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things you do to save $$$

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I was wondering what people here do to save money when things get tight.

I had almost $1000 in vet expenses last month! And, the cats and I will be moving to the UK in a few months (getting them there is not turning out cheap).

To save money I've started cooking more, buying less expensive food and shampoo, soap, etc. My cats have made their sacrifices too, they have been switched to the cheap litter. I don't have cable TV, a land line, or a car. My cats get to the vet by bike!

This funding crunch is only for a few months till I start my new job. I'm not sure what else I can cut (other than the vet visits which I won't)... What do you all do?
post #2 of 28
I mentioned it elsewhere, but eating vegetarian can save you a bundle. Instead of steak (or even hamburger), eat beans, peas, and other legumes. They have the protein you need.

Not eating out can save a lot, but if you're only cooking for yourself, it may not save as much as some people would think.
post #3 of 28
Bring your lunch to work vs eating out. If you buy magazines,books, newspapers read them at the library. Recycle aluminum cans (here they are paying 85 cent/pound!!)
post #4 of 28
What I'm doing:

1. No long distance
2. No movie rentals
3. Public transportation
4. Walking home with my groceries instead of having delivery
5. Eating vegetarian
6. Cooking everything
7. Limiting eating out to once or twice a month
8. Borrow books from the library instead of buying them
9. Read magazines at the gym instead of buying them
10. Buy brands that are on sale
11. Switched Abby from expensive dry vet food to a store bought brand (Cat Chow).

I do have cable and DSL, but I don't get out very much so those are my forms of entertainment and socializing in addition to my hobby.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
What I'm doing:

1. No long distance
2. No movie rentals
3. Public transportation
4. Walking home with my groceries instead of having delivery
5. Eating vetetarian
6. Cooking everything
7. Limiting eating out to once or twice a month
8. Borrow books from the library instead of buying them
9. Read magazines at the gym instead of buying them
10. Buy brands that are on sale
11. Switched Abby from expensive dry vet food to a store bought brand (Cat Chow).

I do have cable and DSL, but I don't get out very much so those are my forms of entertainment and socializing in addition to my hobby.
This is fantastic! My major weakness is #7. When my friends want to go out just can't stay home. Then we always end up ordering a lot. But, I don't drink so that helps

I've also gotten into doing #10. I compare everything on the shelf and pick the one that is the biggest quantity per $ spent

I have #5 covered as I am a vegetarian who is vegan at home.

I also do the bringing lunch to work thing. It is good for saving time as well.

I would like to do more things like recycle cans and clip coupons but I am limited on time unfortunately. I did take up a part time tutoring job though..

Thanks for the great replies
post #6 of 28
I'm surprised no one has put the number one money saver and it's easy. Sleep more!

When you sleep more, you burn less energy, so you naturally eat less, more awake and work more efficiently at everything from work to house chores, use less electricity, go out less (less temptation to spend money), and you feel great when you're awake.

Trouble is you reach a limit, I think 8-9 hours is the limit for most people doing this for extended periods. Some people can't stand sleeping for more than 6 hours a day and others can't get enough with 12 so YMMV. Just start a strict sleep schedule and stick to it as close as possible and once it becomes habit (easy for some) it becomes automatic. You kind of annihilate your social life though (but that costs money which we're trying to save which in this case would help you).

Also a good chance to start a dream diary, seems like the more rested you are the the more wild your dreams get and you remember them more clearly. Nothing like a fantastic and wild dream to start your day off with (the adrenaline/endorphins lasts you almost all day).

Other things to save cash:

- Brush teeth at work (lowers your water bill)

- Shower at work (if your workplace has one, same as above)

- Ride a bike (shoes are expensive and if you walk all the time you'll eat through them)

- Eat a lot of rice and/or pasta (cheaper than veggies)

- Have a small treat savings jar. It's hard to be penny pinching all the time and it's stressful which can be emotionally demoralizing. So save yourself a little allowance (just pocket change you have, maybe 30 cents a day, not pennies since they eat up too much volume in the jar) so you can treat yourself to a pair of shoes, a nice dinner, a night out with friends, etc to give you that little boost to keep you going. This also dictates when you can cut loose and when you can't (rather than just eye balling your wallet). Whenever you have a little slack in funds, dump it into the jar. Also comes in handy for those emergency vet visits or other personal emergencies (might not pay for them entirely, but it'll sting slightly less). Pick a nice sized jar (like a pickle jar) and once it gets full sort the coins and stack them into rolls. Or save yourself some time and get a cash box and sort as you save.
post #7 of 28
this is something i've started since my WLS - out of necessity! but anyone could do it... restaurants serve HUGE portions, way more than any one person should eat. when you do go out w/your friends, take home all of your leftovers - & any that your friends don't want, as well [assuming you're not squeamish!].
today i treated my mom to lunch [her birthday is thursday] & the total bill was $30 [hers was more than mine]. i had a burger & onion rings... then had them again for dinner. so for my $12 or so, i had 2 meals - making the price far more reasonable!
post #8 of 28
I normally buy the store brands instead of name brands. Most things, you can't tell the difference because, honestly, they are made by the same company. Some things, like the cereal in a bag verses a box, aren't as good, but that's because of the packaging not the quality. And besides, once you pour milk on it, who can tell if it's a little stale.

Also, on the weekends I like to take time to make HUGE pots of something for dinner (this weekend it was spaghetti) and most of it gets frozen in smaller containers. You can make your own little frozen dinners. Normally when you buy things in bulk or value packs you get a lot but it's cheaper in the long run, and you'll have lunch or dinner for times when you don't have the extra money to spend on something else.

If you like fresh veggies, do you have room to plant a little garden? I know you'll be moving in a few months, but I picked up a cherry tomato plant last year, already in the pot with tomatoes starting to ripen, and it gave me tomatoes for the whole summer! And it only took up 1 sq ft of space on my front porch.
post #9 of 28
I try to save money where I can so that I can have some of the things I want. I do laundry only once per week...and no, it's not just me living here LOL 2 kids and hubby...lots of clothes. By only doing it once a week, you are cutting down the electricity it takes to heat your dryer up. If you keep it warm doing it all in one day, that saves money.

I buy things at the dollar store here, where everything is one dollar..no more. I like to buy all kinds of things like stationery, tools, crafty crap for my daughter, etc.

I won't change my cat food or else my cats would starve LOL

I recycle soda bottles and cans and use the money as mad money. I am not really on a tight budget like we used to be, but I'm in the habit of being cheap LOL

I think though, that I try to catch a bargain when I can, but only buy it if I need it, and not just because it's on sale. It's a trap you can fall into if you're not careful. Just because kleenex is on sale, doesn't mean you need 10 of them LOL

You can always write down how much you're spending on food and how you can cut back on the bill. Make sure though, that you are still getting fruits and vegetables...bananas and apples are fairly cheap to buy and come in large quantities. Carrots etc are great for snacks too.

Oh, and drink a lot of water, it's pretty cheap
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by skewch View Post
Oh, and drink a lot of water, it's pretty cheap

Tap water I hope? That's even cheaper
post #11 of 28
Here are some things
Unplug all things not in use
Change bulbs to the longer lasting ones
Don't use lights in the daytime, take advantage of natural light
Grow a small garden if you are a veggie lover
Cut out cable
Cut off Internet
No cell phone
No landline phone
Run all errands at one time to save on gas
Read library books and movies from there, no buying of books or renting of movies
Sell things on craigslist/ebay
Don't wear dry clean only stuff - no drycleaning bills
Ride bike or walk or use public transport if you can
Wear glasses, not contacts
No getting your nails done Or pedicures, etc.
Budget your grocery bill carefully, use coupons, don't buy a lot of meats, eat smaller meals like rices and beans and potatoes, drink only water from your tap
Do not buy "snacks" - prepackaged juices, crackers, chips, cookies, etc.
Don't eat out, if you do share a plate with another person, drink water
Hang up clothes to air dry
Don't water your lawn
Try to get by with washing clothes less often
Cut hair a bit shorter so you don't have to spend so much on shampoo/conditioner and so much styling it (curling iron, flat iron, blow dryer, styling products, etc.)
Don't turn on air conditioning if you are just slightly uncomfortable, open windows and take advantage of fans

I won't mess with my animals food either, they get top high quality and always will; even in the toughest of times. In the long run, it costs less in vet bills, they are healthier and they eat less of it than the lower quality food with fillers. I have one that has food allergies too.

Good luck on your move!
post #12 of 28
A few things we do around our home:

First and foremost- PYF!!!!!! (Pay Yourself First) best piece of advice i've ever learned! With each paycheck you get- set a little aside and pay yourself first by putting it into your savings account. Even if you have more bills than you know what to do with -you have to start saving a little at a time so that you will have financial stability down the road.

We use energy efficient light bulbs in all of our lamps and fixtures around the house- it dramatically cuts down on the energy bills!

We do not leave lights on in rooms we aren't in.

We only run the dishwasher when it's absolutely full

We do laundry once a week. A lot of times if it's nice outside i'll line dry my clothes or put them on the line in my laundry room rather than running the dryer. Also when i wash my clothes on the energy setting (cooler water and i do a low heat tumble dry when i use the dryer) (excpet my work clothes- working for Animal Control i have to be careful how i clean my work laundry). Also- if you get one of those blue dryer balls it will last you a lot longer than having to go out and buy dryer sheets over and over again. As far as laundry detergent goes- i have to be careful what i use on my skin as i have psorasis so i use All Free and Clear (about the only thing that doesn't break me out!) instead of the off brand detergent- but i buy it in bulk at places like Costco and Sams Club so that i wind up getting a better price for the money.

I buy things like Sugar, Dry Goods, Tomato Paste, etc in bulk to save money and have a little area in the pantry set aside to store extras in. (but if you buy in bulk- be sure to compare the regular prices vs. bulk- sometimes it's cheaper to buy individual items just depending!)

We get the Sunday paper for the cupons. Sure it costs you a few bucks a year to get the paper- BUT you will more than make up for it in savings if you use the coupons in the paper to do your grocery shopping with. Making a grocery list and using your coupons will really help you save vs. just buying impulsively.

I come home for lunch every day rather than going out to eat. That was i'm not tempted to eat out and spend extra $ or eat a lot of fast food. It works out better for my health and my wallet that way!

We do not have a home phone- we use our cell phones instead as our plan is less expensive that way.

If it's clean/in good shape i will sometimes reuse aluminum foil, gift bags, gift boxes, tissue paper, and things like that.

If i want to buy something at a dpt. store like Bed Bath & Beyond or Macys that i need as far as clothes/house go- i will wait until i recieve a coupon from them (usually they send them out every week and they're for at least 20% off). That way if it's something i need i am at least going to save a little in the process.

If you call your local energy dpt, they will usually come out to your home for free or of little charge and do an energy analysis - they'll check your home and tell you what areas you're wasting your money in (did you know wrapping your water heater can help reduce your energy bill?!) and give you lots of tips on how to cut down on your energy bill/etc!)

If you ever find yourself in the market for new windows or a new roof- consider the material- you want to look for a good energy efficient material that will keep heat in during the winter and heat out during the summer/etc.

Look for discounted gym memberships in your area. For us- since both my husband and I work for the city- we get a huge discount at our city's rec. center.

Consider where you buy your groceries and other things from from. There are some stores like Aldi that cut prices by encouraging people to reuse bags and bring their own, cutting down on fancy packaging, etc- as a result you save! Big Lots- if you have one is a store that gets everything from electronics to household goods and offers them at low prices because of things like packaging changes, overproduction/etc...all you're getting is a good product at a cheaper price!

If you have a nice resturant that you enjoy going to but can not afford to go often- see if they have a website where you can register for coupons /special offers /etc! I adore Texas de Brazil but i certainly could not afford to eat there often! But lucky for me they send out coupons and free offers all of the time- so when you sign up for certain things like your anniversary/b-day/etc - they give out really good discounts. That way you can treat yourself to a nice place a few times a year but still not go overboard on your wallet.

I don't drink soft drinks at all- i have not had one in over 10 years. That definitely cuts down on my grocery bill and also helps keep me in better shape. Consider drinking more water in place of soft drinks/etc.

Instead of trips to coffee houses and places like Starbucks- learn how to make your own yummy coffee concoctions at home! It will save you $ and you can take a little pride in yummy new recipes you might come up with

I LOVE to cook- so i like to experiment with different recipes/etc during the week- if i have left overs- they are lunch the next day. This saves us money and helps stretch our dollar. Also- getting creative in the kitchen makes cooking fun and will give you something to look foward to vs. eating out frequently.

In the area that we live in we do not have city transportation that will get us to and from work so for us- our driving is a must, we can not avoid it. We have however found a few ways to try and keep our costs as low as we can : we keep our cars in good shape with routine maintinance such as oil changes, checking the tire pressure. We observe the speed limits to help with fuel economy (especially on the interstate). I carpool several times a week with my coworkers to cut down not only on gas $ but to also help the environment a bit. / Since my sister kimmy and her family live sooo close to us- we all alternate carpooling as well for things like going to get groceries/etc / Colin and I recently purchased a more fuel efficient SUV (Ford Escape) and the savings in gas on that baby is just as good as it is on my car! Even though gas is expensive, it does help to keep our cars in good condition and try to carpool. Another thing we try to do is plan our errands out ahead of time- so that way we try to do everything as efficiently as possible so we're not running back and forth all over town.

Look at your local grocery stores and see if they have store cards that give you credit with each purchase for discounts at their gas stations. In our area, Kroger, Schuncks, Walmart, Costco, and Sams Club all have certain deals/offer that wind up giving you discounted gas when you shop in those stores.

Consider a trip to Goodwill every now and then. They have a lot of good items and you can't beat the prices! I've found brand new (really cute!) pants there for work before that still had the tags on them and had never been worn. We also got a really nice suite case there once too for dirt cheap! (and remember, if you haven't worn it or used it in a year- consider donating items you don't need to Goodwill as well!)

Consider getting a Progressive Lettice Keeper if you eat a lot of fruits/veggies- this little gem keeps our produce fresher for longer periods of time and has saved us a lot of $ by keeping our food from spoiling easily! http://www.target.com/Progressive-Le.../dp/B000OUY2QO

I buy most of my shampoos/etc from www.lush.com Their solid shampoos are amazing. They are also WAY more inexpensive than regular bottled shampoo too!!! One solid shampoo bar lasts me about 3 months easily while a bottle of shampoo only lasts me a much shorter period of time. Also- because they are not packaged and all the way bottled products are- the savings go directly to you and they are also much much more environmentally friendly. Not to mention- ALL of their products are fresh and handmade so you don't have to worry about it irritating your skin in most cases. They also do not test on animals. They're great all the way around! I get tons of uses out of all of their products! (is you read their fourms they have even more tips/ideas on how to stretch out the live of their products.

We do not rent movies around here. If we do go to see a movie- we go during the week and during the afternoon specials. Since my husband is a police officer- we get in free when we go to our local theatre certain days/times so we only go then. (if you shop around- you might be able to find discounted movies/coupons and entertainment!)

Probably the most helpful thing to me has been my online banking account. I keep an itemized list of EVERYTHING (even little tiny purchases) that i spend. It helps me to see what areas i need to work on and if i'm staying on track or not. For me, it's not the big purchase but instead, the little things that i like to buy here or there that add up- so keeping a list helps keep me on track!

Good luck hon! Hope some of that helps
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cococat View Post
Wear glasses, not contacts
depending on the prescription, contacts can actually be cheaper. i just got a years supply of contacts for around $170... my last pair of glasses cost over $300!
i am EXTREMELY nearsighted!
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
depending on the prescription, contacts can actually be cheaper. i just got a years supply of contacts for around $170... my last pair of glasses cost over $300!
i am EXTREMELY nearsighted!
Never would have guessed that! Not so in any case I have known so that is interesting. My perscription has never changed, so in my case even if the glasses cost more, in the long run it would pay off for many years to come. And if you don't have insurance (thankfully I do now) it costs a lot more for a contact exam on your eyes vs. a glasses exam.
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
depending on the prescription, contacts can actually be cheaper. i just got a years supply of contacts for around $170... my last pair of glasses cost over $300!
i am EXTREMELY nearsighted!
I agree on that one!

Not to mention- some people see better with contacts than glasses. (i'm one of them.) I won't compromise my vision and ability to see to save a few dollars-so for me i do stick with my contacts (especially since i have such an active job) and wear i normally just wear my glasses in the evenings most days.

My medication, laundry detergent, contacts, good quality food (be it store brand or not), and my pets food/etc are areas that i do not skimp out on.
post #16 of 28
We try to use Fans instead of the A/C but pretty soon there will be no choice. The Tv stays off until 5. We recycle bottles.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by laureen227 View Post
depending on the prescription, contacts can actually be cheaper. i just got a years supply of contacts for around $170... my last pair of glasses cost over $300!
i am EXTREMELY nearsighted!
My last pair of glasses cost about $550 (progressive bifocals.) Two boxes of contact (6 pair) cost $135, and will last me less than 6 months, because I develop pretty bad protein deposits (believe me, I've tried every kind available for my terrible nearsightedness and astigmatism.) Since they don't make Toric Bifocal lenses, I've had to go to monovision (one lens for near, one for far.) I stick with my contacts because my glasses are so thick (even with the high index lenses) that I'm afraid to drive in them because of the distorted peripheral vision. Vision is one place where I absolutely WON'T skimp! Cat food (renal food for the CRF girls) is another. Pretty much everything else is negotiable.
post #18 of 28
My Cats get expensive Cat Food. No matter what they will get it. We go to Winco more which is cheaper. We do not go to the Bay Area as much.
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarryEyedTiGeR View Post
I agree on that one!

Not to mention- some people see better with contacts than glasses. (i'm one of them.) I won't compromise my vision and ability to see to save a few dollars-so for me i do stick with my contacts (especially since i have such an active job) and wear i normally just wear my glasses in the evenings most days.

My medication, laundry detergent, contacts, good quality food (be it store brand or not), and my pets food/etc are areas that i do not skimp out on.
Me too, I get headaches with glasses and besides I like being able to see with my peripheral vision.

There are some things that are just worth the money, like not buying used mattresses, for example.

For me, I've found that just thinking about your money helps a lot. Maybe that's because I used to be an idiot and not keep track of money at all, but just keeping track of how much money you have and how much you can spend controls a lot of your cash flow.
post #20 of 28
I am a coupon clipper. We get the Sunday paper for that reason. I know grocery prices at the stores in my area and buy where they are cheapest. I shop at produce stands whenever possible because the veggies are fresher and cheaper. I buy paper products and other misc items at a store where everything is a dollar. I buy very few name brands. I prepare most meals from scratch. I drive a compact car and spend about $20 a week in gas. I pack lunches for my husband and myself. There is a microwave and toaster oven at my work, so I usually bring leftovers. I use the library rather than buying books. I cut my own hair and use make up very sparingly. I almost never go to the mall. I buy clothing at discount stores.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockcat View Post
I cut my own hair.
How does this go? I wish I could do this, but I am very doubtful about my abilities to do this!
post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cococat View Post
How does this go? I wish I could do this, but I am very doubtful about my abilities to do this!
Pretty well if you have the right kind of hair. I just cut my hair a couple weeks ago, here's how it turned out
post #23 of 28
My friends and I get together once every 2 weeks for movie night. We each bring something...a bag of chips, someone else brings the dip, 1 person brings the movie and a third brings the soda. So for less than $3.00 per person we have an entire evening of fun.

When I make dinner, I make an extra portion. Even before I serve dinner I place that portion in a microwavable container. I then have it for lunch.

At night, I don't turn on the lights. I have hurricane lamps with candles. It give a nice soft glow in which everything (including my wrinkles) looks better. If I want to read, I have a little battery operated light or I group the candles. I have a friend who swears it helps keep her apartment warm in the winter too.
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
Wow, you all are great!

I like the idea of planting a vegetable garden of sorts. I live in an apartment but I guess I could do a window garden or have it inside.

I also like the idea of brushing teeth and showering at work Water is included in the rent for me so this isn't an issue but that is a good idea.

I'm going to look into doing grocery shopping at Aldi's. I'll go there next weekend and check it out.

The weather has been great lately and so I haven't used my heat or airconditioning for a while which is great.

I wear glasses but also have contacts. Fortunately, I have enough supplies from when I had money to get me through until I leave.

There are a few things I have stayed attached to that I might have to give up but would really rather not: satellite radio and my apartment (might have to move to a cheaper place). But, first I'm selling nearly all my stuff. I mean, it's not like I can take it with me very easily anyways

Oh, and I also cut my own hair! It's not the best work but no one notices!
post #25 of 28
The only tips I can add to the excellent posts are I only ever buy new underwear - all my other clothes come from charity shops as do my books and just about everything I need. Also I've given up doing a weekly or bi monthly huge food shop - I find that easily creates waste (which I HATE) - so I walk to the shops and buy little and often (always checking the reduced stuff first) A tip for cooks and foodies, even if you don't have a garden, it's very easy to grow fresh herbs on a windowsill - the seeds cost only pennies (compared to as much as a pound for a pot of eg fresh parsley) - and the pleasure in growing your own is priceless. I save every twenty pence coin that comes my way and this usually means a nice little lump sum for Christmas or a holiday. I've always been on a tight budget (single mum and multiple animals!) but I wouldn't be comfortable with too much money, it baffles me how rich people can be so publicly extravagent when there is such hideous poverty on our planet. Good luck with everything. Patricia
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cococat View Post
How does this go? I wish I could do this, but I am very doubtful about my abilities to do this!
I learned to after surgery several years ago. I couldn't make it to the hairdressers and I couldn't stand my hair any longer. LOL! It comes out ok - sometimes better than others, but thats how it was when I was going to the hairdressers anyways.

I need to start coloring soon though. Not so sure how thats going to go.
post #27 of 28
If you want to save money on cat litter, use those wood pellets people use for pellet stoves. A 40-50 lb bag costs about 6 bucks and lasts a LONG time. I get a bag about every 2 months for 1 cat.
post #28 of 28
Another thing I'm going to start doing is trying to forgo grocery delivery.

Delivery at Safeway used to be $6.00 plus 13% tax. I was balancing my April budget last evening and noticed on my April grocery bill that the delivery charge is now $9.00 plus 13% tax.

Safeway is only about 9 blocks from where I live, but I have a hard time walking long distances because of my fainting issues, as well as shortness of breath. But last week when I went grocery shopping it was nice out and I decided to try to walk back with the shopping cart, and see how I managed. The cart was there for me to hold onto in the event I got light headed, and there are apartments along the way where I could sit on steps if need be. It took me 45 minutes but I made it home.

Not only did I save $10.15 delivery, plus the price of cab fare ($8.00) to get home, but I got in some extra exercise and some vitamin D from the sun.

So if I wait to do my shopping on nice days, I can save myself $18.15 per shopping trip. I usually go twice a month, so that is a savings of $36.30.

Of course I'll need to do delivery during the winter, but for the nicer months I can save some money.
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