75 Ways to Save Money Every Month

Regardless of how economists refer to this economy, recession or no recession, people are hurting, financially. Unemployment, flat wages and rising costs for food and gas have many hurting. Check out these great money saving tips to help your family survive these tough times.

Here are a few money saving ideas our family is using to get through the recession:

  1. Switch to cloth napkins. I’m not sure why it took a down economy for this one to dawn on me, but cloth napkins are a great alternative to paper napkins, which increase waste and add to our non-food budget.
  2. Diversify your income. Look for ways to increase your income outside of your full time job. Do you have a hobby that you could make a small business? Could you spend some time working online surveys (many of these survey companies are scams, but the one I’ve linked is not. I’ve been a CashCrate member for over a year now)? Could you add some freelance work in the same line of work you do full time?
  3. Shop your car insurance coverage at esurance.com. Take 6 minutes to complete the free quote and shave a significant amount off your car insurance premiums.
  4. Scale back the cable. We’ve been living the last six months with only basic cable, and don’t miss any of the expanded cable channel offerings. Cable bill went down from $40 to $12 with this move alone.
  5. Don’t pay a dime for banking privileges. There are too many free checking options out there to pay one penny in fees for the right to write a check or use a debit card. Many banks and credit unions simply require direct deposit or a minimum number of debit card uses per month to qualify for fee-free accounts. If you can’t find one, try ING Direct.
  6. Look for a value internet package. While I was scaling back on cable service I asked our cable provider for a cheaper rate on internet service. They told me about a little-advertised “value package” which costs half the normal monthly rate for reduced speed. Since I mostly surf the web and check email I barely notice, but I saved about $20 a month on our internet service.
  7. Skip the theater, subscribe to Netflix. Going to the movie theater is a great way to beat the heat, but it’s also expensive. Skip the theater, and sign up for an online DVD rental service. No late fees, and no gas used up traveling back and forth to the rental store.
  8. Transfer existing debt using balance transfer offers. Transfer high-interest debt to a zero (or low) interest card.  By reducing your interest rate you will pay less interest to creditors each month, and make more of a dent in outstanding balances as you pay them off.
  9. Hang up the land line telephone service. If most of your calls are to other cell users in the same network, consider canceling the land line and using a cell phone exclusively.
  10. Have a no-spend weekend. Sometimes it takes a break in the routine to get spending under control. Try to go an entire weekend without eating out, shopping, or ordering something online. It won’t solve all your spending problems, but it’s a start.
  11. Carpool a few times a week. Take turns carpooling with a coworker, especially if they live close to you. Pick them up and take them home this week, and next week allow them to return the favor. You’ll both cut your driving time in half.
  12. Raise insurance deductibles. Assuming you have a proper emergency fund in place, raise deductibles on insurance policies. The difference in a $500 deductible and a $1,000 deductible on your car insurance policy can help reduce your monthly or semi-annual premiums.
  13. Check your vehicle’s tire pressure each time you fill up. Things like under-inflated tires and dirty air filters can reduce your gas mileage. Pick up an inexpensive tire gauge and check the pressure while filling up.
  14. Change your driving habits to save on gas expenses. Cut out “jackrabbit” starts and heavy braking.
  15. Do not buy new cars – Buy a used car, and drive it until the wheels fall off. My grandfather has driven two vehicles in 34 years! Sam Walton drove a twenty year-old pickup truck right up until the time he died. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. Remember, a new car is “used” the minute you drive it off the showroom floor.
  16. Consolidate errands into one trip. If you have to get out try to consolidate all of your errands into one trip away from home, instead of driving back and forth several times from store to home.
  17. Ride a bike for short commutes. I’m fortunate to live about 5 miles from my employer, so I occasionally commute by bike. If you happen to live close to stores, consider riding a bike for small errands. Take along a backpack, or put some panniers on your bike to carry things back home.
  18. Figure out how to do things on your own, rather than paying an expert. This year I’ve managed to rescue a toy from the bottom of our guest bathroom toilet and unclog and empty an air conditioner drain line. With the help of the internet, or a good “how-to” book such as Save $20k With a Nail, you would be surprised how much you can do on your own and avoid expensive repair charges.
  19. Just say no to social events, or agree to meet after dinner. Peer pressure can wreak havoc on your financial plans. It’s never fun to turn down a chance to go out with friends, but there are ways to say yes without spending a fortune.
  20. Look into 3-month supplies of prescriptions via mail order. Many employers now offer as part of the health insurance plan a 3-month mail order prescription plan. I only have one daily prescription for asthma/allergies, and the cost of a 30-day supply from a local pharmacy is $25. For the same cost, I can get a 90-day supply via mail-order.
  21. Wash your own car. Our town has one of those automated car washes and for $9.00 you can get “the works.” Essentially, it is a wash, wax and application of tire shine. I’m pretty sure I can do it for less. Better yet, employ the kids and let them earn a little extra money this summer.
  22. Bank “found” money in a separate account. With any income above your normal earnings, bank the amount in a separate checking or savings account and use the money to pay down debt, build up savings, or offset increased expenses. Overtime, tax refunds (and stimulus checks), gifts and similar windfalls belong here.
  23. Eat like a kid again. Eat off the same plates your kids eat off, which will force you to eat smaller portions. Your wallet and your waistline will thank you.
  24. Drink tap water. I don’t have the inclination to run a cost comparison between an ounce of Coca Cola and an ounce of tap water, but I’m fairly confident tap water is infinitely cheaper.
  25. Eat less meat. I’m about as far from vegetarian as you can get, but I recognize that my carnivorous habits cost me big at the grocery store. We’ve recently started having breakfast for dinner (eggs instead of meat), and substituting things like pinto beans (a great source of non-meat protein) in meals instead of meats.
  26. Look for manager meat specials. When you do buy meat, check the manager’s specials area for meat that is about to pass the “sell by” date. The meat is still perfectly good, but freeze it immediately if you don’t plan on cooking within the next day or two.
  27. Look for a used freezer to stock up on meat specials. Many times people relocating can’t take the extra chest freezer with them and advertise it on Craigslist or the local newspaper. If you can find a good used one stock it full of manager meat specials to reduce your food budget.
  28. Don’t be afraid to buy generic. Forget brand loyalty when trying to figure out how to save money every month on things like groceries. When we buy ketchup, we look for the lowest unit price, regardless of brand. Same with other foods and household supplies. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part generic items are just as good as name brands.
  29. When in the store, look high and low for deals, literally. Marketers know that eye-level is the place most people tend to shop, so they put the items with the highest margins right in front of you. Better deals are usually found on lower shelves.
  30. Cherry-pick coupon deals. Combine coupons with store sales to maximize savings. Our local Kroger store recently had mayonnaise 2/$4. We found a coupon for $0.50/1 that doubled to $1.00, so we picked up a mayo for $1.00. Don’t use a coupon to buy something you don’t need.
  31. Supplement pet food with meat scraps. Quality dog food is expensive. To make ours last a little longer we occasionally skip the dog food and give our dog meat scraps. Avoid meats with sauces or spices as it can upset their stomach, and be sure to remove any bones. Plain beef, chicken and turkey make for a great treat for our dog.
  32. Water down juices. When we open a new apple juice for our kids we pour up half in the old container and add about 1/4 – 1/2 container of water to each bottle. This makes each new bottle last a little longer, and dilutes the grams of sugar and calories per serving.
  33. Shop at a farmers market for in-season produce. Few things taste as good as fresh fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, most of the produce you’ll find in a grocery store is grown elsewhere, particularly if it is out of season, locally. Figure out what’s in season and support local growers by visiting a farmers market.
  34. Avoid using the oven during the summer. Ovens heat up a house faster than any other appliance, adding to the strain on air conditioner systems. Plan meals that don’t require baking, or bake in the late evening and microwave the next night.
  35. When eating out, divide entrees in half and save the rest for a second meal. Ask for a to-go box as soon as your meal arrives and save half for tomorrow’s lunch. Restaurants are notorious for piling on portions, so this move will help you spread out the calories and cost of the meal.
  36. Avoid pre-packaged foods. The little 100-calorie packs are convenient, but you can accomplish the same thing by buying a larger package of chips or cookies and then dividing into smaller portions using Ziploc bags. The unit cost savings are significant.
  37. Grow your own vegetables. Unless you plan to dig up the entire yard to plant rows of food, you probably aren’t going to be able to grow enough to live off. However, a square foot garden can produce enough for some great summer salads without adding to your grocery bill.
  38. Say no to fast food. Unless you hit the dollar menu exclusively, fast food can add up. Consider the cost of a combo meal for four people versus sandwiches, chips and drinks from home.
  39. Properly insulate your home. Especially important in the summer and winter months, when the extreme temperatures outside can affect your temperature inside and cause utility bills to skyrocket.
  40. Use a drying rack or line dry heavy clothing. Pick up a drying rack or install a clothesline to dry heavy garments and towels. When nearly dry, place items in dryer with a dryer sheet for just a few minutes to complete the drying cycle, remove wrinkles, and soften clothes.
  41. Plant a tree next to your outside air conditioning unit. By shading your outside unit you may improve the operating efficiency of the overall system by 20%. Take care not to plant to close to the unit to maintain proper airflow.
  42. Replace home air conditioner filter every month when in use. Manufacturers suggest changing your filter every 90 days, but I’ve found systems work better when changed once a month, especially in peak times like summer. Instead of picking up a top-of-the-line air filter, go for a medium grade filter and just buy more of them.
  43. Switch to CFL lighting inside, and solar lighting outside. CFL bulbs use much less energy than incandescent bulbs, and give off less heat. Solar lights used to line pathways around your home run off a rechargeable battery that is charged up during the day by the sun, and lasts for several hours after dark.
  44. Half the number of days your lawn is being watered. An established lawn doesn’t really need to be watered every day. In fact, daily watering can cause a shallow root system because grass roots don’t have to work hard to find water. Water once or twice a week, for a slightly longer duration and let Mother Nature help fill in the schedule with the occasional rain.
  45. Use bathroom exhaust fan during showers and for 10 minutes after. Exhaust fans help carry moisture out of the bathroom from a hot shower. Don’t believe it? Run the exhaust fan during your next shower and notice how the mirrors don’t fog up.
  46. Take a “Navy” shower. Get in, soap up, rinse off and get out. And put a low-flow showerhead on there while your at it.
  47. Reuse bath towels. Sounds gross at first, but think about it – you are clean when you get out of the shower. Hang up towels after each use to thoroughly dry, and only add them to the dirty clothes pile after every three or four uses.
  48. Don’t run water when shaving or brushing teeth. While shaving pull up the sink stopper and pool a little water in the sink for rinsing your razor.
  49. Skip baths. Even though they are relaxing, baths require a lot of H20 and drive up your water bill. They also drain your home’s supply of hot water, forcing your hot water heater to replenish the supply, further adding to your utility costs.
  50. Bathe your own pets. Skip the pet grooming salon, pickup some shampoo at a pet supply store and wash them yourself.
  51. Avoid stores. Stay out of stores unless you have a list (mental or otherwise) of specific things you need to buy. Shopping out of boredom leads to impulse buying and can quickly blow a budget.
  52. Sunday paper only. Consider scaling back subscriptions such as newspapers to the bare minimum. If you are only going to get a paper once a week, opt for the Sunday paper, which usually includes coupons and weekly sales flyers from local grocery stores. Toss the other sales circulars – you may see something you want to buy!
  53. Don’t renew the gym membership. Being healthy can save you money, but exorbitant fees and inflexible contracts make gyms a dangerous proposition. Take the money you would have spent at the gym and try to build one at home with used equipment.
  54. Make your own Play-Doh. Kids can find many hours of enjoyment from a homemade play-doh recipe, and it’s a cheaper than buying it from the store.
  55. Try a home haircut. Mine is pretty easy since I buzz it short all over. Guys, you will still need someone to help you with the neckline, unless you are good with mirrors.
  56. Rediscover a local library. To replace the time previously spent watching television develop a reading habit, and support your local library while you are at it. Can’t find the book you are looking for? Don’t rush out and buy it. Many times libraries are networked and can request a copy of a book from another library.
  57. Start your own “keep the change” program. Several banks are now running “keep the change” promotions where they round up your purchases and put the difference in a savings account. Problem is, these accounts don’t pay a great interest rate, and the program encourages increased spending. Create your own program by spending only cash and dumping the change in a coin jar. Make deposits into your own high-yielding savings account at the end of the month.
  58. Put away the credit cards. Save cash for large purchases by creating a dedicated savings account specifically for the next item on your list. Make regular contributions to the savings account with each paycheck, and when the balance is high enough to pay for the item, pay for it with cash.
  59. Ask creditors to lower your interest rate. Creditors are feeling the crunch, too, and they recognize it takes more money to find a new customer than to retain a current one. If you are a profitable customer (pay interest), call creditors and ask for a lower rate. Tell them about all the 0% transfer offers you’ve been shredding for your garden!
  60. Divide credit card minimum payments in half and pay that amount twice a month. Interest is calculated based on the average daily balance of your account for the entire month. By making a payment every couple weeks you are reducing that average balance and therefore reducing the finance charges assessed, as opposed to waiting until the end of the month to make a single payment.
  61. Brown bag it. Can you believe how much a combo meal is at a fast food restaurant? And don’t get me started on dine-in restaurant tabs for lunch. You’re lucky to get out of there for less than $10-$12 including the tip. Multiply that times four or five times a week and we’re talking $200 added to your food budget each month.
  62. Adjust your W-4 at work. The fastest way to give yourself a raise is to reduce the amount of taxes withheld from your paycheck. If you received a huge refund this year, increase the number of exemptions on your W-4 to reduce withholdings. Check the IRS website to calculate the number of exemptions required to break even.
  63. Sign up for budget billing with utility company. This won’t necessarily save you money, but it certainly helps the budgeting process by smoothing out highs and lows in your utility bills. Most companies offer this “levelized billing” service after you have 12 months of history to compute an average.
  64. Use shredded credit card invitations as mulch in the garden. What a great way to put junk mail to good use! Run the mail through a shredder and use the clippings to mulch around your garden.
  65. Buy generic ink cartridges for your printer. Ever stopped to calculate the cost per gallon of printer ink? Me neither, but I hate when my printer runs out of ink because it seems impossible to spend less than $30 or $40 to replace the black and color cartridges. Check out a generic cartridge reseller. The quality of ink is comparable to manufacturer’s ink, and many offer a dollar or two off if you recycle the old cartridge.
  66. Use a power strip to power down unused electronics. Electronics continue to use power even when they are turned off for LED displays, stop/start memory, etc. Reduce this “phantom power” drain by unplugging devices, or plugging them into a central power strip which can be powered down with the flip of a switch.
  67. Find new uses for old things. Not long ago my car’s check engine oil light came on, and the dip stick revealed I was seriously low on oil. I found a new use for an old milk jug by cutting away the bottom half and using the remaining top as a funnel to reduce spillage. This saved me a trip to the auto supply store to buy a funnel.
  68. Cross train at work to make yourself more valuable. Make yourself more layoff-proof by taking on a new challenge, and adding to your skill set.
  69. Sign up for medical flexible spending account (FSA) at work. Estimate carefully as unused portions of FSAs are not refundable. At a minimum, account for the amount of your family’s health care plan deductibles plus any over-the-counter medical supplies you must purchase during the year. As an added bonus, FSA contributions are pre-tax, which lowers your taxable income for the year.
  70. Quit smoking. Besides being an incredibly unhealthy habit, smoking is expensive! Many pack-a-day smoker could easily trim $200 from their budget by kicking the habit. If you can’t find any other motivation to quit, use finances.
  71. Shop for clothes on eBay. Add”NWT” to your search query and find many clothing items listed as “new with tag.” These items can be purchased for a fraction of their retail cost.
  72. Buy wrinkle-free clothes to avoid dry cleaning bill. I have a golden rule about clothing purchases. I don’t buy anything that requires ironing. In some cases this means I pay a little more for “wrinkle-free” materials, but I save in the long run on the time and money spent ironing or dry cleaning.
  73. Look for kids clothes at yard sales and thrift shops. Kids have a way of outgrowing most of their clothes before they “out use” them. For this reason, many times you can find excellent buys on clothing at thrift shops and yard sales.
  74. Look for furniture on Craigslist or Freecycle. Many times people buy a new sofa or coffee table and don’t have a way to get rid of the old one. They will list it on Craigslist for a reduced price, or on Freecycle for free in exchange for picking it up and hauling it off. If you need a piece of furniture, but are short on cash, check out one of these sites before even thinking of going to a furniture store.
  75. Give IOUs and homemade coupons rather than expensive gifts. In tough times there is nothing wrong with a homemade card and an IOU as a substitute for expensive presents. One Valentine’s Day my wife gave me a decorative jar with little scraps of paper where she hand-wrote “50 Reasons Why I Love You.” It was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received, and cost less than $5.00 to make.


  1. Brown bag it.

    Now that’s sound advice. So many of my coworkers eat out every day. Even at $8 a day, that’s $240 a month. You can easily save two thirds of that by packing leftovers from the night before.

  2. Some great tips there. I tried the cutting your own hair thing and had to go ASAP to get it fixed at a Supercuts. It looked horrible! I think most readers are better off not touching their W-4s though. Yeah it technically gives you a “raise” and you don’t give the government an interest-free loan, but for most people this is a kind of “invisible savings” that they wouldn’t do otherwise, so I say let them get their refund at the end of the tax year and save the whole check. Otherwise, most people will spend it.

  3. I have never bought into the theory of selling your vehicle “while it still has value.” My theory is if it still has value why on earth would I sell it.

    Some great tips here, many of which I already do.

  4. Great list. I am doing some of them but what I like most is the staying away from credit cards.

    For me, you will be more eager to buy since you think you have a lot of money in you wallet, where in fact you do not even a cent.

    What you only have is a credibility to spend without money.


  5. Great ideas! These are bound to help. I adjusted my W-4 this year so that I am bringing home more of my money each month instead of letting the government hold it for me until tax refund time. It was a nice boost in my monthly income.

    Also, thanks for linking to the article I wrote trying to talk people out of buying a new car!

  6. Excellent advice! I’ve grown to love using cloth napkins even more than the “convenience” of paper. Saves on unnecessary waste, and there’s something kinda gratifying about using cloth napkins around the dinner table. I like that we use them for everyday use, and not just for special occasssions.

    And thanks for the play-doh link!

  7. great list -i’m already doing some of these, but not a lot. I especially like the ones about shopping ebay for clothes and craigslist for furniture. Have done that before, but had kind of forgotten it. thaks for the reminder!

  8. I think our farm share (also called a CSA) is the best deal going. For 320 bucks per season, we get 12-14 lbs of organic veggies a week from a local farmer from the end of June to the end of November. The farmer gets money directly without a middle man, and we get veggies that are far better quality than the ones at the grocery store for a fraction of the price. Our CSA is starting next week and after last week’s grocery bill, we are really looking forward to it. One other benefit — since you pay upfront at the beginning of the season, you have a stable price even if costs go up over the season. The grocery store doesn’t give you that option.

  9. Another excellent article FrugalDad but I’d like to comment on some of the items (constructive advice for those who may read the article):

    #38: I’m not understanding how this helps to save money. If you’re worried about moisture in your home, there’s not much you can do about it. Besides, some humidity is required for people to live comfortably.
    #57: Unless you have a bad driving record, adjusting your deductibles won’t save you much money. Seriously — maybe $2-$10 a month at most. For the jump in deductible cost, you would have to pay that premium hike for a number of years before you really noticed a ROI. I would actually recommend that people look into what it would cost to carry a $100 or $50 deductible on their vehicles. I would hope you wouldn’t also recommend that people only carry catastrophic medical coverage just because they haven’t gotten sick in a long time. Insurance is there for those things that you cannot plan for and do not expect.
    #58: An excellent suggestion and one that I’ve been doing for years now. I think of all of my co-workers that spend $50 per week to eat out. That’s basically a car payment every month.
    #61: Only do this with non-glossy papers and ones without adhesive. Also be aware that some papers are treated with chemicals to impede fading and degradation.
    #62: Be cautious when purchasing generic ink cartridges. With some manufacturers, it can void any warranty you carry on the device. Also, with certain brands, there is so much technology embedded within the ink cartridge that the printer will not work right if they are tampered with or improperly duplicated.

    and finally
    #74: This is good advice but I would advise anyone who follows this tip to not hold the person who gave or sold you the item as liable. I had a man threaten me with violence and legal action after an electronics device I sold him stopped working after a short time in his home. (It worked at my home fine when I demonstrated it for him.) There is no justification for that. Caveat Emptor! “Let the buyer beware.” Make sure to check the item thoroughly before buying because one you buy it, it is yours.
    Sorry for the long comment. I read this blog almost daily and enjoy it more than other financial blogs I’ve seen.

  10. @David: Thank you for your comments – your points are well taken!

    #38 – Increased humidity inside the home makes it feel warmer, causing air conditioners to work harder to keep the air dry and cool. This wouldn’t be a big deal in a cool, dry climate, but here in the hot, muggy south it makes a big difference.

    #57 – What I was really advocating was building an emergency fund to the point of self-insurance up to your deductibles. I agree the savings from raising deductibles may not be significant in all cases, but it’s at least worth getting a fresh quote, and doing your own break even analysis.

    #61 – Excellent point! Perhaps we should make the distinction here to use the mulch around non-edible shrubbery rather than gardens, unless you are sure the paper is non-toxic.

  11. #58, brown bagging my lunch has showed me the best results so far. I just blogged about how cooking more has saved me at least $50/week, $200/month. It’s not always easy to come up with meal ideas, let alone the energy to prepare them, but I just remind myself that $200 saved, is $200 more for a really big treat like a vacation or a new laptop.

  12. I’m surprised by how many of these I actually already do. :)

    I think they are good tips for any economy, not just a down time.

    Can you share more about the CashCrate program? I’m curious about that one.

  13. Wow, some great advice! I never heard of using shredded paper as garden mulch!

    Here are some additional tips:

    1. When food shopping, stick as much as possible to the perimeter of the store: produce, dairy, meat and fish. Stay away from the interior which is mostly comprised of pre-packaged or processed foods which are less healthy for you.

    2. Even better than using CFL light bulbs in terms of efficiency and lumens is an LED bulb.

    3. People wash their towels after one use? I grew up on going a week with one towel; and I live my life nowadays with about two weeks for one towel. Ditto for bed sheets and pillowcases. Since I have several towels and two sets of sheets, I’m running the wash cycle for sheets and towels once or twice a month.

    4. Skip Netflix and take out DVDs from the local library, which probably belongs to a larger network, too.

    5. Keep a low-limit credit card for emergencies. Link your checking account with a debit card that uses Mastercard/Visa so you can use it like a PIN-less credit card without accumulating debt.

  14. Great tips FD. I’m a little late to THIS party but you’ve obviously put a lot of work and effort into this list…and it shows. These are some great ideas in ANY economy. My favorites? #64 and #72! Everyone has time to save money and I love wrinkle free clothes, even though I wrote a blog post on How To Iron A Shirt!

  15. I’ll vouch for #17. I haven’t run the numbers on Soft Drink vs Tap Water but I ran the numbers on Bottled Water vs Tap Water last summer. Bottled water in Australia is usually slightly more expensive than soft drink (except in the supermarkets). Buying Bottled Water at work and when I’m out and about with my family compared to taking tap water, worked out to have a mark up of approximately 2500%. This will decrease slightly due to water costs as a householder in my part of Australia going up by 15%.

    With brown bagging my lunch (#58), my lunch costs are usually 65 to 80% cheaper than if I bought lunch each day. My lunches are a combination of left overs and dishes I specifically make for lunch at work. I’ve been a lunch brown bagger for the past decade.

    I’m quite fanatical with not having lights on in unoccupied rooms – I’ve been this way for the past two decades – I figure why pay for electricty that no-one gets the benefit from. Even though it’s Winter in Australia, I always have the curtains and blinds open during the weekend days – there is usually enough daylight to see with.

    This tips are really good value.

  16. Great list of 75 tips. I can add a few to what I already do, so thanks.

    A lot of us ecologically-minded folk have been using cloth napkins for years. You can use one per week, too, just like your bath towels, unless they become soiled before the week is out. Same thing with certain articles of clothing–some can be worn several times before washing. I use a wooden rack designed for holding quilts or other bedding, draping last night’s clothing over it to air out. In the morning, I use the sniff test to decide whether to hang up, fold up, or put in the laundry.

    I also wash and reuse rags which I make from clothing, e.g., T-shirts, towels, etc. No paper towels for me, either.

    Oh, and I read you can save 10%-20% of your energy cost (?) by not using your dryer. I hung up my clothesline (who would live where you can’t?) and it’s a great feeling to use it. Puts you back in touch with the weather, too. You can hang clothes outside at least half of the year, easily, and it’s better for the environment, too.

    I have a three-story house and am looking into putting a solar powered fan (costs $400. plus installation) into the attic to reduce AC costs. Looks like I can reduce the temperature between 15 and 30 degrees or so up there for a low-cost device that runs on the sun. Also am considering purchasing retractable awnings to reduce the heat absorbed on the east side of the house, further reducing AC costs on the second floor where my tenant runs his AC 24/7 at the moment. Next lease, I’m putting in a clause that includes a surcharge for running the ACs (I pay all the utilities). Am also looking into solar panels; some appear to pay for themselves within one year. Finally, am planning on rigging an outdoor shower, using a coiled black garden hose on the east roof to generate the hot water.

    I saw a recent video on the Internet that makes use of a solar oven. I heard that you can cook anything in that that you would cook in a conventional oven–baking potatoes were demoed.

    TIP#76–start a compost pile. Use kitchen scraps, grass cuttings and leaves. Why cart the scraps to a landfill, then drive to the garden center to buy bags of soil for your garden, when you can make your own right at home?

    TIP#77–grow from seed, not seedlings. It’s not hard, saves a lot of money, and it’s a good science lesson, too.

    TIP#78–when in the food store, don’t use a cart; use a basket. If you can’t carry it out in one trip, you don’t need it yet. Cuts down on “extra” or “impulse” purchases, while providing weight-bearing exercise.

    Thought-provoking article.

  17. One more tip: Instead of throwing away turned or sour milk, cream, half and half, etc., save it up. I save it until I have about a gallon, and make cheese with it. I use either cider vinegar and/or vegetarian rennet, and a candy thermometer. You don’t need the thermometer, really. Heat to nearly boiling (little bubbles), and add the 1/4 c. vinegar. Remove from heat. Cool to about 95 degrees (warm to the finger or elbow, the way moms would test the temp of baby’s milk), and add the rennet according to package directions). Let curds form. I strain it in a colander. Add salt and/or other seasonings. It’s fun, it’s better than pouring all that milk down the drain, and it tastes great, too. Makes cottage, cream, or ricotta cheese, depending on consistency/results.

  18. @castocreations: About CashCrate…it’s a program that allows members to complete surveys from various marketing companies who pay anywhere from a few cents to several dollars per survey completed. The payouts are low ($10), and they have a very lucrative referral system. If you give it a try, stick to the 100% free offers and daily surveys. I’ve received checks as high as $75 a month, but it is usually more like $40-$50 per month (which is a nice bonus to the grocery budget!).

  19. Josephine – I live where a clothes line is sort of iffy. The Pacific Northwest…when it’s sunny out people literally take off of work because it’s so rare! I did hang some items outside the other day and they are all crispy. :( Hubby doesn’t like it but I don’t mind. Except for the towels. I don’t like crispy towels.

    And I’m not doing it to save the environment (because I think the whole global warming thing is a freaking scam) but to save money. Oh and to keep the house cooler because when we run the dryer it heats the whole house and our dogs just can’t stand it.

    Question about the sour milk to cheese thing …. are there step by step instructions out there anywhere? This sounds like an interesting thing to try.

    Oh and I disagree (and agree somewhat) to the shopping cart … I go into the store and shop for the whole week so need a cart. But I also look for deals that will save me money and allow me to stock pile items. Things that won’t expire or have a very long shelf life. I take in all my coupons and if I find something for a good deal I stock up.

  20. Hello!
    Thank you. I just signed up for CashCrate, and want you to get credit for referring me. I went through their website, and did not find out how to tell them who referred me. Did you automatically get the credit because I clicked from this e-mail? Thank you for your time and telling us about this.
    Best Wishes,

    • @Francine: Yes, I’ll receive credit if you signed up following one of the links in the post (or the CashCrate banner just above the comments section of the article). I think you will enjoy their service, and it is a great way to earn a little extra cash to supplement your monthly budget.

  21. Ditch the cable entirely! You don’t need it. Unless you watch sports, in which case you’ve got bigger problems…

  22. “…I hung up my clothesline (who would live where you can’t?”

    um…lots of people live where you can’t have a clothesline all year, in fact last I checked there were ~650,000 of us up here in Alaska, and ~80,000 of us here in the Fairbanks North Star Borough where it is almost guaranteed to be -50 F a few times a year. I love it here, fuel costs and all.

    There are lots of ways to cut your fuel consumption, even when it is REALLY cold outside. I really don’t see the difference between living in a place where you need to heat efficiently and living in a place where you have to cool efficiently, they both require thought to reduce waste.

    This is a great list to get ideas from!

  23. Actually, we do a majority of these items. We started doing these things 5 years ago as part of our plan to become financially free from debt. This is what is required, even if there is not a dip in the economy, if you want to control your finances instead of your finances controlling you.

    Cloth napkins are great. The funny thing is, many of our friends thought we did this to be proper or snobby. I just grew up with it and thought it was normal to use and wash cloth napkins. At $1 or less a piece at the retaurant supply store, they are a bargain. We have had this last batch (24) for about three years which works out to about 2 cents a day. Divide that by four people and it is 1/2 cent per day.

    An occassional bleaching is required (for the white ones), but other than that, they still look good.

    Great post and fun to read that others live like us.

    • My mom thought I was being snooty with my cloth napkins too…that is until I explained. She jokingly said she was afraid to see what my fix for toilet paper was ;o)
      I made our napkins out of the leftover fabric from the curtians I made when my husband and I were first married. We had no money to spare so I bought Martha Stewart sheets at a yardsale. Right now the curtians grace the windows of my little boys’ room ten years later. The napkins still look great too.

  24. re: #62 Buy generic ink cartridges for your printer

    You can save an incredible amount, even over generic cartridges, by refilling your existing cartridges. I’ve been doing it for years and never had a problem.

    You can get inexpensive devices on the web that will reset the electronics in sophisticated cartridges.

    Great site! Keep it up!


  25. I love the hints, and use some already. Found more hints in the reader’s comments.
    1: Unfortunately I can’t use seed to grow many veggies because the winter tends to stay late, giving me a short growing season.
    2:Any ‘plain’ paper can be shredded and used as flower mulch or put in compost bins. The suggestion to use kitchen scrapes didn’t mention that if you put meats, greasy leftovers or milk items in your compost you’ll get slime instead on rich compost.

  26. Switch to an inexpensive laser printer and skip ink carts altogether.

    My 768KB internet access is $10/month via AT&T – those outside of my town on the phone co-op can get 768KB for $15/month from TimeWarner – fine for email, surfing, youtube.

    vtisp.com is the cheapest dialup I know – $40/year

    • try ‘Clear’ – done pretty well by me – moved when i did no hassle and isn’t too expensive – i tried it when the apt wouldn’t allow anything but AT&T and they dragged me all over the place…never did come to install…

  27. Great posting! It is always the little things that matter! I’ve been doing a lot of these things for awhile now. I’ve saved close to $3,500.00 in 2 years just watching how I shop for groceries and drugstore items (BOGOs, coupons, free w/purchase, switch from national brand to store brand.
    Two years ago, I had almost no savings or checking account funds, barely contributed to retirement accounts and was over $6,000 in debt. Checking and savings are now in good shape, retirement contributions are regular and debt is down to under $2,000. It was NOT easy, and as Frugal Dad’s list points out, doing a lot of the small things makes it easier to achieve the bigger picture.

  28. This is a great list, thanks for posting. Here are my thoughts:

    #10, new cars. I drive an 11 1/2 year old CRV (new when we got it), and as much as I’d love a new one, with small children, it’s not practical (think dirt, juice, toys and drid leaves). I don’t want a used one either. Instead, we’re planning to replace just the engine when it’s time.

    #40, towels. Okay, I must be the grossest person on earth. I change out my towel every month to month and a half. I couldn’t imagine tossing it into the laundry after only 3-4 uses. As for the kids, sometimes I towel-dab them, then let them run around the house naked. They love it and they get dry naturally!

    #73, kids clothes. I’ve found that used clothes can sometimes be more expensive than new or the difference between new and used isn’t enough to warrant my time spent to find used deals. Instead, I buy my kids clothes at the end of a season (and it’s rare I know when the retailers consider a new season starting) at places like Walmart, Mervyns or Ross. I’ve gotten pj sets for $3, 3-piece jogging outfits for $7, t-shirts for $1-3 and so on. I have two small boys, so it’s easy to find stuff for them.

  29. I would like to offer a quick money tip:

    If you have a security deposit for an apartment rental, new phone, power service or a secured credit card, ask if you are eligible for a full or partial return of your money. If you have made timely payments you may be able to get some of your money back.

  30. Hi. I just registered with CashCrate.com and it would take a lot of time to earn just $10. Also, I’ve spent years avoiding junk email lists. Every site CashCrate linked me to looked questionable, and I don’t want to keep typing my personal info on all these third party websites. If I start receiving more junk email, I’m definitely quitting. It’s not worth 50 cents to have to deal with junk mail.

  31. @Sarah: I haven’t had a problem with physical junk mail, but I do receive quite a few emails. I recommend setting up an alternate email address to use for specifically for CashCrate. Thanks for your comments!

  32. Frugal Dad! Love your innovative insights and love that you are a MAN with this sort of thinking.
    I incorporate all the things on your list on a daily basis! Do you hand wash dishes? I keep a rinse sink and a wash sink. I wipe dishes with a cloth, then wash in one sink and rinse in the other. I stack dishes in my “unused” dishwasher to air dry. THEN i use the soapy water as rinse water the rest of the day. Then the process starts again!!! Sounds complicated but it is so easy and saves A LOT of water.
    Thanks again for the refreshing commentary!

  33. I want to join Cash Crate but I don’t feel good about putting personal information on these surveys. Are you concerned about identity theft? It just doesn’t seem right to give out my address, birthdate etc… What do you think?

  34. hi, i loved your article! i went o cashcrate.com and got registed. I have a question about those websites asking about my birthdate, are they legit? have you done that kind of survey?

    • @diana and @Anna: I haven’t had a problem with CashCrate in terms of identity issues. However, I am naturally suspicious so if you don’t feel comfortable giving out info for a specific survey I say skip it.

  35. To Frugal Dad regarding cashcrate. I started doing it yesterday, and pending amounts went to earnings pretty quickly, for things under $1. But for the couple of items I tried that were more, it’s taking well over a day. Do you have a strategy, or is this normal?

    To Diana and Anna, a couple of the surveys asked for a ssn and drivers license. I didn’t complete those. Those are also higher payouts.

    To Sarah, if you read the instructions to receive the payout, most of the time it’s to just register and close the window. You don’t have to do the endless “survey”. If the instruction is to complete the survey, I only do a first layer, then close the window. Does that sound on track, Frugal Dad?

    Hope you don’t mind my two cents!

    • @Maha: Thanks for your comments (and your two cents!). Yes, I think you are on track with the waiting period – it tends to take longer for higher dollar offers to approve, but I guess that is to be expected as marketers want to verify the information. Not sure about closing the survey on the first window. I typically follow them all the way through, or just skip the long ones.

      I typically work the 100% Free offers and Daily Surveys, which don’t usually require and SSN or other personal data.

  36. It may not seem like a lot but the first tip of using cloth napkins really does save you money. Use the napkin a few times, changing it once or twice a week.

    I started doing this a few months ago and find that I have more money from buying fewer paper products.

    Also #28, dividing your meal at a restaurant into two portions also works if you want to splurge on a meal in a restaurant have done this so that I have enough for lunch or dinner the next day. You can share your meal with another person.

  37. As someone touched on before, remember to use your local library. Not only can you check out books, but you can get movies, magazines, use the internet and read daily newspapers…all for free! I have gotten many books on frugal living from my library, too. Most libraries have their card catalog online so you can search for items, check your patron record and even order items from home. Just ask your local librarian for help.

  38. With 3 teenage daughters and 1 in college I really have to cut corners on cooking, clothes and even college. The best advice I can give other stay-at-home moms or dads is to visit thrift stores and yard sales. I’m know around her as the “Flipper-Queen” when I flip the goodies around and sell them on ebay and other auction sites!! There is lots of great websites that you can join that tells you what is hot right now. The one I love is Yardsalequeen.com!! I find it rewarding to be frugal and make money at the same time!! Happy flipping!!

  39. How many of these do NOT apply to normal human beings? These are at best only good for those living WELL ABOVE their means. I mean seriously, some of these are ridiculously the kind of advice you’d see on well, Oprah. They’re idiotic people who still drive SUVs and complain that it costs them $300 to fill up premium gas.

    Let’s see, we’ll take a few of the more obvious ones:

    Do not buy new cars – Buy a used car, and drive it until the wheels fall off.

    Nice advice, and where are you going to save money spending on upkeep of that “used” car? Used cars require more upkeep because they already have wear and tear. So the “savings” you find at the beginning, is frittered away nickel and diming yourself with needless upkeep costs.

    #17. Drink tap water.

    Terrific advice. In this world of carcinogenic water who exactly is going to pay your medical bills when you contract some nasty illness from the poisoned water? Again, early savings for foolish gains.

    #27. Avoid using the oven during the summer.

    Why not instead advise NOT to use the AC in the first place? Gee, geniuses, you are USING the AC that is implied in this tip. Do you KNOW how much electricity that uses? Perhaps installing ceiling fans would be possibly a better move than using the AC and then you CAN use ovens after all the heat would be dissipated from the ceiling fans which use immeasurably less electricity and cost less as well. For the love of gods you say don’t use the oven, while you say well, you’ve got the AC running. REALLY? SERIOUSLY?

    #40: Reuse bath towels.

    I love that you live at the Ritz Carlton. I’m sure maid would be mighty upset that you’re actually REUSING your bath towel more than ONCE??? Oh my gods, are you serious? In what universe is this advice from? Oh, wait, this is the same advice that talks about don’t turn on the oven in summer bc you have the AC on.

    #55: # Raise insurance deductibles.

    Quite possibly the STUPIDEST suggestion on this list. One insurance hit and you are SCREWED. All of that “savings” you made saving what about $15/month is GONE. Absolutely and completely GONE. Gods forbid you NEVER get sick or get into an accident. Instead of saying shop around for a better insurance provider with lower premiums, this advice says increase insurance deductibles. Read ANYTHING about insurance deductibles. If you raise them, you will be spending MORE out of pocket in an EMERGENCY at the exact moment when you probably need to be concerned the most or cash flows.

    Most of the advice on this list is only for the clueless the rest is for the foolhardy if you follow it.

  40. @sanjay: Thank you for your comments. Sorry you didn’t enjoy the article. I won’t spend the time to rebut each of your points. However, I would point out that I drive a 17 year-old truck and have very few repair bills. When I do have to fix something, it is usually much less than the average monthly new car payment, so I’m still coming out way ahead.

    And yes, where I live it gets up to 105 degrees in the summer with high humidity. It would be downright dangerous for my family to stay inside a closed home with temperatures in that range without AC. I know some people have to do it, but we are fortunate that we don’t have to, and I’d rather make cuts in other areas of our monthly spending.

  41. Oh dear. I enjoy 99% of your articles. Heck, I’m a cheapskate loving dad myself. However, I live in a part of the country, NYC, where most of your advice doesn’t hold up. I have nothing but ceiling and box fans, don’t drive (take the subway every day or the bus), and we have high humidity, we just know how to cool ourselves off, you know, home made icepops, or frozen yogurt pops (homemade) or ice-cube freezies (fruit juice in an ice-cube tray, cover in cellophane and put a toothpick in each ice cube tray, freeze overnight and a voila, cheap ice-cube freezies.

    I know your points are well-intentioned. However, were they a conglomeration of collected untried methods and techniques which is what they struck me as when I read them.

    Oh, and when it gets really really really hot, we take a ride on the A train. 2.5 hours each way from end-to-end. Bring a book, a video game and/or a portable DVD player. I think our parents used to go to the movies because THEY had air conditioning.

  42. Sanjay…Who pissed in your cornflakes? Maybe you need to read his post about being responsible for your own misery because your comments make you look miserable and bitter.


    I certainly do not drive a honkin’ SUV or pay $300 per fill up. Your criticisms make absolutely no sense whatsoever. What’s wrong with reusing towels? I use the same towel to dry my hair for at least a month. What’s the point in washing and drying it if it’s just going to get wet the next day?

    And I try my damnedest to not use the oven or stove on really hot days even without the AC on. Who said you can’t do both? And with the AC on, why not make less work for it to do?

    I really do not understand your, frankly quite rude, comments. I see nothing about the suggestions that are exclusively for the rich. Maybe you need to take some deep breaths and relax.

  43. wow, not for nothing (an erstwhile NY expression), but your ignorance is massively well, ignorant. You failed to read most of my comments apparently.

    Let’s review:

    And I try my damnedest to not use the oven or stove on really hot days even without the AC on. Who said you can’t do both? And with the AC on, why not make less work for it to do?

    You failed to read 99% of the response if THIS is your response. What you are admitting to is that the AC is a constant part of your life, but NOT the ceiling fans I said were much more cost-efficient.

    I really do not understand your, frankly quite rude, comments. I see nothing about the suggestions that are exclusively for the rich. Maybe you need to take some deep breaths and relax.

    In what part of my comments was I rude? I backed up all of my comments with non-hillbilly answers (which you seem happy to provide since you have no real rebuttal except nonsense). If you would like to take my responses to task, I’d even half-heartedly ask you to back up your ignorant response with real-world statistics.

    I do apologize for my otherwise harsh response to this well, ignorant rebuttal. It would seem that some people can only call names when they seem to have no real answers.

    • Sanjay – I lived in the middle of nowhere (less than 1,000 pop) in the midwest for quite some time and do believe the hillbilly comment is quite rude – notwithstanding your overly defensive comments to FD. Many of those I knew had more common sense than most I have known in metropolitan areas, and I was receiving interest from both Duke and West Point. Please have the decency to insult your own rather than those you are less familiar with. One would think that being in one of our nations greatest ‘melting pot’ cities you would be a tad more tolerant of others.

  44. To Sanjay – you are being rude, the tone of your comments suggests that you think you’re better than those of us who might, heaven forbid, follow some of these ideas. Oh, they are ideas, suggestions, a jumpstart, if you will, to survive a down economy. Nothing in the article says you must do them or you’ll wreak havoc on your financial situation.

    As for buying a used car, this is a fantastic suggestion, and anyone who’s talked to a financial planner (clearly not you) will tell you NEVER to buy new. The loss of value is immediate. The suggestion here is to buy a used car. That you would think a used car equates to a lemon shows your ignorance. My husband’s family thrives on used cars, in fact, my brother-in-law is one who can buy a used car and sell it at a profit. That’s after he’s driven it for a couple of years. Where’s the savings besides not buying new? They make their own repairs. Something that anyone who subscribes to this list of 75 (not you), could manage with a car owner’s manual.

    I won’t even address the rest of your attempts at superiority (like your idea of fans vs. ac. Please take a thermodynamics class so you can actually understand the engineering principle going on, and not what you think is going on). But do keep in mind, that Frugal Dad, like any of us, is doing his best to make a future for his family. That he shares his ideas along the way is generous. That you would crap on it is unkind.

    Enjoy your 2.5 hour train ride. I’m sure it’s quite pleasant.

  45. @Masha and the rest…

    You seem vehemently obsessed on the idea of defending the bad ideas without the reality of looking at the bad advice of what is being said.

    As for a “used vs new car” idea, well you’re welcome to defend that idea. Only those who are willing to drive in this economy deserve to pay the fuel costs and repair bills necessary. I’m very glad not to be one of them. When the bank comes calling, I’ll read about you on the news.

    have you actually read about ACs vs fans in your electricity bill? Thermodynamics aside, fans DO use less electricity than AC. Or is that something you weren’t aware?

    You seem hell-bent on defending ideas without actually examining the efficacy of the advice given. I don’t believe in wasting money on foolhardy advice without first thinking about it.

  46. Sanjay, I’m truly sorry for you. You seem to have a narrow focus of you, your block and the public transportation you ride on. It seems inconceivable to you that there are people who live outside of NY. Worse, you shun other people’s ideas for the simple reason that they may not apply to you. You remind me of one of those dreaded people who winds up in a training class I have to take, who cannot for the life of him understand that examples are illustrative, not personal. People like you argue with the instructor because the concepts aren’t “complex enough”, because the real world (yours that is) behaves differently than what is explained in class. People like you get on my nerves, not because your opinion is different, but because you believe the world revolves around you, and you can’t fathom that most of the country is not built around a decent public transportation system or that for many people having a car is a necessity.

    Most people know that a fan is less costly to run than an ac (it’s about 5-10 cents an hour, actually). However, what you fail to understand, is that if your object is to keep cool and the temperature in your house is high, having a fan won’t do the job. If your object is to move hot air around, your concept is brilliant. That’s where thermo comes in. If you don’t believe me, I invite you to the sun, and bring your fan with you.

    As for defending “bad advice”, again, you’re not reading the article properly. But I don’t think reiterating what I’ve already said will help. You’re too focused on proving yourself right and the world wrong. It’s unfortunate that there are people like you, as I think you’re too many. People like you poo-poo on ideas that keep this country static, rather than moving forward.

  47. Thank you Maha. Apparently my hillbilly ignorant answers weren’t quite enough for the eloquent and all knowing Sanjay.

    Good grief. Talk about narcissistic.

    As a matter of fact Sanjay…we DO use our ceiling fan. Not only that, we have another fan as well. *gasp* When it reaches 100 degrees in our home they don’t do much to keep our three large dogs cool. They are the reason for our AC purchase two years ago. I can keep myself cool but it’s a lot harder for an 85 pound dog with thick fur. Thankfully our temperatures don’t reach that high normally but even 80 degrees is uncomfortable for them.

    I really am shocked to encounter such a willfully rude and arrogant commenter here. It’s one thing to disagree with people but to blatantly insult them for, what is for most people, logical advice. Not all of us live in NYC.

    Enjoy your train ride. I have actual work to do.

  48. Wonderful article. I agree with minimizing oven use in the summer. I love my crockpot and am going to be building a solar oven.

    We are running the ac today for the second time this summer. We have ceiling fans and oscillating fans.

    For those that can not have an outdoor clothes line, have you considered a retractable indoor line? That is what we use in the winter and on rainy days.

    Sanjay: Not everyone has access to public transportation. Some of us (like me) live rural. So while we have to drive into town (10 miles one way) we do our best to combine trips. The flip side is I don’t remember the last time we bought milk, eggs, or meat since we raise our own food. You continue with your public transportation and worry about food recalls and I will continue to drive and raise my own food.

    We each have our own positives and negatives in our situations.

  49. Lots of great ideas! Thanks for sharing them. It was mentioned once already but I’d like to mention how splitting a meal when eating out can drastically cut back on entertainment expenses. We’ve compared the cost of fast food to the cost of eating a meal at a locally-owned restaurant and found that our expenses are about the same and sometimes less by eating at the locally-owned restaurant and we typically enjoy better tasting and healthier food. Since it also encourages local business everybody wins. Generous portions are the norm so we usually split the meal and maybe order an extra side to round it out. If you really want to be frugal, just drink water. And finally, you can keep an eye open for specials and occasional coupons. Times are hard for everybody and lots of restaurants are having to get creative to pull in business.

  50. Don’t ditch the bones! Healthy dogs can eat cooked and uncooked beef, lamb and pork bones and uncooked poultry bones (cooked poultry bones may splinter). Substituting meat scraps for a portion of a balanced dog food can create a nutritional imbalance if done for too long. Adding bone and veggies (what the kids didn’t eat?) can bring it back into balance. Google BARF diets for more info. Feeding a raw diet can actually save money in vet bills in the long run. For example, I don’t know how much my vet charges for teeth cleaning because my guys, aged 7 and 8, have never needed theirs done. So if you got em, gnaw em.

  51. These qre great tips!

    I enjoyed your article very much, so thanks for taking the time to write it. I sort of feel sorry for your kids, though. %)

    Anyway, if Sanjay deigns to return to this wonderful yet (o woe is me!) humble mortal board, I don’t think anyone should bother to reply – that is to say, “Don’t feed the trolls!”

  52. I agree Hannah. I was just so flummoxed by his attitude. Oh well.

    Lisa…THANK YOU!!! I can never remember which bones are okay to feed. I know no cooked chicken bones but when we have ribs and things I always hesitate to let them have them. They LOVE the lamb bones I get at the local grain store. :)

  53. I liked your well-taken comments, Sanjay. I found a few helpful tips for me here by Frugal Dad and the other writers, but I actually dread opening money advice articles. They almost always are targeted at readers earning the national median-income wage or higher…house owners with central A/C, SUVs, retirement accounts, and even medical insurance sigh.

    Such readers might appreciate being advised to dilute their juice with water to reduce grocery bills. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be much help for the formerly “lower middle-class” readers who today can no longer afford any kind of insurance besides required auto liability (no mass transit here!) and renter’s insurance.

    When money articles (making $, saving, investing, insurance issues, etc.) start seriously targeting “lower income” Americans with non-trivial advice and solutions, then maybe some real progress on these issues can be made by all of us.

    And I’m not talking about msnmoney.com’s “us poor folks” columnist Donna Friedman with her articles about the glories of picking through trash to make ends meet.

  54. Re: Chris I feel your pain! I had to have surgery a few years back totalling nearly $10,000 during a time when I had no health insurance (couldn’t afford the premiums), and without the assistance of the charity care at my local hospital, I would still be paying this off (in fact, I still owe nearly $1,500 to the anaesthesiologist who billed me directly). Cloth napkins and “drive it till it dies” are great, but only if you can afford the upkeep – the laundry costs and the maintenance costs. I am unemployed in extremely rural Oklahoma – I can’t bike to ANYWHERE – what kind of tips are there for those of us for whom our ONE restaurant meal per month is a luxury? Although I know cooking from scratch is cheaper, I often spend a bit more for prepackaged stuff anyway, because my cooking skills are such that I often ruin things to the point of inedibility, which is NOT a savings! Hang in there, Chris – it’s GOT to get better sometime!

    • Try AllRecipes.com – i love to cook and use it on occasion – it’s free and has simple recipes from home cooks – ppl leave comments, aka tips under that even my dad (i swear he used to grocery shop at the Micky D’s specials – honestly) is able to follow and successfully prepare meals

  55. Frugal Dad – I’m enjoying the tips. Glad that you’ve taken the time to post this site. Thanks.

    To Sanjay, Chris, Liz and others who feel the same, consider this: Regarding the care of our finances there’s no such thing as “one size fits all”. I’ve been up and I’ve been down. I’ve been so poor that I didn’t know where the next meal would come from for my child. There was a time when we lived on oatmeal alone.

    I know where you’re coming from; however, in order to save money, you’ve got to have some money. If you don’t have any money then this website is not for you at this time. Why clutter up my inbox with your complaints about a website that isn’t for you? Go find one that is. Go find a website that will help you make money. Can’t find one? Then get creative. Think for yourself. Stop griping about other people whom you may feel aren’t serving your needs.

    And Chris, where does it say that this site is only “targeting lower income Americans”? Anybody can be frugal, rich or poor. In fact, according to a well-known book, the average American millionaire is rich because they’ve been living frugal lives for many years.

    This site is performing a valuable service for some of us, even if it doesn’t help you. Right now I’m working several jobs, including performing lawn care service in the evenings & weekends in order to hold it all together. That’s really hard work for a woman. I don’t have time for griping because I’m busy trying to do everything that I can to better my condition. If watering down juice for your kids doesn’t work for you, fine. Keep it to yourself why don’t ya? Sometimes I can afford juice and sometimes I can’t. When I do have it, watered-down juice makes sense in order to make it go farther.

    I appreciate anybody who will take their time to share ideas even though their ideas may not work in my circumstances. But I’m fed to the teeth with complainers and their opinion that they have a right to spray others with their bitterness.

  56. Chris,

    You said “Thus, Ruth, you misunderstood when you said “And Chris, where does it say that this site is only “targeting lower income Americans”?“. I am concerned about the economy of this country and all its citizens, and not about how much money a particular reader has in the bank.”

    I can only say to this claim….”Good! Then you won’t mind sites like this that help people keep their money in the bank!”

  57. Ruth, you say “If you don’t have any money then this website is not for you at this time. Why clutter up my inbox with your complaints about a website that isn’t for you? Go find one that is.”.

    You don’t really know how much money I have, Ruth…or for that matter, you probably don’t know about Sanjay or Liz either. I’m a mechanical engineer (multiple thermodynamics courses, yikes!). The problem isn’t who comments about money articles, i.e., whether they have enough money to qualify to comment.

    My concern (or complaint, as you call it) is with the quality of most media money articles as they pertain (or not) to a huge number of American citizens with incomes below the national median, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau was $48,201.00 two years ago in 2006.

    Many people today are struggling to keep a roof over their head, let alone deciding whether or not they are going to turn on their central A/C which they don’t have. Watering down juice (which I do myself) and not buying paper towels are not sufficient solutions if you don’t have big savings to make on tips involving house ownership, insurance and A/C.

    Thus, Ruth, you misunderstood when you said “And Chris, where does it say that this site is only “targeting lower income Americans”?“. I am concerned about the economy of this country and all its citizens, and not about how much money a particular reader has in the bank.

    Let’s try to be objective and all-inclusive when participating on a site like this in order to maintain the integrity of the conversation. Hopefully that will inspire the financial media to publish truly useful advice for all of us. One bright spot lately is better reporting on the charming credit card and credit score industries and other credit issues affecting almost everyone.

  58. Liz, what you say is exactly the point I’m getting at. I ended up with an $8000 bill for one night in a hospital emergency room, no kidding! I had no treatment performed besides receiving pain medication, but I agreed to an expensive test I didn’t know to decline having. I was ignorant and didn’t know or think to ask the cost while I was in pain and scared.

    Aren’t parts of Oklahoma now supposed to be “up” economically compared to the Detroit area where I’m at? If so, I’m movin’! :) Fortunately, my partner can actually cook well, otherwise it’d mostly be Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and Hershey’s kisses for me. lol

  59. One of the major things I’ve realized is making sure I have an emergency fund for those situations that you don’t expect. If you have an emergency fund and something unexpted happens it won’t derail your savings goals. ING Direct offers a way to split your account into “defined” segments. I have “emergency” “down payment” “savings 1″ and “vacation” I can allocate how much each section gets whenever I want. Also, It’s really easy to set up an automatic deposit from your checks or scheduled deposits from a bank account. If you want a referral link to get a $25 kickstart (only if you begin with at least $250) that is automatically deposited to your account, shoot me an e-mail at z3trkrnr@ gmail.com

  60. To Liz – You don’t have to cook everything from scratch while you’re learning. Having kids has taught me how to cook simply, economically and healthy (for the most part). One of my favorite meals is baked chicken. It goes with everything and the left over chicken can be used in a salad, sandwich, pot pie and/or casserole.

    Here’s how: Bake a whole chicken in baking pan with 3-4 inch high sides (I’m sure there’s a technical name, but I can’t think of it), covered tightly with foil, at 375 for 1 1/2 – 2 hours. No seasonings required, unless you want to experiment. Have your chicken with a pasta roni and frozen peas. When I’ve gotten all three items on sale, I’d say that first meal costs $1.60/adult or so, not including a drink. That’s pretty cheap, don’t you think?

  61. I’m running the risk of sounding elitist and urban here, but one thing I have done to cut out spending and feel good about my contribution to the environment was sell my gas car and buy an electric one. I bought a USED Zap Xebra sedan for about $7000. The insurance for it runs me $12 a month and it is costing me about 1-2 cents a mile to drive. Yes, I did have to plunk down some money to get it, but by selling my gas vehicle I was able to swap out equally. I was spending about $250 on gas a month. My first electric bill came and there was a $4 increase over last month. This car is only for someone who drives shorter distances. It can go up to 25 miles before it needs a charge and no highway driving. For my needs it was a frugal and green choice.

  62. I dislike strongly using old clothes for rags. Many of them are partly synthetic, and so are not absorbent, and too slick to clean efficiently.I go to Costco and pay $12 for a package of 48 white terrycloth “rags”. They are pretty thick, and almost as big as a hand towel. I have only needed to buy 2 packages in 6 years, they wear so well. As they become stained or show wear, they become “floor rags” and clean ones are stored in a container under the sink.The guys can use those for anything, even car washing and motor repairs, and they can also be used for wiping the floors or cleaning the bathroom. The ones that are unstained and white go into the drawer, and THOSE are used for kitchen cleaning tasks,and every evening, the used rags go into the wash bag, and clean ones are set out. Once a week, they all get washed in hot water with detergent and bleach, and are dried outside, weather permitting. Paper towels are only used for cleaning tasks that would make a rag REALLY nasty,for microwaving if called for in a recipe or, 3 times a year or so, to drain fried food.
    Also, I find that using a LITTLE bit (a tablespoon or less) of dish soap (handwashing type) in a bucket and filling it with hot water (2 gallons or so)makes a GREAT floor cleaner for a watertight floor.In the kitchen, it gets up all the sticky and oily spots. If the floor is REALLY dirty, maybe use half that amount of water, or double the amount of soap. And I use a spray bottle of water (about a quart) with 2 teaspoons of dish soap in it as a spray cleaner for the cabinets and counters and walls in the kitchen. Spray it on, leave it a minute (or longer) to work on the dirt, then wipe it off with a clean cloth dampened with the hottest water your hands can bear (or wear gloves and get it REALLY hot).Saves time, energy, money AND broken fingernails! And the solution lasts a surprisingly long time, is MUCH cheaper than those advertised kitchen and bath cleaners, and works as well or better.

  63. Kee…I don’t think you sound elitist at all. You made a logical decision based on your needs. If there were an electric or hybrid that would meet my needs and save me gas money I’d totally get one.

    Unfortunately I drive 23 miles one way to work so something like that wouldn’t work for me. And I can’t justify the expense of a $40k hybrid … I think they are radically overpriced for the benefit that will not even out in even a few years. So I am sticking with gas for now. :)

  64. I use my credit card just to make points. I buy with the credit card and pay. I don’t need credit because I have the money. I just make money using my credit card and making points to buy something I need later.
    My bank has no annual fees on credit cards.

  65. Frudaldad -
    Have a question about CashCrate. I became a member and spent 2-hours clicking, clicking, clicking to bank $2.60 which I’m not guaranteed. Also to finish surveys I had to spend $7.45 in shipping fees. I’m not understanding how to work this system to make any money. You are probably laughing … I’m ignorant on what I’m doing. Please Help.

  66. If one wants to still go to the movies, but not pay $10 a person, drive-in movies are great. We paid $5 each for a first-run triple feature (Wall-e, The Hulk, and Baby Mama). The concession prices were about 1/2 the price or an indoor movie theatre or you could bring your own. It is not as cheap as Netflix, but still a bargain. The nostalgia was great.

  67. @CYNTHIA: Not laughing at all – unfortunately the CashCrate system is not completely intuitive at first glance. I have a post coming up tomorrow that tells all about CashCrate because I’ve received several questions from readers.

    In the interim, I would encourage you to stick to 100% Free Offers and Daily Surveys. In fact, I’ve never completed a survey that required money or a credit card. Also consider that referring others is a great way to make money with CashCrate – they have a very lucrative referral program. Be sure to send your link to family and friends! Check back here at Frugal Dad tomorrow for a more detailed review.

  68. FrugalDad
    I love this list! Great job. I think with how everything is nowdays, people are looking for ways to cut and save any way the can, and I only see it getting worse. I too, starting posting some ways to save on my site, and recipes that use everyday items. People are thankful for all the tips and help they can get. Thank you so much for all the time you put into this list.

  69. In response to using generic ink cartridges, if you don’t need color ink, get an inexpensive LaserJet, many cost less than $100. I had many inkjets, however for school I was, and will be averaging printing between 15-40pages per day. My Epson that I had was costing me about $0.50 per page (the cartridges would run out after 70-100pages.) And it would stop printing saying it was out of ink when there was still a good 30pages worth left (thus the class-action suit against Epson). At any rate the toner cartridge for my laserjet costs $55, however the starter cartridge (1/4-1/2 full) that came with the printer just now ran out 1.5 years later, after nearly 3500pages. Assuming that the full cartridge were to get 3500pages it comes out to $0.015 per page. Best investment I have ever made.

  70. This idea may seem like a no-brainer for some but for others, it’ll be new.

    Use ammonia for cleaning your glass items, not those expensive streaky glass-cleaning products at the store. You can buy or make use of an old spray bottle and fill it with ammonia and water, mixed about 50-50 or with a higher water to ammonia ratio, as you like. Save on paper towel use by making use of old newspaper to wipe windows clean. When this idea was first introduced to me by friends in the 70′s when I was first setting up housekeeping, I was skeptical – especially about using newspaper. But it works and works very well.

    I switched back to this idea many years ago when I noticed that the formula for my favorite name-brand window cleaner had been changed and that no matter how much I sprayed and wiped, it left a streaky surface behind. Now I call that dirty work!

  71. I left the website out on my prior post on cheap drive-in movies. http://www.drive-ins.com/

    Please be patient as it takes a few moments for the page to load.

    BTW, this weekend for $5 person and $2 for children, we are going to see the Batman Premiere with Batman showing up in costume 2 hours early for the kids.

  72. Here’s one for you…. As fuel prices are just ridiculous at the moment; I found a really good offer the other day… I know it won’t help with overall cost of fuel but I needed to replace my tyres for my car to pass its MOT and Central Tyre has an offer of £30 free fuel when I bought my tyres :) . I think there is a few around the country so check if they have got one by you, on their website or yell.com


  73. Great tips! I too have looked for ways to save cash and the earth at the same time. Here are a few things I have done-

    Changed the light bulbs to the new type that use less energy, I have already noticed a decent drop in my electric bill.

    I recycle any type of paper I can put through the paper shredder into cat litter filler. I still add a few inches of litter into the boxes to absorb the urine and pile in the shredded paper. My 4 cats were a bit iffy at first but are fine using it. Now I do have to change litter more often but I am spending less on clay litter and
    the amount of bags we take to the dump weekly.

    I also use recycled boxes and the shredded paper for stuff I sell on eBay to generate an additional income on occasion.

    We will be having a wood stove installed to help reduce our dependancy on natural gas for heat. After a storm, it’s not too hard to find downed wood. PLus the local park in our village allows villagers to pay $20.00 for a truck load of downed or dead trees. And the village will be cutting down 2 major trees in front of my home and I get the wood for free which will be a good 2-3 years worth of wood for FREE!

    I buy used whenever I can for many things. Recently picked up a custom made sectional couch that cost the person I bought it from $3500.00, I got it for $350.00 and it looks brand new with no odor or stains. I lucked out! ;-)

    We ridded our finances of the burden of a $600.00 a month vehicle payment and $100.00 for full coverage insurance that got horrible fuel mileage and purchased a decent 1999 Lincoln Town Car that is loaded and was owned by an elderly man since new, garaged every night and has mostly highway miles. And hubby bought an old hoopty pick up with a plow. The no fault insurance on both vehicles is less than the full coverage for 1 new vehicle plus hubby can make a few bucks with his plow in the winter months. It helps to that my 2 eldest sons are good with vehicle repairs if needed.

    I have been packing my 2 youngest sons school lunches which saves a ton.

    I have started to feed the family pets good quality left overs instead of tossing the food and it really does make the dog & cat food last a lot longer.

    I use a crock pot, microwave and electric frying pan when I can to save on heating the oven which really does take so much more energy.

    II hang laundry just as often as I can and will have a indoor retractable line once the wood burning stove in installed since that will dry laundry very quickly.

    We downsized to a less expensive fixer upper home and have been doing as many of the remodels/repairs as we can ourselves.

    I shop in bulk and off brand stores such as Aldi & Sav-A_lot. I have been working on getting into the habit of using coupons if the savings will be a lot.

    Since we live in a rural area, we do try to incorporate as many trips as we can into our outings.

    Mary in Camden, MI. US

    Hubby is retired now and it helps having his help doing the things to save cash where we can.

  74. Loan and borrow lawncare items,basic tools, childrens’ clothes, etc with trusted neighbors. It builds relationships upon which you can find support during tough times. Expand the pass-it-on,DIY, and Time, Talent or Treasure philosophies.

    Donate and deduct.

    Washable,insulated curtains- yes, they exist, and are not very expensive!

    cold air, warm blankets- why not? Layer summer blankets.

    Wear wool clothes. Layer light knits or heavier ones. Washable wools are available now, and they can be blocked or steamed to shape if necessary,they spot clean well, drape nicely over a variety of figures, and best of all, they can be worn a few times and don’t smell like polyester fleece, and other synthetics. I hang items to air out, and they’re fine the next day. Wool socks are great too; larger legs?-go to the men’s shops for over-the-calf or more generous sized. Air dry to save $ and avoid shrinkage.

    Buy simple, timeless, no fad clothes and shoes. You can always accent in other ways, and you’ll look neat. Buy a little larger for drape. Sometimes you look more groomed without cling and can layer for changes in season.No need to keep buying. have confidence in your own beauty.

    Camp and vacation at home or in the area.

    Family scavenger hunt for all ages, group sizes, areas. From your backyard to city architecture, there’s always something to find!

  75. A ‘cloth napkin” and nicely set table is special for kids. We found they were more careful, which mean less $ on cleanup too!

  76. Great post, but I would not recommend buying clothes on eBay. I used to work a lot of retail, and ALL of the stores had problems with shoplifters. We began to recognize “regulars,” who would appear out of nowhere and leave entire tables or shelves empty in their wake. Undoubtably, some of those people are “diversifying their income” by stealing clothes and selling them on eBay.
    Of course not all the clothing on eBay is stolen, but after the amount of professional shoplifting I saw, it’s just something I warn people to stay away from.

  77. For me, a gym membership is one of those things I’m not willing to give up. Exercising and staying healthy goes a long way in feeling better about yourself, and is absolutely worth the expense. You can save money though by switching to a less expensive gym where they may not have all of the amenities that a fancy place would.

  78. Good ideas, many of which my family already does. We go one step further and and don’t use A/C except for the hottest days, usually only twice a summer (and we are in Kansas). We use window fans to suck in cooler night air and stop them in the morning; mature trees keep the house shaded. Yeah, it’s hot, but it’s summer!

  79. D’ye know FD, that here in England a lot of local and county councils give new parents cloth nappies and the kit used when using them? My local county council gives £100 worth of kit! (it is considered cost effective in saving on land fill). Amazingly, it is mostly the poorer people who continue to buy expensive disposables.

    Generic foods, here in the UK most large supermarket chains sell a really cheap ‘value’ or ‘basic’ range. It is staggering how many people don’t even bother to try it. It covers almost every product – I estimate that by buying as much of this as I can, I can save about a third on main generics and over half on branded goods. A saving not to be sniffed at.

    We also have something called ‘Freeview’ which gives lots of cable/satelite channels for the cost of the box.

    With the crunch the cost of ‘cheap to run’ used cars is going up – the cost of the bigger used cars is going down! It’s not rocket science is it?

    Taking lunch to work – just as money saving here. Cooking your own meals from scratch is good for more than saving cash. I still hear people say healthy food is more expensive than the fat and sugar filled ready meals and take aways! Rubbish, our mother’s and grandmother’s fed us food that didn’t make us into porkers – and on much less money that people have now. (food being relatively cheaper then is also a myth).

  80. Good article & website. I was surprised tho’ that some people got a bit testy. But I’ll be coming back. My spousal unit used to think I was a cheapskate but now sees the wisdom of frugality. We eat out 2-3 x’s monthly to keep it “special” & bag our lunches. I’ve been planning my errands since the last gas “crisis” in the ’70′s, & I’ve been using canvas bags since 1990. They won’t wear out! Dry Cleaning? Not in my life! Wash’n'wear is convenient. For those of you who don’t like stiff clothes off the line, try placing washed things in the dryer for 10 or so minutes & then hang ‘em out to dry…it drasticly reduces the stiffness & your clothes still get that wonderful fragrance that only line-drying gives. Before I go shopping, I look in my pantry & in my closet to make sure that I know I won’t buy what I already have, & it workslike a charm. Thanx for letting me share, & thanx for your website! “I’LL BE BACK”

  81. #60. Divide credit card minimum payments in half and pay it twice a month.

    This advice is GENIUS! I can’t believe I have never thought about it. Thank you so much.

    I love this list but I have only one issue and that is with #71. Fit is so important when it comes to clothes that I wouldn’t buy online. I do stock up on coupons and only shop during sales. I was able to get a brand new pair of Express jeans for $15.

  82. I would be miserable doing the Navy shower thing. I do make an effort to shower at the gym. I can sit in the shower for as long as I want…and I’m a student, so I don’t pay for a gym membership :)

  83. A great way to reduce telephone bills is to merge your cell phone and house phone. You can do this through prepaid phone plans like TracFone and Net10. You pay only for the minutes you use and can use the phone to text as well. Since I switched to prepaid, I have save over $30 a month on my cell phone bill. I would recommend this to anyone who is in the need to save money.

  84. I too have been working toward being more frugal. The first lesson is “Frugal doesn’t mean Cheap”. Here is an article I wrote called “Frugal Dollar Money Saving Tip”.

  85. I’ll see your #71 and raise you.
    A frugal adult who pretty much stays the same clothing size over time really needs to shop for clothes very little.

    Kids are another matter. My two boys are growing crazy fast, so it’s essential to find heavily worn items like jeans at very lo cost.

    Hooray for Goodwill stores! I like to visit the one nearest the best shopping mall complex in my area. It’s a treasure trove of lightly worn items, and you just can’t beat it for clothes for growing boys!

    I have started picking up things for myself there, now, and am getting more compliments on my wardrobe than I did when I was buying off the rack (the stuff I could afford wasn’t turning heads, yanno)

    I can drop off our old stuff and pick up the new in the same super frugal trip. No shipping charges. Saves my money for the cost of new shoes.

    ; )

  86. I am in Australia – I love this website.
    my tips are
    pay a small amount each pay fortnight on each bill – such as water / gas / electricity. I pay $30 each, so when the bill comes in it is not so bad.

    I use tank water for washing clothes and then the water goes on the garden.
    I use non-toxic ‘laundry balls’ for most washing – expensive to begin with but last for months before refill pellets needed.

    I ‘op shop’ my family’s clothing – this morning I bought 3 shorts and a nightie for my daughter – $3.50 (the lady at the shop offered them cheaply to clear the stock).

    I bought doona covers and sheets for my kids bed – $4 each – and the kids don’t notice they are not new.

    If we go away the kids get a few dollars each and we go to the local op shop – my son recently found a star wars jigsaw puzzle we desperately wanted – $4 – and that kept him entertained for ages.
    when we go away, we have yearly passes to 2 places we visit, and that saves alot of money – and we stay in a old but clean and cheap motel and take most of our own food and a small cooker.

    I eat dinner at work – when the expensive kitchen closes they usually leave a few meals in the fridge for the staff – I run over and grab one quick.

    I use a slow cooker and also use lots of rice in our meals – we shop at Aldi.

    I recharge batteries etc at work – find a powerpoint hidden away from obvious sight and charge up batteries and the mobile phone.

    I use bpay for payment of bills – makes life easier than going to the postoffice to pay – does need 2-3 days to clear however. But does not cost me anything.

  87. When my DH’s 1997 truck finally became truly unreliable this past winter, he began driving my car and I opted to work from home (I know this option isn’t available for everyone). We shopped around carefully and eventually bought a new to us 2004 truck, which we will also drive into the ground. By the time we got the newer truck in May I’d become used to working from home and stopped missing my morning coffee with work buddies. I’ve been working from home ever since. With the reduction in my at work coffee, occasional lunches, gas, etc I figure we’re saving over $200/month.

    Because we stalled on replacing truck for almost 18 months from when we first thought it might be time, we had time to save up for the purchase. We paid almost all cash and the bit we put on the line of credit was paid off within 3 months. Being free of any consumer debt is a very good thing.

    My company is now in the slow process of going out of business and I will be laid off within the next 4-6 months. I’m actively looking for a new job. If I don’t find what I want before the layoff I may feel forced to jump to the first job available. It may come to that but for now I can still afford to be choosy. We earn good salaries, but by choice have always lived VERY frugally. I know some of our friends would call us cheap if they saw us buying dented cans, marked down veggies and meat, and shopping at the Salvation Army. We choose to do these things because spending more on these things isn’t as important to us as freeing up the cash for other things. Our choices mean that necessities consume only ~50% of our take home pay. The excess can be either stashed away toward early retirement, used to pay down the mortgage faster, or once in a while take a vacation. Last summer we spent a month in Europe with the kids. When someone said Wow that must have cost a fortune, it was all I could do not to say Wow if you didn’t have two car payments, 500 channels, and a monster TV you could have come with us! It’s all about choices and priorities. What works for one family doesn’t work for another. That’s what I love about sites like this – we all take something different from the information shared here.

    Given the job upheaval I’m about to have I a very glad we don’t live close to the line financially. I track virtually every cent on an Excel spreadsheet, with projected spending mapped out 6-12 months in advance. I can delete my salary from the spreadsheet and immediately see how long we have after I’m laid off before we start to run into trouble. I’m constantly teased about running my life on a spreadsheet but now having a plan certainly takes some of the worry out of it.

  88. @um…lots of people live where you can’t have a clothesline all year, in fact last I checked there were ~650,000 of us up here in Alaska, and ~80,000 of us here in the Fairbanks North Star Borough where it is almost guaranteed to be -50 F a few times a year. I love it here, fuel costs and all.”

    So you hang your laundry part of the time, right? I’ve seen pictures of villagers in Nain, Labrador hanging their clothing to dry on lines outside in the winter.

  89. Good tips except for giving up the land line.
    Studies in Europe show definite link between cell phones and cancer especially brain cancer.Same for wireless internet where is has been banned in some European schools.These are not harmless EMF frequencies.I’d rather spend a few bucks on land lines and not get cancer…….which is very expensive.You aren’t being told about this because the industry would loose too much money.It’s always about the money.

  90. I have a feeling that “Sanjay” is some youngm arrogant punk kid who has nothing better to do in New York City that get behind a computer keyboard (annonmously of course) and make such obnoxious comments. We usually call punks like that “trolls”

    I was born and raised in New York City in a town at one end of that “A” Train he mentioned and let me tell you we use to call it the “Animal” Train for a reason…..let’s start with NO, yes I said NO Air Conditioning..then think of a train packed with smelly people and questionable characters somthing like, well think of a cattle train in a third world country where there are a lot of little boys named “Sanjay”. So “Sanjay” that’s a BIG whopper you told folks here about your riding the “A” Train in the summers to cool off!

    As, I was saying I have lived a very frugal life for many decades in New York City and I’ve used a good 98% of these tips mentioned here all those years. So don’t try to BS anyone that they won’t work in New York City cause that’s the second BIG Whopper your telling folks!

    Frugal Dad Great Site and keep up the Good Work!!

  91. I live in a very rural part of southern Michigan where we have a lot of Amish population and I do see the Amish hanging laundry to dry outside all year long.

    When we once had wood heat, we hung our laundry on hangers all over the living room (where the stove was) and our laundry dried so quickly, quicker than in the dryer and it cost us nothing to dry. We were not working harder either since most of the clothing went on hangers anyway when dry. I truly miss wood heat. ;-(

    Mary in Camden, MI

  92. I no longer have to watch every penny, but I still like to get the most out of my dollars – so I continue to check out various websites such as this, looking for more tricks. Few are new to me, but some I haven’t tried yet – thanks for the reminders!

    Here’s a couple of thoughts for you all:

    If you’re a homeowner with appliances that will need replacing, invest in a subscription to Consumer Reports. I researched in the months before the replacement was going to happen, figuring out the best brand or two (re: repair history), that was also energy star rated, and in the lower price range….and saved up my money while watching for sales. My utility bills are so much less than when I first got my 15 yr old townhouse.

    I don’t advise anyone to “cut” their own hair, but to trim it. You reduce the chance of making an awful mistake. If all you do is trim up your bangs and the sides, you can at least extend the time between getting it cut professionally.

    And one of my proudest moments in saving money on my home: taking the leftover paint from the former owner of pink & yellow (not my color scheme) and mixing them to create a lovely salmon color that re-did my laundry room & downstairs bathroom at no cost! So it’s rather a game with me to look around and see what I have that might be useful in a different way, instead of going out & buying new. Plus I feel so creative – it’s a win-win.

  93. I just wanted to second the ‘don’t be shy-give a dog a bone’. The only bones that they shouldn’t eat are cooked poultry, everything else (raw or cooked) is fine. When we can afford it, we feed raw.

    So for us, it is actually the opposite of your suggestion. We supplement their raw meat (and occasional veggies, we feed prey model raw, rather than BARF) with dog food sometimes when we have trouble tracking down affordable meats. Too funny. =P

  94. Number 75 did it for me and my family. Rather than spending a lot of money on gifts for special occasion like birthdays, Christmas, etc., what we do instead is to make a service coupon. Doesn’t cost a cent other than the time invested in making the coupon and performing the service duty. Works perfectly so far and is more rewarding for the giver and the recipient.

  95. Great tips! I think I can do a lot of these stuffs and start saving money. If you get the chance, feel free to visit my site for helpful finance tips.

  96. 1. Use fast food napkins as toilet paper…..2.cook all your food 3.never use your dryer{outdoor line n bath room} 4.take public transportation 5.

  97. Excellent suggestions for painless saving! I’ve referenced this post in my own blog because of the simplicity and impact of your 75 Ways. Great job, Frugal Dad!

  98. Just came across your list — lots of great ideas! We have a 17 year old Ford Escort that we bought for $300. It has hail damage and a few small dings, but it runs great and gets an impressive 34 miles per gallon plus it qualifies for super cheap insurance! Our “new” car is a well-kept family van we bought used during a inventory clearance sale. It’s 10 years old but looks great and has all the functionality and space we need for about 1/6 the cost of a new one.

    Also, when I started budgeting our groceries I noticed we were spending a ridiculous amount on papertowels, mainly because we used 2-3 sheets every time we washed our hands in the kitchen. So we hung up a towel hook next to the sink which has amounted to 75% reduction in how many papertowel rolls we buy now.

  99. Truly useful appreciate it, It looks like your current visitors would definitely want a whole lot more posts like this continue the great hard work.

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