Win a Copy of “Thrift: A Cyclopedia,” and Maybe Even a T-Shirt!

by Katy on January 25, 2010 · 86 comments

This giveaway has ended. Thank you to everyone who entered your thrifty tips!

Although Thrift Week is over, thrift at my house lingers longer than a house guest with a hide-a-bed fetish.

To recognize the 365 days that encompass my thrift week, I have another giveaway for Non-Consumer Advocate readers.

Today’s giveaway is for a copy of Thrift: A Cyclopedia, by David Blankenhorn, (Templeton Foundation Press.)

“In David Blankenhorn’s new compendium, Thrift: A Cyclopedia, he reminds readers of a time when thrift was one of America’s most cherished cultural values. Gathering hundreds of quotes, sayings, proverbs, and photographs of Blankenhorn’s vast personal collection of thrift memorabilia, this handsome book is a treasure trove of wisdom from around the world and throughout the ages.”

To enter to win this book, please share your favorite thrifty tip in the comments section below.

I will randomly pick a winner on Wednesday, January 27th at midnight Pacific time zone. One entry person, and this contest is open to U.S. residents only.

As a special treat, two runners up will receive “Bring Back Thrift Week” T-shirts in size large.

Good luck!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

I have received no compensation in exchange for this giveaway.

{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Kate January 26, 2010 at 3:30 am

Using the pantry principle for food buying/consumption. I first read about it in the Tightwad Gazette many years ago. I think it saves us an enormous amount of money and I enjoy the challenge/rewards.

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Shannon January 26, 2010 at 5:00 am

My town has a great charity-owned consignment store for kids’ clothing. Towards the end of each season (this just happened last week), they have a 50% off sale on that ending season’s clothing. I always go and pick up nice clothing in bigger sizes for my kids. Sometimes I have to make an educated guess on what size they’ll be next year (although sometimes I buy sizes that will be 2 or 3 years in the future), but it’s totally worth it when I can get a Tommy Hilfiger sweater for $1.50 or a nice sweatshirt for $.50. The prices there are awesome anytime, but 50% off is like getting it for almost free. I got 16 nice winter items for $22 last week.

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Rebecca January 26, 2010 at 5:01 am

I like to cook double batches of meals and freeze one pan for later, so I don’t have to cook as often. I also try to get as much use out of everything that comes into my home as possible. One examples is rinsing out the cereal bag and reusing it – I haven’t had to buy waxed paper in years.

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Bellen January 26, 2010 at 5:53 am

Take advantage of sales on any and all items we can, as long as it is something we use. That goes for reduced price meat (nearing it’s expiration date), day old bread, yard sales and thrift stores.

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Linda January 26, 2010 at 6:12 am

Enjoying simple (no cost) pleasures.

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Lisa January 26, 2010 at 6:23 am

Mutual Mooching. For instance, an aunt will give me supper if I pick up something in the town where I work. She doesn’t have to make a 40 mile trip and I don’t have to cook supper!

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Mary January 26, 2010 at 6:23 am

I raise vegetables & herbs & put as much as possible in the freezer for the winter. My favorite thrift tip is to use the public library, it’s the perfect non-consumer destination.

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Meg January 26, 2010 at 6:31 am

Use loose tea or herbs to make your own tea. Bagged is a lot more expensive and wasteful — and it doesn’t taste as good, imho.

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jayme January 26, 2010 at 7:19 am

Join a co-op and buy pantry items in bulk plus save additional money with your co-op discount.

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WilliamB January 26, 2010 at 7:28 am

I’m not sure which is my favorite. Learn to cook? Eat your leftovers? Wait a week before buying anything? Buy quality when you have to buy?

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jennifer January 26, 2010 at 7:30 am

We use a lot of syrup in our house so we tap the maple trees in our yard and make maple syrup. This also keeps a lot of High Fructose Corn Syrup out of our bodies as well!! Guess what?? Except for time it’s free!!!!

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Kayduh January 26, 2010 at 8:21 am

When I have eggs that are close to the expiration date, I make a big batch of oatmeal chocolate chip (or raisin) cookie dough and freeze the balls of dough. That way I always have cookies ready to bake and take to friends’ and don’t end up stopping at the store to buy something to bring. And I think mine taste better!

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Amanda January 26, 2010 at 8:37 am

I host SWAP-A-THONS at my home and work places. People bring in clean unwanted items and EVERYONE gets to shop!! I promise to donate all the left over items so no one has to return with there “unwanted goods”

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Jennifer January 26, 2010 at 8:39 am

I signed up to pay all utility bills via automatic debit thru our bank’s website. Not only do we avoid a monthly service fee by doing so, but by participating in their free “rewards” program we build “points” each month. I use these points to “buy” gift cards as gifts to family members who just aren’t onboard with either regifting or thrift shop finds!! Money we would have spent anyways for the utilities is now earning us gifts for those “hard to buy for’s”!!

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Lindy January 26, 2010 at 8:43 am

Menu planning and also eating leftovers.

You wrote “thrifty tip” but I’ll share another. πŸ™‚

I use to rent a ton of movies, I thought I just had to see the new releases. I started going to the library to save on money. I may not always get the new releases but I now love to check out those older movies, I have a new love for the old black and white movies now!

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Kimberly January 26, 2010 at 8:44 am

In the spring/summer/fall I grow my own tomotoes, lettuce and herbs which saves money and decreases food waste Since I am single and live alone, it’s hard to use up food sometimes before it goes bad.

I try to go food shopping every few days and buy ingredients that can be used for many different meal combos. I don’t buy very much at a time unless it’s something on sale that can be frozen, or another non-perishable that will last a long time on the shelf.

I also have been food swapping with some neighbors, so if I have extra food I give to them and they do the same. It works out great!

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Eli January 26, 2010 at 8:56 am

Definitely the local library or the wonderful InterWebs for free entertainment (tv/movies/books) and how-to manuals.

And in general I find that being mindful of what I really truly need and want in my life (as opposed too “ooh that’s new and shiny-cool!”) cuts down on many pointless purchases.

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stephanie January 26, 2010 at 8:56 am

My homeowners insurance policy arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. I just phoned my agent and she reviewed the policy with me and was able to reduce the premium by $41. All it took was a 5-minute phone call!

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Sharon January 26, 2010 at 8:59 am

My late mother, who was a teenager during the Great Depression, was an avid and accomplished seamstress all her life. As anyone who sews is aware, the findings used in sewing – buttons, buckles, zippers, etc – can really add significant cost to a new garment. Consequently, no garment was ever discarded without being studied for potential re-use in something new. Beautiful handmade buttons were recycled onto new suits, zippers were reused (often cut down) in children’s playcloths, etc. When a new piece of fabric was purchased, she always checked her “stash” to see if something could be re-cycled. Even though money was not an issue with her sewing, she just couldn’t bear to purchase something new when there was a perfectly serviceable zipper or buckle back home, waiting to be used!

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Charlotte January 26, 2010 at 9:06 am

Is your contest open to non-USA-sians if they can give you a US address for shipping the book to?

My favorite thrift tip: don’t own a car (Obviously not feasible everywhere, but often feasible even if people tell you it’s not.) Even with all the money we spend on car-rental, car-sharing agencies and cabs, we still come out TONS ahead compared to the cost of buying and maintaining a car.

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Katy January 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

Charlotte,
As long as the winner can provide a U.S. mailing address, this contest is open to one and all. This book is heavy and I don’t want to spend $25 mailing it, purely selfish on my part.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate

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sandy January 27, 2010 at 7:43 am

Actually, even heavy books are pretty inexpensive to mail if you use media rate–it just takes longer for delivery.

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Rosanne Mays January 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

My thrifty hint is only to grocery shop once every two weeks (unless something you have needed is suddenly on sale for an amazing prices and you also have a coupon). It cuts down on my fuel consumption, and my things that end up in the basket on any given trip that weren’t on the list. And on top of that I get more used to shopping my own pantry and coming up with new combinations of things that I haven’t eaten in the past. It has expanded my “cuisine” horizons!

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Laurie January 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

So far, my favorite is the simple make it or do it yourself principal. I recently made my own laundry soap and can’t get over how much money I can save this way. Plus I see no difference in my washing from using a good store bought brand.

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Rebecca January 26, 2010 at 9:36 am

We have a stand alone freezer in our basement so we can stock up when things go on sale, and make big batches of cookie dough, bread and casseroles for later.

The freezer runs a lot when it is less than full, so to keep energy usage to a minimum, we take empty milk jugs full of water and put the outside in the winter to freeze. These keep the empty freezer at a stable temp and return the temp faster when the door is opened. The compressor hardly runs at all.

A few times a year, we have a “purge the pantry/freezer” week or even month. We eat as much as we can from what we already have, and buy hardly any groceries. Its a cheap month on food costs, and keeps freezer burn waste and stale items to a minimum.

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Jessica Wolk-Stanley January 26, 2010 at 10:03 am

I am an illustrator and have a pretty well-furnished studio. So for the printer, copier and fax, and for sketching I only ever use recycled paper. It seems to wander into my house, via kids papers from school, my husband’s school and junk mail. And for knitting, I buy sweaters at thrift stores and unravel them.

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Beth January 26, 2010 at 10:14 am

Cut down on disposable items (plastic bags, paper towels, etc.) since they’re money in the trash. I wash and re-use Ziploc bags and use plastic or glass containers for lunches whenever possible. Still trying to get into the rag habit.

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TraciFree January 26, 2010 at 10:23 am

We are all about sharing resources in the community. Our group of friends ( a dozen couples) group own a community pick up trick, cement mixer, seed spreader…you get the idea.
We get all our media (movies, books, games) from the library. Recently went through all our bills and were able to shave off over $100 a month making small changes to our services. Joined a food co-op to save money on groceries. Use cloth napkins…..
Still trying to get my husband to give up paper towels. It’s not going so well.

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Deb January 26, 2010 at 10:39 am

Changing jobs: I now work 1 mile from home instead of 15 so I can walk to and from work. I’m spending a lot less on gas, have reduced the wear and tear on my vehicle, and it gives me daily exercise. Saves me money in many ways, and I feel like I received a really significant raise in pay! My home and job are in a great area to take care of errands on my lunch hour as well, so I try to get things done during the week to free up my weekend time. IF I drove to my new job every day, I’d be putting less mileage on my vehicle in one week than I did in one day at my old workplace.

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Queen Lucia January 26, 2010 at 10:47 am

Menu planning/shopping sales/eating leftovers and using the library are the most significant things we do – food and entertainment used to take a much bigger bite out of our budget.

And speaking of entertainment, this weekend we had a game night with a bunch of friends. We all just brought whatever food and beverage we had on hand to share and games from our closets and had a lovely, fun and frugal evening. We’re planning on doing this every couple of months or so so we don’t lose touch – and we’ll rotate hosting so we each have an excuse to get our houses in order!

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Jennifer January 26, 2010 at 10:56 am

I try to have at home days more than out and about days. Some weeks I find myself not leaving the house but for a walk around the neighborhood for 3 or 4 days in a row. And I am fine with that. It certainly saves money.

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Tammy S January 26, 2010 at 10:57 am

I try to plant a veggie garden, some years are better than others and freeze what I am able to.
We also always combine errands, use the library for books, pantry shop for a week every so often and use freecyle!
Thanks

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Laura January 26, 2010 at 10:57 am

This year I grew lots of tomatoes and canned my own tomato sauce. Since spaghetti is a staple in my house, this saves more money than you might think…. For other food, I’ve been preferring store brand over brand name, and in-season food over out-of-season. Also, I’ve cut soda out of my home diet in favor of (mostly) water. I’ll still have a soda when we eat out, though.

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Melody January 26, 2010 at 11:11 am

We started a babysitting coop with friends, so instead of shelling out $20 or more for a night out, we take turns hosting each other’s kids. Free! With three families and eight kids between us, it’s a bit of chaos, but it means that we host once, then get two nights out. Love it.

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Dawn/FFL January 26, 2010 at 11:25 am

My favorite thrifty idea is to watch my favorite tv shows online and not pay extra for cable

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Connor January 26, 2010 at 1:09 pm

It has to be the library. I no longer buy books (except for birthdays and Christmas, and then they’re used copies) and we no longer rent movies unless we have a free code from redbox.

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nalani January 26, 2010 at 1:44 pm

I have re-discovered sewing: gifts, clothing, and household items for family and friends. I have given a number of folks shopping bags that I have made.

And, I do most of my shopping at resale shops and especially during sale days (which all thrift shops have) for gifts and for fabric. It’s great to give gifts that are made from vintage sheets, tablecloths, or clothing that are seen in new ways.

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Natalie January 26, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I just moved to the US a year ago (almost exactly!) to marry my husband, so I’ve had to adjust to the way everything works all over again – and I think the number one thing I’ve learned is the Power of Baking Soda. It costs less than a dollar, you can get coupons for certain brands (eg: Arm and Hammer) to reduce the price even further, and it can be used for a million and one things. We sprinkle it on the cat litter, it sucks up bad smells from the air, it managed somehow to get all the stains out of our vintage pink bathtub (mostly caused by contractor boots – we just bought a new house!), it unclogs blocked drains, and it’s completely non-toxic. It’s crazy good! I don’t know why more people don’t know about it, and being so cheap/available in so many stores, it’s accessibly by families with all kinds of incomes. I wouldn’t go without it now.

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Ms. Clear January 26, 2010 at 2:23 pm

There’s no need to keep buying Brita filters. Go to a pet store and pay about $10 for some aquarium charcoal. Drill a small hole in an existing filter and stop with a 25 cent black stopper from the hardware store. Change existing charcoal, replace with aquarium charcoal and treat as one normally would–letting filter sit for a bit before installing in pitcher.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-refill-a-disposable-Brita-brand-water-pit/

My hubby found this one on Instructables, but we love it! It works and its saves a good amount of money.

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Melissa January 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm

My thrifty tip is to talk yourself out of going out to eat as often as you can! Have something super easy to fix in the freezer (like Trader Joe’s mandarin chicken – so addictive I don’t even really want to know what’s in it) and easy sides (rice, steamed broccoli for example) and you have just saved yourself lots of money. That has stopped me from suggesting we go out to dinner so many times. By the time we all piled in the car, got to the restaurant, waited for a table, etc., we wouldn’t have saved any time by going out, either.

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Jenn H January 26, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Canning huge amounts in the summer when veggies are cheap. Last summer a couple of buddies & I went to a commercial cannery & canned 69 quarts of marinara in one afternoon. This summer we have much bigger plans but that was a good start. Here is a link to see if there is a cannery in your area
http://www.pickyourown.org/canneries.htm

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Wendy January 26, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Great link. Thanks Jenn!

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Julie January 26, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I use a credit card for as many purchases as possible, which may sound like a bad idea on the surface. But my credit card has no annual fee and returns 1% on every purchase. I pay it off every month online, so every thing I buy gets a small discount. In a year, that adds up to a nice refund.

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Donna Korzun January 26, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Take the time to read owner’s manuals. This helped me save money on detergent usage, dishwasher soap, etc. Recently I used this idea on our new LED TV. Reading the manual led me to the on-screen menu where I found I could input different levels of energy savings by altering the screen brightness. I know these are small savings, but isn’t that what frugality is all about, the big and the small?

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Kris-ND January 26, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I try to plan out meals, including snacks, with as much detail as possible before I shop for groceries.

I only grocery shop twice a month, so I try and plan out the menu, including snacks before I go. I check online to see what will be on sale before I shop, so I can adjust my menu if need be.

I plan out snacks as well, because that is where I tend to really add to the bill. If I know I want graham crackers, then I tend to stay away from all the other crackers and just get what I need. If I don’t plan it out on paper, then I tend to come home with 4 boxes of different crackers, and not the simple graham cracker I intended to buy.

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melinda January 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Oh my gosh…..how can I pick ONE??!!! Well, I line-dry everything, all the time. Even in the winter I hang towels and wash clothes outside….takes a day or two to dry, but it still works! I make my own ‘Bisquick’ mix, I’ll cook a whole chicken and get 3 or 4 meals out of it, recycle aluminum cans, soup cans and veggie cans, any cardboard or paper-cereal boxes, and food boxes get taken to the recycle bin at our church…saves on the trash bill! So many things I do so naturally, I can’t even think of them! Thanks for your site-it’s great!

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Elizabeth Panni January 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I run the water into a bucket while waiting for the water to warm up for a shower. That water is then poured into bathroom toilet to flush it and uses that water which would have gone down the drain.

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Marcey January 26, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Question what people perceive to be the “normal” standard of living (those monthly bills people seem to accumulate and the just become “part of the (budget) furniture.”) Hubby and I don’t have cell phones. No Netflix subscription. Despite making a good dual income (no kids) we don’t own a home because we have determined that the maintenance and other creeping costs are not worth it for our current space needs. Place your hour value in work in what you are going to spend on something. Is that time trade-off really worth it?

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Mrs. B January 26, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Hi Katy,

My tip is not going to save the most amount of money but I think it is a good one. I switched from body soap to just plain old bar soap. I can’t believe how much I am saving. With kids they use so much and it goes so fast. The bar soaps last so much longer. Thanks for having these contests….I am learning so much from everyone making comments.

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A. Marie January 26, 2010 at 4:19 pm

Here’s a suggestion that hasn’t been offered yet (I’m trying not to duplicate other folks’ good ideas): Monitor your electricity usage and start switching things off radically, if you’re not already doing so. My husband got one of those “kill-a-watt” usage meters (he is in the home energy/building performance business), and we were amazed at how much energy we were wasting by not shutting down computers at night, not turning off lights, leaving stereo and TV on standby, etc.

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Amy Dunn January 26, 2010 at 4:28 pm

Get your hair cut at your local beauty college. My husband and I have been doing this for about 5 years now. His haircuts are $6. My cut and color is $30! Before I switched, I was paying $95….probably a lot more now. The teachers supervise so you always end up leaving with a good cut. Just set aside a little extra time because the process can be a little slow.

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Tammy January 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I check out copies of new cookbooks from the library for 6 weeks. If we really like the cookbook and use it a lot, we buy it through amazon.com using e-gift cards earned with SwagBucks.

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Wendy January 26, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Vinegar! Use it to clean, windows, softener for the laundry, hair rinse, as a weed killer, and for salad.

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Jill January 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I use Borax and Washing soda to wash the dishes in the dishwasher. It only takes a second to put the powders in the machine, is great for the earth (no phosphates!) and costs mere pennies!

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namastemama January 27, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I love this! What is washing soda?

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Stacee M January 26, 2010 at 5:45 pm

We like to save coffee or butter containers for the kids to reuse at the park for rocks, to make sandcastles, collect things in, etc.

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Alyssa January 26, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Before going to a restaurant (which is infrequent to start with), I check the restaurant’s website for coupons and discounts. Often I can become a “member” (for free by submitting my email address and agreeing to receive promotional updates) and get an instant coupon for a percentage off or a free meal.

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Katie January 26, 2010 at 5:57 pm

My most loving thrifty tip is to breastfeed your babies. Not only do you save the cost of purchasing formula for the first year but babe may be significantly healthier, thus saving doctor visits and possible prescription costs. And the savings may extend into the teen years as breastfed babies usually grow up with fewer orthodontic issues and may forgo the need of braces.

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Lisa P January 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm

I’ve started making my own pizzas including the dough for the crust. It’s easy, something fun to do, saves a trip out to the pizza place and in our neck of the woods upwards of $15-$20 for a large pizza. Other than planning the dough in advance I think we even get it on the table quicker & with a lot less oil & no huge box to breakdown into the recycling bin. πŸ™‚

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Dana January 26, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I like to use sheets that I find at yard sales and thrift shops to make dresses for my girls. Sheets wash and wear well, don’t wrinkle much, and have interesting patterns. Florals are our favorites! I also find some patterns at yard sales, etc. My best buy on patterns however, was when the local JoAnns was moving about 1/2 mile down the road. I got patterns for $.05 each! Yes, they were new, but so hard to pass up at that price!

Blessings–
Dana

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Marianne January 26, 2010 at 7:03 pm

my favorite thrifty tip is what katy always says, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”.

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Dynelle January 26, 2010 at 7:12 pm

I always google for coupons before buying from internet sites. I can almost always find a coupon for % off or free shipping.

When the top of our fitted sheet finally ripped beyond repair, I used it to cover our box spring and used the perfectly good sheet on the box spring to put on the mattress instead (I do not use dust ruffles and prefer to cover the box spring with a fitted sheet instead to hide the edges.)

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Donna Sangwin January 26, 2010 at 7:34 pm

My favorite thrifty tip is to craft with Reuse items. There are a handful of creatrive reuse centers around the US – like reCREATE. reCREATE works with local businesses to divert unwanted items for use in lessons in conservation AND the fun stuff – ART!
You can get perfectly great treasure for pennies on the dollar.

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AlwaysLearning January 26, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I always reuse pictures and verbiage from any greeting cards I receive to make my own giftcards and pkgs. Plus I always save any wrapping, bags and bows to reuse in my gift wrapping.

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Brenda January 26, 2010 at 8:27 pm

My favorite way to save money is to hang clothes on the clothesline. I do this for 8 months out of the year, it saves a lot of money on electricity and I love going out first thing in the morning to hang up clothes. Just me, the birds and first light, very peaceful.

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Kareness January 26, 2010 at 9:36 pm

My favorite fun and thrifty tip is my annual post-holiday regifting party. Each year in January, I invite people over who bring a gift they’ve received during the past year (or something they bought that didn’t work for them) and we have a little “greed” style exchange. The last person to the event picks first, and they unwrap a gift. The next person can either “steal” the first gift or open a new one. As the exchange goes on, people become more bold, “stealing” and trading to get the item they really like.

The party is great because it eliminates the guilt of keeping something you don’t need/want – when you know something is going to someone who will use it, you feel better about giving it up. The gifts really do get recycled which is good for the planet. And those attending all leave with something more useful to them than what they came in the door with.

Plus, it’s a good excuse for a fun potluck party with friends!

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Sam Jones January 27, 2010 at 5:11 am

We make new candles by remelting the stubs of our old ones, as well as by saving the shavings from our bees’ honey cappings that have to be scraped off in order to harvest the honey. We love to burn candles, but the nice ones are quite pricey so this allows us to recycle almost forever the used wax. We have nice candles and gifts for the price of a cotton wick.

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Carorole January 27, 2010 at 5:22 am

I slit the bottom of the vacuum cleaner bags with a razor blade , remove the contents and seal it up again with gorilla tape, only once per bag, but I get double the use. Also, as the bag is full predominately with dog hair, I place the hair around my plants that are susceptible to deer predation. Works really well!

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Jennifer Lorenzetti January 27, 2010 at 5:38 am

I make my own laundry detergent with about a quarter of a bar of ground laundry soap (currently using Zoat for 99 cents a bar), plus 2 cups each of borax and baking soda. Clothes actually get cleaner and smell sweeter longer (as tested on workout wear), and you only use about a tablespoon of the mix per load.

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Robyn J. January 27, 2010 at 8:16 am

Prior to joing The Compact I was an avid shopper! I love clothing and creating fun, funky unique styels. Since November, I’ve had to get more creating since I am no longer buying new items soooooo I’ve used my creativity to craft new looks with all the pieces that I already own! I browse adds and various catalogues that come to my house and before I pop them into the recycle bin I take a look and see what I have in my closet that could be paired with another item that is similar to the “look”. I find I am using different color combinations and enjoying making my own “retro hip” versions. Scarves are my latests fun fashion trend………and I’ve found some great ones at thrift stores. I am also learning to knit so if there’s something really cool I see somewhere, I take a picture or take a note and then see what I can do make it! I feel that embracing thrift is allowing my creativity to thrive!

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Miriam January 27, 2010 at 8:16 am

Favorite thrifty tip is to make lunches almost exclusively beans or lentils and rice. Cheap, and easy to make in the crockpot a week at a time. And usually yummy!

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Tracy January 27, 2010 at 9:22 am

Favorite thrifty tip – gotta give my husband credit on this one – don’t be afraid to do your own car and house repairs! Relying on how-to manuals and knowledgeable friends, hubby has installed new floors, new water heater, repaired a/c unit, installed new kitchen sink, installed new dishwasher, and does maintenance and oil changes on all our vehicles himself. It does take longer than having someone else do it, but having patience has saved us literally thousands of dollars, especially on the vehicles.

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Jane January 27, 2010 at 9:54 am

We buy most of our clothes at thrift shops. Having done that for years, I get sticker shock if I look at regular retail clothing prices. I am able to find very nice things, sometimes even brand new, including such labels as Talbots, Eddie Bauer, Lands End, JCrew, and so on. I get lots of compliments on my clothes!

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Margaret January 27, 2010 at 9:58 am

Since I don’t have a dishwasher (no space in old house) and I do dishes by hand, I rinse them in cold water. It dawned on me that hot water that I could stand didn’t sterilize dishes anyway, so what was the point of using the gas to heat the water to a below-sterilization point?

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Elisa January 27, 2010 at 10:20 am

I carry reusable water bottles everywhere I go to avoid paying for bottled water and adding plastic to the landfill.

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Barb Dawson January 27, 2010 at 10:23 am

I sew, so I am able t repair, and do minor alterations on clothing, which allows me to wear my clothes for years! I also help friends and family out–sometimes for cash, other times for a one of their skills!

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marianne January 27, 2010 at 11:01 am

I take horseback riding lessons. I have been trading cleaning stalls for lessons.

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namastemama January 27, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Our latest thrift adventure is homemade yogurt. First we stopped buying it in little tubs and tubes. Then it was just big tubs. Now I don’t have to worry about recycling or reusing all that plastic too. We also have a garden and make our own tomato sauce. The first year we made it, we figured it to be less than a dollar a quart. That year we bought some jars and herbs. Now we just own and grow. So it would be even cheaper. You can’t even buy crappy Ragu for that and I grow organic heirloom tomatoes ! Can’t wait for August πŸ™‚

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Leatrice January 27, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I am in charge of the coffee bar at our church. Since I had literally NO budget, I called all the local Starbucks & coffee houses around and asked if they would be willing to donate coffee. They were more than willing to help out.
Then, I called the local bakeries around town & asked if they would be willing to donate their day old baked goods from Saturday (they are all closed on Sunday) to our coffee bar. Since our membership is primarily the homeless & disadvantaged, this is sometimes the only meal they get.
In addition, I save all the coffee grounds from the coffee bar and use them in my garden. Talk about some colorful hydrengias!

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Bonnie January 27, 2010 at 5:04 pm

My favorite way to save money: We live in a townhouse and are forbidden from having an outdoor clothesline. I found a metal garment rack and we place our freshly washed clothes on hangers and hang them on the rack to dry. It not only saves electricity, but also adds humidity back in the air during winter.

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Lori January 27, 2010 at 5:31 pm

I used to take a shower every single morning, no matter what. Now, due in part to part to laziness as well as a strong desire to live more greenly, I shower about 3 times a week. Thankfully, I don’t exercise regularly πŸ™‚ It was something that I evolved into doing. It saves lots of water, shampoo, soap, washing of towels, and a chunk of time (to sleep in a little, for example). As well, I think twice before pitching something into the dirty laundry. Could I get one more use out of it?!

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This Thrifted Life January 27, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Buying secondhand! It changes your whole outlook on “stuff.”

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judyyy January 27, 2010 at 7:15 pm

line dry all your laundry.

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Megan K January 27, 2010 at 7:43 pm

My tip- cloth diaper your babies! Not only is it thrifty, it’s so much better for babies bottom, and no more poopy explosions!

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Kim Caron-Lohman January 27, 2010 at 10:23 pm

I used to buy sooooo many books! I just started using the library and I’m saving so much money and having lots of fun “ordering” books and then picking them up when they’re ready.

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