So what are some ways I can be more frugal?

Canada
December 31, 2011 2:57pm CST
I am saving as much as I can this year, hence January being a no-spend month. But I am also trying to find ways that I can save more money. So far, I am going to focus more on: turning off the computer at night turning off lights when we are not in the room (no idea why everyone has to leave them on all the time) not wasting food - eating up leftovers and using up veggies What are some small ways that I could be leaking money?
2 people like this
16 responses
@peavey (15856)
• United States
31 Dec 11
There are so many ways to save money that it would be impossible to list them all. You've already got some great advice, but let me add a little. Go a step further than just eating leftovers. If you have a tablespoon of corn or a smidgen of green beans left, put them in a special container in the freezer. Add pan drippings when you roast or fry meat, leftover rice, potatoes, pasta, whatever you might have. When the container gets full (or however much it takes for your family) thaw it out, heat it up and you have a "free" soup night. You might need to add a few spices or flavorings, but that's all it will cost you. If you don't bake your own bread, try it. A five pound bag of generic brand flour is about the same price as a loaf of bread here, and it will make several loaves of bread. Put the TV and anything else that's instant on (entertainment centers, microwaves, etc.) on a power strip and when they're not in use, turn the power strip off. These appliances use electricity constantly whether they're turned on or not. Unplugging them or turning off a power strip they're plugged in to is the only way to stop it. That includes computers. Only do full loads of laundry and if you can possibly find a way, dry it without a dryer. A dryer costs around 50 - 75 cents a load. It doesn't take as much laundry detergent as the box tells you. Cut back until you can tell the difference then increase just a little. You can even wash a load of clothes without detergent now and then if you're overusing it.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Jan 12
hmmm...I did a similar thing for dinner last night - just took all the leftovers and put them in a bowl with some soup on top. It was kind of like a casserole. It was actually pretty good although it looked kind of funny. We do make our own bread and pizza dough. It's fun! I will hunt out our power strips. I'm pretty sure we own a couple. I hang to dry as much as possible but that's easier to do in the summer. I still hang at least a load a week over the curtain rod in the bathtub.
@peavey (15856)
• United States
1 Jan 12
Sounds like you have a pretty good handle on it, then. Every little bit helps. Have you ever tried to make your own laundry detergent? It does pretty good if you use vinegar in the rinse.
• Canada
4 Jan 12
I've heard of making your own laundry detergent but I haven't tried it yet. I do have a lot of baking soda and vinegar in the house. I will hunt up some recipes online.
@marguicha (80216)
• Chile
31 Dec 11
Do you have the energy saving lights? They are not as good as the others, but you can use a normal one where you work and put the other lights at the rest of the house. I make lists before going to the super and stick to my list. I donĀ“t go more than once a week(saves gas). I stopped buying snacks. They are much more expensive than the much needed food.
• Canada
31 Dec 11
hmmm...as I need to replace lightbulbs, I could put in energy saving lights. I just baked a couple of batches of muffins for snacks and I might make peanut butter cookies this afternoon. We end up going grocery shopping whenever we run out of milk. But we could be stricter about the list. I think I will write a general one of things we need and then things we can buy only if they are on sale. My husband is actually pretty good about only buying what's on sale. He will add stuff to the list though, but I'm actually worse for that, so it's still better if he goes than if I go.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
1 Jan 12
Energy-saving lights? Is there any particular brand for that? I would like to look that up in my country.
1 person likes this
@stary1 (6622)
• United States
31 Dec 11
cutepenguin..If you buy Brand name cleaning solutions you can save a lot of money usong less expensive products like baking soda, vinegar, ammonia, lemons...the internet is full of ideas. It is also much better for you health not to use the toxic chemical products. I know some also use homemade beauty products like honey face masks but I don't go that far. The internet is also a great source to find natural beauty products. Oh I just remembered that years ago I did use beear to set my hair ..it gave great body!!
1 person likes this
@stephcjh (32385)
• United States
1 Jan 12
You could try to buy cheaper meals that would last you longer. Eat in more instead of dining out. Buy more in bulk so you do not have to waste gas traveling alot. Get alot done in one day instead of spreading it out over a month. Unplug things that aren't being used. Even though it is turned off, if it is still plugged in, it is still charged somewhat to your electric bill.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Jan 12
For this month, we are not eating out or really going out, except to our parents'. we are going to do a bulk shopping trip in the middle of the month once we have used up more of what we seem to have accumulated.
1 person likes this
@CatGods (4599)
• United States
1 Jan 12
Get rid of the tv. service. That's what we did and now we are saving over 60.00 per month. Besides there is tons of stuff that you can watch online for free so why would any one want to pay for tv service? You can also cut expenses by using white vinegar and baking soda as cleaning supplies. Yup do more with less, that's the motto in my house.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Jan 12
We don't have a tv. We could consider cutting the internet...
1 person likes this
@cher913 (25895)
• Canada
31 Dec 11
in regards to food, meal plan and buy only what you need or stock up on sales. during the winter, make lots of soups, stews and homemade bread. otherwise, stay out of stores, find a hobby, visit your local library (i go there about once a week) that sort of thing.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Jan 12
We're not going anywhere this month except to relatives' and friends' houses, so that should cut down on impulse shopping. Good thing I don't internet shop! We emptied out the cupboards and did an inventory so most of what we are going to eat in the next month will come from there with some meat and fresh veggies from the store. We went grocery shopping today and got quite a few things for $66. I plan to make this stretch for about 10 days. My husband is going to make some soups and I'm going to bake a lot. If all else fails, we have a lot of noodles and tomato sauce. I just don't want to get us all so bored with eating at home that we go out February 1st to the first restaurant we see, :)
1 person likes this
@FrugalMommy (1450)
• United States
31 Dec 11
I found that switching from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs helped me save a bit each month. There are a few fixtures in my home that take several bulbs. I can leave out a bulb or two in each one without the room getting too dim so I do that. One little change that really helped out more than that was getting my landlord to put new weather seals around my door last month. The old seal was so bad that we could see about a quarter inch of light around the door in places, and that let in a lot of cold air when winter settled in. Since I had him fix the seals, my electric bill has dropped a lot.
1 person likes this
• Canada
1 Jan 12
we need better weather seals, now that you mention it. There is a draft coming through our patio door. I "solved" that by putting a towel down and was going to sew a draft snake.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Dec 11
Well your already on the right tract. My husband & I are doing those very same things. We've also cut back on eating out. We used to eat out a lot more then we do now, but now we only eat out maybe two times a month. Also we have this cheap little plastic piggy bank that our bank gave us when we opened an account with them. Every time we have spare change we throw it in the bank. So far the most we ever saved up was $64, but still that wasn't bad. We've also started using coupons more. Before my husband didn't really want to bother with them(although I sometimes did), now we get the Sunday newspaper every week just so we can get the coupons. You wont believe how much you can save on your shopping just by using coupons. Also we started buying no name brands on food. Only a few things do we still buy the name brand stuff, but every thing else is the store name. Tastes just the same as the name brand, only cheaper.
1 person likes this
• Canada
31 Dec 11
We don't get that great of coupons around here, but my parents do get the Sunday paper and they give us any coupons we can use. Sometimes the boxes of food like cereal have coupons on them for other foods. We've started using those and even paying attention to which boxes have coupons for other foods we eat.
1 person likes this
@jillhill (37354)
• United States
31 Dec 11
How about planning your shopping trips to use less gas in your car. I try to do this all the time....not double backing just plan out the best way to go so I don't waste any gas.
1 person likes this
• Canada
31 Dec 11
Thanks!if I plan it well, I can plan my shopping trips to not use the car - I can convince my husband it would be nice to do it as a long walk. He usually wants to go for a walk more than I do, so that will make him happy. And we have the stroller to bring everything back in.
1 person likes this
@2004cqui (2823)
• United States
8 Jan 12
Utilize the public library and it's printer and online computers. Use public transportation. Buy a bike. Walk more. Don't buy any pets. Use a dust mop, not a vacuum. Exchange light switches with motion detecting and timed lighting. Read a book not watch TV or listen to music. Ditch the cell phone and use a land line. Buy candles and use them. Turn off the air conditioner and lower the heat in your home. Don't use the fire place and block it off permanently. Insulate and ventilate your attic properly. Have an energy audit of your home and follow. Properly insulate your basement. Do one large load of laundry in cold water, not two in warm or hot. Insulate your hot water pipes. Plant a tree on the sunniest side of your house. Do not plant fast growing trees near you sewer line. The list is endless and yes I practice all these as often as possible.
1 person likes this
@bellis716 (4807)
• United States
2 Jan 12
Don't leave small transformers plugged in all the time. Walk or ride a bicycle instead of driving the car.
1 person likes this
@Raven1 (577)
• Australia
1 Jan 12
I'm a single mom with a young daughter and a huge mortgage. So I really need to work hard to keep my costs as low as possible. Sure, I do all the little tips everyone's pointed out here. I turn off everything at the wall so stop using that extra power at night. I grow most of my own vegetables and some fruit. I make all my own food, including dog food, from scratch. I use vinegar and baking soda for cleaning products and we never get take out (homemade pizza is so much nicer - and cheaper!) But the biggest savings I found was to learn to negotiate regularly with my service providers. I hunted around online and looked for other Internet providers, found out what they charge and then called my own provider. I asked if they would offer the same deal. They did. It saved me $15 per month on my bill. I did the same with my phone company and my insurance company. Just last week, I did the same thing with my bank and got my mortgage interest rate reduced by a further half a percent on what I was paying before. Each of these little things have saved me more than $120 per month on my regular bills :)
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Dec 11
I am putting more money in my piggy bank. I will not bu anything t wear for a few months. I will be using up all my left overs. cooking at home not taking out. buying food on sale.
• Canada
31 Dec 11
Fortunately we just received a bunch of clothes for Christmas, and we don't often buy clothes anyway. We have to really focus to not buy takeout. Each time, we think it's just this one time and it's not a big deal but it adds up.
@hvedra (1623)
4 Jan 12
We're looking at a very selective spending year - rather than no spend because we have some repairs and possible major purchases coming up during this year. We don't need any clothes. We have enough books to keep us going for a while and then we will use the library. We won't be eating out or getting take-outs this year so everything will be home cooked and we will try to use up everything. We don't go out to the cinema or anything like that, we prefer to stay in and snuggle on the sofa. We always take lunch and snacks with us if we go anywhere.
@veganbliss (3903)
• Adelaide, Australia
1 Jan 12
Looks like you're on the right track. Have you had a look on the internet for websites that can help you with this? Here's one of our finest which has been running for years: http://www.simplesavings.com.au/ They already have plenty of free newsletter subscribers from all around the world. They throw billions of ways at you to save money & get good things for free. I didn't purchase anything from them, did contribute a few articles in years gone by, but they do give you a lot of helpful things for free on there. One very effective way I save money is buy all my organic nuts, seeds, grains & legumes after the store owner has drastically marked down the price after they reach their "Best Before" date. I then soak the nuts & seeds & soak 'n' sprout the grains & legumes which makes ten times the food volume! Grand economies of scale here!
• United States
1 Jan 12
Hi! Yes there are ways to save some cash. Have you tried coupons and/or going for the store brands? Perhaps try the cereals and the chips and see if there really is a difference. In my experience, there usually isn't much of a difference between the store brand and the name brand. As for coupons, sometimes you can 'time' it right with the store sales and really save some cash. I love it when this happens with me (though try to avoid being Extreme) as it feels as though I'm given a little gift. See if they have any gasoline deals as well! Also see if there is any way to get rid of drafts in your home as that too can save some cash. Go to Goodwill or Marhsalls for clothes as they have great selections but only go if there is a real need. Whatever plan you design, stick with it. It'll take time, true diligence on everyones part, and you will have to say no a lot but you will see a difference. When things get better, perhaps you can adjust to what the needs are then. Good luck!