I am looking for suggestions for cutting expenses and living cheaply. I know lots of us spent lots of money on child care not covered by insurance and thought maybe others might want to join my get out of debt so I can travel more cursade.
We are thinking of cutting our tv. Satellite is all we can get out here and it's not that cheap. We figure we can get the news on the computer and radio and the kids have an x-box and some dvd's they can make do with(I only allow weekend use during the school year anyway).
Family that wanted to buy me gifts this year and asked what I wanted I told them Wal-mart gift cards. I don't need things and I used them for food and necessities which helped with the cash flow this month.
We are trying to live on a cash only basis-no money, no anything.
We heat our house with wood so we have been getting free wood wherever it's available-means cutting it ourselves mostly but what's a little work, right?
We've done other things-use old t-shirts for cleaning rags, made cloth napkins out of old sheets-saves a little on paper products and cleaning items.
Looking for other suggestions to live cheap. Looking for ways to cut the food budget etc.
Reading Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover-I want the freedom of owing No One Money and having a more secure financial future. And most importantly, able to travel with my friends and not be stuck at home.
Anyone else on the debt free track?
Kinda just kidding! Our local Salvation Army started having 50% off days every Wednesday and Saturday. I troop in with most or all of my 4 kids about 2-3 times a month and smile and chat a lot. They "know" me so give me huge discounts. Last week all children's clothes were $.49. Only my youngest still wears children sizes, but they gave me all the clothes I bought for my daughters and older son at $.49 as well! Even the maternity outfit I bought for a friend because it was "for a baby." I bought 2 garbage bags full of clothes for less than 10 dollars. This weekend I bought 3 two-piece suits for work (I've grown a size or two because I eat when I'm stressed) and a dress shirt for my son. The suits were each $12.99 originally. I walked out of there for $4.29 (including tax). Establishing relationships with companies that are allowed to negotiate on prices makes a huge difference!
Also, many years ago (when my kids were still in children's sizes) I started "Mary's closet". As my children grew out of clothes I loaned them to friends. The friends usually added to them and loaned them on. Some things never came back, but most of the people added more than I'd loaned. By the time I was tired of storing all the clothes that weren't currently loaned out (and I knew what sizes my "new" adopted children were so didn't have to worry about hanging on to the small sizes anymore) I was able to take mountains of clothes to the resale shop. Most of which were practically brand new. I didn't have time to do that so I loaned them to one last friend on the condition that as her 4th (and last) child outgrew them she would sell them for me and we would split the profits.
All our furniture, clothes, toys, household items, gifts, etc. come from resale. I even have trouble paying discount store prices now. But we live near a large city so that helps.
mom to growing children son T(8), daughter K(11), daughter C(12) - still waiting for finalization, and son D(14) home from RTC since Monday
If "that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger..." just call me Superwoman!
And, we had no TV at all for three years in Wisconsin. You'd be amazed what you can accomplish. I'm all for letting the TV Satelite bill die a quick death.
I have been without TV for over 7 years now. I play videos and/or DVD's when I feel a need for it, which isn't that often, even though I have M.E. and spend a lot of time at home. I have checked with the government dept and as along as my tv is not connected to an aerial, I don't have to pay the license fee, as I am not receiving channels.
I am on government benefits and its not a lot. I try to save 1 a day (is that $2?) and that means I have ã30 per month, which soon adds up. If I am about to buy a newspaper or coffee, I try to remind myself about that 1 and is it in the savings piggy bank?
I list all my food that I in store under groups: protein, carbs, fruit, veg/salad so that I know everything that is in my fridge/cupboards. Rarely is anything not eaten or end up in the bin. When I shop, I can see that I already have .... x (protein) y (veg) etc so I don't need to buy anymore. Then with the list on the kitchen wall, I can see what there is to choose from to eat, and I put a line through each item when its gone. It also adds as a prompt to remember things I need to stock up on.
I have taken out a modest health plan (ã9.62/month) that will give me up to 90 a year for dental work and ã120 for optician fees, plus other benefits if ever needed. As I consider myself rather poor at saving, the plan does it for me.
With the car, I belong to a breakdown organisation and they diagnose what the problem is, and if necessary, I write it down if too technical, so that I can phone garages and ask how much they would charge for ..... no good going to a garage and saying 'I don't know whats wrong with this car' - to me thats inviting oneself to be ripped off.
I'm happy to search in charity shops to find a special piece to wear or Ebay! Managed to get a special ball gown for 5 and ã5 postage - first one I've been to since..... Have been considering having a bring and exchange clothes but haven't gotten around to it yet..
I've joined the local car boot sales and sold stuff that I no longer use, and that has been fun and usually yielded upwards of 60, sometimes ã100 or more. However, in more recent years, here in the UK, people practically want everything for nothing and I know people who are cutting down on car boots for that reason.. people are too mean, wanting to give you virtually nothing for good stuff, as if it wasn't being offered cheap to start with......
I could go on, but I'm getting tired... its the M.E. calling.... time for bed and its only 09:57..... LOL
p.s I enjoyed everyone's suggestions on this thread, some good ideas I'm making note of.... must pump those car tyres up....
The dollar store. We buy lots of things at the dollar store. Kids school supplies being one of our biggest purchases. You can get a box of 20 pencisl for $1. Can't be that.
We were there on Sunday after church to pick up cleaning supplies. Some are name brand and others are off brand, but they work just as well. They even have things like mops and scrub brushes that you pay 2 or 3 times as much some place else. Just be careful not to get other stuff that's not on your list.
The other is making your cleaning supplies. I have very hard water so I have to buy some of them, but my great-grandma used to "make" window cleaner and floor cleaner. To clean both, use dish soap, water and vinegar. It cuts grease and leaves a clean shine. Clean windows and mirrors with old newspaper. Doesn't leave any lint.
Check out Freecycle. [url=]The Freecycle Network[/url] People post things that they are getting rid of. Everything from clothes, to appliances (both large and small) to beds. In return you post things you want to get rid of. Everything is exchanged free of charge. I got Shorty's Easter dress in a bag of clothes that someone had posted. Saved me big $$$.
Wow, I just love all these great ideas!! I've got another one to add. For those of you who like to read books or watch DVD movies, I have found a LOT of great bargains over at Amazon in the Bargain Bin. I often pick up brand-new books there for $2.99 or $3.99. Same with movies ~ they have DVDs for $4.99.
For people who already subscribe to Netflix (my one luxury in life!), check out their Movies for Sale section. You can get new movies for $3.99, $4.99, $5.99. They've been rented before, but the employees make sure there's no damage to the discs before putting them in the Sale Bin. Free shipping, too!
Most brick-and-mortar bookstores also have areas where they sell new books (remainders) for really cheap. I used to stock up on children's books all the time at Crown Books when my nephew and niece were younger. :)
If you're looking to do home remodeling or improvements check out the Habitat for Humanity Restore. [url=]Habitat ReStores -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l[/url] These are products that were "leftovers" from doing a Habitat home, or that were donated by people. All the proceeds go toward future Habitat homes.
The hillbillyhousewife is an interesting site. Cheap menus, money info, even pcos and diabetic diet cheap ideas. Didn't know such a site existed. Thanks
I went to the hillbillyhousewife page - it made me think of "Angle Food Ministries" and "Share" programs... both of these programs can be found in many cities around the country - both are non-denominational church related and there are no income limits... they both cost money, but at a certain discount. The angel food ministries (they have a web site including menues for each month and special packages you can add to your order) provides $70 worth of food each month for only $30... you need to sign up - and pay in advance... then go pick up your package on distribution day.
many of the recipes I saw on the hillybilly site could be made or modified using ingredients you would receive in a Share package or a Angle food ministries package...
We have a grocery store that gets seconds. Don't know if it is a nationwide franchise, but it's called Grocery Outlet. We get great deals there.
I buy my store-bought bread from the day old shelf for at least 50% off and then freeze it. So a loaf of sandwich style bread is usually 49-59 cents. This is a local small town grocery store. There are also bread outlets. Bread freezes well so when we are going to a town large enough to have an outlet store of a major bakery we will buy cases of bread goods and freeze them.
This is one reason I have two chest freezers, and two refrigerators with freezer sections. We live so far out that I buy at least 2 weeks' worth of groceries at a time, so I need the frige space. :D Anyway, one chest freezer is for meat since we buy from a neighbor and buy a whole hog, half a beef, some chickens, and a couple hundred dollars' worth of hamburger each year. The other freezer is for vegetables, spices, and bread. One refrigerator freeze is for items that I pull from the big freezer to prepare for meals during the week, coffee, some flour/yeast stuff. The other frige freezer section is for bread for the current week, oat bran, and other baking goods that need cold storage.
I buy case sales, too. Some stores will always give you cost plus 10% on case lot items. Just ask the manager if they will give you a deal if you buy by the case. Some stores give senior discounts, or student discounts, or discounts for foster families, or whatever. Ask around and sometimes you get a pleasant surprise. Usually these are the privately owned stores, so sometimes it is worth checking out the smaller stores.
I've also discovered "Make A Mix" recipes. My mom had a "Make A Mix" cookbook and my sister has it now. (She shares with me. :D) These recipes give mixes for basic hamburger mix to which you can add taco mix seasoning, italian mix seasonings, etc. The give the recipes for a master baking mix (kind of like Bisquick), cornbread, cookie mix, cake mixes, meat mixes, seasoning mixes, etc. etc. Usually these are VERY economical.
I purchase wholesale organic and 'natural' food items through a company that delivers to the Western states. (Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Alaska, California, Montana) I buy bulk flour, spices, baking supplies, lots of the natural foods that my family uses (like liquid chlorophyll, supplements, etc.).
I mean, HOLY COW! 4 oz of basil costs me $2.20. I haven't bought spices in the store for years now, but I think this is at least a savings of 50%. Do you know how much 4 oz. of cut and sifted basil is? Almost two quart jars. We do split this between several of us when we get this much. :D And that's another benefit: we buy in bulk, and then split it with a group of people if we want to.
We've also noticed that the kids seem to go thru less toilet paper when we buy the double rolls. Don't know why, but it last 3 days for a double roll instead of a roll a day with the single roll.
I have stored items all over my house. Under beds, and in all kinds of unconventional areas. Don't buy bulk of things you won't use, though. LOL
Here's something that might help to pay off some of the smaller bills....
We are supposedly going to get a tax rebate from the government which they of course hope we use to buy stuff in order to help head off the predicted recession. For married couples, the low end number they reported is $1000 and the high end number is $1600.
My boys grow so fast that I buy alot of clothes ahead of time at garage sales (or yard, tag sale etc). Though because my oldest it is getting hard to find his size at those sales. I also check out the thrift stores and the end of season sales at target and Kohl's. Last week I got 5 turtle necks for my youngest for 5.50$. I also do the toy sales to stock up for the next year. Disney has awesome sales for clothes and toys 2 or 3 times per year. One is after Christmas where things are marked down 40% and then another 60% after that. I got some huge power ranger guys for like 2 bucks a few weeks ago. I love Disney clothes because they last so long my kids usually grow out of them before wrecking them.
I also use the dollar store alot. As for the rebate I am not holding my breath but it would be a nice chunk of cash to pay bills with.