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Old 12-30-2012, 01:08 PM   #1
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Talking Money saving tips!

Hi all.
I would be really glad of any moneysaving/moneymaking tips you may like to share.
At this time of year when we are all a bit broke I thought it may be a good time to review our spending as a household and I genuinely can't see where I can save any money on household bills! I have pared it back to the bone and then some!!
Cheap exercise tips, value for money recipes ...that sort of thing!
Thank you in advance for any advice.
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:26 PM   #2
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I make soup alot. Sometimes its a huge vat of veg. soup Sometimes frozen vegetables , when on sale are cheaper than fresh veggies. Also, if you have left over meat that can be added to the soup as well. Just one way I save a little while trying to eat healthy.
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:44 PM   #3
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I love buying in thrift shops. There is this chain "savers" that has the MOST amazing things. Gently used. I got two coats that fit me perfectly last week for $40. Some outfits obviously have never been used. Probably the person purchased it and couldn't fit into it.

There is a website called "plastic jungle" where people sell gift cards. Well if you buy them at a discount, you get the full value but only pay 70% of the cost. Like an instant discount.
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:14 AM   #4
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The best thing I've ever done to save money is trying to pay everything by cash, and not by credit card.
When you touch the money is a lot harder to buy unnecessary things.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:57 AM   #5
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Mine would be opposite of the last one, buy everything with a cash return credit card. It doesn't work for everyone though.

- Get rid of the cable TV. There are a lot of options for watching TV now days from Netflix to Amazon to Hulu.

- If you have a smart phone, really evaluate if you need it. There may be other options depending on how you use your phone.

- If you have a cell phone and a full service home phone, drop the home phone or get a metered phone line.

- Drop your thermostat a few degrees and bundle up instead.

- If you have your checking/savings in a traditional big bank, shop around for credit unions/alternative banks as you may be able to get a higher percentage return on your savings and even a checking account that will pay you interest.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:03 AM   #6
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Buy in bulk and freeze.
Turkeys are so cheap now.
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Old 12-31-2012, 01:32 PM   #7
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This is a little one, but it's saved me a good amount of money on drinks during the winter. If you're cold and craving something hot, keep tea bags with you. You can get hot water from most places for free in their coffee cups. The only place I've had trouble with is the movie theater, but kind cashiers will usually fill up my own coffee mug for me (the cups are inventory in the theaters).

You may have to specify that you want it in a coffee cup, and you may get odd stares, but it works. I just can't see spending $2+ on hot water and a $0.10 tea bag.

On ther flipside you can also get cold water from most places for free too if you specify that you don't want bottled water. Carry crystal light packets with you if you don't like plain water

Both above tips work in most restaurants/fast food joints. It's great when my friends want to go out but I don't want to spend lots of $$$
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:23 PM   #8
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The Complete Tightwad Gazette (or the three individual volumes) are a great resource. It's out of print, but you can still find the books in most libraries and used on amazon.com. A few of the tips you may find strange and possibly even disturbing (such as dumpster diving for food), but most are much more practical. It's an entertaining read, and you're bound to find many tips you can use (and many you're probably already using).

This is where I learned about using dry tvp (textured vegetgable {soy} protein) granules with ground meat. I had tried tvp when I experimented with vegetarianism. Most health food stores carry it, and even many grocery stores including Walmart. At Walmart it's usually with the other Bob's Redmill products such as gluten-free flours. In the health food stores it's often sold in bulk (usually the cheapest way to buy tvp). Per serving it's about 1/4 the cost of ground beef (because one pound of dried tvp costs about as much as one pound of cheap ground beef and provides 3 to 4 times the servings).

It looks a bit like Grape Nuts cereal or beige aquarium gravel. You can reconstitute it with water or broth, and use it in place of ground beef. But the flavor is extremely bland on it's own. Browning it with ground beef (as I learned in the Tightwad Gazette) is a great compromise for meat-eaters who don't like the taste or texture of the tvp on it's own.

Hubby was skeptical because he hated my tvp dishes until I started making them with the tvp/ground beef mixture. I've improved on the recipe I found in the Tightwad Gazette. I brown the tvp with seasoning vegetables (any combination of onion, mushroom, celery, bell pepper, diced carrot...) and spices and the ground beef. I don't add any hot water or broth until after the beef is no longer pink. This way, the tvp absorbs more of the beefy flavor and then I add liquid as needed. Instead of water or broth, often I'll add a can of petite diced tomatoes. The moisture in the tomatoes and canning liquid is usually enough to reconstitute the tvp to the desired texture.

The brand of tomatoes I use is sold at the local Dollar stores at two cans for a dollar.

I also will use other meats besides beef. Ground pork, chorizo, italian sausage, ground chicken or turkey...

I don't mind using fattier meats, because the tvp is fat-free. I can use super-cheap hamburger and ground sausages, because the fattier the meat, the more tvp I use. That way, even cheap super-fatty chorizo becomes a relatively lean protein just by using more tvp than chorizo. The chorizo is so flavorful that I can use 2 lbs of tvp (equivalent to 6 - 8 lbs of beef) with one lb of chorizo, and several cups of diced onion, celery, and bell pepper, and a couple cans of diced tomatoes with chilies to use as a taco filling or base for chili.

I make huge batches, because I freeze them in ziploc bags and "smoosh" the bag around every 20 minutes or so as it freezes so that it freezes in "crumbles" that I can scoop out of the bag as needed.

I label the bags, because I sometimes have more than one variety in the freezer at once. Usually I use more generic meats and seasonings (browing beef, pork, chicken or turkey with the tvp, onion, celery, bell pepper and sometimes mushroom with garlic powder or


There are a lot of other "frugal living" books and online resources as well.
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:37 PM   #9
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The Complete Tightwad Gazette (or the three individual volumes) are a great resource. It's out of print, but you can still find the books in most libraries and used on amazon.com. A few of the tips you may find strange and possibly even disturbing (such as dumpster diving for food), but most are much more practical. It's an entertaining read, and you're bound to find many tips you can use (and many you're probably already using).

This is where I learned about using dry tvp (textured vegetgable {soy} protein) granules with ground meat. I had tried tvp when I experimented with vegetarianism. Most health food stores carry it, and even many grocery stores including Walmart. At Walmart it's usually with the other Bob's Redmill products such as gluten-free flours. In the health food stores it's often sold in bulk (usually the cheapest way to buy tvp). Per serving it's about 1/4 the cost of ground beef (because one pound of dried tvp costs about as much as one pound of cheap ground beef and provides 3 to 4 times the servings).

It looks a bit like Grape Nuts cereal or beige aquarium gravel. You can reconstitute it with water or broth, and use it in place of ground beef. But the flavor is extremely bland on it's own. Browning it with ground beef (as I learned in the Tightwad Gazette) is a great compromise for meat-eaters who don't like the taste or texture of the tvp on it's own.

Hubby was skeptical because he hated my tvp dishes until I started making them with the tvp/ground beef mixture. I've improved on the recipe I found in the Tightwad Gazette. I brown the tvp with seasoning vegetables (any combination of onion, mushroom, celery, bell pepper, diced carrot...) and spices and the ground beef. I don't add any hot water or broth until after the beef is no longer pink. This way, the tvp absorbs more of the beefy flavor and then I add liquid as needed. Instead of water or broth, often I'll add a can of petite diced tomatoes. The moisture in the tomatoes and canning liquid is usually enough to reconstitute the tvp to the desired texture.

The brand of tomatoes I use is sold at the local Dollar stores at two cans for a dollar.

I also will use other meats besides beef. Ground pork, chorizo, italian sausage, ground chicken or turkey...

I don't mind using fattier meats, because the tvp is fat-free. I can use super-cheap hamburger and ground sausages, because the fattier the meat, the more tvp I use. That way, even cheap super-fatty chorizo becomes a relatively lean protein just by using more tvp than chorizo. The chorizo is so flavorful that I can use 2 lbs of tvp (equivalent to 6 - 8 lbs of beef) with one lb of chorizo, and several cups of diced onion, celery, and bell pepper, and a couple cans of diced tomatoes with chilies to use as a taco filling or base for chili.

I make huge batches, because I freeze them in ziploc bags and "smoosh" the bag around every 20 minutes or so as it freezes so that it freezes in "crumbles" that I can scoop out of the bag as needed.

I label the bags, because I sometimes have more than one variety in the freezer at once. Usually I use more generic meats and seasonings (browing beef, pork, chicken or turkey with the tvp, onion, celery, bell pepper and seasonings I like in most dishes such as garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, and a mixed seasoning like Lawry's seasoning salt or Mrs Dash).

By freezing it in scoopable crumbles I can scoop out just what I need, whether I'm making a sloppy joe sandwhich for just myself (reheating a 1/2 cup of mix and adding a couple tablespoons of barbecue sauce. I love this over a baked potato or sweet potato) or spaghetti or tacos for a crowd.



Besides the Tightwad Gazette, here are a lot of other "frugal living" books and online resources as well. I went to amazon.com and searched for these books, and created a list of books that sounded like they'd be helpful (Dining on a Dime, Good Cheap Food, Miserly Moms) and then I took the list to the library and checked out what I could find, and ordered the rest through interlibrary loan.

As I read the cookbooks, I wrote down a few recipes and made a list of the books I wanted to own. Then I went to amazon.com and ordered the cheapest ones I could find.

Because of my using the tvp mixture, three of the cookbooks I bought through amazon.com and yardsales (none of them over $5 including shipping) were ground beef cookbooks.

We also almost never buy anything new that we can find used, and often this means we actually have better stuff than man of our friends with much higher incomes (if you're patient, you can get much nicer used furniture through yard sales, freecycle, and thrift stores than you would be able to afford new).

Looking for a local freecycle group (through facebook and/or yahoo groups or just googling) by the way is another awesome tool for saving money. People give items they no longer want, and others list items they'd like to find. All items must be free. You may also find groups similar to freecycle through yahoo, google, Craig's List... where people give, buy, and sell for very low prices.
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Old 12-31-2012, 02:39 PM   #10
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For me hair was a BIG one. I let the dyed ends grow out (they are mostly gone at this point) and have been wearing my natural hair color. I literally have not had all my natural hair on my head since middle school. It's very liberating. I used to spend about $40-$60 a month for a cut and color.

I also trim the ends on my own and get it evened out at the $8 place once in awhile. I literally only spent around $20 getting my hair done in 2012 and it has never looked better.

I also started plucking my eyebrows myself, while they don't look quite as good as getting them waxed, they look good enough.

I'll also second what Nellie said about the cell phones. It blows my mind how much people spend on smart phones. My cheapo slide phone is $10 a month on my parents plan (yes I am 26 and still on my parents plan but it beats paying $100+ a month for a smartphone).
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:52 AM   #11
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There are a lot of different websites devoted to frugal living. I've found some handy tips from hillybilly housewife, if you like to cook, for example.

We put plastic over our windows this winter to cut down on fuel oil costs. Additionally, we (mostly) closed the vents in the bedrooms and dropped the temp down low. I've noticed that it is helping us save some fuel oil.

Appliances still use electricity when plugged in, even if they are off. Unplug what you can when not in use.

I called my cable company, with the intent of cancelling my television, but they worked with me and reduced the cost of my services by $80 (and I didn't lose anything in the process). Wouldn't hurt to call and see if they can reduce the costs of your services.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:01 AM   #12
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These are such great tips guys thank you so much. I take the point about how much having my hair done costs.....but I am so grey!! I have extended the period of time between cuts to 3 months now as my hair is much longer...but going totally grey at 46?? Not sure I am ready for that!!!
I find TVP fantastic...I used it too when I was a vegetarian many years ago and now they sell it at ASDA ( what Walmart is called over here).
Great point about TV...... I will call Sky and threaten to leave and see what happens!!
Any more tips gratefully received!
Happy New Year.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:06 PM   #13
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My biggest is we bought a half a cow. It's organic, grass fed and cost just the same as what I was buying.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:59 PM   #14
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I use homemade cleaners for windows, floors & appliances. I don't have the recipes on hand at the moment but I think I found some of them on this site. Most use vinegar and/ or baking soda as primary ingredient.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cemommster View Post
My biggest is we bought a half a cow.
Ok that threw me off for a moment then I had to giggle at the thought of half a cow standing in the field. :P

I find learning how to do things yourself that you normally pay someone else to do helps BIG TIME! Thankfully growing up and watching my Dad work on our cars I already knew how to change the oil in mine and never have to pay someone else to do it.

I've always been creative so I always liked doing my own nails. But I have friends that spend $20-60 a month at a nail salon. And there's plenty of howto's on youtube for everything with that. From how to apply acrylics (something I never been into myself) to different designs for your nails.

And a oldie but a goodie. Avoiding eating out. Cook your own means from scratch as much as possible. Plus I find for most part it's healthier.
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