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The Tightwad Gazette: 10 Painless Ways to Save $100 This Year

I’ve really enjoyed reading the first few chapters of . Believe it or not, I’ve not read any
of the three volumes before. It’s rather fun to hear from another
frugal zealot and I have a feeling I’ll be gleaning a lot from this.
More than anything, I’m being inspired all over again as to why I am
frugal in the first place.

One of my favorite parts of the book so far was Amy’s list of 10 Painless Ways to Save $100 This Year:

1) Purchase 10 articles of clothing at thrift shops and yard sales this year instead of paying department store prices.

Am
I the only person who automatically zeros in on the clearance racks
even if I have a gift card or someone else is paying? I think I can
count on one hand (if that!) the times I’ve paid full price for any
article of clothing. I usually head straight for the 50-75% off racks
and those are often priced much more than I can bring myself to pay.

I
am so frugal that I go on thrift store clearance days or dollar days.
Unless I really, really love the item, $1 is about my top price to pay
for any item in a thrift store.

Garage sales are my favorite of all – especially when it’s the kind where everything is marked under $1!

2) Hang four loads of laundry per week instead of using the dryer.

Am
I also the only frugal person who doesn’t hang their clothes? I know I
should, I really do. I just keep coming up with excuses for not getting
the right equipment to do it. It’s on my list of changes to implement
this year.

3) Once a month make a pizza from scratch instead of having one delivered.

Better yet, teach your family to like
more than restaurant pizza and than you’ll pretty much never have to
order out. We order pizza about once a year around here and I always
decide it’s really not worth bothering. My
is so much better!

4) Write a good letter instead of making a monthly long distance phone call.

Hmm,
does email count? That’s even cheaper than a letter, though not as
personal. Most folks, like us, have free long distance on our cell
phones, though, so this one is a bit out-dated.

5) Reduce your soda consumption by four cans per week.

My
suggestion? Learn to drink water and like it. It’s better for your
health anyway. Don’t get me started on my soapbox on soda addictions,
though…

6) Bake one batch of bread per week.

When it’s
easy to make, I have no excuse. Except the excuse that we’ve not gotten
completely accustomed to homemade bread for sandwiches. Any other time,
though, we much prefer homemade.

7) Save $50 each on two children’s birthday parties by making homemade decorations, cake, wrapping paper, and one present.

Or be a minimalist like me and skip the decorations, give the gift of time or a special outing, and bake a simple cake.

8) Reduce your smoking by three cigarettes per day (or give up smoking altogether and save even more).

No
offense to anyone, but this is about the biggest money-pit ever. And
that’s not even talking about what it does to your health.

9)
Reduce your whole milk consumption by two gallons per week,
substituting dry milk in cooking, homemade cocoa mix, and in
half-and-half for drinking.

We’ve
just decided to cut out milk in most instances except on cereal and in cooking (I
sometimes water that down, too.) so we go through about a half gallon
per week. I’ve heard that dry milk costs have gone up so it’s not
really much cheaper anymore to substitute. Can anyone confirm or deny
that?

(Note: We eat a combination of yogurt, cheese, nuts, beans, and green leafy vegetables in place of drinking lots of milk. We prefer this, and from the research I’ve done, our bodies actually assimilate these forms of calcium better than the calcium in milk. I know some disagree on this, but let’s just agree to disagree, okay?)

10) Pack four inexpensive school lunches per week.

We
don’t have to bother with school lunches right now, but my husband does
almost always take his lunch to work. We’ve figured up that this saves
us at least $1,000 a year!

Inspired by Amy’s list, I wrote my own list of Read it and see other people’s lists too. What would your list say?

The most encouraging thing to remember is that a penny saved, is more than a penny earned. Why? Well, check out
excellent and simplistic explanation. Quite the motivation for focusing
on reducing your outgo first and foremost before seeking to increase
your income!

We can make millions of dollars, but if we don’t
know how to wisely steward it, we’ll be no better off than someone who
makes below minimum wage. In fact, we might even be worse off than them.

Another great quote from

"The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket book."
-Frank McKinney Hubbard

 What are some painless things you do in your home that save you $100 or more each year? Tell us in the comments, I’d love to hear!

Originally published January 2008.

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65 Comments

  • julia says:

    Crystal, what type of bread machine do you have? I’ve been wanting to invest in one…

  • angela says:

    I consider myself pretty frugal, getting better especially with grocery shopping – but right now we only have 1-2 loads of laundry a week so I couldn’t even hang 4 loads on a line.
    Plus I live in Cleveland, OH. We don’t always have the best weather for doing that.

  • says:

    Awesome!! thanks for this. I’m gonna pass this on to my readers too!!

  • says:

    We plan our meals which means less last minute eating out. Also, we rarely go to a bookstore because we will be too tempted to buy so we go to the library instead.

    By the way, we still dry our clothes in the dryer too.

  • tammy says:

    crystal–i see that you say your milk consumption is down to a half gallon per week…that amazes me! my children love to drink milk, we go thru at least 2 to 3 gallons per week. what does your family drink other than water? all i drink is water and have my coffee in the morning, my husband is a soda drinker, which i have been trying to get him over to more water, but the kids are stuck on the milk!

  • says:

    I use exercise videos to work out at home. I figure that the cost of the videos is minimal compared to a $300-400 annual fee for working out in a gym, and saves us gas and travel time as well. I usually try to reward myself by allowing a new purchase of an exercise video ($10-15) if I’ve done a current video for awhile. I also scored 8 videos for $8 once at a library sale from my favorite series, the FIRM.

  • says:

    I make a commitment to try to check out a book from the library if possible before considering buying it. This saves us hundreds of dollars a year at least!

  • Julie says:

    Well, Crystal, you got me hooked on visiting the local recycling facility (or as my husband says, “dumpster diving” 🙂 for coupons and I’ve come across perfectly good magazines there too! It’s no messier than sifting through our own newspaper for the coupon booklets, and I feel good about being resourceful, re-using, and saving money. I usually come home with an armful of coupon booklets.

    We save a ton of money by not paying for television. We watch DVDs and podcasts on our computer. Anytime I can borrow a movie from a friend instead of renting it, I do.

  • says:

    I forgot, I also try and make coffee at home and only go to Starbucks if I have a gift card or once in a blue moon. We also make our own hot chocolate mix in the winter and give it as gifts to people. I suppose if you add up all the times we would go out to get coffee/hot chocolate this would add up to a good amount.

  • says:

    Use the library for books and movies

    Carpool. Even if you don’t carpool to work (try!), try to carpool when going to parties, the mall, whatever. It’s often more fun that way anyhow.

  • says:

    I have 5 ideas at my blog including free movie rentals, $$ saved on soft drinks, getting cheap, but awesome Christmas gifts, etc.

  • says:

    Powdered Milk: I compared the price at Aldis and there was virtually no difference (at least in my area). It might be convenient to have it on hand so you don’t have to make a special trip to the store just for milk, but it won’t save you any money. Plus, I can’t bring myself to pay $12 for a box when I’m on such a small weekly grocery budget anyway.

    Hanging Clothes: As you know, there are some areas where you have to balance time and money, and it is well worth the money (to me) to use a dryer. I’m a single mom working outside the home full time. I’d rather use that time to do something else.

    Thanks for this post. I’m sure there are areas where we can all cut back, and those vary from person to person.

  • says:

    I’d love to hang our laundry on a line, but we live in a very dusty area. I invested $10 in a set of “dryer balls”, which lift the laundry as it tumbles. These cut the drying time by at least 1/3 on each load and the balls are supposed to last for years.

    Also, I don’t buy greeting cards to go along with gifts. Instead, we decorate blank cards (sold in craft stores, pack of 6-10 for less than 1 manufactured greeting card) or make a little tag from cardstock. This is a real money saver when it ocmes to DS’s friends. They aren’t interested in the card anyway!

  • says:

    We have started buying milk straight from the farmer. I know, I know… whole milk is bad. Still we love it and it only costs $2 a gallon! We also go get it only when we are already driving past his farm so we are not wasting gas.

  • jennifer says:

    I hang dry about half my laundry on racks in my basement. I bought one rack @ Walmart ($10) and received 2 from our local Freecycle. Due to my son’s breathing issues, it’s the only way I can “line dry”. This winter, I plan to bring then upstairs to a spare room to help with humidity.

    My copy of the Tightwad Gazette is sitting right here at my desk…I should get reading!

  • Michele says:

    Just curious if your milk consumption is still this low as your girls get older? Our family is the same size as yours and we go through two gallons per week, even though we drink water with meals.

  • Jan says:

    1. we get books and videos from the library or get a free rental per week from Redbox.

    2. we don’t drink milk either

    3. we always pack a lunch wherever we go- so we don’t have to hit fast food- out shopping- at the zoo, etc.

    4. we bought a family zoo membership and we get in free to several zoos and museums- I think it more than paid for itself

    5. I only buy children clothes on clearance or at resale stores- I rarely if ever buy clothes for myself at all

  • says:

    I agree with Jennifer. And sometimes after I’ve checked out a book from the library, I realize that I don’t even care to own it anymore. I check out crafting books all the time, glean a few ideas from them, and then I’m done. Sometimes I even photocopy a great knitting pattern or something of that nature. That’s something like .40 instead of $25!

  • says:

    You are not alone on the laundry drying. Thanks to allergies putting them outside is not an option. My son would get way too sick with all of the pollen/grass/mold issues.

    Thanks for the tips. It was interesting to see how many we already do without even knowing it.

    One item we do is to take full advantage of our library. Not only with books, but CDs and DVDs as well.

  • says:

    We line dry all of our clothes when the weather is warm enough. I just toss them in the dryer for 5-10 minutes at the end to fluff them up. As a little game with myself, I have been trying to get our electric bill down each month by shutting off lights and not using the dryer. Last month we saved $22!

  • says:

    We also don’t hang out our laundry. I know I could save by doing this, but I just can’t get over the fact that the clothes just don’t feel the same after hanging out to dry.

    We were able to save a ton of money this year by buying our daughter’s clothes second hand but in beautiful condition. I did this through garage sales and clothing sales mom’s in my mom’s group did out of their homes.

  • Jennifer says:

    I buy dry milk and reconstitute it to use in cooking and baking. My husband and I aren’t brave enough to try drinking it straight, but it works fine in cooking, you can make evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, whipped topping, etc. with it, so its nice to have around for that reason too.
    I did a little cost analysis. A container of dry milk I bought at Aldi cost me about $13, and it makes 5 gallons. That is $2.60 a gallon. Around here milk is up to almost $4 a gallon, so the savings isn’t huge, but it is significant enough to be worth it to me.
    However, if your time was limited I can see how it would be more of an inconvenience than a way to save.

  • Margery says:

    When we get tired of drinking water, I love to make unsweetened herbal tea, and drink it iced! Very refreshing, no caffeine, and no calories. Add in some decaf. green tea, and you get a great anti-oxiant boost. If I just need to have a little sweetener, I add about 1/4 cup 100% fruit juice to a tea glass full. It’s better for you than white sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and I usually pick up a bottle occasionally on sale, and with a coupon.

  • says:

    We eat almost every meal at home! My husband packs his lunch almost everyday which alone saves us $30-$50 a week!

    We also use the library to get all of our books and movies.

    We also try not to turn the air conditioning on, unless it is unbearable.

    I only shop the clearance ranks. I don’t even know what the front of a store looks like. I head directly to the back.

  • Pam says:

    Your family doesn’t drink much milk! Our little girls like to drink it quite a bit and since it’s a healthy choice, something I encourage.

  • says:

    A few ideas that we’ve done:

    1. Use washcloths and rags instead of paper towels for dusting, general cleaning, etc.- wash and re-use!

    2. Stay home one day a week (see my blog for my take on gas prices)

    3. Give homemade gifts or gift cards for services- for baby showers I love to give freezer meals and gift cards for babysitting.

    4. Save used printer paper and cut it up for scrap paper or save whole sheets to use again- I always save whole sheets with printed coupons I didn’t use and print my shopping lists on the other side- I just keep a stash by the printer.

    5. Turn out the lights, turn down the a/c, and turn off the water! It’s those little things that can make a difference.

  • says:

    I love to hang clothes on the line so weather permitting that is what we do. My husband also bought me a very large wooden drying rack which has been a huge blessing.

    With eight children we need all the room we can get. I hope to buy another one this year.

    We use the wooden rack in the summer out on our deck for all of the small things that would take more time to hang on the line. Things like socks, under garments, and wash clothes.

    In the winter I like to use this rack in our basement right in front of the pellet stove to dry our clothes.

    The one very nice thing about a wooden rack is that the children can easily help hang clothes on these for me and remove them when they are dry and fold them and put away!

  • says:

    Hi,

    We are pretty big on money saving at our house. One thing we do is to plan a menu and grocery shopping trip and really stick to it. Just this one thing helps tremendously!

    I’ve gathered together a few of my favorite money saving experiences here.

    Take Care,

    Trixie

  • says:

    Just a note about hanging the laundry– I live in Alabama where it is HOT and HUMID in the summer. Our power bill can be outrageous just because of the A/C. Running the dryer not only uses electricity, but it heats up our house considerably making the A/C run more and is harder on the unit. I have “compromised” with my dryer– as I move the wet clean laundry to the dryer, I throw shirts and pants/shorts/jeans to a basket and dry everything else (towels, pjs, underwear, socks, etc.) I then use the hangars (we use plastic only) and hang up all the shirts to dry. (We don’t have an outside line, so I usually line them along the ironing board or on door frames.) The pants I hang on a metal, expandable rack. The benefit of the hangars is that they are ready to hang in the closet and the kids can pick theirs out and take them to put away themselves (we have 6 kids.)
    To me, keeping the house cool that way is pretty painless…! We save probably 15 dryer loads a week this way!

  • bezzie says:

    Per dry vs. “wet” milk. I buy dry because our family doesn’t consume it fast enough. So if I buy a gallon–it goes bad before we use it up and we waste a lot. With dry I can pick how much I make up at a time, and while it has gone up in price (I’m not sure how it compares to wet milk gallon per gallon). In our house where it doesn’t get consumed a lot, we’re not literally pouring our money down the drain.

  • says:

    Oh and I meant to add about the milk– our ped said long ago that our kids didn’t need near as much milk as we thought they did. He said by eating the usual cheese, yogurt, and healthy diet they get more than enough.
    I buy one gallon of milk a week for our family of 8– for cereal. Sometimes we run out and I will get another… so it’s really like a gallon and 1/3 a week I suppose if you average it out…
    They love it and would drink it all day but they know they aren’t allowed due to the fact that it’s expensive. We ONLY drink water– filtered and cold from the fridge.

  • says:

    dry milk is actually MORE expensive than buying milk on sale in my area. we use about one gallon a week, and I stock up when it’s on sale. my best tip is just not to go in stores! I love shopping as a recreational pursuit, but if I just stay away from the store, I don’t spend $!

  • says:

    I too only use milk for cooking and an occasional bowl of cereal. (I buy about one box a month or less) My toddler is the only one who drinks about 10-12 ounces a day. Most weeks we only go through about a half gallon or so. (picked up from a local farm!) When you really research it, milk isn’t the healthiest option. Especially if you buy conventional milk.

    I also stay home a lot. With gas costs rising, it’s the best way for me to save money. I go out once a month for groceries (main staples) and right now I fill up on produce at a local farmers market that I stop at on my way to get milk each week. Other than one trip per week, we just go to church on Sundays. So really I only leave the house about 8 times per month. Good thing the Lord has taught me how to love being home!!

    And after reading your post on bread last year, I stopped buying bread completely. We’ve all gotten used to it just fine, even for sandwiches!

    We also cut out a lot of convenience foods like chips and ice cream. I used to buy them all the time, and now only chips a couple times a month (down from 6-8) and only make my own homemade ice cream once every couple months instead of a half gallon a week.

  • says:

    How do we save more than $100 per year?

    1. Biking or walking to the store/library/bank.
    2. Borrowing movies from a friend with a huge collection.
    3. We don’t really buy our kids’ clothing since they have gotten endless garbage bagfulls of hand-me-downs from church friends. But if we buy it’s for pennies at the thrift store.
    4. Coupon shopping at Walgreens (getting bathroom products free)
    5. I make gift baskets out of our freebies for nice, but inexpensive birthday and Christmas gifts for our families.
    6. I collect clothes or items I find brand new at yard sales with the tags on them and store them for the next church baby shower or birthday party.
    7. Shopping at more than one grocery store to get the weekly loss leaders.
    8. Not having a cell phone or cable.
    9. Not having pets.
    10. Being enormously pregnant. (So tired there is little motivation to shop, therefore I stay home more and spend less!)
    11. Making a large supper Saturday night so that I am not tempted to persuade hubby to go out to eat every Sunday after church. The leftovers are ready and waiting and so, so, so much cheaper!
    12. Not buying whatever we want but setting limits and carefully considering a purchase beforehand.
    13. Trying to eat healthier. This stops me from buying things at the store that we really don’t need (candy, ice-cream, processed meals,) even if it is very cheap or I have coupons for it.
    14. Accepting freebies from others. Often people at church will give us veggies from their gardens, adult clothing, household or baby items, etc. We don’t ever ask for anything but we are always appreciative of these blessings. Just this week I got about 100 free Huggies diapers from a gal at church whose daughter became potty-trained and she didn’t need them!
    15. Yard-sales! I love yard sale shopping and I go into the summer with an idea of what I want to find and what our household needs. I have found most things on my list this year and since the sales in our town are so good, I will hardly pay more than a quarter or fifty cents for most items, even new! I try to spend one hour, and only $1 in gas and I can usually hit an average of 6 sales in that time in our little town!
    By getting toys or gifts or books for the kids or storage tubs or baking dishes at about 1/10th or 1/20th of the retail price, I have saved us thousands of dollars!
    16. Stocking up on greeting cards at yard sales or clearances or making them myself! I send at least 50 cards out each year, not including Christmas, to relatives for birthdays/babies/sympathy, etc. If I purchased every card full price that would be around $100-$150 per year, not even counting stamps! Instead I probably spend $10 or less for 50 cards by finding them at 10-20 cents each.

  • For those who asked about milk:

    We eat a combination of yogurt, cheese, nuts, beans, and green leafy vegetables in place of drinking lots of milk. We prefer this, and from the research I’ve done, our bodies actually assimilate these forms of calcium better than the calcium in milk. I know some disagree on this, but let’s just agree to disagree, okay?

    Oh and in place of milk, we drink water we have a Berkey filter that we *love*!) and sometimes fresh lemonade or iced tea. In the Winter, we drink lots of hot herbal teas, too.

  • Lana Dixon says:

    We use the frozen pizza crust dough balls from Sam’s Club for our homemade pizza. This really gives you a pizza from out taste for a fraction of the cost. We cut one thawed dough ball in half for 2-12″ pizzas. The dough balls are about $1 each although only a few months ago they were only 75 cents each. They come in a case of 20 so they last along time. Most of the work here is remembering to get the dough out of the freezer after breakfast in the morning. I spray the inside of the plastic bag with Pam and put a twist tie on the bag. Leave it an the counter until supper time. The kids make the pizzas at our house on Sat nights so I get a break. Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. (The box gives you no insdtructions on how to prepare the crusts so we had to learn by trial and error.)

  • says:

    I am the queen of free entertainment for my kids. We go down town on Saturdays to hang out at the farmer’s market, there’s always street preformers and I make sure I park at the top of the parking garage so we can take tha glass elevator all the way down (not my favorite place to park but the kids love it) We’ve also gone downtown during the week to play in the fountains.

    We go to the library almost weekly and to one of their classes/craft times/story times etc about once a month. This way I rarely buy books, cds, movies or computer games!

    I buy used curriculum and manipilatives for homeschooling and use the library and internet for resources instead of buying our own. I could write a book on how to homeschool for less then $100/year!

    We don’t have cable.

    We only buy our kids 3 gifts each for Christmas (because Jesus got 3 gifts) okay okay we do buy them a “Santa” gift there’s a long story there…but they don’t believe in santa…like I said long story, lol!

    Okay I could go on and on…I’ll just have to blog about it!!

  • says:

    1. I iron and starch my husbands work pants, shirts, and jeans

    2. I never pay retail for any clothing item!

    3. My husband hunts and we eat deer meat instead of beef(it is a healthy substitute to beef, especially greasy ground beef!)

    4. We bring our own soda or tea with us when we are going on a trip to avoid those drink stops at gas stations!

    5. I try to stay out of the store, even thrift stores because every little bit adds up! When we stay home we are amazed at how much we can save!

    Those are just 5 little ways that make a difference!

  • Michelle Z. says:

    I wish Amy was still writing about her frugal lifestyle. I’d love to hear what/how her family is doing now.

  • says:

    1. I iron and starch my husbands work pants, shirts, and jeans

    2. I never pay retail for any clothing item!

    3. My husband hunts and we eat deer meat instead of beef(it is a healthy substitute to beef, especially greasy ground beef!)

    4. We bring our own soda or tea with us when we are going on a trip to avoid those drink stops at gas stations!

    5. I try to stay out of the store, even thrift stores because every little bit adds up! When we stay home we are amazed at how much we can save!

    Those are just 5 little ways that make a difference!

  • jennifer says:

    I’ve already commented but I forgot:

    I no longer buy paper napkins. I had a few cloth napkins I bought super cheap at Walmart and again, Freecylers came through for me (I got about 8-10 more that way). Even found some for $.25/piece at Goodwill. They don’t match but it’s just normally three of us here anyway!

  • says:

    I love the frugal zealot! I’ve read all 3 volumes of The Tightwad Gazette.

    I do a LOT of things to save money, but one that isn’t very common that we do is to make our own yogurt using powdered milk. The tartness takes some getting used to, but it’s healthy and yummy, and cheap.

  • Marsha says:

    Crystal–
    I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who considers “regular” thrift store prices too high! And if it’s “only” 50 percent off, I usually take the chance that it will be there next week for $1. I don’t always succeed, but enough that I get most of my and my two sons’ clothes for $1. (My husband is big & tall, so I can rarely get such good deals for him.)

    I do hang about half of our clothes to dry. My husband installed a 6 feet long pole near the ceiling of the laundry room so many items are hung on hangers from the pole. If the clothes aren’t drying fast enough, I use a fan to blow on them. It doesn’t cost much to run a fan–the main expense of the dryer is heat generation.

    I love the Tightwad Gazette and was a subscriber to the newsletter back in the 90’s–I still have my original copies. I give Amy the credit for teaching me frugality so that I could quit my professional job and stay home with my baby son 15 years ago, even though I was earning about half the family income. Nowadays, you’re helping me a lot as I continue to build our family’s wealth through frugality. Thank you!

  • says:

    I used to hang my laundry out, until I moved to Virginia. After having my laundry rained on several times the first summer, I gave up.

    The TWG books were some of my early inspiration into frugal living. I rarely eat out, since I work from home, neither does hubby, we have a teenager, and he can get a good-sized lunch at school for $1.40. Because of the quantity that this kid eats these days, I’m not even going to *try* to beat that price.

    Always good to have a refresher…

  • says:

    I used to hang my laundry out, until I moved to Virginia. After having my laundry rained on several times the first summer, I gave up.

    The TWG books were some of my early inspiration into frugal living. I rarely eat out, since I work from home, neither does hubby, we have a teenager, and he can get a good-sized lunch at school for $1.40. Because of the quantity that this kid eats these days, I’m not even going to *try* to beat that price.

    Always good to have a refresher…

  • says:

    I love the Tightwad Gazette. Whenever I feel like I am loosening up on my frugal ways, I re-read it. This is a great resource for people on all levels of frugality. PS – I love your blog, I read it every day. You truly practice what you preach and that says a lot. Also – I have used your strategy about praying for things you need – I needed some formula for my baby and I got a sample in the mail today! Also, I was out of hamburger, but it was a budget buster. I found 1 large family pack at our local Albertson’s for $1.66/pound it was about 5 1/2 pounds and I took it home and cooked all of it. Somehow, I think it multiplied :), I was able to package 16 portions in freezer bags!

  • Lenora says:

    Do it yourself and save money. Learn how to do:

    1. Routine car maintenance, change oil, check tires, change filters, check fluid levels, wash car…etc.

    2. Cut your own grass and/or teach children. Start children out with a push lawnmower.

    3. Switch to CFL light bulbs.

  • says:

    The tightwad gazette books are a great read. They were also an easy read when I had a newborn in the house. I could read one part and then put it down and read it later, and not wonder where I had left off.

    A recommendation: If you have people who are resistant to frugality, get them to read the third book first. By that time, she had a journalist helping her write and it is written in a much better tone than the first. I still think they were all fun to read, but the beginning of the first book can easily turn someone off.

    Also, she combined all three books the last months of her newsletter and put it in the “complete” tightwad gazette book. Those last months have some wonderful information.

  • says:

    I purchase lots of milk when I can find it for $1.99 per gallon… and freeze it! Definitely cheaper than dry milk.

  • says:

    I understand about getting your calcium from yogurt, cheese, nuts, beans, and green leafy vegetables, but how on earth do you get your 3 year old and your baby to eat green leafy vegetables and nuts?

    My 18 month old son is a normal picky toddler, and while he loves yogurt and cheese, I can’t imagine getting him to eat salad and nuts at his age. Sometimes he’ll eat beans, but we prefer not to to eat them daily, so I do give him a cup of milk with breakfast every morning.

  • says:

    We pray our clothes in around here. All during the summer, I pray for some hand-me-downs for the kids that need them. We rarely buy new clothes for our 5 kids because God is so good to answer our prayers in this area.

    • Kim P. says:

      My fave $$ savers are:
      1. Using $$ saving apps like: ibotta, checkout 51, Walmart, RetailMeNot dot com (has stores coupons etc stored there, if in a store – look up the store on the app & all money savers linked with that store is at your fingertips), GoodRx (prescriptions – cuts costs way down)! holler is good to shop for presents… Ridiculously on the cheap! Our thrift shops are mostly awful, so I don’t shop there! Also have a yard sale app that will let you know where the garage sales are w/o having to get a paper! Usually with pics & a good description of the garage sales – easier not to use all my gas this way!

      2. We have way too many allergies – so we do use our dryer – I love the smell of bounce so I get a big container of it at Sams & cut them into 3rds! Also, I use homemade stain remover – 1/2 dawn dish soap (actually these days it’s more like a 1/3) & 1/2 water! Works so much better than all the commercial ones personally speaking!!!

      3. Cheap entertainment for my toddler! We go with friends or family to PlayZone ($5/ kid for them to run off their energy for as long as you want to be there & so much better than McDonald’s & chick-fil-a combined!), the zoo, the park, neighborhood pool, etc.

      4. Drink water, milk, or juice (unless special occasion) juice is 1/2 water, 1/2 juice. Although I do tend to occasionally get crystal light etc.

      5. Shop Amazon. Be a prime member! Stay out of stores & have items freely shipped to my home! As a stay at home mom, I’m usually here, & when I go out, I combine it all in 1 day & chart it out in the best way to make the best use of my gas!

  • Hannelore says:

    1. We mostly drink water-unless we get something for free or nearly-free.
    2. Always get kids clothes at thrift store
    3. Mostly sell kids clothes at consignment shop when done with them
    4. Garage sales
    5. Coupons, sales, rebates combined with buying on sale -as opposed to when you desperately need it and have to pay their asking price!
    6. This last year we turned the heat down at night and used space heaters in the three bedrooms-I think this saved us some.
    7. Shopping at Discount grocery store for whatever’s not on sale elsewhere and also buying generic for what’s not on sale or that I don’t have a coupon for.
    8. Exchanging homeschool materials with friends
    I’m afraid I went over 5 items. Good topic! Everyone’s tips are helpful!

  • Jodi W says:

    1. We used to have a monthly cell phone contract for $50 per month. We rarely used the phone, traded to a Tracfone and got a $100 card good for one full year. That was like giving us 10 months free! We also trade unused minutes from one phone to our other so they aren’t wasted.
    2. Drop collision insurance on your cars when they get older.
    3. We get our haircuts at a place called HeadCutters. There are many in our area, but I’m not sure if it is national. There are other low-cost hair salons such as Supercuts, too. I used to pay $40 for a simple haircut–now I pay $11. My husband and kids pay even less. We saved almost $500 a year by switching salons.
    4. I do use my clothes dryer, but I find I only need to use dryer sheets in the winter.
    5. I plan my dinners a week at a time when making my shopping list to insure I have what I need. Making additional trips to the market can be costly.
    6. I bulk buy when items are on sale and buy enough to get me to the next sale, about 12 weeks worth.

  • says:

    Here are some things that we do to save money besides for CVSing and couponing:

    (1) My husband is in the military and requires a haircut about once a week. My dad gave us a really nice set of clippers and i taught myself to cut my husbands hair. This saves us about $12 a week.

    (2) We do not water our lawn. We only hand water our flowers.

    (3) We switched our lightbulbs to the energy efficient bulbs.

    (4)Turned our water heater down to 112 which is the minimum.

    (5)Hang dry clothing

    (6) Make sure cars are maintained.

    (7)Turn the ac up when we leave the house.

    (8)Ink cartridges are expensive! While i have a super nice printer which i got at an estate sale i only print coupons in black and white.

    (9)I drink organic soy milk which costs about $1.60 for one gallon.

    (10) I dont know if anyone else does this, but we pack drinks and snacks when we go to movies.

  • CTalley says:

    “The benefit of the hangars is that they are ready to hang in the closet and the kids can pick theirs out and take them to put away themselves (we have 6 kids.)”

    Wow, never thought to hang them on the hangers…that would make it super easy…thanks!

  • Michelle H. says:

    5 easy, painless ways we save:

    1. We use the library for books & movies, or borrow DVD’s from a friend who buys the new ones each Tuesday when they come out. (I know, he’s crazy!)

    2. I bought clippers and started cutting my husband’s hair. He wears it short, and he’s not vain, so the two times I have screwed up in the last 5 years I just buzzed it off and waited for it to grow out.

    3. We both take our lunches to work.

    4. Husband carpools the 30 miles to work.

    5. We don’t buy new clothes for my 2 year old. We were blessed with tons of hand me downs when he was born, and didn’t need to buy clothes until he was 26 months old. Since then I’ve been hitting the thrift stores. I can get a sack of clothes for the cost of one t-shirt at Walmart!

  • says:

    1. I cut my DH’s hair rather than him going to a barber.
    2. Free long distance on my cell phone weekends/after 7, so we don’t pay for long distance calls.
    3. Email- I email rather than snail mail *most* of the time
    4. Internet printable coupons
    5. Take public transportation to work
    6. Use the library for DVDs rather than Netflix or cable or movie theaters
    7. Thrift stores, rummage sales, yard sales, freecycle!
    8. Don’t toss leftovers- freeze or eat quickly
    9. I play the Drugstore Game!
    10. I breastfeed my DD. We didn’t buy a single can of formula, and we donated over 25 gallons to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Ohio. She’s still breastfeeding at 21.5 months of age, so she doesn’t need additional milk either, which is also a savings.

  • says:

    Here are a few things we do.

    The majority of our food is homemade including breads, snacks, and even those cream soups that are called for in so many recipes.

    We use the library a LOT!

    We use a menu with a shopping list to cut down on non essentials.

    We have started making our own cleaning products.

    We don’t go to the store everytime we run out of something but try to make do if we can.

    We combine shopping trips into 1 big day every couple weeks.

    One thing that we are going to hopefully be doing soon is bartering for services wanted – piano lessons and cross-stitching – for baked goods/dinners.

  • Patti says:

    I am so glad you have discovered The Tightwad Gazette – like others, this was my intro into frugality and how I was able to become a SAHM (son is now 15 yrs.old). It can be overwhelming to read so many ideas at once so I like your “five ways to save”. It encourages us to just try a few at a time. That said, my five new ways I have saved this year are:
    1. Rain Barrells to collect water for garden and plants. It is amazing how much water you can collect even in a severe drought!
    2. Changed all light bulbs to CFLs.
    3. Ride bicycle to work and library.
    4. Gave up pool membership and athletic club membership to walk with friends.
    5. Learning to cut coupons and use them after reading your web site.

    Thanks for the encouragement!

  • says:

    Actually if you are buying whole milk straight from the farmer it is fairly healthy for you, I guess sometimes the process they use for taking out the fat can be bad for you.
    Anyhow, part of the clothes drying thing is a science, leaving them up until they are crunchy is not good either, but they can dry very fast, faster than a dryer is nice warm dry weather here and are not crunchy and smell nice! However it saves us about $10 a month on electricity.

    we do drink milk as in some families cutting it out is not a option. I still do not drink milk usually though, but check on how much milk you are actually supposed to have. Often it is less than you think, if you have other dairy products like cheese and yogurt, then 1-2 glasses or 1 glass and cereal is plenty.

    Good tips!
    We do most of those, and probably others too!
    Walking instead of driving saves alot too!

  • says:

    One note about hanging laundry — (and an excuse for you, maybe!) it’s a bad idea if you have environmental allergies. I didn’t think of this until aftr we’d dried two loads out on the line. I was miserable for weeks afterward, because I was stubborn. My allergist said it was a very bad idea for people with pollen and ragweed allergies to line dry clothes.

  • says:

    Without trying to make this an extremely long comment, I’ll try to make my story short and sweet!

    I work outside the home. I long to quit my job and become a stay at home wife (and eventually mother) but right now I need to work to help our finances out. Just to clarify, I have discussed this with my husband numerous times and he and I have come to the conclusion that my income is important.

    My husband and I work together for a civil engineering company and since the economy is bad right now, our company is struggling. My hours were cut back in May and we had to make some adjustments then. We got rid of our satellite service and I stopped getting my nails and toes done (that was hard at first, but now I don’t miss them!).

    Quitting those things alone helped us save over $1,800.00 a year!

    A few other things I am working on is cooking more from scratch, not shopping at Target (I always impulsed buy when I shop at Target, so I decided to just not go there) and quit eating out so much.

    Now that my hours (as well as my husband’s) have been cut further, I will be more diligent in CVSing and coupon clipping so that we can save more money!

  • says:

    Grow your own tomatoes… even if it’s in a container. The price of tomatoes in stores are outrageous.

    The flavor of homegrown tomatoes are far superior to the bland ones in the stores.

    One plant costs you less than $2 and will yield you many tomatoes (just keep it watered!)

  • Leigh says:

    Just wanted to comment. There is only me in my household. I buy expensive milk, as when I am home I consider it to be a treat. It is either a gallon of organic milk, which lasts over 5 days. Or a half gallon of a milk called “nutrish.” I use the milk to take with some meds. I take. And, I often have it as a tye over, before my next meal.

    I live in an apaprtment. My washer is in my bathroom. When the clothes are done, I take them out and hang them on the shower cuurtin rod. They dry over night. Iuse my dryer for sheets and undies and towels. If I had my own house, I would invest in fencing for my yard, and put up lines, and use our wonderful sun. 🙂

    Just my thoughts.

    Leigh

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