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Old 01-30-2009, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
973 posts, read 2,967,897 times
Reputation: 1236

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Most of us know we should ......
Save more, spend less.
Pay down debt.
Look for better rates on Credit Cards and Mortgages.


What about cost-cutting measures around the house? Do you have any that you've tried that have helped to cut down on household expenses?

I've tried a couple that work well, save money over time and are easy.

Dryer Sheets: Cut them in half. They still do the job they are meant to do but now go twice as far.

Liquid Fabric Softener: Instead of putting it in the wash, put it in the dryer. Add a capful to a spray bottle then fill the rest of the way with water. Spray on a re-usable rag and throw it in the dryer. The Liquid Fabric Softener will last a long time.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Ditch the expensive TB Cleaner and buy a bottle of "Comet" powder at the dollar store. It works every bit as well as the liquid TB Cleaner and is less expensive. White Vinagar also works well and isn't toxic.

Concrete Cleaner: Use a small amount of bleach, water, dish detergeant and a broom to restore the appearance of a concrete sidewalk or porch. It removes most stains and doesn't harm surrounding grass or plants.

What cost-cutting measures have you tried?
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Old 01-30-2009, 10:29 AM
 
Location: Anchorage, AK to SoCal to Missoula, MT
1,539 posts, read 2,813,562 times
Reputation: 4104
This also goes along with being "green" but I refuse to buy bottled water. Buy a Brita water pitcher and a $3 Rubbermaid plastic water bottle. Before you leave for the day, an errand, whatever, fill up the water bottle with the purified water and ice. Quit buying drinks from the gas station etc. Don't use paper towels to dry your hands. Use a towel all week and wash it on the weekend with your other towels. I've also heard those "green bags" work well at preserving produce. I'm going to try those. I will think of more and post later!
Great thread idea, thanks!
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Old 01-30-2009, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Maryland
1,534 posts, read 3,774,111 times
Reputation: 2307
Not sure if this is a bit larger expenditure than your post relates to, but high quality windows and doors (as in energy efficient) are generally a worthwhile investment, as are enhanced insulation and window treatments (bats, shades, etc.) Definitely use low flow shower heads and water saving johns as well as the new energy efficient light bulbs. Obviously, my comments are mostly directed at homeowners, I've never lived in a rental environment. (This presumes that energy costs are relevant for your area/situation.) Its worthwhile to have your electric company (or other source) do an competent energy audit (especially including thermal imaging) for your residence. You can then take corrective actions, ranging from low cost caulking (but always use the best caulk you can find) to the bigger stuff as noted above. There have been several excellent books concerning DIY cleaners, household products, etc. Suggest you try Amazon and or Google on the topic for additional info. Over the years, I ultimately found that DIY wasn't worth my time for the most part on the small stuff.
One personal equation has evolved for me in my financial life over the years: (I'm soon to be 59 & have been retired for several years) As a young person, saving your pennies does add up, most importantly, develop a clear and simple financial plan that realistically moves you forward toward defined goals (e.g., home down payment, skills acquisition that raises your income, etc.) and of the greatest importance, exercise financial discipline - spend less than you earn. Just my $.02.
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Old 01-30-2009, 02:13 PM
 
11,846 posts, read 21,418,413 times
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I'm not into saving $.01 on a dryer sheet, when I have bigger fish to fry. Never was my style, and never really understood it. People will spend hours out of their day doing things like the OP said but when it comes to the 20% of things that they spend 80% of their money on (housing, utilities, car maintenance & insurance, etc) they overlook those or do nothing about them.
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Old 01-31-2009, 08:25 AM
 
7,970 posts, read 11,623,670 times
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Stay out of stores. Just don't go in. Seriously - if I go into stores and start to wander around - hey there is some seriously nice looking stuff out there! I love those dishes, look at that lamp its on sale, I haven't used fingernail polish in awhile maybe I should buy some and get back into it....just fill in the blanks, next thing you know......

If I need underwear, I go into the store door nearest the underwear and buy underwear. I don't shop for sales because that means shopping and that means buying stuff I don't need and you come out way behind. Near as I can tell from watching tv those "I saved so much money shopping sales" people have a HUGE amount of crap.
You really don't need that much.
Kids need shoes, go to maybe 2 stores - if they can't find something they like in two huge shoe store/depts I'm not dragging them all over town and getting worn down by the "I wants I needs". You want shoes, here are shoes pick a pair, no we aren't going to shop all over for this and that. What do you NEED. We get it we go home.

Same for food shopping. I tend to buy too much and even canned goods go bad (did you know that?)
Buy what's on the list. Leave the store.
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Old 01-31-2009, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
30,646 posts, read 49,311,692 times
Reputation: 19059
Fabric softener?
When you hang your clothes on a line, they are soft, and smell nice too. No need to run a dryer, which consumes power and costs more money.



We bought a tonne of barley, and one of oats, and one of corn this past fall; from farmers during the week of each harvest.

We are now mixing our own livestock feeds, which is lowering our feed expenses to about 25% of what they had been when we were buying pre-mixed feeds from a feed store. I mix them in our cement mixer. Just like I mix our potting soils for our gardens.

Producing our own meat helps to reduce our cost-of-living. As does producing most of our own veggies.

Now we are working on milling these cereal grains for our breads and pastas.

In the last few weeks, I have pretty much perfected making my own fritos corn chips, from scratch.
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:01 AM
 
8,240 posts, read 15,227,004 times
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Make a menu for the week and write up a shopping list based on the menu. It makes a difference.
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 9,393,291 times
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Whenever you can - do it yourself.

Noodles, bread, growing vegetables, raising chickens for eggs and meat, quilting (turning rags into blankets!) - whatever you are good at, or can learn to do, you can do yourself and save lots of $$. We bake our own bread and grow our own vegies and can and freeze and dehydrate them, and it costs us far less. We hunt and fish too. This March we will get chickens again. Fluffy feathers make pillows, and chickens make more chickens. I'll buy a bottle of Pine sol or ammonia and pour a third in a spray bottle, mix it with water, and it cleans just as well and goes 3x as far. Chlorine bleach - ONLY 10% in 90% water - will clean anything and kill everything you don't want. Gotta scrub? Baking soda. Peroxide and baking soda make the best toothpaste... just don't swallow it, peroxide is dangerous, more than a tablespoon can cause serious problems.

As a ceramicist, I bought my own kiln and make my own pottery and even tiles. The expense of the kiln, clay, and supplies is far outweighed by the things I have created in it - not just things to sell, but gifts, decor, and useful items around the house. Three years ago I redid my bathroom in homemade tile - and got the exact color I wanted, as well as a central mural!

Being self-sufficient doesn't mean being ugly or shortchanged. The one "indulgence" I have is - I buy Victoria's Secret underwear when it is on sale. Why? because it lasts 5 times as long as the cheap department store stuff. It stays pretty, too, through hundreds of washings.

Wear it out, use it up, stretch it till it squeaks, and make it do!
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:28 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 53,877,112 times
Reputation: 10527
Quote:
Originally Posted by forest beekeeper View Post
Fabric softener?
When you hang your clothes on a line, they are soft, and smell nice too. No need to run a dryer, which consumes power and costs more money.



We bought a tonne of barley, and one of oats, and one of corn this past fall; from farmers during the week of each harvest.

We are now mixing our own livestock feeds, which is lowering our feed expenses to about 25% of what they had been when we were buying pre-mixed feeds from a feed store. I mix them in our cement mixer. Just like I mix our potting soils for our gardens.

Producing our own meat helps to reduce our cost-of-living. As does producing most of our own veggies.

Now we are working on milling these cereal grains for our breads and pastas.

In the last few weeks, I have pretty much perfected making my own fritos corn chips, from scratch.
How do you get your clothes soft drying them on the line. When I did that they were always stiff. I LOVE my sheets dried on the clothes line-the smell--but the kids have bad allergies and I can't really do that any more if I want them to be able to breath.
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Old 01-31-2009, 10:30 AM
 
20,793 posts, read 53,877,112 times
Reputation: 10527
Quote:
Originally Posted by SCGranny View Post
Being self-sufficient doesn't mean being ugly or shortchanged. The one "indulgence" I have is - I buy Victoria's Secret underwear when it is on sale. Why? because it lasts 5 times as long as the cheap department store stuff. It stays pretty, too, through hundreds of washings.

Wear it out, use it up, stretch it till it squeaks, and make it do!

This is a good point, just because it costs less upfront doesn't mean it is less expensive. When our kids were little I bought them cheep shoes but I would go through 3 or 4 pair of the cheep ones, which ended up costing MORE then buying one pair of good shoes.

For clothes, if it is a classic style that I will be able to wear for a long time, I will spend more on quality, if it is trendy and may only look good for one year, I don't spend a lot of money.
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