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mayerling

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
2,357
This is what I'm doing so far:

1. Home-cooked meals
2. Buying in bulk (to a certain extent - we rent and we don't have enough space to store very large quantities)
3. Don't leave appliances on stand-by

Any other ideas?
 

lyra

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
5,208
1.Replace your fridge if it is over 10 years old, it's costing you much more to operate than new models.
2.Put space blankets in your south-facing windows during the summer. You'll save a/c costs and your house will be cooler! We started this year and have had a couple of neighbours follow suit because of the difference it makes in even just cooling the house.
3.Use white vinegar in your dishwasher rinse container to prevent spots. Cheap and effective.
 

mayerling

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
2,357
lyra|1311623245|2976503 said:
1.Replace your fridge if it is over 10 years old, it's costing you much more to operate than new models.
2.Put space blankets in your south-facing windows during the summer. You'll save a/c costs and your house will be cooler! We started this year and have had a couple of neighbours follow suit because of the difference it makes in even just cooling the house.
3.Use white vinegar in your dishwasher rinse container to prevent spots. Cheap and effective.
Thanks, Lyra, but I'm afraid I can't use any of these :((

1. We rent and the appliances are included. So we can't change the fridge.
2. We live in the UK so a/c is not really an issue.
3. We don't have a dishwasher (not really common in old houses in the UK).
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
*Homemade vegetable soup and bread (I eat it everyday when my husband's not around, he thinks it peasant food)
*Drive a used car till it dies
*Search for coupon codes before you buy anything online
*For guys- get a $30 buzzer and get at home haircuts
*Dilute detergents
*Go shopping and fill up your cart with whatever you want then put everything back
*Get a cash back credit card (I use AMEX bluecash), put everything on it and pay it off every month
*This is crazy but I rolled over my old 401k into a IRA, sold all mutual funds, picked my portfolio by myself and no longer contribute to my retirement. I have made 20% return in 9 months by managing it aggressively whereas I used to contribute about $4500 a year and often got negative returns. When I thought of how the bank collapse went down I realized the average joe is way better at picking stocks than investment firms. The secret is to only buy companies that actually make money.

It all equals more money for my gem collection. We all have our priorities...I drive an 19 year old suzuki sidekick. :bigsmile:
 

centralsquare

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
Messages
2,201
Free samples - a lot of companies will give out free samples of their products if you write them and say that you are interested in trying their product.
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
We were able to cut out a lot of unnecessary expenses ONLY after we tracked every single penny we spent for three months. We were already cooking most of our meals at home and all that, so we were shocked to see how quickly some of the little things really do add up. (David Bach calls these things your "latte factors" in his books.)

I highly recommend you record everything you spend for three months and then cull through it to identify unnecessary expenses. It worked for us!

One thing we've always done is a regular cheap-o meal day every week. We eat our cheapest meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every Monday during the school year. We also started preparing and eating true portions of things (rather than making four portions for the two of us) and that will save you a lot of money, too. We weren't overeating or anything, but I had a bad habit of making too-large meals and then wasting what we didn't eat.

OTHER IDEAS:
- Do you currently wear any dry clean only clothing? If so, get rid of it all! We did that a couple years ago and haven't looked back.
- Do you have anything done at a salon, such as your nails or eyebrows or hair? I started slowly maintaining all of my grooming myself several years ago, and now I never need to visit a salon. And I still look darn good!
- Don't go "window shopping", and don't buy anything you didn't previously plan to purchase while you were out. Sit on every new potential purchase at least overnight, and you'll find that you don't really want to buy most of those things, anyway.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 8, 2008
Messages
40,350
This is what we do-

1. Take lunch to work every day and make coffee at home every morning

2. Use our FSA's

3. Keep our tires on our car properly inflated to save on gas and do regular auto maintenance to keep our car in good shape for as long as possible.

4. Buy online when it saves us money and buy generic when it doesn't make a difference to us (and when it does matter we buy the brand we prefer because life's too short KWIM?) and always price check around to find the best price possible (I enjoy the hunt as much as the reward)

5. Belong to Costco and purchase things that do not spoil in bulk such as paper products, detergent etc. and use our Costco Amex for cash back on every purchase

6. Borrow books/DVD's from the library or share/swap with friends

7. Don't pay interest on credit cards and avoid ATM fees as well as banking fees

8. Have most of our insurance deductibles at the maximum allowable

9. Cancel any memberships/subscriptions we do not use

10. Invite friends over instead of going out (I prefer it and it really does save lots of money especially with our friends who have expensive tastes!)

11. Plan and stick to our budget (we use mint.com) and pay bills online (saves cost of stamp and envelope and keeps you on top of your bills)

12. Always eat our leftovers next day or so- we get creative and use them as the basis for a new dish. We save lots of money (and stay healthier too) eating at home and having leftovers for other meals during the week.

13. Pack food whenever we will be out for the day so we are not forced to purchase expensive and/or unhealthy meals

14. All our electrical devices are on a surge protector so our expensive equipment doesn't get damaged
 

wildcat03

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
503
I keep a running list of items I want to buy - clothing, electronics, etc. I buy them when they are on sale - Nordstrom's half-yearly sale, Banana Republic's almost-weekly 40% off coupons (I have their credit card), Amazon's Gold Box deals. I don't buy it unless it's on sale.

I search slickdeals.net for other things (toilet paper, my sonicare brush head replacements) or buy them with 20% off coupons from Bed, Bath, and Beyond (mine has a drugstore section that has lots of household stuff).

I get free Amazon Prime with my .edu email address, so I always check there for good prices.

I wash as much of my clothing on cold water as I can and hang it to dry - saves on hot water and electricity and prolongs the life of my clothes.

I dropped the gym membership and invested in some good running clothes for all seasons. I run outside year rounds and use exercise videos for conditioning. The initial layout for all of that was about $400, and gym memberships around here are easily $40/month, so I recouped it all in a year.

I use a Brita filter and a kleen kanteen (purchased on sale from LL Bean), no bottled water except on my long runs, when I purchase a cold bottle during my last mile.

I installed a low flow showerhead. I don't get the fantastic feeling of a good high-flow showerhead with good water pressure, but it cut about $10/month off my gas bill year-round and I'm used to it now.

I keep LOTS of blankets around, and turn the heat down to 65 or lower in the winter.

My citicard gives me 1-5% back on all purchases. I use it all month and pay it off monthly.

For my online shopping, I check ebates, fatwallet, and extrabux for the best cash back deal. I use one of those sites any time I can (like when I buy from Nordstrom and Banana Republic, even Ebay!)
 

texaskj

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Messages
1,196
lyra|1311623245|2976503 said:
3.Use white vinegar in your dishwasher rinse container to prevent spots. Cheap and effective.
Check your owner's manual before doing this. The high acidity could actually hurt some models.

I don't know if this falls under money-saving tricks or working the system, but I charge everything I possibly can including the electric, food, phone, water, etc. and pay it off every month. My State Farm Visa is 1% back. I got $150 off my homeowner's insurance this year.
 

marcy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 27, 2007
Messages
24,114
Good ideas. We try to use leftovers for lunch instead of buying fast food (saving about $75 a week) and only go out to supper once a week.
 

lyra

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
5,208
texaskj|1311637293|2976668 said:
lyra|1311623245|2976503 said:
3.Use white vinegar in your dishwasher rinse container to prevent spots. Cheap and effective.
Check your owner's manual before doing this. The high acidity could actually hurt some models.
Please explain how it can hurt some models. I have always used it and have never had a problem. I did check for my specific dishwasher and it was recommended actually, for light spotting issues. A stronger acid (citric acid) is required to remove tougher hardwater spots. Thanks.
 

texaskj

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Messages
1,196
My owner's manual (Kenmore) says not to use vinegar too often, it'll hurt the machine. I think whatever you put in your machine has to do a whole lot with how hard your water is and what's making it hard. It's like you need a degree in chemistry to get the dishes clean.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,955
Do not buy microwave popcorn.
I buy plain popcorn kernals in a huge bag and use an air popper.
Besided being MUCH cheaper it is much more healthy.
After popping into a large paper shopping bag I shake it vigorously while sprinkling olive oil and herbs on it.

Believe it or not I go to a store, Smart and Final Iris, that sells 50-pound bags of popcorn to movie theaters. No joke.
I bought two 5-gallon covered buckets at Home Depot to store it.
I eat popcorn almost every day and when made this way is a very healthy and inexpensive staple.

I also buy brown rice and pinto beans in a 25-pound bag.
For some reason here buying sugar in huge bags does not save you any money, so don't assume large sizes are always cheaper.
Do the math.
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
Kenny--I just made stove top popcorn last night, and now your post has me craving some more tonight! Mmmmm. I agree--it's cheaper, healthier, requires no special appliances, and it tastes a million times better than that microwave stuff. Nomnomnomnomnom.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,955
Haven, if you care to try it my favorite herb combo with the olive oil is powered garlic and a really good gourmet paprika!!!! :lickout: :lickout: :lickout:

Read the label of microwave popcorn.
It has TONS of fat, and not the healthy kind like olive oil.
 

NewEnglandLady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Messages
6,299
We used to be really disciplined about staying on a written budget and the little things most definitely add up.

I think one of the best ways to really cut down on expenses, though, is to get rid of cable, internet and the cell phone. My husband got rid of his cell phone a couple of years ago--I think our family plan prior to that was right around $100. And our phone/cable/internet bill is around $160/month. I think this is fairly typical, so if a typical family just had a $30/month landline service, that's $230 a month that could be saved before even getting into the "little" things.
 

lyra

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 13, 2007
Messages
5,208
You can make your own almost anything these days. I'm in Canada and I can't get a lot of the deals that you can get in the US for sure, but ebay can help out sometimes. If you use vanilla extract, you can easily make your own and have enough to last you for life from basically one batch. We made some and are giving some away as gifts. Good vanilla extract (not great, but pretty good) costs $15 a bottle here for about 4 oz. About 10-11 vanilla beans (from ebay for $20 for about 30-50) can make way more than 6 cups (we've only made 6 cups so far though). This is only helpful if someone in the family bakes of course.
 

LGK

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
2,975
Thrift stores for clothes. You can absolutely find unused or barely-used clothes for much, much, much cheaper than new, and sometimes you get super lucky and find designer stuff even- plus, it's a lot more fun IMO. I (almost) never buy brand new clothes except for undies and shoes.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,955
Oh yes thrift stores.
Everything I wear is from thrift stores except shoes, sox and underwear, which must be new.
 

wannaBMrsH

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
1,049
We try:

-Shopping only on sale (Semi-Annual Sales, Ebates, Ebay, Coupons, etc.)
-Keep an eye on Groupon for things such as massages, dinners, photos, etc.
-Craigslist. We've bought brand new golf clubs, rugs, coffee tables, etc.
-DIY. I've made my own jewelry, handbags, minor clothing repairs (replacing buttons, mending, hemming), but DH takes the cake, he's re-tiled our kitchen, laid the hardwood floor in our game room, changed our chandeliers, painted the walls, etc.
-Mow your own yard
-Definitely limit the eating out, we try to only go out to eat once a week

For Travel:
-Priceline. We love it. We just came back from a weekend in New Orleans and we got a room two blocks from Bourbon Street for $59/night.
-Belong to frequent flier programs and stay loyal. We have American and we shop their e-shopping program, have an AA Amex, belong to the dining program. The miles accumulate at ridiculous rates (we even double dipped once when we used our AA AMEX to buy a Home Depot gift card via e-shopping, then when the card arrived we used it to buy our new refrigerator on the same e-shopping program. We got a $1500 gift card for 3 miles for each dollar on the program (4500 miles), then also got 5 miles for every dollar from our Amex (7500), and then another 3 miles for each dollar when we used the gift card on the e-shopping program (4500). That came out to 16,500 miles! that is more than half of one round trip domestic ticket, for something we were going to buy anyway.
-Use Groupon if you know you are traveling to a specific city. For our last trip to New Orleans, I bought a groupon for $30 for $60 of food at a local restaurant. It turned out to be very close to our hotel and the food was great.
-Only eat two meals a day if you can swing it. We eat a very late breakfast around 11:30ish and then have an early supper around 5ish. We try to find a market and get fruit and other snacks in between, but it saves money to not eat out three meals every day.
-Buy souvenirs at CVS or Walgreens. Seriously! All the shot glasses and keychains and mugs from Las Vegas, San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago, etc. I bought at a drugstore. We do this overseas as well, in Tokyo we found a Yen store (similar to a dollar store) and got tons of souvenirs for less than $50 and in Munich, we got glasses that we still use in a grocery store.
 

TristanC

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2011
Messages
995
How to save money?

1. Stay away from Pricescope
2. Don't google gems
3. Don't browse Kenny's FCD collection
4. Ask your SO to set jewelry stores in your childblock internet nanny
5. Buy lab created gems instead of natural
6. If you are rhodium plating, plate 8k gold or silver instead of 18K gold


Seriously though, a good practice is to only draw $$$ once a week (with a properly worked out budget). Don't charge anything on your credit card. Only buy things if you have cash in your wallet.

Just by doing this stress free thing, you automatically switch your buying behavior depending on how much money you have in your wallet towards the end of the week. If you have more cash after a good week, you can eat nicer, or have a good steak dinner at home, if not, then you eat cheaper etc. You will automatically know whether you have overspent or underspent during a week. With practice, you just won't go over.

And the easiest way to save more money, is to earn more money. Take up hobbies/pastimes that can earn money. Swimming instructor, sell baked items, some people do woodwork, crafting etc.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
28,955
Nya Ah Aaaaaaah!

1bb.jpg
 

Jennifer W

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
1,958
I write a 'wants list' too. Then when I'm out, if stuff speaks to me, I don't buy it unless it's on the list. I also find that over time, I can strike things off the list because I've changed my mind about them or they're no longer what's needed.

Do you sew? My other tip is to pick up a vintage or antique Singer sewing machine and learn to do alterations like hemming etc, so you can make thrift store clothes fit better, or grab the bargain of the century left only in the enormous size and tailor it etc. If you want cushions and curtains or a new bedspread, it's much, much cheaper to make your own (and you end up with nicer stuff once you get a bit of practice). If you feel like doing this, don't spend more that £20 on the machine, and pretty much whatever state it is in, I can talk you through getting it working again. It's a bit of a hobby of mine. Handcrank machines are fabulous to use, especially if you're a beginner, and they don't use electricity. Electric models can be fantastic, but will need attention from a qualified electrician, so only worth the outlay if you're going to do a lot of sewing. If you're really good at it, you can make vintage clothes fit - Circe had a thread about this a while ago. Not easy and not for the faint hearted, but I have a friend who does this and it's grown into a successful little business.

Alternatively, if you already have a machine, dust it off and see what you can do!
 

Miss Sparkly

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
1,664
I've found inexpensive makeup staples that work very well. I still splurge for good foundation and skincare. Sephora Beauty Insider card gets you access to TONS of free products, samples and coupons. We moved into town (saves 45 miles per car per day - lots of moola on gas/oil/etc). Don't pay for cable - only Netflix instant and Hulu with rabbit ears for local channels. I never buy anything full price if I can help it - always on sale or at Ross, Marshals, TjMaxx etc. I don't carry a debit card so that impulse purchases cannot be made. I learned to tailor my own clothes by hand and actually found that I love it! Great sense of accomplishment. DH gets 40% any Verizon contract thru his work so our cell phones are thru Verizon with no land line. We splurge on internet due to heavy gaming use and streaming videos but still don't pay a whole lot - I talked them down to $45 a month for one year for 20 megabytes.
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 1, 2009
Messages
9,294
1. Roast coffee beans myself. I order the unroasted beans for about 1/3 the price of the ones we had been buying already roasted.
2. Cook extra food intentionally. A tiny bit leftover usually gets tossed, but just a little extra intentionally cooked makes a great leftover based meal.
3. We're switching over to LED to light our house as bulbs die. Each bulb in the entry (also adds light to living room) cost $20 but will last for years (and use less energy) instead of the $5/bulb we had been replacing every year or so.
4. Additional insulation really cut our electric/gas bills last winter. Saved more in the one winter than the insullation cost. (We bought a roll at a time and installed ourselves)
5. ONE car. Luckily we live/work in a sort of straight line and schedules match pretty well. It makes no sense to buy another car (+insurance + gas + maintenance) when I drive right past FI's work every day on my way to work and again from school.
6. I cut FI's hair and my own bangs.
7. All four of our animals get groomed by us.
8. DIY wherever possible...... knowing enough to NOT DIY at times.
9. Breakfast & coffee at home. Lunch packed.
10. Run only full loads of laundry & dishes. (detergent + water + electricity really adds up)

11. Our latest change --- Friday afternoon we both go to the grocery store and get food for the next few days. We don't plan our menus until we actually get there. Menus are determined by the weekend mega-sale! (chicken for $0.77/pound! Beef roast for $1.50/pound! and so much more!!). We get enough for Fri/Sat/sometimes-Sun then go home and plan for the following week after seeing what the prices are.
 

vsc

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
104
I try to target the bigger stuff first:
* Drive a small, reliable car, into the ground
* Only get the cable/internet/cell service that you really need (for example I work from home so absolutely need internet, but I don't need a smartphone because I'm rarely out of the house)
* Buy a house below your means and pay ahead the mortgage. For example, if you can afford $1000 a month, get a house where the mortgage will be $700 but still pay $1000. Through compound interest, you will get back much more than the extra you put in - you will pay off the house in half the time or less. Money put in early on has the biggest impact; I paid a little bit ahead, and now over $100 of my payment that would normally go to interest is going to principal instead, even if I don't pay more than the required amount.
You could also get a 10 or 15 year mortgage but then you lose the flexibility of paying just the smaller amount in case of duress.
* Shop for clothing and shoes at Ross/Marshalls/TJMaxx
* Don't dry clean/iron your own shirts
 

mayerling

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 4, 2010
Messages
2,357
Thanks, everybody! These are excellent suggestions. I just wish they would translate to life in the UK a bit more...
 

nfowife

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
544
My biggest one is with groceries- that is where the budget is hard to stick to. I cook most all our meals at home, we don't eat out much. But I was doing a lot of impulse buying at the grocery store. Now, I have a set budget and I get it out in cash each week. I plan my meals, what we need to make lunches for school and hubby for work, breakfasts, snacks, etc. I take the cash and do my shopping and stick to my list. I also have a set amount of spending $$ each week in cash. So basically once I have my grocery and spending cash I don't use my debit/credit cards the rest of the week. It really limits my spending and also it makes you think more as it's harder to pull out the cash than it is to just swipe the card- you have to decide if it's really worth $x for the things you want, you know?
 
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