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361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I dont really have a top 10 yet as every time I try something I never really exploit it. Like gardening I have a huge amount of land but havent yet started a garden :S Anywho what are yout top 10 things. (things you actually do )

The prowling wolf
878 Posts
1) Buy clothes, kitchen glasswear, books etcetera in thrift stores. You'll be surprised to see how much good stuff is out there for very little money if you have a little patience.

2) Cook your own food from scratch, cookies that have been home made are tastier, cheaper and healthier than store bought ones for instance.

3) Shop at ethnic supermarkets, they usually sell much cheaper vegetables and basic ingredients than regular stores.

4) Reduce memberships of magazines, take a cheaper internet connection, get less tv channels, make less use of your phone (let other people call you more). It all adds up.

5) Don't buy more than you need. Calculate meal portions, it's good for your body and good for your budget.

6) When your clothes are torn or anything, sew them back up if possible.

7) Use less central heating, wear a thicker sweater instead.

8) Don't shower too long, five minutes is really enough to get clean.

9) Grow your own food as much as possible

10) For new household items always look on ebay or other sites of that kind because they usually offer appliances for less money than store bought options

841 Posts
1. Don't get cable TV. Waste of money, especially with things like YouTube out there.
2. Try to stick to texting people, and only call when necessary. Also, ditch the land line if you haven't already.
3. If you have to run errands or do any other kind of driving around, try to combine it with your commute as much as possible.
4. I usually set the thermostat on 68F/20C in the winter and 78F/about 26C in the summer. I also dress appropriately for the time of year.
5. When I'm on the go, I try to buy meals from the grocery store if I haven't brought them from home, or even go in to buy 1 apple, which is usually less than $1, if I just need a snack on the go. Their prices usually aren't marked up as much as convenience stores.
6. Very rarely do I see a new movie at the cinema.
7. To use up produce that's about to go off, make a green smoothie. There's plenty of tips on that on in the raw foods forum!
8. When I grocery shop, I tend to use the handbasket instead of the cart, which forces me to be pickier about what I really need.
9. Try to shift the focus on your social life from going out to entertaining each other at your houses.
10. Outlet stores are a good source for cheap clothing. As I see the OP is in Australia, from when I was there, I remember a lot of the Asian-owned boutiques there had fantastic bargains on clothing. Jewelry is also a handy was to take a few basic items in your wardrobe and come up with countless different looks, assuming the OP is female.

2,587 Posts
1. Eat Vegan
2. Buy Bulk Foods
3. Shop at Thrift Store, Craigslist, Garage Sales
4. Ride Bike, Walk
5. Meal Plan
6. Don't Eat Out Regularly
7. Netflix
8. Choose Free Activities like picnic, library, beach
9. RE-Use
10. Coupons, Promotions, and Specials

566 Posts
1.diva cup
2.dvd workouts instead of gym membership
3.clearly for my contacts rule: sales ONLY
5.cut my own hair
6.wash dishes by hand websites such as dealfind, livingsocial, wagjag, groupon etc. in bulk (bulk barn, costco
10. gas card, 20c off per litre (came free with the purchase of my car and it's been darned helpful! But they sell them, so it's great gift idea)

361 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have added a couple to my list I didnt even know I was doing hehe.

1. I dont use heating or air conditioning at all ever accept in my car.

2. I have gym equipment that has paid itself off alread in use and will still be with me for a long long time.

3. I dont go out much and when i do i prefer free places like the beach or to a friends house.

4. I wear glasses that are provided free through my health insurance and never contacts.

5. i always use the generic cleaners and soaps at home unless other stuff is on special.

6. I dont buy cloths unless I am forced to by my girlfriend or mother (pfft who needs cloths anyway)

7. I have started to cook more food myself rather than buying stuff from fast food places (I bought lunch twice this week :S )

8. Yet to be devised

9.Yet to be devised

10.Yet to be devised

5,299 Posts
1) Put half of each check into my 401K and savings accounts.

2) Use Luna Pads instead of disposable ones.

3) Buy produce from local farmer's markets.

4) Repair what I have instead of replacing.

5) Only go to events that are free or very cheap.

6) Don't eat out.

7) Shop for clothing and whatnot at thrift stores.

8) Drive around as little as possible.

9) Drink at home instead of in bars.

10) Don't buy things on impulse.

1,222 Posts
Disclaimer: I'll never live without cable although I don't have any premium channels. Just expanded basic.

1. Thrift shopping. I try to buy as little as possible new.

2. Take lunch to work everyday.

3. Only eat out a few times a year. Buy coffee drinks only a few times a year.

4. Watch my heat and AC. Heat is easy. I like a cooler home. I'm in an upstairs apartment but luckily do not get the afternoon sun. I've heard AC units going already nearby but I have yet to use mine.

5. Drive reasonably.

6. Use what I have.

7. Stock up on non perishables if on sale.

8. Don't use paper towels. (a recycled roll can last almost a year-used only for really really messy or greasy cleanup) I use re washable cloths in the kitchen.

9. Use the dryer as little as possible. Never in the summer except for my work clothes so I don't have to iron them.

10. Keep lights off and appliances unplugged if not in use.

Another disclaimer: My cats have an unlimited budget!

7,160 Posts
1. Buy rice, beans, lentils and spices in bulk. They will need replacing every 1-12 months, so all you need to buy weekly is fresh vegetables and fruits.

2. Take short showers. You don't even need 5 minutes to get clean.

3. Use food wisely - don't peel anything with edible peel, keep and eat leftovers.

4. Don't flush the toilet every time. If it's a number 1 and you're sparing with paper, you don't need to flush it away immediately. Obviously this changes when guests are in the house.

5. Wash clothes at the lowest temperature possible.

6. Wash clothes only when you have a full load.

7. Have a budget laying out exactly what happens to your wages, and stick to it.

8. Work out what products you can buy cheaply without it being false economy, and don't be tempted by brand names. There are some products where you really do get what you pay for, but more often than not you are paying for what's written on the label.

9. Buy simple clothes that you can wear for work and for leisure time and replace them only when they're worn out. There's no need to add to your wardrobe all the time.

10. Live simply. Decide what luxuries are worth the money because they make life so much nicer for you (for me, this is an internet connection and eating out/getting takeaway regularly) and which you can do without (I don't regret choosing not to have a TV, expensive clothes, and leisure activities that cost money). Don't be tied by social convention or tradition, and go without the things that you really don't need.

Simple living, high thinking...

21 Posts
As an unemployed person, I've learned a good deal of tips, but here's the mainstays:

1 - Fear not the Small and Unusual Market: As someone else pointed out before 'ethnic' markets often have cheaper goods, and that can include staple supplies, but also soon-to-be staples (I eat lots more korean and japanese goods now thanks to this - hurray for Jackfruit!). Also foreign cheap lager is actually drinkable and can be much cheaper than domestics.

2 - Entereth into the Dollar Store first: Since I have absolutely no income now, I have to stretch my dollar pretty far, but before that I discovered the joys of the Dollar Store. Most of the basics are available there for 1/2, 1/3, or even in some extreme cases (Like laundry detergents!) 1/16th the cost everywhere else. And yes, some stuff there is ****ty imported crap, but a lot of other things are cheaper there because they're - get this - made on US soil (LA's Totally Awesome FTW). Besides, do you really need name brand tinfoil? Experiment and you'll find 90% of dollar store goods are actually at least up to par with their expensive counterparts, if not better.

3 - Do Not Lean Too Heavily on the Dollar Store: Some dollar store goods are actually more expensive than their big market chums. Write down prices and bring a calculator if you need to, 'cuz you might just find it's more than a few cents off. PROTIP: Buy paper towels elsewhere (or just use reusable rags, though a roll is still handy to have around). Wal-Mart (yeah yeah, I hear you groaning but hey, I'm poor!) sells them $0.25 each in bulk, rather than $1 each.

4 - Fear Not the Dumpster: When people move, they throw out the darndest things, for instance: This computer was found in the trash. No, really. Two towers thrown out with enough parts for 1 1/2 (my wife upgraded) fully functional computers, and while it's no NASA supercomputer, it's no slowpoke, either. We also found the gorgeous red couch I'm currently sitting on (NOTE: it was NEXT TO, not IN the bin - I'm not stupid enough to suggest you lay claim to old stained plastic-covered mattresses here!), and on several occasions cookware and dishware (no crystal yet
). Also got a TV, loads of cable, another couch, books (sold most!), deck chairs, a bike...

5 - Thrift Stores are Your Friends: Already been said a bajillion times, but it's true. I wouldn't plan to shop for an interview suit, but you *can* get lucky and find one like I did. Hell, just browse regularly and see what comes up; someone I know found $4000+ live sound speaker cabinets for $15! He managed to turn around and sell them for $6k somehow. Myself, not so lucky, but I have some of the coolest suit jackets ever made. Apparently when pimps die, they donate all their clothes, and lemme tell ya brother: Pimps die all the time.

6 - If Thou Does Not Need It But Wants It Really Badly, Wait A While: This one's pretty self explanatory. Often, if you want something really bad you'll fixate on it (doubly true for OCD folks like me), but that means your desire will most likely pass. If not, you've had the time to consider its impact on you and at least know what you're actually buying. The only exception is Thrift stores: If you don't buy it it won't be there next time (but maybe that's even better in the long run!).

7 - Thou Shall Stop Drinking Soda Water: Or at least drink less. This one's pretty simple, but I am not the only soda lover out there. My trick was switching to diet, which is nasty. I drank less, spent less on it, more healthy for it.

8 - Thou Shall Rent Entertainment and Not Buy: Netflix is your friend, especially that $5/month streaming deal. Also, for my fellow gamers out there: GAMEFLY. If you're like me you'll go through 1-3 games a month, and even if you bargain-bin them, that's $20-180 a month. Rent for $20 and chew through 'em instead, and if you really love it and plan on playing it repeatedly down the line, THEN you buy it. If you're honest with yourself, you're probably not going to most of the time...

And for everything you can't find there's always torrents, but, uh... That would be illegal... *cough*

8a - Thou Shall Google It Before Booking It: Recipes? Internet. Directions? Internet. Basic math? Internet. Nice, hardcover cookbooks and reference guides are lovely and I have several, but half the time you and I both only use it for a single recipe or three. Buy only the best of the best, and stop looking at the cute tabletop triva digests near the counter as Borders. As for fiction, many classics are available for free on the 'net (and if you have a spiffy ebookreaderthingie you can read without eye strain!). Interested in learning a new language? Try free Internet courses first. Thinking of switching careers? Learn all about 'em on the Intertubes. Etc, etc... NOTE: This does not apply to libraries.

9 - Thrift Stores are Really Truly your Friends: It bears repeating! I mean my god, you'd be really surprised what you can find there! Books, music, clothes, furniture, art, kitchenware, useless-but-awesome baubles... Anything! Check out all of 'em in your area.

10 - Do it Thineself: Flushing and recharging my AC in my car will run me $100+. A pump, hose and dial set, plus sealant, UV leak marker, and R123(or whatever it is) might cost me $150, but now I can do it to my wife's car, too. And my friend's for cash. And mine again five or ten years from now, plus every new vehicle I ever buy.

Clog in the toilet? Pipesnakes and Augers run for $15-30 and are easy to use. A plumber's gonna cost at least $75 and ain't gonna give you a tool for next time (On the same subject a plumber charged the place I worker $700 to replace a $15 part. I did it next time for an hour of overtime. My Boss missed me when I left, needless to say).

Obviously there are exceptions to this and professionals should be called when you aren't pretty damn sure you can do it or are at risk for injury (like changing my oil - I can't safely reach the oil filter in my car even with a lift). Use you discretion, but for most mundane things it's safe and ridiculously easy to do it yourself.

Here's some bonus material:

- If you smoke: Visit a real tobacconist for much cheaper and better cigars, and if you're a ciggy guy or gal roll your own, preferably with something from the aforementioned tobacconist. Or just quit, but hey, I love a good cigar once in a blue moon so I'd be a hypocrite to come across to heavy on that.

- Kludge, kludge kludge: Jury-rigs are still effective rigs. Just make sure it's safe, mind you. I mean, who cares if it's ugly? Beats the hell outta buying something new to replace it.

- Invest in your health: It's cheaper in the long run to get your own exercise equipment, but a gym pass is still cheaper than a cardiologist. Play It Again Sports should be your friend.

- Buy generic: Always. Period.

- Ride a bike: You know, if you don't live in San Diego, anyway. That would be suicide. Anywhere else improves your health and wear-and-tear costs on your ride. A brand new overpriced bike usually costs less than major car repairs!
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1,995 Posts
1. Shop at Ethnic Grocery Stores: Spices and dry goods are so much cheaper. I was also surprised that I could buy very cheaply the same exact items that I'd otherwise have to go to a health food store and pay a premium to get.

2. I keep dry goods in the house: It's great if you really are out of money and need to whip up a meal out of thin air. Also, it was a bit of an investment, but I bought a lot of dried vegetables from Harmony House Foods. It saves me money by not having to make a trip to a grocery store and buy all the ingredients for a recipe, especially if you are not going to use all of what you buy (i.e. chop 1 carrot, 1 celery stick, half an onion, mince ¼ cup of cabbage, etc…) *Put bay leaves in your dry goods to prevent weevils!

3. I cook once a week. It saves electricity from cooking, saves food, and saves energy from only doing dishes once a week, too. It's also healthier, since I really put a lot of thought into my week's meal plans, and really make sure I'm covering all my dietary needs.

4. Shopping online saves me money 2 ways: People see my packages and think I'm addicted to shopping or a heavy spender. Not true. I'll shop around for the best price, and I'll order something through the mail to save .50 cents vs. buying it at the store. Also, by not going to a store to begin with, I'm not only saving gas but reducing the chance that I'll see something else I want to buy.

5. I buy my clothes and some household items from Goodwill.

6. I cancelled my satellite subscription. I thought I couldn't live without it until I had an electrical fire, and lost that technology for about a month. I realized that there wasn't much I missed (Rotten Tomatoes Show, Web Soup, The Soup, and random science shows) and I had so much more free time. I turned it off and never looked back. I have Netflix and Blockbuster instead for movies and must-see TV series.

7. I try to run errands on my way home from work. This saves gas if I can stay home of my days off, and it also prevents me from making unnecessary stops and spending even more money. I really try to plan it so I can just stay home on my days off to save money, but it also increased my overall amount of free time if my day off doesn't have to revolve around errands.

8. Soup: I make soup out of things about to go bad. Add a biscuit and it's a meal. Leftover soup gets frozen until the next soup-making day… Then the old soup gets reboiled with new ingredients thrown in.

9. I skip dinner. I skip it because I feel better going to bed with an empty stomach, I sleep better, and it's easier to get up in the morning. Plus, it frees up time in the evening. It also happens to save me money in some ways, but then I do have epic sized lunches.

10. When I do go to the grocery store, I'll scout out all the manager's specials of things near or past expiration. It's really the only way I get to eat those expensive vegan convenience foods and fake meats. A row of $5 packages of fake ground beef gets reduced down to $1.25, and I'll buy every single one they have and freeze them.

11. I try to fix everything that breaks. I get free aircraft sealant at work (I'm supposed to throw away expired sealants, adhesives, and condemned parts. Technically, "releasing the item for non-aircraft use" is legal.) Shoes, fans, the window air conditioner, the fridge door, my desk chair, my bedside table, a few holes in the floor, and even the dog's retractable leash all get fixed with aircraft parts/chemicals.

12. I use wash cloths instead of paper towels. Once I got used to it, I can't see myself going back to paper towels.

13. My work uniforms are provided by the company, plus they are laundered for free through contract, so I pretty much wear my uniform all the time unless it's a special occasion.

14. Every time I'm tempted to buy a new/used book I want, I have to remind myself to check the public library. The public library even has a great selection of vegan and ethnic cookbooks!!!

Give peas a chance
1,715 Posts
Lots of good ideas in this thread!

I wish I could be more disciplined in some areas, but these are the things I follow through on:

1. I have a garden. I figure the net savings is about $500 a year. Tomatoes are the big deal because they are so expensive in the store.
2. I keep driving the same car. It's a 96 Toyota Rav4 with 105k miles on it. I drive it less than 2000 miles a year and I keep up the maintenance. I intend to drive it another 10 years at least. Not buying into the mentality that you have to get a new car every few years saves thousands of dollars a year.
3. I don't eat out unless it is an emergency. It saves about $2000 a year from what I used to spend.

1,359 Posts
In no real order:

Cook food from scratch, bought in bulk when possible, usually 2 days of food at a time except on saturday when I cook 2 days of stew and 7 days of bread, rolls, etc.
I quit smoking 4 years ago, saving about $4,000
I drink no bottled or canned beverages. Other than homebrew coffee I only drink unsweetened teas, most of which I grow, brewed via espresso maker... 150 gallons a year for $6
I dont watch TV, its not as traumatic as one might imagine

Thrift and ethnic stores
Garden to produce veggies and most of my medicines. This year switched to dryland horticulture to expand my veggie garden with zero new irrigation gear expense.
Fix and invent things.
Go places on foot and kickscooter rather than car, it has the added benefit of providing exercise (actually my main reason for it).
I've been to restaurants twice since 1999, lol
No alcohol.
Trying to stay healthy... not much of a money saver in the short term but should eventually prevent or lessen the costs of heart disease, bone fractures, and cancer when I'm on in my old-and-crusty years.

1,189 Posts
Originally Posted by Hazelnut View Post

.....all get fixed with aircraft parts/chemicals.
Oh my, the Johnny Cash song ' One piece at a time' comes to mind, only you can build an airplane instead of a car !

10,324 Posts
-I don't drink
-I quit smoking
-I never order anything but water when eating out
-Wait for movies to be released on dvd and never go to the theater
-I hate sports so I don't buy sporting event tickets
-shop at dollar stores and buy generic brands if I don't have coupons for name brands that would make the item cheaper
-duct tape and super glue fix almost anything. I have shoes that have duct tape holding them together and ones that have super glue holding them together.
-I add water to the hand soap, shampoo, dish soap, and conditioner bottles (even my bottle of Braggs because that stuff is EXPENSIVE!)
-I've never used a car wash (they are totally absurd imo)
-I don't gamble or buy lotto tickets

5,658 Posts
Originally Posted by fadeaway1289 View Post

-I add water to the hand soap, shampoo, dish soap, and conditioner bottles (even my bottle of Braggs because that stuff is EXPENSIVE!)
I do that too!

11 Posts
1. Make your own garden feed. Chop up comfrey leaves or nettles and put in a bucket with water. Cover and wait for two weeks. When it is ready it will smell like manure. Sieve and dilute with more water to feed courgettes, runner beans etc.
2. Keep an eye on your food. It is well know that we all throw away too much food in the western world. I have to admit I have done. Now I have a shelf in my cupboard and in my fridge reserved for food which I need to use quickly before it goes off. When I#m making a meal I check these shelves first to see what I can use up.
3. Ebay Sell you old clothes, cosmetics, books. Before I get rid of anything I check how much I can sell it for.
4.Walk don't drive I know everyone knows this is a free transport. But I tell everyone all the same. I feel so much healthier since working for 1/2 hour twice a day to work.
5. Money saving expert website Ok so a lot of the content is only relevant to the UK but the forums have some really really good tips.

OK so that's 5 not, 10. But there have been so many good tips so far, I'm all out.

1,138 Posts
1/ Justify non essential purchases with at least three uses. If you can't come up with them, don't buy it.
2/ Go to the cheap sketchy discount grocery in town. It might be sketch, but it is hella cheap.
3/ Buy cheap tickets to stuff online to events that have specials going on. I bought half price Royals tickets for dollar night, so I got kickass seats and veggie hot dogs for a buck each. Yes. That's right. Vegetarian hot dogs for a dollar. It was the best day ever.
4/ Next year, the boyfriend and our roommate have decided to ditch cable and go with Netflix streaming. It should save around $50 a month.
5/ Buy high quality products. The initial outlay is more expensive, but saves money in the long run. My Chacos cost me a pretty penny, but it means not buying cheap sandals that die after a month in the summer. Plus, the company will repair shoes for a modest cost. I expect to wear these shoes for the next 5-10 years up to three seasons a year.
6/ Buy last season's style online for expensive gear. Sierra Trading Post and Department of Goods often offer 40% or more off of the expensive stuff I buy (shoes, bags, clothing) that look only slightly different than the current generation.
7/ Dollar bags of limes. I don't know why, but everywhere I have lived seems to have at least one natural grocer or sketchy discount store that will clear out older produce like a giant bag of limes for a buck. I use fresh limes to add flavor to nearly everything I cook, and replace the lemon juice with lime juice. I just really like limes, you see. They're cheap and last a somewhat long time.
8/ Amazon Student is a lifesaver for me. I use an app on my phone to scan in items, and price compare. If the Amazon price is cheap enough to wait two days, I can buy it immediately from my phone.
9/ AAA. I've had a card for years, and it comes in handy for the roadside assistance and discounts. And, the local AAA office provides tons of services for members. Passport photos? Free. Notary public? Free. Trip guides? Free. Discounted attraction tickets, hotels, even shopping. It's awesome.
10/ Splurge once in a while. When my boyfriend and I started cutting back and living cheaper, we found it incredibly hard to stick with it because friends would want to go out for dinner or do something. It was hard to get into the habit fully until we decided that going out once or twice a week is okay-- much better than the five or more times a week we used to go out.
11/ Entertain at home. I'm a pretty kickass host so it's incredibly easy for me to whip up dinner or something to snack on. I've made $7 pad thai to feed four people, which includes nonessential stuff that makes it better like tofu and fresh limes. Like I said, limes are great.

3,897 Posts
Although Bank of America has many faults I do like their 'Keep the Change' program where all of my debit card purchases are rounded up to the nearest dollar and the difference is automatically deposited into my savings account. You don't really notice the rounding up so much, but the deposits to my savings really add up. It's a nice passive way to increase my savings.
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