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strawblond30 posted 8/10/2014 17:06 PM

Single 3 kids , how can I save money. Besides coupons . Most make you buy more then one at a time I can't afford and I buy off brands if I can. I thinking about shutting off cable & getting Netflix anyone else do this?

FaithFool posted 8/10/2014 17:14 PM

I got rid of cable, don't miss it at all. But I don't have kids.

Books and DVDs you can get on loan for free from the library.

I try and make a point of living close to bus routes and where I can walk or bike everywhere so I don't need a car. I belong to a co-operative and can 'rent' a car anytime I want for $5 an hour.

Again, don't have kids, so that is probably not an option.

I eat a lot of vegetarian meals, don't buy much meat or dairy.

Cook double what I need and freeze the rest.

Get berries for the freezer straight from the farm in bulk.

fireproof posted 8/10/2014 19:29 PM

1. Shut off cable- Internet can stream most shows

2. Plan meals around the specials for the grocery stores
Take advantage of the Bogo

3. Use the public library for DVDs and books. Netflix isn't a need.

4. Maximize laundry

5. Buy off season for clothes

6. Shut off electricity and shut off water when not in use.

fireproof posted 8/10/2014 19:31 PM

1. Shut off cable- Internet can stream most shows

2. Plan meals around the specials for the grocery stores
Take advantage of the Bogo

3. Use the public library for DVDs and books. Netflix isn't a need.

4. Maximize laundry

5. Buy off season for clothes

6. Shut off electricity and shut off water when not in use.

strawblond30 posted 8/10/2014 19:41 PM

Great ideas I plan on shutting off cable .

Myname posted 8/10/2014 19:42 PM

I haven't had cable for years. I have Netflix which I hardly watch. The only thing I miss a little is sports.

Cut back on heat and A/C even if only by a few degrees.

If you can stock up on stuff when it's on sale do so.

You may be able to negotiate a better deal on your internet service. You may have to sign up for a contract though.

If you have debits, pay them off as soon as you can which will save you money in interest.

Think of some of the "luxury" items in your life that you can cut out. Coffee, eating out, etc.

hurtbs posted 8/10/2014 19:46 PM

I cut off cable wholly and use Hulu Plus and Netflix. It's only $14/month.

Can you shop big box stores like Costco or Sam's Club? Even if you don't have a membership I bet you could find a friend that does. I'm single but use it for my paper products, dog food, and big proteins (fish, chicken breast; I just throw it in the freezer).

Eat at home as much as possible.

Good luck!

Nature_Girl posted 8/10/2014 20:41 PM

I don't do coupons because they aren't for brands I use, I have to buy too many in order for the coupon to be effective, and the extreme amount of time necessary to devote to effectively couponing takes away time from my kids. Plus, I hate doing it. Too piddly.

I got rid of cable and have Netflix. We have not missed TV at all.

I am pretty hard line about not having lights on in rooms we're not occupying.

In the winter I keep the house way colder than most people can tolerate, but at least I can afford the bill. We bundle up here!

I do not water the lawn. It's dead, but I can live with that because I can afford the water bill for the humans who live here.

I buy most seasonal fruits at a farmer's roadside stand, rather than the high price at the supermarket.

Sadly, we are now on SNAP, which used to be called food stamps. Also, my kids are on the free & reduced price lunch program at school, which also gets them a free breakfast.

I buy their clothes at the resale shop, except for shoes. They do get new shoes, but only at Payless Shoes. I cannot afford anywhere else.

They just got their school supplies at a charity event. They were blessed with almost everything they need!

Crescita posted 8/10/2014 21:28 PM

Figure out your spending patterns and "issues".

I can't buy most things in bulk because I either consume more, or tire of it quickly.

I also struggle with the advertisement effect of coupons. Essentially they lead me to buy things I don't want or need.

I've found my grocery budget stretches the furthest with a weekly mindset. I buy only enough perishables to be consumed in one week, and limit my variety. If I give myself too many options, well do I want oatmeal, bagels, or yogurt for breakfast? The cheap item, oatmeal, will not be consumed, half of the bagels will be tossed, and probably a good amount of the yogurt. Some people have self control. I don't.

Lists might help if you are given to impulse buys, or just shopping less frequently.

As for fixed expenses, if any are inflated, shop around. Spending more than $50 a month on cell service is rarely necessary, $50 on internet, $20 on entertainment.

Mint is great for figuring out where your money is going and a good place to start if you aren't sure where you should be cutting back.

Pentup posted 8/10/2014 23:47 PM

1. Plan a weeks worth of meals. Use your stores list of what's on sale to determine your menus. I make a list, make sure I have what I need for the meals, then fix something off the list depending on what sounds good that day. My grocery bill is consistently less than my friends because I rarely go to the store in between and I shop from the list.
2. Use the farmers market if you have one, freeze extra while the prices are low.
3. Make your own laundry detergent. I spend about $10 a YEAR on laundry detergent now. Takes about an hour of my time a year to make it. It works great.
4. Google frugal living. There are several blogs with good ideas out there.
5. I rarely use paper towels and napkins, almost never paper plates. I use dish towels, cloth napkins and real plates.
6. Check your other bills. I set aside one afternoon a year to sit down with all my bills and see where there could be savings. It typically saves me $200-$600 a year. I have found that I could change my insurance, reduce fees for some cc, etc.

Want2help posted 8/11/2014 01:08 AM

I have a kid, and I shut off cable and just went with Netflix long ago. We also grow as much of our own food as possible (the garden start up costs CAN be high, but if you do it right it's not and it pays for itself quickly).

We also shop farmer's markets for food, thrift stores for clothes, etc.

We're not single, but we're both college students.

[This message edited by Want2help at 1:09 AM, August 11th (Monday)]

Alex CR posted 8/11/2014 05:29 AM

Haven't had kids home for awhile, but we never had cable. The library has books, videos, DVD's just about anything you need and it made more sense to us 'cause we decided when we were going to sit with our kids and watch a movie...then the tube was off and not a continuing presence in the house. Today, our adult kids use Netflix and the internet for anything they want to watch.

We did a lot of the ideas already mentioned here and also grew vegetables in our yard.

One of the most frustrating things I remember was gift giving for birthdays and holidays. There was just never enough money. I can't remember where we found the idea of making coupon books, but we used them for years.

Coupons could be for anything the gift giver was capable of providing. They expired in a year and were dated and signed by both the giver and the recipient when redeemed. We used to give the kids coupons for time, one on one, with my husband or me, or a whole hour reading the book of their choice, of a 15 minute back scratch...or a late night up and even a whatever you want to eat day... and the kids became very creative giving us special coupons too. I always loved the "you can read for two hours and we promise not to fight". We laugh about it today and the kids told us they never had a clue we used coupons because we didn't have money...

Myname posted 8/11/2014 09:12 AM

Make your own laundry detergent. I spend about $10 a YEAR on laundry detergent now. Takes about an hour of my time a year to make it. It works great.

Hey Pentup, any chance you could spill the beans on how to do this.

Gottagetthrough posted 8/11/2014 09:35 AM

cut off cable and just do Netflix.

I second vegetarian meals

buy veggies that are in season. Radishes, green peppers, etc are cheaper than other veggies and just as filling

Aldi is a great grocery store around here. Lots of savings, especially on veggies and fruit

If you can, don't buy clothes or toys. I ask my in laws for their kids hand me downs, and my MIL loves to shop, so we get new clothes & shoes when we visit. Thrift stores are great if you need something. Kids don't care, and dont remember where their shirt was bought (or who's hand-me-down it is)

With toys, I stop myself from buying anything. Family will spoil the kids at birthday and Christmas, and for Easter I buy them art supplies and playdough. I rarely just buy a toy for no reason.

Try to consolidate trips-- have several days where you dont go anywhere, and then do all of your shopping or errands on the same day.

If your have alone time, use that to grocery shop. I end up spending way more with the kids than if I go alone.

Coupons can be good if you get stuff you use. I buy generic, too, and not a lot of coupons out there, but I do check and have found things. Lowered my grocery bill one week by $7. Not a huge amount, but every penny helps.

Oh! And try to grocery shop with cash. Then you cant go over your budget

metamorphisis posted 8/11/2014 09:48 AM

One thing that saved me a ton was to switch the way I grocery shop. I used to make a menu and shop. Now I look at the sale flyers and make menus from that. If chicken is on sale, I buy extra at the sale price, and not again until it's back on sale (usually a 2-3 month rotation). If ground beef isn't on sale, too bad for me, I adjust the menus and we don't buy it until it is.
My daughter is vegetarian and we try to eat healthy so we don't use much meat anyway. For example, a 4 bean chili is just as satisfying as one with meat, so I don't use any.

We drastically reduced most paper products. Cloth napkins for the table, dish cloths for spills. I do have a dog and many kids in the house so I will keep a few rolls of paper towels on hand, but they are easy to cut out if you want to.

We still have cable but I don't think we need it. The issue is that if we get Netflix or Hulu or whatever here, we don't have unlimited internet so we'd burn through our data cap with streaming.

Cell phone bills make me cringe. The second I can get out of these darn contracts I will. We're paying $230 a month for three phones . There is a much cheaper company with unlimited everything that would be about $120 a month for all of us. But they weren't in our area when we signed our contract so I am stuck for another year.

Where we really get hit is gas here. We have a little car and between my husbands work commute and trips to the cottage (7 hours away) we are spending over $500 a month or more this summer. Blech. We want a larger vehicle but because we put so many miles on the car we really need to look for fuel efficiency.

GabyBaby posted 8/11/2014 10:13 AM

Make your own laundry detergent. I spend about $10 a YEAR on laundry detergent now. Takes about an hour of my time a year to make it. It works great.

OMG YES!!!! I just finished using up a double batch that I made a while back.
I prefer dry detergent over liquid (the liquid seems to lose potency over time).

Laundry Detergent
Yield: approx 128 loads
(Use 1 heaping tablespoon per load)

Materials:
• 2 cups washing soda (bleach replacement / stain remover)
• 2 cups of Borax (laundry booster)
• 2 four ounce bars of soap (~2 cups), grated (or use Ivory Snow to eliminate the grating/grinding steps)
• a grater
• spice/coffee grinder

Directions:
1. If you have whole bars, use 2- 4oz bars. If not, you can weigh out approximately 16 oz of random chunks.
2. Grate soap on a cheese grater.
3. Add the washing soda and borax. (Soap doesn’t grind well without the dry soda in the grinder to help break it up.) Put batches in your grinder and make the granules tiny.
4. Store in an air-tight container.

Tips and FAQ
-You do not need a dedicated spice grinder, bowls, etc. Just run them through the dishwasher.
-The finer the grind, the better your detergent will dissolve
-The older and more dried out your soap, the easier it is to grate and grind
-I grab bar soap with a scent that I like from the dollar store to cut the cost even more.

Fabric Softener
Materials:
• 6 cups of water
• 3 cups white vinegar
• 2 cups inexpensive hair conditioner (such as Suave or White Rain)
• Empty gallon jug/container

Directions:
1. Mix water, vinegar, and hair conditioner in a 1 gallon container and stir. Do not shake it as it will cause foaming.
2. Use the same amount you would normally use in a rinse cycle or spritz it on a wash cloth and throw into dryer with your clothes.

The ingredients run about $10-15 (here in California), but they last a very long time (about a year for my household of 4 adults + pets).

[This message edited by GabyBaby at 10:27 AM, August 11th (Monday)]

norabird posted 8/11/2014 10:52 AM

I read the Mr Money Mustache blog about spending/saving--I don't have the same aggressive targets, but it checks my spending. There are forums there that are helpful. I keep meaning to join costco for the food savings and I'm not getting cable at my new place, plus I switched to a pre-paid cellphone plan. Start with small steps.

Pentup posted 8/11/2014 13:35 PM

Gaby, I like the liquid, not sure why.

myName, make 5 gallons at a time using the Duggar family recipe (you can google it). I do grate the Fels Naptha soap, but I like the smell. This time I added about 1 cup of oxiclean which upped the price a little, but I have hard water and I think my whites are a little brighter with this batch.

I swear by it and have converted multiple others who have tried it.

Myname posted 8/11/2014 13:45 PM

Thanks Pentup. I have to agree with you, I'm a liquid detergent kind of guy.

GabyBaby posted 8/11/2014 13:49 PM


For some reason, I've always had a preference for dry (even before making my own).
I think it is really cool (wet or dry) to make your own. I've converted quite a few people as well.

You can make your own dishwashing detergent as well.

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