Frugal Tips For Saving Money (That You Can Actually Use!)

by Merissa on February 17, 2014

in Frugal Living Tips

Frugal Tips for Saving Money in 2014 - Little House Living

Frugal Tips for Saving Money

2014 begins the 5 years of saving money and paying off debt for us. We just purchased our house in November 2013 and our goal is to have it paid off (and all our other debts) in just 5 years. It sounds daunting and a little impossible but we are determined so we are going to give it our best shot!

Even being as frugal as we are, I decided to research more frugal tips for saving money. What I found was the same thing over and over and over. I found this pretty chart that talks about all the different ways you can save up to $11,244 a year! While that's impressive and the chart is very pretty, as I read it I just realized it was the same thing that I'd seen before. The same money saving tips that were supposed to help such as....

  • Cut the Cable
  • Carpool to Work
  • Stop Drinking Coffee
  • Don't Dry Clean
  • Refinance Your Home
  • Wash With Cold Water
  • Don't Use the Gym
  • Stop Smoking
  • Don't Eat Out
  • Turn Your Thermostat Down
  • Don't Drink Bottled Water
  • Don't Have a Landline
  • Consolidate Debt

But what if.....

  • You don't have cable anyways?
  • You don't own a pair of clothes that is for dry cleaning?
  • You can't carpool to work because you live in a rural area?
  • You don't drink coffee...or at least you don't drink the drive thru version.
  • Refinancing your home isn't a smart option for you? (And neither is consolidating debt?).
  • You already wash in cold water.
  • You don't smoke or eat out.
  • You don't have a landline or drink bottled water.
  • And your thermostat is already down as low as you can handle it (in the winter) and you don't even know where the nearest gym is located.

If you are like me and fit all those categories above, how are we supposed to further cut costs and save money? Well any frugal family knows that sometimes it takes more than the easy things (like those above) to really save money and cut costs! Sometimes it takes doing things that are more work or put us out of our comfort zone.  In the chart linked above, they gave 13 ways to "save money". Below you will find my frugal tips for saving money that will actually help!

My Realistic Frugal Goals for Saving Money This Year

1. Frugal tip to do if you've already cut the cable. Cut out the movies altogether unless you can rent or borrow them for free. If you Google..."free Redbox rental codes" at about any given time you will find lots of free movie rental codes instead of having to pay for them! You could also organize a movie exchange with friends or family, I'm sure one of your friends has some movies you haven't seen yet! Better yet, switch family movie night into family game night instead.

Money Saved Per Year (based on 2 movie rentals per week at $3 per rental) = $312 per year

2. Frugal tip to do instead of carpooling to work. Stop making extra trips to town or to the grocery store. My goal for the new year is to only head to town a maximum of  2 times per month. Not only will this help save us money on gas but it will also save us money on un-necessary things we might buy while we are in town.

Money Saved Per Year (based on 2 gallons of gas (@$3 per gallon) per trip to town, 3 trips per week) = $936 per year

Homemade Rice Roni Mix

3. Frugal tip to do instead of stop drinking coffee. Why stop at drinking coffee from the store? Let's stop buying all things that are easily made at home from the store! For the sake of this article let's make that; Frozen Waffles, Applesauce, Pizza Crust, Hamburger Helper, and Rice Roni. (Of course there are SO many more things!)

Money Saved Per Year (based on 2 boxes/jars of each of the above per week, average priced) = $1248 per year (with the potential for SO much more savings!)

4. Frugal tip to do instead of stop dry cleaning. Let's make this year all about getting reasonably priced clothing. My goal for this year is to not spend ANY money on new clothes and buy used clothing only. Used clothing saves you at least 75% off the regular retail purchasing prices so if you normally spend $100 a month on new clothes, it would be like spending only 75% of that instead by purchasing the clothing new. (Of course your total saved may be much more or less depending on your clothing needs for your family.

Money Saved Per Year (based on saving $75 a month on clothing) = $900 per year

5. Frugal tip to do instead of refinancing your home or consolidating debt. While those 2 options may not be viable or smart for everyone, a much  better option is to use any extra money to make extra payments on the debt you already have. If you are paying any kind of interest rate this is going to save you in the long run (although you might not notice it as much as the savings above). Make it a goal this year to make at least one extra payment on each of your debts.

Money Saved Per Year = Varies

6. Frugal tip to do instead of washing in cold water. A good way to save money on washing clothing of course is to hang dry your clothes and not use the dryer, however if you have allergies that's not an option and if you don't have a yard that's not an option, and in the winter that's not an option. My favorite alternative? An indoor drying rack! If space is an issue for you like it is for me, you can always do a wall drying rack instead. (And we will have a DIY post on that here soon!)

Money Saved Per Year = $100 per year


7. Frugal tip to do instead of cutting smoking and eating out. If you've already cut these habits from your budget it's time to look for another way to save. How about cutting out paper goods? There are great alternatives to just about everything, cloth diapers, cloth pads, cloth napkins, and cloth towels! We already utilize all of these things and I've noticed a huge savings.

Money Saved Per Year (based one 3 packages of diapers, 1 package of pads, 2 packages of napkins, and 8 rolls of toweling purchased per month) = $504 per year

8. Frugal tip to do instead cutting bottled water and the landline. If you are like me you already don't have a landline and drink water from the tap or filtered so you are unable to cut out both of those things. How about this year we looking into saving on our cell phones? If your plan is up this year it's a good time to consider an alternative. Both of our phones are finished with their contracts this spring and we will not be renewing with the company we are with. If you already know of some great alternatives let us know in the comments!

Money Saved Per Year (based on average savings of switching plans) = $900 per year

9. Frugal tip to do instead of cutting the gym and turning down the thermostat. Better than both of those about you take the time to see which appliances and items in your home are using the most electricity and cut them, find an alternative, or at least cut down the usage? A good way to do this is a pick up a Kill-A-Watt and actually see what is costing you the most money to run. You can read more about cutting down your energy usage on existing appliances here.

Money Saved Per Year = Varies

To sum up, here's where we are cutting the costs this year (and where I hope you will try to too!)

  • Cut out movie rentals.
  • Lessen trips to town.
  • Make more things from scratch.
  • Don't buy new clothing.
  • Make extra debt payments.
  • Dry clothes without a dryer.
  • Cut out paper goods.
  • Slash the costs of cellphones.
  • Monitor and reduce energy usage.

Since I had 2 categories that varied greatly I couldn't add everything up neatly but just know that if we do all the thigns above, our savings per year will be more than this amount!

Total Saved Per Year = $4900+ per year!

[ois skin="Frugal/Saving Money"]

I don't know about you, but I would love to add an extra $4900 to our yearly income for things we don't need to spend money on!

Will you join me in saving money in these areas of your life this year? Which one will be the hardest for you? What additional frugal tips for saving money will you add to this list this year?


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Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

6:00 am

{ 157 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lana February 17, 2014 at 6:42 am

It is so hard to find new ways to save! You have a great list here. We recently switched to a new option with AT&T. They have a new value no-contract plan. It cut our cell phone bill by 45%. My husband just paid cash for an older model iPhone using some Swagbucks gift cards and his own pocket money which we budget for monthly. It is the cheapest way we have found to have a smart phone. I still have my old ‘dumb’ phone which I am entirely happy with. Our oldest daughter pointed out that Americans are the only ones who are willing to ‘make payments’ on a phone through their phone bill and then just keep on making those payments long after the contract is up. That is like making car payments as long as you drive a car. (We don’t make car payments. It is just an example.) The rest of the world buys a phone and then loads minutes on it as they need them and they pay way less than we do. we have decided that we will no longer have a cell phone with a contract. My phone has developed some problems lately so I will be establishing a budget category for replacing phones. I plan to put a small amount, like $15, into that budget each month and then we will have the money to replace phones when we need to, as long as mine hangs on for a bit.


2 Merissa February 17, 2014 at 6:47 am

That’s a very interesting way to think about phone bills….”making payments”. I’m totally happy with a “dumb” phone too! 🙂


3 Theresa March 27, 2014 at 9:01 am

Canadians have cell phone plans. Most people have a 2-3 year contract on their phones. I know only a handful of people who have purchased their phones outright.


4 Grimm June 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm

I wish things were that easy with replacing cell phones for us. My husband is a construction worker so his phone gets dropped and dirty beyond normal wear. We don’t have smartphones but the cheapest “prepaid” phones you can find. This way if he needs to replace his phone he takes mine and I get a new cheap phone. We replace his phone every 2-3 years or when the speaker/microphone stop working. $30 every 2-3 years is budgeted in to our expenses. Now, he does have a smartphone as his company phone that they pay the bill on. I made sure the company gave him an Otterbox for it at their expense. I’d hate to have to replace the iphone they gave him because of damage.


5 Amanda January 18, 2015 at 7:51 am

I pay 30 a month for my mobile (which I own outright). It gives me internet access (very slow but I rarely use that on my phone), 400 mins talk time and unlimited texts. I don’t get to keep unused balance at the end of the month, but it is not contract so I choose when and if I wish to renew without any fees. We finally sat down and drew up a budget for our family, cut many many things, but my phone is cheap and as I am on the go dropping every one every where constantly, I decided to keep it as an expense. We cut our cable down 60 per cent instead.


6 Jenn February 17, 2014 at 7:20 am

I use Kajeet…it’s made for kids but a great deal. I have 150 talk minutes and unlimited texting for $20/mth. I am using my sister’s old smartphone as a phone and them i can connect online if there is wifi near by (I won’t pay for data). My husband doesn’t use many talk mins at all so he is using the $15 a month 60 min/unlimited text plan. Only problem is they use sprint network, which i know is scarce in rural areas. For basic phones, I love tracfone!


7 Merissa February 17, 2014 at 7:31 am

Thanks for sharing this Jenn!


8 Suzanne February 17, 2014 at 7:26 am

Saving money – always at the top of everyone’s list of to do’s and so hardly done!!! Your ideas are easy enough to implement, you just have to take that plunge! Thanks for sharing this… Sometimes encouragement is all we need!!! 🙂


9 Kellie February 17, 2014 at 8:12 am

Have you heard of the Diva Cup? With it you wouldn’t need the cloth pads (save on the cost of washing them). Not a huge money saving tip but they’re designed to last a very long time.


10 Merissa February 17, 2014 at 8:14 am

I have but they haven’t worked for me, it’s a great alternative though!


11 Rose February 17, 2014 at 8:16 am

I don’t know what your phone bill was before but I was paying 106 a month with verizon. I switched to smart talk and pay 49 a month and I notice no difference in the service.


12 Colleen February 17, 2014 at 8:22 am

For #8 – Cell phone….my husband and I were tired of 1 and 2 year contracts, so we switched to prepaid phones. We have the Verizon phones that open with a keypad (because I hate texting on the number pad) and we pay $50/mo. for one, and $15 for the other.

Mine, which we use for business, is the main phone and it has unlimited text, voice and Internet. No charge for outgoing. It’s all unlimited. This is the number we give out so the bulk of calls come in on the unlimited plan. For the other phone, if we have extra money, we’ll pay the $50, or if not, we pay $15 to keep the number and so both of us have communication.

I’ll never go back to a contract again. Our service (towers) are the same as if it’s a contract phone and we don’t have to watch our minutes.


13 Misti February 17, 2014 at 8:24 am

When my contract with AT&T (thankfully!) expired in October I switched to their “GoPhone” plan. Instead of paying $155 a month for two phones, I now pay $40 for one which gives me 500 minutes of talk, unlimited text (good for keeping in touch with a teenager), and a limited –but acceptable–amount of internet data (no charge if I jump on WiFi).; a nice $115 savings! I was able to use my old trusty 3Gs iPhone and didn’t have to purchase a new phone (AT&T switched the SIM card for free, $10 at WalMart). They have other plans but this one worked best for my situation. Not a fan of WalMart but they did have a very good selection of pay as you go phones and plans to look at and choose from (much easier than trying to sort it all out at various locations). As for land lines, where I live not having one is a dangerous option (one good storm and my cell phone will not be able to call out). We looked around to see who had the best pricing for local only calls and then got a Google Voice number to manage long distance calls at no charge. The peace of mind knowing I can call 911 if necessary makes the small monthly payment worth it!


14 Jen March 9, 2015 at 4:25 pm

Another tip for using pay as you go phones, at least my experience with Tracfone, is to manage it online. Hubby and I both have cheap tracfones with double and triple minutes on all paid minutes. During our busy work season we use monthly plans that give us a little more minutes than we need so they accumulate, then we switch to just airtime plans in the slow season. I have paid $6.99 all winter for my phone and since he managed to accumulate years of airtime buying cards before we learned how to manage this way, he has had no phone bill for 3 months. Our average monthly bill works out to less than $40 a month for both phones. We do have a landline, though, because we do not get cell service at home. We keep a basic plan with unlimited long distance for about $40 a month year round.


15 maria smith February 17, 2014 at 8:25 am

Nice to see an alternative list.I too, am fed up of seeing the same old tips for saving money when the ideas don’t apply to me or I do them already. I have a dryer but rarely use it (I can’t be convinced that it isn’t severe on power). Weather permitting I hang things on a line outdoors to dry, if it’s wet outside I have an indoors airer to hang things on. They dry eventually, but this may not be practical for folks with kids who need stuff dry quickly. I swap DVD’s with friends and family or get them at the local library. We have lots of new taxes to pay this year so that’s going to be a challenge! Best of luck making savings for 2014! Keep the tips coming 🙂


16 Alexandra February 17, 2014 at 8:25 am

I still need to look at cutting some of the usual’s but as a family we have decided what we will and will not cut. I am going back to working full time but I am hoping to still try to implement my once a month preserving (canning/freezing/dehydrating-but hopefully buying a dehydrator as well as a pressure caner), making my own gluten free bread (need to be better about this) and monthly working on some sewing (currently making my son a quilt and hope to have it finished for him moving into a big boy toddler bed) and making home made things like cleaning products and food mixes. I really need to organize the house and garage better and hopefully that will help with the things I want to work on. We were doing an envelope cash system with a budget but I get busy and slack on it but need to do that and then I can put any extra in savings since we need to building a savings in-case of emergency. (like job loss or something) I was cloth diapering 2 days a week while home with my son but our current diapers (flip day pack) he was soaking through his clothes and needing to be changed 3 times a day and he has grown out of many of the others, we put a cloth cover on at night because he soaks through so I already wash cloth diapers once a week but need to see if we can do better on cloth diapering. Thank you for the list, it is always nice to know new options because even if we don’t want to cut the basics that every one talks about does not mean I am not willing to try other things. Oh we are also starting a bigger garden then last year, my plan is every year to build on it more, maybe composting next winter or a greenhouse type set up since we don’t get a ton of cold weather here in Houston.


17 Melissa February 17, 2014 at 8:26 am

Great Article! This is year #2 that I’ve not bought myself any new clothes and when I do need something, knowing when our thrift shops, consignments, Goodwill have days where their items are reduced or on clearance to reduce inventory. It has added a lot of perspective on what is important in my life. Peace of mind, lots of food stocked in the pantry, bills paid, garden growing, and being debt free by the time I’m 45.


18 Angel February 17, 2014 at 8:27 am

Lol this list isn’t any help to me either 😉 we don’t rent movies, other than for hubbies work we only go to town once a week and that’s for my sanity so I can get out and see ppl lol, I name what I can from scratch but not having an oven right now limits things….we don’t buy things like ricearoni or Mac n cheese neway, I only buy new clothes on clearance and even then it’s only once or twice a year, no debt, no washer dryer it’s all hand washing here, I turn everything off with power strips when not in use except the wifi, and I have an emergency cell phone and a VoIP home phone,and hubby only pays 25 a month for his phone lol. We are frugal people 🙂


19 Merissa February 17, 2014 at 8:45 am

Sounds like you’ve got these tips down!


20 Jaci February 17, 2014 at 8:36 am

I wanted to add an idea to the cloth instead of disposable tip. My boys are out of diapers so thats not an issue for us. I cant stomache the thought of cloth pads, kudos to those of you who can. I have found purchased and fallen in love with the DIVA cup. There is of course the initial investment of purchasing/ordering it. It costs about $30-$40 depending on where you get it. It does take some getting used to but I MUCH prefer it to pads &/or tampons. I feel its much healthier, cleaner, and of course saves money!


21 Stacy February 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Your post got me interested… So I looked it up on Amazon… It looks promising.. then I read the reviews.. Seriously, if you want a great laugh, belly busting, cheeks hurting from grinning so much,, read those reviews… I have Mirana, so I don’t have to worry about any of that for now.. However, my Mirana is due to be replace or taken out in less than 2 years… Just checking my options…


22 BB Moss April 27, 2014 at 2:01 am

Oh my gosh, I haven’t laughed so hard in a while. The Diva didn’t work for me at all, but obviously people have different experiences.
Other ways I’m saving money are I take more time between hair appointments, I don’t get manicures anymore, and I give myself pedicures. Can’t be wearing sandals with gross toes.


23 Angel February 17, 2014 at 8:39 am

But some things I would add,

If you grow or raise a lot if your own food you can do the same for pets! You can make lots of different homemade pet feeds.

As far as heart guard for your dogs, you can talk to your vet and get the correct dosage of ivermectin and give that to your dogs. Ivermectin is the primary ingredient in heart guard and is sold in bulk very inexpensively as a horse tranquilizer.

Have your friends and family save things for you! I’ve got everyone saving plastic bottles for me right now. You can use them to build a greenhouse, or earthship style root cellar or even animal and people houses!

They also save me glass jars. You can’t can produce and such in them, but you can dry can in them! Seperate out your bulk beans, rice, flour etc even crackers. Look up dry canning for the how to! I also use then to keep herbal tea mixes. One for flu and colds, one for tummy trouble etc. and I keep homemade hot coco mix in them so it’s ready to go!

Really look at found storage options. Maybe buying a pressure canner isn’t in your budget, but if you are good at puzzles buying in bulk and prepping freezer meals to stack up in the freezer is a great way to save! Plus a full freezer uses less energy!

And my favorite frugal tip of all has always been look to nature! Even if you don’t gave a garden, chances are there’s a salad growing in your own back yard!
Heck every part of the dandelion is edible! You can make coffee from the roots, and fry the flowers up as fritter 😉


24 Merissa February 17, 2014 at 8:41 am

Thanks for sharing these additional tips!


25 Samantha February 21, 2014 at 4:10 pm

Ivermectin is a macrolide which causes neurotoxicity in most collies and similar breeds such as shelties. PLEASE check FIRST with your veterinarian before giving any form of it to your dogs. We cannot use Ivermectin in our collies, but have purchased adequate heart guard meds through our vet. This is one case where saving money could cost a life. There was a veterinary rule about Ivermectin not long ago that went “White feet, do not treat!”. Now it’s “White feet – test to see if it’s safe to treat”. It’s all about the dogs’ genetics and whether or not they can process the drug or will become fatally toxic on it. Caution advised for collie and similar breed owners.


26 Jen February 22, 2014 at 10:48 pm

@ Angel- Ivermectin is not a horse tranquilizer. It is a dewormer. And, though it is the main ingredient in heart worm medication it is very dangerous to dogs if they are over dosed. I have been using ivermectin injectible cattle dewormer on my dogs for many years(on their foods, not as injection), but one needs to understand and be comfortable figuring dosages and a vet’s advice is needed, or you could kill your beloved pet. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m just saying be forwarned of the possible dangers. It is a huge savings if you can find a vet to advise you.


27 Pat Rizzi February 17, 2014 at 8:44 am

Be careful when switching cell phone companies. I switched to a Walmart Trac phone. The cost was great, $45 a month but when we went to our cabin in N.C. I got NO reception. None at all, just as soon as we crossed the state line. I went back to Verison. Cheep is not good if it doesn’t work.


28 Fran February 17, 2014 at 8:44 am

shoot i have already been doing those things, i have thrifted before it was cooli even got a really nice vacume for 7$ retails used for 300, amway dyson knock off,,, i have a clothes line(not much in Nebraska winters)(when we have one!!) i buy only groceries on sale ,hamberger on sale and marked down beef and pork(not chicken too easy to get bad chicken) stock the freezer for tight times, we could live on the stock pile 3 weeks and not be hungry, i have a gas stove w/ non electric start just incase we loose power, id say our biggest splurge is cable and inernet and our phones,i cook meals ahead and freeze 1/2 to save on fast food frozen pizzas on sale,,,, i buy mexican laundry soap(foca) and mix w/borax(amazing stuff about 5$ a month or 1$ per person, i canned my heart out only for him to give it away(id like my jars back)but that doesnt happen, and refuse to pay full price for any thing,,, hopeing to get new chickens this yr and gardens planned out,,like the little birds im cheep cheep cheep,, rich no, savings no, bills paid? mostly,, lacking any thing nope,,,,keep it simple


29 Pam February 17, 2014 at 8:46 am

Hi Merissa:)

We LOVE Straight Talk! I am a stay at home mom and really do stay home most of the time. We pay $15.00 a month for our home phone with Straight Talk. We had to invest $100 for the device but for us it was worth it. We have unlimited use for only $15.00 monthly which for us was a better financial decision than 2 cell phones. My husband uses Straight Talk cell service which is $45 for unlimited talk, text and internet. We used to travel the US as missionaries and never had a problem with reception. He has had his smart phone for 2 years and never had a problem. We will never go back to a contract again! I agree with you on homemade food. It is so wonderful to go to the grocery store and walk past so many isles because I make everything at home. Even cereal, crackers, pudding. It is so easy once you get the right recipes and the hang of it. It took time though. I invested hours of research into recipes and learning… I still remember making my first homemade poptarts and how proud I was of myself. All that research brought me to your blog and I read it daily! Thank you again for all your hard work and great ideas!!! Oh- buy the way if you Google “mortgage calculator” and put in your info, they have options to see the savings when you pay extra on your mortgage. You will be amazed to see the savings and it is really inspiring to see it and then helps keep goal!!! Have a wonderful day!


30 Merissa February 17, 2014 at 8:49 am

Thanks for sharing this! We are leaning towards Straight Talk since it would cost us about $60 a month versus the $120 we pay now, and for more minutes than we have! We are just a few miles from a Verizon tower so I think it would work well here.

And great tip on the mortgage calculator. That’s what we did to figure out what we need to be paying each month to pay our house off in 5 years, and it’s not even that scary! 🙂


31 Shannon February 17, 2014 at 9:21 am

We tried straight talk were we love but it wouldn’t work where my husband works (which is 2hrs from us) so we just changed our plan with Verizon and was able to cut our bill $80/mth which is still good.


32 Vickie February 17, 2014 at 12:57 pm

We used Tracphone for the last 5 years and it was a savings except that I would always run out of minutes before my days were up and my partner always ran out of days before he could use up minutes. We recently purchased a home in Indianapolis and the service was horrible.We would have to stand in one spot to make or receive calls so we switched to Republic. We got in on the last of the beta phones which cost us $99 each and it is $22.58 each per month. Unlimited text, phone and data. Their new phone, Moto X, while is pricey, has 4 different plans. $5, $10, $15 and $25 per month and you can change between them up to 2 times a month if necessary. The phone is $299 tho. So far we love our new phones and only use cell service when out and not near a free wifi hotspot.


33 Hannah February 21, 2014 at 7:44 pm

check out pageplus, they’re also on the verizon tower.


34 Sharon Lockhart February 17, 2014 at 9:08 am

I use a Tracfone for my mobile phone. I don’t use the phone often, not at home or the mobile one, and…. have notified all my contacts that unless it is an emergency I won’t answer my mobile phone. They have all agreed and stuck to it. They know that if I say something I mean it. I pay for a year of minutes every year, and have a load of extra minutes stacked up for when I do need them.
I like my Tracfone and probably won’t be changing it for a long time to come.
I also don’t need to have a smart phone, so the $15.00 phone I bought 2 years ago, is just fine for me. I can text on it, if I need to, and I can call anywhere in the US without roaming charges, and I like the fact that if I need to contact someone when I am out and about, I have a phone to do so with.
That in its self, is a big savings for me.
My home phone is on a Thrifty Caller plan that is the lowest I can go and my phone bill, including my Internet is $41.00 a month. Not too bad as far as most folks bills. I will take mine.


35 Deborah February 17, 2014 at 9:13 am

I have always thought this list of saving money was too generic as well. Many of us “frugal” people already do most of that stuff. Good job. I do have to say when you are working full time taking it much further is a new challenge for me. When I was home I was making jams, laundry products, etc I just can’t do that anymore. And I had to work because of the health insurance 🙁


36 Heather February 21, 2014 at 7:25 pm

See if you can simplify what you make at home. For example, I started making a citrus enzyme all purpose cleaner, now I’ve been able to cut out all other cleaners, deodorizers and laundry additives. It only takes minutes to put together, then you wait for it to ferment. I always have a few batches going. I make a huge batch of laundry detergent twice a year. Enough to last a family of 7 for six months. I know this might sound extreme for some people, but I’ve cut WAY back on laundry. When we take our clothes off at night, we hang them on a hook to air and unless they’re really dirty, we put them back on the next day (with clean underwear, of course). We have two towels hanging in the bathroom, they get washed once or twice a week. I cut way back on showers, so the towels don’t get used by all 7 of us each day. The little kids only get a bath once a week. My teenager is the only one that needs to shower every day and my husband usually showers at the gym. There’s a book called ‘Make the Bread, Buy the Milk’ I think. Figure out which things give you the most money saved for time spent.


37 Sandy February 17, 2014 at 9:13 am

We already do these things also. I did buy a “track” phone but since we rarely use a phone, I only have to buy a new card every three months ($20). We are also looking into installing solar for our house so we can get off the grid. We heat with wood from our own wooded area and only cut dead trees (we lost all our ash trees to the Emerald Ash borer). Our water is from a well so no cost there. We raise our own food and can it up and will be planting hay in the front field for selling this summer. If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear them. I am retired and our retirement plan wasn’t as great as the company made it out to be and social security is very small and can’t be counted on thanks to the government threats to get rid of it. I am open to any good ideas that anyone has for saving.


38 Shannon February 17, 2014 at 9:16 am

These are some good ideas. We are givens weekly allowance of $20 to do whatever we want with and if my husband blows it ten he’s not allowed to use the bank card or I take it away. That has helped me some a lot with him especially.
I also meal plan, only buy what is on my list and only go to the grocery store once a week. I allow myself between $60-$80/wk. and if I forgot something or need something I improvise, because I know if I go to the store I’ll walk out with more than that item lol
We don’t rent movies and I can’t even tell you the last time I bought new clothes. I hve our bills down to the bare minimum (we have one credit card I’m paying on) and yet we still live paycheck to paycheck each week. It’s hard but we somehow make it work. I’ll have to take your list of cutbacks and compare it to mine and see if there’s anything I’m missing


39 Merissa February 17, 2014 at 9:18 am

I love the $20 a week idea! We’ve been trying to decide how to add “fun money” into our budget and something like that may really work for us, thanks for sharing!


40 Lori West February 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

Plant exchanges for veggie and flower gardens
Go through and organize all of your closets, cabinets, drawers, etc. either garage sale them, donate, or trade for other items you need. Get rid of what you don’t need/use.
Up cycle home goods, furnishings, art work to spruce up for spring.
Barter services or items.
Build a charcoal filter for your rain barrel.


41 Merissa February 17, 2014 at 9:18 am

Great tips!


42 Roxane February 17, 2014 at 9:18 am

My hubby and I love our coffee but don’t like the high prices of roasted beans from the store. Instead, we invested in a coffee bean roaster and we purchase green coffee beans online from sites like
The roaster is in the garage – and is the size of a toaster oven. The purchase price was around $200. We purchased it five years ago. Going through a pound of coffee per week, store cost of better quality coffee is $10+ lb. versus $2 per pound of green coffee beans = savings of $8 per week. Times 52 weeks… approximately $416 per year. Times 5 years – $2080. Minus the price of the roaster = Savings of approximately $1880 over the past five years.
Oh – and did I mention, the coffee is superior to anything that can be purchased at the store!!


43 Alexandra February 17, 2014 at 9:25 am

Oh and as for laundry, I need to teach my husband (since he does 1/2 our laundry) about spreading things out better for drying or maybe start with line drying for a little then machine dry (like jeans and towels to make them softer. I don’t use fabric softener on 1/2 my wash because it’s either some diapers or kitchen towels so I use a piece of aluminum foil, we stopped using fabric softener in the wash machine because we use it in the dryer. When my son was born and I wanted to cloth diaper I made my husband put up 2 small lines in my tiny laundry room (they are hanging on hooks so they can be taken down because they are in the way otherwise and that cost just a few bucks) and we got a new front loader HE washer and dryer since ours was starting to have trouble and a newborn and bad washer was not going to work in my book (my son ended up having bad reflux so I did a lot of wash). But I think even if it will say $20 a year, and find 5 of those things that’s already an extra $100. Now if I can get my husband to understand my laundry system he can do all the laundry (it’s a compromise since he is gone 5 days straight a week and I work full time plus take care of toddler and house full time). I tried making my own dish detergent but that did not work great for us, that’s another job I try to get him to do. Love to come back and read all the new additions people write. I think of myself as trying not to be wasteful and being frugal to spend the money on more important things, with me starting to work full time again I am hoping to start buying organic through our co-op. And we did the Zaycon chicken and he thought it would be too much chicken but I think I have used 8 lbs already.


44 Pat February 17, 2014 at 9:32 am

I love all of your suggestions.I look forward to your posts.


45 heather February 17, 2014 at 9:37 am

great tips! i wash in cold water, and hang dry…we rarely go out to eat, and i try and make all our food from scratch. Our next thing to work on is our clothing budget for our growing kids.


46 Mary February 17, 2014 at 9:40 am

I love my mostly wifi phone from Republic Wireless. I only pay $25 a month and no contract or data charges. No option for an iPhone though.


47 Laura February 17, 2014 at 9:49 am

Re cell phone alternatives, my husband is looking into Ting for when our contracts expire. It uses phones from most other carriers, so while you can’t get a phone for cheap from them, you can bring the phones you’re using at your current carrier. If you use under your plan, they refund you rather than just losing minutes/data/text or money. No contracts. No overages. No penalties.


48 Brenda February 17, 2014 at 6:52 pm

We love Ting. We have been using it since December 28th 2013. On track to only spend $18 dollars (down from $84 ish on Verizon before) this month on our cell phone bill for my husband and I. It is a shared plan and if we go over 100 minutes/texts then the price is a little higher but not bad at all. I have a referral link if you are interested that saves you $25 on your service. We don’t use the data part as we just use our ipods when we have wifi. Also to help off set using the cell phone we have a google voice number with our gmail account and I just call and text people from that number and I rarely use my cell phone. Just had to buy a refurbished Sprint phone from ebay as we had Verizon phones that didn’t work when we started with Ting.


49 Fried Clams and Sweet Tea February 17, 2014 at 10:17 am

“Money Saved Per Year (based on 2 boxes/jars of each of the above per week, average priced) = $1248 per year (with the potential for SO much more savings!)”

I love your article but I think your math is off on this one. Assuming the boxes are $3/each the weekly cost would be $6. $6 times 52 weeks is $312, which is a fourth of what your calculations state. Otherwise – great ideas and I’m looking forward to reading more on your blog!


50 Merissa February 17, 2014 at 10:36 am

I figured $2 per box for the waffles, rice a roni, hamburger helper, and applesauce, and $4 for the pizza crust. (Those are so expensive pre-made!).
$24 per week x 52 weeks = $1248 🙂 Of course everyone’s prices are totally different depending on their local market.


51 Jaime September 6, 2014 at 1:51 pm

I agree your math is off because you don’t factor in replacement costs. It’s great you cut out premade but to get a true savings you need to subtract the cost of ingredients to make it homemade. (the way the lady roasting her own beans did)


52 JeanneS February 17, 2014 at 11:22 am

If you have multiple people in your family who wear glasses (3 in my family!), start getting them at Zenni Optical instead of storefront shops. The quality is amazing, the customer service is great, and the price is 10% to 50% of what you’d spend at your eye doctor, even for extra strong astigmatism like mine! You can get a free copy of your optometry prescription from your eye doctor and then order glasses online. Some are as low as $10. You can get prescription sunglasses too! I don’t work for them or get any compensation from them, I’ve just been a customer for several years and have always been happy! Also their shipping is about $8 regardless of the number of pairs you order, so get them all at once if you have 2 or 3 people in your family who wear glasses.


53 Mary Ann February 17, 2014 at 6:36 pm

My husband and I ordered glasses from Zenni last spring and we have been so happy with them. I can’t remember exactly how much we paid but I think it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $40-$50 for 4 pair of glasses — 2 regular and 2 prescription sunglasses.


54 Heather February 21, 2014 at 7:35 pm

I second the recommendation for Zenni. I have a six-year-old with autism who loves to break his glasses when he’s mad. I got great glasses for him from Zenni for less than a quarter of the price at other places.


55 Elise February 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm

This is excellent, I love it!
When we were looking at cell phone plans, we found Pure Talk USA for as low as $10/month and with AT&T quality coverage.
I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying some new (to me) clothes this year, but I have a strict policy when I go to Goodwill not to buy anything that isn’t on sale. So far so good. 🙂


56 jennifer February 17, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Great list! I would love to get rid of cable and just use our Netflix service… We too don’t do dry cleaning, bottled water, or any of those other things… I’ll have to talk to hubby about the cable though and we can definitely squeeze in one extra payment here and there!


57 Faith February 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm

We purchased a ROKU box to get hundreds of channels over our home internet. It has been great as we also have Netflix on the Roku. So we paid $50ish for the ROKU and there is no monthly service except for Netflix or Hulu if you add them.

There are SO many channels for free and if you are a Christian there are many many many channels with great free family Christian programming.


58 Donna Vincent February 22, 2014 at 8:00 am

Where can you get free Christian channels?


59 Maryanne February 22, 2014 at 9:22 am

What exactly IS a ROKU box….where can it be purchased…and what kind of channels are available??


60 Jan Hill January 2, 2015 at 5:39 pm

We only have cable for our internet with a wireless router. If you have a newer TV, you can pull in good quality picture and sound with an old fashioned TV antenna because of the FCC’s required switch to digital signals. We get all 4 major TV networks and several PBS stations–all free air signals. Depending on where you live, an antenna could pull in up to 50 channels. We live in a mountainous area. We bought a ROKU (about $100 for the box or $19 for the stick) and subscribe to Netflix (about $8 a month) for movies. The only thing we miss is ESPN for sports. Go to Best Buy and the tech savvy young salespeople will help you find what you need.


61 Maya January 21, 2015 at 8:02 pm

We had the same issue cutting cable (and why is took so long to finally cut the cable) with the sports~ I found the WATCH ESPN ap on ROKU one day not long ago and I’ve been able to watch various college football games that I really wanted to see~ We didn’t have to pay for it either~ just found it while the main screen came up on roku one day and I added it. All kinds of sports on all of the ESPN channels!


62 j February 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm

With AT&T if your contract is over you can ask to be placed on a monthly plan that is 45.00 a month for unlimited voice and text, limited data though.


63 Angie February 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm

I haven’t used my dryer for almost 7 years. Not once. And I plan to never use it again! Drying racks work great for some stuff, but I find they are harder to use for adult-sized shirts and pants. So I just wanted to share what I use in addition to drying racks.

When I bought mine several years ago it was only $15. I saw the same thing in the Aldi ad this week for, I think it was $15! Well worth the cost tho, imo.


64 Monique February 17, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. As far as movies, the library is a great place to get movies and you can have them for a week for nothing! Get your friends together and get them to share movies for a free night of fun. 🙂 If they do not have your movie they will order it to come in and they will call or email you when it is in. Good luck with you progress in 2014.


65 Leanne Wright February 22, 2014 at 8:43 am

I second the library. Also check out Paperback swap, it also has a sister site for DVD’s. You pay postage on what you send out but what you request with your points comes to you free. I have been able to get college textbooks from this site.
Our family shares the Netflix, Hulu and Amazon accounts. the HD antenna we put on the house was only $35 through Wal-Mart online, you can hook your antenna cable to the cable hookup on your house and it wires all your hookups.


66 Valerie Z February 17, 2014 at 1:51 pm

This might seem like a counter-productive tip but.. we don’t claim any dependents for tax purposes during the year. It means we get less in a paycheck each month but a huge refund. We are terrible at budgeting money for large purchases. At the end of the month after all expenses are paid we would just spend the extra money because it was there. Now we don’t have any extra money and less stress about what we waste. Banks are paying so little interest these days anyway.


67 Jen February 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm

What I do to save on dry cleaning is use Dryel! It’s a kit that comes with a reusable heavy-duty plastic bag, a stain remover pad and specially-treated cloths. You treat any stains with the stain remover pad, put up to six “dry clean only items” in the bag, toss in one of the cloths and put it in the dryer on the delicate cycle for about 20 minutes. Your clothes come out just as clean (and they smell nice too!) and you’ve done it all yourself. I wear a lot of blazers to work, and most of them are dry clean only fabrics, so I love being able to clean them at home. Refills of the cloths are very inexpensive, and since I usually wear my blazers a couple of times before I clean them, and I have a LOT of them to choose from, I really don’t go through that many clothes in a year.


68 Jessica Gagnon February 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm

THANK YOU! New real ways to save.


69 Adele February 17, 2014 at 3:57 pm

Hi Merissa, just want to say I really appreciate all your little tips and ideas. While I have no concept of frozen water pipes here in Australia, where we battle heat and flies, I love bring able to apply some of your ideas. I especially love the homemade recipes for cleaning/ washing products, as my toddler has recently developed eczema due to being allergic to suncream- tricky! Thankyou, keep up the good work!


70 Deborah Lee February 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Hi. Thanks for your ideas. I rarely buy myself any new clothes but love to shop at garage sales, Thrift Shops, auctions or resale shops. In this on going bad economy, I have gotten some pretty good deals on clothing at Kohl’s. Not only have I found clothing for me and my husband but also our 4 grandson’s. Often at the end of the season, I can find items 60-80% off and additionally get to use my one day discount of 20 to 30%. We too have trouble finding ways to save additional money since our house and farm are paid in full. My husband and I grow a large garden and share any extras with those less fortunate. Also we often give plants or the makings for a meal in a basket as gifts.


71 Racine February 17, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Thank you for all the tips. Here is one more for movies go to they have movies for free too. You do have to watch them online unless you have a Roku or another device to watch online TV on the TV. is free too. is $8 month. I also have Netflix which is $8 a month too. So I pay $16 a month and I don’t have cable or satalite TV. Well I hope that helps. 🙂


72 Merissa February 17, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Thanks for sharing!


73 The Smallest Acre February 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm

There’s lots of great tips here. Our family cut our cable about 5 years ago. We have Netflix and get everything else free. We get some movies at the library and…books! We read books! A recent revival of an old idea to keep warm is a hot water bottle. If you don’t need your clothes dryer…sell it. Not sure? Try going a month or two without it and then decide. In nice weather try cooking outside and not using electricity or gas. A lot of people like using solar ovens. Try raising and processing your own meat. Are you good at processing? Offer it as a service for a fee or to barter for other things. The biggest change I’m doing right now is having a budget app on my phone. I make myself enter how much I spent before I leave the parking lot. It makes me really consider how much I want something, and if I want to spend the time entering the information.

I’d like to see a monthly follow up post on this to see how you are faring. I’m going to go check out the mortgage calculator and hopefully save myself some dough.


74 Jill Metcalf February 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm

This is a great reminder for me! I have done most of the money saving tips you mentioned, but I get extremely lazy about it. Again you have inspired me! This year I am adding “Grow your own food” to the list. This winter, I successfully grew three bell peppers from seedlings found while turning my compost. Not only am I planting a garden and plan to freeze as much food as possible, but I am also saving seeds and plan to grow containers in my kitchen during the winter. I even purchased a small greenhouse that can be set up in front of the window! We’re ready! Spring can’t come soon enough for me!


75 Barbara Elephante February 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Might want to re-think the 2 trips a month into town… because if you like movies, 1 of the best sources of free movies is the library. Most libraries will let you borrow movies for 7 days only. After that, you pay huge fines that makes it not free any more, but more expensive than blockbuster. If you go to the library the same day 1x a week, you can get movies, music cds, book and some will even check out magazines, all for free as long as you keep up with what you took out & bring it back on or before the due date. As an added bonus, if you check out their program schedule, you could get in a story or craft time for your kids while there, and make it a weekly outing that does something nice for the whole family.


76 Jen March 9, 2015 at 5:11 pm

Yes, Barbara. That is really something to think about. If you don’t get the movies back on time, they are definitely not free. Though our library will extend our check outs via a phone call, so that may work. If not, an $8 netflix via the mail would be a better option. We manage at least 4-5 movies a month that way even living in the boonies and getting tv series instead of movie that usually take us a couple nights per dvd to watch.


77 Rebecca | LettersFromSunnybrook February 18, 2014 at 6:11 am

It’s like you live here with me! Those tips are much more relevant to the way I live and what I am already doing to save money. 🙂 I had even given myself a Kill-A-Watt as a Christmas present and was making a spreadsheet of electric use (my husband is starting to think I’m a bit nuts). I don’t eat out, get hair or nails done, buy new clothes, etc, etc. Last year I cut paper towels, most feminine hygiene products, make nearly all my own cleaners and personal care products. We garden and can, hunt, and cook from scratch. Thank you for making an inspiring list for those of us on the same page.


78 Merissa February 18, 2014 at 7:31 am

I love the KillAWatt device! You really never know how much electricity you are using until you measure it!


79 Liz February 18, 2014 at 7:05 am

Don’t forget about the library for borrowing movies and tv shows on dvd!


80 Allison February 18, 2014 at 8:14 am

This is a great list of tips, and I love that you touch on the fact that you can still cut if you are already doing frugal things. I wish we could we could cut out the dry cleaning, but my hunny wears suits several times a week for work.


81 Tejas Prairie Hen February 18, 2014 at 8:38 am

I applaud your efforts to help people save more in ways they are able to. I would love to see some new ideas. For 37 yrs. of marriage I have done and continue to do everything I can to keep our costs down. I wish I could save more. It has not been easy with 5 kids, esp. since we have multiple chronic conditions/diseases. Even with our good insurance, our copays for specialists, labs, imaging, and meds for the 4 of us still on our insurance run $1500 or more most every month! That is with discount cards from the drug manufacturers–otherwise, just two of our biologic meds would cost $10, 000 a month! Also, we must drive several hours each way for our specialists, so that’s also more $ spent on gas. Our health also impacts our food bill, as I use many expensive, but not easily homegrown, spices and all organic foods. Be thankful for, and never take for granted, your good health.

Another big expense for us is gasoline. With our jobs and the extracurricular activities of our one remaining minor child and our three grandkids I keep during the day, I drive an average of 80 to 100 miles a day to their schools and activities 4 days a week. I try to coordinate as best I can to save $. My husband rides his bike 6 miles to and from work daily. Unfortunately, there is no one in our area to carpool with.

My question is, do most of you have school-age kids? Here in my area, even homeschoolers are involved in many extra-curricular events and activities and also participate in co-ops. Most everyone I know is constantly driving kids, almost as much as I do. Do you anticipate that you will be able to keep your goal of going to town only a couple times a month in the coming years as your kids grow older?


82 Heather February 21, 2014 at 7:47 pm

I feel you! Even though I limit my kids to one activity (martial arts) that they all take together, I’m running kids around every day. Between work for my 17 year old, volunteering at YMCA in exchange for a free membership, and doctor or therapy appointments…whew. Luckily we live in a small city, so nothing is more than 10-15 miles away, but we’re not close enough to make going without a car feasible.


83 Jen March 9, 2015 at 5:49 pm

I have three kids homeschooling 14-5 yrs old, and we live 23 miles of mostly gravel road to town one way. We are careful not to just run to town for things, always adding the cost of gas and wear on the vehicle to the cost of the item we need to decide whether it is really worth the trip. There just isn’t a lot that can be done to reduce fuel expenses, but last year I did make the expense go a little further when the kids had swim lessons every day for several weeks. Lessons were in the mid morning, so we packed a lunch and after lessons we went to the river for a picnic lunch and a couple hours of swimming where they got to play and practice things they had been taught. They learned much faster than in the previous year, so I felt like the gas money was a little better spent.

One note on vehicle expenses. I figured out one year the cost of wear and tear for driving our vehicles and it was about equal to the gas expense. So, for every dollar you put in the tank, it will cost you another in repairs. That is a sobering thought.


84 K February 18, 2014 at 6:34 pm

I really like your content. My husband and I have been making great efforts to simplify our lives and return to a simpler way of life. We spent too many years on the hamster wheel and we are ready to jump off. Part of doing that is finding the balance between smart money-saving ideas versus those that just create needless additional work for ourselves.

Unlike many of the smart readers on this blog, I have not always been diligent about saving money. I like to think that with each new gray hair comes a little more wisdom. I will likely employ many of the ideas on the list-as well as those submitted by the readers–though not all of them, I’m sure. Baby steps. Thanks for the motivation!!


85 Merissa February 18, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Always baby steps Kelly 🙂 I learn something new every day!


86 Jim Jacobsen February 19, 2014 at 10:01 am

Concerning #6, I hang my laundry inside in the winter, on plastic hangers in the path of my Rinnai heater. This avoids running the dryer, humidifies the air, and makes the place smell nice.


87 Jen March 9, 2015 at 5:55 pm

The house smells so nice with fresh laundry drying. I love it.


88 Alison at NOVA Frugal Family February 19, 2014 at 5:41 pm

I don’t have cable but I can’t get my husband to kick the home phone because we are prepared in case the power goes out and it does for long periods of time when it goes out but I would like to save the $20 per month but I will probably be kicking myself when the power goes out again. I actually decided last year that I wasn’t going to buy any clothes for myself (new or used) because there had to be something in the closet that would work. I went through and pulled out tshirts and shoes that I haven’t worn in ages. My mom thought I was a mess and bought me new clothes for my birthday and Christmas….well, I guess it was the same thing because I still didn’t buy any clothes, right? I always loved the give up the Starbucks request…I don’t drink coffee at home or out so check that off the list. I make most of our food from scratch and we don’t rent movies. We do pick a few movies that we want to watch each year and ask for them for Christmas. It takes us months to get the new movies and it is really fun family treat which we can watch over and over. I hope that lots of people take this list to heart because I think that they can save lots even if we don’t have the coffee to give up 🙂


89 Barb February 21, 2014 at 11:34 am

I don’t have a cell phone myself, but we still have a landline ($12 a month for local and long distance with BasicTalk–it uses internet connection, but I have to have high-speed internet for work anyway). My husband has a “dumb” cell phone and gets 500 talk minutes a month for $20 through Consumer Cellular–they have other plans and smart phones available, and you aren’t locked into a contract–if you use a lot of minutes one month, you can change to a higher plan before the end of your month, or conversely if you don’t have much usage, you can downgrade your plan for the month.


90 Marble Creek Homestead February 21, 2014 at 11:52 am

We switched from Verizon to walmarts plan. Unlimited everything for $40 per month.


91 sandy February 21, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Try consumer cellular for your phones. It has saved us a lot.


92 Sharolyn Moss February 21, 2014 at 2:42 pm

We use most of the tips now. In the cold of winter I hang all the clothes on a hanger, after fluffing in the dryer for a minute shirts,, jeans or over a rack. I have a iron rod hung from the basement ceiling, to hang them from. There dry over night. I do dry the towels in the dryer in the winter. Also laundry soap, make my own for a few cents a load. Love the smell of clothes when dryed out doors. Enjoy your monthly newsletter !


93 Samantha February 21, 2014 at 4:28 pm

We do not own smart phones, but have bought phones which we use if we have to travel out-of-state or carry when we must drive in atrocious weather. We buy minutes as we require them. Because we have the care of several elderly relatives to manage (who live on LI as well as out-of-state), we – and they – cannot be without land lines. On 9/11 half our neighborhood wanted to use our phones (of course we let them) because their cells would not work when the towers went down. Long Island is known for changable weather, and we are particularly susceptible to hurricanes, nor’easters and wind (remember Sandy… and those of us living here would rather not!! The damage repair continues…). I would never be without my land line and will keep it as a real safety device. It worked during Sandy, when cell phones would not, just like the time around 9/11.


94 Maryanne February 22, 2014 at 9:31 am

This is why I also keep a Land Line. I lived in NJ on 9/11…my late husband was making a delivery at the towers. I was hysterical for hours before I was finally able to make contact with him. I will never be without a land line. EVER!….it is my $20.00 a month peace of mind. PLUS it has unlimited local / long distance calling…so with my ‘frugal’ cell phone is used for texting or emergency calls while out…and my home phone is used more for chatting with friends and relatives out of state. =)


95 Julianne February 21, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Love your site very helpful interesting,


96 loan n February 21, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Great tips from your post and from you readers (I’ve just googled dry canning & solar ovens)! If you like sprouts, I make my own in a jar using beans from the bulk food bins at Winco – great prices & you can buy in small quantities if you just want to try things out. I also dry clothes but on clothes hangers, hung on a shower curtain rod. Not only are they dry in the morning, but they are straight like they’re ironed & easy to put away b/c they’re already on hangers. They’re not crispy because I use white vinegar in the rinse cycle instead of softener. For cellphone, I have a Tracfone bought on Amazon – for $100 I got the phone, 1200 minutes, and a year of service (texts are 0.3 minute each). The phone gets triple minutes, so each year I buy a 1-year card (400minutes, tripled=1200) for $95 plus tax.


97 Joann March 1, 2014 at 8:19 pm

I use the shower curtain rod to hang clothes to dry. I sometimes dry the clothes about halfway and then hang them up in the bathroom. Its an easy way to save on the dryer!


98 George February 21, 2014 at 6:17 pm

PHONE: I got rid of the landline and the contract mobile, and use TracFone pre-paid for about $10 per month. Most of my outgoing calls are via Google Voice or Google Hangout, and are FREE.
ENTERTAINMENT: The library! You can check out movies, music, and even download audio books for FREE. And of course…books. Then there is the amazing with thousands of free public domain audiobooks. A fast internet connection which I get for $19.99 per month gets me tons of free movies, audio books, TED talks, iTunes University lectures, music via Pandora and Last.FM,my Goggle Voice service. and on and on for free. I like free. Things I really value like every major league baseball game on MLB Audio I can subscribe to for cheap ($19.95 per year). And of course I can get Little House Living.
TRANSPORTATION: I moved to a small city, sold the car altogether, and get $20/mo. bus passes. When I need a car I use either (1) ZipCar for a few hours, or (2)Enterprise for cheap three day weekend deals for $9.99 per day. No insurance, no car payment, no repairs. Works for me!
THE GYM: I love the city parks&rec fitness center here in Charlottesville VA because it is $29 per month, which gives access to both fitness center and aquatic facilities, and I can watch the news while I’m on the elliptical machine (I have no TV) and also I shower there which is cool because I use their hot water.
SOCIAL LIFE: We have lots of free activities like bingo and board games and hymn singing that I like instead of TV, but then I’m pretty much an old guy. Also, I like live college sports events because they are often cheap or free. Hey, women’s field hockey is exciting! Also, there are tons of free things around like concerts in the park etc if you just keep your eye out.
HEALTH INSURANCE: I ditched my health insurance for Christian Health Ministries, a Biblical alternative. CHM along with Samaritan Ministries offers a frugal and Bible-based option.
FOOD: Sharp Shopper has really incredible discounts of grocery store closeout items. I think the stores are only in VA and PA, but there must be other places like that, salvage grocery stores etc.


99 Hannah February 21, 2014 at 6:38 pm

We use Pageplus Cellular for our cell phones. They actually use the Verizon network, so reception is awesome.
Any Verizon phone will work on Pageplus, so you can use an old or new verizon branded phone. There is detailed information out there on forums on how to get a Verizon phone to work with Pageplus, but I didn’t find it hard.
When we first got married 4 yrs ago, we got LG env3 basic phones, no data, just text/talk through Verizon. I got sick of paying over $120/month for phones we didn’t use that much.
It’s insanity that Americans have no problem paying an arm and a leg for phones these days!
When I found out about Pageplus, I bought the same LG env3 phones off of Ebay, used, for about $20 each. They were in much better shape than our old original ones, which were faulty by that time.
I also learned that the Palm Pixi Plus would work with Pageplus, and while it is an old one it IS still a basic smartphone, an upgrade from the env3, and my husband enjoys it.
I also have an old smartphone a friend gave me when he upgraded. I use it on free wifi everywhere and get all the ‘perks’ of modern smartphones and apps, without the cost! It’s hard to believe people pay a fortune for data plans!
To sum up, we pay $12/month per person for 250 min/250 texts, use basic old phones that do the job just great; and have a smartphone for free wifi when needed.
I hope this is helpful.


100 Karin February 21, 2014 at 7:22 pm

This might not be a new idea for the experienced savers I’m seeing here, but for someone just starting the “getting out of debt” part, I found a method that worked well and was very satisfying. Pick one debt that you will pay extra on, even if it’s just $10-20. But, if you can, start with the debt with the smallest balance, so you will get a satisfying result quicker. When it is paid off, celebrate, then take the WHOLE amount you were paying on that debt (including the extra) and pay it as extra on the next smallest debt. Continue doing this, and add the whole amount you were paying on the last one until they are all nothing but memories. This way you will always be paying the same amount you budgeted for all your debts in the beginning, only you will actually be paying things off, and celebrating, along the way. This to me was very satisfying and seemed to get it all done quicker than I thought.


101 Hannah February 21, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Also wanted to add, a lot of people have recommended drying racks, but I suggest that you don’t overlook the obvious. Just hang a clothes line in your house!
I’ve had one in each of our apartments and tiny houses and it’s worked fine. All you need is a blank wall – most likely in your bedrooms, where you’re apt to have a wall with nothing on it if you’ve decluttered.
Use large cup hooks, cleats, and other hooks to run a line between two walls. You can find blog tutorials on how to do so.
I also have high cupboards in my laundry room, and hung cup hooks on the bottom of them to hang clothes hangers on. So many possibilities that take up less room than drying racks.


102 ChrisM February 25, 2014 at 6:37 am

You can also buy retractable clotheslines. I use them in my basement and outside. When you take the laundry down, the line retracts into a holder and your wall is again free. One wall will have the clothesline mount, and the other wall just a hook. I also hang clothing over a metal railing in my kitchen in the winter. My house is so dry with gas-forced-air-heat that jeans dry overnight! Also keep an eye out for clothing racks for sale at garage sales or at stores that are going out of business.


103 Lorie February 21, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Here’s a tip: you can get brand new clothes for super cheap if you check out Target’s clearance – only if you’re already at Target of course, don’t want to make a special trip and waste gas just for that!


104 Cherie February 21, 2014 at 8:11 pm

I have a smart phone, ordered a SIM card from straight talk and I’m billed about $47 a month and I have unlimited everything.


105 Donna Vincent February 22, 2014 at 7:11 am

Instead of buying a Kill o Watt get it from the library. My local library checks it out like a book.


106 Lee Ann February 22, 2014 at 8:02 am

Thanks for all the comments, I love this blog, thanks for putting the time into doing it & sharing all that you do. I lost my job at the end of 2010 due to the economy & it took me 7 months to find full time employment again. I had already started making cuts on the usual list then started making more. I am single & live in a rural area so for me not having a car payment isn’t really an option as I need to have a reliable transportation but I did get rid of my land line, I used Straight Talk for the $45 a month & love it & have not had a problem. I live in an apartment & go to a friends house once a week to do laundry but only dry the towels, underwear type of things, everything else is hung dry in my bathroom. It takes a couple of days to dry but that’s ok. I don’t eat out very often, I don’t have cable but do use Netflix & I am very good about turning off lights & not using a lot of extra electricity so I feel I am trending toward the frugal side of life. I know I can cut more based on some of the things listed above & all of your comments so thank you for sharing & I intend to try some of them. Before I lost my job I had already done a loan consolidation so I am still working on that but it did help save quite a bit by combining it all into one payment. I want to get out of debt & live more frugally so all of these ideas are great. Again thanks for sharing, I think it helps when we all share what we can & it gives some extra ideas to those who may not have thought of that….


107 Linda Goudelock February 22, 2014 at 8:33 am

We are retired and one of our treats is to eat out. I do cook meals at home, sometimes three times a day (from scratch) but hubby likes to treat me and since I don’t cook meat he get’s to be a carnivore. But when we eat out I save the receipt and at the end of the month I tally them up and multiply it by $5 and this goes towards our mortgage. Last year I made enough small payments to equal 1 1/2 monthly payments. Just trying to get that principal down so we’re not paying so much interest is a boon to me!


108 Linda Goudelock February 22, 2014 at 8:36 am

if you like to read join Paperback swap,

list the books you no longer want and get books you want to read for the cost of postage

of course your local library is always a good source of reading material, even magazines!


109 kay February 22, 2014 at 9:12 am

I didn’t receive any of your Facebook posts this week until today. Really missed them. Love all your ideas. Keep them coming


110 Merissa February 22, 2014 at 9:15 am

I’m sorry 🙁 Facebook is doing something really weird to our Facebook page right now! I’ve emailed them but so far no response.


111 Jen March 9, 2015 at 10:32 pm

I have LHL set as one of my start pages in Firefox so I never miss a post. LOL


112 Maryanne February 22, 2014 at 10:11 am

I love this post! I’ve often thought of those articles and “tips” just as you….I ALREADY do all these things!! I need MORE ideas!!! lol…So…this is what ‘ I ‘ do. I don’t and haven’t had cable in about 2 yrs. I get books, dvd’s, cd’s and audio books from the library.If it’s a NEW movie and there is a long waiting list….I ask friends/relatives (who AREN’T frugal!! *gasp* ) if they’ve purchased said movie…and BORROW it! =) I USED to have Verizon wireless, and when my contract was up, was going to get a METROPCS phone….$40 a month ( includes all fees) unlimited talk,text, data…but found you have to buy THEIR phones..which cost $$$$ ( a friend has MetroPcs.and bought HER phone at a pawn shop! ) So I did without for a bit, then a friend gave me one of her “extra’ phones ( daughter was on family plan….daughter moved out and left phone) it was already included in her budget…cost to me? $0!! That phone plan ended…so again…no phone. Niece gave me her husbands old Windows phone…it TOO is on a family plan…I give her $10.00 per month! Internet/landline $40 per month. I hang clothes on hangers on my bathroom shower rod…and from the wire shelves in my laundry room. I wash in cold water….use ‘real’ food, crock and freeze meals. Bake my own bread, pop tarts and make homemade sweet potato chips etc…I have EXTREMELY limited space…so stockpiling is hard to do, but I try. I don’t eat out….drink coffee at work ( free for the office ) make my own body lotion, soap, laundry detergent, fabric softener, household cleaners ( mostly using natural ingredients…like white vinegar and baking soda…orange peels etc ) clothes are only purchased when ABSOLUTELY necessary….and only on sale/clearance or thrift store purchases! I upcycle EVERYTHING I can….making gifts, purses, rugs, from old sheets, and clothes, boxes, jars etc……I consolidate my driving. as well. not using my car on weekends if I can help it…going to grocer / library only on the way home from work…as I pass them anyway. My goal is to buy a bicycle and use IT for shopping etc and eventually get rid of my car..or park it the majority of the time anyway! I have a lot of debt, because I moved south in 08…right at the start of the new depression..and my income went south as well. In order to LIVE and not be homeless, my stellar credit rating is now abysmal. I will SLOWLY get it paid off….not as fast as I’d like…but…one bill at a time. It’s all I can do, other then claim bankruptcy! My car payments are almost done. That extra money will be used to FIX some of the small problems that have cropped up with it ( should take 2 monthly payments) then used to pay down my medical and other bills…and each one paid off..the money allocated to the paid off bill will go to the NEXT bill owed. etc


113 Kim February 22, 2014 at 10:26 am

Drying clothes inside is an option all year(If you have space, and honestly I would make space no matter what, just to save). I do it all the time. I used to be able to dry outside, but we moved and can no longer do so. My husband put a 6 ft rod up in my laundry area, and I hang everything but under clothes, towels, and bedding. When I wash clothes I only dry one load.

In the past when I had a small apartment, I had those wooden racks that you could fold up when not in use.

We unfortunately have electric dryer, so it is imperative to not use it as much, as most loads have to go thru twice. I MISS MY GAS DRYER!

I love reading your tips, recipes, and ect.


114 Kate February 22, 2014 at 11:45 am

Great ideas and I already do a lot of them. About the movies……I live in Canada and our libraries have movies….yes even blockbuster new ones and blueray, that you can get for free, usually for a week. I love that as I just HATE spending money on a rental and then I don’t like the movie.
Don’t know if your libraries do that and if they don’t it might be an idea to put in the suggestion box.


115 Joanne February 22, 2014 at 7:12 pm

So many comments that I don’t have time to read through so I hope my suggestions aren’t repeats.
We use Tracfone family plan – we each have $20 double minute phones and for $17 @ mo I get 100 min and he gets 80. We use these only when necessary away from home. At home we have Skype on the computer for $2.99 a month with which we can call anywhere for as long as we want.
We do have cable but only for internet, Skype and Netflix (we pay 7.99 a month for streaming only- no disc rentals).
I make my own laundry detergent (SUPER savings) and use Dr. Bonner’s Liquid Castile for hands, hair and body wash (I dilute it 1/2 and 1/2 and it works fine). I use vinegar for softening laundry on occasion otherwise nothing.
I cook from scratch using real food.
Can’t remember when we bought new clothes….second hand is too good a deal to pass up. I knit, crochet, sew and quilt (save every piece of material and yarn and always check the second hand shop for these things). Save buttons. Make my own ointment which has served us well for many years for healing rashes, chapped hands, cuts etc.
Make our toothpaste – so simple I wouldn’t dream of buying it anymore and my teeth and gums are better than ever.
Make my own ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce, salad dressings and don’t use sugar. Maple syrup or honey always. Kept my basil growing inside all winter and have garlic growing now as well.
Well theres more of course but this is turning into a novel so I hope its helped someone 🙂
Spring is just around the corner everyone!


116 mom9kiddos February 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Just some safety info fyi…when you call 911 from a cell phone your address does not automatically pop up for the dispatcher, however when you call from a land line your address does display. The dispatcher will know exactly where you are. I have a land line for exactly this reason. My kids are home from school for several hoours before I get home from work. I am greatful for the piece of mind knowing that if there is an emergency and my kids panic, forgetting their address, they will be able to get the help they need. $20 a month is money well spent in my book.


117 Shawn R. February 24, 2014 at 9:00 am

Simply desire to say your article is as astonishing. The clearness in your put up is just cool and that i could think you are a professional on this subject. Thanks!


118 Hipockets February 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Raising 6 kids by myself,I’ve always scrimped to survive. At 74,still
scrimping with the cost of living so high. I live in little town America.
Verizon is the only cell phone service and then it does’nt always work.
I have Landline,but only so I can have internet,which can’t have without
the landline. I buy books at garage sales,usually 25 cents. I go to town
about once-twice a week. Have to in order to get mail (no mail delivery’).
I do all my errands when I go check the mail. When the kids were in school the last few years they were home,had to take them 7 mi each way
to school and back. No school bus.I’ve since moved to another area,but
life is’nt alway full of convieniences if you don’t want to live in a big city’


119 Luci February 25, 2014 at 7:06 am

Thank you for sharing those tips! We are also trying to cut some expenses…I am locked into a landline service until November, but plan to discontinue it then because our home security system can now connect to our Wi-Fi. I used to grocery shop each week and was spending $200 + each week (we do eat out once or twice a week). But, I have started going to Aldi every other week and then the supermarket chain for some of the weekly specials and I am saving about $100/week now. My teen children tease me (especially when I use coupons), but I tell them that if I can put even $5 back in my pocket why shouldn’t I instead of giving it to the grocery store?


120 ChrisM February 25, 2014 at 7:08 am

Here are more ideas:

Make your own liquid hand soap from bar soap, your own Dove body wash from bar soap, and make your own laundry detergent. Just google these for the recipes.

I make my own all-purpose cleaner with 1/2 cup vinegar, water and one squirt of dish soap (tsp?). Fill an old Windex bottle. Great for windows too.
For my fiberglass showers I use baking soda and water. Just make a paste, wipe it on, let it sit and then wipe again and rinse.

I save the inside bags from cereal, wipe them down and re-use them in place of waxed paper. I wipe them and re-use them multiple times.

I re-use the bags that bread and tortillas come in to use as food storage. If you were going to freeze in them, I would double bag them.

I make my own “convenience” foods to keep in the freezer: breakfast burritos, quesadillas, twice bake potatoes, bean burritos, fried rice, spinach lasagna rolls (frozen individually), pizza crusts, hash browns, fries, mashed potatoes, soups…Pinterest has tons of ideas. Saves us from fast food if we are tired, sick or in a hurry.

Make-ahead freezer meals are another time and money saver. “Don’t Worry, Dinner’s in the Freezer” is a great book. (Check it out at the library, or get a cheap copy at

Crockpot cooking too!

Buy gift cards from or (There are other sites, but research the reliability of the site you wish to use).You can buy cards at a discount. They buy them from people who don’t want their gift cards. Last week I bought a JcPenney gift card for 18% off, then used it, plus sales and coupons to buy my husband’s work clothes.


121 Ruth Whybrew February 26, 2014 at 6:54 am

Dear Melissa,
A land line is 1/3 the price of 3 cell phones (for the adults), under $40 and needed for computer use (needed for school, using computers instead of textbooks, with optional textbooks for special ed.).
We do not use cell phones ($45 each, but our adult girls do). It requires trust in God and kindness of others, sometimes. The children get to borrow a cell phone from a leader, if needed, to call home (school, church activities).
Cell phones and credit cards are dangerous. You can be tracked. If you put them in tin foil or a metal case, you are still trackable 50% of the time. These devices can be read, even inside a purse (without metal covering over the cards/phone). Check it out.


122 Ruth Whybrew February 26, 2014 at 6:57 am

Sorry Merissa (not Melissa) for getting your name wrong!
Anyone, let me know if I’m wrong on the danger note. It would be good news! Thanks!


123 Marnie February 27, 2014 at 11:40 am

I think it is crazy to spend hundreds of dollars for a cell phone! I guess I don’t understand the fascination with them. I have a straight talk unlimited everything for $45/month. My brother spends around $200/month for his and his wife’s phones. CRAZY!!


124 Suzanne March 3, 2014 at 11:33 pm

I didn’t read all the comments, so someone might have mentioned it already: we use Consumer Cellular. It’s less than half what we paid Verizon and there’s no contract. You can buy one of their phones at a reasonable price or use an unlocked phone. And they have several plans, so you can spend as much or little as you need. I’ve never had coverage issues, either.


125 Pat November 20, 2015 at 12:27 am

I also have Consumer Cellular and know that they use AT & T towers for transmission. No problems anywhere yet with my service with them!


126 Charity March 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Thanks for the suggestions! As far as the cell phone, I am with Net10. It’s a no contract company and it’s $50/m. They do have plans that’s cheaper, depending on usage. I can talk, text, send pictures and browse the web as much as I want, and I have the latest smart phone!

Straight Talk also provides the same service!


127 Bernice March 5, 2014 at 9:08 am

Tmobile has gone fully no contract plans. They break out phone payment away from service payment so when you are done paying for the phone it falls off the bill. They start at $50/month a day are all unlimited plans. They include free data and texting when you are in over 150 other countries as well. That’s if your wanting newer smart phones and still a good rate plan.

If you are content with older smart phones / lower end ones Walmart family mobile offers $39.88/unlimited for the first line and 34.88 for each additional up to 5. (Subtract $10 if you don’t want to pay for data)


128 Amanda March 5, 2014 at 1:20 pm

One thing that my husband and I did to save money on our cell phone bill was to add my parents. Instead of us both paying separate cell phone bills, they are now added lines on my account and when the bill comes we split it. Instead of the $120 a month we each pay $60 and still have the Verizon service.


129 Mary Elizabeth March 14, 2014 at 1:12 am

What a wonderful list! I have been looking for ways to save as well, and I’ve tried several things but for me, it’s the most simple thing that works!

I used to say, “Oh, I can spend $xx.xx on my debit card. It’s in my budget.” But I found myself constantly going WAY over budget. So I began filling my car tank full with my car, documenting it, and then putting my card away in my house. I take $20 in case of emergencies or necessities while I’m out (I usually go to work and back, with very little running.) and then I make a game of “how long can I keep this $20 before it is spent??” It has saved me a TON… because if I don’t have my money with me, I can’t spend it! 🙂

I also found that, due to working for the regional hospital near me, I can receive a 22% discount on my Verizon cell phone. It brought my phone bill from $80 to $62/month!

I’m currently “hoarding” my money to purchase a newer car. My current car is 22 years old – the same age as I am! But I don’t see the logic in paying for interest on a newer car when I can continue driving my “boat” and possibly pay off my newer car in full, saving money on interest! :))

Just my thoughts, anyway! :)) Happy Saving!! – Mary Elizabeth <3


130 [email protected] April 5, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Our cell phone contract ended and we switched to Tracfone. I like that I am paying for what I use. You have some great tips. Thanks for sharing them.


131 Carrster April 10, 2014 at 10:33 am

Great article. I’m always frustrated by money-saving articles that offer the same advice. We live pretty frugally already & are trying to incorporate more money/earth saving ideas into our household. One thing to remember – THE LIBRARY! ). We get almost all of our dvds, books, music, ebooks, tickets for local events, etc FOR FREE! It’s a great resource. (disclaimer – I work at the library). You sometimes have to be patient when waiting for a new release book or dvd, but in the long run you don’t have it cluttering up your house & you’ve saved money doing so!


132 Polly April 15, 2014 at 5:53 pm

great tips here!

read Clark Howard’s website for ideas about cheap phones and free internet. We read his book and got a VOIPO phone system to replace landline ($7/mo). Have a pay per use cell for emergencies ($8/mo) and now exploring free or really low cost internet.

Reared kids on cloth diapers, and like your ideas re rags and cloth pads.

Being frugal is such a rewarding hobby, isn’t it?

LOVE your blog!


133 Leann April 18, 2014 at 5:30 am

Personally I couldn’t bring myself to do cloth pads but I coupon and period is so light I only use liners and usually pay less than 50 cents a package. I’m so stockpiled that I have no need to purchase such things for at least a yr. I have to say stockpiling is the best way we save. I buy when I can get it cheapest and keep enough for at least one sale cycle usually 2 sometimes more if I can get something on an exceptional deals. The only downside is that you have to have the space. And it’s very realistic goal for anyone if I can manage it being fulltime wife, student, part time job and part time couponer


134 Misty April 19, 2014 at 7:53 pm

My mom purchased several inexpensive solar lights, she charges them during the day and brings them in after dark and places them throughout, thereby saving on electricity…


135 Lori MacDonald June 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm

I really enjoyed reading all the ways to save. Am wondering why it suddenly stopped middle of April… love it.


136 Connie June 3, 2014 at 9:47 am

You already have a million comments, but here are some of my tips. The more you can go back in time the more likely you are to save money, but remember to weigh your time for $. A modern grain mill and good mixer are worth the investment for how much you can save over time making baked goods at home from the grain. Same for the initial investment for canning supplies and educating yourself on how to can. Growing your own food and learning how to harvest your own seeds, worth every penny. Most people can find the time to do the things I have mentioned. Now, those with even more time can add in things like repairing/making your own. I would also add watching freecycle and craigslist for anything and everything and also trying to find ways to barter. For example, if your husband has IT skills but can’t do anything on a car you may find a mechanic who needs some computer work done and is willing to teach your husband how to change the brakes in exchange for being taught some computer skills. Also, Pinterest is your friend. I have a family of 8 and have been able to get our food budget down to $100 a week when I need to. Some basic fruit and veggies, but a lot of supplementing with things like rice, beans, tofu, etc. Also, I get a Costco membership and easily make the membership fee back by always filling up there for gas. We wanted to go vegan after seeing a documentary, but I was shocked at how much we saved in our grocery budget by doing so. Not everyone will want to do that, but the more you experiment with it the more you might like the variety and savings 😉


137 Merissa June 3, 2014 at 9:55 am

Thanks for sharing those tips!


138 Steph June 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Thanks for these great tips. Just like you we don’t spend money on 1/2 the list either, so this new list works for us. The hardest part will be eating out, because somedays it’s just so easy and fast. My goal this year is to use a day off to cook freezer friendly meals that can replace my drive thru Sue days.


139 Michelle Havenga June 18, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Your local public library is a great place to save money. Many libraries have free internet and computer usage. Many also have great selection of DVDs to borrow. Also magazines and books. Many public libraries have free downloadable e-books and audio books. I think public libraries are a great healthy, frugal life choice.


140 emilia June 27, 2014 at 8:00 am

“so cool thanks!. will definitely try these out!.


141 Stacie July 16, 2014 at 6:51 pm

First, let me say kudos to all of you living the frugal life. Most of you are doing much, much more (and spending a lot less) than I am, but I really am trying to implement some simple ideas into our everyday living. Some of this information will not apply to all, but thought I share.
IF you have a smartphone or internet, might as well make them work for you and earn some money in the process. I currently use Ibotta and Checkout 51 phone apps to receive cash rebates on certain items I purchase. It’s not a whole lot, money back for items you were purchasing anyway is like free money. Couple those rebates with coupons for even bigger savings. Also, if you shop online (I do especially around Christmas) check out websites such as, Upromise and Shop At Home. You can earn percentages back for online purchases just for shopping through their site. Most major retailers offer rebates. Swagbucks is another website where you can earn points, and right now 450 points buys you a $5 Amazon gift card.
With the hubby traveling for work and expenses are out of pocket, we use a credit card with a points program. It’s then paid off each month, but we earn points which turns into cash. One point for every dollar you spend adds up quickly, just make sure to keep the card paid off to avoid adding more debt. My sister-in-law did this last year, and received $150. Seems simple: making money for just paying bills 🙂
Keep up the great work! I love all the new ideas and hope that this time next year, we’ll be debt-free, growing/canning our own food and living a simple, blessed life.


142 Anna August 16, 2014 at 10:20 pm

Thank you for this!!! I had been combing the internet looking for more money-saving ideas and I had come to the same conclusion….we already do all of them. I’m going to work on a couple that you have here now! I’m so glad I found your blog!


143 Judy September 19, 2014 at 5:54 pm

I make my own hand soap, laundry soap, shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant and hairspray. I just made laundry soap and have enough to do 133 loads. I figured this cost me less than $2.00. But the best part is that I have fun doing it.


144 Charlotte December 30, 2014 at 10:23 am

One way I was able to cut costs was by stopping haircuts at a salon. I would pay $45 for the cut and then give a tip. I found a barber shop that will cut women’s hair and it was $18 for the cut. The barber knew how to do layers and I got a fantastic haircut for so much less.


145 Sarah Emma February 25, 2015 at 5:15 am

Good… frugal living is what I started 2 years back and it helped me a lot to save money.. Being frugal doesn’t mean that how go below the line but it means that you have resources… I started it from couponing as my lots of money is gone whenever I am on clothing shopping. LavishCoupon, clothingRic and are the best sites for providing on-line Coupons.


146 Les Harlow March 7, 2015 at 7:29 am

I am frugal – I will not ever get rid of my landline….I do not own a cell – to me, cells are a waste of money, I have made it just fine thru 52 years with out one…plus landline is a lot cheaper than a cell phone…


147 loyda March 7, 2015 at 7:45 am

1. I think you need to up the amount of money you save on this ! Don’t forget even IF you get a redbox movie while your doing your 2x a month grocery shopping you still have to drive back the next day and return it 🙂 So additional gas there ! This was a great article, more indepth with more ideas ! The only 2 things we haven’t changed or given up is cable (our entertainment) and our cell phones.. In fact we just upped our usage but we now have 3 children in different parts of the world and staying in touch with them is important to us !


148 Moira March 7, 2015 at 9:13 am

Hi there,
I loved a lot of your ideas and will try to implement the ones i don’t already do 🙂

A couple more ideas that might be helpful: Libraries usually have movies you can barrow for FREE. I have done this for a long time with my family the only fee is if you don’t get it back on time 🙂

Reusing items instead of re purchasing them 🙂 I have an etsy shoppe where I sell many reusable items: Tea bags, coffee filters, produce bags, gift wrap, bread bags, farmers market totes.

Other reusable ideas: cloth napkins and un-paper towels, family wipes(instead of toilet paper) cloth wipes instead of baby wipes.

Up-cycling clothes or having a clothing swap with friends 🙂
Anyway, love all of the comments,


149 Mia March 7, 2015 at 5:58 pm

Republic Wireless!!! You can get a smartphone for as low as $99 and $10/month for a plan. I have data/calls at home through my WiFi, and calls/texting when I’m not on WiFi. They operate on the Sprint network & I’ve been quite happy with the service.


150 Mary Paris May 29, 2015 at 12:59 pm

If you aren’t already doing it, start paying bill through online banking system. Saves on stamps & envelopes.
When my cell phone contract was up I spoke with AT&T & they checked my usage & gave me a better plan. Cut my bill in 1/2.
My library has an APP called overdrive; I can check out books, movies & audiobooks. Automatically returns them when you are done so there is no late fee.
Ditched the cable, bought a Roku stick & subscribed to Netflix. Love it so much that I gave one to my son& his wife for Christmas. Great kids programming & movies available & lots of free channels.
My dryer conked out 2 years ago & I have been using dryer racks ever since. I have not found it to be a hardship at all.
Once every couple of weeks my daughter & I get together for a cooking day. We will buy what we need in bulk & make enough freezer meals for both of us. It’s a lot of fun & saves a lot of time & money. I bought a brand new bread maker at a thrift store & we use that as we’ll to make some awesome dessert type breads. Over the past 2 years I have saved enough to fund college accounts (529) for my 4 grandchildren. # 5 is on the way so I will pull in the belt a little tighter & set one up for her.
Love the website. Good luck to all of you. Mary


151 Tim June 25, 2015 at 12:26 am

For #9, I would suggest biking to work instead of going to the gym. That way, you save money on healthcare, transportation, AND the cost of the membership!


152 Pamela July 6, 2015 at 10:09 am

Something I don’t see listed is being aware of all the ways different types
of advertising affects consumers (us). When I go to stores, I stay away
from kiosk tables with persons giving free samples and brochures. I also
throw away, immediately, any advertising/travel section, that comes in
my weekly newspaper. Recently, the dealership we bought our car from
sent a postcard mentioning the (newest model). I promptly wrote on it:
Thank you, we are happy with our classic – 2009 model. Sent it in an
envelope with a stamp. That stamp was worth the money, it reminds
me that we are content with what we have. A stamp is a lot cheaper than
a new car!


153 Candice brasington August 14, 2015 at 6:50 pm

I think I’ve got all you beat. I searched for a lowest cost cell phone service after my contract was up. I read Mr money mustaches blog and he reviewed different phone plans. I switched to Republic Wireless and pay $10 a month unlimited talk and text. I don’t do data. It is a smartphone with WiFi capabilities.


154 Philippina October 22, 2015 at 6:47 am

Many thanks for sharing.
I am happy to say that we already do the things listed. But sometimes we stray and need to be brought back for a reality check.
We have been lucky to pay off our total bond and two vehicles.
While reading your post I realised that I can do more to save on expenses.
So we will be eating out all the pasta and meat in our freezers for now.
Both myself and my hubby agrees that we will then make homemade pasta which tastes far better than bought pasta.
As far as the laundry goes I soak the clothing in homemade laundry liquid.
The next day I transfer it straight into the washing machine and wash it for only 20 minutes instead of 39 minutes.
Great saving as water electricity is very expensive in my country.
I stopped smoking 2 years ago due to health condition and saved a big amount of R29700.00 to date .
My husband is on early retirement due to no debt and homemade goods.
We are not hard done by and cater for a good plate of food every day and we are happy to have a old fashioned kitchen with all sorts of nice goodies.
We also have a great veggie garden that keeps us going.
Good luck to all with the venture of frugal living.
It is well worth it and as we progress practising frugal living we look forward to the next rewards.

Fondest regards to all


155 Nadeesha August 1, 2016 at 8:43 am

#5 is the best tip.


156 Sandy January 8, 2017 at 12:52 pm

I just stumbled on this post from Pinterest. I have been doing many of these things for years! I cut cable over a year ago. I then found a 55 inch TV with Roko built in. I only pay $10 a month for broadband and Roko offers a HUGE number of FREE channels for everything from movies, tv shows, documentary channels, news and cooking and craft channels! We will NEVER pay for cable again! Cutting cable paid for the cost of cable within two months!


157 Sandy January 8, 2017 at 12:54 pm

I meant to say it paid for the TV in two months


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