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Old 03-09-2015, 02:41 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,135,316 times
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Lots of knowledge amongst this group . . . so I was wondering if we could share ideas/tips about how to live well on a budget (ways of saving money or seeking out bargains) that don't make us feel deprived. In fact, some strategies can actually be fun to pursue.

I am taking up sewing again, and deconstructing garments I have held onto b/c the fabric was so lovely. It is hard to get beautiful, substantial fabric these days.

If it becomes tedious, I won't continue with this pursuit, but thus far, it has been fun.

I have always been into saving money, so I haven't suddenly "discovered" ways to save money. Most I have been doing since I was a college student on limited funds, such as buying bread at the "day old bread store" - and freezing it.

I also make my own yogurt, but that has as much to do with wanting to eliminate preservatives as it does with saving money.

So what things do you do to stretch dollars?
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Old 03-09-2015, 02:53 PM
 
6,211 posts, read 4,715,040 times
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Good quality clothing can be purchased dirt cheap. Walmart has a loaf of plain white bread for $1. Life is too short to spend lots of time and energy trying to save nearly nothing. If you really need to stretch every dollar and penny, can you find a part time job or other source of income instead? BTW, there is a forum on frugal living in the Economics section of City Data
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Old 03-09-2015, 03:15 PM
 
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
7,290 posts, read 4,145,583 times
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Vegetable gardening can really stretch the food budget, especially if you can save seeds or pal up with other gardeners to buy seed in bulk for cheap.

And while it's not cheap up front, investing $200 or so to purchase a small freezer can also save money in the long run, as you can then take advantage of good sales and batch cook to freeze meal-sized portions for your own healthy "microwave dinners."
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Old 03-09-2015, 03:18 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,135,316 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aredhel View Post
Vegetable gardening can really stretch the food budget, especially if you can save seeds or pal up with other gardeners to buy seed in bulk for cheap.

And while it's not cheap up front, investing $200 or so to purchase a small freezer can also save money in the long run, as you can then take advantage of good sales and batch cook to freeze meal-sized portions for your own healthy "microwave dinners."

Yes - both very good ideas. I purchased my first freezer in the 70s. You are right - even a small freezer gives a person a lot of options with buying items on sale or with freezing one's own produce from the garden.

I have been doing more and more container gardening the last few years. It is amazing how much produce you can get out of a container.

Thank you for the tips!
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Old 03-09-2015, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley
18,081 posts, read 22,914,959 times
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Where do I begin?

I have always loved shopping for bargains and treasures. So, once I actually had to do that, I'm lucky that I find it to be fun.

My absolute favorite grocery store is Grocery Outlet. They're basically a thrift store for food. They have some regular staples, but most everything are items they bought at great discount or some store was going out of business, etc.

For beef, which is so expensive now, I look in the clearance section at Safeway every time I go there. My goal is to find decent beef for $3.00/pound or less. I've been able to find 2 roasts in the clearance bins for under $3.00/pound and I come home and throw them in the crockpot. Yum!

Otherwise, I price compare between the stores in my town. I go to Safeway to get bones for my dog - raw beef soup bones are actually cheaper than rawhide and better for her and keep her teeth really clean. I always have to pay full price for them, but they're just $2/pound, which works out to about $1.25 - $1.50/bone for her. While I'm there, I troll the clearance sections in the butcher area. I do avoid fish that's on clearance, though.

For clothes, you can often find new items at Ross Dress For Less for the same price the thrift stores charge for new items nowadays. Ross is also a great place to buy bedding. I just got a set for my twin bed of Perry Ellis sheets with pillow case for $9.99! They're gorgeous and are so luxurious. You can also find art and small furniture at Ross for really cheap.

I think Amazon Prime is worth the membership now. I just joined. The total membership for a year is what I was spending for Netflix alone, which I just canceled. And now, I can just buy one item on Amazon and get free shipping.

You can get a Skype membership that will allow you to call internationally, and you can also use it as your landline and save money on your cell phone minutes. You can also set it so if you get a Skype call, it will forward to your cell phone. So, my friend in Canada can call me using Skype, and it will roll over to my cell phone as a local number here and it's free for her and doesn't cost me extra as long as I haven't gone over my minutes. I can use my Skype subscription to call landlines and mobile phones, too, so when I'm home I use Skype as my landline and save cell minutes. My Skype membership works out to about $5 or $6/month for these features.

Sometimes if I know I'm going to be buying a lot at a particular store, I'll buy a discounted gift card online, and use that to make my purchase. I also use rewards and websites that give you cash back if you click through their website to shop somewhere.

I don't like bothering with coupons, but someone on another forum just taught me about how you can use an app or go online to get Walmart Savings Catcher https://savingscatcher.walmart.com/login which will do the price comparison shopping for you, and just give you the cash back. Haven't used it yet, but I will!

I'll shut up now and let someone else talk LOL.
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Old 03-09-2015, 04:10 PM
 
2,429 posts, read 3,221,383 times
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To be fair to jrkliny, while I can see how the tone of the post could be taken as abrupt we don't know that it was intended that way....and there IS a frugality board for tips about living on a budget....which really is not a retirement issue.

That said, in an attempt to steer the thread in a retirement direction I will say one of the first things I thought of is -- given that I plan to travel A LOT in retirement, and travel can be expensive....is to:

-- travel at off peak, or off season times
-- travel on short notice -- to get great last minute deals

I did that with travel to Israel, which wasn't even on my LONG list of places to go but I saw a deal on a tour and went. And friend who travels for dirt cheap (a WEEK in Australia, air fare and hotel INCLUDED for 1,100, ten-day Mediterranean cruises for 600.00) is educating me about going where the DEAL takes you.

And when a person is retired they may have more freedom to travel like that.

And of course, is a person is of age, there are senior discounts....also -- at ANY age -- if you pay cash for big ticket -- OR MULTIPLE -- items, ASK for a discount. When we bought a four piece leather LR set for my mom we asked, said "Look we're buying four pieces what can you do for us" they took a percentage off. Same for when we bought two bed sets and three mattresses.

Also, barter amongst retired friends for any services or items needed.....trade your expertise for someone else's. Heck trade your blender for their yard work, or your old TV for their dinette set.

OR get the family involved.....if your SIL is an electrician, see if he'll do some freebie work, so you can get your taxes done for free. WHatever....you just have to start to THINK....WHO do I know, what can they do, what can I do, in exchange for what I want or need. You can even trade food. I give my SIL some of my clothes or accessories I don't use ...in exchange for her making me my favorite food dishes that I just don't feel like making.
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Old 03-09-2015, 04:45 PM
 
494 posts, read 879,844 times
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Thanks for starting a great thread, Brokensky!

Here's what I thought of off the top of my head that I do:

Making homemade lentil sprouts to throw in a stir fry. Easy beyond easy to make, probably 10 cents a serving or less, and delicious with paprika, ginger, chili powder, onions, garlic, and a green vegetable like zucchini or bell paper. And garnish with Greek yogurt. (Brokensky, your post is making me wonder whether Greek yogurt would be easy to make at home? And do the containers you mentioned growing vegetables in have to be outdoors? I know one can grow some herbs indoors, but does anyone know if there are any vegetables one could grow in an indoor container?)

And: The library! No need for cable when the library has more DVDs (including recent movies and premium-channel TV series) than I'll ever have time to watch. And no need to buy books, CDs, etc. For retirees who are getting to the point of not wanting (or being able) to drive, many libraries offer tons of great stuff online and also some will deliver library materials to a person's home if they're unable to get to the library. Not to mention, if you are able to get to the library, some will have interesting talks, events, and book discussions that are all free, as well as opportunities to volunteer (volunteering--anywhere that interests you--can be an interesting activity that is free and may be a way of expanding your social circle to include some very nice people).

In addition to DVDs from the library, I also can get great TV reception over the air, and although I rarely have time to watch anything, it might be a great way for a retiree with more time to save some money, just depending on what's available in your location.
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Idaho
1,451 posts, read 1,152,796 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
Life is too short to spend lots of time and energy trying to save nearly nothing. If you really need to stretch every dollar and penny, can you find a part time job or other source of income instead? BTW, there is a forum on frugal living in the Economics section of City Data
I think many folks are well aware of the frugal living forum but not all of the tips there applied to retired folks.

Retired folks certainly have more time than when they were working to spend on finding ways to save money. For example, a working mom stopping at a grocery store after work would not have the time to compare price per unit, to go through the reduced price bins to get items at half price etc.

I am still working but ever since my kid went to college, I have found more time to cook/bake from scratch, to repair broken items, to make things, to search for sale, deals etc. I expect to involve in more DIY projects in my retirement. At the end of last year, I had to use up my vacation time (my company has an use-it-or-lose-it policy). Since we already traveled (looking for a retirement home) in October and December, we just spent a lot of time fixing stuffs around the house, cooking (making big batches of soups, jams, baking breads/bagels etc for the freezer). Our homemade organic whole wheat french bread cost less than 25 cents a loaf (including electricity). We buy bulk wheat berries from a local farm, grind small batch into flour at a time. We have been making homemade bread for the last 20 years or so with the bread maker. Making french bread and bagels take more time so I can only do it during free weekends and vacations. Before my kid was born and when I was in grad school instead of working (my time was more flexible), I gardened extensively, did a lot of canning and sew my own clothes. I will certainly getting back in doing those fun, cost saving activities in my retirement.

It is certainly a valid suggestion for retirees to find part-time job or other source of income if they are in the situation of needing to stretch every dollar and penny. My guess is that whoever can continue to work and need the money has already done so already. There are activities that retired folks who either don't have the stamina for more demanding work or could not find jobs can do to make their life more 'abundant'. I have seen people volunteer at theater, events to get free admission. If you don't own a garden plot, you can try to join a community garden project or just contact the organization to see if some members would let you harvest the produce when they are on vacation or if they have too much. Perusing through freecycle ads, going to estate/tag sale/yard sale or even checking the curbside for usable household items left out for pickup days are certainly worthwhile activities (reduce society waste & help yourself at the same time).
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:44 PM
 
Location: Alabama!
5,849 posts, read 15,934,216 times
Reputation: 4348
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
Good quality clothing can be purchased dirt cheap.
No, it can't. Dirt cheap clothes fit poorly and are made of crappy fabric. Good quality clothing costs money. I used to sew, but quit when the cost of decent fabric and patterns made it cost as much as buying the garment. Now you can't find decent fabric anymore.

For my contribution to the discussion: Look for free things to do. There are always a ton of them! Check your local library, colleges, schools, wildlife refuges, visitors bureaus.
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Old 03-09-2015, 05:53 PM
 
Location: State of Being
35,885 posts, read 67,135,316 times
Reputation: 22373
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoMoreSnowForMe View Post
Where do I begin?

I have always loved shopping for bargains and treasures. So, once I actually had to do that, I'm lucky that I find it to be fun.

My absolute favorite grocery store is Grocery Outlet. They're basically a thrift store for food. They have some regular staples, but most everything are items they bought at great discount or some store was going out of business, etc.

For beef, which is so expensive now, I look in the clearance section at Safeway every time I go there. My goal is to find decent beef for $3.00/pound or less. I've been able to find 2 roasts in the clearance bins for under $3.00/pound and I come home and throw them in the crockpot. Yum!

Otherwise, I price compare between the stores in my town. I go to Safeway to get bones for my dog - raw beef soup bones are actually cheaper than rawhide and better for her and keep her teeth really clean. I always have to pay full price for them, but they're just $2/pound, which works out to about $1.25 - $1.50/bone for her. While I'm there, I troll the clearance sections in the butcher area. I do avoid fish that's on clearance, though.

For clothes, you can often find new items at Ross Dress For Less for the same price the thrift stores charge for new items nowadays. Ross is also a great place to buy bedding. I just got a set for my twin bed of Perry Ellis sheets with pillow case for $9.99! They're gorgeous and are so luxurious. You can also find art and small furniture at Ross for really cheap.

I think Amazon Prime is worth the membership now. I just joined. The total membership for a year is what I was spending for Netflix alone, which I just canceled. And now, I can just buy one item on Amazon and get free shipping.

You can get a Skype membership that will allow you to call internationally, and you can also use it as your landline and save money on your cell phone minutes. You can also set it so if you get a Skype call, it will forward to your cell phone. So, my friend in Canada can call me using Skype, and it will roll over to my cell phone as a local number here and it's free for her and doesn't cost me extra as long as I haven't gone over my minutes. I can use my Skype subscription to call landlines and mobile phones, too, so when I'm home I use Skype as my landline and save cell minutes. My Skype membership works out to about $5 or $6/month for these features.

Sometimes if I know I'm going to be buying a lot at a particular store, I'll buy a discounted gift card online, and use that to make my purchase. I also use rewards and websites that give you cash back if you click through their website to shop somewhere.

I don't like bothering with coupons, but someone on another forum just taught me about how you can use an app or go online to get Walmart Savings Catcher https://savingscatcher.walmart.com/login which will do the price comparison shopping for you, and just give you the cash back. Haven't used it yet, but I will!

I'll shut up now and let someone else talk LOL.
Great suggestions and tips, NoMoreSnow! We don't have a discount grocery, but we do have an ALDI and it is kind of hit and miss for me as to what is a real savings. BUT - we have gotten some great buys there - which I often put in the freezer. Things that I wouldn't ordinarily stock up on, such as tea cakes -- I can freeze and then have when unexpected guests pop in. And they often have staples that are at a great price.

As for meat, yes . . . I am constantly on the search for marked down meat. I agree - I don't mess with the fish -- had a bad experience with that one time.

We have found that Sunday mornings seem to be a great time to hit up the butcher's counter at one of the grocery stores here.

Today I snagged a corned beef on special, which surprised me, as typically I buy them after ST. Paddy's day on sale - and freeze them.

I make a big pot of soup weekly. We have found we really enjoy that. We even enjoy smelling it cook!

I scour the markdowns for wine everywhere I go. Although I certainly know "good wine" -- I have found I enjoy a cheap bottle of chardonnay about as much as a very expensive bottle. So I am constantly grabbing up wine that has been marked down and I try to buy bottles for $7 and under. My grocery store ran a special this month: 12 bottles of wine (any combo of wines) = 20% discount. They usually offer a 10% discount. And, they don't care if the bottles are marked down. So I grabbed everything I could find on sale for $7/bottle.

When the weather warms up, I make Sangria and keep it in the fridge. Love my cheap wine in my Sangria. I also buy cheap champagne and always have a bottle in the fridge, so I can fix mimosas if friends stop by or if hubby and I decide we want a leisurely brunch!

I like feeling I am living an abundant life. So I like using my fine china, silver and crystal on a regular basis. I only use linen napkins (easy to wash!). Nothing like a simple brunch with champagne (or mimosas) served on fine china. I feel like I am at the Waldorf, lol.

And flowers! Fresh flowers make me feel luxurious. I will look for mark downs on flowers in every grocery store . . . I got 2 dozen roses for $6 after Valentine's day. I cut some greenery from the yard and oh my - what a lovely table setting.

I have always lived like this. I don't mind spending money for quality, as quality items last. But I get really excited if I can purchase high quality items as a dirt bottom price. You would be surprised what you can find on Craigslist . . . Got a beautiful mirror recently that I recognized from when I worked in showrooms in the early 80s. It retailed for over $900 back then . . . and I picked it up from a lady renovating her home for $60. It is absolutely gorgeous. I replaced a bathroom mirror with it.
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