How We Save More By Using Less

posted by Andrea | 01/19/2013

I realize that although I’m not a coupon blog or a money-saving blog, I do still talk a lot about saving money… but that’s because it’s something I’m passionate about, and I realize that even small savings add up over many months and years. Plus, saving money and being good stewards of our finances is just a good habit to learn.

Some of you might easily be able to shave a few hundred dollars off your monthly spending… but I know there are others who might struggle to save even $25 more per month. Whatever the case,  I firmly believe that no matter how tight your budget is, there is always SOME way you can save a few cents here or an extra buck there.

Even if your budget is super tight, I figure there’s no harm in trying. The worst case scenario is that you’d shoot for saving an extra $25 and come up a little short — which would still be better than nothing at all!

One way we’ve been able to save more is simply by using less.

I know that statement might sound overly obvious… but have you ever tried it? I mean REALLY tried it? Below, I’ve listed several ways we save more by using less…

1. Dish Soap:

I only use about half the recommended amount of dish soap and dishwasher detergent and my dishes still come out sparkling clean.

2. Laundry Soap:

I usually use SoapNuts and vinegar for our laundry, but if I do need to use detergent, bleach, or fabric softener for something, I use about half the recommended amount — and I’ve never had any issues with our clothing not being clean.

3. Hand/Body Wash:

When the hand soap and body wash bottles are about half empty, I add in some water and shake it around to “thin down” the soap and make it last just a little bit longer. Our hands and bodies are still clean :)

4. Napkins:

We almost always use cloth napkins, but if for some reason we need paper napkins {for lunches or really messy foods} we rip the napkins in half — yes, we REALLY do this!!

5. Paper Towels:

I only buy the paper towels that are divided into 3 small towels and we almost never use more than one small section. If it’s a big mess, we’ll use t-shirt rags or real towels and then throw them in the wash.

6. Storage Containers:

We pack our lunches in re-usable lunch bags and use mostly re-usable storage containers as opposed to plastic bags. We also ALWAYS use reusable water bottles — this is my all-time favorite water bottle!

7. Cleaning Products:

I make most of our cleaning products, shampoo and conditioner, face wash, and other toiletries for pennies… which is a huge saving over expensive store-bought products.

8. Meat:

Whenever a recipe calls for ground beef, shredded chicken, or another type of meat, I almost always use 1/2 to 1/3 less meat and then add in extra beans, rice, veggies, etc. to make up the difference. No one ever notices and the meal is much cheaper that way!

9. Dairy Products:

I often use dried milk mixed with water or yogurt in many recipes that call for regular milk or sour cream. Dried milk is much cheaper and easier to keep on hand since it’s non-perishable.

10. Utilities: 

We ALWAYS turn of the lights when we’re not in a room, we turn down the heat when we’re sleeping or not home, we take very quick showers, and I run my washing machine and dishwasher on the “quick” cycle to save money on utilities.

11. Printer Ink:

Every time I have to buy printer ink, I’m always amazed at how expensive it is. And while I try not to print anything I don’t absolutely have to, when I DO print I always use the “fast draft” mode which uses about 1/2 as much ink. The documents still look completely fine — and you rarely have to worry about smudging wet ink!

12. Gas:

I used to spend one afternoon a week driving to different grocery stores getting all sorts of fabulous deals, driving around to different antique stores, or driving to pick up my fabulous Craigslist finds. And although I really enjoyed doing that, it’s just not practical for me these days (Nora’s not much of a shopper!). So we actually save quite a bit on gas just because I don’t go that many places anymore.

13. Baby Stuff:

I’ve hardly spent any money on baby things (besides diapers and wipes). Yes, we received clothing, books, toys, and other supplies as baby gifts, birthday gifts, and Christmas gifts… however, I’ve found that it really isn’t necessary to have SO MUCH STUFF. Nora’s favorite toys are kitchen items, blocks, and magnets — and her one small shelf of books is plenty. Obviously, as she gets older, her “stuff” will also get bigger, but I’m still convinced that kids can get by with a lot less stuff.

I realize that many of you might think we’re a little crazy and TOO “cheap” {and that’s OK!} but if you’re looking for a few extremely simple ways to save at least a few bucks each week, these ideas will probably do the trick.

And while it might not sound like much, a few dollars each week can really add up after a few months or years. Plus, by using less of many of these products, you’re helping the environment too!

Do you have any simple ways to save more by using less?

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48 comments

  1. Lauren K.

    12/13/2011

    Andrea, have you and your husband made any plans to change your savings of 50% now that you have a new baby? I’m wondering if you’ll still be putting away such a large amount.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Good question Lauren,
    As of right now, we don’t anticipate our income changing a lot — which is good. I also don’t think we’ll have too many additional expenses on behalf of the baby. We’ve gotten almost everything for free so far, I’m stocked up on diapers for months, and I’m nursing so I can’t think of many other large expenses we would incur.

    Our “plan” is just to continue saving as much as we possibly can — and we’re hoping that stays pretty close to 50%. We plan to use that savings to pay off our house early, continue our home renovations, continue investing, and save up for Christian school tuition {which is now only about 5 years away!}

    [Reply]

    Christine Reply:

    (Mine was the other comment) I just now read this comment and saw where you mentioned about planning to pay off your house early That’s wonderful. We also saved two years of tuition (11th and 12th grade) for our son at Christian school before I quit working. I don’t think we could have afforded for him to go there if I hadn’t.

    [Reply]

  2. Mafalda S.

    12/13/2011

    Good ideas! I already use some.

    [Reply]

  3. Kylie

    12/13/2011

    Where can you buy soapnuts? Are they only available online? Do you have to pay for shipping costs? I’m intrigued…

    [Reply]

  4. Christine

    12/13/2011

    I like to use a regular bar of soap at the sinks. One bar lasts a very long time. I think it is quite a bit cheaper than soap in a jar.

    An awesome saving idea is paying extra principal on the mortgage every month. I wanted to quit my job and be a full time stay-at-home mom, so I put 90% of my paycheck towards the mortgage (10% was tithe). We used my husband’s paycheck for the bills. We were able to pay it off to the savings of $140,000 interest saved and about 25 years of payments. It is a wonderful feeling and I love staying home. I did have a good paying job though, but if you print out an amortization, you can figure out how every little bit helps to save some interest. Christine

    [Reply]

    Stephanie Reply:

    We did the same thing with my teaching paycheck. My last paycheck on maternity leave was the last mortgage payment we needed to make. What a blessing to stay home with the baby, mortgage free!

    [Reply]

  5. Frances

    12/13/2011

    We do most of these too! We also save a lot on our electricity with our baseboard heating because we don’t have to heat the whole house. I thought the baseboards would be a pain but I LOVE it! Another trick I learned when I grew my hair really long was that I could look fresh and clean by just washing the top of my head and letting the rinse water run down toward my face. It took an hour to dry and detangle my hair if I washed the whole lot of it so it saved money and time! I cut my hair off and donated it but I still wash my hair this way most of the week.

    [Reply]

  6. Nimita

    12/15/2011

    Great read!
    We’re not extra-stingy but we’re a little ‘green’.
    1. We try to save water as much as possible by having a small tub between our legs when showering. We use this water to clean the bathroom, kitchen and floors or for flushing.
    2. We try to keep a small bucket in the kitchen sink too and reuse the water we save there while washing the dishes. I learned this one from my father-in-law.
    3. My mum brought me up with a “if you like it, make it yourself” attitude so I make lots of my own jewellery and accessories, often from older ones that I don’t like anymore or that broke. I also alter and upcycle clothes that don’t fit me anymore but are still good to use.
    4. Also, it helps that where we never grew up with ‘Supermarket Culture’. There was no such thing in India in the 90′s! So today we see how useless most of the items are and how much time+money they waste.
    5. We try to use a lot of natural products at home. From washing and cleaning to skin/body care and even medication. We refuse medication as far as possible and try to use only natural/ herbal/ ayurvedic products (unless we’re REALLY ill- which rarely happens).
    6. My husband makes small spiral-bound notebooks from paper that’s used on only one side at his office. This paper would otherwise get wasted.
    7. We’ve been lucky to receive lots of clothes as presents and even hand-me-downs (yes, even at this age! There’s always some aunt/ uncle/ cousin that outgrows their good clothes!).
    8. We have a book-sharing agreement between a few select friends and family members. If one of them buys a book, it gets passed down to all of us to read. We rarely buy new, sell or donate our old and buy mostly from charity sales or online. Or we just wait for someone to gift us a book!
    9. We keep ourselves in check during those rare shopping ‘sprees’. We go after a good meal (so we don’t buy more food), always think 10 times before buying. I usually fill my basket wit all the things that i ‘want’ and before I pay, I review them and see if they’re worth it and if they’ll really enhance my life. 9 out of 10 times I walk out of stores empty-handed.
    10. We read a lot… We’re now onto all the tricks advertisers, supermarkets and malls play on our minds- to make us be sheep in their consumerist game. This is enough to not make us want to spend.

    There’s plenty more we do, but for now this is enough, no? :)

    [Reply]

  7. Recommended: 12/16/2011 | | SerentipitySerentipity

    12/16/2011

    [...] and Frugality When it comes to finances, the little things add up: 10 Ways We Save More by Using Less [Simple Organized Living] But I’m still not tearing napkins in [...]

  8. Julie Hamilton

    01/10/2012

    I shared this on my blog in 2008 or 2009:

    We heat our home and our hot water with fuel oil. Several years ago, Bruce installed a timer switch at the top of our cellar stairs. We have hot water only one hour per day, between seven and eight in the morning, unless we manually set the timer. I balked at this and dragged my heels for a long time, thinking it would be terribly inconvenient. It’s not. It’s easy and it saves a bundle. Is that man always right?

    The rule at our house is “No heat until November first” and we mean it. Ask our kids. If you’re cold, get a sweater or do some jumping jacks. So far, although this has been a fairly chilly month, we have only used our central heat for a total of about six hours. We close off rooms where heat is not necessary and use a thrifty kerosene heater as needed. So far, we have not used any heat overnight and have lived to tell the tale.

    Early this fall, we purchased a brand new coal stove for a 70% off the original price because it is a discontinued model. We hope to get this thing installed before the end of the year.

    We plan and consolidate car trips. Back when most families had only one vehicle, this was called “common sense”. It saves time, money, and aggravation.

    Nearly all of our laundry is washed in cold water using homemade laundry soap. I almost never use the dryer. Afterwards, I employ my solar clothes dryer which we like to call “the clothesline”. I also have a very large, sturdy wooden drying rack that can hold an entire load of laundry and then some. When the weather is too wet for outdoor drying, I use the wooden rack indoors. Bruce loves it when this thing is set up in our bedroom because it looks cozy and the drying clothing makes the room smell good. I like it, too. Yes, we’re weird. Yesterday I came up with a new plan and clothespinned a small load of dishcloths to wire coathangers and hung them above the above-mentioned kerosene heater.

    With few exceptions, we skip clipping coupons and shop at a discount grocer. We are fortunate to have several well-stocked cheap-o stores in our area. They do not take coupons, but when prices are already just over half those at a normal store, who cares? Just watch your dates as sometimes the items they have for sale are out of code.

    Making chicken calls can save a lot, too. Our family only likes boneless, skinless chicken breast and no, I do not want to learn how to cut up a whole chicken. Thank you anyway. When the freezer stash of chicken gets low, either Chelsea or I will “make the chicken calls”. We get the “chicken list” — compiled phone numbers of local groceries — and call and ask, “Good afternoon. What is your price for boneless, skinless chicken breast this week?” We note and compare prices and shop whoever’s cheapest. We’ve been doing this for years, and invariable the range will vary as much as nearly three dollars a pound. Some stores routinely sell it at $4.29, but I can often find it on sale for under two dollars. Earlier this year when one local store had their boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.39 I bought 100 pounds.

    We buy cereal, flours, sugars, beans and some pastas in bulk. I found a cheaper source of fresh vegetables and did a fair amount of canning this summer. When the (usually expensive) store where my son works had a sale on canned vegetables, I bought dozens of cans. Besides the low price, we received a 10% employee discount to sweeten the dealio. Yes, we prefer home-canned or frozen fruits and vegetables, but with an income that varies greatly according to the season and which frequently means lean winters, the Shur-Fine brand of canned carrots are a convenience food I can live with.

    When people offer us free fruits or vegetables we gladly receive them. This year we picked, processed, and canned free Concord grapes, apples and hot peppers offered to us by friends.

    I use my crockpot at least a couple of times a week. It’s great for workdays and uses very little energy. Also, I cook mostly from scratch. The More With Less Cookbook is a favorite — it contains lots of simple, low-cost, nutritious meals with an eye to saving energy. We eat a lot of vegetarian meals, too, and this cookbook has a lot of those.

    We don’t buy paper towels, ever. Okay, maybe one or two rolls a year. My sweet little greenie coworker, Andrea, turned me on to a swell idea: Whoever purchases the paper towels for the kitchen at the library buys the thick, pricey kind. Now when I wash out my coffee cup at work, I keep the paper towel, let it dry, and bring it home. Then I store it with my cleaning supplies in the bathroom to use next time I clean in there.

    I do a few other little things that might seem a little odd. Okay, they’re clearly wacko. But I’m having fun, so why would you care?

    Here’s one weird thing I do: We always buy stick deodorant, okay? You know how there’s always a little deodorant left in the container that you can’t get even when the stick is turned all the way up? Well, I save the “empty” deodorant containers until I have seven or eight of them. Then I scrape the leftover deodorant out, put it into a glass measuring cup, and nuke it until it’s liquid. Then I pour it back into one of the containers. Eight “empty” containers yields about half a stick of deodorant.

    Does this make me a freak?

    I give and recieve items on Freecycle. We do not have cable television and only recently purchased our first antenna. Our public library has more movies that we have time to watch. I love to read magazines and our library is a great source for freebies there, too. We use cell phones only sparingly, and they are the prepaid type. No monthly bill, but we can get in touch with each other when we need to , which is nice since my husband is a housepainter and works in different locations all the time.

    You may have heard that I can, freeze, and occasionally dehydrate food. This is true.

    There are still lots of money and energy saving things I’d like to do that we haven’t been able to yet. Bruce would like to install solar panels, for one thing. He has been interested in alternative energy systems for thirty years or more. I have always wanted a solar box cooker. These gizmos range from the Boy Scout, cardboard-box-and-tinfoil variety to the commercially-built models that cost several hundred dollars. I want the homemade kind, so maybe this spring we will finally build one.

    I read about another little project I’d like to try. You paint the outsides of a couple of milk jugs black. Then you fill the with water and set them in the sun. When it’s time to wash the dishes, you have free hot (or at least very warm) water.

    Bruce and I have been reading a lot about permaculture. Now, some of the people who write about this topic are definitely a little out there, like the lady who composts her own manure. I mean her *own* manure. Eew. Remind me to never eat at her house. But after reading a few books on urban homesteading, I am ready to dig up our lawn and plant our yard full of native, edible plants. Or better yet, I’ll let Bruce plant and tend the garden and I’ll just preserve the produce.

    Probably the most important thing we do to save money and energy is to stay aware of our goals by reading, talking to like-minded people, and keeping our eyes open for new ideas. For two decades we have been able to live primarily on one modest income. I have been able to be a full time, homeschooling mom without ever putting my children in day care or taking them to a baby sitter. Although I do work part time and have for years, during those seasons when I was not employed outside the home, we were able to make ends meet by God’s grace. And even now I only work about fifty hours per month, at a job I enjoy with people I love.

    Living frugally and resourcefully is a passion of ours. Like the old-timers used to say, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” Works for me!

    [Reply]

    Renee Reply:

    AWESOME! My son recently thanked me for teaching him to be frugal. He’s a senior in college and he’s encountering a lot of young ladlies who are “high maintenance and materialistic”!!! I love the timer for your hot water!

    [Reply]

    Susanne Reply:

    I love living frugally too….thanks for sharing. I love your ideas!

    [Reply]

    Jeni Reply:

    Julie this is great! I’m going to check out your blog right now. Thanks so much for your elaboration here.

    [Reply]

    Candis Reply:

    Hi there, did you find Julie’s blog? I cannot seem to find it anywhere.

    [Reply]

  9. Stumbles from a Surprise Snow Day

    01/28/2012

    [...] from Simple Organized Living is also full of great reminders. I loved her list of 10 Ways We Save Money By Using Less. I always use less detergent and we keep our heat low, especially at night. What do you use less of [...]

  10. Kat

    02/02/2012

    We have all of our electronics on power strips and just turn off the power strip when we’re not using them. The power strips protect the electronics from power surges and turning them off keeps them from sucking energy while in “standby” mode. Thanks for your tips!

    [Reply]

  11. Danielle

    12/10/2012

    The tips in the post and in the comments are great!:) We do some of these, too.
    My boyfriend didn’t use to care about these things and about green living, but now that we live together he thinks totally differently. :)

    At home with my Mom we don’t have a dishwasher, but our sink is divided into two parts, one for washing the dishes, and the other we fill half with clear water to rinse off the detergent (which is eco-friendly, btw). We reuse this water for flushing. Also, we have two big containers in the backyard for collecting rainwater, which we use, too. That’s a lot of water being saved.

    I now live in a city with my BF and we have no garden. :( But there’s a farmer’s market around the corner from where we get our veggies and fruits every day and it’s so much cheaper and healthier than the ones you get in supermarkets. Now that I think about it, we hardly ever shop in malls… We rarely eat meat (I am only willing to eat “happy” animals), so that saves money as well. What I like to make the most is dressings and spreads – they are easy and cheap to make,on the contrary to those you get in supermarkets, which contain lots of unnecessary, synthetic ingredients.

    [Reply]

  12. Ann

    01/19/2013

    Any tips on saving on diapers/wipes? That’s what kills us!

    [Reply]

    Elise Reply:

    My kiddos are out of diapers, but I made my own wipes. This is the recipe. Not sure if they still sell cylinder (round) plastic containers still.

    BABY WIPES

    2 cups water
    1 1/2 tablespoons baby bath
    1 tablespoon baby oil
    1 roll Big Bounty cut in half with an electric knife

    Cut the paper towel roll in half with the electric knife. Save half for later use. In cylinder container mix ingredients together. Place on half of the paper towels in the liquid. Turn container upside down until liquid is absorbed. Pull cardboard center out of paper towels. Begin pulling wipes from the center.

    [Reply]

  13. Lorie

    01/19/2013

    Love all the tips! I don’t know if you’ve heard of the GAPS diet but she even recommends not using soap at all when showering – I tried this about 2 weeks ago and I feel clean and just fine when I get out of the shower. I also do the no ‘poo thing – use 1 Tbsp. baking soda in 1 cup water as “shampoo” and 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar in 1 cup water as “conditioner”. I have long hair btw, it’s been fine doing this. In addition to using cloth napkins like you mentioned, use rags for cleaning/wiping then just wash all the rags together (I don’t wash them with my clothes because that skeeves me), cloth diapers (even though that uses a lot of water when you have to wash them) we’re going to try “Elimination Communication” aka “diaper free” with our next baby. Also you can buy, or if you’re good at sewing, make yourself some Mama Cloth (cloth pads) and cloth baby wipes/tp – the easiest thing in the world to make! Female disposables add up plus when they bleach anything it produces dioxins which I don’t want near my sensitive parts!

    [Reply]

  14. Bonnie

    01/19/2013

    I use most of these tips but another one is to refill you own printer cartridges. You can get the kits from most stationary stores and it’s cheap and easy. Some of them require drilling a hole and for those ones, because I’m too lazy to do that, I take them to a place that refills them, have them do it the first time and them you can do it from there. Get the correct kit for your printer because the printers have slightly different color mixes.
    I also have an empty milk jug under the kitchen and bathroom sink and I collect the water while I’m waiting for it to get warm. I use that in my garden or house plants or to add to the washer (as I wash in cold water) before I start it.
    Great idea’s, keep them coming

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Bonnie, the only thing I would caution against is refilling your own printer ink cartridges. It IS a great way to save money, but it voids any warranty you might have on your printer — which could end up costing you a lot in the long run. However, if you don’t have a warranty on your printer, then re-fill away!

    [Reply]

  15. christine

    01/19/2013

    We never use our dryer in the spring/summer/fall. I have a large clothesline and it’s an awesome way to dry clothes. I live in Canada, so at times our winter is too cold to dry, but I’ve been known to hang clothes out for the day in January even if is just above 0. Not only does it save money, it’s better for the clothes and they smell so nice.

    When my kids were babies, we used home-made wipes. Amazing. I hear some people have a wipes ‘warmer’- we just stored the container on the heating vent and they were usually warm in the winter.

    I guess I’m old fashioned, but I don’t need texting on my phone so I have a cheap pay as you go cell phone that i carry with me. We researched pay as you go and found one that the minutes last for an entire year, so that’s what I bought.

    My husband LOVES to research stuff on the net. Prior to purchasing any large item he researches, price checks every possible place so we know we’re getting a good price.

    [Reply]

  16. Nicki

    01/19/2013

    We use the foaming hand soap and when empty I fill less than 1 inch of hand soap and thin it out with water. Foams beautifully and works great. The regular handsoaps I buy with coupons for free or $0.50 and keep in my stockpile.

    I always tear napkins or paper towels, even Kleenex for the kids in half (unless we have company).

    I make my own cleaning products with vinegar, essential oils etc.

    I use reusable rags for cleaning.

    I bought a HE front loading washer that uses very little water and also I use very little detergent – that I buy for cheap with couponing and stock up.

    I never eat lunch out at work. I prepare it at home and take reusable containers.

    [Reply]

  17. Doreen@househoneys

    01/19/2013

    I do many of these ideas already, not just to save money but to save energy and cut down on waste. It’s a small thing, but if everyone did some of these things there would be less waste in our landfills and the Pacific Ocean. It’s a win-win!

    [Reply]

  18. Amy

    01/19/2013

    I don’t know what your thoughts are on cloth diapers….but they save a TON of money! I use prefolds and bum genius. They are awesome and my girl hardly ever gets diaper rash. I cut up old soft t-shirts and receiving blankets and those are my wipes. I keep a clean milk jug of water with a few drops of baby wash and 3-4 drops of tea tree oil…wet a handful of wipes, and throw them in a wipes warmer where that will get me through two days. It’s SUPER cheap and I honestly prefer them over regular wipes and diapers now. I am a SAHM mom now and I do see how this would be really difficult if I had to work outside the home.

    [Reply]

  19. Amy

    01/19/2013

    **oops, my above comment was meant for Ann:) **

    [Reply]

  20. Amy

    01/20/2013

    The only time you can be “too cheap” is when it impacts people outside your household. For example, expecting someone else to always pick up the tab. I think you’ve got it nailed! :-) You’ve found the perfect balance.

    [Reply]

  21. Anonymous

    01/20/2013

    We have a business credit card,that we pay off in full every month, and because we have a good “rewards points” that add up very quickly, we can then get VISA gift cards in varying amounts ($50 to $500 or $1000)…These can be used anywhere a credit card is accepted, and we use these for household expenses, gifts, or whatever… That in turn means less expenses
    from our “personal pockets”!!

    [Reply]

  22. Liz

    01/21/2013

    I reuse dryer sheets as “paper towels” for wiping up spills or even a quick dusting of the baseboards. And they work awesome in the shower as a hair catcher over the drain.

    [Reply]

  23. bj

    01/21/2013

    You mentioned about the “draft mode” on your printer, what is that? I do alot of printing for our business and would love to cut back on that end!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Every time I click print, I can choose “draft”, “everyday” or “best” from the properties box in my printer. I always choose “draft” because it uses the least amount of ink. Obviously this might be different for other computers/printers so I’m not sure if this will help you or not :)

    [Reply]

  24. Kimberly

    01/21/2013

    I’m wondering what you set your thermostat on for the warm/cold months during the day and at night?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    In the winter, we usually keep our heat at 63*F during the day and around 57* at night (we used to keep it colder before we had Nora)
    In the summer our main floor naturally stays very cool because we have lots of shad, so we rarely turn the AC on unless it gets too humid. Then we keep it set around 75 or higher. However, if we have company over and we know they are used it being warmer/cooler, we will adjust accordingly for the time they are here.

    [Reply]

  25. Melissa

    01/22/2013

    I have a 23 mile commute each way to work, so I was spending quite a bit on gasoline even though I do have a compact car. I started driving to the nearest park and ride bus stop, which saves me about 18 miles of driving each way and my employer covers some of the monthly bus pass cost which is a huge help too.

    [Reply]

  26. Debi

    01/22/2013

    If you buy lunch meats that come in a plastic container, re-use the containers for food storage or carrying left overs in your lunch.

    [Reply]

  27. Tina

    01/23/2013

    I make my own body/hand lotion. I also have been driving a bit closer to the speed limit and it really has saved me on gas. I take my lunch to work everyday this has saved me a lot of money and no wasted left-overs

    [Reply]

  28. Kristin

    01/24/2013

    First, while I’m relatively new to your blog I think we were separated at birth. I really appreciate your simple practical and straightforward approach to homemaking. Second, I do many of the things listed. We have saved and helped others save by swapping baby items when one family isn’t using them. We also regularly participate in local taste tests that allow us to make a few dollars and have fun all at the same time!

    [Reply]

  29. Kimberly

    01/25/2013

    I ordered soapnuts and I’m giving them a try. I’ve made my own laundry detergent in the past but didn’t think it got the clothes clean. So I’m excited to see how they work. Thanks for the information.

    [Reply]

  30. Katie

    01/27/2013

    Hi Andrea,

    I love your blog and I am so glad I found it. I was wondering if you have any frugal wedding advice or ideas from your own wedding? I haven’t seen any blog posts about it but I am a relatively new follower. I am getting married this year and just wanted to make sure I am not missing anything when it comes to saving money.

    Thanks!

    Katie

    [Reply]

  31. Julie

    02/28/2013

    My husband and boys love their OJ, but it’s so expensive. So, I add water to the jug. :) No one notices.

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    Lindsey Reply:

    Love it! What a great idea :-) I always buy the pure, not from concentrate stuff, so watering it down won’t affect the taste much at all. Thanks for sharing :-D

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  32. Lisa

    03/01/2013

    If you buy whole milk you can also add water after you use half then add water you will have 2Percent I think that’s what you can buy for low fat

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  33. Lindsey

    03/14/2013

    Andrea, I just discovered your blog yesterday, and I am hooked! I’m so sad that I haven’t know about this until now. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas with us.

    My hubby and I decided to give up my SUV this past year. We are spending much less on gas because his car gots better MPG’s, saving on insurance costs, and personal property taxes. While it can be a little inconvenient for me to drop him off an hour before I have to be at work, we get to spend more time together, start our evenings when we get home (instead of debriefing first), and I do my devotions every morning in the peace and quiet of my car.

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  34. Luba

    05/23/2013

    What a wonderful post, Andrea! I made soup a few weeks ago, and my dad said that I used “too little meat.” I took that as a compliment! Also, I used to play the drugstore game and go to 3-4 stores per week, but now I am sticking to one store (getting only deals) per week. It saves on gas, money, and sanity too! God blessed me with a laser printer a few years ago, and it’s wonderful how long the cartridge lasts (2 years or more, and I print lots of coupons).

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  35. Bonnie Ash

    07/10/2013

    I buy refilled printer cartridges from shop4tech. At less than half, the shipping is free and I always receive a working, long lasting replacement.

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  36. Diane

    01/01/2014

    All of these suggestions fall into the “waste not want not” philosophy my parents and grandparents lived by. I have found that most condiments are easy to make (if you have time), and when I’m shopping, I always keep in mind that saving $3 a week on groceries or some other essential item adds up to a weeks worth of groceries for our family over the course of a year. Thanks Andrea.

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