Help A Reader — How to Save When You’ve Already Done The Easy Stuff

by Katy on May 13, 2014 · 47 comments

I receive a lot of e-mail from readers, sometimes with questions which are pretty straightforward and easily answered, but occasionally the questions are broad enough that it makes more sense to open them up to The Non-Consumer Advocate community.

I received this e-mail from Bill the other day which posed the following question:

“I was wanting to find more ways to live like your website says. Me and my family have been for some time now. My wife who’s expecting our 2nd child cares for her mom and our daughter. I work outside the home. We do okay on my salary. We buy things when we need them. We make it a point to pay for them with cash. We have little debt and own our house. We also eat out sparingly and I can food.  I make our laundry soap and my own bath soap. Holidays aren’t important to us we got each other that’s what counts.  I’ve taken a look at dumpster diving but decided to buy as needed and not waste. 

We’ve only been doing this about 2 years what beside this could we add? “

What advice do you have for Bill, or really for anyone who’s looking to expand their frugal living ways?

Thank you in advance for what I know will be some great advice!

Katy Wolk-Stanley

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

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Thevail May 13, 2014 at 8:13 am

Once you’ve plucked the “low hanging fruit” of simply not spending a lot on frivolous things, it does get much harder to figure out where to cut next. Look at some things like your energy bill. Are all your appliances and electronics on power strips? Do you remember to turn them off each day? Most of us think of the power bill as a static thing, but it’s not. I saved $5/month (I know it’s pretty small) by unplugging our microwave, who knew they use that much juice even when NOT running. Have you transitioned to CFL/LED lights? Super efficient appliances? Put in a low flow shower head, or faucet aerators yet? Sure the newer more efficient obnes cost more money, but they do USE LESS which is very non-consumerist.Here’s one that saved us a ton of money AND just made life better. Choose your 3 favorite meals that you go out to eat and learn to cook them WELL! Once you can adjust the dish to exactly the way YOU like it, you’ll go out for it a lot less, because your own is better. Realistically, at a certain point it’s about making your life better without spending MORE money on MORE stuff, because you’re already spending as little as possible.


lulu May 13, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I love the idea of learning to cook your (my) 3 favorite meals WELL so I’ll enjoy having them at home. This week I will make the first of three meals. Thank you.


Trisha May 14, 2014 at 8:10 am

I just recreated my favorite: Taco Pizza! Great Advice! The kids loved it too, and it cost me 1/4 the cost of purchasing it out.


Melissa May 13, 2014 at 8:31 am

Wow! I have to say that Bill seems to be doing a fabulous job and I hope he and his family feel good about what they’ve accomplished in the last two years. If he’s just looking for little things (that add up) to do, there’s all that stuff in the complete Tightwad Gazette that might inspire him, but it also may be that they’ve taken things as far as they can go without additional income. Maybe they can hold tight for a few years and at some point his wife can find a part time job? But that may not be a direction they want to go. I’m inspired by this family!


Trish May 13, 2014 at 2:07 pm

yes! The Tightwad Gazette! learn to pinch every penny till it screams. Buy in bulk, yard sale shop for clothes and shoes, waste nothing food wise, create a price book for grocery shopping to get the lowest prices, barter for goods, dumpster dive and resell the good stuff you find, put out the word if you are looking for something (like a freezer for bulk purchased meat).


Holly May 13, 2014 at 8:31 am

I think the only thing you need to add is: joy! You are doing great — a whole lot better than most of us. Just keep on keeping on and enjoy the benefits of living a more frugal, less wasteful life. When possible, share your extra with others.


Ella May 13, 2014 at 8:43 am

Hi there Bill,
I thought I’d chime in to tell you about my experience with dumpster diving. For what it’s worth – I have no financial need to dumpster dive, I could easily buy all of my food needs and eat very well, but dumpster-diving fits into my values better. I realize this probably sounds gross to 99% of folks out there, but I think it’s a really cool thing. I’ve dumpster-dived for food for a couple of years now, and I eat the best when I’m doing it. Find the smaller up-scale markets with good produce and good bakeries (they usually toss anything a day old – we have more artisan sourdough than we know what to do with). You’d be amazed at how well you can eat – apples tossed because one side is bruised, a dozen bunches of kale tossed because a new shipment came in and they had overstock, pre-cut packaged pineapple that didn’t sell the same day (a favorite find of mine), and two-day old bakery items. Also be on the look-out for dried, frozen and canned goods that expired that day or the day before because you can be pretty confident on why they were tossed. Just use your nose and you’ll be fine – it’s very good at determining what’s safe to eat. I’ve never gotten sick, on the contrary I’m far healthier because of the huge amount and variety of fruits and veggies I get to eat. A friend and I would go about an hour after close, put everything in plastic bags or a plastic tote, then come home and assembly-line wash everything.

It isn’t for everyone, but I find it to be a very rewarding experience to redeem so much truly high-quality food that has been discarded because of how our system works. Plus it’s just fun because unlike grocery shopping you never know what you’re going to find!


Rb May 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Dumpster diving is illegal in many cities. Getting arrested is NOT a frugal activity


Practical Parsimony May 13, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Same here on dumpster diving. I didn’t need to do it, either. I brought home so many gallons of milk still not warm, just starting to sweat. I brought home something like two dozen eggs, maybe 17 dozen. I got 7 and a half cartons of whole eggs. They threw out every carton that had a cracked egg. Frozen meat, fruit, vegetables, pastries–all in good shape. I did wash everything, too. I brought home from $75 to $150 of food each week and shared it with friends who knew where it came from.


Linda in Mass May 14, 2014 at 4:40 am

I cook at a “soup kitchen” type place and they routinely get eggs from the stores that have just one cracked egg in the dozen. All the others in the dozen are fine. I have checked the dates on the eggs just to make sure and they are all still within the dates. I just wonder why these other stores are throwing these away instead of giving them to soup kitchens. Just on the one day a week that I am cooking, they feed about 100 people a full breakfast.

At least when people are dumpster diving, the good food is not going to waste. With so much hunger and so many people living on “garbage” food with no nutritional value, you would think the fruits and veggies could go to people who need them. I am glad there are people who are do dumpster dive to get the food. And I do not think it should be against the law to dumpster dive. They are throwing the items away, that means they don’t want them anymore.


Wendy May 13, 2014 at 8:54 am

Bill, you sound awesome. If you are thinking ahead to retirement planning(it is never too soon) I recommend looking into Dave Ramsy’s books. “The Total Money Makeover” is a favorite with us. Take whatever applies to you and leave the rest. Good luck!


Lesley May 13, 2014 at 8:54 am

I agree with Holly–joy is always good!

Years ago I was in college (in my 30s) and broke. VERY broke, and because I was in school I didn’t qualify for food stamps. Things could have been pretty grim between studying and working two part-time jobs, so I decided I’d better try to find some fun where I could.

Once a week I’d try a new recipe made from inexpensive ingredients, and I found some good favorites that way. I spent a lot of time in the library and while my fellow students were out doing college-student stuff (that was outside my wallet’s reach), I started a reading program for myself.

I helped a friend who was as broke as I was to reorganize her apartment, and she “paid” me in giveaway clothing. Another friend’s hobby was re-enacting battles with army figurines–while the battle part wasn’t interesting for me, I found a hidden talent for painting the little miniatures, so I would often go over for a paint-and-chat session.

So that’s my advice: fun is not frivolous. It’s necessary! You might already have family game night, but how about “Dad cooks” night, or “reading aloud” night? Grandma might like that too if she isn’t well enough to read books herself. If you belong to a church or a social group, maybe you can suggest doing something for those less fortunate (knit scarves? Give away donated blankets?) that would be a fun activity for the whole group.

Good luck with everything! Oh–stay out of dumpsters, at least for food. And wash the heck out of everything else you might pick up nearby 🙂


Thrifty Writer May 13, 2014 at 9:01 am

Not sure what he’s looking to add. More ways to save? More ways to make money? If it’s the latter, I’d say he seems to have covered most of the ways to save, and he should look for ways to earn more. Get a raise at a job, take on a (enjoyable) side hustle. If he’s good at re-purposing things, make things out of recyclables and sell them – there’s all kinds of things…


alicia May 13, 2014 at 9:16 am

In the effort to conserve more, I find it helpful to just take things as they come up. When I’m reaching for a plastic baggie for leftovers, it’s a moment for me to stop and ask myself if we have something re-useable that would work instead. Sometimes I have more energy for this than other times, so I just take it as it crops up. A big one for me is when I’m refilling the car with gas – I tend to stand at the pump while it is filling, ticking through where we drove and why we did it, could we walk/bike/etc to that place next time? Sometimes the answer is no, but it helps keep it in the forefront of my mind.


Krystal May 13, 2014 at 10:07 am

Finish paying all your debt ASAP (exception of the house-than can come later). When we knocked out our debt payments and became debt free, it felt like we got a raise! One less payment is a big deal!


Rebekah Jaunty May 13, 2014 at 10:16 am

Tightwad Gazette, anyone?


Jane F May 13, 2014 at 10:24 am

Check out Mr. Money Mustache. He has a similar frugal mindset but also thinks about investing.

The book “the Boglehead’s Guide to Investing” is a good introduction to how and why to invest sensibly– no trying-to-beat-the-market shenanigans


Emilee May 13, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Cloth diaper the next babe! It’s not nearly as hard and complicated as people try to convince you. And it’s insanely cheap! And much friendlier to the environment and your child’s baby soft skin.


Maggie May 14, 2014 at 8:17 am

I second this! And you don’t even need to use the expensive cloth diaper detergents, or insanely hot water. We wash ours with Tide liquid and warm water with an extra rinse. Plus they hold their value, so when you’re all done with kids you can resell them on sites like eBay and Cloth Diaper Trader and get some money back!


Madeline May 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I would say look at car expenses if you have not already, in our early married years we made do with one car. You’re doing a fabulous job already! Time will compound your efforts! Maybe barter some baby sitting time with another family with kids so you and your wife can go for a nice long walk together and relax every other week. Use all free library services. Share tools and resources with friends and neighbors. Eat more vegetarian meals, beans and lentils are healthy and cheap! Drink only water. Learn a new skill that could bring in more money, repair man, computer skill,etc?? Congratulations on your soon to be new baby!


Ann Leach May 13, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Go through the budget, line by line with an eye toward making cuts. Is there a cottage industry type business your wife would be interested in starting? Even getting chickens, letting them free-range and selling the eggs adds up over time.

Sounds like you’re already focused and making good financial decisions. Keep it up! Cheers!


Karen May 13, 2014 at 2:13 pm

How about yard sales. Where I live the thrift shops are not that great but the yard sales are terrific. When I need something I put it on the list and then look for it at yard sales.

Also depending on your yard, I grow alot of flowers. I have made a commitment to have some kind of greens/flower arrangement in my house every month of the year. For example it can be as simple as a vase filled with rosemary. This adds to my joy. Also I have traded for all those plants so NO cost.


marie May 13, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Well, I had a lot of ideas, but I think everyone has covered most of them.
Except grocery shopping. I cut coupons for a things we use and stock up when cheap. Like 49 cents for dish soap after coupon and double coupon.
I normally keep 6 months or so of non-perishables on hand, and it’s came in handy recently being out of work. I only spent around $60 in April for food, thankfully the salad fixin’s are growing in the garden, so I don’t have to buy produce.


Linda in Mass May 14, 2014 at 4:48 am

Coupons really help with non perishables. But, find a discount fruit or veggie market. There is one near me that sells all the produce that the restaurants do not buy. I get huge bags of cut up veggies for $1. Pineapples for $1, 5 lbs potatoes for $1, 5 lbs sliced onions for $1. I put what I cannot use right away in the freezer and use it from there. It saves so much money. I have posted pictures of what I get on my Facebook page and some of my friends have started going there. One who has a toddler who loves fresh fruit and veggies has saved a bundle by shopping at this store.


Lynn May 20, 2014 at 5:58 pm

What is the store called? Or what search terms should I use to try to find one near me? Keeping my fingers crossed that we have something similar.


cathy May 13, 2014 at 2:48 pm

At first I thought he was looking for ways to be more frugal, but on re-reading, it sounds more like he’s looking for ways to be less of a consumer. So, I’d add try to get your clothing secondhand (thrift stores, yard sales, hand-me-downs, swaps). When you think you need to purchase something, see if there’s a used one out there. Before you even do that, wait a bit to see if you really need the item at all. Use your local library. Just be mindful of what you’re consuming/purchasing and whether or not you can reduce that.


tna May 13, 2014 at 6:27 pm

I always think back to how simple my needs and desires were as a kid. I loved a PB& truffles or European cheeses…and I had never even heard of pesto. As far as clothes I wore the same things all the time…they were clean and fit my needs. I read a lot of books from the library. Watched TV from an antenna only. Rode my simple inexpensive bike everywhere and learned how to fix a flat and the chain myself. I would draw with anything I could find on any paper available. I had friends who were as simple as I was. My room was a bed, dresser, and closet. In a modern world I like an internet connection and easily get by with a 15 buck a month phone. I seem to find the more I simplify, the easier and cheaper my life is. I like that.


Practical Parsimony May 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm

To whomever,
Yes, you can get food stamps while attending college if you are working 20 hours per week.

Okay, have you thought about second-hand things for the baby except for an unknown carseat? (it may have been in a collision and be dangerous now.) Will you use cloth diapers to avoid expensive disposable ones?

Gifts: thrifted, homemade, gently used but thoughtful?

Less meat: maybe you could stretch five days of meat to six days and go meatless on the seventh day.

Grow food: Any proportion of your food that you can grow in a window or balcony improves your health and budgeting.

Hens: My two hens give me about 12 eggs per week. You could even trade eggs for something you need. I traded a dozen eggs for a $2 chair at a yard sale.

Curb shopping: There is lots of good stuff out there. If you are handy you could fix and sell some of it. Sometimes, you might even find upgrades to your own furniture.

Freecycle: Try it; you will like it.

I have more, but that is a good start.


Laure May 13, 2014 at 7:29 pm

So far as being both frugal and non-consumer, my best advice is to look at each item you handle each day, and ask if a multi-tasking cheaper product could replace it. You may decide you don’t want to, but the important thing is to get into the mindset.
Get up, brush teeth. Would you be just as happy using baking soda as toothpaste? (kind of like old-fashioned tooth powder)
Take shower. Is it hot weather? Would you be just as happy taking a navy shower? What about using alternatives for shampoo and conditioner? Some people use baking soda and vinegar; some people make their own. The Prudent Homemaker website says she realized she *preferred* using a homemade detangler (small amount of conditioner in bottle of water, sprayed onto hair after showering and left in) to using conditioner in the shower.
Next: cleaning the kitchen. Out of sponges. Could you use a dishcloth you already own? Make one either crocheting from yarn you own already or from strips of an old t-shirt?
Each day can be slightly different, so doing this exercise on different days can prompt many new ideas.


Chris May 13, 2014 at 9:02 pm

Talk to your insurance agent and review car and home policies – sometimes you can cut your premiums and get the same or better coverage! We recently went through this and came up with a tidy saving.


AnnW May 13, 2014 at 9:43 pm

I would check out Mr.MoneyMustache’s blog. He has hundreds of ideas to really pare down your living expenses, while increasing your enjoyment. He shares wifi, rides a bike everywhere, and still goes out for a beer with friends. He is renovating a house so he can downsize and save $80,000 in ten years to help fund his kid’s college. Johnny Moneyseed is another blogger that I know personally, who has taken this thriftiness to a higher level. And of course, Katy and my friend, JD Roth who now has a blog “More than Money” He created Get Rich Slowly and is back writing for them once a week.
Instead of cutting out little things, you have to evaluate your expenses as a big picture. Is an oil furnace a waste of money? Should you convert to gas, solar? Should you re-insulate your house? Or buy a more efficient one? Should you move closer to your job? This is where you can get really inventive. Working from home one day a week, can help pare expenses also. Or, in your case, maybe working from the local Starbucks or public library, since you sound like you have a “Full house.”
Let us know what you figure out. Ann


AnnW May 13, 2014 at 9:47 pm

PS: I’ve started selling on ebay. It’s amazing. I also belong to a Dumpster Diving group on Facebook. All I do is read about their exploits, but I’m dying to try it. 9 out of 10 dumpsters are clean. Stores throw away brand new stuff. Supermarkets throw away food that is still good. It is almost sinful. Most Dumpster Divers share profusely. I know of one person who sells on ebay as her main job. She is putting her husband through college. 99% of what she sells is Dumpster Dived. Remarkable.


Kim May 13, 2014 at 10:30 pm

It sounds like you’re doing great. You mention that you can food, and to that I’d add stockpiling food nonperishables from places like Aldi if it’s in your area, where groceries are about a third to half the price of regular stores and of excellent quality; you can also stock up on household goods that go fast (TP, shampoo, etc. if you use them) by shopping online and finding great deals with coupon codes, free shipping, etc. Once I started doing that, I found that I literally spend less on these things than I did 20 years ago. And almost all clothing can be bought second hand.

I agree with other posters that insulating, investing in solar and new more energy efficient appliances, etc., are also great ideas, but those are expensive investments upfront and with a new baby on the way understand they may not be possible right now. We rent and couldn’t do these things even if we wanted to, but found that covering the windows with inexpensive plastic sheeting cut energy bills by about 10-15% (yes, your neighbors may think you’re odd until you explain it to them).

Finally, if your cars are more than 10 years old and you don’t owe anything on them, consider carrying just liability insurance (and bundling with homeowners, too) for a better rate. Your premium costs to cover repair/replacement will almost certainly exceed the cars’ bluebook values at 10 or more years old, and you don’t have to carry collision or comprehensive if you own (not lease) your vehicles outright. We spend about $250 a year on insurance per car, a significant savings; we bank the extra saved to use on car repairs, gas, and the very occasional car replacement (with a good, inexpensive used car) for cash. We spend much less for all car expenses in a year than most people do on just payments.


J. Pario May 14, 2014 at 8:17 am

I know the feeling: Building wealth this way is so… very… slow!

But do congratulate yourself on being WAY ahead of the mindlessly consuming masses already.

My tip would be cars. In order of biggest savings:
* Can you get by with one car?
* Is public transportation, biking, or walking a possibility?
* If you must have two cars but one of them is driven less than 7,000 miles a year, you may be able to get reduced car insurance.

Good luck!


Megg May 14, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I always wonder when people say they “own their home” do they mean it’s paid in full, or that they have a mortgage?
If it’s the latter then I may suggest paying a little extra on your mortgage principal every month. An extra mortgage payment a year can cut a 30 year loan in half. Even if it’s just a couple hundred dollars, it’ll benefit in the long run.
Does your wife cut the family’s hair? That can save a lot. Along with waxing yourself, or doing your own nails or coloring your own hair (your wife obviously!)
Line drying is also a good way to save, and you say you but what you need, why not try freecycle or Craigslist or goodwill first? I just found a Facebook group called the buy nothing project, which is like freecycle except for your own city. I’ve purged a lot but you can find good stuff too, especially baby/child clothes and toys.
Oh and I second cloth diapering!


shannon May 16, 2014 at 11:56 am

Some great tips but I think your math is a little off when you say paying one extra mortgage payment per year can cut a 30 year loan in half???


Rubymay1029 May 14, 2014 at 4:29 pm

You didn’t say, but are you buying packaged food, or cooking from scratch? I started eliminating processed foods from my home about three years ago. It is better for us and none of us are craving sweets anymore. The biggest bonus, though, is that cooking from scratch is way cheaper. I found a copycat recipe for chicken nuggets like the golden arches that my kids went nuts over. They are also make delicious boneless wings. Regular rice instead of minute rice, real mac and cheese instead of boxed with toxic orange powder, pizza rolls made of wonton wrappers, homemade granola bars, you get the idea.

Keep up the good work. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Life changes take time; baby steps.


Betsey May 14, 2014 at 4:32 pm

I budget $50 a week on food (for just me and occasional dinner parties).
Breakfast is a good cereal, milk, and fruit, whatever is cheapest for that week. Or sometimes I go whole hog and have scrambled eggs, toast, and tomato juice. On Sundays I do scratch pancakes, bacon or sausage, and fruit.
Lunch is a simple sandwich with lettuce and tomato, occasional soup, a fruit, or if produce is on sale, I have a huge salad.
Dinner is simple: whatever I make (chicken, pork chops, or hamburger), I know I will make three helpings. I serve this with a starch (potato, rice, or a whole-grain roll) and a vegetable.
If I have dessert, it is a home made pudding or fruit dessert with Cool Whip that was bought on sale, of course. If I make a casserole, I use a home made sauce and I know I will get 4 servings out of it.
I do just fine, and on my $50 I can also buy meat on sale for the freezer and vegies when on sale.
I, as you probably do too, never buy snack or junk foods, and when dining out, I consider anything that comes through a window a non-food.
I live in an apartment next to an immense large wooded area where I have found wild raspberries, morel mushrooms, walnuts, and apples. You can bet I get what I can. Is this ethical? I called the owner and asked. The answer was yes, help yourself. So I do.


PoppyEcho May 15, 2014 at 5:19 am

I love this blog and the commenters.

garage sales! much cheaper than thrift stores.


JD May 15, 2014 at 6:10 am

Although cloth and pattern prices have gotten so out of hand that I rarely sew clothes anymore, I still use a sewing machine to repair clothes and cloth items and to create things. I dreamed up Halloween costumes and sewed them without patterns, and even sewed treat bags from the leftover material. I created a window curtain out of two old pillowcases and sewed decorative sofa cushions from fabric scraps and discount sale purchased pillow forms. I sewed cheesecloth and made a shade for my lettuce bed. I’m working on cloth napkins next, out of scrap fabric. Basic sewing machines can be found fairly cheaply on sale and can be very helpful.
I also vote for cloth diapers and yard sales!


Katy May 15, 2014 at 7:34 am

I am loving all these great ideas and inspiration!


Heather May 15, 2014 at 7:58 am

My husband and i have a community garden plot. We do a lot of canning and growing of our own food, amazing since it is only at 10’x10′ space. We also “forage” from our garden, lots of what others consider weeds are edible and even good for you. Like Lambsquarter…er…wild spinach. I pick a lot of it, saute it, freeze it in flat baggies (it is great in quiche, stirfryed, or any other way you eat cooked spinach). Also forage mulberries and make jam, apples and can applesauce, juice and jelly. another huge savings for us is having one car. We are blessed in that I can ride my bike to work (when not raining) and I often ride my bike to the stores. We can save on a lot of gas that way. Also, we don’t have a washer and dryer in our apt. so we bought a Panda washer and a spinner. I can save about $50 a month doing laundry in our little machines instead of going to the laundromat.

also, check out Swagbucks and Checkout 51. It is possible that you and your wife and take online surveys and generate some income that way.
Blessings to you!


emmer May 15, 2014 at 4:45 pm

great book from the 90’s–still pertinent “your money or your life” by joe dominguez and vicky robbins. lots of $ saving ideas. their goals were to get out of debt and pay off the mortgage so they didn’t have to work in the “rat race”, but could work at what they found fulfilling. they asked readers to make charts and graphs, which did not appeal to me, but they totally changed my relationship with money…and i retired at age 52 mainly because of them. get the book at the library!
have you considered doing daycare? mom at home with babies anyway… or if not daily, folks who work weekends have trouble getting caregivers. i did a saturday-only kids care, called “saturday stars”. we learned to cook and bake, planted a little garden, embroidered initials on shirts, etc.
sell what you don’t need on craig’s list, ebay, or etsy (that last must be handmade or “vintage”).
if you don’t sew, maybe it is time to learn…for the littles of your family. they won’t notice any imperfections. and cloth diapers are easy and cheap to make.
maybe you can teach a skill thru the recreation dept in your town.
and try the barter economy on a bigger scale. my daughter got dance lessons because i did mending for the teacher. a neighbor’s cherry tree goes unharvested. i get all i want, rake up the ones on the ground, and bring her some jars of cherry jam and cherry pie filling.


Diane C May 18, 2014 at 9:31 pm

YMOYL is a classic! It was given a major update a couple of years ago. Look for it at your favorite public library.


Bonnie May 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm

This is what helps us:

Never buy bags. When I need a garbage bag I purposely don’t use my cloth bags and get a couple plastic bags from the grocery store.
Always, always clean and reuse ziplock and bread bags. I haven’t bought ziplock bags for years, but have a drawer full of them.

No-contract phone. Personally, I have a Tracphone and the few people that know my number also know I buy my minutes so we talk quickly and to the point.

Borax and vinegar! That’s all I need to say about cleaning.

Save and sell every bit of scrap metal. Prices vary, but if you find out the salvage yard’s prices, you can go where the prices are the most.

Local Garage Sale facebook pages work wonders for selling small items like dishes and baby clothes. The buyers are local and things sell fast.

Think outside the box whenever possible and revel in the simplicity of it all.


chicknlil May 17, 2014 at 4:11 am

if you live anywhere near a farm and have some extra time, see if they need help. right now is the frantic time of year and most farmers would be grateful for reliable help, even a couple of hours. you can barter produce or meat for your time. you’ll get excellent quality, connect with your food, and feed your family. if you have more money than time, consider purchasing your meat by the whole or half ( half hog or quarter beef). you’ll save money and have the convenience of not dashing to the store at the last minute. my last freezer came from the habitat for humanity re-store for $50.
check around and see if anyone has fruit trees they aren’t taking care of (neglected lots, or older folks…) you can pick the fruit this fall and can or freeze it or make apple butter or jelly. folks appreciate things being used and tidied up.
have fun and keep up the good work!


Sabine Ivey-Frank May 18, 2014 at 8:00 am

I am also following Katy’s advice on lots of things (e.g. buying nothing new for myself) and have cut my spending dramatically.

One more way by which I save money is foraging in our garden and beyond. Spring is the ideal time to replace store-bought spinach, lettuce and herbs with wild plants (weeds) like nettles.

In late summer we collect wild berries and mushrooms to eat fresh or freeze and can for winter.

It takes some time to learn about local edible plants, fruits and mushrooms, but it is a fun activity, supplements healthy eating and saves me some cash, too.


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