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I am new here and new to living on a budget or shall I say frugally. I've made a lot of little changes in my life that are adding up but am wondering, what frugal thing do you do that saves you the most money? I would have to say mine right now is breastfeeding and homemade baby food. I'm looking for someother ideas on where I could possible cut back. So what's frugal thing do you do to save money?
 

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I cloth diapered for a while and made my own wipes. That saved a ton on baby expenses. Hanging laundry out to dry saves up to a $1/per load on your electric bill.

Becky
 

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--Stay out of the stores.... It's easy to go shopping for "sport" or as a passtime, rather than for an intended item. When I do need to make a purchase, I do so with a set-aside, budgeted, amount of money for the purchase. I also give the purchase careful thought. Do I REALLY need what I'm getting?

If there isn't cash readily available for the purchase, then I probably don't need the item. Bargains are never bargains if you have to carry it's debt on a credit card.

In the book The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn, she gives this advise:

There are three basic methods to save money.

1. Buy it cheaper
2. Make it last longer
3. Use it less

--Go through your monthly expenses and see if there is anything that can be altered, replaced, or dropped all together.

Such as:
1. Less expensive cable TV service, or none at all. Could you manage on basic cable during the summer when you watch less TV?

2. Check around for better prices on your insurance. If you bundle your home owners (or renters) insurance and vehicles together with the same company, you might be able to get better rates.

3. Eliminate budget-killing personal habits.... smoking, drinking, gambling, purchasing collectibles, expensive recreational activities, etc.

4. Eliminate membership dues.

5. Use your local library more. Books to read, HOW-TO videos to teach you all kinds of things from cooking, baking, to home repair - movies and music.... Not to mention all kinds of classes and activities for children.

6. Hubby and I each use a TracPhone at the cost of $99/YEAR, but we don't live with a phone stuck to our face and rarely use them. Our yearly expenses for 2 cell phones is $198 - what we feel is a reasonable amount.

7. I keep a Price Book to track prices of foods we commonly purchase (it's in a small 6-ring note book that fits in my purse).

http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2007/05/02/use-a-grocery-price-book-to-slash-your-food-spending/

This way I know sugar is $2.53 for 5# at ALDI while C&H brand was $3.45/5# at Dillons. Unless I have a very GENEROUS coupon for C&H and I can get double coupon, it's not cost effective to purchase C&H sugar.

Use a calculator to figure unit prices of things. Tuna purchased at $2.95/5-oz. may seem like inespensive food, but it = .59 an ounce, or $9.44 for a pound. While .68/5-oz tuna = .14 cents an ounce, or $2.18 per pound. You'll quickly realize ground beef at $1.99/pound is less expensive than a can of tuna for .68 when you figure the unit price, then the price per pound.

8. The first place to save on groceries is to have a set budget to begin with. Mine is $50/week for 2 adults. On that budgeted amount I've also managed to build 6-12 months of most foods in storage, and 1-3 years of "The Seven Survival Foods" (grains, legumes, sprouting seeds, sweetener, salt, oil, and powdered milk) in storage.

So far this year I've spent $569.85 out of $700. As I accumulate the unspent money, I'll purchase things I get in bulk once or twice a year (grains, powdered whey-based milk substitute, grass-fed beef from a friend, etc.)

Hope there is something there that will be helpful.
 

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Great response!! There's a lot in your response to help us all. Mahalo!!
 

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Right now I dont drive. I may not work for most people because of work or kids. My girls are small enough that they dont go to school and I live close enough to work that I walk. We save on gas, insurance, and payments. I will start driving more this summer when it it hot though.
 

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For me it is a combo of many things, stretching the groceries, mostly staying home on weekends and using the library and netflix for entertainment. And lets not forget living on a budget.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the replys. There's a lot of great information here!!!
 

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I would say #1 is cloth diapering. I spent about $200 one time, and now my baby has diapers until he's trained! #2 would be eliminating junk food snacks from our diets. If we want potato chips, I have to go through the work of cutting up a potato and frying it. We do still have it sometimes, but I make from scratch. It saves on two levels. One, we are less likely to eat out of habit. And two, when we do have it, it's cheaper because I made it myself (not to mention healthier) :)
 

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For me it's planning, planning, planning and then paying cash for everything. I'm still working on it and I'm getting closer to where I want to be. Being concious helps me in all areas of my life too. Stay in touch wth us.
 

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Another few things, especially with a small child is to build frugal habits right into raising them, and therefor right into the fabric of your life.

Buying baby clothes and furniture at thrift and consignment stores and yard sales from the get go.

Making sure the whole family learns to like many of the more frugal and healthy foods. It's no huge sacrifice to eat family favorites, but trying to teach kids to eat healthy or frugal dishes later is much harder.

Carefully consider your housing options and needs from day one. Is it the right time to buy a house yet? Or do you still plan to have more children, meaning you might need a larger house later? Can you afford to live where you'd really like to, near work and good schools etc? Do you need a yard, should it be fenced?

Even if you're ready for the house payment, insurance, and taxes..are you really ready for the routine repair costs. They tend to be higher in the first few years of home ownership as you "fix" that fixer upper.

But even after much of the major repairs are done, you'll still average at least one full house payment just in routine repairs like replacing the occassional hot water heater, or window.

Learn to choose a GREAT used car! Seriously. It'll save you literally tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime. Then learn how to change your own oil, and wiper blades, and headlights, etc.
KEY NOTE: CHILTON'S MANUAL (I own one for every car I own) And a decent set of basic mechanic tools.

Become "handy", always take a can do attitude to doing basic mending, repairs, and remodeling on your own home and belongings. Find a "handy" relative or friend and learn, learn, learn. Not only will it save you thousands over the years, it helps you live a much greener life (reduce, re-use, and recycle), AND also that inherent "can do" attitude will be an example to everyone around you including your kids.
 

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Chilton's Manual - never heard of it, but I will definitely look into getting one for my car - Mahalo!!
 
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We've gone down to one car also. We have saved a ton. We started when gas was high since both my DH and I works are close. We have only one daughter at home. I'm not sure we'll go back to two cars. It takes a little more planning but actually its worked out nice.
 

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You know the one big payback thing we did that took all of one phone call and a trip to one store, was to change our phone plan. We had a bundle at over $80/mth. We took it off, went with basic and use YAK long distnace, installed an answering machine to screen calls, and were rewarded with $30/mth. phone bills. That saved us $600/year.
 

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Breastfeeding is a huge one for us...I can't believe how much we've saved in the four months since our son was born! And when you think about it, if he/she spits up a lot, the money you spent on formula goes right down the drain, literally!

I don't shop for much other than groceries and for this I've got a budget of $75 a week. I generally don't spend all that so the extra I can put into savings or put into another area of my budget.

I agree with MauiMagic...if you plan ahead, you can save money by getting a better deal, figuring out how to repurpose something, or get it for free.

Using my crockpot also saves money as I can buy less expensive cuts of meat and make them taste fabulous by slow cooking them. Additionally, I can usually stretch the groceries a bit by adding bits of this and that to the pot!
 

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We're down to one car: one oil change,one car to repair,no car payments,one ins.

We buy almost everything used or new used

Our dogs go to the Petco clinics for shots-cheaper

Buy park passes,download legal movies,watch Hulu,use the library
and take picnics for entertainment.

Bring your own sncks and drinks when you go out

Learn a skill. Trade favors for it. Sell crafts on ETSY.

Clip coupons,buy loss leaders,watch for in-store specials and stock up.

Learn to cook if you don't already. Bake for people for money or barter
 

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The average woman could save $7,000.00 in her lifetime just by making and using her own pantiliners and luna pads from the many patterns available on the internet. And if personal wipes are made and used instead of toilet paper (except for b.m.'s), the savings on toilet paper is very high too.
:yeah:
 

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I would have to say learn to cook, but specifically, learn to cook things you would ordinarily go out to eat. Chinese and pizza were the two things for our family.

Cloth diapers are a tremendous savings, but most people hate to 'dunk'! Guess what, you don't have to. Here's what I did. Save you used Dryer sheets, and use them as inexpensive diaper liners. You used to be able to buy diaper liners, but I cannot find them anymore. What you do is line the diaper with it, and when baby has 'solid waste' you just flush away the liner with the waste, and are left with a wet diaper. To wash, I would just dump the whole diaper pail in the washer, run the spin cycle and then wash in hot water. It really is one or two extra loads of laundry per week, and the savings is tremendous.
I find that babies get potty trained more easily when wearing cloth, too, as they can actually feel the wetness on their skin. My two oldest, in disposables, always had some kind of rash. My two youngest, in cloth, never did. And yes, we would use disposables when travelling. Save all your plasic bags (you know, produce bags, the ones wrapped around your newspaper on rainy days, etc) and keep a couple in the diaper bag to contain wet ones until you get home from shopping,etc.
 

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Actually, a used (emphasis used) is exactly the same material as a diaper liner like they used to sell! I also bought a package of cheapier washcloths, and almost never used wipes, either.
 
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Actually, a used (emphasis used) is exactly the same material as a diaper liner like they used to sell! I also bought a package of cheapier washcloths, and almost never used wipes, either.
I did not know that! :) Thanks. I also use washcloths. I keep a few wipies in the diaper bag for when we are going somewhere I wouldn't have use of water, but other than that, we are completely cloth! :) I haven't used the liners in a long time, but if I feel I need them again, I will just start saving dryer sheets. (I may not have enough, tho - We only run the dryer for towels...)
 
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