Easy Ways to Save Money with the Frugal Chick Savings Tips

Creative Couch Coverings Are Everywhere

Save Big Money Without Sacrifice

The word cheap makes me cringe. I prefer to be called clever, smart, crafty, and frugal. Most of what I learned about living simply I credit to my mom. She was way ahead of her time and though my brothers and I complained about not having cable, the lack of sweetened cereal in the cabinets and the fact that the peanut butter...in a giant 5 gallon tub...had to be stirred because it had separated, we later came to realize that mom was part teacher and part innovator. My mom was the first one on our block to have a compost pile.

When it rained, my brothers and I were each given an empty yogurt container and walked around the block to collect as many worms as we could find. We'd carry them home proudly for mom's garden. Back then, it was embarrassing to have a mom that was so eccentric. I wanted her to be more like other moms...but that wasn't her. Here are some of my clever tips for easy ways to save money, many gleaned from my own mother's savvy ways, to help you cut out the excess and still live the good life.

1.Always keep your eye on the curb. Garbage day in our neighborhood was Tuesday and mom would take us for walks we called "Tuesday Shopping." We found rakes with broken handles, unwanted furniture, board games and whatnot. You'll be surprised at the good items people will throw out, especially if they are moving or have just gotten new furniture. I've found a white wicker patio set, perfectly good porch swing, and even a black leather couch my next door neighbor was throwing out. My neighbor was surprised I wanted the couch but I knew it would be perfect for our living room. Thrilled, I recruited my skeptical boyfriend to help me bring it in the house before anyone else could take it. We've had that couch for at least three years now and as soon as I find a better one at the curb, I'll consider replacing it.

If you have a friend or neighbor that is moving soon, let them know you are interested in their castoffs. I have gotten a gas grill, backyard pergola, plant collection, garden tools and more from a neighbor that moved out of state. She was happy to find a home for her unwanted items and I was thrilled to receive them.

2.Check Out Your Local Goodwill. This is one of my favorite places to shop because you can find great jewelry, books, clothing, small furniture, baskets and even bikes. I shop at multiple Goodwill stores because certain locations have better costume jewelry or better clothing. I always pay attention to the little color-coded dots on the top of the hanger. When a "new" rack of just-hung clothing gets wheeled out onto the floor, check to see what color the hangers are. Those hangers will tell you when the most recent merchandise was brought out. The new goods that are the better styles and brands will go fast, so make sure you check out the merchandise before other shoppers pick through it.

Buy Flat Sheets and Make Your Own Curtains--Fabric shops are way overpriced. If you are creative and can sew a straight line, you can make curtains and pillows very cheaply. Check out the Linens section at Goodwill. Use your inner artist's eye and you can find all kinds of quick-sew slipcovers. I recently got a pink tablecloth for seventy-five cents at Community Thrift Store in Charlotte. I pinned it to my tattered ottoman and stitched it in place. Instant transformation for under a dollar. I also love to make Gypsy Scarf Curtains out of unique silk and vintage scarves. I saw these selling for about $200.00. At the thrift store, I keep my eye open for gorgeous scarves for under $5.

One of my favorite thrift stores continually gets huge name brand unworn merchandise from local stores. The items are usually from a past year but the fashions are still hot. I have stocked my EBay store with jean shorts, skirts, and jeans (American Eagle, Hollister, Abercrombie, Lucky Brand and more). Don't be afraid to shop in out of the way places. My friends may wrinkle up their noses, but I've sold $1000 plus monthly on EBay for the past few years. Guess they don't need that kind of extra cash.

3 . Do not shop out of boredom. In college, shopping was my main recreational activity. Bored? A quick trip to the mall or a run to Old Navy was sure to give me a boost. I bought lots of clothes I didn't need. Some I would wear once or not at all and later return. I was surrounded by other young people with expensive taste and great clothing. I was sure that adding to my wardrobe would help me to become more like the other well-dressed kids. I was adding to my credit card debt and still felt completely empty and lacking. Shopping was merely a diversion.

4.Make your own birthday and holiday cards. There are so many great scrapbook papers, stickers and embellishments that make putting together a classy card easy. Instead of using glue, I prefer double-sided sticky photo squares. These are a no-mess way to speed up card-making. They come on a roll, so you simply peel off the backing and your paper/photo is glued in a snap. Buy a large pad of various scrapbook papers. These make great backgrounds. I also buy a giant stack of blank cards so when the occasion comes around, all I have to do is cut my paper to size, add a photo or sticker and write my message. Sure, you do have to invest in some craft supplies, but think of all the money you are SAVING by not buying each card ready-made.

5. Buy in Bulk. If an item is on sale and it's something you use regularly, go ahead and pick up extras. This is great for health and beauty products. You are definitely going to need deodorant in the months to come, so pick it up while it is on sale.

6. Check out Aldi's. My first trip to this store resulted in me walking out empty handed and puzzled. Why would anyone shop at a store with so many off-brands? I missed my recognizable snack brands. Americans are conditioned to "trust" brands based on the packaging. We are also major brand snobs. Shopping at Aldi's takes a bit of getting used to. Recently I decided to give this place another chance and now shop regularly for certain products. The deals you can find on eggs, creamer, ice cream and produce are hard to beat. Before you fill your cart with 17 boxes of Thin Wheats, I recommend you start with one box of a product and decide if you like the taste. Many items, like spices, are way cheaper here than normal grocery chains. And the low price on olive oil makes me wonder why other stores charge so much more. Sure, there are minor inconveniences, like bringing your own bags, but once you reprogram yourself to keep reusable cloth bags in the car, you will soon be a fan of this place.

Frugal Chicks Make the Best DIY cards

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Painless Savings Tip: Shop Locally

Shop locally.  Sign up for your Local Farms tour.  NC is home to all kinds of great growers like this shiitake mushroom man.
Shop locally. Sign up for your Local Farms tour. NC is home to all kinds of great growers like this shiitake mushroom man.

Save All Dollar Bills and Change For A Year For Big Money Accumulation

Save all one dollar bills and change. Make this a habit. You will be surprised at how quickly your collection of ones grows into your own personal mini bank. To start, simply empty out your pockets/purse/wallet every day. Designate a spot for your stash. Clean out the change from your car and any money hidden in the couch cushions. Keep the money you're saving in a prominent spot where you will see it often and watch your stash grow. I use a clear plastic pouch from a Burt's Bees gift set so I can visually see my money grow each day. Tell your partner about your plan. Get your partner on board. Explain what you're doing and ask your partner to join in. You may be greeted with skepticism initially but if you stick with this method your partner will see the results, then jump in. You won't be tempted to raid the money stash and blow it if you're both working together to create this mini nest egg.

Every summer my boyfriend and I go to the beach for a vacation. Staying at a hotel and meals out are costly. This year I was determined to save as much cash as I could in the months before our trip. At first my boyfriend laughed at the idea and joked that we'd be paying for our hotel room with quarter rolls. By the time our vacation came around I had saved about $400 cash. Now my boyfriend was interested in this technique. It felt damned good to know that we could pay cash for anything we wanted. Drinks at the bar? No problem. The personal rush I got from knowing I had my cash stash was incredible. Start out slowly and you will be surprised by the momentum of your growing stockpile if cash will gain.

Save All Change and Dollar Bills

Sell Clothing Fast on Ebay For Quick Cash

Sell your unwanted clothing on Ebay for top dollar.  Check out my Powerseller Tips for making money selling brand name clothing at http://www.womensclothingjeansreviews.com
Sell your unwanted clothing on Ebay for top dollar. Check out my Powerseller Tips for making money selling brand name clothing at http://www.womensclothingjeansreviews.com

Sell Jeans On Ebay For Profit

You can make a great additional income if you love to shop and can pick out great brands of clothing at super low prices. Buy clothing in the off season, shorts in the winter, sweaters during the hot months, then sell them for great profits. I have been selling on Ebay since 2008. There is a good amount of competition in the marketplace but there is plenty of money to be made.

Dedicate yourself to learning which items sell best. Take a look at watcheditem.com to see the most watch items on Ebay. Items that buyers are watching can give you ideas about what to sell. Often, a watched item turns into a sale.

Know your brands. On EBay, buyers are scouring through thousands of items daily in search of specific brands like Diesel jeans, Hudson, Paige, and True Religion. Become an expert. Learn how to authenticate your denim. Be sure to include accurate measurements as well as manufacturer's size charts.

Powerseller Tips for Ebay from King Human

Save Big: Pay Off Credit Card Debt Now

Saving money is great. However, if you're trying to save money but have debt (car loan, credit card, etc.) your top priority should be to get the debt paid off. Credit card debt swells if left unchecked. You need to make paying off that debt a priority. Come up with a plan to wipe out that debt. I recently took $6,000 out of my mutual funds account to whittle down my debt. I had spent months trying to convince myself that this was a good plan. I love to track my investments each month and watch my money grow. I also keep track of my credit card balances and despite hefty payments, the debt loomed large.

The best part of paying down my debt? I feel richer than ever because I know I'm on track to completely pay my Discover bill off in the very near future. Pick up the phone today and get your credit card debt under control.

Everything Is Negotiable-Ask for a Discount and Get It

Think an item is overpriced? Practice the art of negotiation. Ask for more in every transaction. Do not accept no for an answer. When I was a flight attendant, I was staying at a Holiday Inn in Charlotte while I settled in. With little notice, I was told I was being switched to a different branch of the hotel. I asked the shuttle bus driver if he could take my roommate and I to the other Holiday Inn. The driver agreed. My roommate was shocked that I had gotten him to do this. I always ask for more than I expect to get. Sometimes you might not get your way, but you don't know if you don't ask for more.

Ask for a loyal customer discount. If you've been with your phone company, cable company or insurance carrier, ask for a discount. Tell them you recommend that company to all your friends. I have used this technique successfully to negotiate with Dish Network, Verizon Wireless and even my car insurance company.

Check out this Maine Family's Guide to GREAT Frugal Family Fun

This woman from Maine is a master at stretching dollars. Her and her husband have a knack for finding bargains. Amy Decision(spelling her last name is impossible but it's pronounced decision) purchased a huge farmhouse in Maine for cheap, decorated it, raised their five kids and prospered while both earning small salaries. I definitely recommend reading her book. She's an illustrator as well and her creative touches are all over this book.

Save Money On Laundry...Give Your Dryer a Timeout

Wash clothes one day a week or every two weeks. Do laundry in batches for maximum efficiency. Hang clothes on a folding drying rack or clothesline to eliminate the cost of running a dryer. Dryers are a Huge Money Waster. Use them sparingly. Wash only clothes that have been worn more than once. Jeans can be worn 2 or 3 days before they need to be washed.

Make your own laundry soap by watching a quick YouTube video to see how it's done. The savings can be huge.

Start A Compost Pile: Turn Scraps Into Rich Soil

Have a designated container by the kitchen sink for banana peels, newspapers, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and filters, used tea bags, and other scraps. You do not need to purchase any fancy equipment to make rich compost. You can dig a hole and bury your compost, use a 5 or 6 foot long section of chicken wire to create a compost bin, or even nail together wooden pallet boards to make your own compost box.

Quit making excuses for why you can't do this. "I live in the city/country/woods/an apartment/condo." If that's the case, it's your job to educate your family, neighbors and HOA about composting. My mom did this way before Martha Stewart and her fancy schmancy gardening gloves ever appeared on the scene. To this day, mom's garden is legendary. When our family bought a house in Charlotte, NC, mom flew down with her suitcase full of plants carefully packed into recycled yogurt containers (which she gently covered with recycled bread bags.) In the rich, dark soil were her beloved earthworm friends from Connecticut. She told me they would immediately go to work to break up the compacted red clay dirt and improve the soil.

Mom is a force to be reckoned with. It's best not to argue with her Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Logic. Just let her do her thing and watch the results. My garden is now the best in the neighborhood. Thanks mom. I hope you enjoyed reading these easy ways to save money.


Start a Garden and Grow Your Savings

Gardeners are generous people and most gardeners are thrifty people by nature. They save seeds from favorite plants to grow the following year. You can easily save seeds from marigolds, zinnias, basil, oregano, foxgloves and tomatoes to plant in the spring. To keep your seeds fresh, store them in glass jars in the fridge. Unused plant seeds will fail to germinate if they are not planted within a year or two. Ask a gardener friend to give you some of their stored seeds to plant.

Basic seeds and homemade compost or leaf mulch and wet newspapers(placed around plants to keep weeds out of the garden) cost just pennies. The joy you will get from growing your food and flowers is well worth the minor expense you invest. Try out gardening. Even if you live in an apartment or townhouse, you can grow a substantial amount of plants in basic containers right on your porch or patio. Once you discover how easy and fun gardening can be, you'll be hooked. Soon you'll be the gardener giving your friends seeds you saved from your own garden.

If you're artistic like me, you can use envelopes and paper to make your own handmade seed packets. I love to paint and draw and then cut up my paintings, fold the paper into squares and add glue around three sides to make my handmade seed packets.

Grow A Garden For Fresh Food

This little garden near Blowing Rock, NC is proof that you don't need a huge space to grow oregano, fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, and beans.
This little garden near Blowing Rock, NC is proof that you don't need a huge space to grow oregano, fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, and beans.

Saving Money Becomes a Lifestyle

Ignore anyone who tells you that you're missing out on fun by saving money. That person doesn't understand the incredible reward of opening up a brokerage statement and seeing how saving just $50 or $100 can add up over several years. Compound interest is like magic. The reward of pinching pennies now will allow me to retire early and live off my savings. My friends may not understand that concept but when I'm traveling the world at age 50 and they're still slaving away and barely getting by, I will know this secret worked for me. Join me today. Saving money is the key to a brighter future and peace of mind.

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Comments 6 comments

Guanta profile image

Guanta 5 years ago from New York City

Thank you for such practical suggestions, heathersgreatcat. I'm not sure if there is an Aldi's in my area, but I'm going to check online. Thanks for the tip.


Shawn Scarborough profile image

Shawn Scarborough 5 years ago from The Lone Star State

Great hub. I had the same experience as you did with Aldi. The first time I went to the store I thought it was a total waste of time. Now I find great deals on a lot of things I buy on a regular basis.


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Well, I went to Aldi for the first time and felt the same way and walked out. But having read your hub, I think I'll go back again. Glad I found this...and you!


heathersgreatcat profile image

heathersgreatcat 5 years ago from Charlotte, NC Author

If there's no Aldi's in your area, ask other smart shoppers where they get groceries. The beauty of these discount grocery stores is they pass the savings on to you. There is no bakery department, meat counter, seafood department...and no extra bodies standing around on the clock. The few people they do have working are speedy and efficient. I definitely recommend this store.


kerlynb profile image

kerlynb 5 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

"Do not shop out of boredom." - Very practical advice. It's quite important to schedule shopping - say twice a month or once a month. It's also good to keep a shopping list and stick to it, like NEVER buy anything that's not included in the list. When bored, it's better to work out, read or hub (LOL :D) than shop. Thanks for this useful hub.


heathersgreatcat profile image

heathersgreatcat 2 years ago from Charlotte, NC Author

Definitely make a list before you go into a store. Then stick to that list no matter what. This is a bit tricky when you're in a grocery store surrounded by samples of gourmet ice cream and fine wine....

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