Money saving ideas

United States
February 25, 2007 3:01pm CST
What are your best suggestions for cutting money out of your budget? Where do you purchase day to day items for the lowest prices? Any tips for fixing things that people usually just replace? Nutritional recipies on a budget? Any other suggestions for saving money?
9 responses
• United States
25 Feb 07
In our household, the biggest money sucker is eating out. When we discipline ourselves and cut back on eating out, our budget is much easier to live on. Planning ahead and preparing meals at home is much more cost effective. It takes a bit more time, planning and work, but in the long run it is cheaper. You can feed a family of 4 for $6-8 a meal by preparing food at home, when the same meal will cost you $6-8 PER PERSON eating out. If you make meals in bulk, you can always freeze a part of it to make dinner prep easier the next week or so. If you work outside the home, take a lunch to work, instead of eating out each day. Same idea plays here, the cost of one meal out could feed you for the week if you make a sack lunch and bring it with you. Another thing I do to save money is clip coupons. I save about $20 at a time just in clipped coupons, on an average trip to the grocery store. Things that are nonperishable or have a long shelf life(toilet paper, papertowels, canned fruits and veggies) stock up when they are on sale. Take advantage of B1G1 deals. Lots of times buying in bulk is cheeper than smaller quantaties.
• United States
25 Feb 07
I'm definatly going to have to try that meal planning. That's been a problem in the past and incidental purchases like rice and spices do add up quickly.
• United States
26 Feb 07
Before you go grocery shopping for the week....make a menu for the week. Plan out each meal, then make a grocery list based off of what you need for the meals on your list. This way you wont buy things you dont need, and you pick up everything you do. Plus, by planning ahead, you know what will be for dinner, so you wont hit the dinnertime lazies...."what's for dinner..." "I dont know" "Ok, lets just go out..." Which again, costs more money. :)
1 person likes this
@SaraCate (184)
• Canada
28 Feb 07
Angel, Have you tried keeping a price book? I don't think you're getting the best deals - that's fine if you can afford and it's where you want to spend your money, but a meal that would cost $6-8 a person out costs maybe $4 for four at home. If I've spent $6-8 on a meal at home, it's typically something that would cost $12-20 per person at a restaurant. That said, we only eat, say, steaks or seafood (except for squid - and we *love* squid!) very rarely or when they're on a *reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally good sale - at which point we stock up. Here in Canada, I watch for sales (on meat) of $1-2/lb.; when I was living in the US, I waited for chicken to go to 39c/lb. and then bought 30-40 lbs. That's on a standard freezer/fridge - I'm looking really forward to having space for a nice big chest freezer! Our grocery bill will go down even more. Of course, on groceries, another key point is eating *less* meat, since it's generally the most expensive protein around. ~Sara
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@SaraCate (184)
• Canada
28 Feb 07
threegoats, As for where to purchse day-to-day items, that depends on where you live. Not just your country - your city, or even your neighborhood. I make efforts to keep a price book. It can be really eye-opening when you realize your "bargains" are more expensive than buying someplace else! I've posted elsewhere about how to make one - search "price book" in discussions and it'll come up (I know, I just tried it.) Further to groceries - since that's the easiest place for most people to cut - angel's suggestions were great. I would also encourage you, if you aren't already vegetarian, to eat more meatless or "less-meat" meals. An example of a "less-meat" meal would be making up chili with 1/2 lb. or 3/4 lb. ground beef instead of a full pound. Some meatless meals we enjoy: The one we turn to most is probably black bean burritos. I cook the beans from dry in a crockpot, then we wrap in tortillas and add whatever toppings we like (and have on hand). Stir-fries with tofu are also good - here, tofu costs rougly 50c a pound vs. twice that for meat on sale. As for fixing things...we do this so much that without a specific question, it's hard to think of particular tips! I have a few recent examples, though: we don't subscribe to cable, but we do have a TV (which we didn't buy - a friend gave us when they bought a new one). We had antennae that were "okay" but had a broken antenna. We found an old set in a box that also had one broken antenna, unscrewed the good antenna from that one and replaced the broken antenna on the one we were using with the good one. Cut off a really worn out pair of son's pants and hemmed them for school shorts. Not so much a repair, but I'm currently making large floor cushions from upholstery fabric squares got for 10c each - total cost for each cushion, including thread, etc. : under $2.50. Some folks may think this is extreme, but we also buy *good* ziploc baggies, wash them out and reuse them. This is, in part, because in addition to saving money, we try to waste as little as possible - the environmental repurcussions are as important as the financial ones. Recycle plastic or paper grocery bags into trash bags - or if you have a crafty bent, you can cut them into strips and trun them into really sturdy reusable shopping/grocery bags! They're not as compact as string bags, though. :) I could keep going and going...do you have any other specific questions? Hope this has been of help! ~Sara
• United States
28 Feb 07
Hey Sara, Great suggestions. My sister and I are really crafty and we love cutting up plastic bags and crocheting them into something more sturdy and resuable! It's fun and environmentally concious. We also sometimes rinse out plastic baggies too...otherwise it does seem much a waste.
• United States
1 Mar 07
This has been very helpful thank you. I'd never thought about a price book before but I'd bet you're right about those sales not really being sales. I'll be sure to look that thread up. I'd love to try making those shopping bags as well, talk about cheap hobbies! Thank you again, for all the ideas!
• Philippines
28 Feb 07
Use this formula: Income - Savings = Expenses You will be sure that you will have savings by this method unlike Income - Expenses = Savings.
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• Indonesia
11 Mar 08
Yups, I'm toooootally agree with you! Saving should be done first, not at the end. Cause, most of people can not control their expenses when there is much money in their pocket. www.giftyoumore.com
• Philippines
18 Jun 08
Absolutely right!
@twilight021 (2060)
• United States
28 Feb 07
Take a good look at all your expensises. With my cell phone bill, I realized that I was on a plan with far more minutes than I needed. I was able to save $10 a month on my cell phone bill by switching to a plan with less minutes. Look for opportunities to bring in a little money....obviously there is mylot. But I am also going to look into selling things on consignment. I have way more clothes/shoes/and other stuff than I need. This way I am cleaning out, and makeing a little extra cash. Also, look at your energy usage. While slightly more expensive at first, they last longer and use less electricty than standard light blubs. They save you money, and are better for the environment. Eating in is probably the best money saving tip. It's crazy how much, even fast food can add up. I live in a very expensive area of the US, cooking at home, is even more important for me. Plus, besides being more affordable, it's far more healthy. Things like rice and pasta are very afforable. But I try not to eat too much starch. I look for lean meat on sale, and then stock up. Also makeing soups and stews area great way to stretch meat, and get lots of vegatables into you diet. If you have one near you Trader Joes, is a grocery store that often has great deal. I know the Ceral there is half of what it is at my other local grocery store.
• United States
1 Mar 07
OOH! That consignment idea would be awesome, I still have lots of stuff left over from my son's first few years and no one ever comes to garage sales in my neighborhood. And you're right! I'm using less than half my minutes on my cell plan gotta call cingular tomorrow. No Trader Joes but we do have an Aldis so I'll check there. Thank you so much for all the suggestions and I do apologize for taking a bit to reply. *G*
@ruby222 (4848)
23 Mar 08
I shop around..if i know that something is a good deal cheaper in one shop than another..i will wait and go there... I tend to make a lot of stir frys..they use very little meat,a lot of nutricious vegetables...take little time to cook...and are filling...nice with noodles added.
• Philippines
18 Jun 08
This is very true. You can shop hop first and see where things are cheaper. And stir frys are great. You can save by just buying a small portion of meat plus vegetables (which costs lower than meat) and actually have a good and nutritious meal.
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@ruby222 (4848)
19 Jun 08
Very true..thankyou.
@chiaeugene (2226)
• China
31 Dec 08
i think to start if off and do well, you need to find a notebook to note down your daily expenses and figure out those that you can do away with and those that you cannot possibly save. in the long run, you would definitely save money and be more aware of your expenses. Normally, it is possible to save more by controlling your lifestyle while at the same time not ill-treating your body by cutting down on nutrition. eat what you have to eat but not eat lavishly. cut down on expenses which can be better utilised or can be substituted like mode of transport etc. so u need to know what you want to save and how you want to save
• United States
31 Dec 08
I regularly shop the thrift stores for all kinds of items. Certain things I always buy at the dollar stores. Shampoo, toothpaste, notebooks even candy. Next I shop a grocery outlet stores. You never know what they're going to have there but they carry name brands just at much lower prices than regular grocery stores. When shopping at a regular grocery store I always look at the unit pricing - the cost per ounce or pound. Sometimes it's cheaper to get the large economy size, but sometimes it's cheaper to buy two of a smaller size of the same item.
@sdas86 (6076)
• Malaysia
18 Jun 08
Hi, My money saving technique is to stay more time at home. The fuel price is expensive and this way I can save fuel and save more money. I can make use of the internet to buy the stuff I want and I can choose the best and cheapest deal. This will help me save even more money too.
@limcyjain (3523)
• India
16 Mar 08
there are numereous things one can do for cost cutting and i have posted them in my blog http://www.limcysworld.blogspot.com You can check up and let me know if anything was of help to you.