View Full Version : Best frugal tip

2-5-11, 11:02am
Several years ago when I first visited this forum, I would read old posts. I got a lot of great tips and ideas this way. Since the forum has been reborn at the New Road Map Foundation, - thanks again - I want to recreate some of this past knowledge by starting a thread on your best frugal tips. Let me start.

using a drying rack or hanging clothes outside
cutting dryer sheets in half
using 1/3 to 1/2 less detergent in the laundry or in the dishwasher - don't believe the back of the box

Let's hear from others

Anne Lee
2-5-11, 11:22am
These frugal tips are more for the yellow or green belt tightwad, instead of black belt.

Write down a budget and track your expenses.
Menu plan and grocery shop once a week. The less you are in the store, the less you spend.
Limit impulse purchases - coffee, lunches out - to cash. You will make less of them that way.
Walk/bike instead of drive. Don't be ashamed to buy a beater bike to toodle around town. Ignore the bike snobs.
No need to lather, rinse, repeat. Lathering and rinsing does just fine.
Shop thrift first for household goods.

2-5-11, 11:24am
Easy ones:

Drink water as your beverage of choice. (Ignore the coffee cup at my side while I write that.)

Pay bills on time to avoid late fees.

Pay bills in full to avoid accumulating interest charges.

2-5-11, 11:36am
Super duper topic!

Washing/drying/reusing Ziploc/plastic bags.
When drying clothing/washables on clothesline, start items off in tumble dryer for a few minutes just prior to hanging, or after hanging to leave items velvety soft.
Keep fresh orange zest in the freezer in a small Tupperware/Rubbermaid container and use as needed.
When filling a clothesline to capacity, start line off with a clothespin (ahead of the laundry), and finish off with a pin at the end. If a strong gust tugs at the line, the clothespins will prevent the line from moving past the "security pins" eliminating black aluminum staining from the pulleys or clothes being rolled under.
Before hanging items on wash line, give each item a sharp "snap" to straighten and restore shape, and to remove washing wrinkles and creases.

2-5-11, 2:57pm
Shop at home first.
Question anything you "need."
Eliminate as many disposable products as possible.
Use vinegar, baking soda, and dish detergent to clean everything.
Learn to cook all your favorite foods.
Plan ahead. When you're running errands, determine the most efficient route and collect everything you need to take with you. Plan meals at least a week in advance - it's easier to change your mind than it is to prepare dinner when you get home late and are tired and have no ideas.
Use the library.

Anne Lee
2-5-11, 3:33pm
Learn to make beans, lentils and rice. At home. From scratch.
Fast food is rarely either. Save your money, bring sandwiches.
Don't buy a new car unless you are worth a million dollars.

2-5-11, 8:24pm
Only eat out once a week. Period. You will spend less and enjoy it more. Don't order beverages at your meal except tap water (unless you want alcohol, of course). If you are on vacation, eat your breakfast at the hotel or in your room, eat at your "fancy" restaurant for lunch (cheaper, food is just as good), and eat your dinner via street vendors, fast-food, or the doggie bag you got from your lunch!

Take vitamins and supplements (as cheap as they can be while still being effective), keep your weight reasonable, get lots of sleep and keep on top of your vitals and periodic health checks. Staying healthy is one of the best things you can do to be both happy and financially comfortable.

Keep up good relationships with your family and friends. You will be able to share with each other during good times and bad, and you can simply make spending quality time with them a big part of your life so that you don't feel the need to spend money on shopping, expensive hobbies, etc. This can also be applied to a spiritual community you join, which can also help solidify a marriage.

Marry the right person for you...divorce is expensive and a major energy drain, LOL!

Read "Your Money or Your Life" and, at the very least, figure out the true cost of your job and your real hourly wage. A career change or job adjustment can positively affect your financial bottom line AND your health and relationships.

2-5-11, 8:51pm
Don't buy stuff you don't need.
Don't buy stuff you don't have the money for.

2-5-11, 9:26pm
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. - per Michael Pollan meaning don't buy and eat anything that your grandmother wouldn't recognize as real food -no processed junk.

Brush/floss your teeth daily and get some simple exercise like walking a mile a day.

Walk around the outer limits inside a grocery store. You will meet almost all your needs and not be tempted.

Discuss your budget in general terms and values with family to get them onside.

2-5-11, 9:34pm
Imagine you have to survive with whatever your grandparents did during WW II. Then add $20 for fun stuff. You will get by and you will really appreciate the fun stuff.

2-6-11, 8:37am
go to your library and take out and read the following books

Tightwad Gazette
Your Money or Your life
Miserly Moms
The Ultimate Cheapskates Guide to true Riches
America's Cheapest Family
Once a Month Cooking
Frugal Living for Dummies

You will find so many ideas, recipes and attitudes to adopt there is no way you won't find some that will fit your lifestyle.

2-6-11, 1:53pm
Always, always, always question the motivations of the person (or company) who is attempting to influence your behavior. Learn to think for yourself, experiment and learn what is really necessary.

A few small examples:

Have you ever noticed that when toothpaste is advertised, the person's toothbrush is loaded with a gob of toothpast the size of half of your little finger? Do you question whether that large amount of toothpaste is necessary or even desirable? Do you recognize that you are being trained (for the advantage of the company selling the toothpaste) to unconsciously believe that is the "correct" amount of toothpaste to use? I won't even go into the question as to whether the toothpaste itself is even necessary, but I can tell you that if you experiment for yourself, you'll find that a tiny fraction of the amount shown subtly to you as the "proper amount" will do the job just fine.

It's like laundry detergent. Those little lines on the cap directing you as to how much detergent to use are placed where they are, not because that's how much detergent is needed, but that it's the maximum amount the company can recommend without leaving so much soap behind in your clothing that you notice. Those lines are a subtle, but effective cue to "train you" to accept that amount of detergent as necessary and desirable. But, there again, a fraction of that amount does the job just fine.

To prove that.....if you've been using the "recommended" amount of detergent, wash a load of clothes with no detergent at all, and examine both the wash water and the rinse water as the clothes are washing. you'll probably find a great deal of residual detergent in those clothes, and getting it out of there will make your clothes cleaner and brighter.

Of course, the detergent company wants you using that large amount of detergent, not only to sell more detergent, but to then sell you additional products that will "brighten" your laundry.

It goes on and on. My BEST frugal advice is to think for yourself, have a curious mind, experiment, and always consider the motivation of the folks who are giving you advice, whether it be a company selling toothpaste or detergent or financial advisers who sell financial products themselves. It's not that you don't sometimes GET good advice, but you always need to run it through that filter of asking yourself if some of the advice is really to THEIR advantage and not yours.......

2-6-11, 2:09pm
More is not better.

2-6-11, 4:02pm
Look at everything with an open mind. Do I really need this or that? Can this be used longer? How can we accomplish 'that' with what we already have...

Redefine what you think is a necessity. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is above scrutiny.

Live without luxuries - it's easier to add things later. The enjoyment will be greater too. :)

2-9-11, 12:26pm
Instead of expensive cleaning products for different tasks, use vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, Fels Naptha (to make laundry soap as well as use a wet bar to rub into stain for stain remover), small amount of bleach, etc.

Try to bake and cook from scratch as much as possible.

Depending upon what I am disinfecting I use either tree tea oil or hydrogen peroxide.

For cuts or burns, use aloe from plant or keep a large container in refrigerator.

Mend clothing whenever it needs, including darning sock holes.

Exercise (such as walking for free) and eating right to avoid expensive doctor bills and medications.

Bring lunch and snacks to work. My office provides water, coffee or tea - so I don't purchase these items on the way into the office.

Garden, even a small amount of plants can save you money. If you live in the city or an apartment, you can container garden.

2-9-11, 9:00pm
Don't eat more than you're hungry for.

Learn to distinguish what you need from what you just want, and buy very little of the latter.

Figure out ways to stay away from what you're addicted to--from thrift store browsing to junk food, whatever--and do that until you no longer miss the stuff.

2-9-11, 9:33pm
Insurance is basically betting against yourself. A tiny bet against yourself as a hedge against disaster is a good idea. A gigantic bet against yourself is perhaps not necessary, unless you are in a truly risky position. As Loosechickens said, think for yourself, and try to honestly assess what works for you vs. what some insurance salesperson thinks would be a good idea - of Course they do!

2-9-11, 10:04pm
I love to go "Shopping" in my yarn, fabric or fiber stash when I am craving getting something new. I start a project - of work on one already in process. This has been helpful in my year of no buying anything except food & toiletries. Thus far, I did actually buy one garment I could not make and needed, to replace the on that is threadbare, and a book for a baby shower. So two breaches of the purchasing fast. Which for me is pretty remarkable, actually! No more therapy browsing at Goodwill...

2-9-11, 10:12pm
1. Cut your own hair
2. Use online bill pay
3. Pack your own lunch - use leftovers
4. Free checking account
5. Split an order when eating out or ask of a 1/2 order - I do this with Nachos
6. Know when your favorite eating place has specials - 1/2 price appetizers after 9:00 pm @ Applebees
7. Cut the cable (or never sign up)
8. Visit websites for coupons - like Oil Can Henry's $ 8.00 coupon for an oil change
9. Turn heat way down at night - but turn it up before your wife wakes up!
10. Pee in the shower - borrowed from Brazilian Gov't water campaign!
11. Using 1/2 of most products is just as effective - and then they last twice as long!
12. Find which generic products you are comfortable with and buy them
13. Turn off lights/look for slow electric drains - computers/TV's etc that don't turn all the way off.
14. Buy whole groceries and prepare @ home. Compare cost per lb of pre-shredded cheese and the block - shread at home!
15. Plan your errands - for the most effective route to save gas
16. Grow some of your own veggies - surprising how much one plant can produce

2-9-11, 10:20pm
Buy flour in bulk and make your own bread. If you don't have time, get a bread machine from Freecycle (I asked for one and had 10 offers).

Save all your vegetable scraps in a container in the freezer. Make your own yummy broth, and use that as the base for making yummy soups. After straining, compost the cooked-down scraps.

Make time to cook at home from scratch. If you don't have time, jettison something else that is not as rewarding so you WILL have time. TV is a good candidate.

Get a programmable thermostat. Set the temperature to go down right after you go to bed, and go back up right before you wake up. You'll never notice the difference (get a better blanket if you do) but you'll notice the big bucks you save on your utility bill.

When planning the places you need to drive to, ALWAYS know how much gasoline -- and therefore how much money -- it will take to get there. If I'm driving 25 miles to the city and then back, I know that I'm spending 50 miles/20 miles per gallon = 2.5 gallons x $3.00/gallon ......that trip cost me $7.50. If I'd run that errand on my way back from work, it would've cost me nothing extra. Do the math.

2-10-11, 12:17am
Skip all those beauty products that advertising and societal pressures try to force on women to feel acceptable. I have saved a ton of money over the years by skipping hair dye, make-up, nail polish, etc. I think maintaining a fit and healthy look is far more attractive. Eating well, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, and enjoying life is my beauty routine....

Buying less food and therefore eating less. Eating less, but eating better. You will not only save money on groceries, but possibly doctor visits as well.

Skip the gym membership and adopt a dog to walk daily. This will benefit you with exercise and companionship, and provide a needy dog with a good home.

Set the thermostat high in the summer and low in the winter. Dress accordingly.

Buy only clothes that you need and will wear often. I have a very tiny wardrobe now, but it all works for me. Buy secondhand quality clothes if possible.

Pay off debt ASAP. Never carry a CC balance. Pay it off monthly.

If you can, refinance your house to a shorter term loan. This saved us thousands in interest and our mortgage was paid off so much sooner. It was definitely worth the bigger monthly payment for few years.

Hang clothes to dry whenever possible.

2-11-11, 8:22am
Don't assume that you have to purchase everything and that "homemade" or "reused" is inferior!

2-11-11, 1:25pm
I did a presentation at our Mom's Group on Wednesday morning and they were "amazed" at this one.

I save all of my hubbies used deoderent tubes (he's an antipersparent junky). There is always so much stuck in the plastic "riser". When he has about 10 empties, I find an old cottage cheese container and roll the deoderant and the plastic thingy that it is stuck to into the container. When I have them all in there, I nuke it for about 20 seconds at a time until it is liquid. Than I take one of his tubes that is only half used and roll the deoderant down as far as it will go and pour the liquid in. It takes just a few minutes to set up and viola, it's ready to go!

Save the crumbs in the bottom of a cereal bag for homemade muffins.

Use nothing but cloth in the kitchen.

2-17-11, 3:39pm
use baking soda for toothpaste and deodorant
clean soap scum in bathtub with cheap shampoo
bake your own bread
buy less/eat what you buy
stop and think before going out to purchase something; can i repair it; repurpose it etc. as others said
dry your clothes on a rack or hang them up/10 minutes in the dryer to take some of the moisture out
walk/ride the bus for your daily transportation
get rid of things; donate etc.
turn off the tv
go low tech as much as possible