Friday, September 14, 2012

Best Money Saving Tips

With the price of gasoline hitting $3.99 this past week and food at the grocery store continuing to rise in price, it's time to take a closer look at some ways to save money. As I looked on the internet for frugal ideas and saving money, I realized that I already do many of the suggestions, such as:

=> Limit eating out to once a week. I'd take it a step further and say limit eating out to once a month. By preparing ahead of time, enjoyable meals can be done when on the road - either on trips; or going to lessons/activities or doing errands over meal times.

Having a picnic somewhere is much more memorable - and healthy - than eating at a chain restaurant.

Having a picnic at the Lindbergh State Park
in Little Falls, Minnesota.
(Taken on September 4, 2012.)

=> Go to playgrounds and parks. With the exception of county and state parks which have a nominal fee for either daily or yearly use, these activities cost absolutely nothing and can keep children entertained for quite a while.

We have stickers for both county and state parks since we visit both so often. The fees are worth the number of visits we make to them.

Slide at the County Park
Olivia on the slide at a local county park.
(Taken on June 30, 2008.)

=> Re-use worn-out clothes for crafting. Worn-out clothes with sentimental value are perfect for being reworked into crafts and quilts that may only need a few square inches of usable fabric to create each piece. 

Embroidered Squares with Fabric Ones
Some of the quilt squares using fabric from clothes and bedding.
(Taken on November 16, 2011.)

I have made reusable fabric bags for gift-giving at birthdays and holidays with some clothes that the girls have outgrown. Other clothes - like outfits they wore when they were babies and toddlers - I am holding onto to make into a quilt to be passed onto them when they graduate from high school. 

=> Stick to the Basics. In the kitchen, use basic spices like pepper, seasoned salt, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. The lesser-used spices take up cabinet space and often lose their flavor if not used within a specified time period. If you don't have a spice a recipe calls for, substitute it for one that is on hand.

=> Have a Potluck. With the holidays around the corner, I think that rather than trying to shop or and make an entire meal I will ask people to bring items (e.g., salad, dessert). Not only do guests get to "show off" something they enjoy making or have an excuse to try a new recipe, but that helps reduce the cost of feeding 17 people.

Easter Dinner
Easter potluck dinner at Mom's home.
(Taken on April 8, 2012.)

=> Choose Economy over Size and Bells & Whistles. I read was that when looking to replace a vehicle, to choose one that is more economical. This is timely information because the Jeep has over 214,000 miles on it now and will need to be replaced.  

=> Make Do with as Little as Possible. As the ads for Christmas will begin in the next couple of months, remember to purchase items that are needed. Frivolous items; excessive amounts of toys and other possessions; lots of clothes and shoes; and knick-knacks are not necessary to leading a meaningful and rewarding life.

=> Do Frugal Hobbies and Entertainment. Sophia and Olivia enjoy stamp collecting, and have created some interesting presentations with stamps from their collections. They have won grand- and reserve-champion awards at the county fair. Stamp collecting is not expensive, and there are shows and activities geared for kids that giveaway free stamps as a way to introduce them to the hobby.

Sophia's Stamp Collection
The first stamp collection Sophia entered in the county fair.
(Taken on August 1, 2007.)

=> Use the Public Library. We visit the library at least once a week, and enjoy checking out a variety of books, magazines, music, and books on CD or audio players. There also are many electronic resources available free of charge that are on the library's website. During the winter - when the weather is below zero - I'll make the time to explore these other free resources.

=> Focus on the Big Picture. Remember what is truly important in life: Loving your family, living a good life, and not focusing on things and money.

=> Prepare for the Effects of the Drought. For those who eat meat, use sales to stock up on meat this fall. Some farmers who are unable to buy expensive feed will bring their animals to market early. That may lower prices temporarily.

Take advantage of this opportunity, but don't buy an excessive amount. Meat doesn't keep in the freezer indefinitely. Most ground meat is good for three months; and steaks and roasts are good for six months.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls we made.
(April 21, 2010.)

Package meats properly for the freezer. Don't forget to mark what is in the package as well as when it went in the freezer.

=> Shift Away from Processed Foods. Processed food is more expensive than raw food that you prepare yourself. Also, they are made with ingredients (e.g., meat) that needed corn or soybeans. Both of these ingredients will be increasing in price this fall because of the drought. Many prepared foods are easy to make yourself. Spend some time learning how to make healthier food.

Turkish Salad - Kisir
Turkish Salad which had lots of fresh vegetables and herbs.
(Taken on January 20, 2011.)

=> Reduce the Number of Miles that Driven. Although I group my errands together in an effort to save money on gasoline, it also helps reduce the cost of maintenance, lowers the cost of insuring it, and lengthens the life of the car.

=> Caulk. This is something I haven't done, but want to do this fall. It is recommended that caulk be used on openings or outlets around pipes, foundation, and windows. The goal is to stop any migration of air and water.

=> Check the Refrigerator Before Going to the Grocery Store. I have been doing this more recently, and have planned menus from what is on hand. It is amazing how much money can be saved by doing this simple activity.

Turkey Pot Pie
Turkey Pot Pie using leftover turkey and vegetables.
(December 4, 2010.

=> Regularly have Leftover Meals. My mom used to do a leftover meal on Saturdays. She put out all the odds and ends of leftovers for everyone to eat. Nothing went to waste. This also started the week out fresh for her, and created extra room in the refrigerator.


This post is part of Blog Ease Autumn Blogathon challenge hosted by Blog Ease Facebook Group, BellaDazzle, All 'Bout Cute Designs, Giveaway Overload, Shoes Fashion Fitness, Survival Guide by The Working Mom and Roasted Beanz.

1 comment:

Domestically Seasoned said...

I love this post! A great reminder for me on how to be a little more frugal!