Use a long distance calling card. I have found Costco’s card to be the best buy. You can refill it, as well.
Make your own baking mix like Bisquick and bake lots of biscuits, muffins, coffee cakes and pancakes.
Turn lights off.
During the winter, bundle up and keep the house at 65 degrees. (Maybe warmer if you have a baby)
Get rid of either cell phones, or the land line. Sometimes paying the fee to stop a contract is cheaper than fulfilling the contract. If you do use cell phones, get rid of extras like texting.
Get rid of credit cards and lines of credit.
Get rid of cable.
Eat more rice and beans.
Don’t even look at the store ads, only go to the store to buy what you need and stick to it.
Don’t run to town all the time. Consolidate trips.
Don’t buy a new vehicle.
Pray about each purchase that each dollar you spend is being used wisely.
Use the dollar store for purchasing gifts.
Stay away from the mall.
Wash your vehicle by hand as opposed to running it through a car wash
Shop thrift stores (with a list of needs). You can find some very classy clothing at very good prices if you shop around.
Pay bills online.
Keep a notebook with you to write down all purchases, even little ones. (See price book sheets on right under freebies) This will help identify the problem. Compare. Find out the best place with the best buys and shop there the most.
Use only cash when grocery shopping. Leave the checkbook and debit card at home.
Plan a menu and shop off that.
Incorporate a meatless dinner into your menu.
Incorporate a couple casseroles and soups into your menu. These usually tend to be stretchers and are less expensive than individual helpings of a veggie, meat, and bread.
Cut out sodas and expensive coffees. Consider making your own specialty coffee drinks at home using your blender.
Cut down juices to just breakfast unless fruit is served.
Make granola and yogurt or baked oatmeal for breakfast.
Change out light bulbs with fluorescents
Learn to change the oil in the vehicle, as well as the air filter.
Make your own cocoa mix, instead of buying it or mix half and half.
Don’t buy prepared gravy mixes, hamburger helpers, etc. Make your own from scratch.
Cut out prepared snack foods like chips and fancy crackers, unless for special occasions. Make popcorn in a good old pot on the stove or in an air popper. Make your own crackers. There are several recipes for crackers and snacks in the More With Less (on right).
Seek out marked down bananas. Let the kids eat the best ones. Peel and freeze the rest in a gallon zip lock bag. Pull out and make smoothies or banana bread.
Shop egg prices. Sometimes buying a large 3 dozen container is less expensive than the smaller containers. They will last for a very long time and are an inexpensive food.
Find a co-op for bulk foods like dried fruits, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, herbs, spices, vitamins and supplements, etc.
Buy generic when possible.
Make your own laundry soap.
Cook from scratch.
Make your own baby wipes.
Buy your cleaners at a janitorial supply store. They are so much cheaper and really good.
Try sharing postage with a few neighbors who have to mail the same utility bills to the same places.
Make your own envelopes instead of buying new ones by forming them from scratch paper. Take apart an envelope to use as a template.
The Tightwad Gazette (on right) suggests there are three ways to save (in a nutshell). They are: Buy it cheaper, make it last longer, use it less.
Wash out sturdy zip types bags to reuse. Just remember not to reuse any that stored meats or grease.
Use leftover rice by making a crust for a quiche. Do this by combining 1 1/2 c. of cooked rice, 1 oz of shredded cheese, and an egg. Pat out in a pie plate. For a larger quiche dish, increase rice and cheese portions slightly. Do not Pam or grease the dish. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes.
For cheap return address labels, cut out all of the mailing labels from your junk mail that has your address all nicely preprinted. Attach them to your envelopes with a glue stick, white glue, or tape.
Turning bulbs on and off wears them out. Since compact fluorescents are the most expensive type to replace, when leaving the room for less than half an hour, you should leave them on. When leaving for less than 15 minutes, leave tube fluorescents on, and when leaving for less than 5 minutes, leave incandescent on.
An inexpensive gift, if you can do calligraphy, might be to write a favorite Bible verse or saying then place it in a yard sale frame.
Buy and use a battery charger and rechargeable batteries.
Do not buy pre-processed potatoes (wedges, mashed, fries). Make them from scratch.
Make your own baking powder by mixing 1 part baking soda, 2 parts cream of tartar, and 2 parts arrowroot.
Make your own cream soup mix instead of buying premade, precanned soups.
Take shorter showers.
Insulate the attic.
Air condition one or two rooms, as opposed to the whole house. Likewise, in the winter, close off rooms that don’t need to be heated.
Hang your laundry out.
Put lids on all pots while cooking
Bake more than one item at a time.
When doing dishes, try filling the sink only half way.
Stop eating out or picking up something quick, especially if it means a fast food restaurant.
Learn to cut hair instead of paying someone else to do the job.
Add a little extra dry milk powder to baked goods to boost protein.
If you dine out, only drink water.
Less expensive snack foods would be popcorn, pretzels, Costco corn chips, or home made cookies.
The least expensive vegetables are cabbage and carrots
Get yourself a farmer’s guide from the extension office. Find out when the produce your family enjoys the most comes ripe. Go pick it. Put it up. It’s not that difficult, really.
Buy from produce stands in bulk. Sometimes you can order ahead of time how much corn you want. Freeze it the same day you get it.
Eat before you go shopping
Have a planned list ahead of shopping time.
Make a master grocery list.
Try living on beans and rice for a week.
If you have little ones in disposable diapers, I have found Costco’s to be the best buy.
Stop using paper towels and use kitchen hand towels, instead.
Buy your tp at Costco in a large amount and just store it somewhere. It’s a good buy and good quality.
Bake. Fresh bread will fill a tummy like nobody’s business and makes hearts happy.
Take cash with you when you go shopping or purchase a gift card and just fill it with the amount you have limited yourself. Plan on keeping a little in there for incidentals, especially when you start this.
Don’t cater to picky eaters, unless it is your husband.
Eat hot cereals in the winter. You don’t even need milk.
Stop buying tooth paste. It’s not good for you, anyway.
Use borax and oxy mixed together instead of laundry soap or dish soap for the dishwasher.
Buy inexpensive Suave shampoo and dilute with water to use in your pump soap dispenser
Eat leftovers for lunch.
Powdered milk works well instead of real as a substitute. I make my yogurt with it, even.
Find a dent and nick store.
Ask your grocer if you can purchase old bananas at a discount.
Cherkasy I’m sure this list is incomplete. Perhaps you have some ideas up your sleeve that I have not come up with. Please share!
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Hiya Ruth. Great list! I was actually pleasently surprised to find that I already do 35 things on that list. LOL! I have picked up a few new ones – thanks. One idea is to serve up each persons plate in the kitchen and then take them to the table. I serve out the amount each person needs and we use less and more often have leftovers than if people serve themselves. Eyes are often bigger than what stomaches need. :o)
35 things! That’s great! Your idea is great, too, if that works for the family. I remember reading many years ago about how we eat too large of portions.
hi ruth! yep = done most all of these. oh how i wish we had a dent store around here!! i make my detergent with baking soda and borax and my “cascade” with salt, borax and baking soda. (boy with those 2 things you can clean anything lol )
Just wondering if it’s really cheaper to make your own baby wipes from paper towels? I’m about to go to the store again and wipes are another $15 which will last us 3/4 of a month. I can’t seem to figure out how to compare the cost though. How do you know which is less expensive?
Hey there, Jenn. That is a great question! I am going to answer this on memory.
Let’s say you bought the really nice paper towels, Bounty. A roll is less than $2. After you cut it in half… and are generous in using the wipes, you will go through the two halves in about a month and a half.
Thanks again. At Samsclub 20 rolls of paper towels is $15 this could potential save a lot of money.. that $15 could last a year instead of spending $15 every 3 weeks. 🙂
Just thought I’d go over the list again before going to the store this weekend. This time I picked up the gem of making your own condensed soups.. hello, I always have the ingredients for these and there are recipes if you just google them. One of these days I’ll get brave enough to venture out on the fruits and vegetables portion of your suggestions. 🙂 Thanks Ruth!
I love reading these follow-up comments, Jenn!
What a great list~thanks sooo much! (((((HUGS))))) sandi
Teresa in WV
Gotta watch the one about closing off unused rooms in the winter. I did this one winter and ruined hundreds of books because of the dampness with no warmth. Otherwise, LOTS of GREAT ideas! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the list. Just found your website through moneysavingmom.com. I wanted to say to JennInSeatle that I was spending 15 on wipes like you, but I am now pretty much getting them free. I wait until Target has them for $2 then I use my Huggies coupons (there’s a 2 dollar one online now) and I have gotten wipes now for free! At most I have paid 50 cents for wipes.
This is a great list Ruth! I just clicked over from MoneySavingMom.com. I do a lot of these things and I was pleased to see some new ideas to try. As far as the baby wipes, I sometimes will write to the Huggies company requesting coupons and they send me some very high value coupons. If I can pair the coupon with a sale, I can get wipes very cheaply. I also keep a stack of wash cloths in the kitchen to wipe hands and faces. This keeps me from using the baby wipes too often. Disposable items are always costly so using them sparingly is a must!