Some Ways to save Money

Updated on September 03, 2008
A.L. asks from Chandler, AZ
31 answers

I was recently doing childcare out of my home as well as my full time job as a Social Worker. I was let go from my childcare position. I was expecting to get the child's sibling. So rather than increase my income it dropped dramitcally. My question is how are others making ends meet. Both my husband and I pack our lunches for work and rarely eat out as a family. I clip coupons to save money at the store. I no longer shop for items that we do not need such as clothing. I have had a garage sale and sold unneeded items on ebay. I have switched to online banking to save on the stamps. We have down graded our tv and internet access to save money. Can anyone give me some other ideas to save money other than getting another job. It would be greatly appreciated.

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C.D.

answers from Phoenix on

I belong to a frugal (and free) site called Mommysavers.com. You may have seen the owner, Kim Danger, on Channel 3 on one of her visits to Phoenix. She's a SAHM that started the site to help people save...her husband is an accountant. It's a great community and has lots of hints on ways to save. I don't get any referrals or anything for having people join. I'm just another member, but I also moderate a couple of forums over there (I started the Special Needs forum when I became a mod). Stop in and take a look. I joined when I was looking for ways to save as a SAHM.

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D.R.

answers from Phoenix on

I just want to say thank you for putting this question out there! There is so much great advise that I am going to try out & hopefully that will help us as well. My husband & I have had a rough year financially as well and now we are trying to work thru it.

Thank you to all the moms for giving their input on anything that will help save money! =)

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N.M.

answers from Phoenix on

A.,

You Are not alone. Almost everyone I know is struggling one way or another. I've read most of the response to find out new ideas to help my family. Here are a few things that have helped our family and I hope they can help yours.

Food- OMG a lot of $$$$. I shop at Fresh N easy, everyday they have 50% of items throughout the store. I even found dough there to make pizza with!! I usually go on a Monday or tuesday after the weekend rush. ( I used to price match, but it had me to frazzled looking through the papers time and time again, I lost my sanity. For you women that do it, I admire you!!) Also, when I check out of this store I make sure I gets someones help so they can give me 5 dollars off for every 20. I saved 30 Dollars last week. I also do the bountiful baskets every two weeks. I volunteer and get to leave by 7:30-8 am and have the rest of the day to spend with my family. Also, anything I would buy out, ice cream and what not I try to make at home. I also switched from coffee to tea, because you can get a lump of it through bountiful baskets for like 4 dollars.

Fun/ Movies/ things for the kids- We got rid of cable at the beginning of this year. It was the best thing ever for my family. We spend more time together instead of watching TV( we still have internet or I would go insane, but that's all we pay for). We used to have the blockbuster online, but we had to cut it. So we do now at least once a week is the library!! I know the library!! AT the footbills branch you can rent as many as 10 movies at a time for a week ( don't bring them back late 1 dollar a day in late fees). Also, they still have reading time twice a week for little kids and have things for the children to do while they are there. I get all kinds of books for the kids, myself and my husband.

Clothes- I'm not sure about anyone else, but we are really into hard times, so when it comes to this department we are really CHEAP. I've been shopping at the thrift store so the kids clothes and toys ( shoes I just can't!). I haven't really bought myself to many things ( because of flactuating weight HAHA). I really save the money of my husband though becuase he works a place where he has to wear a tie.

Washing clothes- The biggest thing that helps here is not wearing as much clothes. I'm not sure about your family, but we were going through a lot of clothes a day. Use bibs, and try to wear the same thing all day ( except at bedtime). We keep the ac up to 80 which can be hot sometimes, so sometimes he kids don't wear a lot of clothes to keep them cool and it saves ( no one is going to see us if we are at home anyways). Also, we have excema in our family so I can't buy anything generic in this department ( you have to pick your battles) so we still buy name brand detergent. I do use less though. I actually watched the amount of soap it took to make suds for the first 5 loads and have it down now. I don't wash anything in hot, becuase the water it already warm anyways, and they have cold water bleach ( it works) Also, I use the SOLAR dryer when I can.

Energy-this one is tough, becuase I hate to be hot and get hives ( i'm allergic to excessive heat, talk about living in the wrong state). I have APS which sucks, so at night we close the vents to the rooms we are not in that way the air goes to just the bedrooms ( make sure you leave one open next to the ac unit so it detects when to turn off). Electronics, ac, dryer, and stove use up a lot. we have pretty much all it covered, turn it on, turn it off, stove only 3 times a day, becuase it makes the whole house hot. Or use the grill to cook. Also, you make want to turn your water heater down.

Cell phone/house phone- keep the one you use the most and then down the plan you already have. ( probably your cell phone!)

Home- we actually had to move from Tolleson to north phoenix to be close to my husbands work. Yes, it's smaller, but we live so close that we are now saving over 500 dollars a month in gas!! OUCH!!!!( we were filling up 3 times a week with an SUV). I also, get to see my husband at lunch time, so it's a breather for the whole family.

Car- we only have had one car for the last 2 years. It's hard at first, but totally worth it. Only one to fill up, get washed, pay insurance on and so forth. It works for us becuase I'll take the car at lunch time to go shopping, or take the kids to the library and by the time we are done, it's time to get dad.

Here are the things we have been doing and probably more that I can't think of right now. I know some people would rather work then have to go through all this trouble to save. I think it's very important to teach our children that it's okay to be going through hard times and to show them how to do it with a good heart. It's important to me to be with my children so they how to be a family. Yeah, I could probably go back to watching children, but I wasn't happy dealing with others children or parents that weren't responisble. It's easier for me to control what i can, than what I cannot, which includes the things I listed above. Another thing A., you are not alone by any means!! and whatever you do, don't feel bad becuase your kids don't have cable. If anything you are doing your children a FAVOR, for showing them alternatives and not everything in life is just GIVEN to them, becuase they are there and they are you children. GOOD LUCK to you and everyone else who is going through this.

N. M

Mother of a 3 1/2 year old and a 1 year

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R.G.

answers from Albuquerque on

I don't have advice for you, I just wanted to let you know that you aren't the only one. My husband and I don't have a television at all, we have one car that allows us to get to work and our children to school, we don't go out, and we shop and cook economically. We are in terrible debt from three months that we both were unemployed and looking desperately for work about a year ago. It's hard and there are some things that have to be done collectively (making legislative changes to ensure that housing, good, and health care is kept affordable), not individually. In more civilized nations, parents are subsidized to stay home and care for the children to ensure that the next generation is well cared for and well socialized. It's in the public interest, not charity. We need some massive paradigm shifts in this country when it comes to parenting and what it means to be responsible. Individual families are told that we bear sole responsibility for our financial woes, while those who control the finances of the nation have let their greed and fiscal irresponsibility ruin economies. People are literally committing suicide because of their credit scores--we have to place our sense of self-worth elsewhere and insist that hard work should provide a home, good food, health care, time to care for our families, and a public safety net for the times when life is out of our control.

I'm sorry I don't have practical advice, but as someone who struggles in spite of working four jobs at one time, I know that sometimes I just need to be reminded that it's not my fault that the ends still don't get met. It's hard to be 34 (my age) and not be able to pay your bills, but there are a lot of us struggling in just this way. Hang in there.

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H.S.

answers from Flagstaff on

One thing I did to save money was to get rid of my cell phone and switch to a VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) phone by the company Magic Jack (www.magicjack.com). It costs $40 for an entire year of service and long distance is free! I've been using it for two months now and very happy with it. My cell was $40/mo so it's a huge savings :)

I also use the Sharecolorado.com food program mentioned by another person. Angelfoodministries.com is another good one to check out (although I do like the shareco options better).

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J.J.

answers from Phoenix on

I am so poud of this one. dont know why i didnt think of it before. i was at safeway (its the only gorcery store in our town) on sunday. sunday nights they put out the meat that is on sale, whatever didnt sell over the weekend. they had beef roasts on sale for 124 a lb. they were huge. i selected one that was 15 lbs and one that was 18 lbs. i took them back to the butcher and asked if he would grind them into hamburger for me. he idd and i got hamburger for 1.24 a lb. tons of it. i separated it and put in freezer bags. i buy the meat on sale on sundays and some months all we have is hamburger so i have to be very creative. this time there was also stuff on sale so i bought chicken and pork too. we have two freezers, one is always on and the other is for when it is full and i have bought bulk stuff. i also go to farmers market here on satuday mornings. the fruit and veggies are much cheaper and taste better. dont buy meat there becaue it is expensive. if htere si something my family like sor i use a lot i buy and freeze. this saturday i bought 15 lbs of onions. i cut them up and forze them in the tiny sip lock bags, i left a few fresh ones for now. i dont buy paper towels. i bought budles of different colored wash cloths one color per family member, at walmart, it is like 12 for 5 dollars. we use those instead of paper towels/napikins. i have a separtate color for the kitchen. i buy the super giant rolls of toilet paper. there is less sotrage needed and they last longer. i make my own floor cleaner. i dont have carpets. i use laundry detergent and a little bleach and dilute in in a pan with water then put it is a used bottle and dilute it some more depending on what i will clean. i hang my clothes out in the 'solar dryer" as much as possible.i dont buy snacks, imake my own. i buy flour and sugar in bulk and store in these huge tupperware things i bought.i buy milk when it is on sale an freeze it. we finally paid off crdit cards my husband had form before we were married and we now have one and it stays at home. we use it only for emergencies. al of our vehicles are paid for because we did without a lot of things to pay them off. shop for cheaper insurance. learn how to change your own oil. we dont go anywhere, outside work, unless we have tow or more thigns to do like go to a dr appointment and buy groceries that day. since y son went to college we dont watch much tv so we have cancelled our satellite and either watch movies or read or take walks. keep track of phone bills (this is the hardest for me because i miss my son terribly ad he calls at least once a day) we changed to an unilited plan and only have one cell phone which we share. going on an out of town trip. carry a cooler and pack food from home. i have been doing this since my kids were babies. stop somehwere and have a picnic.plant a garden. even in apartment living you can have container gardens. i curently have tons of tomatoes, carrots, lettuce spinace, garlic, squash, peppers. i trade with a neighbor who plants things i dont have. i have a huge pecan tree in our yard and i collect and sell the nuts. we go to pick your own farms and get fruit. i jsut got a bunch of peaches and imade jam , do the same with strawberries and corn. then i trade those also. dont buy baking mixes or rice and potatoe mixes. its cheaper to make your own. teach the kids about budget by taking them to the sotre with you and give them a list of things to buy and teach them to read labels and compare prices. my youngest just went to college and he found a roommate and pays 220 in rent which includes utilities. he did a lot of research and shopping around. he doesnt eat out, alwasy packs lunches and has only been spending about 20 dollars a week on food so far. i hav a lot of cuposn to give him so it will probably be less. also rides a bike almost anywhere he goes. just look at whatever you do and eat and go and see hwo you can cut costs. good luck

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A.K.

answers from Albuquerque on

I totally agree with Rose's comment about this country needing to review the parenting ideals!! My husband and I ride bikes as much as possible, we have joined a local CSA, I'm not sure if there is one in your area, but you should look into it. It's a great way to cut down on produce costs, support local food and help in menu planning. We use our clothes line for just about everything, cloth diapers, homemade bread and granola and joined Costco to buy items in bulk. We DON'T use credit cards. We don't have tv or home phone - although I think that a land line with 5cent longdistance would be cheaper than our cell service, but we're in the contract. We don't try to "keep up with the Jone's." We camp for weekend entertainment...close to home. There is a great website, hillbillyhousewife.com, don't be deterred by the name, it's a great refrence guide to cutting food costs. You're not alone.

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A.H.

answers from Phoenix on

Try getting most of your food through www.bountifulbaskets.org. It's a large amount of produce for $15 per basket. I can feed my family of 7 for almost two weeks on what comes in the two baskets I purchase. When times have been tougher, I've replaced meat for beans, cold cereal for oatmeal, etc.

We're all facing some belt-tightening right now. Don't get discouraged!

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K.H.

answers from Phoenix on

It is hard, isn't it? Some things I do that I hope will help you is I plan our weekly menu around what is on sale at the grocery store. When I get the mail, I look at the ads and plan around that. I also shop at Walmart or Frye's - they seem to have the best prices. I use www.gasbuddy.com to find the lowest priced gas station on the day I go to get gas. I usually get gas on a Tues. or Wed. if I can, prices are lower then. We have a budget and allow so much for recreation, etc.
Check with your electric Co. and you can go on the "Time Saver Program" where you can't use major applicances from 1pm to 8pm. I do my laundry on Wed. from 7am to 1pm. We keep our air cond. at 83 degrees. You can cook dinner, that won't hurt the program. If you call the Electric Co. and become part of this you can save quite a bit on your electric bill.

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J.R.

answers from Phoenix on

Thank you for sharing the truth and reality of your life. There are so many others looking for practical solutions too. I look forward to reading the many replies I'm sure you'll receive.

I just joined Bountiful Baskets here in Phoenix. It's a food Co-op for fruits/veggies. For $15 and driving to a pick up site of your choice you receive about $50 worth of produce. Way worth it. And very fun to get things I would normally not splurge on, such as Rainier cherries. Just google Bountiful Baskets, and then walk through the site steps. Very simple to join and find a location near you. The first time basket costs a couple of dollars more to get you into the system. We also ride our bikes to and from school, even with my son's band instrument (alto sax) bungeed to the back.

God bless you for taking care of your children at home!

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T.T.

answers from Tucson on

One small thing that I've been doing to save money on electricity is keeping our appliances unplugged unless we are using them. I also keep all of the entertainment center items and my computer accessories on power strips that I turn off when they are not in use...especially overnight. I keep the shades drawn during the summer to keep the heat out and reduce the air conditioning costs. You may also try to increase the sizes of your laundry loads to cut back on the number of loads. Finally, turn down the temperature on your water heater to save on gas/electricity. Good luck.

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A.B.

answers from San Francisco on

I totally now what you are going through. My husband and I owe over $40k in credit card debt from struggling to make ends meet in California for two years. We have two children ages one and three and another due in January. We are on AHCCCS, I am a SAHM and currently babysit one child even though I hate dealing with his parents and he is a really difficult toddler. We have had to borrow quite a bit of money from our families over the past year just to pay bills because we became so over our heads. I try to cut costs anywhere I can, I pretty much always buy generic when I can because it is almost always cheaper than name brand. I price match at Walmart, I live in Litchfield Park and there is a Walmart Neighborhood Market just up the street which is much nicer and quieter than the regular Walmart supercenter. As long as you bring the ad in with you from any other store they will price match it for you. We just bought 93% lean ground beef last night for $1.67 per lb because that was the sale price at Safeway, the walmart everyday price was almost $5 for a lb of the same thing, so they matched it. I was able to get Popsicle brand popsicles for $1 because another store had it in their ad. We always shop at Walmart for our food and necessities, I can only imagine the loads of money we save. I try and cut coupons and get them online, but am not always good at remembering them. I purchased cloth bags for groceries from Sprouts and a lot of stores are now offering you a discount off your bill for each cloth bag you bring in to use and it is helping save the environment from more waste. If you buy jet dry for your dishwasher, just buy a jug of white vinegar for less than $2 at Walmart and use that instead, it does the exact same thing and is 100% biodegradable for the environment. Instead of bleach I buy borax which is safer and does the same thing and you can use it to clean a ton of other ways, vinegar can be added to laundry as a natural softener, you can also use it to clean your counters in the kitchen when diluted with water. Use wash clothes and dish towels instead of buying paper towels, I find it is much more effective in cleaning off my two boys after meals and painting. If you have either SRP or APS they both offer off peak programs where you can save by using more of your electricity during off peak when it is usually 50% less per kw than the peak times. I only do laundry, run the dishwasher and vacuum during off peak times. I read that you do not have cable, I wish my hubby would allow us to get rid of it because that would save us $70 a month. Maricopa Beauty college offers haircuts for only $5 by a supervised student and they have always done a really good job for me, they are located off Litchfield Rd and Western in Avondale. Hope some of that helped...I know how it feels to just be left in the cold by a family you are caring for, I was caring for a 4 year old little girl and an 18 month old boy since January and then all of the sudden the family of the 4 year old said they were sending her to Washington earlier than expected and so they paid me the two weeks I required for notice and I never saw her again. Then not even a week later the father of the little boy came and told me they had a family friend move in to nanny for him for free as long as she could stay with them so I was out of the $300 a week I was having come in all at once. It was gut wrenching and totally screwed us up since then, we had come to rely and depend on that additional $300 a week to get us through each of my husbands pay checks, we used it for groceries, gas, bills... So I totally know how you feel...Hang in there, we are trying to.

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R.N.

answers from Phoenix on

we shop at farmers market for fruits and vegs very cheap, big lots good for all kinds of things, and the 99cent store is great place to save money.

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C.K.

answers from Tucson on

Great question - and one I'm sure we're all finding creative ways to deal with nowadays! I think you have a great start on ideas. How about utilities?
Tips: add a dry towel to your dryer when you run a load. It cuts drying time down a lot. Also, cut fabric softner sheet in half, it works just as well.

Water: always turn it off when you're brushing your teeth, fill sink with water when washing dishes, and take shorter showers. Cold water is just as good at washing clothes!

Electricity: turn off lights and tv's when you're not in the room. Do laundry back-to-back to keep the dryer warm. Turn your thermostat to a reasonable temp and use ceiling fans in the summer.

Cell phone: check your plan and make sure you're getting the best deal. Call to negotiate - it works.
Home phone: Do you really need it, or can you just use your cell?
Cable? Try a less expensive package or delete altogether. You can watch your favorite shows for free at www.hulu.com!
If you are paying for an outside email provider - try free email like gmail.com, hotmail.com or yahoo.com

Gas: fill up first thing in the morning when it's cool outside, make sure your tires have enough air, change your oil regulary, and combine errands on days that you need to travel. See if your grocery store offers gas discounts.

Groceries: plan meals in advance, use leftovers, freeze food. Buy in bulk when possible, and shop your pantry before going to the store. Sign up for your store's discount membership offer.

*If your're smoking - quit
*If you have a gym membership freeze it until you can afford it
*Give yourself pedicures/manicures
*Give up Starbucks or other daily splurges
*Write down everything you spend to track where your money is going

Here are some links as well:

/www.101waystosavemoney.com

http://home.ivillage.com/homeoffice/budgeting/0,,jglf,00....

http://www.careonecredit.com/knowledge/101-ways-to-save-o...

Best,
C.

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L.B.

answers from Phoenix on

I haven't had time to read through your responses, but I want to hear what everyone says. I did want to say that we have been doing alot of the same things you mentioned too. One thing we did this week that we discovered will save us about $100/mo. is have our insurance agent rewrite our policies. We were with 2 different companies for auto and home so we quoted bundled policies to stay with the same carrier (because we like them...and they are still one of the cheapest but good). Turns out that we qualify for some discounts we didn't know about, and, we get the savings for bundling. So, check your policies with your agent and see what they can do for you. If you are interested in a new agent, my son is a good one and did a good job for us. Email me and I will send you his contact info. Other thoughts that come to mind is checking to see if your credit card companies will lower your interest rates...sometimes they will if they think you are going to close the account otherwise. Never hurts to ask. Have you checked into the Peak Time of Usage plan with SRP? For some people that really saves them a lot. If I think of anything else, I'll let you know. Good luck!

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J.K.

answers from Phoenix on

I'm not sure if you have debt or not but the book "The Total Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey has really helped me. I'm reading it for the 2nd time. We live on one income and I homeschool our four children. Two of them are teens and life is expensive. If you have a "Fresh and Easy" store near you, they have good deals and they have coupons for $5 off for every $20 you spend. I've saved a ton on my grocery bill just by shopping there. Good luck!

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C.M.

answers from Phoenix on

If you have SRP electric, one option would be to switch to the M-Power card. We switched from the standard billed rate to prepaid electricity at the beginning of the summer and have save at least $50-$100 per month compared to last year, which may have been more if you figure in the rate increases. I love the option of seeing how much electricity I am using at any given time and how what I do affects the usage.

The other thing we do is pay ourselves first every pay period. Sometimes it can be $100 per paycheck or only $5 depending on expenses, but that little bit adds up after a while. So when we have a short financial month, we have a little money to fall back on, which we have needed to do occasionally.

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W.P.

answers from Tucson on

Ok so here are some of my things that we do to save money. First, I really like cafe mocha, well if you by them it ends up costing you a fortune. So I make them at home, I have the espresso machine (you can get one for pretty cheep) and by the coffee for $4 a can. That will last a month or more. Then you buy just regular hersheys syrup (buy in bulk its cheeper) and then buy whipped cream (buy that in bulk too). With doing it at home, I can have this special treat in the hot months instead of my hot cup of coffe. When you do the math, it does not come out to more than about 25 a cup! BIG Savings!! One of our next big things is using the Blockbuster online for movies. It is great!! You pay the flat fee and can see as many movies as you want. Plus you can take them into the store and exchange them there for a new one. When you really think of it, you will save a ton of money. Also you can get kids movies there so that they are not left out at all. You can also rent TV series' there, no commercials and you don't have to have cable to see a show. When we got our membership it came with a deal, we also get a free instore game rental every month. This is huge for us as we will not rent our kids games, they cost way to much and it just simply is not worth it. This way they can play something new and then it goes back and if they really like it they can either rent it again next month or save their allowance to buy it themselves.

For snacks, one big thing that I have started making is my own granola. It is great!! I eat it a lot of time for breakfast and lunch. It is very filling and not really horrible for you. You also get to put what you and your family really like in it.

As for the gym, well we keep our membership but we go to the YMCA. Believe it or not they are really pretty cheep. I was really hesatant, but I could not be happier there. Best yet is that they have things for the kids there too. My tweens can skate, play raquetball, swim or go to the teen room or work out. My little guy, well he goes to the daycare, and get this..that is included in the price. I'm not kidding, check this out I get the membership for all of us for $58 a month. Best of all that includes the daycare use for up to 2 hours a day. I have done the math with the cost of sitters and just by using the daycare there we are basically getting the membership for free and then some. I highly recommend checking it out. After all it is something that can be done as a family or it could just be time you could have to work out, either way it is a good thing.

Hope this all helps :) W.

F.H.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi A., this is a great question and I'm going to try some of these things to help our household too! My suggestion, which I know personally, is to shop around your home/auto insurance rates. Especially if you have a captive agent like American Family, Allstate, State Farm, etc. These companies have no flexibility at saving you money unless the agent raises your deductibles, or lowers your coverage's. I'm an independent agent which means I have contracts with a bunch of companies so I can get you the best rates for the best coverage. If you currently are not using an indepent, I highly suggest it. You DO NOT have to wait until renewal to switch your insurance!
With our high gas prices people have been more willing to shop now and I have been able to save most people AT LEAST $100 per month for the same coverage's they currently have, if not better coverage. So unless you are related to your agent or feel some sort of huge obligation to stay with them...shop around, you will be surprised! Let me know if I can help you out with details and good luck!

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S.L.

answers from Tucson on

I have found it easier to make more money than to try and save (or spend less) although the 99 Cents ONLY stores have cheap food (produce, bread and dairy as well) and not all of it is laden with chemicals and preservatives. If you are interested in learning how you can own your life feel free to contact me for more details.

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L.D.

answers from Phoenix on

My clothing suggestion is this a couple of friends of mine have daughters at different ages and we pass the clothes back and forth between them. I think I bought 2 maybe 3 new outfits this year for school all the rest was trading. It was a huge help being a single mom. Also we pass our own clothes around as well, stuff I'm bored with or it doesn't quite fit anymore. Its alot of fun accually! So check with the people you and your husband work with they my need some of the things you have and vise versa.

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C.S.

answers from Phoenix on

You already have great suggestions. I can add a couple:

Scott toilet tissue will save you money. The rolls last forever!

I rarely use a clothes dryer. If you live in an area where you cant hang them outdoors (what a crazy rule!), hang clothes on hangers which you hang on your shower curtain pole, with the curtain pushed out of the way. Hang underwear on door knobs to dry, use laundry baskets to hang socks and underwear over the edge to dry. When the humidity is low, this helps to moisten the air in your home, which is healthier!

Cold water on your washing machine is rarely cold, you can wash everything in cold! Check your hot water heater setting, most are set much higher than needed.

Save all left over veggies, put in freezer and make soup when you have a bunch. Watch what you toss when trimming fresh veggies, I have made a meal from what another person has tossed!

While I dont advocate using cow's milk, (for health reasons), if you do, make some using powdered milk and add it to your other to make it go further. Experiment, but using half of each might work for you.

Drive as little as possible. Walk, bike, and car pool. I have enjoyed the bus, too!

I always enjoy when I can find another way to save! Have fun with it.

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N.S.

answers from Tucson on

One thing you didn't mention was your car situation. If you are making car payments, that is a HUGE area to save. Down grade dramatically so that there aren't car payments. My husband and I vowed to never have a car payment again. We paid off the second vehicle 2 years ago. We're looking into a new vehicle right now. But instead of buying a new, one or two year old vehicle, we are going to get something more in the 5 year old range.
Also, when it comes to cars, gas mileage is another biggie. We currently have a truck and a camry. Before the camry, we had a jeep. We sold the jeep and bought the camry and it paid off instantly. We went from getting 15 mpg to 32 mpg.
Now we're thinking of selling the truck and getting an older SUV. Then we'd hopefully be getting 22-23 mpg as compared to the 16 mpg the truck gets now.
We have also quick the whole "buying clothes" bit. And when I do buy clothing, I buy online clearance. Clearance items online are great. First, stuff seems to go on clearance online before it does in stores. Second, if you spend enough, shipping is free. So you don't have to waste gas.
We also don't do paid activities with the kids. No gymnastics, no music, etc. But they are just 1 and 2, so I don't think that's so bad right now. We substitute with musicc at home and we have a great playset outside.
It is hard times. I work 2 part time jobs. But they both pay very well. I work about 8 hours a week, so I'm not gone much.
And when I am gone, I use my husband's Camry and leave the truck at home. :)

Oh, one more thing that i saw the person below me wrote. We don't have cable. That's saves a ton! And, we spend more time with our kids. All the shows I watch are on NBC or CBS anyhow. :)

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P.S.

answers from Albuquerque on

There are frugal cooking websites online with suggestions on saving money on groceries, which is an area most people can cut back on if they try. We have done the same thing you have, and are always working to find ways to save. It's frustrating to be, because when I read articles on money saving tips, we are usually doing most of the things they sugest already!

Shopping at thrift stores is another good way to save. It's surprising what you can find. I have found brand new toys with tags, new clothes, perfect dresses my daughter loves, halloween costumes, and lots of other things. I never buy shoes, underwear, towels or other linens, but many items are perfectly fine. Think of it as recycling!

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D.F.

answers from Phoenix on

We have the same problem! So I joined Shaklee and get paid for buying things I would normally buy at the store. It is delivered to my home which saves on gas. The "Get Clean" kit has been featured on the Oprah Show and is in Dr. Oz's new book on how to look younger! (It's by getting rid of all the chemicals and toxins in your home) I've introduced Shaklee to my friends and family and it has made a difference in our household. Check out my website: www.shaklee.net/denisefriedl
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I've enjoyed reading all the responses you've received and I hope you find some that will work for you! Take care!

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A.C.

answers from Phoenix on

One thing I have done is learned how to bake and cook things from scratch. I started last year during christmas time because instead of gifts for family members I made cookie plates. I made different types of cookies and place them on a decorative plate i purchased from the 99C store. I now make things like banana bread for sweet treats instead of buying prepared baked goods. Instead of buying premade pancakes I buy bisquick in bulk and make a whole batch of pancakes at once and them freeze them. When I need a quick breakfast viola it just takes a minute to defrost. Save cans if you drink soda or canned drinks there are cash for can centers to cash them in, sure its only a few cents here and there but it can add up and you are recycling. Make your own cleaners - baking soda and vinegar work wonders. Take advantage of the library they have movies,CDs and they also have programs for the kids that if they read a certain number of books they get free prizes.

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R.B.

answers from Phoenix on

crown ministries teaches people how to become debt free. The email site is crown.org
R.

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A.P.

answers from Phoenix on

A.-
I feel for you for sure.
I have been making ends meet by working my Gold Canyon Candle Business- www.mygc.com/andiescandles. The money I make with 2-3 parties a month helps cover gas costs, bills and an occasional dinner out. Right now the kit to get started is FREE (just pay shipping). You do not have to carry any inventory, etc. I'd be happy to tell you more if you are interested. My email is [email protected]____.com care

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S.H.

answers from Flagstaff on

I've also been trying to cut down on monthly expenses. If you use your AC a lot, try turning it up two or three degrees. We haven't had to use ours too much up here in the Verde Valley, but when we do, we set it to 85. I have also quit using my drier, and hang all my clothes to dry. This has really cut our electric bill.

S. H.

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K.M.

answers from Albuquerque on

Hello.
If you are unfamiliar with it, you may also reduce your grocery costs by buying what you can through www.sharecolorado.com. The site is run by the Catholic Archdiocese out of Denver, but operates in several states, including New Mexico and has pick up sites in Albuquerque. Good luck.
K.

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K.Z.

answers from Phoenix on

Same here! We are a military family and my husband is getting ready to retire. SCARY! I really don't look at this as a job..... I have partnered with a wellness company and I LOVE them!! Products that are safer for your home and family and will save you money! I spend a lot less at Walmart! I'm getting laundry supplies, cleaning products and more. I'm saving gas money and the preferred prices are fantastic. Check it out at www.workathomeunited.com/kathleenzwick
Also I'm on the Mamasource home business, people have been happy. God bless.

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