What an awesome thread. Thanks for getting this one started. I agree about The Complete Tightwad Gazette. A lot of the articles are outdated, but there are still very good ideas to be found there, such as how to make a price guide for grocery shopping to make sure you're not paying too much.
You can freeze steel wool pads each time you use them and they will last almost forever instead of turning into rusty balls of dust. I just squeeze the water out and throw it in a plastic baggie and toss into the freezer.
When I cook chicken in the crock pot, I save the drippings, refrigerate them, then skim off the fat and add water to the drippings for broth for soups. Then when you're finished with the chicken, boil the carcass for more broth.
I use 1/2 a dryer sheet instead of a whole one when I use the dryer, but hang laundry outdoors when possible.
I use homemade cleaners, including laundry detergent and make my own febreeze. (I found these recipes on frugal sites, some of which have been mentioned already.)
Cook from scratch. You can also make your own granola bars or granola cereal. There are lots of recipes online for these.
We use printable online coupons when we find good ones on items we use and know there is a BOGO (buy one, get one) at our grocery store on those items. The coupons are doubled up to a certain amount and we often pay pennies or get overages for name brand products. We used to buy newspapers for coupons, but found that using printable coupons is more thrifty for us.
We shop at Aldi for most of our grocery staples because they are the most reasonably priced in our area.
We use reusable cloth napkins that I made by stitching a hem around 18" x 18" squares of cotton fabric scraps.
If you drink coffee, save the grounds from the previous day and add 1/2 the amount of coffee grounds the following day. It tastes as good as a fresh pot of coffee and this will save you $$$ on coffee through the year.
Buy used whenever possible. I always look for blue jeans and other nice clothing as Goodwill and other thrift stores. This has saved us a lot over the years. I also bought a nice bread maker at a thrift store that was like new for just a few dollars and we've gotten lots of yummy breads and dinner rolls over the years from using it.
I could go on, but it's bedtime. I am looking forward to following this thread.
If you are a bit broke due to buying presents, you can look into making gifts for next year.
Here are some simple ideas
-family photo albums
-cookie mix in a jar
-family tree framed
-knitted hats, scarves
-mixed tape style cd
-framed collage of family/friend photos
-cookbook of family recipes
There are probably tons of ideas online as well.
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.
I carry a little notepad with me everywhere I go and write down every penny I spend and on what. I tally it up at the end of the month and it becomes clear where I need to shave off a few costs.
Buy generic whenever possible. It's usually the same ingredients and quality but saves tons of money.
Make your own coffee, we saved tons of cash carting our own portable coffee mugs rather than stopping at the deli. Starbucks is only for very very very special occassions but I see so many people going there at least twice a day - insanity!
Google "free things to do" in your city. It's shocking how much you can do for free, including free admissions at local museums at certain days. 411 is free from a payphone.
The most famous salons in the world offer free or very low cost hair cuts on certain days when they are training students. These students are overseen by master stylists and the hair cuts are great.
"If you pay attention to when you are hungry, what your body wants, what you are eating, when you've had enough, you end the obsession because obsession and awareness cannot coexist." - Geneen Roth
Every single thing you are considering buying (with the exception of basic foods) think about whether you really need it or you could do without. Even if it looks like a great bargain, do you really need it?
Thrift shops are your best friend for everything from clothing to small appliances. Buy used furniture when you need it - never new (with the possible exception of mattresses). Keep your eye out on the street - I've gotten a lot of free stuff that people just put out on the curb where I live. Things like a work table for the garage, books, tables and chairs that you can fix up with a little paint.
Freecycle dot org is a listing of stuff people are giving away. I've used it more to give stuff away than to get stuff, but if it's in your community you can find great things on there ranging from clothing to furniture to moving boxes.
Use public transportation, walk or bike whenever possible instead of using the car. Cheaper and more exercise - win-win.
In my area and other major cities Goldstar dot com has half price tickets to all sorts of events. I never pay full price any more.
I try to eat the best meat and vegetables I can find and afford. It seems to me that doctor bills are much more expensive than buying decent food. It is a long-term health strategy. Also, avoiding junk food saves a lot of money! I eat a lot less than I used to. Quality beats quantity for me.