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Forum Home > The Art of Frugality > Sticky: Little Things That Add Up

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 44

Little savings really do add up. It's easy to rationalize small purchases, thinking that they don't make a difference in the big scheme of things, but all of those small purchases added together can make a significant dent in your pocket.


Take the example of making your own morning coffee vs buying coffee at a place like Starbucks. It could be estimated to cost you roughly ten cents a cup to brew your own at home. Maybe spend $4-5 a cup at a place like Starbucks  and do this 5-6 days a week, and that really adds up.


 www.savingwithoutabudget.com/food/brew-your-own-coffee/


What other little things can you think of that might make a difference in your lives?



May 15, 2009 at 8:42 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 44

A huge place of savings for us is eating at home.


And, I will add that it is also a challenge to do this. I have been making meals for a lot of years, and sometimes a person just gets tired and uninspired. If I don't have something planned early in the day, by 5pm, I am at my weakest point in terms of brainstorming out a supper idea.


Sometimes the dinner that is "cranked out" is not very special, but it is food and it is good enough.  I will follow my efforts with a comment of:

"I just saved us $40" or whatever, and you know, it's true!


I do like to go out to eat. But , lately, it seems to me that for all the money that is being spent, the restaurant food is really not all that special. I can do just as well.  Or, good enough, anyway. :roll:



May 16, 2009 at 9:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 44

Today, I was thinking back to the '70's and remembering the start of warehouse type grocery stores. It seemed that everything was on huge wooden pallets and you loaded up your food on big carts that were hard to move around, used little pencils to mark the prices, and of course, bagged your own stuff. I also remember the "GENERIC" food items... black and yellow labels that said things like "CRACKERS" or "BEER".

 

Store brand items have come a long way since then, and the labels are more attractive, too. I am not a name brand person and I have no problem trying out the store brand items. Seems to me that I read somewhere that it really is all the same food, but the fancy labels and advertising that go into name brand items make them more expensive. Maybe I'll do a google search on this... anyway, buying the store brand can save you money. You might decide that not all products are equally good, but you will probably find some that are.

May 26, 2009 at 5:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

One way to save money on groceries, is to use up what you buy ... don't throw away food that can be used up in another meal.  Get creative and efficiently use up what you buy!  Here are a couple of websites that give some ideas to think about:


www.lovefoodhatewaste.com


www.wastedfood.com

June 1, 2009 at 10:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739
The Rubber Chicken is not a new concept, but since I used it this week, I thought I'd mention it.

It goes like this:  first night you roast a whole chicken, and serve it with things like mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Save the carcass and meat that is left, and the next night, carve off as much meat as you can.  Use this in a chicken casserole or for sandwiches.

The third day, make a chicken broth with the leftover carcass and meat that is still on the bones. Add onion, garlic, veggies, noodles, and seasonings to make a tasty homemade soup.
 
Some people can stretch their Rubber Chicken for four days, but my youngest son is a big eater.
 
Roasting a whole chicken and using it up this way can be a good deal!
June 19, 2009 at 8:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

The cost of gas is crazy. A while back, I started tracking the price of gas on different days of the week. Amazing ... the price of gas goes up as the weekend approaches ... hmmm.  So, what are the best days of  the week to gas up your car? I have found that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are best, and try to fill up then.

August 10, 2009 at 3:48 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Yes, one can save a lot of money by choosing to eat most meals at home, but let's face it, it is fun to eat out sometimes! 


If you are planning on eating out, there are some good deals out there intending to encourage you to eat out, and some will give you a pretty decent savings.


Coupons do help, especially if at a place you enjoy and frequently go to. Some places are offering deals that don't require a coupon. One great example is Baker's Square with thier free pie Wednesdays. Every Wednesday, each person can get a free slice of pie, regardless of what is ordered! 


You just need to look around and be aware of what is available in your area. 

September 25, 2009 at 8:38 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Here is something my dad sent me in an email. Being the practical person that I am, I thought I would pass it on.  I usually try to avoid using disposable things, but sometimes they can be so helpful in making one's life a bit easier, so ...

 

The wonders of coffee filters

 

Better than paper towels and a lot less expensive...

 

Coffee filters .... Who knew!

 

And you can buy 1,000 at the Dollar Stores for almost nothing, even the large ones.

 

 

1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave.

    Coffee filters make excellent covers.

 

 

2. Clean windows, mirrors, and chrome...

    Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.

 

 

3. Protect China by separating your good dishes with a coffee filter between each dish.

 

 

4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine

     bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.

 

 

5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the

    skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.

 

 

6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.

 

 

7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through

     a sieve lined with a coffee filter.

 

 

8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a

    coffee filter on a kitchen scale.

 

 

9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.

 

 

10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant

      pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.

 

 

11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes

       as needed in a coffee filter.

 

 

12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows?

       Use strips of coffee filters..

 

 

13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon,

       French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. It soaks out all the grease.

 

 14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great "razor nick fixers."


 

 15. As a sewing backing. Use a filter as an easy-to-tear backing

       for embroidering or appliqueing soft fabrics.

 

 

16. Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into

       shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.

 

 

17. Use them to strain soup stock and to tie fresh herbs

       in to put in soups and stews.

 

 

18. Use a coffee filter to prevent spilling when you add fluids to your car.

 

 

19. Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.

 

 

20. Can use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when

       cutting a piece of fruit or veggies.. Saves on having extra bowls to wash.

 

 

21. Use them to wrap Christmas ornaments for storage.

 

 

22. Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.

 

 

23. Use them to sprout seeds. Simply dampen the coffee filter,

       place seeds inside, fold it and place it into a plastic baggie until they sprout.

 

 

24. Use coffee filters as blotting paper for pressed flowers.

       Place the flowers between two coffee filters and put the coffee filters in phone book..

 

 

25. Use as a kiddie's disposable "snack bowl" for popcorn, chips, etc.

 

OH YEAH THEY ARE GREAT TO USE IN YOUR COFFEE MAKERS TOO.


November 13, 2009 at 9:49 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Here is an idea that sounded appealing to me, instead of using holiday tissue paper to fill in gift bags, shred the little odds and ends of Christmas wrapping paper with a paper shredder and stuff with those!  


I love it!  Festive and practical!

November 28, 2009 at 9:48 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

I swear I am not crazy, in fact my husband told me this morning that I am a humanitarian.  :ohmy:


I learned now to convert a disposable baby diaper into a diaper a cat can wear, and it actually works.


They do sell pre-made cat and dog diapers, but they are quite expensive ... over a dollar a diaper! Using Target brand newborn diapers and converting them costs about 11 cents a diaper, a big savings. And, if you are willing to convert them yourself, they really don't take that long to make. 


Here is the link to a video that shows how to make them:



You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.


December 28, 2009 at 9:06 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

We had been hearing about Trader Joe's wine ... Charles Shaw ... or, Two Buck Chuck.The reviews were good, and bottles were priced at $1.99/bottle. Had to give it a try!


So, a new Trader Joe's recently opened close by and we stopped by for a visit. The Charles Shaw wine had gone up to $2.99/bottle and was now referred to as Three Buck Chuck. But, with the increase in food prices we've been seeing, it really was no surprise. 


Anyway, the wine was decent.  Mellow and not bitter at all.  It was an amazing find.


Of course, we are not wine snobs, but we do like a good glass of wine once in a while.


Go for it!  :lol:

January 1, 2010 at 9:27 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Some folks call it a pantry challenge and basically what this is, is trying to use up as much food as you can from your pantry, fridge, and freezer without shopping for more. There will be some items you will need to replenish such as milk, bread, fresh fruit, and veggies, but the bulk of your meals will be made up of what you already have in the house. 


Some of your meals might turn out to be a creative stretch of your imagination.  Nachos for lunch perhaps?  The main idea is to use up the forgotten food and save a little money at the same time.  

January 4, 2010 at 8:26 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Here is an article I found on the internet this morning,  21Things We're Learning to Live Without.  You might already be doing some of these things, but I thought it helpful to read through.  


http://www.usnews.com/money/blogs/flowchart/2010/1/21/21-things-were-learning-to-live-without.html

January 23, 2010 at 10:25 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Beans are a good, inexpensive protein source. If you are looking for ways to stretch your food dollar, you might want to consider adding beans to your menu.  Here is a recipe I found that looks kind of tasty ...


Make mashed potatoes. While they are cooking, take cooked pinto beans (drained), cooked kidney beans (drained), or a mixture of both, or leftover bean soup, or leftover beans that kidney or pinto beans are in and ...  put them in a processor until relatively smooth. May add salt and spices (especially chili powder and/or cumin). Heat, then turn off burner, and add grated mozzerella cheese. Serve beans over mashed potatoes. 


What do you think? Sounds like comfort food, too.

January 27, 2010 at 10:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Cub Foods had a good deal on chicken this week.  They had chicken quarters for .39 cents a pound, sold in 10 pound bags. My family actually prefers dark meat to chicken breasts so that was a good deal for us. I bought 2 bags and separated the pieces into meal size portions and popped them in the freezer. I ended up with 7 meals worth for less than $8. I may even go back later this week and pick up a couple more bags. We eat a lot of chicken!

February 11, 2010 at 11:34 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Here is a link that talks about ways to save on groceries. Some of the tips I hadn't heard about before, so it was worth a look ...  supermarket savings ...

February 22, 2010 at 3:21 PM Flag Quote & Reply

poppy
Member
Posts: 51

Never thought about adding cottage cheese to hamburger to make it stretch, but I might try it sometime! Thanks for the link.

February 22, 2010 at 6:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

This is great!


From the New York Times ... tips for survival in these lean times ...


http://projects.nytimes.com/survival-strategies?ref=your-money

March 7, 2010 at 9:51 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

You can save money on repairing things yourself, such as clothes.  I have a couple of pairs of nice work pants that have hems that have recently come undone. It's been a few years since I've actually used a thread and needle, but I forced myself to hem those pants up and you know, it only took me about 15 minutes to get it done! And they look fine! I actually had a thought to just go out and buy some new pants, but how crazy is that? :roll:  If you don't know how to hem up things, it really is worth learning. 

April 25, 2010 at 8:26 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

This little thought is actually kind of obvious, but if you want to save some money, then stay out of the stores!


It's easy to get into the habit of just going to the store, and once there you can pretty much always find something you think you should have.  I used to have a serious addiction to shopping at Target, sometimes a few times a week. Besides filling up the house with stuff not really needed, I was spending a ton of money!  Then I started a part time job ... I ended up filling my time with working instead of shopping at Target.  And, you know what? I'm not missing the shopping, I have less stuff coming into the house, and it's been easier to save the money.

--
 
April 29, 2010 at 9:03 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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