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JasonsMom08's avatar

What are some of your most frugal habits?

Asked by JasonsMom08 (441points) November 17th, 2009
54 responses
“Great Question” (13points)

For example, these are some of mine:

-> I re-use dryer sheets (if I use them at all) for a couple of loads.
-> I buy generic at the grocery store almost all of the time (much to my husband’s dismay…)
-> I use cold water only, in the washing machine.
->I never buy books, I just go to the library!

Thanks for reading!

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PooperDood's avatar

Hmmmm… My family keeps envelopes for this sort of thing. If I need food from the grocery store, I take money out of the envelope but have to be careful how much I take or I’ll take too much. Also I like to shop at Goodwill. And Amazing Savings.

gemiwing's avatar

I wash laundry by hand (tons less soap and it’s basically free)
I dry laundry on the line (truly free)
I buy generic everything. 99% of the time it’s exactly the same. except for Dr.Pepper, no one can copy that one right
I cook at home, from scratch. (much cheaper than boxed foods)
We reuse butter tubs/takeout containers.
We shut off most vents in our home and heat/cool only the room we are in.
We unplug appliances we aren’t using.
We buy pretty much everything second-hand that we can. (no used undies though)
Hubbs commutes by bike and saves us tons in parking fees/gas.
We make what we can instead of buying. (I can make a draft dodger for ⅓ the cost)

There’s more I’m sure I’m leaving out.

Haroot's avatar

I tend to talk myself out of buying pretty much everything I want to buy.

“I want a 360! Well, I want mainly for games x,y, and z only pretty much. Game x I played a little of before, it wasn’t that great. I can watch a video of someone playing game y on Youtube. I’d probably get bored of game z. I don’t want a 360.”

wildpotato's avatar

I get great, barely-used stuff for free on craigslist all the time. I got standing lamps, a bookcase, an Urban Outfitters duvet cover, a portable dishwasher (of a make and brand they still sell new at Sears) and a California king-size mattress and boxsprings last year that is, no joke, the most comfortable thing I have ever slept on. Gross, you say? Not so much – the mattress I was particularly confident about because of the area of town it came from and its utterly pristine condition. And it helps to have someone with bedbug experience along with you in order to know with confidence that there are no bugs.

ubersiren's avatar

@gemiwing : Washing laundry by hand? Now that’s dedication!

I tend to not buy groceries unless they’re on sale for at least half the price, and I’m a rabid coupon cutter. We also buy generic brands, unless the name brand is on sale for cheaper. We only grocery shop one day a week and suffer through if we need something until then. We are big fans of the yard sale and classifieds- both having them for extra money and shopping them for necessities. We recently went to a “tot swap” for my son’s winter wardrobe.

knitfroggy's avatar

I’m not a very frugal person. I do buy generic on a lot of stuff except ketchup and peanut butter.
My friend sticks her gum on her plate while she eats and then chews it some more! It totally makes me sick. Last time we went to lunch I told her if you can’t afford a new piece of gum please let me buy you some! She just laughed and got rid of the nasty wad of gum. She thinks there is no reason to throw out the gum just because she is eating.

virtualist's avatar

..keep credit card use to a minimum and try to pay balance off each month cars with top rated (Consumer Reports) low repair frequency, never trade them in for the next car, but instead, sell on ebay for cash
..stopped subscriptions to magazines many years ago – use to coordinate news online(news news, science, technology, sports, appropriate blogs
..donate all used items no longer being personally used
..keep abode slightly cool in winter(sweaters allowed)- and slightly warm in summer(nudity not allowed) bulk at COSTCO
..use 1.5 liter wine bottles(Rosemount/Beringer favored)

gemiwing's avatar

@ubersiren It does sound extreme doesn’t it? Except I cheat- I have a handwashing plunger that saves me tons of time. A load (three shirts, 1 pants, 2 sets socks) takes about five minutes to wash. Plus it makes this really funny sound when you use it. They call it The Breather- we call it The Gurglemonster.

JasonsMom08's avatar

I thought of some more that I do…
-> I re-use glass jars (applesauce, etc) to keep beans, rice, oats, cornmeal or any other dry good in.
-> I am saving egg cartons to start my seedling next spring.
-> Freecycle baby!
-> Before we had our son, I kept the house at 63 degrees (and it was plenty warm for me). Now we keep it at 68 – never any higher.

CMaz's avatar

I buy 10 of something. Sell the 9, make enough profit, to pay for the 10th one.

Facade's avatar

I get my water from the filtering shower head I bought instead of buying it at a store.

poofandmook's avatar

I spend extra on cat litter that has clumps that never crumble, scoop every day even though I have an automatic box… and I will dump the tray back into the box and manually scoop it if I see that the rake has dumped clean litter into the tray. Because of the litter I use, there’s no chance the clumps will crumble when I do this.

SuperMouse's avatar

I am not a frugal person, but I am working hard to become one. Right now I have a couple of frugal habits though: I make my own laundry detergent, I use washable feminine products, I use a Britta pitcher instead of bottled water, and I refuse to use paper plates.

erichw1504's avatar

> I make my own beer. You wouldn’t believe how much money that saves.
> I ride my bike to work everyday, my wife and I only have one car.
> I always clip coupons, saves at least $10 every $150 I spend on groceries.

knitfroggy's avatar

Coupons are fantastic if you use them properly. I used to buy all kinds of stuff I wouldn’t normally buy just because I had a coupon! When I finally started using them on items I really use a lot I noticed a real savings!

evegrimm's avatar

—Whenever I make a purchase (that isn’t groceries), I always comparison shop to see who has the best deals.
—Before making said purchase, I try to make a list of pros/cons to see if it’s really a good idea for me to buy it.
—Every week, I try to keep to my budget. Some weeks are better than others!
—In the past, I’ve made my own yogurt. It’s easy and delicious…but difficult to take to school!
—I like cooking dinner for myself. I don’t think my mom or I have ever ordered takeout…sometimes dinner might be beans on toast, but hey—that’s yummy. :D
—Learn to make your own pizza: pizza dough is easy enough to make with a bread machine, but if you don’t want to mess with it, pizza dough is relatively inexpensive at grocery stores. Pizza sauce is easy; buy cheese when it goes on sale (same for other toppings).
—“Shop the sales”: that’s what my mom always says. There are only a very few things I’ll buy if they’re not on sale, like milk.
—Shop in season—know what fruits and veggies are in season in your area and buy them rather than buying fruit and veg from thousands of miles away. It’s better for the environment, but even if you buy fruits and veg in season from far away, they taste better than, say, tomatoes grown in a greenhouse.
—Learn to grow some basic spices (basil, oregano, chives, mint, rosemary) so you don’t have to buy them at the store. If you have a small backyard, consider learning how to plant, tend and harvest some veggies (cucumbers are delicious).

erichw1504's avatar

@evegrimm Mmmm, bean sandwich! I know what I’m having for dinner tonight.

qashqai's avatar

When I was an exchange student, we used to buy tons of alcohol and drink it at home before going to the disco. Like this we could get insanely drunk right before, instead of buying drinks there.

mcbealer's avatar

I snip bottles and tubes of HBA items like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc. in half and scoop out the remaining product before recycling the empty bottle. You’d be surprised how much product adheres to the side walls and bottom of the bottles/tubes!

qashqai's avatar

I don’t buy shampooes, bathfoams, slippers and bathrobes.
I usually take them from the hotels I live in during the week.

mcbealer's avatar

@qashqai ~ I have noticed how handy the hotel samples are nowadays we’re required to have carry-on toiletries be 3 oz or less.

BraveWarrior's avatar

@mcbealer When the bottles of HBA items, or items like salad dressing, too, get low & we’ve purchased a new one, we empty the older one into the newer one overnight. Usually the top one balances, but if not, a bit of duct tape on the necks does a great job (I’ve seen a plastic connector sold on in mail order catalogs to do this but why spend the money if duct tape works just as well ;) Gravity seems to do a thorough job, but your method is certainly faster – smiles!

Also when salad dressing runs out, I put a bit of vinegar in the bottle & shake it up & usually get a bit more from what clings to the insides of the bottle.

@JasonsMom08 Some lurve for the Freecycle link! That is the first thing that came to my mind!

qashqai's avatar

@mcbealer And the packaging is wonderful!

BraveWarrior's avatar

I am almost OCD about turning off lights when I leave a room. It is so ingrained a habit that one time I mindlessly turned off the light while my hubby was still in the room.

wundayatta's avatar

My current computer is SEVEN years old! My bicycle was 38 years old when it’s frame finally cracked. My house is over 100 years old (but I haven’t lived in it the whole time!)

Our last car was 13 when it died (due to accident, or it would have gone further). I’m sure there are many other things, but I can’t think of them now.

ubersiren's avatar

I was reminded by @daloon that my husband and I also keep things way past their prime. We’re definitely cheap-o’s. His car is 18 years old! I have several t-shirts that are 15 years old, a pair of Airwalks that are 10, most of our furniture is 20+ years old, etc.

@gemiwing: That is seriously awesome.

FutureMemory's avatar

I cut sheets of paper towel into quarters, and then some of those are cut into quarters as well.

I don’t replace my one pair of shoes until they literally cannot be worn anymore – I’ve been known to duct tape shoes in order to squeeze the last dying breath out of them.
I wear pants until they become unfit for public display (holes in the crotch).

I make beans from scratch a few times per week, every week. I eat a lot of beans.

I’ve never owned a car – the only time I’ve had enough money to maintain one I lived in a city with excellent public transportation.

shego's avatar

@supermouse can you please tell me how make the soap?
I turn off all the lights when I not home or in the room I just finished putting plastic over my window to help heat stay in I also put up new weather stripping on my doors. I shop at the dollar store and big lots for minor things around the house. And when the weather is nice I hang my clothes up outside.

FreeRadical's avatar

At the end of the day, I put any change that I have in my pockets in a jar – when it’s full, I go to the bank and have them put it in my savings account.

Also, I dry my laundry by air – it makes my dorm room smell nice.

Making my own tea has saved me lots of money, too – I can get bulk mint for much cheaper than the commercial tea, and add other herbs for flavor. I even have disposable mesh baggies that I can use for tea on the go!

ratboy's avatar

I reuse each sheet of bathroom tissue until no white shows through.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I’m not that frugal thanks @JasonsMom08 for the freecycle link…I just joined for my county! but here’s how we save:

*We own our home with my mom to save money and space
*We buy used books whenever possible for our son’s homeschool curriculum
* We only buy quality toys (new & used) that hold their value. That way when our son is done with them we can re-sell at or sometimes higher than what we paid for them
*We have a membership at Sam’s and Amazon (free 2-day shipping) and exhaust the use of both
* Have memberships at our local zoo and museum and exhaust both thoroughly!
*I’m creative. I paint or reupholster furniture whenever possible. If it’s too far gone, the pillows or pieces become dog beds, wood pieces go outdoors for re-purposed uses (Like the old dresser that I use to stack fire wood in)

erichw1504's avatar

I made my own clock once.

mowens's avatar

Don’t you pay for the water heater to heat the water regardless of if it is cold or not?

The thing is always on… I don’t think cold water costs less than hot water.

I use cold water in the washing machine because I am lazy, and I don’t read tags.

Cheap habits? I am super cheap. I buy 5 pounds of ketchup and mustard, and have these little spickets on them so I can use them like they do in restaurants.

I take anyone’s hand me downs for clothes. I haven’t bought clothes in like 6 years… but my friends throw away perfectly good clothes!

When I go out to eat with friends, I take home what everyone doesn’t eat if they will let me.

I parked 4 blocks a way from my office for 2 years so I didnt have to pay a dollar to get out of the parking lot every night.

I eat peanut butter and jelly’s for lunch.

All the cologne I have…. I took from my cousin when he went to the Naval Academy.

I learned not to skimp on rent though, I tried living with 4 friends in the ghetto…. our house got broken into twice… bad idea.

I could go on, but that requires a lot of thought. I am very cheap. haha

poofandmook's avatar

when I was a kid, my dad used to wash used Ziploc bags and reuse them until they ripped.

erichw1504's avatar

I don’t flush the toilet until it is full. Saves a lot on the water bill.

Darwin's avatar

I save pennies. When I get enough I turn them in to the bank and deposit the amount to savings.

I save aluminum – I got $65.55 yesterday for the cans I turned in.

I wander around the house turning things off almost as fast as my kids turn things on.

I hand-wash all dishes.

I designed my yard as a Xeriscape so I have mostly native plants that need little care, need no extra watering, and supply food and places to live for native birds.

I paid off our mortgage early.

I buy cars in cash and always keep them at least 10 years.

I shop at Goodwill.

I look for sales whenever I buy anything.

I am still using my grandmother’s sewing machine, which she bought in 1938.

I cook from scratch instead of using food kits.

I used to have a vegetable garden every year plus some fruit trees, until my neighbor’s oak trees started swallowing up all the sun.

I happily eat leftovers. Sometimes they are better than when they were first made.

forestGeek's avatar

I intentionally end up at family & friends homes at dinner time.
After I read books, I use them to start fires.
After a party, i search the “empties” for next weeks beer supply.
I buy only edible underwear…saves money on laundry and food.

forestGeek's avatar

@erichw1504 – Like all the way full?

erichw1504's avatar

@forestGeek To the brim.

flameboi's avatar

I switched hugo boss to polo rl and its killing me
No more cigarrettes
No more coffee
I try to stay at home :s
I know, sounds horrible….

YARNLADY's avatar

@mowens To heat water, the heat goes on under the water tank. When the water is cold, the heat does not come on, and therefore you have saved on your heating bill. My water heater is run by gas, so I save a bundle on my gas bill. Some heaters are electric, and I’m sure they save even more than I do.

mowens's avatar

ever consider rinnai?

Darwin's avatar

I have considered tankless hot water heaters, but our plumbing apparently isn’t designed to tolerate it.

JasonsMom08's avatar

@Darwin – FYI: I heard that tankless hot water heaters are pricey, but if you were to stay in the your home for a long time they may be worth it.

wildpotato's avatar

@ChazMaz I used to do that too! Now I buy 8 of something else, and sell 6 to pay for the 2. I also save money by gardening for much of my produce.

faye's avatar

Many of the above-not the toilet tho! Cut the mold off cheese-underneath is fine! Grosses out my kids so I don’t tell them and lots of best before dates are only a guideline for me. @SuperMouse I would also love to know how you make soap. Never Craiglisted but we have Kijiji- love it

nebule's avatar

practising sufficiency and gratitude helps me immensely
It has a habit of filtering through to everything

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I started drinking water. You wouldn’t believe how much money you save when you stop buying soda!
I also buy mostly generic brands of food. Walmart has that “Great Value” brand. It saves me tons of money.

SuperMouse's avatar

Here is a recipe for laundry detergent. I used another kind of bar soap, near as I can tell, any soap will do. I am thinking of adding essential oils to my current batch. It gets my clothes just as clean as the store bought stuff and is a lot less expensive. I thought it would be a pain when I first got the idea, but it honestly wasn’t that tough.

HighShaman's avatar

I try to be as frugal as possible .

I go around turning off light and do not use bulbsover 40 watt .
I keep my heat set at 70 degrees… in the cool/ cold months and at 78 during the warm/hot months .
I put a brick in the back of each of my toilets to help it use less water.
I do not flush pee ..
I turn off my water heater and only turn it on about two hours before a shower . Then right back OFF.
I do laundry only in cold water as it cost $$$ to Heat the water… and my clothes come out Clean.
I forbid anyone to let the TV run all night long while they sleep .
I’ve unplugged my landscaping light .. tested them and they cost about $10.00 a month to run ..

jca's avatar

@SuperMouse and others who discussed homemade laundry detergent: my grandmother used to wash clothes by hand and she used Borax (in the detergent recipe given by @SuperMouse). She used to use a brown soap bar – don’t know if that’s the same thing.

jca (36054points)“Great Answer” (1points)
SuperMouse's avatar

@jca I wonder if the soap was Fels Naptha, that stuff is legendary for stain fighting.

smiln32's avatar

Fels Naptha probably is it. That’s recommended for a number of laundry detergent “recipies”. I tried making my own laundry detergent and didn’t do so well, but I do other things that save money. Like someone else said, I wash my clothes in cold water and they come out looking great. I also turn off the air conditioner when I’m gone from the house for any length of time (or the heat in winter) and it doesn’t take long to cool off or heat up when I get home. I am careful about turning off lights and electronics. I also use rechargeable batteries whenever possible. There are a lot of different ways to save money if you just stop and think before you do something.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Only cold water for washloads.
Sponges get cut in half to fit my hand better and last longer.
Eat half of how much I’d like to.
No cable TV.
Handwashing rather than dishwasher. I fill a pot or bowl with water and detergent and soak utensils in it and stack plates with water between which makes for very fast clean up and not much water in the rinse.
Most of my clothes go from the washer to a hanger to dry instead of the dryer machine.
There are few canned, pre packaged or frozen foods I eat so my own groceries are simple and pretty cheap.
My car is a 6cyl and says to use mid grade gas but I’ve been putting in the 87 low octane for 5 yrs now and it’s run just fine, no noticeable difference in mileage either.

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