I recently had an interesting discussion among family and friends, “What’s the craziest thing you have ever done to save money?” Well, crazy is a relative term. Some people think the idea of clipping coupons and budgeting is crazy! I knew other extreme frugal followers would be unimpressed with tales of washing our own cars or meal planning.
So, I reached back into the recesses of my frugal memories and came up with the following examples. Some are more amusing than crazy, but all of them saved quite a bit of money.
Painted the Roof of My Car. This seemed less crazy at the time, but looking back this move represented a level of extreme frugality I have not been able to duplicate since. Besides the aesthetic risk I was taking in a DIY auto paint job, it was back breaking work and wound up costing nearly an entire vacation day worth of time. Oh well, I saved a ton of money and the paint job didn’t turn out half bad. Rust-O-leum Auto gray looks quite nice in the afternoon sun.
Bicycle Home from Work. I personally don’t consider this move very crazy, but my friends and family seem to think it qualifies. It is probably because I have never been much of a cyclist, and I am what they classify a “heavy rider.” I’ve still got some work to do to maximize this effort such as adding some panniers to my bike, and finding some better road tires. Still, with the rising cost of gas I’m saving nearly $60 a month by not driving our second vehicle four or five days out of the week.
Cut My Own Hair. Back in high school and college this would have been much easier to pull off because I “buzzed” my own hair with clippers from a home haircutting kit every couple weeks. I like short hair, especially in the summer, and find few things better than towel drying in 10 seconds of head-scrubbing and calling your hair “styled.” My hair grows fast, so I figure this move alone saves me roughly $200 a year in a dozen trips to the local walk-ins-welcome hair-cutting salon. Now if I could just figure out how to even my neckline in the mirror I would be totally self-sufficient with haircuts.
An (Almost) All-Day Fast. I recently set out on a blogging marathon well before breakfast. I was “in the zone” while writing at a local cafe and spent several hours there without purchasing a single item of food (I did buy a water bottle when I first arrived as to not appear a complete cheapskate!). When the hunger really started to settle in I walked up to the counter and could not find one single sandwich item for less than $7.00. I returned to my table, wrote a little longer and then went home to have dinner. My wife told me I was cheap, stubborn and just plain silly for not ordering a sandwich. I reminded her of the difference between being frugal and being cheap, and I promised to sneak in an energy bar or two during my next marathon.
Watering Down Drinks. Okay, so this is probably the least crazy of all, but I promised you five things. Nearly all of us have been impacted by rising food prices, and our family is no exception. With a little one that chugs apple juice and milk like they are going out of style, our grocery budget’s largest category was quickly becoming “drinks.”
I started “thinning” the already thin skim milk with water, and did the same with my son’s apple juice. It worked fine in the beginning, but I got a little over-zealous and started adding too much water. One day he took a sip of juice and tossed the sippy cup in the floor sounding off, “Dad, I don’t like that apple juice! Yucky!” Oops, I guess we should stick to untampered juice formulas and just let him have less of it.
Here are some tips shared by family and friends:
Ways to Save Money Around the House
1. Leanne: I like to make gifts and this past Christmas I decided to make ornaments. So, I went through all of my digital photos and copied files to a new folder entitled Christmas 2008 (free). Then I printed out pairs of pics in a wallet size. (I have my own photo printer, so I was getting 16 to a page.) (photo paper & ink, both of which I have plenty of-free). I cut out the pics, and glue them back to back, then I write the date/event on the photo (cost of glue stick and gel pen). Next I laminate each ornament, I can fit about 14 per 8.5 x 11 page of laminate (about $10 for my family and in laws). Then using a paper punch, I string some Christmas ribbon through the hole and put the ornament in with our Christmas card (1.4 in diameter punch cost about $6, 100 yards of ribbon for $1 at Michael’s).
2. Zoe: I cut my husband’s hair – there are like a billion YouTube videos to show you how, and it’s fun!
Time at the mall: 0 Time at the post office: 0 Gifts everyone loved: ~$20. Using your friend’s / fam’s fave pics they posted to Facebook: Priceless.
3. Wojciech: My favorite tip: Stop paying huge fees at the dry-cleaners and invest in a home dry cleaning product instead. That alone has saved me hundreds of dollars each year!
4. LB: My favorite way to save money is to ride my bike more. I started riding in December and absolutely love all the money it has saved me. Today I used it to go and get a 5 gallon bottle of water refilled. Not only am I saving money from not driving my car, but I am also getting in some serious shape too!
5. Ashley: My favorite money saving tip is to not try and keep up with the Jones’s on technology based items. My cell phone is 3 years old and not fancy, and I’ve passed up 3 pricey “upgrades” but it still works! And why would I need a blue ray player when my DVD’s are just fine…etc.
6.Kim: I have 2 friends that I swap clothes with….adult and children. Every season, we get together and “shop” through each other’s hand me downs.
7. Dan B: Bike to work. I bike 20 miles each way, and it didn’t take that long to work up to it. Saves A LOT of money in gas and upkeep. On days that are awful I still drive or bike/bus, but it is still not using nearly as much gas.
8. Veronica: My tip is that sometimes spending a little now can save you in the future. For instance, we just got a zoo membership where we live. I stay home with my children and during the summer we go to the park and do other free things in our area but the zoo is not free. We joined because 2 visits to the zoo and we’ve more than paid for our membership. Now instead of going twice we can go as often as we like for free. (you just have to remember to pack your picnic lunch)
Other ideas like this would be to take a cooking class so you know how to cook and don’t have an excuse for not cooking at home.
Take a photography class so you can take your own studio style pictures of you children as they grow up.
9. Colleen: Just a simple thing- When the “Kids”(big or little) have thrown away the extra sink stopper – Don’t fret just go to the toy box and grab one of the little ball that kids collect from the vending machines. There is a good chance that out of all the different sizes of balls that one will fit. If used in the bathtub it is round with no corners to scratch your soft body.
10. Julie: My tip is to refill foam soap containers with a mixture of water and liquid hand soap. You can use dollar store hand soap, or any kind of body wash or shampoo that you may not like using for the intended purpose.
11. Kat: I wanted a squeegee to use on my car windows in the mornings, so I went to Target to find one. In the car section, they were charging $18.49 for one; I was about to give up when I realized that people use squeegees in bathrooms, too. I found one there for $1.49. It’s exactly the same thing (albeit with a shorter handle), for a LOT less. So now I’ve learned to look in the unlikely places for a lot of deals when I’m in stores like Target and Wal-Mart.
12. Jen: Don’t buy so many disposable things. We no longer ever buy napkins or paper towels, using paper napkins and dishtowels instead. We also don’t use dryer sheets and haven’t noticed a difference. I’m sure there are more items like this that we/everyone can stop using.
13. Natalie: I find that making everything you can possibly make yourself saves me a lot of money, is better for my family and for the environment. I make my own laundry detergent, deserts for our lunches, bread for house lunches, mayonnaise, etc. Anything I can do myself I will at least try it.
14. Doreen: Utilizing the public library is a great area of savings for my family.
Become a regular patron. You can read best sellers, read current magazines, newspapers, watch DVDs and even surf the internet without spending money. There are kids programs and book clubs.
Donate used books and other media for the tax benefits and let the library sell them for a profit. If your local library doesn’t have all these programs, you can always make suggestions.
15. Sarah: How about using webcams or Skype to keep in touch instead of long distance on the phone? Seeing the far-away friend/family member is so much better than just talking, and if you already have internet at home, it’s no extra charge.
16. Jo: I read all of my local, national and world news online instead of paying for subscriptions. And I also listen to the public radio for my news instead of the TV…no commercials to clutter my mind.
17. Ethan: If you decide you really must print something off the internet, check “Print Preview” first then Print only 1 page. You’ll be surprised how often you can save your printer from using a second sheet of paper (and ink!) if you know there is only one or two unnecessary lines that would appear on it.
18. Laura: My best money saving tip is to make your own body scrub out of sugar, a bit of olive oil, and some instant coffee grains. i guess it only saves you money if you are into using body scrubs, but good ones can cost like $20, so making one essentially out of sugar is pretty gratifying. i keep it in the shower in an old scrub container – you could use an old Tupperware or empty sour cream container, whatever. And it works great!
19. Joanna: Money saving tips for my household: *My baby is trained to wear diapers that are only on sale. She doesn’t get rashes or anything. *I take a lot of pictures of her and edit it on the computer….use picasa.com by google for enhancement. Then, print what I like. *I welcome hand-me-down clothing, toys and books. I also create educational toys for her. *I walk to work given it is only two blocks away. *I buy groceries that are on sale. *I use coupons all the time. *Hobby and I watch shows we like online. Hulu.com, Fancast.com or youtube.com *Use redbox every Monday for free DVD rental *Menu is planned around groceries that were on sale.
20. Linda: Saving money on car expenses is important since I commute 105 miles a day to/from work. Rather than have my dealer charge me their hourly rate to do these tasks, I can easily do myself. Such as: washing my car saves $8.00 each time; buying my windshield wipers at the auto parts store-they install them free; buying the wiper fluid and pouring it in myself-another savings.
21. Joyce: My husband and I get top-end haircuts for free or for cheap as hair models for upscale salons. We mostly look for these opportunities at the beauty section on craigslist.com. Our hair has never looked better!
22. Cathy: Our family has instituted “NO TV Tuesdays” In an effort to increase our physical activity; we have quit watching TV on Tuesdays. This has translated into a lower electric bill and we have found other things we like to do instead. Like, family game night or going outside when the weather is nice.
23. Will: My wife and I have three boys. I guess times have changed since I was a kid, because I remember going to a barber shop and having a haircut cost somewhere in the area of $5-7. Nowadays, all we can find are Supercuts-type places, that charge upwards of $12 for a kid’s haircut, and $18 for an adult’s.
We bought a set of clippers (cost of around $30 or so, or two haircuts covered the cost), and now my wife does the haircutting. Sure, most of the time we all have crew cuts, but it’s cheap and quick.
(Crew cuts are also very low maintenance, and we save money on shampoo as well!)
May not work as well with girls.
24. Gwynne: I save money by making many things from scratch. I invested in a chest freezer, and can spend a weekend cooking a month’s worth of food, dividing them up into portions and freezing them. This lets me buy in bulk, which saves that way, plan ahead, which means fewer trips to the store and so fewer impulse purchases, and really stretch my monthly food budget.
25. Kevin: I went to with a pre-pay cell phone. Also, I gave up cigars!!
26. Laurie: My favorite money SAVER was stopping cable service when we bought our current house 10 years ago…it is 100 years old and needed renovation and not getting cable made sense because we wouldn’t have time to watch TV anyway. In the years since we’ve been very glad not to have moral trash piped into our home while raising our 3 girls, and have done very well with carefully selected videos from the library.
Our favorite money PRINCIPLE is tithing…as long as we are faithful in our giving, the Lord has been more than faithful to provide for our needs.
27. Tracy: My favorite $$ saving tip is to make my own laundry detergent.
28. Christy: I like to use the soapy steel wool pads to clean the bottom of my cookware. To use them again before the next time I pop them in a baggie and store them in the freezer. No more wasted rusty steel wool pads.
29. Caleb: When working on a painting project with latex paint it is easy to stop in the middle and start again on another day by bagging all the equipment in plastic grocery bags and placing them in the freezer. Instead of washing lots of paint down the drain, wasting water and soap that paint goes on the wall the next time you start working on the project. Making home repair projects easier and you more likely to do them yourself and save money! Many communities have a latex paint exchange where you can get donate or get good quality paint. When you mix a batch to make your own color just be sure to mix quite a bit more than you need because you will not be able to recreate this color! Contact your local recycling office or search the Internet to find a nearby exchange.
30. Mark: My biggest money saving tip would be to give up vices. We’ve switched from juice and pop to water, and quit smoking. Those things alone have saved us over $500/month!
Saving Money with Coupons and Deals
31. Sarah: My tip: Use TWO coupons with buy one get one free offers for huge savings!
32. sdybash: I receive e-mails from the various grocery store and combine the sales with coupons for wonderful savings.
33. Ken: Our best money saving tip thus far is using coupons. The two biggest wins regarding coupons are BUY ONE GET ONE (BOGO) free and Manufacturer’s coupons.
34. Megan: I love using coupons and Angel Food ministries to save on grocery costs. The stores by me accept internet printed coupons and that helps too.
35. Christina: My best money-saving tip is to use the internet to save money. There are so many blogs and deal sites that do all the work for you when it comes to matching up coupons to sale prices. I’ve gotten so many items for free or nearly free just because I spent a few minutes online finding the deals.
36. Jennifer Tarver: My biggest tip is to use a coupon code when ordering from an internet site. There are lots of websites to find codes: retailmenot.com and fishingfordeals.com are two.
37. Helen: As for saving tips, I’d say to send away for as many free samples as possible. This way you know if you like a product before you buy it!
38. Tara: My favorite money saver is to buy from close-out suppliers. We have a place in Lawrenceburg, TN where I live called the Red Top Bargain Barn. They get Costco close-outs and returns. When we buy from RTBB we get the great Costco items, but with 20-80% discounts and no membership fees.
39. Michelle: Keep your coupons in the car. That way you always have them.
40. Rose: My favorite tip is sending for free samples. They often send coupons too, that I can use or trade. Also, taking online surveys at e-rewards and pine cone, they sometimes send products and coupons as well!
41. Megan: Best money-saving tip? Restaurants.com – you can buy gift certificates to local restaurants at a fraction of the face value. Example: certificate for $25 off a $35 meal costs $10 – total savings on dinner out $15. I have noticed that the site has frequent sales also. Last month I purchased $25 off a $35 meal certificates for only $2 each – 80% off! I have already used them at the restaurants and they work great. You can bet I’ll be getting one of these each time I plan a special dinner out.
42. Carole: I always write my grocery list around my store’s sales flyer and the coupons I have. BOGO offers with coupons stretch my budget. Can you tell I love coupons?
43. Julie: My money saving tip is definitely using coupons but I take it a step further. Our local gas station chain gives away a free paper with the purchase of 8 gallons of gas so I always fill up on Sundays when I need gas anyway and I get the Sunday paper with all the coupons for free!
44. Jeremy: My favorite tip is to know each store’s coupon policy to maximize the value of my purchases, despite the objections of cashiers who hate dealing with coupons.
45. Sarah: My tip is to follow MoneySavingMom.com. I’m not getting any kickbacks for endorsing the site; I just want to share the love because it has been so helpful for me! I never would have learned how to use coupons effectively without the information there.
46. Nicki: I love to save money at the pump by using the grocery store near me that gives me discounts on their gas when I purchase so much in groceries at their store. Then I use my credit card that gives me a 5% rebate on gas purchases. If I get 20 cents discount at the grocery store and then 5% discount from my credit card, $2.00/gal becomes $1.71/gal.
47. Cristina: Buy the Sunday paper – it is full of coupons as well as information about your town/city & the world which can save you time & money & keep you informed.
48. Lee: Where I save is price-matching at the grocery store…in other words, look at all the local sales papers, find the best prices for the items on your list, go to the store that price matches (Wal-Mart for us) and get all the best prices in your area. It usually saves us a bit…
49. Becca: My best money saving tip? To follow blogs like Frugal Dad, Moneysavingmom, Commonsensewithmoney, etc. and do what they do! This is also a time saving tip as well because you don’t have to do any research!
50. Maureen: I use coupons regularly and go to thrift shops for extra clothing.
51. Johanne: My favorite money saving tip is to use coupons on sale items.
52. Chris: I price compare and plan my coupon shopping by going through the grocery flyers. Wal-Mart will price match other grocery sales flyers saving gas money driving to each store to get the lowest cost.
I no longer read the sales ads in the Sunday paper. It is amazing how often I would suddenly “need” something after seeing that it was on sale. Before reading the flyer I did not even realize that I “needed” this item!
53. Ally: My favorite money saving tip is always use cents off coupons and combine them with store sales and store coupons. You can usually use both on one item (store price by coupon and manufacturers coupon) Read the fine print.
54. Megan: CVS. Once you figure out the whole CVS thing, you will be saving money like it’s a very addictive video game.
55. Crystal: I’ve started air drying my clothes…but the fam didn’t like they way they felt stiff. So, I still air dry my family’s clothes but now, after air drying, I put them in the dryer for about 10 minutes to soften them up. Plus, I’m able to put in the dryer about 1.5-2 loads of wash – since they’re already dry. My family gets soft clothes and I get a reduced energy bill!
56. Holly: I plug all my TV’s, DVD players, game consoles, etc. into power strips so I can switch them off completely when not in use. It works great when there are a lot of appliances that go into a standby mode and don’t turn off completely.
57. Linette: My favorite way to save money is to air dry my dishes in the dishwasher.
58. Dan: Plant a shade tree on the side of your house that gets the most afternoon sun. A tree can provide much needed shade during the summer when extreme temperatures can really bake a house.
59. Jennifer: Winter saving tip – Space heaters. I cut my oil bill by $50 in one month by supplementing the heat in communal areas with a space heater. The electric is cheaper then the oil, and many times, the heat wouldn’t even kick on. And we were able to shut the heat off at night by closing our bedroom door and using the small space heater. A $20 investment saved on average 20 gallons of heating fuel a month.
Saving Money on Entertainment
60. Rosanne: I save money by not buying books or magazines but borrowing them from the library.
61. Dawn: What we’ve started to do is the rotating “at home night out”. A group of friends all take turns being the host for dinner and DVDs. The other couples get a night out and your turn only comes up once every three times (at least for our particular group)
62. Maria: I live in Florida and my sister, brother-in-law and three children are currently visiting from England. Before they arrived I went to a few local hotels and picked up a bunch of flyers for tourist attractions and visitor guides. Most of these have coupons and discounts. For example, they went to West Palm Beach Zoo and for two paying adults, two children got in free. A second coupon gave $2 off the entry fee. A total savings of almost 57% for the five of them. With savings like these my sister and family still have a great vacation and do a lot more on their limited budget.
63. Dan: Eat dessert first. In fact, don’t eat dinner at all. If you are looking for some cheap, romantic time with your partner, simply eat a light dinner at home and then head out for dessert and a cup of coffee. My wife and I enjoy sharing a dessert and coffee. Note: Leave a generous tip for your server if you sit and talk a while.
64. Shannon: The best money saving habit I have is sitting down with my husband once a month and calmly reviewing our budget and credit/debit card history for the month. We talk about the purchases that did not contribute towards our financial goals and refocus ourselves. We give each other suggestions without accusing. Doing it monthly helps catch trends that could become problems. It really helps to work as a team. Since starting this habit, we have seen a real acceleration in our debt reduction.
65. Bobbi: A great money saving tip I learned is to save my $5 bills. I never miss them at all and I have saved quite a bit since December.
66. Nicki: If I have a balance on my credit card and I know that I will not be paying it off this month, I make my payment as soon as I receive the bill. Since the finance charge is based on the average daily balance over the month, I make the payment as soon as possible to lower my average balance and reduce the finance charges. If I will be paying the bill in full and no finance charge is assessed, I pay the bill on the due date.
67. Heather: My biggest money tip would be to use cash, and bigger bills (20s and up). It’s a mind thing… ninety dollars on your debit card isn’t a big deal, but breaking a 100 bill and only getting nine dollars? Yeah, you’ll rethink that purchase! It really has made a difference.
68. Dawn: This is one my mother in law told us a number of years ago – put your money on ice. She was referring to our credit cards. The suggestion was to put them way in the back of the freezer in a block of ice so that they were difficult to use, but available for emergencies.
69. Liz: Living on a budget has saved us so much money! To support this lean budget, we use coupons; prepare meals at home, limit eating out, etc. But, living on the budget is the key.
70. Sarah: My favorite money-saving tip…pay yourself first! Make sure you budget for YOU and your savings.
71. Susan: We had the biggest savings in our budget when we started using cash for groceries. I was forced to think harder about every item in the cart and it has helped us tremendously!
72. Charlene: My favorite tip is: use Mint.com to track your finances and budget. It acts as my conscience to help keep my spending in check.
73. Livia: For us, getting both in the same page has played a great role! Last year I was the one doing coupons, groceries, budget, etc. Now we BOTH do it together, we revisit our budget at the end of the month and analyze how things went during that month and plan the next one. We are saving more money monthly now than last year’s!
74. Rebecca: My favorite money saving tip is to use cash for everything. Then you can’t overspend. I have a debit card/visa card that I can use online.
Also whenever I need something I ask family, friends, church members, Freecyle, & craigslist first. At least half the time I will get an item I need or something that will work just as good for FREE (and they didn’t need it anymore.)
Also go back to reduce, reuse, recycle. I try to buy in bulk to save packaging. I even make my own laundry soap thus saving an old bottle and reusing it. Before I throw anything away I see if we can reuse it (we homeschool, plus I teach preschool, so one of the kids can usually reuse an item at least once.)
Also we compost, which saves our garbage, and the landfills.
75. Rick: Whenever I get a raise at work I automatically have a portion or all of that increase deposited into a savings account and send the other part of my check to my checking account. I am not used to getting the extra money so it is not missed. The money in this savings account is then used to build my CD ladder project and restock my emergency fund.
76. Becca: One of the ways my husband and I save money is by keeping an ongoing list on our fridge. Every couple of weeks we update it. It’s basically a spreadsheet where we keep track of wants, needs, and future expenses for my husband, myself, and general household. It helps us visualize expenses in both the short and long term, such as doctor’s appointment co-pays, a wedding we are both going to be in this summer, pet expenses, new curtains, etc. Instead of spending spontaneously on stuff, we have started writing things down and planning on how to budget for them. We are both in our early 20′s so I’m glad we are getting in this habit early!
77. Michelle: My favorite money saving tip is this: before I by anything non-essential, (clothing, gadgets, etc.), I have to give away something that I own already. This keeps my house from getting too cluttered, and it makes me re-think those spur of the moment purchases. Money saved is money earned!
78. Kris: My family has a spending hiatus once a month. It’s usually for a work week (Monday through Friday. We make sure we have everything we need before Monday (gas, groceries, school supplies, etc.) and then we spend nothing! We lock up the bank cards, credit cards and checkbooks. We have $20 cash in case of an emergency, but we have to show each other our reserve money every day so there is no cheating.
79. Dan: When dining out, ask for a to-go box up front and split your meal in half when served–half for now, and half for later. You’ll instantly decrease the per-serving cost of your meal, and lessen the number of calories taken in during one sitting.
Saving Money on Food
80. Vicki: My best money saving tip (at least for me) is taking my lunch every day. My eat-out friend recently went on a diet and she’s bringing her lunch every day, which inspired me to do the same. Haven’t lost any weight yet, but I have saved about $40 a week, which I’m putting aside to buy new clothes in the event I need them.
81. John: Our biggest money saver is to limit eating out to special occasions. Eating at home is much healthier and saves a lot of money.
82. Beca: Never order from a children’s menu UNLESS 2 or more children are sharing it…it’s often times a waste of food and more expensive than ordering an adult meal and splitting it with them.
83. Niina: My favourite moneysaving trick has something to do with groceries and it actually helps me in weightloss too. Double-win!!!
84. Chris: My husband and I eat vegetarian for breakfast and lunch and only eat meat for dinner. This saves on buying lunch meat or chicken breasts and things to cook for lunches and it has gotten us to make all kinds of new things to try. Also, if something we like is on sale, we buy it in major bulk. A few weeks ago asparagus was 94 cents a pound at the grocery store. We bought about 15 pounds, brought it home and blanched it and put it away in the freezer. It is one of our favorite vegetables and last summer we probably bought an average of a pound of it each week (and $2 a pound or so).
When I go to grocery shopping I only buy things that have a name of real food. For example…(names invented for this purpose…) Hawaiian Fruit Salad no. Pineapple, melons etc. yes. Chicken leg in what ever sauce, no. Chicken leg, cream, spices yes. Fruity roast vegetable mix, no. Bunch of vegs, yes. I think you get the drift. This way I don’t pay for the labour and won’t get the added sugars, E-numbers and whatnot. Of course I sometimes get the odd pizza or some other junk food but since I don’t get them all the time, my spending and hips stay in the limit.
85. Claire: My best thrifty tip is to buy bread at the dollar store. You can find Nature’s Own Whole Wheat bread with NO corn syrup for just a buck! That is a huge deal when your kids are going through bread like nobody’s business!
86. Heather: Always eat your leftovers! I save so much money eating my leftovers. My sister thinks I’m crazy, but I know how much I’m saving by not having to grocery shop so much.
87. Sunshine: I just recently started halving my meat portions in meals. Especially, soups and casseroles. My husband doesn’t even notice.
88. Katie: My best money saving tip is to menu plan, and then using that plan to grocery shop. I usually plan a month at a time, but it usually gets shuffled around and edited a bit as the month goes on. The menu plan helps me know exactly what groceries I need so I’m not spending unnecessary money on things that “look good”. Also, if there’s an item in one recipe that I know won’t get all used up, I can plan a second meal to use the rest of it.
89. Patrick: My tip? Buy meat in bulk when it is cheap and use it through multiple meals during the week. You will save big and have a ton of meals!
90. Alice: I have recently discovered Angel Food, a program where you can get a box of groceries for $30 that would cost probably close to twice that retail. It’s not an income-restricted thing, anyone can participate. I love it, it has really cut my food bill.
91. Debbie: Make and take lunches to work and school. There are six of us at my house, and the savings is substantial. The ‘make’ isn’t all that time-consuming – a wrap or sandwich, a piece of fruit and/or some veggies, an occasional yogurt, a treat baked on the weekend like cookies, cake, banana bread, etc. Very simple, very easy!
92. Adrian: My favorite tip is to drink more water. For Lent, my girlfriend and I gave up pop and each saved about $10-$15 for those 40 days. It may not sound like much, but the additional health benefits are a bonus too!
93. Anna: I buy ground beef when it’s 1.99 or less per pound and I have them package it in 1/2 pound portions. When a recipe calls for 1 lb of ground beef, I use 1/2 lb instead and use extra vegetables or beans for filler. The taste is still great, we up the nutrition factor and we stretch our meat budget.
94. Molly: This might be counterintuitive, but we buy the expensive organic fair trade coffee beans. They might be $12/pound, but they last 2 of us an entire week, which is much cheaper than $6/day for the two of us to go out for coffee!
95. Brian: I love café latte’s. I can’t imagine not having one iced or hot within an hour or two of waking up. A few years ago I realized that I was spending a fortune on my daily indulgence. That’s when I went out and purchased an espresso machine. I’m able to make a “venti” sized latte for less than a dollar even though I use the best espresso coffee, organic milk, and purified water. It practically takes no time at all. On day’s I’m running short on time I’ll use coffee pod’s to make things easier. My espresso machine paid for itself in a few months.
96. Ashley: Okay, my favorite money tip. Well, I save a lot of money by eating for free. I work at a restaurant and I work as a nanny. So if there is a opportunity to eat there, I will. I only pay for my breakfast cereal and maybe 1-2 dinners at my place a week. So if you work where you can eat for free, do it, it saves a ton on groceries! I’m guessing most people don’t work like me, but it’s a tip for people who can eat at their work.
97. Jessica: I save money by cooking more at home and not going out to eat.
98. Dan: Declare one day of the week a “meatless” day. I love meat, especially a good steak! But meat is expensive, and there are more cost-effective ways to get protein. Have breakfast for dinner and whip up some scrambled eggs. Make a bean burrito with a variety of high protein beans and spices.
Saving Money on Shopping
99. Jana: The less I shop the less tempted I will be to buy something.
100. Kim: Well, it’s sort of a money saving way of donating to food pantries in our area who are in more need now with our poor economy. Whenever I stock up on Buy One/Get One canned or box items at the grocery store, the “free” one gets put aside to take to the local center.
101. Sandi: My money saving idea is nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t buy prepackaged food at the grocery store. I buy whole fruits and veggies and cut them up myself, then bag them for individual grab and go snacks. I buy blocks of cheese and make my own cheese cubes or sticks. I make my own meals and divide them up into single serving dishes and freeze them instead of buying frozen individual entrees. It takes a little more time but if you plan ahead you can do it all in one afternoon after your trip to the grocery store.
102. Kat: I’ve learned over time even with my coupon shopping to only take cash and only $50 when I shop. No debit cards, no credit cards, no checkbook, just cold hard cash. Helps to force me to stay within my budget.
103. Cristine: Think of buying new as a last resort. Try Freecycle.org and Craigslist first. Then thrift stores. Always. I say this as i wear my $2.50 skirt from the Banana republic, and my 4 dollar Nine west shoes, and am watching my kids play on their free foosball table.
If you want to get fanatical about it, join The Compact, and vow to not buy one more new thing for a year (except food, medicinal and hygiene products.) It will change your whole outlook, your habits, and your life for the better.
104. Dave: One of my money saving tips is to shop on eBay. I can’t tell you how much I have saved on items I need by buying them on eBay rather than in the store, especially when the seller offers free shipping. Besides buying things that are new, extra money can be saved by buying used items that are in very good to “like new” condition. If you find that you don’t need the item(s) later on (baby items, etc) you can always resell them on eBay yourself to recoup the money spent. Sometimes you even break even by doing this!
105. Lori: I used to spend way more than I budgeted on groceries, on impulse buys and such. Now I log onto the grocery store’s home delivery tool (which I never use – costs $10 to deliver!) and select all the items from my grocery list. I get a total based on the current price of things, and bring just that amount with me, in cash, to the store. No more impulse buys! I save probably $30 a week.
106. Jenny: My favorite money saving tip; I buy the store brands whenever possible. Usually they are just as good or better then the leading brand and often times up to a dollar or more cheaply.
An added bonus is that a lot of the store brands were manufactured right here in the USA…which mean I’m supporting the American Worker and hopefully helping someone keep their job.
I also try to shop as local as I can. It helps my local economy and saves me a lot on gas.
107. Tammy: When marketing for groceries learn to PERIMETER SHOP. In other words, go in the front door of the market and walk in a counter clockwise fashion to pick up perimeter deals in marked down items like produce, bakery, deli, fresh fish, meats, and dairy. Most stores are laid out in this fashion. I can go in the front door, perimeter shop and be out the door in less than 30 minutes!
108. Patricia: I love to use Craigslist and Freecycle. I have saved so much on building supplies in the last few years. Many people who are working on their houses have left over material that they can’t return to the store.
109. Tammy: My tip is a valuable lesson from yesterday. I went to what I thought was a very cool sounding sewing seminar. What it actually was is a day long commercial! And they were so good at showing you just how amazing the products were! My lesson? Classes from businesses are invitations to purchase more. Yikes, not going to that again.
110. Elaine: We buy in bulk at the stores like Cosco. And shop the sales with coupons at the local grocery stores. We shop with a list once a week and keep impulse buys to a minimum. We keep in mind that “sales” and “saving money” means you have to spend money – and it is only a “sale” or a “saving” if you really need it – otherwise it is a loss!!
111. Melanie: My best moneysaving tip would be to plan your spending. Make a list of gifts you intend to give. Can you make something? Can you find a great deal on it? Price compare on-line before you go running from store to store wasting time & gas. On-line shopping has saved me a ton of cash, time & gas!
112. Dan: Never buy anything on impulse. The last thing I do before going through the checkout line is take an inventory of my shopping cart. I try to always find at least one thing I don’t really need and put it back on the shelf. If I come away still wanting the item I can pick it up on my next trip, and by then I’ll know if I really did need it.
113. Dave: One of our biggest money saving tips is to combine car trips when doing errands and shopping. We also use one car for traveling to work, rather than taking two separate cars. My wife drops me off at my work place, then continues on to hers. She does have to go a bit “off track” to do this, but not terribly so. Both of these strategies save a ton of money on gas.
114. Andrea: One of my favorite money saving tips is to go to the thrift stores and garage sales, especially for baby items. I also have gone there looking for items for my daughter’s dorm room. They are treasure troves!
115. Lori: I worked hard to stay home with my kids when they were little so we were on a very tight budget. When we’d go to the mall, mainly to go walking/strolling, I noticed I almost always bought something (and my kids wanted things). So I decided to take our strolls to the park/neighborhood instead of being tempted to buy unnecessary things.
Also, many people I know receive numerous catalogs in the mail. This not only makes you spend more but it makes you WANT more – so I unsubscribed to all of them. I get very few now in the mail because of recent purchases at those order-only stores but the catalogs go right in the trash/recycling so as to not tempt me.
116. Jennifer: My current favorite tip is to shop with a list! If I go to the grocery store without a list, I spend more and I don’t end up with food to make meals between trips. So I end up spending MORE to go and fill in the gaps. Lists are essential!
117. Amber: I found that before I go shopping if I go online to the websites for the local grocery stores and search the ads I can find which store has the cheapest items I need and go into the store already knowing exactly what I need to buy and where it is…and how much it is suppose to cost
118. Harry: My favorite money-saving tip is to keep a notebook of my purchases, I have different pages for different stores and then I wait to buy. I used to be a big impulse buyer believing I “need it now.”
119. Sylvia: My favorite money-saving tip is before grocery shopping, make a list of what you want and stick to it. Also, look through the weekly ad and see if you have coupons to actually make the deal even better!
120. Laura: Stay out of the stores! No window shopping!
121. Sarah: Probably the best way I’ve learned to save money is by buying when I can get items at the best price, even if I don’t need them right away. This type of stockpiling frees me from buying almost anything at regular price!
122. Judy: I shop on Senior Discount Days to get an extra 10% off…at the grocery store and some department stores as well.
So there you have it; 128 ways to save money! I hope you found a couple nuggets in there – I know I did! I hope that was the case for you as well, and that you now have some ideas to keep more of your hard-earned money in your wallet!