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Topic: Littlest things to stretch your dollar?

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Peg D. (muummom) - ,
Date Posted: 6/11/2012 5:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/16/2007
Posts: 294
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My hint? I keep an eye out for "Try-Me-Free" tags.  For the price of a stamp and envelope, I've gotten laundry detergent, fancy shampoo, and new snacks.

Date Posted: 6/25/2012 11:27 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2006
Posts: 3,359
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I use sites like Hip2Save.com to alert me about sales/freebies and coupon matchups so I can save the most money on stuff we always use (toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, deodorant, disposable razors, etc.).  I also have an entire Rubbermaid tote full of free samples I've received in the mail.

I get the newspaper delivered on weekends and I save the plastic bags to contain my son's dirty diapers when we are at someone else's house or out in public where I don't want to leave a stinky diaper in the trash.

If we ever eat out at a fast food type place, I keep the remaining napkins/wet wipes from our meal to keep in my car, purse, etc. for all kinds of needs.  With a 2 year old, you always need one or the other!

I never shop full price for clothes.  Clearance racks for off-season clothes, Goodwill and stores like Ross and TJ Maxx are great for bargains on stuff to wear to work.  I've also found simple tees/tops for myself on Craigslist for a steal!

I clean out my son's toybox once every few months, and the toys he hasn't played with go into a box out of sight.  If in another few months he hasn't asked about them, then they go to be sold at a twice-yearly consignment sale.  I love knowing that other kids are enjoying those toys!  And then I buy new-to-us toys for him at the same consignments sale.


Date Posted: 6/27/2012 1:00 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2009
Posts: 3,789
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I love the mail in rebate forms you can find at stores for products you're interested in buying.  I buy cat litter regularly, and saw a rebate form attached to Tidy Cat at Petsmart last month.  Could try it free, just needed to send in the UPC code and cash register receipt.  I did so, and got my full purchase price refunded.  Did the same with a 12 pack of bottled Miller beer (full purchase price was refunded), and I just got a $5 check in the mail this week from a $10 Roundup purchase which I made.  I love rebates; you get items for free or nearly free!  I just picked up a $20 rebate form from my grocery store, where if you purchase $100 worth of groceries and a specific 18 pack of beer, you will get a check for $20 in the mail.  Can't beat that, though I picked up the form for next time, since I wasn't purchasing anywhere near $100 worth of groceries when I was there today.

Date Posted: 6/27/2012 11:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2009
Posts: 3,789
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I ran out of cleaning fluid in my Swiffer wet jet yesterday.  Did not have a replacement bottle on hand, so I took off the old bottle to see if I could refill it with some other floor cleaner that I had on hand.  The cap doesn't come off, but I found that if I slipped the edge of a butter knife blade at the edge of the rubbery attachment at center, it could be peeled back and held open.  Not a big opening, but was big enough for me to pour my own cleaning solution, so I now have a full bottle of cleaner in my Swiffer, for pennies!  Worked great!

Kim (Mistry) -
Date Posted: 7/2/2012 10:35 AM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2006
Posts: 4,127
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That's great, catsandroses! Every little bit helps, and for what they charge for the refills, it's great that you figured out how to get what you needed!

Date Posted: 7/3/2012 10:08 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2006
Posts: 30
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Eating at home and using cookbooks from the library to spice it up

Date Posted: 7/6/2012 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 1,253
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I found this recipe on Pinterest for homemade febreeze. I haven't tried it yet but I'm going to once I run out.



What you'll need:
1/8 Cup of fabric softener (I used Downy April Fresh)
2 tablespoons Baking Soda
Hot tap water
Spray bottle (I used my empty 27 oz. Febreze bottle)
Using a funnel, pour fabric softener and baking soda into your spray bottle. Fill spray bottle with hot tap water and shake well. Don't forget to twist the nozzle over to the LOCK position if you're using a Febreze bottle, or you might fall on your hiney. Now go spray every fabric surface in your house and take a nap on  your very comfortable and now un-stinky couch. :)
Store-bought Febreze: $5.59
Homemade Febreze: $0.15
Total Savings: $5.44 OR  97.3%!
Date Posted: 7/13/2012 12:20 AM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2008
Posts: 1,362
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If you like the smell of expensive shampoos/conditioners, lotions, etc... make your own.  I just duplicated some pricy designer shampoo I bought a couple of years ago using Suave and essential oils.  Make sure to use essential oils as they are generally safe for your skin, where some fragrance oils are not.  I'm allergic to fragrance oils, but can use essentials.  I also make my own scented laundry soap, lotions and am getting ready to make some air fragrance...I may add the fragrance to the Fabreeze recipe above.  I bought my oils on e-bay, I paid $20 for four bottles of my favorite fragrances, which will last for years (each 1 oz bottle contains 300 drops).

My favorite shampoo:

Suave 2 in 1 Shampoo plus Conditioner - 3 oz

6 drops basil essential oil

6 drops rose essential oil

8 drops peppermint essential oil

Place in a travel bottle and shake until well mixed.  This is my anti-migraine formula.  The peppermint makes your scalp tingle.  I paid $15 for a bottle at a boutique in Kansas City, my cost, about $1.00, which includes the reusable bottle. 

Last Edited on: 7/13/12 12:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Money from Renting your stuff
Date Posted: 12/2/2012 1:45 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2012
Posts: 4
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Great Ideas guys! Here is some new tech stuff to help save your dollars for Nutella night (my favorite night.)

1) Instead of buying a car on a credit card and spening 20 yrs to pay off the interest, you can go to these website and rent a car for errands from someone local: http://www.getaround.com/ or https://relayrides.com/

2) If you live in certain cities, you can make money off of your parking space: http://www.parkcirca.com/

3) If you need to travel to far places cheeply, you can use one of these services: http://us.megabus.com/  http://www.ridejoy.com/mobile http://www.zimride.com/


Subject: bulk buying
Date Posted: 2/11/2013 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2010
Posts: 5
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I buy shipping envelopes in bulk 100 to a box. A number 2 idea for a regular size paperback, cost 35 cents each as oppossed to $1.00 each at the drugstore.

Date Posted: 8/29/2013 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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It has been a long time since someone has posted here but I appreciate everyone's tips, even the oldest ones! It helps to be reminded of small ways to save.

Here are some of mine

1. At Trader Joe's, I buy a basil plant for $2.99 (less than a package of fresh basil). It requires no maintenance besides occasional watering, and I have fresh basil sitting on my counter all year!

2. Make hummous from scratch. My husband and kids love hummous and were eating $4 worth a day. With canned chick peas, lemon juice, garic, tahini and olive oil I can make homemade for less than a buck (especially since I always have these ingredients. Almond butter can be substituted for tahini if you don't have it.)

3. Farmers Markets. We buy our produce at farmers' markets. Sometimes, late in the day, we get bargains because the farmers don't want to pack anything up to take back with them. Even without, the prices are much less than at supermarkets and the food is fresher and locally grown. Good for us and the environment.

4. I use white vinegar and/or baking soda to clean everything.

5. Coconut oil: although slightly pricy as an oil, I use virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer, sunscreen, deodorant and hair product as well as for cooking. It costs WAY less than buying commercial lotions and products and is much healthier.


Date Posted: 9/2/2013 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 1,253
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I watch the sales on make-up at Walgreens. They often have buy one, get one 50% off. I then combine the sales with coupons. Last time I did this, I saved $22.75. 

Date Posted: 9/13/2013 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2013
Posts: 142
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We make our own huumus.

We have MagicJac. Our phone bill is $30 a year.

We don't own a car. We walk or take a bus. When we absolutely need a car, we borrow my parents' or rent one and renting for a weekend is cheap.

Date Posted: 9/13/2013 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2013
Posts: 142
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Lynn, I do the same with olive oil and I buy the cheap brand for non-food uses.

Date Posted: 10/12/2013 11:19 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 335
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When we are out of town without a kitchen and must eat in a restaurant, we like to go to Happy Hour and order a couple of special appetizers from the Happy Hour menu to share and half price drinks for dinner. Saves us much money over the dinner menu!

Another way to save in restaurants is to go for lunch rather than dinner and eat your bigger meal earlier in the day. Better for your metabolism and your wallet, as lunch prices tend to be much lower than dinner prices. Often we don't even eat dinner after a restaurant lunch, so it's like two meals for the price of one.



Date Posted: 12/13/2013 11:56 AM ET
Member Since: 6/17/2008
Posts: 626
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Make my own laundry detergent: 1 part borox, 1 part washing soda, 1 bar of zote or fels naptha.  I found I only need to use a tablespoon or 2 (depending on the load and level of grime) in the washing machine.  I live alone and do probably 2 loads a week (colors and either black or whites), so a box of the borox and the washing soda box lasted me about 6 months!

My primary cleaning suplies include baking sode, vinegar and peroxide.  All very cheap in bulk at grocery stores or bjs.  

Split my BJs and Sams Club memberships with my parents (we each have one card and split the cost of membership) so that we can all save on buying in bulk.  (Oh and my dad is a vet so Sams Club already discounts the yearly membership).

On a cell phone family plan with about 5 other friends (obviously friends a trust), but this has dropped my cell phone bill to about $60/month (including data, etc.).  The cell phone company knows we are all friends and not related, so this is all above-board.

Bring my own breakfast/lunch and coffee to work.  I have made a vow to myself to limit my spending at the office to no more than $10/week (roughly an extra cup of coffee during the day).  This drastically reduced how much I spend - I go to work early, so was buying breakfast/coffee, then buying lunch.

Date Posted: 6/10/2017 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2008
Posts: 207
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We were always frugal because there were always 6-8 kids. So I will just focus on some stuff single folks run into. 

1. Stop buying coffee at shops. Get a steel thermos and make your own.  Saves a lot of money over a month.

2. Stop buying fast food. Learn to cook simple meals that can be reheated for lunch.

3. Save money every paycheck. At minimum, you want a 6 month rainy day fund.

4. Reduce your credit card use. Pay it off at the end of the month. Keep in mind though, occasionally run a balance to build your credit rating, although I think a car loan is more effective.

5. Eat more veggies and fewer carbs.  Diabetes begins years before it shows on tests. It will help you maintain your weight too.

Date Posted: 9/29/2017 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 3,585
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One of the coolest ideas DH came up with to save the environment and limit spray use for weeds is to use a small spray bottle as he mows.  We have a large lawn and he has a zero turn mower so as he spots thistles they each get a drop to end their growing.  

Last Edited on: 6/10/18 2:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/2/2019 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 4,665
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1) I don't eat out much. Not only because it is cheaper to eat at home, but you can eat better with what you pay for in the supermarket than what you pay for in a restaurant. Plus, I like to know what is in my food, especially as I am hypoglycemic.

But I do like an occasional spare ribs supper. As I have gotten older, I eat more veggies and smaller entrees. So when I do go out for ribs, I get the 4-ribs dinner, but only eat two of the ribs, which is usually enough meat for me. Plus, the 4-ribs order is usually just $2 more than the 2-ribs order.

Then I take home and feeeze the other two ribs individually. When I'm in the mood, I'll defrost one in the fridge overnight. Then the next evening I'll cut the meat off the rib into small pieces and add to the rice I put in my rice steamer. Then I have rib-flavored rice for supper, with just enough meat to satisfy me.

2) I slowly converted my turfgrass to ground covers and shrubs. Once planted and established, native ground covers grow and take over more area. I now have no lawn to cut, no gas container to keep filled in the garage and no lawn mower to store and maintain. I don't have to water my non-existant lawn, or buy pesticide to use on it. And, this past year, my local county Cooperative Extension Office awarded me a Gold Level Florida Friendly Landscape sign to place in my front yard.

Every county in every state has such an office. Some people refer to it as the "Ag office." And you can usually find it in the county government pages of the local phone book. The people there are very happy to offer you advice on what to plant to replace as much turfgrass as you wish.

3) Back to what you eat. Because I am hypoglycemic I don't drink soda. I usually drink water, hot and iced tea sweetened with a little honey, a beer for supper, and occasionally coffee. Well, okay, as a special treat I do buy an expensive ginger ale sweetened with clover honey. And maybe once a month I'll have that---but only if I've been good. smiley

If I eat out, I drink water with lemon. You might be surprised how much you save when you don't drink all that soda, especially when eating out. Plus, you're healthier and thinner. It's a fact that restaurants meals yield little profit due to competition, but they make their real money on desserts and drinks they serve you.

Last Edited on: 2/2/19 8:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/3/2019 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 6,525
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A friend and I were roaming the aisles of a big store she works part time at.  We didn't buy anything pre se, but on the way out she decided to get a bottle of water.  The cashier knew her and asked her for her ID badge, which could be scanned, to save 20 percent on drinks.  She didn't bother, said something like" I don't care about the 20 cents".  

Gah.  it's 20 cents this time.  And next time, and all the times after.  Five such purchases = $1.00.  I know she buys chips or candy there nearly every day she works.  All these 20 cents's add up.  

It's the littlest things that can stretch your dollar....

Date Posted: 2/4/2019 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 4,665
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It's the littlest things that can stretch your dollar....

Exactly right, If during your working life, you smoke a pack a day, or get one coffee every day at Star Bucks, or whatever..... if instead you took that money and put it into a Roth IRA, when you finally retired, you would have no finanical worries.


Subject: Save $ at all you can eat buffet
Date Posted: 2/15/2019 3:23 AM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2008
Posts: 1,425
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We get to the buffet about 15 minutes before they change to dinner menu and dinner price. This saves us about $3 each and we can enjoy the dinner menu, too, at the lunch price. 

Always ask for discount.....senior, student, teacher, military, etc. They might say no, but often they will say yes. We often get free drinks and/or a discount just by asking and then we know whenever we return to that place. 

Date Posted: 2/23/2019 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/28/2011
Posts: 23
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I find baby toys that are sturdy enough for my dogs at yard sales for $.25. Just throw them through the wash and they're ready for chewing!