Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Few Frugal Tips

I've learned a few things over the last several years about being frugal.  By no means do we live a frugally as some people (I just can't give up my paper towels completely like some do!) but we do pretty good.

Here are just a few ways we've helped cut our bills down.  Remember, a little bit saved here and there really adds up over a year's time!

-During the hot summer months, I keep the blinds closed to avoid the extra heat from the sun.  I also bump the thermostat up a couple degrees when Austin leaves for work and turn the fans on instead.   I also try to keep the lights off, particularly the bathroom lights, to keep from generating so much heat.  You would be surprised at the noticeable difference in the temperature of the bathroom!  Make sure to turn off things like radios, appliances, DVD players, etc., if your not using them. 

-I reuse freezer ziplock bags!  Just this morning I pulled out some homemade frozen waffles for the kids, washed the baggie out, let it dry, and stuck it back in the drawer.  I don't reuse bags that have had meat in them, just to be safe concerning bacteria.

-I use mainly vinegar and baking soda to clean and mop with.  It's amazing what a great job these household items can do on a bathroom!  Plus, they are really inexpensive and aren't harmful to touch or breathe, like most cleaners

-I keep old baby washcloths in the kitchen to wipe up the kids after meals.  This helps save paper towels or wipes.  You can find these super cheap at yard sales or consignment sales.

-As stated above, obviously I shop at yard sales and consignment sales!  It takes very little effort to save money this way.  Don't let pride stand in your way of saving money!  And for any of you name-brand lovers out there, I get Old Navy, Gap, and  Gymboree clothes all the time at these sales.   I have to admit I'm pretty partial to Gymboree!  :)

- Coupons, coupons, coupons.  I can't begin to tell you how much I've saved using coupons.  And it's not as time-consuming as people think.  Just a few minutes a week and you're set!  Pretty much all of our toiletries are free (shampoo, gel, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving needs, feminine hygiene products, etc.) due to coupons, sales, and playing the drugstore game. 

-I've recently started making our own laundry detergent which has helped to save a lot of money.  Detergent was one thing that was hard to get really cheap, even with coupons.  I also wait until I have a full load of laundry (which isn't a problem!) or dishwasher before washing.

-I try to make much of our meals from scratch.  This has helped to really cut down the grocery bill.  I even make our own cream of chicken soup and we love it!  Even the off-brand of that stuff is around a dollar a can and it seems every recipe I cook calls for it!  Bags of baking items can go much farther than a boxed package, not to mention the health benefits of cooking from scratch.

-We recently called and changed our cell phone plan so that we are paying less.  It's good to review your utilities ever now and then to see if you can bundle services, lower them, or even do without.  As I posted a few weeks ago, we have canceled our Directv service, giving us about fifty extra dollars a month.

-I have nursed all of our babies at least the first seven months, which has eliminated the need for the expensive formula.  Luke weaned at 7 months, Chloe at 8 months, Jacob at 13 months, and Asher is still going strong at almost 7 months.  I also mixed their baby cereal with water or breast milk instead of formula.   

-Utilize your local library!  They have lots of cd's and dvd's you can check out for free!  Not to mention all the thousands of books! Hours of entertainment provided at no cost!   Well, that is if you return them on time!

Many of these frugal ideas were born simply out of a desire to live healthier.  Cheap and convenience doesn't always mean better, especially when it comes to food.

So there you have it.  A few frugal things we do around here to save money.  What about you?  What are some ways you save money at your house?

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