a bigger one, she uses less water and less detergent (and less electricity) than when washing more loads in a smaller capacity machine.   We live in a Tropical valley, so we do not have a Clothes Dryer, but I see them for sale here. Our clothes hang to dry in the laundry room on clothes lines. A clothes dryer uses a lot of electricity.

 

She also mentioned the Vegetarian Diet, which I had mentioned in my first reply.

 

You wrote that most of your $ goes for bills and food. The supermarket is where you can save, if you are careful.  

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Yup, it's the supplemental source of income that has disappeared - I've been babysitting AND working 20 hours a week outside the home.  On the plus side, I should have enough time to get back to cooking from complete scratch again.  I do have my name on the local childcare provider email list, so we'll see what turns up.

 

IF this lasts only a few months, we're actually in pretty good shape to get just the bare essentials for grocery shopping (produce and dairy).  We do have a Costco membership, but since we drive 75 minutes into "the city" to get there, we don't go often (mostly only when we have medical appointments).  But we are good for a few months on flour, rice, toilet paper, pet food.  We buy a portion of cow each year, and still have about 150 pounds left in the freezer.  My son's saxophone lessons are paid through next May.  My daughter is already registered and paid for soccer.  No more curricula needs to be purchased for this coming school year.

 

The dryer!  My husband doesn't like "crispy" clothes, so I gave up line drying years ago.  I think it's time he adjusted, or at least if I only used the dryer for his, that's still four other people's clothes NOT using that electricity.

 

I've never ventured into the grocery-saving apps.  I'll have to do some research on that.

 

For those of you who are religious, how do you handle giving/offerings when something like this happens?

Sounds like you are in a pretty good place to weather this.

 

Lots of good advice on here, hopefully, some it will be of help.

 

I will add a vote for checking out your insurance rates. I just signed the papers yesterday for new policies, we're saving $700+ a year on house insurance for slightly better coverage. Our refund check for the rest of our policy(we're half way through the year) will be a good chunk towards next years policy. 

 

Personally, I do nearly all my shopping at Aldi's b/c it is substantially cheaper than Wal-Mart, Kroger's etc where I live. I'm sure you are already buying generics and such though. We rarely eat out, in a regular month we might spend $20, we really only go out when we are out of town and even then I bring our own food most of the time. 

 

I've slacked on line drying for a good while, I got sick and ran out of energy and haven't got back in the habit. We'd love to put in some solar panels but when we'd priced it before it was a huge investment but I've heard that prices have really went down. A guy we know has all solar, well technically he uses gas for some of his appliances and wood for heat. Speaking of which there is always turning up/down the thermostat. 

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We do the "18-month club" with Costco: Since we only purchase a few items there, we stock up during the last month of our membership and then we let it lapse for several months until we feel we need to go back. The main things we purchase there are cheese and hot dogs, with the hot dogs being more of a luxury item. We eat a lot cheese, but I've never really felt that the price of the Costco membership could justify that. Virtually everything else is cheaper at Aldi in WV, since that is a cheaper area and they have no sales tax.

 

 

 

We tend to go every six to eight weeks, sometimes a bit longer.  But we do get a bunch of staples there.  We live in a small town, but it's a tourist attraction, so prices are a bit higher in town.

 

We too have "extended" our membership by doing the same thing.  Did you know that if you have a Costco gift card, they will let you shop there without a membership, as long as you pay the remainder of your balance in cash (and that might have changed now that they accept Visa)?  We've given $10 gift cards to friends who want to try Costco without committing to a membership.  Others have purchased several gift cards that they can use in between their membership cycles - not sure how I feel about that ethically, so we've never personally done that.

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During a really tight time (job loss), we did stop tithing (meaning giving a full 10%) for a bit. We didn't stop giving altogether, though. We also tried to be conscious of giving to the church body in ways other than financial.

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I once for about 7-8 months had to cut back groceries to $80 per week for 6 people (which also had to cover all toiletries, garbage bags, etc...). I was successful at it and here were some of the things I did:

  • Bought flour in 20 pound bags - made everything from scratch (bread, tortillas, hot dog buns, etc....)
  • Scoured all ads and if there was a phenomenal deal on 1-2 items I knew I'd use I'd spend $15-$20 of the $80 to stock up on it.  This helped tremendously!   So, I'd have a large stock of laundry detergent, or milk (I'd freeze the gallon jugs of milk), toothpaste, chicken, etc.... Over time, this somehow freed up my weekly budget to allow me to diversity our diet (don't know how).
  • Took any handouts available from local farmers or friends with gardens and started canning/freezing.... if I'd had to do long term I would have grown my own garden also.
  • Made from scratch my own pancake syrup, mayo, relish, etc....
  • No more paper plates
  • Instead of zip lock bags, I loaded up on cheap rubbermaid/tupperware from rummage sales/Goodwill
  • We all drank water (from the tap) instead of juice/pop/etc....
  • I religiously planned my weekly menu and made a list accordingly, calculating very carefully.  The kids knew that if it wasn't on the list, it would not go in our shopping cart.  Ever.
  • If I'd needed to go longer I would have done the once/month grocery buying.....I've known people who do this and saved even more than I was able to.
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A friend told me several months ago when we were talking about tithe that she views giving to the church as: Time, Talent, Treasure.  I've heard this saying various places.  In our marriage we've kept tithe as #1 each month for a long time, through financial hardship, underemployment, etc., but it's not always been perfect and definitely not easy.  More stability financially = more ability to give regularly and generously, for us.  

 

You have to find a balance, though, with providing for the basic needs of those you are responsible for.  So, for example, we would not eat out over tithing, but we would cook from scratch and feed our family over tithing--hope that makes sense.  Each person has to find what's right/true for them.  You will know.  The fact that you are pondering the tithe, even as you face financial uncertainty yourself, shows your heart is oriented towards good.  

 

If it's not possible to give financially, maybe you could consider ways that you can give other types of "treasure", such as giving rides to an elderly person who doesn't have a car or who can't drive, passing on things that no longer work for your family (clothing, household items, etc.) to individuals you know are in need or to an organization that can disperse items to those in need...

 

It can be hard for parents to give more time, as many are already stretched, but it is a way of giving and loving.  IMO, serving others is a form of "tithe" because you are giving a percentage of the time you've been given and time is a gift we cannot manufacture, buy or save.  [Not trying to start a theological discussion on the concept of tithing.]

 

And then Talent: what skills do you have that would be a joy to share with others?  That is a way of giving from the gifts you've been given, and it doesn't have to involve money, though it is often a sacrifice of time/energy.  

 

An example: my kids make awesome artwork that only kids can make, if you know what I mean; it has a childlike quality that cannot be found in stores--like all children's art.  I spend a bit of time and money on making cards with the artwork (copying on cardstock, finding the right-sized envelopes, postage, etc.) and then we take some time to write notes of thankfulness or encouragement to those we love--not always family and friends--sometimes people who are servants in the church, teachers, coaches...This is a sacrifice of time that we could easily spend clearing other things off our plate, so to speak, but I think it's important to thank and encourage others, especially those who might not have a family of their own, who are new to the area, etc.  Another example is inviting someone to dinner around the holidays, which can be a very lonely time for people who live alone, those who are widowed or living away from their families for some reason.  These ideas involve, not so much a sacrifice of money, but of love, energy, some time, and just a bit of ingenuity to use what you have.  Each person and family has unique talents to share with the world.  

 

I hope you can receive this with its intent: to encourage you.  You probably already do many of these things.  Just my unqualified opinion: I believe God loves each of his children and knows what we're capable of giving.  He sees our struggles and knows our hearts.  If we can be generous in a variety of ways, we will have done the right thing for our fellow man, ourselves, and will have brought glory God.  It doesn't always have to be tied to money in a black-and-white way, especially if you yourself are under financial burden/hardship for a time.  

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Since you started this thread I researched ibotta again. I don't know when it started but now they offer a gift card as a payment option. There are different GC choices (such as Wal-Mart and Amazon). I told dh about it and he signed up. We got an initial $10 at sign up and he scanned several receipts we had. Some were probably too old lol. Sometimes it required you to scan the product, but one guy's youtube channel I watched said you don't need to anymore so I don't know. That confused me if it was based on the receipt date or what. Anyway, he also referred his sister and she signed up so we should get some credit ($5) but I'm not sure what steps she has to complete for us to receive it. I don't know how much we'll earn using this app, but since I can't scan my Sam's receipts for Savings Catcher, I at least have an app that we can use our Sam's receipts with now. We can use the WM receipts for both apps.

 

I don't think I mentioned Shopkick. I also use that app. It's not much, but I get a few bucks here and there. I redeem them at Target and Walmart.

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last time we had to go really, really tight on the budget, it was not easy as we already were running pretty tight.  I cut out the dryer and hung our clothes to dry.  Washed dishes by hand rather than dishwasher.  Made sure all our electronics were not "vampire."  Adjusted the AC unit higher.  Limited light use after dark (everyone in same room or a couple rooms, not lots of lights on in lots of rooms).  Used amazon more for free delivery (cut gas expenses) and cheaper prices.  Made a meal plan and stuck with it to reduce waste and encourage bulk buying rather than spur of the moment.  Where I could I switched out brands to cheaper brands and no "fluff." 

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Follow-on to my reply in post #22 (?)...   My wife and I made a major raid on the store where they sell out of boxes, do not take credit cards, and do not provide bags or boxes to pack what you buy in, this afternoon.  Or, people to do that for you...

 

When I was there for the first time, last week, I bought one Kilo of their brand of laundry detergent and 3 bars of soap for the bathrooms, and was out of there in 3 or 4 minutes. .  My wife did 3 or 4 loads with the one kilo of their laundry detergent and she remarked that the White things seemed Whiter than they do when she uses FAB detergent... And that they smelled good...  The price differential is enormous on that one item.  Today, we bought 3 kilos of their laundry detergent, so she can test it on more loads.

 

She is extremely happy with the bars of soap (Avena) that I bought for the bathrooms.  

 

Today we saw that they also have some name brand things, in addition to their own brand, but I suspect the price savings on brand things is much less, if any, because of what they need to pay for the merchandise.

 

We bought other things, cooking oil, snacks, etc., which she will check out.

 

Last night, after the Zumba class, they had a long session where they were talking and  2 of the women there told her that they shop for some/many things in that store.

 

She will test the different things we bought this afternoon and the ones that she likes and that we save $ on, we will buy there in the future.  

 

I'm sure we saved $ this afternoon, but I'm not sure how much we saved, because some items are not items we buy regularly or frequently and I'm not sure of their prices in the regular supermarket.

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  • Use a timer for showers to see if you can trim the water bill.
  • Except the major appliances (and clock if applicable), don't have anything plugged in when not using it. Assign reducing electricity use as a chore (somebody gets to be the Light Police!).
  • If not already, pay bills online to save checks and stamps, and to be sure which day they'll be paid (to maximize your interest while preventing a late fee).
  • If paying a mortgage, check with a nearby credit union to see if rates are lower than what you're paying.
  • In a recipe that calls for meat, replace half with mushrooms or cooked beans so you still have the flavor and a high enough fat content with a lower cost. At a grocery store's meat counter, the butcher will gladly sell you a single chicken thigh.
  • TBH I've found couponing not worthwhile. In most cases I was "saving money" on things I didn't need to be buying--more than enough to make up for the occasional dollar off deodorant or toothpaste. And having to keep going through and use or discard expiring coupons was a hassle.
  • Remembering to bring your reusable bag to the store can save you a little money each week, depending on where you shop.
  • If you crochet & have some yarn on hand, I've found I can replace dish/cleaning sponges with a little cotton square (chain 18 to start, and single crochet rows until it's the size you want). We use old cloth diapers (cotton prefolds) to soak up spilled water, etc., and haven't bought paper towels in ages.
  • If you have room to compost and you're not doing it already, you might want to try it--we use far fewer trash bags nowadays.
  • Chilling a couple of pitchers of tap water in the fridge has made it our default drink; nobody expects juice or anything to be available. Occasionally we make our own lemonade, which is much cheaper than buying.

 

Edited by whitehawk
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At our church, we'd expect to be helping a family through a tight time, not receiving tithes from them! But those whom we've helped I must say do  support the church in other ways--volunteering time, helping older members with chores at home, strong prayer partners, etc.

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Yup, it's the supplemental source of income that has disappeared - I've been babysitting AND working 20 hours a week outside the home.  On the plus side, I should have enough time to get back to cooking from complete scratch again.  I do have my name on the local childcare provider email list, so we'll see what turns up.

 

IF this lasts only a few months, we're actually in pretty good shape to get just the bare essentials for grocery shopping (produce and dairy).  We do have a Costco membership, but since we drive 75 minutes into "the city" to get there, we don't go often (mostly only when we have medical appointments).  But we are good for a few months on flour, rice, toilet paper, pet food.  We buy a portion of cow each year, and still have about 150 pounds left in the freezer.  My son's saxophone lessons are paid through next May.  My daughter is already registered and paid for soccer.  No more curricula needs to be purchased for this coming school year.

 

The dryer!  My husband doesn't like "crispy" clothes, so I gave up line drying years ago.  I think it's time he adjusted, or at least if I only used the dryer for his, that's still four other people's clothes NOT using that electricity.

 

I've never ventured into the grocery-saving apps.  I'll have to do some research on that.

 

For those of you who are religious, how do you handle giving/offerings when something like this happens?

 

Re: the dryer, I feel your dh's pain. We just got back from Europe and none of the apartments we rented had dryers. Everything was pretty crunchy. However, you might try putting the clothes in your dryer after they've line dried and put them on the air dry cool setting to fluff them up.

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Do you have Aldi near by? It saves me a ton on groceries. I think if you talk to the staff and ask what day they mark down meat it'll save you even more (I bought a ton of chicken today for CHEAP). I agree with the whole foods, scratch stuff for food. Also, don't go out, or only go where you can't buy anything, like the library or park. If you're not there, you can't buy it.

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i wish The Tightwad Gazette were updated.

 

There are outdated suggestions in there as well as some that are still good.

 

For example:  The suggestion about getting cheese at the salad bar because you pay per pound and it is cheaper?  Well, salad bars in grocery stores caught on, and now charge more for the actual salad.

 

For meals, she budgeted 6 ounces of meat per person for dinner.  Then she would have a starch, like potatoes, pasta, or rice.  The kids were allowed to have as much of the starch as they needed to fill up, but they could only have the 6 ounces of the expensive stuff.

 

Nothing pre-packaged....no chips or cookies.....everything made from scratch.

 

 

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Boot the trash company. Compost/burn what you can and then take a bag in to the transfer station monthly, on your grocery run.

 

Turn your water heater down a few more degrees if you haven't already minimized.

Edited by Heigh Ho
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You might look into pricing out power companies.  We switched many years ago to a not-for-profit co-op and our bills are about half of what they were.  Service is the same.  And wonderfully, they always give us December for free.

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i wish The Tightwad Gazette were updated.

 

There are outdated suggestions in there as well as some that are still good.

 

For example:  The suggestion about getting cheese at the salad bar because you pay per pound and it is cheaper?  Well, salad bars in grocery stores caught on, and now charge more for the actual salad.

 

For meals, she budgeted 6 ounces of meat per person for dinner.  Then she would have a starch, like potatoes, pasta, or rice.  The kids were allowed to have as much of the starch as they needed to fill up, but they could only have the 6 ounces of the expensive stuff.

 

Nothing pre-packaged....no chips or cookies.....everything made from scratch.

 

 

I absolutely loved The Tightwad Gazette way back when! Then I bought it again in the last few years, and couldn't relate as well.

I did know a family, when I was young, that would cook exactly one meat portion per person, and let them have all they wanted of the sides.

I don't think I have any new ideas, but am following because my income may be dropping, also.

I was just reminiscing about the Tightwad Gazette. I tried to reread it a few years ago and found that it didn't resonate as much these days but she was such an inspiration in our just married and trying to be frugal days. 

 

Of course there are a ton of blogs out there. I have a hard time finding any 1 particular blog that resonates with me. I find blogs of people frugal in the city, making fists of cash(really it is not as inspirational/motivational to me if you are saving 50'%+ of your income when your making 4x what I do with no kids). Then there is the opposite extreme those who are living off the land with a small army of kids. We're somewhere in the middle. 

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These are probably repeats but:

I shop Aldi.

 

We drink water.

 

Microwave regular oats for breakfast. No need for instant.

 

I buy the discount $.99 veg and fruit. I take it home and freeze or cook it for later. Ex. Bananas frozen for banana "ice cream", peppers diced and frozen for recipes, etc.

 

House open at night, then shut up with blinds drawn during the day. We can put off using the air (set at 80) that way.

 

Batch errands. Fewer trips are less gas AND fewer opportunities to spend.

 

Look for inexpensive fun. You don't want to feel so deprived things backfire. We go swimming but bring our own treats. Local festivals but it is understood we aren't buying "stuff", library events, park programs. Saturday we try to do a fun thing. Sunday we play badminton or volleyball or take a bike ride. Sunday is also ice cream day.

 

Have set snacks. We have refried beans and tortillas or popcorn anytime. Fruit if there is a sale or pbj sandwiches. No individual size things, etc.

 

Don't buy stuff like kid sport equipment or tools until you've asked around. Borrowing beats buying.

 

I line or rack dry. A good solid shake softens it up. If not a very short tumble will do it.

I don't time showers but will tell kids to hurry up.

 

Cancel things you aren't using...cable, Prime,etc.

 

 

Those sound austere in print but attitude is important.

 

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

Edited by joyofsix
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