Little ways to save money? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-19-2006, 11:16 AM
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Since some of you are in the same boat as me, (broke broke broke) I was wondering if you guys have little ways on saving money. I'm already doing what I can think of but would love to hear what you guys do too to maybe help me out more. Here is what I can think of on the top of my head that I already do.



I give myself a set amount of grocery money and never spend over it.

I've cut back on prepackaged/pre-made foods like fake meats, rice meals in a box etc... I use my vegan cookbook (Vegan with a vengance) since she is into frugal living. When I drink juice, I water it down to spread it out. I drink mainly tap water. I don't drive unless necessary. I try not to be picky about everything I buy. My cleaning products are all homemade by me. I try to reuse trash before throwing away or recycling it. Heat is turned down to the lowest I can handle it and put on warmer clothes. I use the least amount of dishes as I can when cooking. I take short showers and take them every other day (easier on the hair too). Stay organized so as not to buy double of something I already have. Wear/use certain clothes more than once (PJ's, bath towels etc.) before washing them. I go to dollar stores and always buy off brand anywhere I shop. Lights are turned off in rooms Im not in. Patch up clothes if possible. Windows are sealed with plastic for the winter. A/C will rarely be used this summer. I very very rarely eat out. Recreational stuff is usually cheap or free (park, library, friends house, staying home etc)



Thats all I can think of right now. Im sure Im doing more than that though.



There are certain things I cant do because of where I live (grow my own food) or because of my cats (grow my own herbs inside the house) and things of that nature. So I am limited.



SO! Any other ideas guys?
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#2 Old 02-19-2006, 12:19 PM
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It sounds like you're doing a lot already! I'll just add a couple things....



Shop at thrift/secondhand stores and garage sales. You'll save a bundle on clothing, household items, etc, and you're helping to reduce/reuse/recycle. (BTW, lots of stuff at our local Goodwill store actually comes from retail stores like Target, brand new but with opened/damaged packaging.)



Sign up for your local freecycle.org, and/or check out the "free" offers section of craigslist.org in your area. It costs nothing, and you never know what kinds of useful items might be offered. Or perhaps you have a skill that can be bartered for other goods or services?



Keep up the good work!
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#3 Old 02-19-2006, 01:59 PM
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Beg or borrow a slow cooker/electric crock pot. They use a lot less fuel and nothing ever burns dry. I've made a veg stew and a curry this week out of really cheap ingredients, it all cooked in my absence which was even better!

I've put some in the freezer for when I need a fast meal.

Look out for money off coupons in magazines etc, some shops take them in lieu of cash without you having to buy the item.

For anyone reading this in the Uk, look at your phone deal, and consider switching to 18185 and/or 1899. I have, and save about £50 a quarter from before.

If you can shop with a friend, there are often two for the price of one offers on stuff you could split between you.
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#4 Old 02-19-2006, 02:10 PM
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You're already doing everything I thought up to respond with. Where do you have your thermostat set? I've had mine at 62, but now that my renters are going I might try going down to 60. I definitely don't heat rooms I'm not using. I don't heat my master bathroom, and usually not my bedroom either. If you have appropriate space, you can grow food in a garden, though I suspect that the economy of doing so is limited.
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#5 Old 02-19-2006, 08:09 PM
 
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Hey! R2L! Long time, no see!



<<<has nothing productive to add

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#6 Old 02-19-2006, 08:15 PM
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If you can get by the library pick up a copy of the Tightwad Gazette (I, II, and III) she is the queen of frugal from recycling vacumn cleaner bags and little plastic baggies (how to wash them) to using dryer lint for composting and the calculated cost of cereal, vs oatmeal, vs pancakes (homeade of course).



Good luck on your frugal ventures, I know my grandmother would be quite proud of you!
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#7 Old 02-19-2006, 09:52 PM
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I second that book. I learned a lot from it.
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#8 Old 02-19-2006, 10:59 PM
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I don't iron my clothes. I wear them wrinkled. Cost of electricity to run an iron is high. I was in cold water. I hang-dry (not too carefully either). I don't bother folding them either -- saves time -- time is money. I just stuff them in drawers. I do sort them. underwear bottoms in one drawer, with socks. tops in another. Shirts in another. Pants I hang. Some shirts too.



I only occ used prepared food. Most everything is made from scratch. I do freeze prepared foods for quck thawing later. I don't use too many spices or herbs -- they add cost.



I use a very efficient, non-frost-free, freezer. A chest type. Uses much less juice than an upright.



I buy fruit on sale and freeze it. Sale price probably does't save too much because of the cost of freezing it. But it is usually the tastiest fruit. Fruit is easy to freeze. Cut it into pieces and freeze it. You don't have to blanch it like you do with vegetables.



I wear hand-me-down clothes (I'm 58 -- so that means I get them from dead people).



I make my own bookshelves. Do own plumbing repairs. Do own central heating system maintenance.



I take a bath, not a shower.



I use condoms 3 times before discarding them. Just kidding.



I make my own condoms out of old ballons, sewed together. Obviously, I'm serious about that one.



I do wash them in cold water. And don't iron them.



I use hand-me-down condoms.



If I make a mistake in a printout, I save the sheet and use the other side later, for taking notes.



On the other hand, I do wasteful things, like print something out instead of reading it on the screen. I find reading paper less tiresome than reading from even the clearest screen. Then throw it away because I'm running out of room to file things. Then print it out again, later, if I want to read it again later.
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#9 Old 02-20-2006, 12:53 AM
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Originally Posted by goettling View Post

I second that book. I learned a lot from it.



me too--awesome book



peace and love



jenn
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#10 Old 02-20-2006, 02:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soilman View Post

I was in cold water.

I think you meant that you wash clothes in cold water -- I do that too.

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I wear hand-me-down clothes (I'm 58 -- so that means I get them from dead people).

You don't look like Mandy Patinkin, do you?

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If I make a mistake in a printout, I save the sheet and use the other side later, for taking notes.

I do this too. Since I print maybe 5 pages a month it's not really a cost thing, but I hate to waste anything.
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#11 Old 02-20-2006, 03:02 AM
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I save money by simply heating my water for making tea with in a saucepan on the gas stove before I put it in the electric kettle to boil...
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#12 Old 02-20-2006, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by soilman View Post

I take a bath, not a shower.

how is this cheaper?
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#13 Old 02-20-2006, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by isowish View Post

how is this cheaper?

Some people take long showers, some people don't.



As far as saving money goes... you mentioned a grocery budget, but what about an all-around budget? Make sure all your expenses are covered, and include a small budget for fun things. Everything else can be saved.
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#14 Old 02-20-2006, 11:03 AM
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One of the most amazing bits of information I got from the Tightwad Gazette books was Amy's recipe for muffins - she gives you a basic muffin recipe, then all sorts of information on how to modify it (adding fruit, using different flours, using juice or milk, different fat ratios - if you want to use peanut butter or oil, or even applesauce, and how to make savory muffins.) I have that pasted right inside the front cover of my cookbook. It's great when you're really counting pennies - a 5 lb. bag of flour can go far with the recipe; you get 12 muffins (freeze the ones you're not eating in a few days). It's a great breakfast, snack, or side dish item for your meals.



If you go to your local library, search their catalog for subject words like 'frugality', 'frugal living', 'home economics', etc. (Or sit down with a staff member and get help with a search.) I once borrowed about 30 books over a few weeks on the topic, and took notes in a notebook of the really important ideas. And it saved me a lot of money, too, since some of those books were really useless (for me anyway, like frugal decorating ideas that included tissue paper flowers, or frugal kids birthdays parties - I don't have kids). On the whole, I came up with some great ideas.



I also recommend browsing the cookbook section, not just for veg*n cookbooks, but for other books that might have chapters including veg*n foods as well (like pasta, veggies, salads, etc.) You can find some cheap cooking ideas in those books too, but still get some variety in your diet. (Obviously, you can skip beef cookbooks and the like.)



And if your library doesn't have many books on the topic, they can get you them via interlibrary loan. (This is usually free, but ask to make sure.) A library card is usually free, or very cheap (like a $5 'donation'), and most libraries now have video, CD, and DVD collections, which will provide you with a cheap source of entertainment as well.



With borrowing books, even if you photocopy good pages from them, assuming about 10 cents per page, you can copy 50 pages for $5 - which is still a lot cheaper than any book on the topic. Or, just write down the good ideas. I tend to stick these in a cheap notebook, a cheap binder, or even a leftover envelope for later use.



Books and websites on 'homesteading' and 'voluntary simplicity' also usually have information on frugal living, although that is not their main focus. But they do have a lot of good tips.



It sounds like you're taking a lot of the right steps already. Let us know if you come up with any interesting ideas in your search!
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#15 Old 02-20-2006, 06:05 PM
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Hey! R2L! Long time, no see!



<<<has nothing productive to add



What she said ^^^^^^







I'm the Tightwad Queen in my family and I pretty much use most of the things mentioned... (however I have a very well-insulated, very small house, so we keep the thermostat at a comfy 70... I like being warm during the day -though at night we drop the temp as low as it'll go...)
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#16 Old 02-20-2006, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Mskedi View Post

Some people take long showers, some people don't.



As far as saving money goes... you mentioned a grocery budget, but what about an all-around budget? Make sure all your expenses are covered, and include a small budget for fun things. Everything else can be saved.



Showers actually use less water than baths.
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#17 Old 02-20-2006, 08:29 PM
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Thanks guys. I remembered some other stuff I do. Yes I freecycle.org and I go to Goodwill and the like. I LOVE to go to garage sales. I got my dresser for $2 last year. Just had to fix a couple of drawers and used some left over paint and tah dah!



Yes I have a library card as I said in my first post.



Hahaha soilman - the condoms



Hi Iamjen!



I have a book my ex gave me last week on how to reuse everything. And boy does the author use everything lol



Oh I always wash laundry in cold water except for my whites and that load is always so small anyways because its just socks so that isnt a big deal. And I only do that small load once a week.



My thermastat is set to 70 lol To me that is as far as I can possibly go down to. I have a bad foot that gets achey(sp) when the house is cold. But my house is small and well insulated that I can get away with it being that warm. Im like TNS where I would rather be warm durring the day.



I use WAY less water with showers than baths. Which Im sure most people do?



Hi TNS!!



As far as my budget goes, my only hang up is with grocery money. I tend to over spend and get crap I dont absolutely need and splurge on a $4 bottle of Muir Glen (sp) ketchup instead of getting a $1 bottle of the reg crap. Thats what I mean by me trying not to be being picky. Im not a big ketchup fan and my daughter doesnt mind the reg kind and she uses it more than I do so Im now going with the $1 stuff... Ill try to go without the absolutely heavenly $4 Toffutti Better than Sour cream and just have my enchiladas and tacos without. You know, stuff like that.... *sigh* life is hard....



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#18 Old 02-20-2006, 08:39 PM
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I dont absolutely need and splurge on a $4 bottle of Muir Glen (sp) ketchup instead of getting a $1 bottle of the reg crap.

I must admit that I don't care for the Muir Glen - it tastes like just plain tomato paste to me and I keep coming back to Heinz, though I do wish they'd go back to glass bottles.
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#19 Old 02-20-2006, 09:36 PM
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I must admit that I don't care for the Muir Glen - it tastes like just plain tomato paste to me and I keep coming back to Heinz, though I do wish they'd go back to glass bottles.





Oh I love it. And Im not a ketchup person. It tastes richer to me. More flavor. But hey to each their own
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#20 Old 02-22-2006, 02:16 AM
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making big batches of things you can freeze and reheat through the week. stuff like homemade stews, soups, chili and rice dishes are cheap to make and serve lots.

if you get flyers in the mail check the grocery store flyers and make a note of what items are on sale at what stores. if there are more of your regular purchases on sale somewhere you don't normally go, it might be worth it to drive a little bit further. stock up when nonperishables go on sale. buy clubpacks whenever possible. you can get soymilk by the case. on a tight week when you're not sure if you have enough money to buy food, finding a few cans of potatoes and veggies in the back of the cupboard is a wonderful thing.

find a good generic brand you like and switch to it.

i always keep bags of dry pasta (generic $0.97/bag stuff), jars of pasta sauce (about $2 a jar) and canned mushrooms (like $0.50/can) in the cupboard at all times. if we have unexpected dinner guests or have a rare opportunity to eat together, pasta is a cheap tasty meal that serves lots. i usually make extra and have leftover for lunch the next day.

I'm singin' here to get rid of fear
Hope it disappears right here with the rain
But I know life is pain, not like a fairytale
Meaningless to pray, so just goin' on my way
~Miyavi "Torture"
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#21 Old 02-22-2006, 09:59 AM
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Coupons, coupons, coupons!! Paired with store sales when possible... And doubled at Ralphs/Vons...



Also, the Entertainment Book is a great value... While I try to eat home most of the times, on weekends sometimes and other various occasions I do go out to eat and my boyfriend and I are able to eat 2 for 1 at nice restaurants and try new places too... You make back the money in no time (and there's even a few coupons in there for veg*n restaurants!)
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#22 Old 02-22-2006, 02:55 PM
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I actually save more money going to off brand stores (Aldis - Save a Lot etc) Than clipping cupons. But where there is stuff I cant get at Aldis, then I go off brand at regular stores. I always go with sales and always buy offbrand as I said on my first post.



Tart, yeah I do the make a crap load and freeze the rest. Comes in handy.



When it comes to me buying or making food, that isnt a problem for me (except trying not to splurge on un-needed heavenly tastey items) . Its just the other stuff around the house is what Im looking for advice about.



Thanks so far on the ideas everyone. They are great!
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#23 Old 02-22-2006, 07:46 PM
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Not really a moneysaver but a timesaver:



When parking in a big full car park save time looking for your car upon return by letting the air out of your tyres. When looking for your car it is the lowest one in the car park & easier to find.
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#24 Old 02-22-2006, 11:41 PM
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Coupons, coupons, coupons!! Paired with store sales when possible... And doubled at Ralphs/Vons...



Also, the Entertainment Book is a great value... While I try to eat home most of the times, on weekends sometimes and other various occasions I do go out to eat and my boyfriend and I are able to eat 2 for 1 at nice restaurants and try new places too... You make back the money in no time (and there's even a few coupons in there for veg*n restaurants!)



OMG-OMG---i am a Coupon Queen---luv Coupons--the savings really ads up--and i love aldis too--great prices great value great stores!!



Peace and Love



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#25 Old 03-01-2006, 12:26 AM
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We use almost no disposable products. The only exceptions are freezer bags, which we reuse when possible, TP for dh, though Ben and I use cloth, and pine chips instead of cat litter. It's so much nicer and way cheaper. Not smelly, very clean, no dust, not sticky, no grime, almost weightless. I also switched from the big covered pan to the little portable pan, so each change uses about 1/2 as much. We reuse grocery bags for trash and recycling. Everything else is cloth--napkins, diapers, kitchen towels, lunchbox, mama cloth, umm, whatever other paper things ppl use.



You said you make your own cleansers (yay for you!), but have you tried making your own bath and personal care products? Cheap, easy and often far more effective than store bought. I make substitutes for deodorant, shampoo, body scrubs, conditioner (both rinse and leave in), face wash and scrub, and lotions. We use citrus scented dishsoap instead of flea bath. Much more effective, less caustic, and less expensive.



I live in a 770 square foot apartment with a tiny patio, dh, a 3yr old, a cat and a baby on the way. We are planting a container garden for herbs and veggies and perhaps berries. I'm using window boxes, sprouting on the window sill in Ben's room, then tying them to the fence in 3 tiers. Not sure if they will get enough sun the produce well, but so far so good. I have snap peas, bibb lettuce, spinach and dill sprouting now, and we're planting carrots and onions tomorrow. We just have to remember to keep the bedroom doors closed while we're actively sprouting indoors (about a week at a stretch). If you can't do that, perhaps putting a baby gate in the window will keep the cats away. Of course, our space is limited, so I won't be growing corn, but when I finish, I should have around 10 crops and an herb garden. And I'm going to start composting with worms probably next week. The bucket is ready, I just have to contact the farm and go get the worms. I'm using a tiny little bucket. Not a space issue there.



I think someone already mentioned cooking in large batches and freezing. I've also found that staying away from superstores saves money. I thought I was being frugal by shopping at Walmart, but everytime I go in there, I walk out with 4 times as much as I went in for. Now I don't go, and I just don't need all those things.



One last bit. I LOVE my local consignment store. All of my kids' stuff comes from there, and I get much of it in trade. I bring in Ben's outgrown clothes and toys that I'm not totally in love with, and I get either a check, or (better still) a big package of new stuff for him. I find that I get a better deal in trade than if I buy and sell. Last time I brought in a package, she offered me $30, but there was a brand new double stroller worth about $70 for $35. We agreed on a trade, so I saved $$ on the stroller and got an extra $5 for my stuff.
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#26 Old 03-01-2006, 07:42 AM
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Don't shop while hungry-you buy more that way.
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#27 Old 03-01-2006, 10:12 AM
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TP for dh, though Ben and I use cloth, and pine chips instead of cat litter. It's so much nicer and way cheaper.

Wait a minute...you use clothes for toilet paper? Am I reading that right?
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#28 Old 03-01-2006, 11:28 AM
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Cleaning rags are another big way to save money, if one is used to using paper towels, disposable sponges, pre-moistened cleaning cloths (like with Pledge or bathroom cleaner on them), etc. Always try to think of ways to use less paper products - cheaper for you, better for the environment.



My mom always had a bin full of rags when we were growing up - big beach towel pieces for handling big jobs (like drying off the car), smaller towel pieces for general cleaning purposes, leftover baby diapers and undershirts for dusting, etc. Then, when you use the rags, hang them to air dry and shove them in a hamper after they're dry - and then you can save all your nasty rag cleaning for a separate washer load, once the hamper gets full. (Obviously this is not recommended if you've got gasoline, turpentine, or anything particularly stinky or nasty on the rags.)



I swear my mom probably goes through a roll of paper towels once every 6 months - because she just uses rags for everything. I wish I could say I was that good about it - but I'm trying.



Also, there are 8 people in my family (my siblings and my parents) - so my mom bought about 100 handkerchiefs. (We all get seasonal allergies.) They're a lot cheaper than constantly shoving stacks of tissues in your pockets, and they don't screw up the laundy load if you accidentally leave them in your pockets!
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#29 Old 03-01-2006, 11:33 AM
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Cleaning rags have been a part of my life forever. I guess it's because I was raised by people who lived through the Great Depression. Many such people learned to conserve, decades before the ecology movement. When you're poor anyway, you don't throw anything out; you reuse it anyway you can. When my dad's undershirts got too holey and ratty to wear, my mom would tear them up to make cleaning rags. She liked the fact that they were nice and soft; they could be used for dusting good furniture. I do the same thing with my old, ratty cotton underwear.

*this space not for sale*
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#30 Old 03-01-2006, 03:11 PM
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Not really a moneysaver but a timesaver:



When parking in a big full car park save time looking for your car upon return by letting the air out of your tyres. When looking for your car it is the lowest one in the car park & easier to find.





Hilarious!!!





You buy bulk foods, yes?



Buy oats in bulk and make your own granola. I'ts cheap and easy. Add nuts, seeds, wheat germ, raisins, cinnamon, maple syrup, some vegetable oil and bake it at 300 for 15 minutes til brownish. You can change the recipe and add other fruits if you want.



Have you ever seen the 1940's house? You can learn alot from how they had to save and ration everything. It's really fascinating. Your library might have it on video.
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