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Top 83 Frugal Tips to Save Money
How to Save Money on Almost Anything
Prices are getting higher and paychecks aren't, so most people need to figure out ways to cut expenses. Here are over 80 tips to save money without doing without. Some ideas may take a little more work, but the savings can make a big difference.
What I like about saving money is that you do not pay the income taxes on it. For every dollar saved you are earning about 30% extra or more by not paying the income taxes, sales taxes etc on the money.
Save Money on the Grocery Bill
1. Always grate your own cheese rather than buying it grated for you. The only exception to this rule is if the store has the grated on sale cheaper than you can grate it. Sometimes the special price is cheaper than doing it yourself.
2. Make food from scratch. A good portion of the price of packaged goods is for the packaging. On occasion you can buy boxes cheaper than you can make them. This only happens when the item is on sale or you have good coupons. Good examples are cake mixes. Compare prices.
3. Baking your own bread cost just pennies compared to store bought and bread makers are now available for almost nothing at garage sales and used stores. They seem to have lost their popularity.
4. You can even make your own yogurt, salad dressings and more. Just check online for the recipes.
5. Buy produce in season and freeze. Be sure to do this correctly. For some good recipes, check the links at the bottom of this article.
6. Stay away from soft drinks. Drink iced tea instead. Better yet, drink water.
7. Start a vegetable garden and grow everything you can find the space to include. If you don't have a yard to do this, plant in pots. I've grown tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, and carrots this way with success on the patio. You can even grow potatoes in this manner. Just be sure that you have large pots.
8. Buy all of the groceries you need at one time. It’s too easy to buy things you really don’t need and the extra trip to the store will cost money for gas and just tempt you to purchase more.
9. Plan ahead by making menus and bring a list. Check the store ads for specials.
10. Be sure to get rain checks when the store is out of sale items that you use. These will come in handy later.
11. Stock your pantry with extra sale items that you use all of the time. Just don’t overstock and have dates expire. Don't purchase anything that you might not use just because it is on sale. It isn't a bargain then.
12. If you have an overabundance of vegetables in your garden, first home can or freeze for yourself. Then give the rest to the neighbors. The giving will make you feel good.
All meats and vegetables need to be pressure canned. Fruits and pickles can be water bath canned.
13.Try purchasing fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market. Sometimes you can purchase at a much lower price. It’s fresher and you are helping the local economy.
14. Bring your own bags when grocery shopping. Some stores will give a discount and you are saving all of those plastic bags from being thrown in the landfill.
15. Buy generic foods when they make sense. Many of these are comparable to name brand foods. I have found a few that are not, so just try a can at a time.
16. Save a container in the freezer just for leftovers for soup. Put in all leftover meats and vegetables and at the end of the week have a tasty soup.
17. Make your own baby food. Just use a blender and you’ll get the same texture as the jarred food. You'll know just what your baby is getting.
18. Check if there are food auctions in your area. I no longer live near one, but I used to get unreal deals at them. Many of the food services will have these. Look online to check if they are available in your area.
19. If you have the space in your yard, plant a few fruit trees, blueberry bushes or raspberries. If you live where it is warm enough, grow citrus fruits. They are easier to grow then you think and you can find the info on line. The only fruit that does take a lot of labor are apple trees. They need to be sprayed often.
20. Search for outlet stores in your area. I've purchased boxes of cereal for just $1.69 a box. You need to check dates on these items. Often it is offered, because the company is now offering a different size.
21. Don't let your lettuce get wilty. Once the bag is open and the lettuce is shredded, put it in a Ziplock type bag and put a coffee filter or paper towel in with it. Change the filter every other day and your lettuce will stay fresh.
22. Try to eliminate waste. Americans are said to waste 50% of their food. That number is terrible. Women in the old days used to brag that not a scrap of food was wasted in their kitchen. We need to go back to those days.
23. Our son just began working at Big Lots. Every so often they have a 20% off sale for friends and family. I don't think you need to be either to take advantage of the sale since they were handing out the coupons to everyone. We saved some major money. Their prices are cheap to begin with. Take another 20% off and it was like getting prices from a couple of decades back.
Save Money on Non-Food Items
1. Think in halves. Just half as much shampoo and conditioner is enough. Beauticians recommend using just a dime size dab. This works with many nonfood items.
2. Buy paper from the print shop. They often have leftovers that they sell for a good price and sometimes give it away free in odd sizes.
3. If you don’t already, shop at the dollar stores. You’ll be surprised at what you can get for just $1.00. Things like coffee filters are especially good buys. I’ve also found closed-out name brand items for just a dollar - shampoos, razors, shaving crèam and more.
4. Join Ebates. It is free to join and you get discounts and earn rebates at many major stores.
I’ve found some cleaning supplies are cheaper at Family Dollar than Walmart. Although Family Dollar charges more than a dollar an item.
Laundry and Cleaners
1. Make your own cleaning products and laundry supplies. Almost everything can be cleaned with just baking soda, vinegar or ammonia. Here's a good one to try. Make Your Own Laundry Soap or you may find others you like online.
2. Don't buy fabric softener sheets any longer. Instead take a piece of aluminum foil and roll it into a baseball size ball. You can use this over and over to take the static out of your clothing.
3. Use vinegar in the rinse water in your washing machine. A little goes a long way and it softens your clothes.
4. Mix equal parts of Dawn dish soap and vinegar to clean everything in the bathroom, except the mirror.
5. Use baking soda instead of scouring powder.
6. Baking soda and warm water cleans bathroom tiles.
Save Money on Other Necessities
1. Buy used whenever possible. You will be pleasantly surprised at the deals you can get at garage sales.
2. Live with less. It will surprise you how much easier it is to clean the house.
3. If you are looking for a special book, always check Amazon or Half.com first rather than buying them new. Join some book swaps like Swaptree, Bookmouch and others. You can also trade videos and games on some of these sites.
4. Make your own natural haircare products. Just click on this link for instructions. Make Your Own Natural Haircare Products.
5. Skip the soda pop when you eat out. This is the big profit item for restaurants and can really add up. Drink water instead. It’s healthier for you and can save as much as $3 per person.This can really add up.
How to Save On Electricity and Utilities
1. Install a thermostat that you can program. Lower the heat setting when no one will be home and during the hours that everyone will be sleeping. Lower the temperature to 58 degrees if you know that no one will be in the home for at least 5 hours. If the time is less than that, it will cost more money to reheat the house than it is worth.
2. Purchase blackout drapes for windows and keep them closed when you don't need the light. We've done this in our bedroom and we can't believe how much warmer it feels.
3. Be sure that furniture and drapes don't block your heating registers.
4. Watch your bills each month. I’ve found services that we were paying for and didn’t order. Especially watch your cell phone bills. We’ve been charged for calls out of the service area, when they weren’t.
5. Be sure that your windows are caulked well. Air from windows are one of the number one expenses on your heat bill.
6. If you have a toaster oven, use that instead of your big oven when possible in the summer months to keep the house cool.
7. In the summer, cook with your crockpot. It will save on the air conditioning.
8. If installing new windows or anything else that is energy efficient in your home, look for the Energy Star sticker. You can save as much as 50% with some of these on your energy cost. At times it saves money to buy new. My HE washer saves 40% of the water. Because I purchased a top loader, it didn't cost anymore than the traditional washer.
9. Unplug your laptop before you go to bed at night. Don't leave it on when it is going to be unused for long periods of time.
10. Don't leave cell phone chargers in the socket when not in use.
11. Use a dehumidifier in basement areas that are used and need to be heated or cooled. My son uses our basement bedroom. Even though it has daylight windows, we were shocked how much warmer it was in the winter and cooler in the summer with a dehumidifier.
Save Money on Misc Items
1. If two people are working in the family, subtract all of the expenses that the person with the lowest income makes. When my children were small, after I subtracted childcare expenses, gas and car expenses and taxes, I found I was only making a couple of dollars a week. I started staying home with the kids.
2. If you can crochet or knit, think recycled. Plastic bags, old shower curtains etc can be used to make purses, beach bags and more. If you have or find a new item of clothing the yarn can also be recycled.
3. Watch for clothing stores having big clearances. You can often get as much as 75% off at the end of the season. Share the information with friends and they’ll often do the same for you.
4. If you need to eat at a fast food place, be sure to keep their coupons in your wallet where they will be handy. This can make a big difference in the total bill.
5. If you have a Walgreens in your area, watch their sales closely. Most Walgreens will let you use their coupon plus the manufacturers coupon. Many have bragged about paying nothing for some items.
6. Keep all receipts for donated items. If you have enough deductible expenses you may be able to itemize on your taxes and save some money. I was surprised how much they allow for clothing.
7. Always, always, compare items for airlines, rental cars or any other big ticket item. This can all be accomplished online.
8. Don’t buy the extra thick or extra soft toilet papers if you have a septic tank. These will require having it emptied much sooner and are much more likely to cause toilets to clog.
9. If you are currently paying a fee for your checking account, find another bank. This is something offered at many banks.
10. If you are buying a house, many banks will give you a lower rate if you have the payment directly deposited from a checking account at their bank. Ask. We did this and were offered a lower rate and weren't required to pay any closing cost.
11. Shop around when getting a loan. Even ½ of a percent can save a lot of money.
12. Keep your credit crystal clean if possible, even if you have to do without to do it. It will save you thousands over your lifetime with cheaper interest rates.
13. Pay off any loans that you can. Start with the smallest first. If you figure the interest you will be paying if you don’t, you may be shocked.
14. To save on prescription drugs, call around. Walmart offers a $4.00 programs for many drugs. Buy generic drugs when possible.
If you have a very low income and can’t afford the drug, let your doctor know. Some drug companies offer assistance programs and sometimes you can even get them for free.
15. If you can’t afford health care, check if there is a free clinic in your town or county. Doctors volunteer their time and sometimes you also get assistance getting the medications that you need. You will have to provide proof of income and be sure to arrive extra early. Some clinics only take as many patients as they can handle in the allotted time and the rest just go without.
16. Get free or low cost publications that cover many subjects from the government.
17. If you smoke or drink, quit now. Both habits are expensive.
18. Do your own repairs. If you don’t have the knowledge, trade jobs with a friend.
This list is long and I do have more ideas and will share them in another Hub. Use your extra money to pay off bills and loans and put some in your saving account. Even if you have very little left, it will build over time. If you keep at it long enough, you'll be able to cut the charge cards up and throw them away and have a nice savings to help in future hard times.
Tips to Save Money On Gas
I said 50 tips, so the information stated below is a freebie for you.
1. Cutting down on your speed will help. Just cutting down from 65 miles an hour to 55 cuts fuel use by 2 miles per gallon according to the Mountain Home Air Force Base. The reason your car consumes more fuel is that at higher speeds the engine in your car will run more revolutions causing it to use more fuel. Higher speeds also cause more wind resistance, so it uses more fuel to drive the same distance.
2. The following idea is obvious, but take the time to think and you may come up with ideas that you hadn't thought of before. If you can share rides with neighbors to get to work or run errands, this will save big dollars. If a bus service is available in your area, use it. Even better walk or ride a bike if you can.
3. Always organize your errands. If necessary, jot down all of the errands you need to run during the week and combine the trips. Let other family members drop off packages at the post office on the way to work if possible or pick up groceries on their way home.
4. The FTC suggests that you remove all items from your trunk that don't need to be there. 100 pounds removed can actually cut gas consumption by 2%.
5. Avoid idling for long periods. If you are waiting for someone else and you know it will be awhile, turn off the car. This includes long waits in fast food lines etc.
6. Avoid last minute braking and quick starts. They waste gas.
7. Use cruise control when appropriate. Driving at a steady speed helps cut down on gas consumption.
8. If it makes sense, purchase a fuel efficient car in place of a gas guzzler. Let the person who puts on the most miles drive the car that gets the best gas mileage. Although they are expensive, buy a hybrid.
9. Get a tune-up for your vehicle when it needs it.
10. There are many sites on the internet that will let you know what gas prices are for your area. If it doesn't require driving out of your way, fill-up at the cheapest.
11. When pumping gas, fill-up the tank. It takes money to drive to the station. Gas may also be used while you are waiting for others to finish.
12. Keep your car tuned up. Change the spark plugs often.
13. Be sure that your tires are at the recommended pressure. Check them every few weeks when the car hasn't been driven very long.
14. Map out your journey ahead of time. Find the shortest route.
15. Brake the car as little as possible. Fast starts and stops use more gas. Slow down when possible ahead of time.
16. Don't use the air conditioner unless you are travelling at a higher speed. The wind resistance of open windows does increase gas use, but a low speeds you should open your air vent or keep the windows open.There isn't as much air resistance at slow speeds. Park in the shade on hot summer days, so your air conditioner won't have to work as much.
With just a few small changes, you can save on fuel consumption.
I know that you can't use all of these tips, but even if you use a few it should help. Start with a few and keep adding. You'll find that you'll come up with a few extras along the way.