Government Shutdown Got You Down? Here Are Fifty Ways to Save Money

by Katy on October 2, 2013 · 65 comments

 Money saving ideas from The Non-Consumer Advocate

  1. Learn to cook. It’s doesn’t have to fancy, but meals prepared at home are almost always going to be cheaper than eating out.
  2. Don’t be afraid to swap out expensive ingredients for their cheaper counterparts. Recipe calls for prosciutto? It’s okay to use smoked turkey, and ricotta is easily replaced with pureed cottage cheese.
  3. Jonesing for a new look at home? Rearrange what you already own. Reconfigure your furniture, knick-knacks and decor items for a HGTV-style makeover without the associated expense.
  4. Keep a few ready-to-eat meals in the freezer for those nights when take-out calls your name. These meals can be either homemade or even store bought, as a $4.99 bag of Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken still trumps $30 in Chinese take-out.
  5. Put on a sweater and a warm pair of socks before you turn on your heat. And then in the evenings, snuggle under a blanket while watching TV.
  6. Put the word out before buying new. Chances are that the thing you need is currently gathering dust in your cousin/neighbor/co-worker’s basement. This is what Facebook was invented for.
  7. Take a good hard look at your insurance bills and put in the work to get them lowered. Call your agent and have this conversation. Update them if you’re driving less, make sure you’re getting all discounts you qualify for and raise deductibles. And then take that information and shop it with other insurance companies.
  8. Vacation close to home. Chances are you can get away from it all within a half day’s drive of where you live.
  9. Share rarely used items with friends and neighbors. My neighbors all use our wheelbarrow and post-hole digger, and we use their paper shredder, cat carrier and pressure washer.
  10. Cancel services you’re not taking full advantage of. Are you a member of a gym, yet never go? Let go of the guilt and march yourself over to their membership department.
  11. Mend and repair instead of replace. You don’t need specialized skills to mend a tear or glue something back together.
  12. Let go of brand loyalty. You are too intelligent to be a pawn of advertising agencies. Example? White Rain shampoo and conditioner is highly rated yet sold at The Dollar Tree.
  13. Research everything that your local library has to offer. Yes, they have books, but they also offer movies, audiobooks, classes, digital downloads, classes, museum passes and more. And it goes without saying . . . return your library materials on time!
  14. Clip coupons, and then match them up with on-sale items. You don’t have to be an insane extreme couponer or unhealthy eater to benefit from this savings strategy. Make sure to register for your store’s online options as well. Safeway frequently sends me digital coupons for lettuce, avocados and even simply $5-off-$20!
  15. Share services. My next door neighbors and I share garbage pickup, which saves both of us a tidy sum of money.
  16. Bring your lunch to work. Heated up leftovers might not be a tasty as a restaurant meal, but the savings make up for that. Remember, you are at work to make money, not spend money!
  17. Ask vacationing friends and family if they need a house sitter. This is an especially great vacationing trick if your friends live nearby. (I used to housesit for my Seattle-based sister, which gave my family a free place to stay within 3-1/2 hours of Portland.)
  18. Figure out ways to be a generous gift giver without spending too much money. Gift items you already own, print kid photos and put them into thrift shop frames, bake something or do some kind of service for the recipient like an evening of babysitting or an afternoon of yard work.
  19. Avoid accepting invitations for evenings out with your big-spender friends. Instead arrange coffee get togethers or a similar low cost endeavor.
  20. Tone down your expensive grooming habits. Even if it’s just replacing every other $60 hair cut with a $15 maintenance trim, you’ll still come out ahead.
  21. Stop buying clothes. Chances are you already own enough clothing to get you through the next zombie apocalypse.
  22. Automate your bills. Not only will you save money on stamps, but you’ll never pay a late fee again.
  23. Get on top of your food waste. Incorporate wilted vegetables into soups, old fruit into smoothies and stale bread into bread crumbs. And get real about what your family actually eats.
  24. Put the breaks on hobby purchases. Use up what you already have, and maybe swap with a similarly minded friend.
  25. Minimize alcohol purchases. It’s expensive, and doesn’t actually make you as funny as you think it does.
  26. Stop buying single use items. A bag of T-shirt rags and cloth napkins can replace paper towels, and a menstrual cup replaces feminine hygiene products.
  27. Turn your hot water heater down a few degrees. Not only will you save energy costs, but you’ll save on cold water as well, as less is then needed to find the perfect warmth for showering and doing dishes.
  28. Cancel home phone service. Chances are that everybody already has a cell phone, so why pay twice for the same service?
  29. Put flannel sheets and a warmer blanket on your bed. Why pay to keep an entire house warm at night when everyone is in bed? No sense warming a kitchen when everyone is in their bedrooms.
  30. Stop the practice of shopping for entertainment. Window shopping is a gateway drug to spending, whether it’s online or brick and mortar.
  31. Do for yourself what you’ve been paying other to do. Paint your own toenails, clean your own house and mow your own lawn. Unless your last name is spelled R-O-C-K-E-F-E-L-L-E-R, you shouldn’t be employing your own staff anyway.
  32. Say “no” to endlessly expensive classes and activities for your kids. Children benefit from unstructured time. Whether it’s creating a zoo from blocks and stuffed animals; or a fashioning a fort using every blanket, pillow and piece of furniture in the living room. Give their creative minds the room to breathe.
  33. Know that no one store is going to offer the best prices. Cheese will be cheaper at one store and olive oil will be cheaper at another. Stock up if possible, so you’re not running around town.
  34. Have a wallet full of gift cards? Keep those in mind for necessities and gift giving before you spend your hard earned cash.
  35. Wash your laundry in cold water, and then hang it to dry. Indoor clotheslines and racks make it possible to extend the drying season.
  36. Think beyond the grocery store when it comes to buying food. We buy our pickled ginger and wasabi from a local Japanese restaurant, (setting us back  just a couple of bucks.) And I buy a dollar’s worth of pepperoni from a local pizza joint.
  37. Make from scratch what you’ve been buying from restaurants. Pizza and sushi are both insanely easy to make. Sure, they might not be as pretty as their restaurant counterparts, but you’re eating it not photographing it, right?
  38. Batch your errands. You’ll spend less time in the car and less money at the gas station if you minimize driving across town for a single task whenever possible.
  39. Find and take advantage of all the free entertainment your area has to offer. Sitting at home all day, every day is a recipe for insanity. So go scope out all the fun and free. You need to look at something besides your own four walls.
  40. Get to know the humble bean. Whether you’re making chili, lentil soup or burritos, legumes are the frugal person’s BFF. Use either a slow cooker or a pressure cooker to transform dried beans into delicious filling meals.
  41. Get over your fear of expiration dates. Sell-by, best-by and use-by are all vague and unregulated terms. If the food still seems okay, then it should be safe to eat.
  42. Research your town’s public transportation. This will especially save you money if you’re paying for parking.
  43. Tart up what you already own using supplies you already bought. Paint old furniture using the paint from past projects, and don’t forget that you can even mix paints for new color combinations.
  44. Return your bottles for the deposit, gather all your spare change and return unwanted purchases. Chances are you’ll be able to scavenge enough money to make it worth the effort.
  45. Keep your splurges within reason. No one thrives on deprivation, so make sure to plan enjoyable treats here and there, just make sure you’re not breaking the bank in the process.
  46. Bring your nice but unwanted clothes to a local consignment shop for store credit. You can then scratch that new stuff itch without spending any money.
  47. Buy used instead of new. Not only will you save money, but you’ll be taking an important stand against irresponsible manufacturing practices.
  48. Read frugality blogs like The Non-Consumer Advocate for ideas, inspiration and like-minded community.
  49. Find contentness with what you already own. You may not live like the Joneses, but you likely live better than the majority of planet Earth.
  50. This last idea is yours, because I’m sure you have some money saving tricks that I somehow missed. What is your favorite money saving tip? Please share in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

AnnDenee October 2, 2013 at 11:34 am

Get chickens!!!

They are inexpensive and multi-purpose: eggs, composting, roto-tilling, entertainment, friendly, and EGGS!

Seriously though, they’ll eat almost all the scraps from your kitchen and the bugs from your yard. They turn the soil. Their poo is great for your veg/flower garden. And they lay eggs which you can eat. And they are entertaining to watch and play with.

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Kori October 2, 2013 at 11:41 am

Love the one about the insurance! Just this week I learned that if I’d let my car insurance company know I got married, we could’ve saved $400 over our two years of marriage. Doh!

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Katy October 2, 2013 at 11:50 am

Who knew?

Katy

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Katy October 2, 2013 at 11:41 am

Chickens are a great addition to many people’s frugal lifestyles. However, the cost of building a coop, supplies and such outweigh it as a money saving option.

Katy

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AnnDenee October 2, 2013 at 11:58 am

Maybe/maybe not. Depends on where you get the supplies and how fancy your coop is.

I get your point though and don’t want to haggle it with you.

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Bill October 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm

You beat me to it. We thought chickens would be frugal, but if you only have a flock of a half-dozen, you’re not getting enough eggs to sell to offset the cost of maintenance/feed.

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Katy October 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm

The limit within the Portland city limits is three.

Katy

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Bill October 2, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Officially, Independence, MO allows six. We purchased eight chicks figuring we’d get below the limit through attrition but all eight are healthy and thriving. None of our neighbors mind, though, and the city doesn’t have “livestock police.” They only really get bent out of shape if someone complains. It’s one of the things I like about my city, there’s a lot of “live and let live” attitude at city hall.

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Eli October 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I have read about folks recycling pallets to create little backyard chicken co-ops for free. Old truck toppers, or even an 6’x 8′ chain link dog kennel with an old outside wooden rabbit cage for a roost . You would be surprised what folks want to give away that can be made suburb worthy with a bit of elbow grease.

cc October 2, 2013 at 11:45 am

My biggest money saver over the years was when I decided to use recycled items for my crafting fix. Worn jeans turned into many sewing projects. Recycled paper(ads, junk mail, cards, etc) works well for paper crafts. Old dishes for mosaics. And on and on. It was amazing to me how much supplies were laying around or tossed out that could be reused. The side benefit of this was a more creative mindset because it was easy to look at a project then buy supplies and make(or not get to). It was a bit harder to look at supplies and make a project.

Also this left me open to receive a lot of different supplies. Again a big money saver. I’ve been given more fabric that I could use in a lifetime. Once a year I go through it and donate to sewers for the linus project.

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Vivian October 2, 2013 at 11:59 am

I like this idea… but too much. Everything becomes something I can save for crafting. It feeds my hoarding heart. lol Good luck to those who make this work for them. 🙂

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cc October 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm

The way I keep the junk down is to only save the rare items, things I don’t get often. Stuff I get all the time, like boxes, paper, ads, etc. I go ahead and recycle knowing it comes back around. And if I toss items then find I needed them I just find something else to use instead. It kind of like cooking, don’t have the right ingredient pick another.

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Joanne October 2, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Keep veggie scraps (peels, cores, tops, strange looking dents your kids won’t eat, the last carrot, maybe with a few sprouts on it) in a bag in the freezer. When you collect enough, boil/simmer them to make stock. Freeze in cups–add to rice, make soup, add instead of water to cook other veggies, etc. To make the whole draining thing easier, this is what I do: make stock in a pasta pot. Put all the veggies in the pasta insert. When the stock is strong enough, slowly pull out the insert while it drains. Then you have a pot of stock and an insert full of mushy limp hopefully-barely-dripping veggies. Put the veggies in your compost, put the stock in your belly!

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Sarah October 2, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the tip about putting the strainer in the pot to begin with. I am going to try this for sure.

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Joanne October 2, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Oh, you can do the whole stock thing with meat scraps/bones/skin/leftovers but I am a vegetarian so I don’t have any suggestions on that.

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Tonya October 2, 2013 at 12:28 pm

If you’re not on a contract, consider downgrading your phone.

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Tonya October 2, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Oh, one more. Interview your grandmother (or someone else you know who lived through the Depression and WWII years). You’ll learn something new about saving money!

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Liz October 2, 2013 at 12:50 pm

If you think you must shop, do it on-line. Then abandon your cart and go shopping in your closet.

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amber October 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Not sure if this one was on the list or not, sell old books, kids clothes ect. to stores. Every few months we go half priced books. I usually get $20 each time I sell back books. No, I did not buy these books new I picked them up at Goodwill 50 cents or less at yard sales. Once I am finished with it I put it in a box. Once the box is full we make a trip there.

When my younger daughter outgrows her clothes I take them up to Once Upon a Child. I did this a few weeks ago and made $31. While I was there I picked up a pair of shoes for each child. I still left with $22 cash.

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Markie October 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm

With the furlough people will not be getting paid at all. They should contact their creditors and ulities and let them know that and see if they can work out a smaller payment for the duration.

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Markie October 2, 2013 at 1:30 pm

See about getting on a budget plan with your utilites. I’m on one for my natural gas and electric. Helps to balance the budget when you know what your bill will be every month.

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Markie October 2, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Put up a notice at school that you are available for watching sick kids or before school or after school care on a short term basis.

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NMPatricia October 2, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Love the list. Great reminders, Katy. I especially like the one about substituting expensive ingredients. Didn’t know about smoked turkey for prosciutto. I would be interested (no, would love) future posts to expand on this idea. Thanks Katy.

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Katy October 2, 2013 at 1:55 pm

I forgot one.

Use half the amount that you usually use for shampoo, dishwasher detergent, etc.

It’s an automatic half-price sale!

Katy

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Michelle October 3, 2013 at 7:33 am

We use pump bottles in the shower for that reason– one pump (or even 1/2 a pump for face wash) is enough. No more accidentally squeezing a week’s worth of shampoo into my hand.

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Liz October 3, 2013 at 7:38 am

Really reply to Katy: I will use half the amount of cleaning products EXCEPT for dishwasher detergent. I live in an area with extremely hard water and the dishes do not come clean with half the amount. Then they have to be washed again, which runs up the water bill.

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Eli October 3, 2013 at 7:58 am

Hard Water?? We have extremely hard water. Use vinegar it will cut down your soap usage drastically!! You can use vinegar to clean counters, floors, windows, use it daily as a shower mist to keep the shower clean, use it in the laundry instead of fabric softener. You can use vinegar instead of creme rinse on your hair just dilute it down about a 1 cup vinegar to a quart of warm water pour over your hair after shampooing.
Best of all you can use vinegar in the rinse aid part of the dish washer! Rinse aid is so outrageously expensive and vinegar is so cheap and does the same thing.
Want a fresh aroma for any of these uses, add a few drops of essential oils to the gallon. If you feel vinegar isn’t killing enough germs spray the ares you are cleaning with peroxide.

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Markie October 2, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Water for soda, coffee at home rather than out.

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Emily October 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Does anyone have any tips for fixing a broken umbrella? A couple ribs on mine are broken and I’d like to fix it, not only to avoid buying a new one, but also because I really LOVE the one I have (it’s bright green and yellow tie-dye…very cheery on a rainy day!)… Thanks!

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AFS October 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm

I did a search for DIY umbrella repairs and these two results look promising:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVFWJxD_KR8
http://www.ehow.com/how_8619025_repair-rain-umbrella.html

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Joanne October 2, 2013 at 3:52 pm

For saving money on shower curtain liners (OK not a lot of money, but $3-8 twice a year, unless you buy them at the dollar store, which I’ve done, but it helps): if the problem with the shower curtain liner is that it’s all moldy but otherwise intact, wash it. I use a cup of bleach (my bleach lasts forever since I use it pretty much only on this one thing) and wash the liner on hot with a couple things (like towels) that can be bleached and it wouldn’t matter if they got stained (they might, from the mold). I have washed the same shower curtain for at least 5 years. Eventually I guess the grommets will fall apart, but not yet! Don’t put it in the dryer. Shake it out but don’t worry about some wrinkles–just hang it back up in the shower to dry and the weight will pull out most or all of the wrinkles.

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dusty October 3, 2013 at 3:07 am

i have a book by Heloise (you know the help columnist) and her tip is to wash the plastic liner in the machine with vinegar and baking soda. The baking soda removes the mildew and the vinegar keeps it from spotting. I tried it and it worked great.

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Monica October 3, 2013 at 5:52 am

I could not STAND washing my grimy shower curtain liners by hand, and I always just threw them out (princess mentality)! I was actually afraid to wash my heavy duty plastic shower curtain liner in the washing machine–but what a relevation when I finally did! It comes out of the washer so clean–and stays that way for a long time. No more replacing the liners twice a year a $14 a pop!

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Becky October 3, 2013 at 7:11 pm

I bought a cloth curtain and a cloth liner many months ago. They’ve both gone through the wash, hung back up to dry… and are still in great shape. I think they’ll last for years. I was a little concerned that there would be some issue with soaking through and getting the floor wet. But it’s never been a problem.

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Linda in Mass October 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Becky, I have also changed to a cloth type liner and have been using it for years. I just throw it in the wash and it comes out great!

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Theresa P October 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I used to need to do this much more frequently but have discovered an easier alternative to cut down on the washings. I screwed a spray bottle top on to a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and spray the curtain after each shower when I step out. It has successfully kept the mildew away for months. I also spray the perimeter of the tub. Amazingly easy, frugal, and better for the environment (not to mention our health) than bleach.

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Sadye October 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Of course one can always go to the library to read magazines instead of subscribing, but my mom’s family has always been good about splitting up subscriptions and just sharing with everyone.

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Peg October 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Even though it’s a money pit, we will never do away with a land line phone. In natural disasters, or for no reason at all, cell phone service is one of the first to go out. We have ours trimmed to the bone, no extras at all.

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Sharon October 2, 2013 at 6:39 pm

As much as I love these ideas (no really, I do!)…it’s worth mentioning that NOW would be a great time to spend a little extra than normal (if you are in the position to do so, of course). Think about putting local shopping before bargain shopping. Independent businesses. Mom and Pop retailers. Family run restaurants. Etc, etc.. If you live in an area where the government is the largest employer in town, those businesses will be hit HARD. The trickle down damage is impossible to estimate, should this go one for weeks and weeks.

Again, this post has great ideas for saving money…but there is something to be said for *conscious spending*

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The Prudent Homemaker October 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm

That was an interesting point, Sharon!

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Suzanne P. October 2, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Plant a garden and use a drip irrigation system. We saved tons of money on vegetables this summer!

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Mama October 3, 2013 at 2:36 am

– Join Freecycle.
– Turn off your heating.
– Shop for fruit and vegetables at the market instead of supermarket.
– Buy food in bulk – share goods and costs with family and friends.

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Dawn October 3, 2013 at 5:01 am

I save all the plastic bags that we get. I use reusabel fabric bags for shopping but there are always plastic bags from somewhere. (husband forgets, etc.) I save the wax paper bags from inside cereal and cracker boxes. I don’t buy too many but there are always a couple around here. Then I re-use them to store veggies, bread, fruit, use to pack lunch, etc, etc.

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Becky October 3, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Those cereal type bags are good to wrap mailable items, such as books or other media items, so that they are more waterproof. I’ve worked as a mail lady… things sometimes get wet from spills along the way to our post office to rain while out delivering or a leaky mailbox.

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JD October 3, 2013 at 6:23 am

Let go of your diva tastes. My spouse has finally accepted that a simple cheese sandwich and some cut up veggies, or a veggie filled omelet works for dinner – a meal doesn’t have to be “traditional” meat and potatoes to still be nourishing, filling, and best of all, cheap. A reusable bottle of tap water kept in the refrigerator beats a can of soda, a bought bottle of water, or a glass of iced tea when we’re hot and thirsty.

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Marie October 3, 2013 at 7:00 am

I turn off TV.

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Claire M October 3, 2013 at 9:00 am

This is a pretty comprehensive list, Katy! But it only scratches the surface of the font of information, inspiration and great advice that your blog offers. The Non-Consumer Advocate is an incredible resource and I can say without being overly dramatic that it has indeed changed my life.

I started reading your blog a year or so ago when I first got out of college. I have kind of an unconventional life – by the time I graduated I was already next-to-married with 3 stepchildren and a mortgage. Money was always shamefully tight and I have had a lot of ups and downs since then with my job (hours and wages getting cut, etc). I felt like I was constantly scrambling for money, and the balance on my credit card just kept climbing. It was only after coming here in desperation, that I realized how bad my spending habits were and how much I could do to make things better. I used to feel disempowered by my lack of funds and console myself with lots of convenience foods, new clothes, toys, and nights out, but that only left me feeling more strapped and powerless. I felt like the world was against me and that I’d always be so stuck! I had no idea what my mindset and shortsightedness were causing my problems, not the amount of money coming in.

Reading The Non-Consumer Advocate has made me a believer! After a long year and a half, not only do I have a sense of understanding and control over my finances, but I have actually come to get a kick out of good deals, thrifted treasures, and homemade foods and fix-its. I have learned to cook, buy smarter, become a Goodwill ninja, and this year I am trying my first non-consumer Christmas. Plus, I followed your example and developed some channels for supplemental income – babysitting (how ironic!), tutoring, and ebaying. When my hours got halved again last month, rather than panicking and going out on a spending binge to ease my pain, I took a deep breath, fired up my resume, and continued my new frugal habits. I know that even if things don’t get better right away, I have the flexibility to stay out of debt and still enjoy life.

I can’t thank you enough for what you do every day to promote this sensible, sustainable, and -gasp!- fun way to look at life. Your blog and the community that has sprung up around it is a breath of fresh air in this gimme-gimme world. Thank you for giving me the tools and the courage to take back control of my life and experience the joy of living above the consumer mindset.

<3

-Claire

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PoppyEcho October 3, 2013 at 7:07 pm

Awesome, Claire!!!

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chicknlil October 5, 2013 at 7:06 am

Wow! Great! (:

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Barb October 3, 2013 at 9:28 am

I’m also going to suggest that if you can afford it, this si the time to donate to your local food bank or provide assistance. Federal employees will be getting absolutely no pay-and whether they get back pay is dependent on congress. right now I would say no. remember that most federal employees are not department managers. they are the folks on the phone from the irs or social security, clerks, receptionists, commissary checkers and provide all the other support that many of us expect.

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Tonya October 3, 2013 at 10:37 am

One of the things I love, love, love about this group is that we are frugal but at the same time generous. Thank you for this gentle reminder for those of us who are still fortunate enough to be paid for our hard work. Share! 🙂

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Amanda October 3, 2013 at 11:21 am

1. Take time to really understand your needs before you buy big ticket items like houses and cars.
2. Rent out what you are not using through a myriad of websites like relayrides.com.
3. Take the time to educate yourself on the basics of finance before you invest the savings you accumulate.
4. Care for the items you have. They will last longer and the extra work will make you think a bit harder before you buy something else to maintain.
5. Change your own oil.
6. Hang out with people who share your values.
7. With your spouse, write down your values and set financial goals that support them. It makes a big difference if you are invested in the same goals.

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dusty October 4, 2013 at 3:01 am

I think #6 is so true. I noticed when I start talking to friends about my non-consumer ways, some of them look at me like I have two heads. I have to show lots of restraint and keep my mouth shut when I see my friends just shopping constantly.

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Elaine in Ark October 4, 2013 at 6:55 am

I hear you, dusty! I’m planning to retire in a few months, and I tell everyone that the only reason I can do that is because I’ve chosen to embrace a more frual lifestyle. I live near a retirement resort style community, and most of the residents were well off. Some of them have had to reduce their spending, but most haven’t and are surprised to hear me say that.

I don’t mind having to watch my pennies for the rest of my life, if it means I can quit this corporate rat race.

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dusty October 4, 2013 at 11:01 am

so true, elaine, even though I am far from retirement.

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Carla October 3, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Learn old-fashioned household skills like (as already mentioned) cooking. Learn to can, freeze and maybe even dry foods so that you can take advantage of good sales during a food’s prime season when it is always cheaper. But wait, why not add sewing, knitting, maybe crochet or embroidery? Our foremothers used these homey skills to clothe their families and decorate their houses on a budget and so can we.

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WilliamB October 18, 2013 at 10:32 am

Regretably, knitting and crocheting your own things are almost always pricier than buying, even without taking into account the cost of needles/hooks or your time. Yarn is very expensive compared to machine-made goods.

Two exceptions:
1) The knitting or crocheting is for mending rather than making.
2) The yarn was free.

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Ann October 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Enjoy treating yourself…at the thrift shop! Pick out a mug that makes you smile. Then, make your coffee or tea at home and enjoy it. Chose a glass that feels great in your hand or is really pretty and use that for your nice free ice water.

And plan meals in advance! If you plan, you can cut down on trips to the grocery store.

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JaneUlness October 3, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Many necessities can be had for free. Soap, deodorant, and toothpaste are free with coupons at the dollar tree. I also got recipe starter for free.

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Lotta October 4, 2013 at 7:14 am

Keep an eye on “deal” boards, such as http://www.fishingfordeals.com
I can’t tell you how much stuff I got for FREE (or very close to that) from their Amazon thread that’s constantly updated with new deals!
They also have a freebie forum and member exchanges and marketplace where you can trade/sell your stuff and the members are fantastic! They are like my “extended family” 🙂

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Nancy from Mass October 4, 2013 at 7:17 am

One of the things I do to save money is, when i go grocery shopping (after hitting the lost leader sales at other stores), before hitting the checkout, i go through my cart to see if there is anything there i can take out. usually there is something extra that i picked up because i though i may need it or it was a good price, or a treat, etc. it usually saves me a couple of bucks before i hit the checkout line. (and yes, i give that item to the cashier to return to its’ rightful place)

also….make a menu list for the week! mine sometimes changes mid week, but i go through my fridge/freezer/cabinets on friday and make up a mini supper list. friday after karate, sandwiches, saturday, hot dogs, beans, mac n cheese, sunday, chicken pot pie, monday, leftovers, etc that way the guys look at the ‘menu’ and know what they are eating for dinner. i never put down lunches because weekend lunches are usually whatever is leftover or maybe frozen ellios pizza or pb&j. we’re old enough to make our own lunches.

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Annie October 6, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Get a shower head with a pause button. You can save a lot of hot water while soaping yourself up or massaging shampoo/conditioner in to your hair.
If at all feasible, get a bike with a basket and/or rack for running errands. Saves gas and gym fees.
Learn to do your own manicures and pedicures. I learned how at age 18 and I haven’t had to pay for one since.

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Elisabet October 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Seeing all those tips on saving on shampoo I just had to share my own tip: don’t use shampoo or conditioner. I started some years ago experimenting a little with those quite expensive hard shampoo bars. Then I found a hemp soap that worked great. At a much lower price. Then they stopped selling that at the eco food store I was buying it. In desperation I bought an olive oil soap there instead (even cheaper than the hemp soap). It has been better than shampoo, my hair does not get greasy as fast, my curls (I have long, thick, curly blond hair, but the individual strands are very fine) looks much nicer. Sometimes I rinse with apple cider vinegar (instead of conditioner). Admittedly there was a period of adapting for my hair first, but it has been totally worth it! It does not get greasy and I can go longer between washes, and even haircuts since it has been a lot less damaged too. For my body I use another (even cheaper) olive oil soap, with more olive oil in it, almost eliminates the need for lotion.
I also wash my kids hair with the same soap. And it is also better for the environment, plus it makes my clean modern bathroom look even better, no ugly plastic bottles cluttering the shower, just a nice soap bar. And to travel or going to the gym I use the same bar for hair and body, don’t have to worry about leaking bottles anymore.

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Ronda October 10, 2013 at 10:40 am

Share bulk purchases: three of my friends buy bulk meats from a butcher. Since none of us have a freezer, it works well and only costs each of us 1/3 of the price.

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