Help on Being Frugal!

Updated on October 24, 2011
J.F. asks from Tonawanda, NY
21 answers

I'm looking for a little money advice from the frugal moms on here!
We're hitting kind of a rock bottom financially and are looking for ways to change things so that we can afford our basic bills.
A little background: we have NO extras except cell phones and internet... no cable/satellite (just bunny ears with basic channels), we cancelled streaming Netflix (only $7/mth) and i really don't want to cancel the internet! We go out to eat maybe twice a year, we try to keep our use of paid time off to a minimum so it will get paid out for Xmas money. We just have utilities, student loans, child support and the basic costs of the children we have together. But we're still finding expenses are going up and paychecks are not.
My husband is close to possibly getting a job in local law enforcement (he's been dreaming about this for years, has passed all his tests & is only 1 interview away). I work part time, and just picked up as much time as i could there, so i'm looking into a 2nd evening/night position.

The only other variable things we have control over are the gas we use in the car and groceries. Gas is hard because we drive 3 hours total every other weekend just to pick up my stepdaughter... but we try to keep the rest to a minimum.

Any advice on how to save on grocery costs? I've never been a coupon cutter... i guess it just intimidates me and i don't feel i ever really saved when i tried. Plus i feel it takes up so much time (probably because i don't know how to do it well). Is it worth it?? I buy store brands with a shoppers club card, the coupons rarely apply to those. But i'm open to anything. We spend about $400-500/mth for our family of 4 (sometimes family of 5 when my stepdaughter's with us). If you don't mind sharing, what does your family pay per month in groceries? How do you keep costs down?

Any other saving ideas are definitely welcome too... just trying to figure this out before we get to a point where we're in crisis! Thanks for any help! :)

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the responses!!
some of the great suggestions we already take advantage of... we do cloth diapering, always make our lunches, don't drink soda or bottled water, grow our own veggies & freeze them, buy as little "processed" food as possible, shop for everything in bulk (especially meats) and have a nice big freezer for storage, my husband hunts so that helps with getting cheaper meat too, we clean with mostly vinegar & baking soda, i rarely wear makeup, we got to the movies once/yr (if that!), rent from redbox once or twice a month, looked into refinancing (with all the costs involved doesn't look like we can afford to), we meet in the middle for driving my stepdaughter back to her mom but have to drive all the way to pick her up from school (unfortunately not likely to change!), & we're almost a cash-only family (have only 1 credit card we use for gas because it gives us a discount & pay it off monthly). Your responses reinforced that we're not the only family to live like this and that's so great to hear :) we get hassled for our frugal lifestyle by friends who live off credit cards & way above their means.

All your responses gave me new ideas too though, so thank you so much!!! The different ways of cooking meats to make them stretch more were really helpful! And all the thoughts on groceries, coupons & meal planning were great. Also student loan suggestions - i definitely have to look into that.

Thank you all so much for the great ideas and advice!!

Featured Answers



answers from Roanoke on

When I first decided to stay home with my daughter, we had $300 per month to spend on groceries. It was HARD because I also wanted us to eat healthily. One thing I did was to buy the veggies and fruit that was on sale - $1 per pound was my price limit. Then I worked the recipes around what was on sale rather than buying what I wanted for my menu. I did clip coupons but found that often the store brand was cheaper than the name brand with a coupon. Sometimes I got things for a few cents though when stores had double or triple coupons. I only bought whole grain bread and found it for about half grocery store price at Costco. If I found it for less than $2 per loaf I bought a lot and froze it. Good luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I used to spend 200 a month feeding 4 (this included diapering costs, household cleaning supplies, and medical bills). You can't afford meat except rarely but can get eggs for proteins.

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answers from Washington DC on


You could probably cut your grocery bill by 25% or more if you used coupons.

I am a family of 4 with one dog. We spend about $450 a month on groceries. It fluctuates. We buy our meat in bulk every six months.

I would ask your husband's ex-wife to meet you half way to help save on gas.

Make a menu for each week. Look through your grocery store's flyer for the week and make the menu off things that are on sale that week. Combine them with coupons and save even more. yesterday, I went to the store and saved $45.30 in took me about 45 minutes of going through the Sunday paper (from the week prior) and my coupon sites (,,,, etc.)
Other ways to be frugal:
Turning lights off behind you
making sure the load is full before you run the dishwasher or the washing machine.
Making lunches for work instead of buying them. Even for kids in school.
using leftovers - don't let food go to waste
Taking public transportation when you can instead of the car.
buying clothes and toys from Goodwill, Salvation Army or some other second hand store.

I would STRONGLY suggest that you go to the library and check out Dave Ramsey or Suze Orman and take control of your finances instead of the finances controlling you.

It sounds like you need to get a full time job instead of a 2nd job.

Call anyone that you owe money to and set up payment arrangements that you can afford. You can do that with your student loans as well.

If you own your home, see if you can refinance to a lower rate...right now rates are low and you could end up saving on your mortgage, not only right now, but the future interest paid as well.

I would STRONGLY suggest not using ANY credit cards. I know it's hard. We are a cash only family and I can tell you the great relief it is not getting a bill in the mail every month. Yes, it was hard at first. We had had the luxury of having a credit card that had a $35K it was "easy" to charge.
Now we think before we purchase something.

Before I overload you, I'll stop for now. Please feel free to inbox me if you need more information. Couponing is easy. You don't need to go to extremes.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Couponing doesn't have to take up that much time. I put aside maybe 4-5 hours a month to cut coupons, find deals, etc. and I save tons, a good $200 a month. So couponing is worth it. You need to make sure you have access to 4 sets of coupons, you can get cheap papers at the Dollar Store or Menards. Never pay more than .50c for a Sunday subscription. They have .25c deals all the time.

We keep costs down in lots of ways:

1. we are a paperless house: cloth diapers, cloth napkins and cloth towels to clean up messes
2. We cook smart: we butcher our own chickens, and always use the carcass to make stock and chicken noodle soup. We also buy big pork roasts and freeze the left over meat for taco night.
3. Shop clearance clothes. Only shop clearance clothes. I got my son all of his heavy fleece winter PJ's at Target last winter on clearance. They were $1.5 each! I got myself 3 pairs of pants for winter at Eddie Bauer for $24 bucks! All in style, all very nice! Target is great for free or really cheap clothes if you coupon right.

Times are tough. We are heading into another recession if not depression. Wages are down, yet costs are up. My hubby's commute cost just went up by 30% because the state increased toll costs. Everyone is broke, and everyone needs money, yet, companies are hording profits and only paying their Exe big bucks. Something is going to have to break, because more and more of us are struggling. My hubby makes a good living, yet, I have to coupon to keep up with rising costs since his salary isn't rising fast enough.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I just started couponing and yes it takes time, but it doesn't have to be the full time job some people make it.

I do it kind of like how Cheryl does it. I go through the local grocery ads once every two weeks when I am going shopping. I base my menu for the 2 weeks I shop around what is on sale in various places in combination to what I have coupons for. I then write my grocery list according to what is on sale at what store and shop accordingly. I have the commissary here on base, so that helps, but if I have coupons and there are sales in the local stores I can often get things cheaper off base.

Sometimes people don't clip all the coupons, but I do unless it is something I KNOW we will never use, like denture cream. It helps to clip them all, though, because there may be a coupon in the paper for something that isn't on sale right now, but in two weeks it will be and if you didn't clip the coupon, you don't get the deal. The real pay off is when you have clipped coupons for weeks and then suddenly stuff comes up on sale that you have a coupon (or several if you get 3 papers which I also recommend). It has saved us a ton on non-food items that we use a lot of like shampoo and soap, toothepast, laundry detergent, razors. With the holidays coming up, it is a perfect time to start because a BUNCH of coupons will be in the papers and a BUNCH of stuff will be on sale. For instance, someone mentioned Turkeys at 19 cents a pound. You can buy a lot of turkeys for that price - small ones that you can roast and freeze and use as lunch meat, soup meat, taco meat and so on.

Do, shop for meat in bulk and separate into meal size portions and freeze. You can get the "family packs" for cheaper per pound.

Look into making your own cleaning supplies, it is cheaper to make laundry soap homemade after the initial expense and it works just as well and is better for you. You can clean almost anything with vinegar and/or baking soda. You can buy a vat of vinegar that lasts months for what you spend on 2 or 3 cleaning supplies.

These are just a few. Let me know if you need any more info.


*ETA - even the $1 off 3 can help, if you know you are going to buy three of something anyway. For instance there was a coupon of $.40 of 3 campbell's cream soups. Well, if you are going to get 3 anyway for cooking then you use the coupon. If you have 50 items on your list and save 40 cents per item, then you have saved $20 at the end of your shopping and that's gas money for the car.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

One thing you can do is check with your student loans and see if you can get a temporary deferral to help get you back on track for a few months.

I do wish Angel Foods was still available.. it was a great help for us! There are a few other food suppliers that are trying to get developed, but I don't know the names of them... the ones I've seen aren't in my area, and I don't think they are in yours, either. has lots of suggestions on coupons you can get, and also may have some suggestions to replace Angel Food Ministries. They are also on facebook.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I spend about $25 per person per week for groceries for my wife and I, but that's because I have my kids and their families come over for Sunday dinner. During the month of September, someone was sick or scheduling prevented any of the kids from coming over with their families and I spent $80 for the month on groceries for just my wife and I. That's $10 per person per week plus two extra days at the end.

I was surprised at first, but when I think about it my wife don't have lavish tastes. We don't buy sodas because we prefer water. We don't buy bottled water because we have a filter beside our faucet in the kitchen sink. We refill our water bottles from there on a regular basis. We don't consume alcohol or tea or coffee and we make smoothies from fresh fruit for desert. We don't smoke and we are not brand connisieurs (sp?).

When I buy beans, I don't care if the can is dented and will buy what ever is the least expensive and add whatever spices I want myself. I do 99% of the cooking in our home and cook almost all my food from scratch. I make my menus off what is on sale and I almost always buy from two or three markets each week.

What is cooking from scratch? meat and pasta or rice, vegetables and spices. Cooking from scratch IS NOT hamburger plus water and a box of "Hamburger Helper". Cooking from scratch is rice pilaf made by adding rice, chicken broth, garlic (fresh or granules), green onions diced and spices. It is not Rice-a-Roni plus water.

DON"T buy meat from Costco or Sam's. Its way too expensive there! We brown bag our lunches or dinner for work. We subscribe to and make almost all our food from fresh ingredients.

I buy food on sale and when it is a really good sale I buy a lot. I bought 30 pounds of pasta because it was on sale for $.30 lb. (Normally its $1+ lb.) I have a a juicer that I use to make orange juice or lemon juice. Some store was selling Ocean Spray juice in 10 oz bottles for the same price as the half gallon bottles (price per ounce), so I bought 4 cases of the 10 oz size. When we drank the 10 oz portions, I cleaned/washed out the bottles and saved them. Now, when the stores have a real good sale on oranges or lemons, I buy the oranges and squeeze the oranges. Then I fill the 10 oz bottles and place them in our freezer. When my wife wants to take OJ to work, she grabs one of the 10 oz bottles. By the time lunch comes, the OJ is thawed. She saves the bottles and I repeat the process. I made lemonade last night from the lemons I juiced. It cost me about $.15 for a quart of lemonade. AND my lemonade didn't have any of those chemicals in it that only a chemist could understand or pronounce.

If you want more ideas, e-mail me. BTW, we had rotisserie chicken last night for dinner. Mine cost me $3 because I bought the 5 lb chicken on sale and I cooked it on my own rotisserie. (Sams and Costco use 2 to 3 lb chickens for their rotisserie chicken and theirs are $5.)

Good luck to you and yours.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I'm an independent insurance agent in AZ. Shop around your home and auto, you don't have to wait until renewal. Find a broker in your area and they can do it for you.

I don't use coupons either, they completely stress me out. We are a family of 4 full time and have my step dtr every other weekend. I pay very little for groceries. I get anything that is on sale and make my menus around that. I wander around the isles looking for "manager's special" and whatever is on sale. For example, a box of bbq ribs is normally $12.99 but I got it on manager's clearance for $4.99, so guess what we had for dinner that night? I also get most of my cleaning products at the dollar store, and I don't have to use more than the name brand either. And my 3 kids go thru crazy amounts of shampoo and body wash so I get those at the dollar store too. I hope you find some things that will help you...good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

It was mentioned and I agree, contact your student loans. They WILL work with you, adjust the payment amount, defer all together etc. They will take SOME money versus no money. It sounds like you've minimalized the best you can. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

we spend less then $200 a month. But we are a family of two adults and a toddler, and we live in the midwest. To me $400 a mnth for four people in NY seems pretty good. Just don't believe anyone who says it is more expensive to eat healthy. Processed foods such as junk food and frozen foods cost WAY more then the alternative. We buy lots of bags of dried beans and rice and spilt peas. A an example of a cheap meal is vegatarian spilt pea soup (1 bag frozen celery, onion and carrot mix sauteed till the onions are a slight yellow color, 2 tb prepared mustard, 2 tsp garlic pwder, 3 bullion cubes, 6-8 cups water and 2 cups spilt peas. Bring to a boil and then simmer till peas are soft..about 1 hr... and then puree half the mixutre and add back to pan. I serve this with homemade bread with is mere pennies to make) alot of the veggies we get are frozen, and we buy fruit in season. We grow a garden in the summer and freeze veggies, and I like to can my own tomatoe sauce (however my tomatoes this year took to big of a hit from heavy rains followed by a drought) we buy very little meat. I will buy a tray of chicken legs when they go on sale and mostly use them to flavor things. If you dice meat or pull it and add it to the meal (soups, stir fry,) you can use a lot less then using it as the main course. We also eat vegatarian several times a week. Good luck!

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answers from Los Angeles on

We stopped shopping at the big Warehouse stores except to get toilet paper & diapers. I found regular store sales to be cheaper.

I don't clip coupons because of time & I think sometimes those items are the expensive brands.

I buy things that can stretch out for food for many people like Rotisserie chickens at the wholesale places ($4.99), lasagna, pizza etc.

We rarely go out to eat.

I sounds like you've cut back on everything else like cable, netflix etc.

I no longer subscribe to magazines unless I can get them for $5/year.
Once in awhile as a treat.

I rent movies from Redbox kiosks at the grocery store.

I no longer buy myself books to read. I check them out from the library.

I turn in cans for $.

I make food that can feed quite a few people (spaghetti, tacos etc.)

You can't cut down on the gas bill since you have to travel to pick up your

I wouldn't cancel internet, btw. Keep that one expense/extravagance.

I drive locally, group all of my errands together so I don't have to drive back and forth.

You can watch some episodes of tv channels you don't get online.

We go to the library, parks, school fairs for free entertainment. We pack
picnic lunches for the park, apple orchards etc.

Save your change & deposit into the bank. I was surprised at how much I
saved in my extra change. Hope that helps!

Edit: I shop at the Dollar Store for certain things that I know are a bargain:
4 small juice boxes for $1 etc. They are just the right size.
I bought thermoses (the new fun ones) for water so we take that w/us instead of bottled water. We each have our own.

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answers from Washington DC on

Write down every time you buy something and see where you are nickel and dimeing yourselves. My mom is horrible about the $1 item she really didn't need and by the end of the week, there's $10 she shouldn't have spent. What we pay in groceries is relative because we live in another area. We have a family of 5 when my grown SS visits and groceries are pretty high, more than yours.

Look online and see if the internet company has any offers. Then tell them that you saw X online and would they offer that price to a longtime customer to convince you to stay? Sometimes they will.

Unfortunately Angel Food closed. I did not know til someone posted here, and then I looked it up. Shame, because people like my retired grandmother used it. My grandmom had a large order in with them in Sept. and it was canceled and nobody said why. So, sadly, that is no longer a resource.

I don't know what the visitation situation is or how good the relationship is. You can ask to meet in the middle. If she doesn't want to and legally doesn't have to, then consider all the errands you might be able to run on the way and see if you could combine some other trip with that one to help stretch the gas.

I agree on no credit cards. I use mine minimally but am not happy about seeing the interest when I can't fully pay it off.

I buy DD's clothes on clearance (next size up when the season is over) or from the thrift store (ours has 25% off Mondays). I also buy some of her toys and books there. Or from the library book sale. Perfectly good book for .50 and she will be thrilled at Christmas. A year or so back I got her a laptop toy for $3 at the thrift store. I also trade clothes. I have a friend whose daughter is a size up who has a cousin who is a size up from HER. My cousin's baby girls are a couple of sizes down from DD. I used to trade clothes with my cousins as kids all the time. Thanks to the pass it down generosity, most of us need very little to fill in a wardrobe for our kids. Look around and see if there's anybody in your life that you could do a clothing exchange with.

Oh, and freecycle. Freecycle locally has been awesome. I feel good passing things along and also have benefited from receiving items (often kid items) from others.

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answers from Chicago on

I am with Cheryl O. Look for coupons in the junk mail you get advertising specials at your local grocery store. Go online to pick out recipes that you can create more than one meal and have leftovers. Soups and Chili and stews for our generally make for a meal two nights in a row. Also, shop clearance racks, and look at resale stores for items you may need. Need some extra cash? Look at selling things on Ebay and Craig's list. Ebay has been great for me in that I find all kinds of things I need discounted. I just bought a Mary Kay item for $29 vs $55.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

cut down on Xmas for sure. You said you save that extra off-time for xmas money. What if you skipped gifts this year? Or just bought $10 for each kid? Had a "Dollar Store" christmas? Or drew names and let them each spend $10 total on their siblings? We spend very little every christmas. Don't know a dollar amount, but it's small. I don't think I buyanything for my son (grandparents and B&SIL get him plenty of stuff).

I think $400-500 for your size family sounds about reasonable for your size family - assume this includes laundry detergent, soaps, deoderants, etc. I don't buy makeup. I "splurge" with a $4 nail polish. Plus I use up old stuff I've had around for years to use it up instead of throw it out. So I'd like a new perfume. Mine ran out a few months ago. But I am using up the other scent I have first, before buying a new $50 perfume I want. I can probably ask for it for Xmas and my parents will get it.

Cut out impulse buys - cookies, ice cream, potato chips, cheetoes, new dvds. We haven't bought a DVD in years. We use the local library (it has a lot of new movies), netflix streaming (more for the kiddo), hulu (for my tv shows), and occasionally use Redbox for a new release. We also try not to keep junk food at home (healthy, and keeps cost down). I used to drink a soda a day. But now I'm down to one or two a week. Water (Brita filtered) and coffee is the only other expense. If I want cookies, I make them. I have flour sugar and chocolate chips on hand.

I don't clip coupons really, either. I use the store coupons if it's something I would have actually bought anyways (like they had a deal on sausage last week. Bought extra b/c it freezes well and we use it often.) I buy store brand a lot of the time (laundry soap, toilet paper, oatmeal, cereal, flour, sugar, spices, etc). I skip aisles I don't need to go down (I keep a list. If it's not on the list, I don't go down that aisle.) Helps keep me from buying impulse buys. Plus it makes my trip shorter. :)

What do y'all do for fun ? We don't go to the zoo, don't go to the movies (in 5 years with my husband we've never been except the one time my FIL paid), we don't go out to eat either, which I see you guys don't either. We play outside instead, bring out the balls or bubbles and make our own fun. We go for walks, feed the deer, catch bugs, etc. We spend very little on family outings and toys. And I never pass up hand-me-downs. I look for deals at Garage sales and thrift stores. I keep a list in my purse of such items I need and browse for them when I make it to a garage sale or thrift store.

Hope some of this helps!

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answers from Portland on

Can you cut your cell phone plan down? If you have anything more than just voice on your cell you can cut quite a few $ off your bill by removing texting, picture messaging, and other extras.

I also plan my menu, shop sales, and coupon as I am able. I don't make meals where meat is the main entree -example: meatloaf takes a bunch of meat but I can turn around and use 1/2 the amount of meat that I would have used in meatloaf and make a sauce with meat in it to make it stretch further. I cut up chicken breasts and put them in a casserole rather than cooking a chicken breast for everyone and again cut my meat useage in 1/2.

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answers from Los Angeles on

The thing that kills us the most is our gas usage. My boyfriend commutes 100+ miles a day, and pair that with the horrible rush hour traffic he uses a ton of gas, and he has a gas efficient car!
The biggest thing we do to save money is buy meat in bulk.
We go to Costco and buy porck chops, chicken and ground beef.
I think the ground beef is 10lbs, so what we do is separate it into 1lb bags and freeze them. The pork chops are so thick we will cut each one into three, so we tripple our meat, and then portion it and freeze. The chicken breast comes pre-packaged in 2 breasts, for a total of 8 packages (16 breasts). I double that by cutting each breast in half because they are large (sometimes it doesn't happen because occasionally you get a smaller breast in there). So with our main meats I can triple the amount.
The reason why I portion it out the way I do is because I know how much to cook for my family without left overs, or very little left overs. I found that left overs weren't getting used in our house. I have never really cared for it and my guy only remembers to take the containers to work half the time. Before I knew it I was cleaning it out of the fridge to throw away.
With coupons I only clip or print the ones I need. I am picky when it comes to certain brands and having a coupon for a few items adds up. I don't spend a lot of time on it. I flip through the Sunday ads, and look online at the stores I frequent. I have found it's more helpful for things I need at walmart (like laundry detergent, razors etc) then with food though, but that may just be me.
Good Luck! =)



answers from New York on

It sounds like you're doing a great job.

Hubby does the majority of grocery shopping and we shop at a few different stores, so I've never kept track of how much we actually spend, but I know it's at least $150 (2 adults, 2 teens, and frequent friends).

As far as couponing, I'm surprised at the number of people who still do it and actually find good bargins. For the most part most of the coupons are $1.00 off 2 or $1.00 off 3, and I don't want to buy 3 Or like you said it's just cheaper to buy the store brand. Although, I do shop at BJ's and Target, and use their store coupons and will occassionally be able to combine with a manufacturer coupon and get a great deal. I do recommend that you do use coupons for the products that you buy on a regular basis.

I've read on the posts that many mama's recommend Angel Food Ministries. You may want to look into that to help with your food bill.

There was a good post a few days ago about dirt cheap meals. You may want to check this out



answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't clip coupons because we buy very little packaged food. Cooking is way cheaper (and healthier) than buying processed foods or eating out. We drink water (tap) and my son (5) drinks milk or water. Juice is more expensive and less healthy.

Oatmeal (as in cooking oats, not buying the little packets) is way less expensive than buying cold cereal, even the store brands. Other grains (quinoa, wheat berries) look more expensive until you calculate out on a per serving basis - also cheaper than cereal. Dried beans are much cheaper than canned and taste better (you can cook a pot once a week and add them into dishes as needed).

I shop at Costco for our paper products, cleaning products, pasta and (when there is little local produce) for fruits and vegetables. Fruit is way less expensive than at the supermarket and our supermarket doesn't really put fresh produce on sale. I try to buy local produce that is in season - better and cheaper than out of season. Frozen veggies are nutritionally as good as fresh and often much cheaper. They are also not loaded with sodium like most of the canned are.

Eating less meat is way cheaper (healthier as well). Eggs are a fantastic source of cheap protein (and I love them).



answers from Cleveland on

EDITED: Sorry I should never answer when i'm in a rush, But anyhow, cutting back on childcare might be an option if you are currently paying someone for that, If you aren't bringing in enough at your part time job to cover the cost of paying someone to watch you kids then it doesn't make sense to continure to work.
Also Hubby needsto find something if he is not working at all or he needs to get 2 jobs as well. I know a guy that delivers newspapers so his little girls can eat.

I also wanted to suggest cutting out cigarretts and soda pop. Totally unnecessary and would save you a ton of cash. I don't use fabric softners either. It's just little things like that, I buy bar soap for the bathroom instead of pump soap. There are internet recipies for making your own laundry detergent although i have never tried and i don't know how much you have to spend to make it.

I've gotten some items from and gotten rid of alot of mykids clothes.

I also second the public library supergreat fun free entertainment.

Good for dad supporting all his chlldren!!



answers from San Antonio on

Our grocery bill has gone down sense we stopped eating as much meat. We eat vegetarian/vegan at least four to five days a week.

It started after watching a documentary called Forks Over Knives or Forks vs. Knives...something like that....about how much healthier you are with out all the meat and animal products.

We haven't cut it out all together...but produce, rice, pasta, beans, lintels, etc are so much cheaper than beef, chicken, pork, etc.



answers from Boston on

OK, I know this is going to sound dumb, but sometimes it pays to buy the more expensive quality item. If you are lucky enough to have a CVS close by, and get the coupons from a friend's Sunday newspaper, then you can get great toothpaste, floss, shampoo and conditioner for under $1, each of which will work so well, you can use smaller amounts of them. You can also stock up on a few packages of quality cereal, toilet paper and paper towels for extremely low prices by combining sales, coupons and extra bucks. If cutting coupons is new to you, I'd suggest you get the CVS circular, find items that you need on a regular basis that are on sale, and check the weekly coupons in the newspaper. See if some of them match and if that makes the purchase a really good deal. Good luck!

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