Tightwad tips/frugal things done lately - May, 2006

Discussion in 'Tightwad Tips and Frugal Living Archive' started by Christine in OK, May 1, 2006.

  1. Christine in OK

    Christine in OK Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Use this thread to list any of your frugal tips and hints. Remember even if it is old to you, it may be brand new to someone else.
     
  2. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    Thank you so much Christine for starting this today.

    For Mother's Day, I have started a tradition of buying and planting some easy-care plants for my Mom. She does not like to garden, so she enjoys having it done for her, and it is very cheap for me to buy some various flowers and do it for her. I think many older people have enough "stuff" and appreciate having something done for them instead.
     

  3. MomOf4

    MomOf4 Well-Known Member

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    This may seem like a really big DUH to some, but I am thrilled with what I have discovered today...

    With the spring weather upon us, I have begun hanging clothes on the line again instead of using the dryer (except to fluff clothes 10 minutes after bringing them in off the line). Anyway, it sprinkled rain on and off today, and I had to get some laundry done (and I don't have the space inside to hang clothes), so not wanting to blow my track record in trying to save electricity by using the dryer as little as possible, I tried drying the clothes on the less dry cycle - and, you guessed it, they were DRY, and it took 25 minutes less!!! (almost half the time!)

    Still only using 1/4 of a dryer sheet for each load (once I'm out, I plan to use the washcloth/liquid fabric softener idea).

    I've been cutting all my liquid soaps by at least 25-50% with water (until store bought supply I had stocked up on is gone, and I make my own homemade) - works just as well, though DH is spoiled and requires full strength stuff to wash his hands.

    Also collected 3 huge bouquets of lilacs for my kitchen and front porch - they smell wonderful!

    Tonight, the kids were asking me what I wanted them to get me for mothers day. I gave them several ideas (all of which are free, ie, breakfast in bed, etc.). DD wanted to buy me a pink IPOD - I don't even know, or want to know, what an IPOD is...Then she wanted to get me a gift cert. to a spa ($200). All lovely thoughts, but I gave them a challenge instead - find something I would really enjoy that is FREE...I know I will adore anything they come up with!

    Just started a folder by the printer - anything we print that would likely be thrown away goes in that folder labeled "reusable printer paper"...that way we can use the back side too, and use half as much paper for those less-than-important-things we print.

    We keep a basket on the corner of the desk for scratch paper - any paper that has a blank back side (ie, junk mail), gets torn into fourths, and put in the basket for reuse (saves a tree or two!)

    We have put a plan in place to pay all our debts off (including the mortgage) in 8 years. Today, I collected change from around the house and put into a "payoff jar" (labeled as such). We'll use that change to pay off a small bill, or put toward getting larger bills paid off (probably have at least $200 right now). The label on the top of the lid says "DO NOT USE THIS MONEY...except to pay off bills. Otherwise, it could be "debt"trimental to your wealth!"
     
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  4. MomOf4

    MomOf4 Well-Known Member

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    Almost forgot - I got a really nice grill while curbside shopping last week...but the burners and drip pan were completely rusted out. Local stores didn't carry the replacement parts, so I called the manufacturer today, and for $23.75, I got all the parts, including shipping...the grill runs $800-900 brand new, and this one still looks great!
     
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  5. farmerlogan

    farmerlogan Well-Known Member

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    I so love this idea, but could you be even cheaper & give mom a large, shallow pot with herbs that were previously planted? Obviously it would take some planning AHEAD of time -- something that I'm lacking this year. Plus it would be something she would use, hopefully (not that you don't love looking at plants ;)). Just a thought!

    As far as our frugal ideas right now:

    * We're using our woodstove again. Good excercise too.

    * We've always taken pages that have been printed on one side (all those pages you print out from the computer & then don't need anymore) & cut them into 4 pieces for notes. We have not bought scratch paper in so many years -- at least 10 years.

    * We shred all papers/mail with any sort of personal information & then even some just with our name & address, as you can never be too careful these days. Anyway, this shredded paper can be used as "straw" or bedding materials for the gerbils & the chickens. Also can shred all those extra paper bags from the grocery store -- hate to get plastic. Also good as fire starter

    * Speaking of plastic bags, use an old 2 liter bottle, cut an oval shape along the side & stuff in your plastic bags. One bottle will hold 3 or 4 dozen bags. We've had ours for years.

    * Garden: whether a simple container or two on your patio/deck, or larger, you can grow simple things like fresh parsley & salad to save on that expense. Try growing what you love to eat: both fresh & frozen.

    * Big One: we are driving VERY purposefully these days. With a full size truck & suburban, we average 11 mpg. We're planning our shopping trips for when we are already out & get a whole bunch of stuff done at once. No more trips to the grocery store for this or that.
    * Library - they have soo many books, movies, CDs...need I say more.
    * Turn off lights when not in rooms or when not necessary. Use the compact florescent bulbs. They really do save you money, after a little investment up front.
    * We've gotten chickens this year, hens actually, not really to "save" a bunch of money, because let's face it chicken food's not so cheap. BUT the organic, free range eggs at the market are running about $3-4 a dozen in our area & we're big egg eaters using 2 dozen + a week. The hens are now taking care of that! We hope by early summer that we'll have enough to be able to sell some to help cover the costs of feed & all the equipment we bought.
    I hope some of these help.
     
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  6. cpeyus

    cpeyus Well-Known Member

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    Make sure to maintain your vehicles - regularly...do what you can yourself, but definitely take them to a shop to do anything you can't/don't want to do - are your vehicles "summerized?"
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    I save a BUNCH of $ each month by chatting with my long distance family/friends online...only using the phone for more important things. I figure I'm paying for internet anyway, the instant messaging/email is included!
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    Around here, the ski resorts are closing for the season - make sure to check your sporting goods stores for the "retired" rental equipment...some of it is in decent shape still & is great for kids who are still growing...
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    Gas is 3.20/gallon in our county (average), how high is it where you live?...CARPOOL!
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    Carpooled with a fairly new friend to a church meeting last night, got to talking about the kids...her youngest is a little bit older than my youngest, and she asked if I was opposed to hand-me-downs!? woo-hoo! uh, no, not at all! SO, she sent me home with a brand new, never worn, jacket; a pair of swim trunks (expensive when new) & a really cool hawaiian looking shirt that I didn't think ds would like & LOVES! So, from now on, her boys' stuff is hand-me-down to my ds!! (they buy great stuff, too! :) )
    ====
     
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  7. Country Doc

    Country Doc Well-Known Member

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    This is my monthly medical frugal tip.

    Wonder if that tristed ankle is broken? Do you need an X ray?

    ER docs use the OTTAWA ANKLE RULES to decide if an X ray is needed. They are fairly complicated but you can google them and it shows you the basics of looked at a twisted ankle. Remember, just because the ankle is sprained and not broken, does not mean it is not serious. I think one could use the rules to decide if a doctor visit is needed after the injury. Just stay off of it a couple of days if you pass the test with the rules, then if still problems can go see the doc. Also ice the ankle.
    The rules were not made for this use but are supposed to be for doctors only.
     
  8. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    No offense meant Doc in advance of my frugal tip :)

    Often times in this day and age people run to the DR for almost every little ailment....and all too often DR will give you a prescript for antibiotic or anti-inflamatory or pain killers. I always let fevers go for up to 3 days (this is your body helping itself) and I avoid antibiotics/pain killers/ anti inflamatories.
    Have you seen the commercials and the side effects?

    My parents(late 50's early 60's) take way too many meds and run to the DR way too much....instead of doing YOGA, walking for fitness daily, not smoking(my dad which aggravates mom's asthma and he has winter cough every year), and eating healthy. Everytime they go to DR its bloodwork, xray..etc leading to multiple appts. When all they really need to do is listen to their bodies, accept what it does naturally (fever, pain, swelling), eat right, reduce stress and toxins, and exercise (use it or lose it).

    Remember doctoring is an in-exact science.....
    The word "disease"....has mental health meaning leading to physical ailments.
    Your body and your mindset are equally important to your over-all health. A visit to the Dr and a pill will not fix you if you do not address your lifestyle.

    I'm not against traditional medicine, I just think alot of people resort to it way too early.
    Who wants to pay $90 for Dr to say keep well-hydrated, rest come back in 2 weeks if not resolved....or ice and ibprofen and keep moving to maintain range of motion? Eat right, exercise daily, reduce stress etc
     
  9. Cindy in NY

    Cindy in NY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Doc - maybe you can clarify something for me. I have sprained both ankles many, many times. One of the last times, I actually had torn a ligament. If I remember correctly, one thing the dr looked at was whether the swelling was generalized over the whole ankle or whether it was in one spot, like a goose egg. Am I remembering correctly? Mine was a goose egg and I had to have an air cast for several weeks.
     
  10. Country Doc

    Country Doc Well-Known Member

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    I don't know of a good rule for the strains. I just make a judgement call based on experience. The purpose of my post is to allow people a beeter decision process after their injury instead of winging it as alot of people do.

    I also agree some people go to the doctor too much. Plenty also don't go enough.
     
  11. MomOf4

    MomOf4 Well-Known Member

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    Just found out first hand how much money can be saved if you just keep on top of your bills...and know what you pay for.

    We have been paying for twice as many cellular minutes as we have been using, so by taking the time to research it, we just saved $90 per month!

    If I remember to keep on top of my bills each month, I can save another $35 in late fees (I've not been good at keeping on top of things!)

    We got sucked into a black hole with a credit card, and just realized why our balance has only increased over the last year...our minimum payments are less than our finance fee! I'm getting on top of that one, and getting it paid off ASAP!
     
  12. menollyrj

    menollyrj Joy Supporter

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    I had that same problem with forgetting to pay bills at the bottom of my "to do" pile. My bank has FREE bill-pay online, so I signed up and pay my bills twice a month online. It also makes it a lot easier to pay extra towards principal (house or car) or add to our retirement funds the moment I have the money in my account. It saves me $$ on late fees and helps me keep better track of where my $$ are going.

    -Joy
     
  13. wormlady

    wormlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So much of being frugal, for me anyway, is just plain planning ahead.

    For example: I wanted to have bean burritos for supper Monday night.
    So Sunday night I put the beans on to soak. They went into the crockpot Monday morning. Monday afternoon I put the ingredients for homemade tortillas in the bread maker (they are so much better than store bought). I was frying them up when hubby walked in the door. It was a delicious cheap meal.

    Today my son had an appt. at 1:30, I had a meeting a 2:30. We drove to town together, I dropped him off, ran a few errands, dropped the car off for him, walked to my meeting and then walked home. (almost 3 miles) He would have been happy to stay in town and wait for me, but I wanted him to get some stuff done at home. Plus I can always use the exercise.

    I may have mentioned this before, but I try to see how many car-free days I can have in a week. I don't work outside of the home, my DH can walk to work. My goal is to have 3 or 4 carfree days in a week. We are pretty involved at our church plus I am a volunteer at our local food pantry. I combine grocery shopping etc. with meetings.

    Gas is $2.99 here.

    I know of a lady who took a year long break from retail shopping. I don't do much retail shopping at all, but it would be an interesting challenge.
     
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  14. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    I tried the herb thing with my Mom, but she did not use them and I noticed last time I was there she had pulled them out of the ground where I planted them. I am sure she thought they were dead, even though they would have been fine! LOL She just does not garden. I can spend less than $5 at the greenhouse and get enough flowers for a few little beds that she has and I know she would never do it herself. When I am there I check for weeds and pull them all summer long.
     
  15. Country Lady

    Country Lady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Melissa, I am amazed that you have such an interest in gardening and your mother doesn't. When did you become interested, since you probably didn't grow up gardening?
     
  16. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    We had a garden, but mostly my Dad supervised us kids in planting. She did can the food, but we never had flowers or herbs, just the basic crops like potatoes, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers and cabbage. I used to sit and dream about having all kinds of flowers growing around my place.
     
  17. elliemaeg

    elliemaeg Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Country Doc I always enjoy your tips. Have used them many times. Thank you so much for sharing.
     
  18. Country Lady

    Country Lady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My mother didn't sew. She helped with farming, gardening, animals and any and everything outside. Therefore, she didn't have time for much inside interest, except cooking, of course. I'm not sure it was an interest, just something she had to do. I was like you. I can remember sitting and dreaming of have a nicely decorated and kept house and be able to sew pretty things. I learned to sew well and have made a lot of pretty things. I'm not so sure about the well kept house. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Wormlady,
    Would you please post the recipe and directions for making the tortillas in the bread machine? I'd love to be able to make decent ones! Thanks, Jan in CO
     
  20. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Great tips! Thanks Country Doc--it's always better to think before you run to the ER. I have a friend who has taken their children to the ER I don't know how many times this year for ailments I wouldn't have gone to the dr for! Either her insurance is better than mine, or she is paying a whole lot for medical care. Either way, ER rooms are bogged down in minor ailments.
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    Farmer logain: I have made pretty bag holders from the sleeves of old dresses. I've seen pretty ones made from a baby dress that a child had grown out of (just sew at the bottom and leave a hole) Hang on a hanger, stuff the bags in the neck of the bag. I've also seen people make bag holders out of baby/toddler pants. Our plastic bags get a workout in the summer when we are picking many different veggies every day.
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    Mpillow: I agree that fevers usually serve a purpose. I wouldn't let one go over 104, but I think we hinder our bodies from healing sometimes.
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    There are places on my hoophouse where the peas just didn't grow. While weeding and mulching, I made sure to plant some cucumber seeds in the bare spaces. My intensively planted garden plan is stagger, stagger, stagger and never have an empty spot.
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    I not only print (in draft mode, of course) on the back of my previously printed papers, I use the back of junk mail for my printing too! I reuse the envelopes for seeds, or even reuse the ones that include an envelope (one that isn't postage paid) (just put an address sticker where their address was). Great for bills. What do you care if the magazine subscription people think you are a frugal kook???
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    Every year when I see the city cutting trees under the electric lines near my home, I ask them to dump their load in my yard. Free mulch! I don't use it next to the house though for fear of termites, but it is wonderful in my garden paths and for mulching around trees! They love doing it because it would take them forever to drive all the way back to the county landfill with the load.
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    I encourage frogs in my garden to eat bad bugs. Keep your cracked or chipped clay pots and put them up side down or sideways for a cool place for them to hide. A water source helps as well. I put my ceramic pots around the base of my garden water pump (always moist and wet there)
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    I have two baby showers to go to this week. I will be making diaper "cakes with disposable diapers covered with receiving blan
    Instead of a swiffer or an antistatic cloth, I use a piece of flannel or fleece.
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    Accidentally somewhat burned (over brownedJ some crockpot granola I was making when I had to jump up and take kids somewhere with no notice. I don't like it as granola but it's better when made into cowboy cookies (peanut butter oatmeal).
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    I save my soap slivers/pieces in a peanut butter jar fill with water under the sink. Later I dilute that and use in my soap dispensers, sometimes for clothes washing. You could also save money by using $1 shampoo.
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    Are you pantry space-challenged? Put your bed up on cinderblocks and store your food/paper products there.
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    I deep compost in the chicken coop--six to eight inches of straw, leaves, newspaper, etc.. It smells like fresh dirt rather than ammonia in there. Plus I have composted manure for the garden.

    When I take a bucket of composted manure to the garden (I put some in the holes I dig for plants) I use the water that sometimes is caught after the rain in the compost bucket for making manure/compost tea. Great fertilizer.
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