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HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT IS 2009. I WILL START THIS MONTH'S TIPS.
Check with your local sheriff's dept. to see about being on their roadkill call list, free meat!!!
make everything from scratch.

I work in a kitchen, and save all food scraps for my animals. ask your restarants, it never hurts to ask, the worst that can happen, is they will tell you no. The best thing, is that you get free feed, and save all that stuff from going into the land fill.

This year I plan to learn new things, like knitting and crocheting, and making all gifts for xmas.
 

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Happy Scrounger
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Clean out the FREEZER!
I decided that I'd use up last summer's chickens in soups, stews..and low and behold I found a HUGE rump roast! Thought I'd make it for dinner, but my Artificer said "make chili, put it in those vacuum bags in 2cup sizes, freeze it, and I can take it to work".

Well WOOHOOO!! That's a great idea. So that's what's in the crockpot right now.

Along the lines of the knitting and crocheting....saving all those ends of yarn comes in handy for making colorful afghans. granny squares, stipey things....when you knit they're PERFECT for making little splotches of color on a hat or scarf or sweater! If the yarn is wool, they're great for needle felting or general felting, too. :)
 

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Far afield from the previous posts, but this is something that I do regularly that sometimes raises an eyebrow.

At the grocery store, in the produce department, I am certain to weigh things that come in pre-packaged bags. For instance... a five pound bag of potatoes can actually weigh anywhere from 4 1/4 pound to 6 pounds. As I choose my produce, I size up with my hands, several bags, searching for the 'heaviest' feeling ones, then head over to the hanging scales to finalize my choice.

There is a really substantial difference in those bags of 'too ripe' bananas, which is the only way I buy bananas. I've gotten as much as a 2 1/2 pound difference there. When you divvy up the cost per pound you've saved a lot, or gotten more for your money, depending on which way you wanta look at it.

I have found this to be true of 'pre bagged' frozen meat products as well... and yes, swinging back by the produce department gets you some odd looks sometimes. It takes a few minutes, but makes a lot of sense to me.

dawn
 
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For liquid hand soap-
I asked my sister for one of her nearly-empty foaming dispensers because (after the initial cost of purchasing the bottle) they are economical. They dispense foam instead of a big squirt of soap. I make a diluted solution of about 3/4 water and 1/4 cheap Suave shampoo to use in it.

To save on my house heating bill-
Right before getting in bed at night I turn my heat down to about 55 degrees. Then I get under my high quality goosedown comfortor and stay toasty warm all night.
 

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I spent time today cleaning out all of 2008 bills/receipts and put them into a box to sort for tax returns. I also added up December's spending. I then did an average of spending in each category for 2008 which will be the jumping off point for 2009's budget. Over the weekend we will sit down and talk about upcoming expenses, spending goals, etc. before finalizing the 2009 budget. I think having a written budget and keeping spending within that budget is essential to being frugal.
 

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I don't know if anyone mentioned this before - and it's not really much - but I use the front part of Christmas cards for gift tags on presents next year.
 

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After watching Clark Howard on tv this a.m., I checked www.missingmoney.com. While my name wasn't on the list, my best friend and my son were. Also, I learned that many people who have sold homes have an FHA rebate coming. The one mentioned on the show was $2200. You can check for this at www.hud.gov. Look for FHA rebates in the menu on the left side of the screen. Who can't use a little "found" money?
 

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Thought of something when deciding to replace my old mini-blind.

The blades are warped, but those blinds could be taken apart and the cord and blades reused in the garden.
Cut the blades up and use a magic marker to identify garden plants and the cord can be used as ties when staking plants.

I also have an old round basket hamper for towels that is coming apart around the top, but can be used as a composter by digging about 4" into the ground to anchor it and the top can fit flush, upside down into the basket, which will keep it from blowing off.
 

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Sewsilly, I weigh all my prebagged produce, too - why pay full price for an underweight bag, and getting a few pounds of free food is a great way to help stretch grocery dollars. I also will do that if produce is sold at so much per piece...sometimes it is hard to see which head of cauliflower (as an example) is bigger, visually. I seldom buy meat that is not weighed and packaged at the store, but now I'll keep it in mind for that, too. :)

It is a good time to check the holiday items on deep discount at Walmart and other chain stores. Not just decorations and candy canes are on sale. The gift baskets of lotions and potions are marked down form 50% to as much as 75% or more. These make great all occasion type gifts, not just Christmas. I picked up a nice assortment that I will give throughout the year, for very little money. Wish I'd found men's gift baskets, too, but at least the women are covered, lol. Also, I've found that the moisturizing body washes work great for shampoo, so I can often save money on shampoo for myself by using the gift basket items.

I read with interest, the thread on thrift store shopping. I was really shocked, frankly, to hear some of the negative comments posted on a homesteading board. Of course, I come down on the pro-thrift shopping side of the fence...;) I also never turn down free hand-me-downs from friends and co-workers...I have received some very nice, name brand clothes for my dd and even for myself. I go through them, take what we can use and pass the rest on. We quite often have bags of clothes or other items in the break room at work with a sign on them to "help yourself". We pass around a lot of stuff - great way to clean out a closet and help others at the same time. Consider starting a similar exchange where you work or at a club or church you attend.

Time to get those taxes filed. Ugh...not my favorite job in the world. As I file farm taxes, I can't use the free Turbo Tax site, but after working last year's taxes myself and again using the Turbo Tax Deluxe, I did save enough to justify using it again this year. I did have problems filing on-line with it last year - had to spend hours on the phone with a service rep, who finally sent me a new copy of the software, which solved the problem. I'm hoping for better luck this year, lol!

I agree with Ann, you really need to have a budget and know where your money goes in order to live frugally. I've been keeping track of all my spending to the penny off and on over the years - been lax about it in 2008, and I'm getting back on track for 2009. Just knowing I'm going to need to write down what I spend and what I spend it on is quite often enough to make me think about an impulse purchase and keep my money in my purse.

I'm also trying something for January - every time I think about spending money I really don't need to spend and decide not to spend it, I'm either writing the amount I DON'T spend down or adding the money I would have spent to an envelope - I want to see just how much it adds up to over the course of the month. So far, I HAVEN'T stopped for a sausage biscuit at McD's on the way home from work on the 1st and 2nd. I also didn't stop at Lowe's to browse the markdowns yesterday. I usually end up spending $50 or more on impulse spending when I do that, so I'll mark down $50 saved for that non-stop. In the first 2 days, that's already $52.16. I know I've been spending way too much most months lately, so it'll be an interesting experiment.

I picked up 7 empty gallon jugs that bicarbonate solution comes in at work - they are used in the dialysis center. The jugs are sturdy, food safe plastic and will come in handy for storing water. They could also be turned into handy feed scoops, but as I have all the plastic Folger's cans I could ask for to use for scoops, I'll use them for water.

Take pictures of your charitable donations before donating them (if you have a digital camera) - it will jog your memory and give you a record of what you donated for valuing your donations. I try to remember to make an itemized list of my donations, but I don't always remember, so a picture is helpful.
 

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I don't know if anyone mentioned this before - and it's not really much - but I use the front part of Christmas cards for gift tags on presents next year.
My MIL uses gift bags over and over (as do I!). This year she had some that she couldn't get the old To/From label off of so she covered it with the front of an old Christmas card!
 

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I already posted this to this thread, but it got eaten by cyberspace yesterday.

I'm trying to curb my food bill this year. One of the ways I'm doing that is by managing my leftovers better. I use to save food only to throw it out when I "found" it weeks later all fuzzy. I discovered that what works better is to put all my leftovers together on the second shelf of my fridge. They're right there in my face when I open the door :) I find myself deciding what to make in order to use them up. Yesterday I made an awesome lunch out of leftover chicken and leftover stew water. Stew water is the leftover brown liquid that left after people fish out the beef, carrots, and potatoes :D I made a chicken gravy that I served over biscuits. It was soooo good.

:coffee: RedTartan
 

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I'm trying to curb my food bill this year. One of the ways I'm doing that is by managing my leftovers better. I use to save food only to throw it out when I "found" it weeks later all fuzzy. I discovered that what works better is to put all my leftovers together on the second shelf of my fridge. They're right there in my face when I open the door :)
This is what I do too! It's too easy to forget something if the leftovers are all over the frig.
 

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Thought of something when deciding to replace my old mini-blind.

The blades are warped, but those blinds could be taken apart and the cord and blades reused in the garden.
Cut the blades up and use a magic marker to identify garden plants and the cord can be used as ties when staking plants.
I lOVE this idea!!!!! Thanks!
 

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At the grocery store today, they were clearing out all the Christmas candy. I bought bags of Hershey's kisses for 80 cents each...so what if the foils were red and green! I sorted them out, setting the red ones aside for Valentine's Day and put the green ones in my baking cupboard for making peanut butter blossoms.

I also stopped by Rite Aid to pick up a prescription and found that all their Christmas stuff is 75% off. They had a lot of toys in this section. My four year old has been asking for a Barbi sized horse for her dolls, and I got one for $3.00...I will give it to her for Valentine's Day (With her Christmas Kisses! LOL) As I was standing in line to pay for it, I got to thinking that she is at the age where she is getting invited to birthday parties, so I picked up four other toys for the price I would have paid for one. Now when she gets invited to one, we know don't have to run out and purchase a gift at full price.
 

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:rock:Love the Christmas card idea for tags - that's a great way to recycle them!!

After posting the mini-blind blade idea earlier, I was thinking about how to make the identification easier.
Someone had mentioned using the seed packets once before, or even just the picture of the veggie - but I wondered how you'd keep it dry when it rains.
I know you can buy laminating cards at the office supply store, which could be used. Anyone else have any ideas?
Everyone here is so ingenious about re-using stuff - thanks for all the great ideas!! :)
 

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This is my first time posting in this area, but I have been lurking around for some time and I love the tips that everyone posts...there are several that I've never thought of...so thank you to all that post.

Now my tip is probably an oldie but goodie...check your receipts...went to wally world today and picked up one of those heavy spatula's, Christmas design, was suppose to be $3 reg. price but 75% off. Before I could catch it, it ran through at regular price.

So, I headed to the service desk to get my money back and I did $2.43...told hub that it was enough back for him to get a new plant for the garden this spring...he likes trying new plants out each year.
 

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We do a lot of shopping at Kroger for groceries and I buy many gift cards there for the double fuel points. Kroger lets you get up to 30 gal. with your discount, so I fill up my van and then fill up gas cans with the balance. My DH uses the gas cans to fill his car. We figure this saves us around $45 a month. My husband drives for work so we need all the gas savings we can.
 

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I ran the remainders of our New Year's Eve ham through the food processor yesterday - I put a couple baggies of ham shreds in the freezer to use on pizzas and in scrambled eggs, and turned the rest into ham spread for sandwiches. Making ham spread (add mayo, pickle relish or whatever you like in ham salad sandwiches) is a great way to stretch the ham into more meals than you'd get just eating the ham sliced.
 

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I have beans soaking tonight to use with our leftover ham. I am canning pork and beans. My dh loves them, especially with big ol chucnks of ham instead of those store bought greasy bits.

A while back someone posted a recipe for dishwasher soap to use that was non-sudsy. I tried it and really like it. Equal amounts of borax and washing soda. I use about two tbls and then add white vinegar to the rinse aid. My dishes have never looked so good. It smells great by the way!
 
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