Find more ways to save
Frugal families cut their budgets to the bone. Many budget busters, such as eating out too often or being wasteful with electricity, are easy to identify. Sometimes it might seem like you can’t find any new ways to save. Readers on my forums share updates with an ongoing discussion on their most recent ways they’ve managed to save even more money.
Here are a few of their suggestions.
This won’t work for all households, but some families can cut out their waste-management company. One reader, Michelle from Wisconsin, shares: “I cut off garbage service yesterday. They were charging $25 a month to come every other week. I can drop the same amount of trash at the dump for $8. Even if you figure in $5 a month for gas to get there it is still a savings of $12 a month.”
If you have cable television or satellite, negotiate to get the best price by making a switch or giving them a chance to meet or beat another offer for you to stay. Be sure to find out about cancellation fees, channels available, contract durations and reception before making any changes.
Lean toward buying products that offer alternate/multi-uses such as vinegar or baking soda or items that can be reused. Another reader, Cheryl from Ohio, adds: “I keep trying to cut down on the number of things I buy (and need) around the house. Like instead of so many cleaning products, opting for an all-purpose cleaner for almost all tasks.”
Learn to groom your pets yourself and consider making your own pet food. Donna from California, shares: “I am a member of a bulk-meat-buying group for dogs (B.A.R.F. co-op). They have similar groups around the country, where a bunch of people get together and buy large quantities of meat (as in, grocery-store-sized orders) and get it quite a bit cheaper than an individual could. For a while there, we were getting turkey at about 25 cents per pound. Also, they typically have free-range and organic available. I had to stop buying because I shut down my extra freezer (old and energy hog) so nowhere to store cases for the time being, but it is a great benefit to getting your prices down on dog food, especially if you own three big eating machines like I do!” I recommend talking to your vet about switching your pet to homemade food and discussing specific recipes. There’s considerable debate specifically over the Bones and Raw Food Diet. Find out what is best for your pet.
And speaking of grooming, while many frugalistas have low-fuss hairstyles (all one length or long hair), you can learn to trim your family’s hair in between salon/barber visits. Some people don’t feel comfortable using hair clippers or vacuum cutters, but for trimming simple bangs, you can try a Creaclip (www.creaclip.com). Another reader, Polly from Pennsylvania, raves about creaclip: “It’s SUPER easy. Took me a whole two to three minutes to cut my hair, and it came out better then some of the cuts I’ve gotten a discount cutters. I would not be unhappy if given this hair cut from a hair cuttery or something similar.”
photo by kowitz