10 EASY Ways To Save Money

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10 EASY Ways To Save Money

Here are 10 EASY ways to save money that can make a huge impact on your family budget and leave you with money for the things that are most important.

10 EASY Ways To Save Money


1. Find it free.

If I need something, I always, always ask friends, family and neighbors first to make sure they’re not trying to get rid of the thing I need. When we move, we sell almost all of our furniture.

Here are some things I’ve gotten free:

  • 2 sets of tables and chairs
  • cabinets
  • shelves
  • rugs
  • beds
  • coffee tables
  • end tables
  • shipping table (for our books)
  • couches
  • chairs
  • desks
  • tons of free kids clothes and shoes

The house we moved into was in a new development. Just by asking the workers, we’ve gotten:

  • free sod leftovers for our back yard (enough to do the entire yard)
  • free 120 square foot cement slab for our shed
  • free wood for our large shed
  • rocks for our landscape
  • containers for my plants

If we see something that we need sitting on the curb, we go up to the door and ask if they are getting rid of it. (That’s usually a sign they’re getting rid of it.) So far, they’ve said yes every time!

So ask and you might get it for free!

2. Buy used.

We buy ninety percent of the items we buy at thrift stores, garage sales or off of Craigslist. When I can’t get it for free, I buy most of my furniture used because I have four kids and kids are hard on furniture. If the kids ruin a $50 couch, I don’t feel nearly as bad about it as I will if they damage a $500 couch! We also buy all of the kids’ clothes used. Why pay $15 for a pair of jeans when you can get them for $2, especially when they grow out of them quickly! Buy used and it will save you thousands of dollars each year!

3. Don’t go out.

Entertainment is expensive. We rarely do activities where we have to pay. We usually only go to one or two movies in the theater each year. We also don’t go to plays, ballets or concerts, which often cost $80 or more per person. This saves us hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. I know those things can be fun but, if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t be going. My husband used to get free tickets for a lot of these events. It was amazing how many people seemed to get stressed out about the event because of how much they paid for the tickets, especially when their kids didn’t enjoy the events as much as mom and dad expected.

4. Stop eating out!!

American families will easily spend $300-$400 per month just eating out. I know a lot of people who spend WAY more than that! Stop eating out! If you have to buy convenience items and use papers plates, it’s still much cheaper than eating out!

5. Stop shopping!

Only go to the store when you actually need an item. Don’t go to the store just to browse or entertain yourself. When you go to the mall, you can easily spend $40 just feeding your family, not to mention the hundreds of dollars that most people waste buying things they don’t really need. My oldest child is 14 years old and my kids have been to the mall four times in their lives. You will save thousands of dollars if you only shop when you actually need something.

6. We don’t often travel or take vacations.

We took the kids to Silver Dollar City for three days for the first time in 2010 when our oldest son was 12. That was the first “real” vacation our kids have had. We had a blast and loved the vacation but, up until then, we just couldn’t afford to pay cash for a vacation. When we lived in Kansas, we spent most of our vacation time visiting and staying with family in Colorado. The $5000-$10,000 that many families spend on vacations, trips and weekend outings each year can go a LONG way toward paying off debt. (Of course, if your finances aren’t tight and you don’t have to borrow, there is nothing wrong with taking a vacation.)

7. I cut the boys’ hair.

My daughter and I do have our hair cut professionally, but each month I cut all four boys’ hair and I color my own hair. The 20 minutes I spend cutting the boys’ hair once a month saves us $720 each year! Beauty schools are a great place to go for inexpensive hair cuts and perms, especially if you are afraid to color or perm your own hair. Yes, you can perm your own hair. Years ago, almost everyone did.

8. We don’t drink alcohol, soda, juice or milk.

I rarely buy juice and milk just goes on cereal. As a general rule, we don’t drink juice or milk on a regular basis. I might buy juice five or six times a year and our two year old will drink three or four half cup glasses of milk per week, but that’s it. I knew one family with a mom, dad and an 18 month old and the family drank one gallon of milk EVERY DAY!!!! Really?? That adds up to over $1000 a year just for milk!!

9. No Starbucks.

None! If you spend $5 a day at a coffee shop, that adds up to almost $2,000 a year!! For coffee???? Hello??? And how many Starbucks lovers think nothing of grabbing a muffin to go with that coffee?


1 EASY Trick To Stay Debt Free

The final #1 Super Easy Trick that never fails.

10. If you can’t pay cash for something, don’t buy it.

Period! Really! Yes, we do use our credit cards but we make sure we have the cash on hand before ordering something and we pay it off right away. If you can’t pay cash for your vacation, new car, clothes, kids activities, school fundraisers, new furniture, cable, food and eating out then DON’T BUY IT! PERIOD! If you don’t have the cash on hand, you shouldn’t be going into to debt to buy things. Resisting the temptation to borrow is the biggest money saver of them all!

Go back to the old way of working and saving for something you need instead of charging something and then frantically working, hoping you can make enough to pay for what you have already spent. Don’t believe that little voice in the back of your head or anyone else that might tell you that you simply can’t live debt free these days and that you must use credit cards because “things are different”. They aren’t any different. The same basic principles apply. You always have to pay the piper. Just choose NOT to pay the piper with interest!


For more easy and practical ways to save money and get out of debt, check out Dig out Of Debt and learn more about how to keep more of your money.



  1. Pamela says

    How do your kids get enough calcium with Vit. D, and also their vitamin C if they do not drink milk every day or juice? I’d be afraid of fragile bones and vitamin deficiencies.

    • says

      Pamela I always recommend people study basic nutrients because it can be an eye opener. We assume that vitamins are only in some of the most popular foods that we hear about all the time and that we can only get them by drinking them. For example Tawra’s kids eat a lot of cheese, they have milk on their cereal each morning, they eat pudding,broccoli, baked beans and almonds are all sources of calcium plus many foods even like potatoes have calcium in them. The list is too long for me to write.

      Vitamin C is in so many things we don’t even think about. 1 baked potato can have almost 50% of daily vitamin C. Green peppers have almost as much vitamin c as orange juice. It’s in strawberries, peas, broccoli, peaches,tomatoes, oranges and many other fruits and vegetables.

      What is happening is often people fill their kids up on liquids because it is easier to get them to drink juice then to eat a vegetable. It then makes the kids feel full, they don’t eat as much at their meal and 20 mins. later they are hungry and start eating more. Milk and juice is full of calories. The kids are getting a bunch of calories from it and then they are still hungry so they add more calories to try and fill themselves up.

      To me giving our children too many calories in the form of juice and milk all the time is as much of the obesity problem for kids as fast foods. We are so worried and obsessed with making sure our kids eat healthy we are giving them way more then what they really need.

      As far as vitamin D goes you can spend about 15 mins in the sun and get all you need. Tawra’s kids walk to and from school each day and get that amount just doing that not to mention all the time they spend outside playing. To me that is a better source for them then filling them with even more calories from a glass of milk. Also so many foods like cereals are fortified with vitamin D so they get more then plenty.

      Truly study just a basic nutrient book or something and you will be surprise.

      • says

        Jill actually green peppers have more vit. C than oranges.
        Unless that is when they have to be shipped to the market so far away.
        My boys can’t go near citrus so I read up and green peppers which they loved were apparently better. I think the reds and yellows have more than the green but the boys didn’t care for those. The green ones they munched on for snacks.
        But you can get most of your vitamins from foods as long as you stick to the gov. food guidelines.

        • says

          Those is true grandma. I always go to the low side when I give numbers on some things because other wise I will get a ton e mails from people hollering at me not believing it even though I always check my facts as much as I can before I write anything and yes you are so right that you can get most of your vitamins by following the gov. guidelines.

  2. Hope says

    Some folks (mainly family members) have commented on our “strange” penchant for paying cash for everything and living well within our budget. But, what they rarely know is that by living within my husband’s paycheck (Our budget after tithe and taxes is about 32K per year with four BOYS at home), we recently paid cash for a new home. Tenacity pays off in the end! It CAN be done!

    • says

      Very impressive, Hope! We are trying to pay off our house in 10 years, with two incomes. It takes A LOT of discipline! Great job!

  3. says

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for posting this! These are such simple ideas, yet most find them more difficult than calculus. LOL Great reminder and great post! I’ll be eating at home today. ;o)

    Be blessed!

    ~Bohemian Christian Chelle

  4. Patricia Prinkey says

    I believe that milk and juice are needed instead of the sugar drinks and pop. Studies have been done where milk helps satisfy hunger and calcium is a needed factor in children and growth. Water is good too but milk and juice are also good diet additions. WIC allows kids both milk and juice.

    • says

      There is nothing wrong with giving kids milk or juice and I too think they need a certain amount of both. Tawra does give her kids both. What we are trying to get everyone to look at is excess in these things. In some homes the kids are given nothing but juice and milk anytime they need a drink – they need water too. Milk and juice should be used for nutrients not to quench a person’s thirst.

      We just tend to go to extremes – if a glass of juice is good for you then 10 must be even better. It is like the example I use all the time. Fertilizer is good for your grass and it needs it but too much fertilizer can burn up and kill your grass. There really is a happy medium.

      • Jan says

        Jill, I have always thought your advice about juice and milk is excellent.
        There is more sugar in orange juice than in soda, or at least as much. And no fiber (orange pulp)to slow down the rush of sugar into the bloodstream. Of course, I could go on about this (and an excess of milk…), but wanted to also recount something my sis told me when she was a nanny to a few families. Once she was a nanny for two boys, 11 and 12. One was in sports, so his mom bought gatorade by the case. They both opened several bottles per day, drank about half a bottle,opened another, etc.– and my sister was asked to throw it out and recycle the bottles. (Isn’t gatorade supposed to be a replenisher of minerals only during exertion?:-)) Besides the gatorade, they drank the real sugary juices, with additives, soda, and also lots of milk. My sister was tossing bottles and cartons in the recycles and trash much of the time she was there.
        The other thing she did? Drive them to the dentist!! They had real problems with multiple cavities. But no one put together that the money outlay for beverages and for dentists had anything to do with their decisions. I believe in some cases that a)people don’t learn about nutrition and b)this mom, who worked overtime every day, felt guilty enough to give the kids tons of whatever they asked for. I am also not clear on why parents do not do what you did: to explain your paycheck and your expenses to the kids.

  5. Paula says

    I absolutely agree with all of it. The only exception is being careful buying used due to major allergy (asthma) to animal dander. The problem occurs when you are speaking to people (especially young families) who are already in debt and have no available cash and can hardly pay the debt from month to month. Great advice! Thanks!

  6. Aunt Marie says

    Why color your hair at all? Just think of how much money you’ll save over a lifetime of buying hair coloring! It also eliminates the dilema later in life (when it will be a big change), whether to go natural or not. There’s a certain amount of honesty in being willing to look your age. Besides, you may be pleasantly surprised how beautifully God colored your hair already. He may have some gorgeous highlights built right in and you’re hiding them. Have I convinced you yet, Tawra? :^)

    • says

      Hi Auntie!!! I didn’t know you were reading our site. Actually I’m about 70% gray now. :-( I took some meds about 7 years ago and about 3 months later I was almost all gray and my “regular so dark brown it’s almost black” hair never came back. :-)

      The great thing is now I can go lighter because I’m dying all the gray! :-)

      • deborah says

        Something I discovered to help save me money – I have very dark brown hair that is going white in spots on my hairline now as I am 47. Previously I was going through box upon box of haircolor because those white hair areas sprout up so fast. I finally realized that all I had to do was mix equal portions of the color and developer in a separate container as I didn’t need to dye my whole head all the time, just keep up with the hairline. It has saved me so much money because now one box of haircolor can last me much longer. Don’t know if it’s an option for you but I thought I would share for those who have the same issue as I do.

    • says

      My hair is not gray, it is a lovely shade of silver. Soooo I don’t color it. Get lots of nice compliments on it. Sure has saved me loads of money over the years.

  7. Misha says

    I read this faithfully and one thing I do to help save money is make things myself. Recently my puppy chewed up our double chaise lounge pad in our backyard. Now I had no idea how much this is to replace until this happened. So I did it myself. Sewing is not something I’m good at, but I can sew a straight line. If you can pin material and have a little determination you can create something that will work. Happily 3.5 hrs later I had a beautiful cushion to rest on, saving me about $600! Just believe you can and don’t be afraid to try!

  8. Jenny Oram says

    WELL SAID TAWRA! And what wise words they are too. Living frugally and saving money does NOT mean being mean and miserable – it is clearly just common sense. After all there is absolutely no fun or joy in being worried and constantly in debt. You are absolutely right when you advise not shopping as an activity – I used to be very guilty of that! Going to shops “just to have a look around” always meant me buying things I really did not need – it was just a way of spending some time. Instead I make all our meals from scratch and have the time to use cheaper types of food but making them delicious. I have been a great admirer of your website since we ran into trouble, via the greedy UK banks, with our business. This resulted in loss of business (and ultimately our home)and a good income. We have come through the other side of bankruptcy – much wiser. My long term project now is de-cluttering my house – almostly done now. If you ever think you are not guilty of buying “stuff” you don’t need – have a good clear out! I was both horrified and ashamed of the vast amount of “stuff” I had accumulated. I made over 15 car trips to a local charity shop – so I console myself with the fact that others will benefit from my stupidity. I now have a strict rule that I bag up at least one carrier bag of “stuff” EACH WEEK and take it to the charity shop and always think before I buy – the old rule: Do I really NEED it or do I just WANT IT/WOULD LIKE TO HAVE IT. What a lot of “stuff” we collect! If everyone really read and took to heart Tawra’s wisest and sensible words – we would all be a lot happier – and have spare money to put to good use. Even if it all goes on utility bills and necessities for the children – at least you have it and are spared the constant worry of how you are going to make ends meet! Thanks again Tawra for so much inspirational thoughts! Very kind thoughts from all the thrifty savers in England!

    • deborah says

      I am doing the same thing Jenny. I wanted so much to update my home décor and make it more “model home looking” now that my kids are getting older. I realized the way to do that is be selling off all the stuff! I now sell on amazon and ebay and craigs list and am planning a garage sale as well to fund my dream of a home update!

  9. Karen S. says

    I totally agree with everything in today’s newsletter.
    When I was growing up, we never ate out or had vacations,
    We found other ways to entertain ourselves (playing cards,Playing croquet,going for walks,we lived near the ocean
    so going for walks on the beach). I never felt like I was
    missing out. I even shopped the local thrift stores as a
    teenager, one day a friend of mine and I were wearing the
    same top!!! Mine only cost a dollar or two while hers was
    very, very expensive!!!! Now that I am an adult, being raised
    to be frugal (my husband was also raised that way) has helped us through 23 years of marriage, through the times
    when we had very little money to times we had some excess.
    Thank you so much for all of the information and for your
    wonderful example of how to deal with illness. I too have
    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia and yet I am
    able to help my Husband in our business. Keep up the great
    job you do!!!!

  10. RWest says

    I so agree with what you said about just not going shopping. My daughter goes to preschool about 20 minutes away from our house and on occasion I go to the gym or have an appointment and have an hour or so to kill before picking her up. I used to make a stop at Walmart or Target “just to browse” or get one or two things “I needed” it always turned out I got way more than I needed and spent a ton. I found that this few times a month is actually a good time to take the “splurge” and to actually take a book and go buy a Starbucks and spend $5 and relax as a special treat, instead of of spending say 10 times as much at the store, and by taking that small amount of time and spending the saved cash from something else. I end up being refreshed when I pick her up and it really is a special treat :-)

    • Jackie says

      I like this way of looking at it! I can see how going to Starbucks instead of to Target or Walmart would actually save money. Sometimes Starbucks is a livesaver for me!

      • says

        I have never had a Starbucks drink. I prefer my own coffee, teas or water. Living in a warmer climate I learned ages ago to carry water with me when I’m out.

  11. Cathrine says

    Sounds like your children aren’t drinking enough milk–having so little milk to drink is a ridiculous way to save money! Watch for all the health problems your kids will grow up to have–they’ll need that savings to pay for their medical bills!

    • says

      Cathrine once again you need to do some reading of nutrients. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children 1-6 years old should only be allowed to have 4-6 oz of juice a day. Do you realize that is just a little over 1/2 cup. Fill up a measuring cup and see how much that is. Most sippy cups are 6-8 oz. and an average glass is 12-16 oz. yet many people are giving their kids 4-6 of these glasses of juice a day that can be from 36- 96 oz. of juice a day compare that with the recommended 4-6 oz. To top it off the kids are having very bad problems with their teeth rotting from the juice.

      They recommend for 1-3 years 2 cups of milk a day. Look at a 2 cup measuring cup that is all a child should have for all day. 16 oz yet once again we are giving them 36-96 oz instead. I’m sorry but I have seen so many obese children. Another thing I just added up the actual cups of milk and what most parents don’t think about is all the extra milk they get too like 1/2 cup in their cereal, or in that pudding cup, smoothie and so many other things.

      What happens is we have heard or assume so many things do the research, study basic nutrients and you will see we are giving our kids way too much. Now of course older kids need more and the above was just an example but even at that up to 8 years they only need 1 cup more of milk and 1/2 cup more juice.

      • Jan says

        Jill, you didn’t even mention (as you have previously) the amount of milk, etc. that most people let their kids throw out. My sister babysat for twin teenage boys. They poured milk and soda, juice and Gatorade all afternoon, and dumped at least half of all of it down the sink–every day! My sister had to pour liquid out of all the cans and bottles before she recycled it all. Thousands of dollars per year. And the mother never noticed. But she worked her tail off and complained about money…

    • says

      Cathrine, My kids are very healthy because the drink THE CORRECT AMOUNT and NOT EXCESS milk. I don’t let my kids nurse on milk all day long like a lot of parents do.

      We do drink milk and juice just not an excess amount of it!

    • Michele says

      Milk……..you really can NOT go by Government guidelines. If you would even think about all the ways we and kids get vitamin c and D and then you give them more than one or two glasses of juice or milk you have a unhealthy and fat child. Ask a bone doctor they will be the first to tell you kids are literally taking in too much which in turn causes many diseases as well as cancers. Do your research before guessing people& running off at the mouth when you have no real clue what your talking about just spitting venem like a fruit cake. Wonderful post Tawra!!! Sorry some people truly are ignorant. *hugs*

  12. Michelle says

    I have been a fan of this website for years and recommend it to anyone I know who is in need of some great advice on saving money. We are a family of six, so I know the struggles of budgeting first hand! Keep up the great work! I appreciate all your tips and advice.

  13. annie says

    Some things we do to save money are: We use the library a lot. I never buy books or rent movies. We are very fortunate that we have a wonderful library in our town and it has a whole room of DVDs so we are always stocked up on books and movies for free.
    We go to lots of free concerts and events at the college near us.
    We can get wonderful loaves of day old sour dough bread and baguettes from the local bakery for $1. This is an occasional treat, we usually make our own bread.
    We invite friends over for potluck dinners and play music and board games. This is very cheap entertainment and it is so wonderful to spend time with people we love.
    When my husband and I split up, I moved right into the heart my new town, so I can walk to everything and don’t have to drive very often.
    When my 16 year old son and I want to go out, we find a place that has live music and no cover charge and we’ll each get one soda or cup of tea. We have the fun of a night out and spend about $5.
    We belong to the local freecycle group.
    I got rid of my land line and only use a pay by the month cell phone.
    I am a single homeschooling mom, working 2 part time jobs and living on very little income. And yet, we find ways to make it work and make life fun.
    It takes time and energy, but with a little creativity, you can have a great time even without much money. We sure do.

  14. says

    Great list. Other things we do: we don’t pay for cable tv (we’ve got an antenna that works just fine with our digital converter box) and we cancelled our texting plan and asked the company to turn off that option to our phones (no data either). We do still have internet, but we don’t need the internet EVERYWHERE we go. Also, we have DSL instead of cable.

  15. halleycomet says

    Please consider having both the kids and your own Vit D levels checked and ALSO check out the latest recommendations for this vital HORMONE. Vit D is NOT a vitamin at all–misnamed way back when—but now- a -days kids are now coming in to MD offices suffering from “Yuppie Disease” of RICKETS.

    Yep the disease of Dicken’s time is back in a big way and NOT only happening to poor kids in factories and slums.

    Vit D is the CURE for this and altho it is found in some fortified foods and a small number of natural foods you would have to eat on the order of 35 OUNCES of wild caught salmon to achieve getting a one day “old school” dose. And as the wild populations food sources are compromised these are not consistent in their content.

    Vit D has been recently shown to be vitally important in several diseases such as: Diabetes. Cancer. MS. IBS. HEart disease. And many many more.

    Part of the problem is that as we moved farther away from the Equator we lost the full on sun we used to get when living and working outside with little covering. When kids walk to school—this is great BTW!!!!—for most of the year they are only going to be having their faces in the sun and facial skin makes almost NO Vit D. And a lot of people (myself included) seem simply unable to make Vit D from even lots of unprotected sun exposure.

    There is a respected theory that the absolute insistence on slathering everyone head to toe in SUNSCREEN for the past 30 or so YEARS now has done more harm than good. By blocking the natural sun from our bodies we lose whatever Vit D we MIGHT have been able to make. And we lose the PROTECTION that it gives us. This theory also accounts for some of the troubling rise in obesity; diabetes; some cancers; and other auto-immune disorders.

    There are many many well respected studies on these issues and several good books and ebooks available on this.

    There is also little need to be afraid of the Vit D “toxic” level you might have heard of. There is a very high threshold for this and in fact some pregnant women are being given 100000 units PER DAY to ward off some calcium related problems. IF you are very low upon testing—and you can get home test kits for this that you mail off—you can use a Vit D3 (only D3–D2 will need to be converted by your body and much is lost this way) supplements to raise your levels and then if you want to you can go back to a lesser dose.

    But you can also like I did find your self playing “Catch up” with getting levels up a bit only to be told “Oh you are fine now” and at the next test be lower than ever. Now I use a very high level and FOR ME this is a good thing and many health issues have improved a LOT. Your results may vary as they say.

    To get the optimal “dose” of Vit D from milk–assuming that your milk was perfectly treated and stored all along it’s journey to your glass!–you would have to drink several quarts EVERY DAY. Cheese has little Vit D.

    And the calories from milk not to mention some peoples digestive problems with it might be a problem.

    So sometimes “saving” money via food choices is a great thing but a few cents spent on certain NEEDED vitamins and minerals can actually save you more in the long run on future health care and pain and suffering.

    Don’t want to sound all “preachy” about this but if these theories—which are being made less theories and more proven facts every day—are part of what is troubling some of us a few cents per day might just be money more than well spent. Oh—and the “400 units per day RDA”? That simply came from old research that had 200 units per TEASPOON of Cod Liver Oil. That is the dose generaly used to CURE RICKETS. In kids tiny bodies. Back when cod were wild and living off our now sadly depleted oceans. And the air pollution we have now blocks a LOT of the rays we NEED to synthesize Vit D from “sunlight”.

    • says

      Thanks for the heads up but all our Vit. D levels are fine. Mine are normal but I am taking a small amount more to boost me to the “high normal” range but otherwise we are fine.

    • says

      I hesitate to jump on the band wagon for most things maybe because I have now lived long enough to see these things come and go. For example they had great studies 30 years ago how if you didn’t slather your kids with sunscreen you would have all kinds of problems. Me I would just put sun screen on if we were going to be outside for hours and didn’t get too paranoid about it or go over board. Now they are showing that sunscreen is causing other problems? This kind of proves my point – every 10 years or so there is a new food or vitamin that everyone must take or not take. Everyone dives in and over doses on these things then 10 – 20 years down the road it wasn’t a good thing.

      Just because you hear that everyone in the US is lacking in vitamin D don’t assume that you are. If you are that worried about go have your family checked out. If you need more add a little but if you don’t stop worrying about it and don’t add anything extra to your diet. Tawra’s kids have all been checked and they are healthy as horses thankfully. I really think the stress of stewing on these things and pushing mega amounts of things down our kids is more harmful then any thing and my point is being proven out because you can just look at our kids now. They have been the ones who have been given mega amounts of juice, milk, vitamins the past few years and look at them. They are obese, having problems with diabetes and on and on. Please I’m not saying don’t feed your kids just to have a little balance.

  16. halleycomet says

    ME again! No preachy this time!

    Things we have gotten FREE:

    Lovely antique enamel table
    A car
    Car parts
    Goats (yes-goats as in “Billy Goats Gruff”)
    Kids toys and clothing
    Furniture curbside or “repurposed”
    Wood (old pallets are a wonderful source of hard wood–good for burning and projects)
    Bicycles outgrown by orig owners
    Swing set (Craigslist you haul it)
    Firewood from road clearing crews
    Baby items from clothing to new Pack n Plays
    My bed room rug abt 12 x 10″
    Dining room rug
    Garden cart (needed 50 cents of nuts and bolts)
    Pet gecko
    Pet guinea pigs
    A horse
    Horse equipment (did not come with horse!)
    Roofing from demolition project
    Bathroom sink
    Plastic 5 gallon buckets
    Honey bee colonies

    If you don’t have some one to pass clothing and books or “collectibles” on to and don’t have a place to easily donate them consider selling them on eBay; Craigslist or FREECYCLE-ing them to get them moved out of your house.

    Things I have passed up that were FREE:
    A boat
    More furniture than 100 households could use
    A truck
    More animals that even I could take in
    Plumbing fixtures
    Enough clothing for several villages
    Books books and more books
    Appliances (which inevitibly I will need two days from when I saw them and they will be gone!)

    Things I have given away:
    A huge freezer
    A monitor fridge—still worked too!
    baby stuff (a few days before learning that I was in fact going to NEED baby stuff—again!)
    Honey bee colonies wild captured and home raised

    Animal shelters ALWAYS need old blankets; towels; food; all pet supplies; even old fur coats for orphans.

  17. Betty G. says

    Many good suggestions. When I was a young widow, had a single daughter with a child I helped bring up, we went out almost every day to something free in the community at church, at the library, to things advertised in the newspaper. Now as a senior, I use the library a lot, hold a free coupon club there each week. I teach a coupon class and collect coupons others were throwing away, current and expired coupons. The expired ones I send to an overseas Armyh base where they can use them up to 6 mo. expired.
    Each library had different free programs. One that impresses me at our library is “Reading to the Dog”. It is a one on one with adult, child and the therapy dog which the kids love to read to.
    I belong to many lcoal civic and military organizations where I donate my time and things I buy free with coupons, but also get much socialization and entertainment.
    Day trips can be as much fun locally as far away vacations. Many people come to your state as tourists to see things right in your community and many in the community who live there have not seen these sites, so vacation in your hometown.

  18. Betty G. says

    Tawra – I’m with you on coloring your hair. My Mother did it until she was 85 and poeple thought she was 20 yrs. younger. I have colored my hair since my baby was born and it turned “muddy brown”, was blonde up until then. When I went to my 30 yr. high school reunion, everyone knew me. There were many at the reunion I didn’t know as they looked “old”! I feel that it is “me” when I look in the mirror and see blonde hair. I’ve been doing my own coloring for 43 yrs. now and get many compliments on it. I’ve purchased L’Oreal Hair Coloring, what I always use, for as little as $.64 on clearance and at other time for $1 when on sale and with coupons. The retail is $9.99. So, I’m doing it frugally!

  19. Sara says

    I agree with the principle of “don’t buy unless you have the cash to pay”. But I would have a hard time always buying or getting 2nd hand, or 3rd hand, stuff. Sure, start with a $50 couch…..how long until you have to buy another $50 couch? Much sooner than if you start out with a new one, I’m sure. We bought a couch with the highest grade material available, (meaning tight weave, so no wearing), 15 years ago and 4 children later it’s still going strong. There’s no new couch necessary in our forseeable future, and it gets hopped over and on all the time as it’s not against the wall. And it’s still comfy to sit on, you’re not sinking to the bottom of it when you sit down. Isn’t that worth a bit more money up front?

    • says

      No Sara, it’s not worth the money upfront if you don’t have it in the first place. That’s the point. If you have the money then that’s great but my point is if you don’t have the money then don’t buy it new.

  20. says

    Oh wow, these are GREAT and super practical tips. My family and I, we NEVEr eat out anymore. We’ve saved a lot of money that way, and we’re losing weight, because we’re making all of our meals at home, from scratch.

    Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  21. Theresa says

    Please excuse my “ignorance”, but I don’t understand the significance and value of eliminating milk from people who enjoy it’s nutrition. Most tips I agree and understand, and am also already implementing. Hopefully you will understand my position not being not intended for argument’s sake, but truly not knowing where you are coming from. Thanks for any more insight.

    • says

      Okay sounds like everyone is totally confused about what Tawra was trying to say. She is not saying don’t drink milk or to eliminate it from your diet or that it isn’t good for you or that she never gives her kids milk at all either.

      What she is saying is we get people daily moaning about the high cost of groceries and asking for advice on how to save. One of those ways to save is to look at what you are feeding your kids. Most people know that chips, cookies and pop are not good for kids and is a big expensive and know to cut back on those but the people we often get coming to us have cut back on those things and are still having trouble so we are saying take a closer look.

      Are you giving them too much milk and juice? More then their daily requirement? If so cut back on it. 1/3 of most people’s grocery bill is made up of things to drink. It is also true that most kids aren’t drinking enough water which they need just as much as nutritious food. What we are trying to say is that if your are feeding your kids nutritious food then you can cut way back on your cost of groceries buy not buying gallons of milk and juice and drink water instead.

      If you are using milk and juice for only nutritional needs and not to quench their thirst that’s great. I have a family member whose little girl drinks 1 gallon of milk a day and is extremely extremely over weight but her mom keeps insisting she needs the milk. This isn’t an isolated case. I don’t know how many times people ask me what they are doing wrong because they are feeding their child healthy organic food but they are, to put it bluntly, fat, very fat.

      It is too much. Way too much. So there is nothing wrong with drinking milk but like anything else when we take it to excess it not only is not good for us but it costs us a great deal of money and usually money most of us don’t have.

      • says

        Jill, I agree with the too much of a good thing.
        friends are always giving their children a glass of milk and cookies when they get home from school and then an hour later when supper time rolls around nobody is hungry. Duh!
        If they get home and it is a couple hours before supper then yes cookies and a drink are ok. But if you eat supper 1 hour after they get home try a different drink and snack.
        make a relish plate and use that for the salad instead of serving them one at the table.
        They still get their vegetables and everyone is happy.
        As for drinks. Milk at breakfast water or koolaide for in between meals. Juice for supper.
        Your dentist will not be as happy but your budget and your children will be happier and healthier.
        Now as for not being nutritious enough to let your children grow up healthy my sons were raised on this concept with pop thrown into the mix as they turned teens and they are both healthy and 6’3. So they do grow well.
        Everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb.

  22. Theresa says

    My apologies for not first reading your earlier answers regarding not drinking milk. I impulsively commented before taking the time to read that you had already addressed the questions. Not sure I still fully agree or accept that advice in all home situations, but you don’t necessarily either. 😉

  23. rose says

    i like ur idea of getting a couch for $50 (esp if u have kids) .. when we delivered papers we used to get our furniture from the trash set outside (we would never take it if it was rained on) .. but my kitchen table i got was very sturdy and i had it for almost 20 yrs! .. and yes it was in the trash .. we brought it home and cleaned it up and used it until i moved to this apt .. it was solid wood! ..
    same thing with our beds .. i know .. sounds creepy .. but we brought the beds home, vacuumed them.. washed them down with bleach water and let them dry in the sun and then vacuumed them again .. in fact, my twin bed that i slept on for the last 10 yrs was still wrapped in the plastic on the side of the road and yes i did bring it home .. it was a posterpedic mattress and box spring .. still in the plastic with all the tags still on it .. a brand new bed! in the trash .. i got it while delivering papers .. hubby now has it bc he wanted a “new” one .. and me and my son got my daughter’s and son in laws brand new bed sets .. they got new ones from an estate sale (bigger beds) and well .. insted of throwing htem out (they wee only 5 yrs old, if that!) and still in great condition ..
    and well .. i always said if i didnt have kids or pets, i would get a really good set of furniture but in this apt its too small .. (we have a 2 bedroom apt and bc hubby is disabled he is in the living room with all his medical supplies/furniture.. i am in one bedroom and our son is in another bedroom) …
    we have been cutting back more and more on our food bills .. and it seems things are constantly going up (as everyone knows) .. we drink alot of water and well .. bc my son loves iced tea, i make that homemade or i will be buying the store brand of the flavored iced tea .. and if he wants something, he has this super huge cup for refills at the gas station, and once a day he gets a huge drink and it lasts most of the day .. as far as juice is concerned, we used to buy it by the half gallon but then it would sit there too long .. so now i buy the little bottles (its 12 oz)for a $1/bottle.. i only buy a few a week .. bc not everyone wants juice daily .. and yes its cheaper to buy the half gallon but then i feel if i end up throwing it out bc it sat too long in the fridge than thats a waste ..
    milk? that never stays in the house .. my son LOVES milk .. and yes i buy it but he also buys milk too .. i try to drink a small glass a day ..i love it .. and sometimes hubby asks to chocolate syrup in his milk (he doesnt drink it as often as we do but sometimes he likes it) .. other things i skrimp on to save money .. and we eat alot of leftovers now and soups too .. plus my son takes his lunch too (my daughter chips in and helps me with this bc i make her lunch too) .. its saves from going out to lunch daily .. even if they share a $5 pizza from dominoes .. it adds up .. (they work at the same place) ..
    i think if u can cut costs here and htere (and thats whats great about this website bc everyone is sharing ideas and we are all helping each other!) .. i think its great ..
    thats why i love coming here .. lots of awesome info ..
    ya know, i got that digging out of debt book out (it was packed bc we moved).. and i am going over that book again to find “new” ways to save even more (i added the quotes to new bc even tho i have read that book so many times, every time i read it i pick up on anohter thing to use in my quest to save a dollar) ..

  24. CAT says

    Hello everyone,
    I just wanted to put my two cents in and say that life with the children is brief. We have four grown, married children and fifteen grandchildren. We are so glad that we bit the bullet and went on some great vacations when they were young. They often remember those times with fondness and it is a great way to have a wonderful, fulfilling time with your family.
    Yes, we didn’t have the cash in hand at the time, but we also trust the Lord to provide all our needs. He certainly has and has gone above and beyond what we ever imagined.
    I am glad that we went a bit out on a limb financially when our children were still all at home. I say, have fun and don’t be so concerned with with every little penny. Life is short, enjoy it!
    Many of your penny pinching ideas are grand and we have employed many of them, but try not to let it rule your life. Have a good day! :)

  25. says

    amazing that this can go on and on…. but we love milk in our house, too. We drink about a gallon a day, and that will probably go down as our adult children get married and move out. But, I wouldn’t say to anyone “you’re drinking too much milk!” I just buy more, or my daughter picks up a gallon at Target, which is about the cheapest in Marquette, Mich right now($2.98/gal) And there are always married kids with their kids over/visiting. We drink lots of milk. Milk is almost perfect nutrition, some people groups survive almost exclusively on milk. I have also just purchased my first share in a grassfed cow, so I get a gallon of raw milk every week. I wanted this for the health benefits for me, but surprise!-my grown sons like it too. I also keep plenty of greek yogurt and kefir in the house, the probiotics are so good. And, of course, real butter,and I’ve found raw cheese. I make my own yogurt at times, and would like to try kefir next. Anyway, my too many cents about milk. I get my info from “Nourishing Traditions”, I want to be healthy. I like the web site, We all need reminders to save and pay cash, live on what you make. Keep up the good work.

    • says

      Okay once again I can’t believe how many are missing the point. The article is on saving money, if you have the money you go right ahead and spend it how ever you want. If you want to buy a cow farm go for it but if you are up to your eyeballs in debt, are not paying your bills you need to watch how you are spending your money and one of those ways is to cut your grocery bill and one of the ways to do that is to cut out spending your money on drinking milk, juice, pop, coffee or what ever just because you like it. I like driving in Rolls Royce too and they are probably safer and healthier for me to ride in but I don’t drive one because I can’t afford it. That was the whole point of the article not on how good milk is for you.

      Oh by the way, do be careful of raw milk. My best friend was downing tons of raw milk for her health and she ended up in the hospital for 2 weeks and almost died because of the raw milk. I have personally known of other cases of raw milk which has made people very sick.

      • Cathi says

        Good grief! I can’t believe the number of people who missed the point about milk/juice and saving money. Jill and Tawra, I am a new reader and really enjoy your tips and ideas. Thanks for the sharing so much with all of us.

  26. Marie says

    When I read a hint on mixing milk with one half water, I put ice and water into a glass until it was half full then filled it up with milk and it was good. It is not thin and watery. A little chocolate added is also good. Now I can have milk with half the calories!

  27. Tammy says

    This has been an interesting discussion. Milk is one of the items that we purchase what we need, but the children drink a small cup (6 oz) or two with meals occasionally, after that it is water. They may have a small cup of juice with breakfast. But in doing some additional research (I am allergic to milk, eggs, soybeans and only like spinach as far as greens go), to identify more calcium-rich products. I knew that broccoli was, but I did not realize that blackberries, blueberries, and other fruits also had digestible forms of calcium. (Source: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/calcium-rich-vegetables.html).
    Regarding Carmel’s comment about using raw milk, we are contemplating getting a milk cow so my husband can enjoy milk to his heart’s content. I had heard on “Good Eats” about low-temperature pasteurization and so I did some additional research to find that the reason our children need juice (or at least fresh oranges, berries, or other fruits high in vitamin C) is that the process of pasteurization not only kills good bacteria in the milk that results in healthier immune systems, it also takes out naturally-occuring vitamin C in the milk. I did not know that. It is good to learn something new each day.
    As for my poor husband, he is restricted on how much milk he can drink because he would drink a quart or two a day if I let him, leaving none for the children or cooking. He gets plenty of exercise and natural vitamin D as a public utility worker, and calcium from other sources, so I am not concerned about his bones at this point. He enjoys the taste of milk and enjoys drinking it with his meals. He had to learn that on a budget when I bought groceries and allocated a certain amount for each item, that he could not just go and pour a quart of milk in his glass, drink it and go back for more. I got really ticked when he would leave a cup or more that he did not feel like drinking – that could have otherwise be used for numerous items for cooking. That is when he got put on restriction. It is just too expensive and useful to waste.
    As for my daughters, neither could drink milk for a good while after nursing as one was lactose intolerant and the other was allergic. The older drank soy milk and the younger drank almond milk. When each was about 3 or 4, they were retested and were able to begin drinking milk without reactions. I did find that for my older daughter, I could not let her drink chocolate milk that was pre-made as a treat for a good while (until Tru-Moo came out), because most of them had high-fructose corn syrup. As she is allergic to corn, that would cause her to break out in a rash that she would not otherwise get.
    Aside from all the milk discussion, living below one’s means is the best way to manage our finances. God blesses us when we do. It can be really hard when the only car one can afford is one that winds up having hidden mechanical problems that add to an already burdened budget. For anyone in that boat, keep your chin up. Keep serving God and praying. By honoring God with what you have, God will bless you and you will grow spiritually. Been there, done that. Just keep pressing forward and watching your pennies, but do not be stingy with others in need. If you are asked and you have something, give and be blessed. Trust in God always to provide for your needs, but not in wasting money expecting God to give you again what He already gave you to provide for your needs.
    If it would take 1 1/2 years to pay off a loan to go on vacation, put the same amount back for 1 1/2 years – you will have more money for the vacation and what-ifs and not be in debt and stressed. The children will only be slightly older, but with good planning, it is doable.
    In difficult financial times, it is hard and stressful and you may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but keep moving and keep living below your means. Tawra has great suggestions for doing just that.
    One final note: if you cannot tithe, honor God by serving him in your local congregation as you can (without going into debt to do so – you don’t have to do all the costly outings and such) and commit the money you want to tithe to paying off your debts and not getting into new debt. Then tithe with joy and thanksgiving. Have a blessed day!

  28. Kristi says

    “Okay once again I can’t believe how many are missing the point.” Jill, this made me laugh! I thought the same thing as I read through the comments.

    My budget is $200/month for household supples (like toilet paper and laundry detergent), bath items (like toothpase) and food for my pre-schooler, todler, myself and my husband (the baby is breast fed).

    Ten things I do to save $$$:
    1. Breast feed
    2. Cloth diapers, cloth wipes (using the “recipe” from Dining on a Dime!)
    3. Don’t buy juice. The kids get 4oz juice with their pm snack at school/day care. I don’t see a need for any more than that.
    4. Ration milk to one sippy cup per day. It ends up being about 9oz total and the kids usually drink half of it with breakfast and the other half with dinner or it goes back in the fridge for tomorrow. They also get milk at school/day care with lunch. More than enough!
    5. Don’t buy cereal. Breakfast is usually a banana, lately with yogurt since its been on sale. Sometimes granola bars if I can find a good price on the healthier ones at a wholesale club.
    6. Utilize leftovers. My husband is a firefighter and comes home with leftovers after every shift. Ten times a month lunch and/or dinner is already made — sometimes for three or four meals!
    7. Hunt. My husband is a hunter and a good season will yield enough meat to feed us for most of the year. (ok, maybe that dosen’t really save that much money considering how much he spends in a season…but that’s another post!)
    8. Buy what my kids will eat. I work full time and by the time we get home my kids are hungry. Dinner needs to be quick. I don’t want to spend the night bickering about food. Mac & cheese, chicken nuggets or PB&J with fruit or veggies. They love it. They eat. We play. And I don’t end up throwing away half-eaten, drooled-on food!
    9. Don’t go out. On the weekends the kids are happy just to have my full attention in the play room or accompany me to the grocery store. I’ve been blessed with well behaved children (although they are only 2months, 18 months and 3 years).
    10. Read this website! I love the way it triggers a “different” though process but more importantly keeps my focus on God’s plan. I read a few other money-saving websites but yours is how I started to learn frugality and I review it often. Thank you!

    • says

      Thank you Kristi. I was wondering if anyone got the point of this article so I feel so much better now to know you at least did. :) :) Sometimes it is just too funny. I do love your common sense approach to saving and things in general. Way to go and thanks again.

  29. Tracy says

    If you are having trouble breaking yourself from buying “things” or starting to de-clutter your home here’s something to ask yourself: What’s going to happen to this when I die? Most all of your things your family is going to collect for an estate sale or donate the items to charity. They may keep a few things but the rest will go. So do you really need to keep buying knickknacks or keep all your sentimental things from years ago packed under the bed? Nope, not at all. If you have things that you want someone to have give the item to the person now if that person is old enough to take care of it.

  30. Jenny Oram says

    Oh my!! How I wholeheartedly AGREE with Tracy. The very same thoughts came to my mind when I posted my last comment, but thought better of saying in case I was thought “morbid” !! I had experience of what Tracy mentioned when we had to clear my mum’s house when she died. Going through her possessions was very painful and watching most of it going to the local recycling tip really brought it home to me. A few of her prized possessions were kept (becoming “stuff” to us!) but really what Tracy said is absolutely true about being mindful of what we leave when we eventually do die. The thought of my sons and their wives sifting through my personal belongings is particularly difficult for me to accept and by downloading “stuff” now I am consciously “downloading” MY belongings – so they won’t have to! I am hoping for, at least, another 30 odd years (please) but you never know….. What is important to ME will just be gathered up into black plastic bags and thrown away – so yes this is yet another good reason NOT to hoard “stuff” not to buy on impulse just because “we want/would like it”. Perhaps I have a too clear and tidy mind and because too I am a very private person – I want to leave things as neat and tidy as possible. Is this why I ALWAYS blitz my house sparkling clean, leave all my clothes spic and span and my underwear drawer fresh and tidy before I go away on a holiday? Just thinking about it makes me think I need some therapy!! Just goes to show what a really excellent site Living on a Dime is – makes you really THINK about things, and it throws up some very interesting topics don’t you think? It really gets people aware of just what is important to us all, or perhaps throws us an idea for us to focus on! Keep up the good work!

  31. cheryl says

    I shared a house with my younger sister and her kids for a few years and it always shocked me how much milk and juice our very budget restricted household went through. I would sit down and show them exactly how much they needed to be healthy but my sister would give them 12 ounce glasses of juice and milk several times a day and wondered why her youngest was such a picky eater.

    Where I live now, we see a pediatrician regularly with FD and when I talk with other parents who see him I discover that one of the things that everyone of them has been told is to get their kids off juice – especially if they are even slightly heavy. When FD came to live with me she drank about 24 ounces of juice a day.

    If you are on a really need to be on a budget, buying excessive amounts of anything is unwise. We buy 1 gallon of milk a week and she has it on her cereal every morning and about 8 oz in her lunch along with a yogurt cup. We use milk in cooking and use cheese. There is no way she is being deprived of good nutrition and in fact eats much healthier than kids who take juice boxes in their lunch every day (what a scam!).

  32. says

    My wife found me A new “trick” the other day..I used to take the dog for a car ride every morning but now I walk her(the dog) instead…Two things here save 60 gallons of gas @ $4 equals $240/months plus I feel better and the weight loss is also helping with a increase in energy

  33. Michel says

    I have studied nutrition and I agree that juice and milk are not needed in the amounts many people drink. My kids ask for milk at each meal, and 4-5 other times a day. If I let them have 1/2 c skim milk each time they ask at 45 calories they would drink a huge amount of calories. Snack time means water….which many kids need to increase. At my nieces school she has 24 kids in her kindergarten class…2of them have had kidney stones. Now, that is often more related to soda, but still, between yogurt, and cheese and greens there are so many ways to get calcium. Know the actual amount of food kids need, and don’t over feed them. My kids are all very healthy, they just had their yearly appointment.

  34. Michel says

    10 things I do to save money…

    1. Use the library. Story time. Books. Cd’s. Audio. Puzzles. Our library has a great play area, and art area. We can get out for free (needed when there are three under 5 years). I used to spend about $2000 a year on books alone…last year I spent about $100 because I can get the books I want through our library.

    2. Skip the theater. Eat your own popcorn and get a movie from the library.

    3. Garden. March 20 in the frigid north (zone 5), and my garden has fresh chives and Parsley that survived. What I have used in the last week would have cost about $10. We can, freeze, and dry a lot. Last year I kept track of what we produced and saved over $1000.

    4. Be willing to trade. My husband helped his brother with some projects and we got 1/2 a beef in exchange.

    5. Find free things to do…go to the park, have a picnic….

    6. Sew, upcycle, recycle, reuse.

    7. Watch for sales. Our grocery bought to many mushrooms and sold them for .10 for 6 oz. I stocked up. Know how you can use stuff. I knew I could turn those into homemade soup, and dry them. Make homemade bread…at $4 a loaf you will save. I make my own mixes as well.

    8. Thrift stores.

    9. Split flowers, rhubarb…

    10. Do it yourself. Mow your own yard, change your own oil….

  35. Pamela C. says

    Way back in the 1950’s and 1960’s when I was a kid, juice was something you drank at breakfast, from a juice glass that was about 4 ounces. We didn’t have juice everyday or all day long. We had 8 ounce glasses for milk at meals. The big glasses were for Iced Tea without sugar. Soda came in a 7oz. bottle and you split the bottle with someone else once in awhile for a treat. If you needed a snack in the afternoon it was a piece of fruit or carrots and celery. We stayed hydrated with water. Once in awhile we would have a sweet after dinner. One cookie or a mint once in a great while a piece of pie or cake. We didn’t have weight problems. We didn’t have any urge to eat all day long like people do now. Perhaps we didn’t have the sugar highs and lows that we hear about so often now. A few years back Tawra was featured in a magazine article and her children were pictured with her. They appeared to be of normal weight and size for their ages. Good job Tawra! After reading Tawra’s thoughts on saving money by portion control I purchased a food scale. One evening I was making spaghetti and the box said that a portion was 2 ounces dry. I measured out the noodles. My husband disapproved at the prospect of having such a small portion. When it was cooked I divided up the pasta and low and behold hubby had enough on his plate, and wasn’t overstuffed. Best of all there were no leftovers to become science projects in the fridge!One more thought here, If you are over feeding your children, most likely you are giving your child the building blocks of poor health, obesity, diabetes , heart disease and the stigma of being overweight. The fat kid that gets teased, bullied and never picked to be on a team. Is that what you really want for your child? So when you pour several extra large glasses of juice or milk a dau, hand over the candy bar or box of cookies ‘cuz it’s an easy snack,think about the legacy you are giving your child and your pocketbook.

    • says

      You sound like you lived in my house when I was growing up Pamela. I think that was the way we all pretty much lived back then. I remember for my 16th birthday asking for my own can of orange juice to drink for the day because it was such a treat to have. Didn’t take much to make me happy. : )

  36. Patricia says

    Honestly, I’m amazed the milk and juice issue… is being such an issue.
    As both Tawra and Jill have been attempting to make clear, Calcium, Vit D, Vit C and all other disputed vitamins and minerals can be obtained from other food sources…much more practical and *beneficial* sources. Research the issues and you’ll be amazed.
    As far as the Vit C from juice…I don’t even buy that stuff anymore.
    The nutrition most people think they’re getting from it is just a myth.
    **The actual fruit is where the nutrition and health benefits are.**
    Juices are so processed, broken down, and have so many preservatives, additives, and such that almost ALL of the nutritive values are nulled. Same scenerio with veggies…

  37. dawn adair myers says

    i just wanted to say i subscribe to your letters and wanted to say that i am glad you did this newsletter. I have re examined my life after reading every letter you put out and found to my dismay at my self i was buying groceries without using what i had first. I found i was paying for veggies instead of waiting for them to grow cause i have a garden so that was wasteful.It really opened my eyes cause some of the things mentioned here i do do but was a really insightful look at me. I am happy to say i stopped being wasteful and finding deals all the time and waiting on my garden too. I am proud of my self that if i am not sure how to use a food product i search for a recipe instead of buying it. I use all extra money to pay some bills down also. I have become so much more frugal and happy to say so. I just wanted to thank you for coming up with this for people to understand what they can do differently and it does make a difference

    • says

      Thank you Dawn for that nice encouraging post for a Monday morning. : ) It sounds like you are going for it. I really think many people want to change and even in some ways know what to do it is just that we get in a rut or habit of doing things a certain way and don’t realize there may be a different way to do things to make our lives easier. I know I do this all the time. I will have done something for years one way and then see there is a better way of doing it. I call them my “duhh” or light bulb moments. : ) Keep up the good work. : )

  38. says

    This is not going to save me any money but it will declutter my house and save my son and his wife a fortune.
    They have decided to move back to Canada and bringing stuff from China is just not in the cards.
    I just wrote them a letter telling them that I can set up their kitchen almost entirely from things I have in the basement and don’t use.
    A bread machine, a steamer to cook the entire meal at once. Frying pans and a non stick electric one, roaster, mugs, serving bowls, coffee maker.
    We gave up TV a few years ago and never got rid of the TV;s so if they are up to the new technology they can have those as well.
    One thing we can’t help them with is a car and they will need one no matter where they decide to live in Ontario.
    Also bedding that is in boxes in the basement will have a new home. Will have to tell them a double or queen size bed as that is what the bedding is for.
    I also picked up a play pen for $4. the other day as I figured we needed one when we went camping but since they will be here in Oct. no camping with the baby so it will go to the new home and can be used as a bed until they find a crib or bed for her.
    So like I said won’t make me money but sure will save them.
    I would gladly go out and furnish their house if they needed us to just to have them back home. I really want to make it an easy move for or daughter in law as she is leaving her parents her country and all her friends. Living in a place where the culture is totally different will be hard enough without worrying about furnishing the house.
    Can’t wait for Oct.
    Dan will be here for a few weeks getting a job and finding a home for them so that will be great as well. He comes in July.

    • says

      I am so excited for you Lynda. I remember when that sweet grandbaby was born and how bad you felt when you wouldn’t be able to see her and now they are coming here to stay. That is so nice. I can’t even imagine your excitement.

  39. Denis troy says

    I think the best thing about being frugal is that it is so empowering.I have money saved. I have so many friends who literally live paycheck to paycheck. Are always broke. But constantly spend money eating out. Buying clothes and electronics they dont really need. But I think they just want to keep upwith the Jones’. As a single man I have stooped eating out at fast food places and restaurants and Now cook at home. It is healthier and it’s a great feeling knowing what i cooked it. I know what went in it and. I’m not consuming extra salt, sugars, and unnesessary fats.
    I too love thrift stores, garage sales and estate sales.

    I t

    • says

      This is so true Denis. Not only is it empowering but freeing. When you get rid of debt, it is like a burden that you didn’t even know you were carrying was lifted and it feels so good. I don’t think most people realize how good it feels otherwise more people would try harder to get out of debt and because it feels so good those who have no debt refuse to and fight tooth and nail to stay out of debt because they don’t want to loss that feeling.

  40. Michele says

    Oopps boo boo on the post before this: Only real reason people lack in vitamin D is if they have immune problems, parasites * like me Lyme Disease* but mostly because they * LACK OF GETTING OUTSIDE in sunlight * which gives us more than we need in a days time in just 30 minutes a day * just saying :)!!!* Drinking excessive amounts of milk causes bone loss is what specialists have told me and my sister both. Some people crack me up! Love the posts and thanks for sharing this hun!!

  41. Marie says

    Since watering down my drinking milk, I do the same with juice. I buy one 100% juice and “water it down” with a package of diet lemon aid drink. This makes enough juice for a week for dh and I. We make a pot of coffee and drink half one day and half for the next day. Unplug the coffee maker after using to save on electricity. I don’t buy chips, cookies and crackers (except saltines) but instead we eat popcorn (not microwave). If milk is at it’s use by date, I make a cream soup like potato, corn or fish chowder. Vegetable relish at the end of the week go into soup. Small amounts of meat help to flavor the soup, a little goes a long way.

  42. says

    Marie, I love your idea of making soups out the foods that are about to expire. It’s a great way to stretch your food budget and not be wasteful. I wish more people would do this instead of just throwing food in the trash. And usually it’s those people that are the first to complain about having no money.

  43. Marie says

    Thanks Jaime. Another thing you can do if your potatoes get soft or sprouts Just wash, cut out the bad spots and boil. They will plump up. They are good for cottage fries or potato salad. The tops of mature beets make really good greens as do radish tops. Just fix like spinach greens. I use dill pickle juice mixed with mayo and spices for ranch dressing. Use sweet pickle juice with mayo for potato or pasta salad.

  44. Carolyn says

    My mother was a great antique shopper and collector. However, she felt she had to buy something every time she went into a shop or it was rude. When she died, she left many little, inexpensive, cutsie antiques. In Pennsylvania you have to pay tax on whatever is in the house unless it has been “given” before death. My brother and I had to divide the “profits” of the sale of household items and the house. Everything had to be sold. I had a sale at home and no one in my rust belt area wanted anything. I called a dealer who took a few good pieces. The money went for required ads in the paper about her death. When an auction house came they only took the good stuff that was left including an oil painting. Then the night of the auction there was a terrible storm and almost nothing sold. I found this out weeks later when I finally called and said “where is the money?” They said everything but the dining room chairs and TV had not been sold and they threw everything away. They did not call me and they did not send the check until I called. This gives me an idea. Junkers should check out auction house trash bins.

  45. Beemo says

    We live in the country and don’t run to town for milk. I use powdered milk and no one knows the difference. Here is my recipe: mix 1 cup of Nestle’s NIDO whole fat powdered milk (in the grocery’s Hispanic section) into 1 quart water using a whisk. Mix 1 cup fat free dry milk into 1 quart water. Add both to a half gallon jar, shake, and chill. This is roughly 2% milk that tastes like “store bought”! The NIDO milk is fortified with many vitamins which is also a plus. I prefer using glass for milk storage because it can be cleaned better.

  46. Veronica Tidd says

    I would add “much ado about nothing” We all know Tawra is fiscally resposible – she learned that at her mother’s knee.
    Her kids are well fed judging by the recipes printed here.
    Being fat is bad for you, being obese is deadly.
    Parents are responsible for what their children eat.
    My kids did not even know that candy existed till the eldest started school. Saved lots of money on dental bills that way. keep up the good work.

  47. grizzly bear mom says

    I am obese and suffer the diseases of the obese so I now eating for strength. Some of the things that I learned: 1. Juice is only the sugar from the fruit, so it shouldn’t be consumed. Instead eat the actual fruit and benefit from its pectin lining your digestive tract so you absorb the fruit sugars slower. Fruit fiber, skin, etc have vitamins and move food through your system. I only give children water to drink at meals because they have yummy food as flavor instead.
    2. Although we all need calcium, no one needs milk after weaning. 75% of peole have lactoce intolerance and shouldn’t consume dairy. Milk causes mucus which can sicken asthmatics, etc. Only those countries that are big dairy consumes have osteoperosis. Additionally, even calves can’t live on milk after it is pasturized. Additionally, no animal drinks another animals milk. I never give children milk for these reason, as well as those previously stated.
    Think about why you are eating.

  48. Judy Hughes says

    My solution to saving money on milk is when I buy milk to buy at least 2 gallons. I buy at Braum’s or Walgreens because they have decent prices….and I’m just trying Aldi’s milk, but I have heard it doesn’t keep a long. Anyway, I freeze them and then thaw them out about 8 hours in the sink or tub about a day before I run out. This way I don’t have to return to the store and am not tempted to get other things, when all I need is milk. The frozen milk tastes the same once it’s thawed and my daughter actually drinks it better when it’s slushy. We are a family of 3 and hubby doesn’t drink much milk. We can make a gallon last probably 2 weeks. I’m now pregnant and trying to get extra calcium, so I am drinking more. But I also take a calcium supplement just in case. Occasionally I make my own yogurt. The worst part is buying the plain yogurt to use as starter. Homemade yogurt is much cheaper than store yogurt. Blessings!

  49. Lisa says

    Jill and Tawra, love your website, books, etc! Thanks!! I’m sorry you’ve received negative posts regarding limiting milk, No one needs to have excess of anything including milk. Excess of anything is a waste of money, and can be bad for your health. Regarding juice, no one needs to drink it. It is not necessary for nutrition. It is much higher in sugar than the actual fruit without the nutritious fiber that the fruit contains. Keep on keepin’ on ladies! You are very inspirational and wise.

  50. Barbara says

    My husband had a $3.50 Latte daily and a $.75 paper. When the credit bill got over $nearly $400! It took a while because we are on medicare, and only go the foodband [3 days supply food week]. Now with the foodbank coffee if we get it is Ok with him. We have alot of soup and variations from these receipe here.

    • says

      You need to read our site a little more Steve. That is not what we do at all. We have mounds of Christmas goodies to eat and for gifts well when I arrive at my kids for Christmas I have the trunk and back seat of my car full and often have brought another batch to them earlier in the week. That is not what I would call scratching around.

      If you have money to pay your bills, your debt is paid off and some savings, there is nothing wrong with spending your money. What happens is people live with the idea that life is for living and I deserve anything I want to make me happy but it is often at the expense of others by not paying their bills on time (they have used the service so why do they think they shouldn’t pay for it?), charging up credit cards and not paying those (they bought the product and they should pay for it). You can live it up all you want but it is wrong to do it at the expense of others.

      I have been self employed for many years and if our customers had your attitude and would say “I can’t pay you what I owe you because I need to spend my money to have a great Christmas.” You know what would happen? Because they didn’t pay me I had no money to buy my kids Christmas things. Is that really fair that my kids have to do without so you don’t have to?

      People never realize too how they are hurting everybody with attitude. When debts and credit cards don’t get paid companies have to raise the prices on the things I buy to cover their loses for the things people buy and don’t pay for.

      But even at the times when we didn’t have the goodies we still had a great Christmas because we had joy and peace and cared about each other. I and my family have found that though we love the gifts, it really isn’t all about them. You see the longer I live the more I discover that I can have all the things but without joy, peace and love they mean nothing and I just crave more but on the other side if I have joy, peace and love I rarely crave the things.
      Anyway if ever I had nothing at all on Christmas couldn’t be grey for me because the whole day is about celebrating Christ’s birth and the same way I get no gifts on my grand kids birthday it is still a great and happy day for me because it was the day they were born and came into my life. Thanksgiving is the same. Even if I couldn’t have a table fun of food I still have so much to be thankful for it wouldn’t really be a grey day either.

  51. Pam says

    I am a flight attendant. I fly long haul (international) flights. I am always amazed at parents giving their children apple juice or cranapple over and over during the flight. Then they wonder why the kids act like they are on “speed”. Take a look at the sugar content of these drinks, especially the cranapple. It is important to stay hydrated during a flight and water is the best drink for that. I seldom see these kids get any water. We have an eight ounce bottle of water on each meal tray and I encourage the parents to keep them when I pick up the trays. So many decline.

  52. Linda :o) says

    It is hard to believe how you can print an article, and have so many people trying to defend what they do! They just don’t want to believe that what they are doing may not be a good thing, and have to try to defend it! Everything you print is good until you print about something THEY do, then all of a sudden, they don’t agree with you any more. I have to shake my head. I don’t know how you two gals can stay so calm and level headed. I would be pulling my hair out.
    BTW, I LOVE this web site. You gals are tremendous.
    Linda :o)

    • says

      Thanks Linda. There are days when we feel like pulling our hair out too but then we get a comment like yours and it makes it all worth it. : ) Actually I can’t complain to much because on a whole and compared to some other blogs the majority of most of our readers are so sweet, kind and thoughtful (I could add even more things like nice, caring, considerate….) and I am so grateful for that. I had to chuckle though you guys are like mama bears watching over us – I more times then not don’t have to even defend myself because if we have someone make a not so nice comment you guys are all over like flies on honey. : ) I really do appreciate all you guys because sometimes I think is it me or what but you always come to my rescue.Thanks again. :)

  53. Mary Jane says

    I agree with Jill and Tawra about the getting a bit of an education about nutrition, and learning about portion sizes when it comes to feeding your kids. When my kids were small, there was a big push to get your kids to eat so many servings of the different food groups, AT EVERY MEAL. Not only was it not practical, it was usually more than the kids could eat in a sitting. I was very fortunate to have children with no special dietary needs, so I settled on having my kids eat from all the food groups, BY THE END OF THE DAY. Reasonable portions were provided, and variety depended on what we had in the house. As they grew and got hungrier, they ate more, but again with an eye to the overall content for the day. Must have done alright. We had little or no junk food, ate cooking from scratch; ate canned, frozen, dried and fresh food when it was available. We drank a lot of water, and snacked on homemade cookies that were made with healthy ingredients. My daughter grew to my height, (just under 5 ft. 10 in.) and all three of my boys are well over 6 ft. tall. They had only the usual childhood ailments–colds, etc. It is worthwhile to read and find out all the sources (available to you) for nutritional necessities, such as protein, calcium, vitamin C, and to be flexible. For example, instead of tons of orange juice, a lot of people get their vitamin C from rose hips ( the fruit from the wild rose plant) that grows wild and prolific here. It is made into jams, teas, or just dried etc., and was a staple for the First Nations people who first settled here.

  54. Mary Jane says

    P.S. When we had milk, it was often reconstituted powdered milk, because we live 15 miles from the grocery store. I added it to much of our cooking and baking (bread), and was constantly told by many of my peers that my kids would suffer, as powdered milk was nutritionally inferior. I, however did my homework (including talking to a health nurse) and discovered that dried milk is nutritionally identical to skim milk bought in the store, and virtually the same as other milk, minus the fat, when made according to package directions.

  55. Denise says

    Consider a stay cation. Many state and county parks have swimming in the summer with picnic areas for grilling your favorite summer dinners. In the winter, there are many activities sponsored by the parks and recreation, too. Check the county websites and enjoy. Most activities are free or there is a nominal cost.

  56. Carole Edminson says

    I have always lived frugally and have taught my 7 kids to do the same. I get a real kick when one of them calls me with the bargain they have found. I have 15 grandchildren and I buy simple things for them for birthdays and Christmas. They don’t really care what they get just as long as they are remembered. All but one of my kids are grown and they can remember their great grandma giving each of them a dollar when we went to visit. Great grandma couldn’t afford even that but the adults always came with enough ones to slip to her for the kids. My youngest is one of the grandkids that we adopted. One of the ways I save on clothes is to shop at thrift stores but I also check clearance racks. Just yesterday we were at Wal-Mart and the store was having a clearance on all winter clothes. Everything was at least 1/2 off and some of those things were reduced twice. I bought basics for next year. Pajamas 2 piece Disney princesses were originally $15 had been reduced down to $5, two pairs of colored jeans were $12 each reduced to $7. A wonderful surprise when we got to the checkouts everything was 1/2 off the last clearance price. So the totals were $39 and I got them for $9.50. In this case new was the same as thrift store price. I was tempted to go back and look for more but resisted the urge. When it comes to food I have to live gluten-free and no more prepackaged anything. I cook from scratch. In the beginning it was very hard to get used to but now it’s just a way of life. Gluten-free food is very expensive and most of it is just awful so I do what it takes to cut the price and make it taste better. I was shocked when I started how much junk we ate and thought nothing of it. Our society is geared around eating. We eat out as a social thing with friends or as a date. Our friends come over and out comes the food. It’s no wonder we are an overweight, over extended society. Living a frugal life is not NOT LIVING. It’s just living within our means and not on credit. We are Christians and stewards of what God gives us to live on. We take that responsibility very seriously. For us it’s a very BLESSED life.

  57. Sharon says

    In Canada we have $2 coins. I save all the $2 coins I get in a can. It’s amazing how fast they add up. I also take $25 out of every paycheck & automatically transfer it to the Savings as soon as I deposit my check. It’s like a bill payment. And then I forget it until I have $1000 when I buy another savings bond.

  58. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    I save money by figuring this $3.50 latte costs me a gallon of milk. If you purchased one every day on the way to work $3.50 x 200 yearly work days, you would be spending $700 of enough to go visit grandma, purchase a new bed, perhaps buy your children’s yearly clothing. I ask, do I want a latte that much? Normally the answer is no. etc.

    • says

      Great tip Grizzly Bear Mom. We have never mentioned this before so good idea. I do that too – when I am tempted to go out to eat or something else I always ask myself do I want this or do I want to put the money towards something even more important that I am saving for. I wonder if that is one of those secrets that frugal people who are out of debt do automatically without thinking. That is also how you can get out of debt too by thinking “Do I want to spend this money on a latte for a moment of pleasure or put it towards paying off my debt (and in some cases not adding to my debt)and then having a more long term stress free pleasure that comes with being debt free.

  59. Anne says

    My husband and I are on a fixed income and there is hardly ever any money left a the end of the month. We hardly ever eat out and I have learned to cook everything! Thanks to your help, I am now making my own laundry soap and really like it better than any I have ever bought! We go to free events, walk in the park, to to Church socials and entertain with others who always bring their favorite pot luck dish for socials. We have not used our a/c in the last 4 years and found that fans work wonderful at a fraction of the costs, we have not had tv service for 4 years until just recently after my husbands doctor said tv would be a good stimulus for my husbands diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. I have found a way to save money a little at a time which adds up month by month. Any money left in our account, whether it is $ .50 or $25.00, goes into out savings account. Most months it is a very small amount, but I now have those $$ I need for emergencies that seem to come all too often. Thank you for your priceless help in helping us to “live on a dime”, I love the challenge of frugal living which I believe has brought us closer to each other and be better stewards of what God has given us.

  60. Swannie says

    I re-use the plastic bags that I get in the produce section for fruit, etc. I wrap individual pieces of cut-up chicken, place on a tray and freeze. Then I put the chicken in heavier plastic bags that come with sliced bread. I put the date and contents on a piece of paper and stick that in the bag.

  61. lisa says

    My question is this: When guying used furniture, how can you avoid bringing home bedbugs? I used to buy all my furniture used, but the current prevalence of bedbugs across the country really concerns me.

    • says

      There really isn’t much you can do. A couple of things is that if your area is really bad for bedbugs then don’t buy used furniture with fabric. If you do get used one way to get rid of them is to let the furniture sit out in below 20 degree temps for a week. Steam will not kill them because it can not penetrate down into the foam cushion. Save your money in other areas like buying used tables or wood chairs etc.
      I’m afraid this is one of my pet peeves. For as much harm as what “they” say pesticides are doing I’m afraid a few years down the road we are going to be finding out how much more harm no having pesticides are going to do to us. The diseases we will have to deal with and the food shortage because of pests killing the crops. Don’t e mail me and say there are organic ways to kill pests there are but they don’t work to the extent we think they will. That is why so many many people even ones living on farms suffered from malnutrition before pesticides. I don’t mind getting rid of them we just need to make sure we have something that can replace them and work as well and from the way things are going with bed bugs and other bugs getting out of control we haven’t done that yet. It is no coincidence that the states that have the worse out breaks are the ones who have the bans and the outbreaks started at the same time the bans were put into place.

  62. hippiegirl says

    I dont get why readers are accusing other readers of being negative in regards to the “milk controversy”. It truely sounds like opinions. I get where you are coming from as I too do not give my children any juice as it is empty calories. We do drink milk but typically 1 8oz glass at dinner. No soda or gatorades either. In fact jill sounds a little defensive when talking bout her daughter and grandkids and thats understandable as i am sure you all can feel under attack by some mean spirited people at times. However, accusing your readers of “not getting the point” might come across tosome as rude. Maybe a simple retitling of #8 from” we dont drink milk” to “dont waste food” or “understand portions” might have eliminated the “negative comments” or “people not getting it” . I do love all your ideas

    • says

      Trust me we have found re titling things usually doesn’t make a difference. I am amazed at how many people are more interested in commenting not so much on the subject of the post but how they feel I should have written it or make comments that have nothing to do with the point I was making or the subject.I’afraid too no matter how we answer or write it doesn’t eliminate the negative comments.I really don’t understand why so many feel they need to tell us how to fix everything we do. I have never comment anything negative on another blog even when I feel they did a terrible job or something not right. No more then I would walk into someones living room and say “I feel your room would look so much better it you would move that chair to the other wall and get rid of some of your knick knacks” But people feel they should do that on our blog and others.
      I use to try to patiently answer the rude comments but decided it is a little like patting a rude child on the head and saying “That is ok sweetie. Those people should have been more understanding of you flopping on the floor, kicking your feet and screaming at them.”

    • Free says

      It is not rude to state that someone is not getting the point, especially when that is clearly the case. What is rude is telling someone who works hard to give you good, solid advice, FOR FREE, that they’re doing it wrong. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way #8 is titled. There is nothing controversial about it. She simply states one of the ways her family saves money. With any advice or tips, use what works for you and ignore the rest. The only way to eliminate negative comments is to DISABLE comments, and I really hope that doesn’t happen here, as many people share good tips and recipes in the comment section.

      • says

        Thank you Free. Our readers are so sweet about defending us and I do appreciate it more than you realize especially after some of the negative feed back we get. It is tempting to disable all comments but that is like punishing the whole class for something one or two kids have done bad and I do not agree with that at all. I think the person doing the wrong should be punished not innocent by standers. I have started deleting most negative comments lately. Of course then I am told I don’t like for people to disagree with me when I really don’t want my readers to have to put up with negative garbage. Our readers come here to learn things or share positive things they have learned with each other. They have better things to do with their lives and time than spend it arguing over petty things or wasting it ready nasty comments. I just wish i had started deleting more of them sooner.
        You hit the nail on the head and once again I thank you.


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