Amy . . .

What would you like to know? I am fun, but crazy. I have a most perfect husband, and 2 cats named Samson and Delilah. We are presently working on adopting a little girl from China and have a separate blog for that. I am a Christian and am working on a better relationship with him. I live in the Atlanta area and love sharing stories with people. I am also a pediatric nurse and I love it! I love to talk and meet new people and I love Disney Cruising

Monday, April 27, 2009

Frugal Living

The other day I asked your ideas on how to live frugally. Some of you commented here and some found me on facebook. So I thought I would share all the ideas and if you have more, please comment and I will add them as well!!!

Check out Aldi stores

Store brand items

Unplug appliances when you are not using them

- Dining out is the easiest place to cut your expenses. The best you can do is to not dine out at all, but that's unrealistic for most families. Here's ways I try to limit spending in restaurants:

1. Order tap water instead of sodas, teas, or adult beverages. Take a look at some of your restaurant receipts and you'll see beverages ranging anywhere from $.99 to over $2.50! For two people that's $5 just fora what might amount to 1 two liter bottle (~$1.50 at the grocery store). Water is free and generally better for you anyway.

2. Kids eat free! Pay attention when you're out and about and memorize places where kids meals are free and when. Around Orlando we now have Steak & Shake free on weekends, Ale House on Mondays, Beef O'Bradys free on some night I can't remember, Logan's roadhouse free on Tuesdays, Jersey Mike's Subs free on Wednesday and Sunday, and on and on and on. This will be a valuable tool when the little one starts eating more....
- 3. If your schedule permits, do your dining out at lunch time on weekdays and use the lunch specials offered by most restaurants. One of my favorites is the Ale House. Each Ale House has a different lunch specials menu. In Waterford Lakes it's a two-item menu priced at $4.95 or $5.95. One item stays the same each day of the week, the other ...

- We consolidate trips when out so as to save gas. We stock up on sale items. A deep freezer can be your best friend. I also buy seasonal items and put them up for later. Ex: Now it's time for strawberries so I am picking them and making strawberry jelly for the whole year. In late June I will buy 2-3 bushels of Corn and make homemade cream ...

- Here's my best money and time saving tool. If you eat chicken...I buy a whole 3 1/2 lb chicken...I use a knife to lift up the skin gently and put garlic and spices and herbs mixed with olive oil under the skin and over the skin (you can also use a rub). I cut up some red potatoes and but some baby carrots. I stick all of this in the crockpot with about a cup of water on low all day. You can make gravy with the juice at the end of the day. Then we have roasted chicken and vegetables for dinner one night. Then I take the remaining chicken and remove it from the bones(discard bones where doggy cannot find). I put it in two separate tupperwares ready for use in the coming day and already shredded. I usually have enough for two more casseroles. You can also use those chicken meal bakes from the store but they are high in preservatives and all the bad stuff... So two other nights of the week I make Chicken Divan, Chicken tacos, chicken stir-fry, chicken pot pie, chicken salad, a literal salad with chicken on top for can look on the campbell's soup website for lots of ideas. I can get three meals out of a chicken and I even buy the organic whole chicken for about $9, but you can get a regular roaster for a whole lot less. it is also pretty lowfat. You can do this once or twice a month tops and then the chicken is overkill.

Also, we cut coupons from the Sunday paper and target the ads that we have coupons for in order to get extra savings. I organize those coupons in a little plastic divider I got at K-Mart. You can download coupons on as well. It takes time but I do it while watching television...

- Freecycle. It's your best friend for clothes and other kid items. will tell you all about it and how to find your local group. NEVER buy new clothing for a child! Except maybe underwear. :)

Plan your meals ahead, at least by the week but preferably by the month. This stops you from eating out due to that "I'm tired and I can't think what to make" feeling so common when you have a little one. Also, look into doing once a month cooking and freezing meals. This and the menu planning has really cut down on our waste of food and eating out unnecessarily.
- I agree with thrift stores, garage sales, etc. for baby clothes. And buy bigger sizes too - not just what she's wearing now.

When I go grocery shopping, I buy things that are on sale and stock up on them. If chicken breasts are on sale, I'll buy about 4 or 5 packages and freeze them. The next week, if it's ground beef, I'll buy that. Buy big packages and separate them and freeze. Buy paper products at Walmart or Big Lots - never buy in the grocery unless they're on a big sale.

On hot days, keep your blinds closed to keep out the sun. Open your windows in the evening when it cools off. Cooler showers. Wash clothes in cold water. Don't run the dishwasher until it's full.

Entertainment - stay home and play games or cards with friends. Watch movies on TV for free. Use the library for books for yourself and LynnMarie.
- Here;s an entertainment tip:

You ever see those Redbox movie vending machines at Wal-Mart? I became the king of those things - but there's the kicker - for FREE!

There are tons of FREE codes all over the internet - I had a stretch at one point of like 11 movies in a row for free.

Good luck - frugal is better!

We read the ads for all the local grocery stores and map out who has the best deals on what we need.

Buy several loaves of bread when they are on sale - then freeze. Defrost a day in advance - perfectly soft and ready to go.

Defrost three to four things for dinner at a time - then you can pick and choose on the actual day from what you have ready to go. If it's frozen, chances are you'll eat out and spend a ton more.

Consider the $1 menu at fast food places before ordering a "meal deal". Many times, they have the same thing in smaller portions and it's only a dollar. We've eaten for $5 by doing this (family of three!)

Forgo the pricey coffees and drinks. At $4 to $5 each, you can pocket that and have date-night instead at the end of the week.
- One change my hubby and I have made is we use cash! Buying stuff with a debit card is like playing with monopoly money. When we spend cash we know that when it's gone, it's gone!

Grocery shopping we buy a lot of store brands shop the bottom shelves in the grocery store. When I find a good sale on chicken, boneless, skinless, I'll buy 10 or 15 pounds at a time and freeze it in 8 oz portions.

Clothes- good will or a good 2nd hand shop.

We used to do the envelope system. We had an envelope for clothes, gas, shoes, groceries, haircuts, fun and a special item that we were saving for. When my husband got paid we would take x number of dollars out and put the alloted amount in each envelope and put it in the drawer. Out of site, out of mind! We never had to worry about overspending, and if we did happen to take from one of the other envelopes, it was already accounted for.

Also made balancing the checkbook sooooo much easier! :) There was only 5 or 6 transactions every month and then the deposits!

- Always use a list when grocery shopping.

Keep a list of some meals that can be made with what you have on hand.
- hang your clothes (indoors on hangers on the shower rods, ropes strung in rafters -what ever you have to do).
- Stock up on clearance items for gifts and create a "gift closet" an area where you can store those items purchased on clearance. When you are invited to a birthday party or need a hostess gift, check your gift closet before running out and impulse buying the first thing you see.

After Christmas sales are the best time to stock up on bath and body gift sets and toys.
- 1. fully utilize the public library
2. make soup once a week
3. shop thrift stores-especially on half off days
4. wash most loads on cold
5. choose a week or so to buy no groceries, rely on what's on hand
instead of meeting friends out for dinner or brunch, do potluck at home

These days, with a baby at home, "dinner and a movie" means a dvd and a favorite plain frozen pizza with our own yummy toppings - about $10 for all this, as opposed to sitter + theater tickets + dinner out = >$100

WEBSITES that you have recommended


Carl said...

Great advice from very clever readers!

So, today you are finally changing your life for the better, putting these great ideas into action.

How very exciting. Keep us all posted on your progress and your savings.


Chubby Chick said...

Great tips! Thanks for sharing all of them with us! :)

Jenny said...

I can't believe no one mentioned! Register for free (say "no thank you" to a bunch of suggested deals; you only have to do this once). This site matches the store sales with the Sunday paper coupons. The only coupons that I ever clip are the ones I'm actually taking INTO the store. I save between 30-45% EVERY TIME. Our family of five stays under $150 per week...that's for everything (diapers, paper towels, cleaners, etc.). I've got a bunch more on my blog if you go there and click on Frugality. (I've been busy lately and haven't updated, but there's some good tips back a bit.)

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

Those are all some really good tips for saving money!