Share Your Money-Saving Secrets

What are your money-saving secrets? One Consumer Reports staffer recommends cutting open tubes of toothpaste to get at the last bit. I’ve heard that one before, but another new one was to “step on your toilet paper rolls.” That way it doesn’t dispense as fast thanks to its ovular shape and you save on sheets. I think you guys can top that and so does Consumer Reports, so submit your money-saving secrets in the comments or to tips@consumerist.com, subject line: “shhmoney.” Besides getting featured here, the best ones might end up in a future Consumer Reports magazine article! “No idea is too small, wacko, or miserly,” says the Consumer Reports editor-in-chief.

(Photo: ToastyKen)

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  1. youaredumb says:

    Easiest way to save money is to not carry any cash, credit, or debit cards on a daily basis. If you don’t have it, you can’t spend it.

    • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

      @youaredumb: In a perfect world this plan would work, but I would be terrified to leave the house without any form of monetary support in case an emergency situation came up. I agree with leaving the credit card at home and spending cash only (I’m currently going through withdrawl from my cc). Spending cash leads to spending less, but having at least my debit card for back up would give me some peace of mind. I’m also a big fan of not eating out and bringing your lunch to work. My coworkers spend about $10 a day on food, an amount that would really break the bank for me.

      • youaredumb says:

        @Cat_In_A_Hat: In case of an emergency? I understand the fear, but in the past 12 months, how many days have you experienced an emergency where you needed cash that exact instant?

        • PunditGuy says:

          @youaredumb: That’s the problem with emergencies — they’re notorious in their unschedulability. If my car breaks down on the side of the road and I need a tow, should I hike home to get a card to pay the driver?

          • youaredumb says:

            @PunditGuy: I have always had some sort of road side assistance, and have never paid for a tow.

            • oilburner says:

              @youaredumb: How much does the roadside assistance cost you per year? How many times have you used it in the past 12 months? Is it saving you money? :D

              • ajlei says:

                @oilburner: Well, for me personally, in the last year I’ve had to use it when I got a flat tire on the freeway, on a bridge, and there was no way in hell I was changing a tire. And I tend to lock my keys in my car at least once a year, no matter how often I keep a spare in my purse. And my family had to use it to tow my sister’s car when it wouldn’t start with one of its keys. My AAA gives me peace of mind.

            • floraposte says:

              @youaredumb: Me too. But I still have to pay the place that they tow me to.

              However, the reason I wouldn’t follow your advice is that impulse spending while I’m out and about isn’t generally my weakness, whereas forgetting stuff when I need it is. (And I have the credit card numbers all memorized anyway :-)). So it’s more likely to cause me trouble than to save me money.

        • oneandone says:

          @youaredumb: I accidentally dropped my wallet walking from work to the metro the other night & luckily 2 other pedestrians shouted & brought it to my attention. I have no idea what I would have done if I reached the metro with no cash or metrocard…. so now I’m wondering if I should have an emergency few dollars in my bag or desk at work.

          Some people need $$ in one form or another for their commute.

      • YourTechSupport says:

        @Cat_In_A_Hat: Donut Money.
        At least enough to buy the Squad Room a round of Donuts.

      • Outrun1986 says:

        @Cat_In_A_Hat: Its not a smart move to leave the house without any form of emergency payment. You simply cannot keep up with everything in this world, even if you are the perfect consumerist reader. Those emergencies WILL come up. The thing is you have to train yourself to use the card only for emergencies, if you can’t be responsible with it. Try having 10$ in your pocket and then having your car battery die in the middle of a parking lot..

        • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

          @Outrun1986: Um I think your comment should be directed at youaredumb, I’m all for having some form of emergency $ on you, cash or at least a debit card.

      • Skunky says:

        @Cat_In_A_Hat: Believe it or not, I save money by primarily eating out, because of the fact that when I buy stuff to keep at the house I end up feeding the loser roomie who can’t buy his own crap. So by going out and simply getting stuff for just myself and my GF, I save money!

      • wongtam says:

        @Cat_In_A_Hat: So just carry enough emergency money. If you are TERRIFIED that you won’t have money in case of an emergency, you probably won’t spend a penny of the emergency money you bring with you.

    • RattedOutAnneFrank!_GitEmSteveDave says:

      @youaredumb: Marshall Applewhite made all of the Heavens Gaters walk around with a minimum $10 cash on them, so they would never be arrested and jailed for vagrancy. Just a thought.

  2. trunkwontopen says:

    One thing I like to do is pour a little water into the laundry detergent if I am down to the last 2 or 3 load of detergent in the bottle. Same with shampoo/conditioner.

    Another is to do the 2-liter-bottle-of-water-in-the-tank trick on my toilet. Saves water that way.

  3. deejaypopnfresh says:

    my buddy cut up his debit card. he has the info memorized so if he needs to order something online he can but he has to go to the bank to get $ to spend. this way unless he really needs it he doesn’t feel like taking the time to go to the bank and also it completely curbs his late night spending

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you know what you are doing, you can buy almost anything on Ebay cheaper than a store (be careful of shipping costs, but remember there is no sales tax). Ink cartridges, razor blades, clothes, shoes (all new and unused), sporting goods, electronics, car parts, etc. Many items are one-fourth to one-half of what you would otherwise pay.

  5. Nate425 says:

    If possible, get rid of your landline telephone. Replace with VoIP, or cellphone depending on your needs. Getting VoIP has saved me several hundred dollars annually.

    • Mary says:

      @Nate425: Conversly, I actually save $50 a month on my cable bill by having a phone line installed. Granted, if I got rid of cable and the internet I would save even more…but since I already purchase those two, adding the phone saved me more than not having it.

      Previously I just didn’t have a landline phone at all.

      • legwork says:

        @Meiran: If you need a land-line for DSL or emergencies but don’t otherwise use it, convert to measured rate service. It saves about half the base fee. Incoming calls are free but you pay per minute charges for outgoing calls.

        Be prepared for upsells & resistance from CSRs.

    • Jaime says:

      @Nate425: In Canada they were having problems with VoIP and emergency calls. The ambulance would get sent to wrong address – in one case, they called from Calgary and the ambulance was sent to a place in Ontario. Something to consider, at least.

  6. legwork says:

    Cut your paper towel rolls in half. I know, short-sheet versions are sold now, but they cost more.

    • wallspray says:

      @legwork: What method do you use to cut them in half?

      • RattedOutAnneFrank!_GitEmSteveDave says:

        @wallspray: I’m not sure, but if you slip, at least you have something to clean up w/till EMS arrives! ;)

      • legwork says:

        @wallspray: I use my bandsaw but a serrated bread knife works nicely. Neither should create much waste, depending on sharpness and paper towel material.

        @Ragman, I’m with you. In the past I’ve used handfuls of paper towels without a thought. Now rags from old clothes make up the majority of our picker-uppers. One exception is when I’m doing violently nasty work on a car. I’d rather put the gunk in a bucket instead our water reclamation system.

    • Ragman says:

      @legwork: I bought a pack of washcloths I use instead of paper towels. I still have paper towels, for cleaning up the really nasty stuff like cat barf, but I don’t use them for sandwiches, napkins, cleanup, etc. I don’t buy near as many paper towels now, and the washcloths don’t take up any appreciable space in the wash.

  7. The Porkchop Express says:

    @youaredumb: what about emergencies where you need some form of money?

    • youaredumb says:

      @Lo-Pan: True emergencies that DEMAND instant cash are few and far between. I am not talking about traveling across the country without a wallet… I am talking about a typically day.

      • Pandrogas says:

        @youaredumb: And yet, they sonwhow still happen once in a great while. We’re not saying carry all your cash with you, but having some form of money on you is probably better than having nothing at all.

        But to each his or her own, I like having options.

        • tedyc03 says:

          @Pandrogas: I usually solve this by having $100 or so in a safe in my apartment. I work two blocks from home so getting this cash isn’t hard.

        • CFinWV says:

          @youaredumb: I almost never have cash on me. The same $20 can sit in my wallet for months.

          Along the same line, a few weeks ago there were a few posts around here about all the coin counting services and how some are cheaper than others. This was a completely foreign concept to me, accumulating so many coins that you need to take jugs of them to be counted. As a non-cash person I guess I avoid this pitfall as well.

          • Con Seannery '09: Ban Facebookers! says:

            @CFinWV: I always have the same cash for months and then it’s NEVER there when I need it because I needed it for something else and got so used to having some cash on me that I never topped off my wallet.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @Lo-Pan: i keep a $20 taped to the inside top of the center console in my car, so if/when i leave my cards at home (on purpose or accidentally) i have a bit of money, at least enough for a few gallons of gas and a meal, if need be

  8. rexmus1 says:

    Learn to cook!
    I was home sick the other day, so I got to catch Queen Oprah. She was sending celeb chefs into people’s homes to teach them how to cook, or to cook more economically. Some of these people had NO CLUE that cooking at home vs. eating out saves money! I mean, I get it if you don’t/won’t/hate to cook, but you weren’t even AWARE of the fact that cooking at home (in most cases) saves money? Wow, we’ve come a long way down a strange road…

    • Brontide says:

      @rexmus1: You’re kidding me! Next thing they will be saying is we can actually grow our own food and save money as well. ;-)

      • floraposte says:

        @snowmoon: You can also pour a ton of money away doing that, though, so it’s best to be choosy when planting and be aware of water needs and costs, etc. “Didn’t have to buy” isn’t the same thing as “free.”

    • winshape says:

      @rexmus1: crockpots and casseroles are your friends. If you consistently freeze half of your casseroles, you won’t get tired of it as fast. Plus, you’ll have enough frozen food to make it through a really tight spot if need be.

      • Patrick Henry says:

        @winshape:

        Crockpots and Casseroles for the win. I’m 22 and lost my job and living with my folks again, so while I look for work I do chores around the house and make dinner and do dishes afterwards (have to give back.)

        I’ve found that jello molds (while not in fashion as much as the 1950’s) are a very cost effective way to add a dish to the table, along with casseroles.

        In fact, I do almost all of my cooking out of my betty crocker 1950s cook book. Lots of old fashioned ways of cooking regular food without a microwave, processed stuff, etc. We’re saving a bit of money each month by saving things we don’t eat for the next day, and we can sneak in more fruit and veggies at dinner when they’re in one dish.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @rexmus1: you aren’t kidding. my personal “quickee po’ man’s meal” is spaghetti & meatballs:
      -$1.00-$1.25/box of barilla angel hair pasta (get about 5-6 servings)
      -$5.00/bag of 32ct frozen meatballs (4 meatballs/serving = 8 servings/bag)
      -$1.00-2.00/pasta sauce (2-3 servings/jar)
      -50¢/garlic (~10 servings, unless you really like garlic – then you get ~2)

      if you want to splurge, buy a nice chunk of hard parmigiano-reggiano, but at ~$2.50/serving, you’ll kill the economy of the meal (completely worth it to me).

      overall, it’s 12 minutes from prep to plate, & less than $1.50 for a decent serving. with the cheese, you’re looking at ~$4/serving. still cheaper than most value meals at the arches & easy as hell to make.

      • Nicole Glynn says:

        @mac-phisto: better yet, make your won sauce and meatballs, two cans of diced tomatos + two small cans of past can make a huge pot of home made pasta sauce and a pound of ground beef is less then two dollars. You can also save on the pasta if you buy the big bags and put it in a jar instead of the single pound boxes.

      • crashman2600 says:

        @mac-phisto: One thing to think about with the cheese. The good stuff goes a LONG way so you don’t need a ton and properly stored it will keep a long time.

  9. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I remember one “interesting” tip from a while back was to save time and energy by brushing your teeth while showering.

    And from the shampoo thread over the weekend, you can save money by using less shampoo. I did start to only use a tiny (well, nickel sized) amount just on my scalp and my hair definitely wasn’t as oily by the end of the day, though I think for now I’ll keep using a nickel sized amount every day…I just can’t NOT wash my scalp.

    My personal money-saving tips:

    1) Use your connections. My father in law loves cars and will gladly work on our cars any day. Likewise, my father enjoys gardening and has given me tips on how to keep plants on my patio.

    2) Being wise about managing cost and time. I could probably get a toaster on Craig’s List for $5 but I might have to drive farther or out of my way to pick it up, whereas I could drive 10 minutes to Target and spend $10 more. Be wise and evaluate how much your time is worth. It’s unwise for me to drive 40 minutes to save $10. Also, used toaster. Ick.

    3) 3 lb. bag of potatoes FTW! Seriously. Potato is the most flexible food in the world. A little garlic, milk, butter, salt and pepper… voila.

    4)Go to museums on “free” days, which are generally in the beginning or middle of the week, when people are less likely to take a day off. They also won’t be as crowded either, especially if it’s cold right now. Tourists only come when it’s warm.

    5) Make circular browsing a habit. I’m not ashamed to say that I look forward to looking at grocery store circulars every week. Hey, I like saving money.

    • Ninja007 says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: brush your teeth while showering? why, you’re using water from the showerhead that is going to waste

    • Shadowman615 says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: You reminded me of George Carlin’s bit about showering: No need to shower excessively you only really need to regularly wash the “4 major areas” — asshole, armpits, crotch, and teeth. And to save time, do them all with the same brush!

    • mac-phisto says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: definitely agree on #1. it’s amazing how far a 6-pack goes when you know somebody. on #4, though…really? as tough as things get, i still can’t see skimping on museum entry. if you’re not paying admission, you should still support them with donation or membership or the purchase of over-priced trinkets, imho.

      i’d much sooner sneak into a movie theatre…

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @mac-phisto: Museums have free days for a reason. They want to generate support for the museum by bringing in people who would otherwise NOT spend the $8+ dollars to see works of art or such, and while people are in the museum, they can appeal to them for donations. When hubby and I were vacationing, a museum we wanted to go had a free admission day once a month, which coincided with when we were in town. It would’ve been $20 for both of us to go inside the museum, and we had a whole huge list of museums we wanted to go to, almost all of which required admission…and that didn’t include the bus fare to get to the museum. For us, at the time, it was a cost-saving measure. Luckily, we live near D.C. so almost all of the museums are free (and we donate money).

        But it was either spend $80 on museum admission, or plan accordingly to take advantage of a system already in place. It wasn’t like we were sneaking into the museum.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: If you shop smart you can get most shampoos and toiletries for near free or for very few dollars using coupons also depending on what stores are in your area. Yeah you probably shouldn’t be using huge piles of shampoo anyways though because its bad for you, unless you have a lot of hair and really need to use a lot of shampoo.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Outrun1986: I’ve been using less shampoo because I read in the shampoo post earlier in the week that it was damaging to your hair. Toiletries is one of those areas that we don’t replenish so often that we feel conscious that we absolutely need to save the $1 here and there. Plus, when our shampoo is on sale, we buy more of it.

        One of the best money-saving tactics when it comes to shampoo and toiletries is to buy something that can be gender neutral. Body washes are a little more difficult…men don’t really want to smell like freesia and I don’t want to smell like Old Spice. But with shampoo, there’s a healthy compromise. We sniffed a bunch of shampoos and found one that had the least amount of smell, and it works with both our hair types.

    • ajlei says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: I love bags of potatoes. You really can’t go wrong.

  10. dulcinea47 says:

    Look at unit prices every time you shop. The bigger package isn’t always cheaper… and sometimes it was cheaper last week but not this week.

  11. jamesdenver says:

    Cooking more than one meal. People who live alone complain “they don’t want to cook for just want person.” So I say don’t. Cook, but cook several meals and portion them up into tupperwares.

    If you’re making chicken, rice, salads, etc – bake or grill a whole tray of it (or include other meats for variety) and save it. If I make something good, like barbaque chicken or green chili I certainly don’t mind eating the same thing the day after for lunch.

    On Sunday afternoons I usually grill some meats, hard boil some eggs, boil potatos and rice and put it all in various size tupperwares. Then I have full meals I can grab, and stuff to snack on that isn’t junk. (like cooked chicken with mustard.)

    Great for at home, taking to work, and on the go. And I rarely eat fast food or junk food.

    james…

    • floraposte says:

      @jamesdenver: Seconded. And many of those things you mentioned freeze–rice freezes beautifully, for instance–thus making them last even longer and become more portable. So do a lot of those vegetables that you may not get to in time (chopped green onions and minced ginger are my freezer standbys).

      I’ll put in a plug for the Lunch in a Box blog [lunchinabox.net] , especially its FAQs and lists, for helpful lunch-bringing tips. The bento-esque approach is also useful for maximizing leftovers, because a tablespoonful is enough to stick in a lunch along with other stuff.

    • Jubilance22 says:

      @jamesdenver: I do this a lot, and its so worth it. Usually on Sunday’s I will cook several things, and then freeze portions. Its easy to pull a portion out and reheat it, and I can also put a lot of things in my lunchbag.

      I also stopped buying lunch at work, not to save money, but because they found rats in the cafeteria. I know my kitchen is rat-free, so I’m brownbagging it from now on.

    • antisane says:

      @jamesdenver: Thirded(?)

      I have a family of 4 (including myself) and we typically cook for 6 so that we can freeze leftovers for my wife and I to take to work (saves on work lunches).

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @antisane: I’ve learned not to freeze a ton of food, because I just don’t have the space. I make enough for about a week and a half of meals (lunch and dinners) and only keep the half week in the freezer. It really does save a ton of money, and I already know that in two weeks I’ll be feeling a little lazy about cooking, so I’ll bring some frozen stuff down and we’ll finish that off.

    • Ragman says:

      @jamesdenver: Fourthed. I’ve been doing that since I got my first full time job. Of course, part of it is the savings, the other part is I like my food a lot better. I think my food tastes good enough that I don’t mind eating it for lunch most of the week.

      After I started working, I found I was hitting the snack machine everyday. So, when I went grocery shopping, I just bought snacks for the week, for half the cost.

      • Anonymous says:

        I live alone and hate making a batch of something to eat all week, so I plan recipes where I can use the leftovers in new recipes. After spaghetti night I have meatball sub night. Leftover chicken breasts get chopped up and tossed into a wok for stir-fry night. Veggies left over from that can be tossed in a pot to make soup.

    • Ein2015 says:

      @jamesdenver: Fifthed. I’ve been doing that to save time AND money so that way I don’t go and buy crappy fast food.

    • Skunky says:

      @jamesdenver: All you can ever need in a kitchen for simple cooking: a toaster oven, a microwave, a rice cooker/steamer, and a Foreman grill. You can do some simple stuff very easy, or an infinite variety of more complicated stuff with just those cooking devices.

      And if you’re a Sim with low cooking skill, you’re less likely to set the house on fire…

      • Ragman says:

        @Skunky: We dropped $130 on the giant Foreman grill several years ago, so we could get a weeks’ worth of burgers/chicken grilled in two shots. Our older Foreman grill was the standard that could only do 4 at a time – it took too long.

        I’d have to add a crockpot/stewpot to that list. Stew, red beans and rice, roast, etc, are so easy.

  12. beckster says:

    Stealing is a great way to save money. I kid I kid!!

    I wash out my ziploc bags. You can turn them inside out and throw them in the wash when you do laundry. Hang ‘em to dry and you’d never know they were in the washing machine.

    The Tightwad Gazette FTW!!

    • Brontide says:

      @beckster: I would rather just but the standard ( non-ziplock ) bags at a fraction of the cost.

    • redskull says:

      @beckster: I reuse Ziploc bags all the time too. If you bring something dry like potato chips or cheese crackers in them, there’s no reason the bags can’t be reused until they fall apart.

      ‘Course if you put a leftover chicken leg in one, you should probably throw that bag away.

    • penuspenuspenus says:

      @beckster: Laundry machine? Are you serious? The chemicals used to wash your clothes are not exactly something I would want to ingest. Do you honestly trust your rinse cycle to do the job of getting rid of the chemicals, especially with a full load of laundry?

    • Nicole Glynn says:

      @beckster: I’m willing to spend a little more on ziplocs as those silly fold over ones always come open in my bag.

    • squish123 - not enough ladies, too many mans. says:

      @beckster: Ziplocks are the bane of my existence.. I don’t know if I’m just retarded or what but it takes me 12 times to zip those dang things up…. I’m with the foldover guy.

  13. TerpBE says:

    If you clip coupons and check the weekly sales at CVS, Walgreens, etc., you can usually get toothpaste for free. That’s a little less messy than cutting open the tube.

  14. rugman11 says:

    Don’t by stuff you can’t afford. Seriously, 50% of the things people buy are not necessities. The way I’ve done it is to only spend cash. Yes, I carry a debit and credit card for emergencies, but I only spend cash. That way, if I want to buy something I either have to make a special trip, or I have to consider buying it, get cash from home (when I reconsider buying it), and then reconsider buying it again at the store. Most of the time, by the time I get home I’ve talked myself out of buying whatever it is I wanted because I don’t really need it. If more people started using cash for their day-to-day expenses rather than just throwing that latte, lunch, and dinner on the debit or credit card they would save a ton of money.

  15. jamesdenver says:

    also – for those who eat out too much but don’t have time to cook: Think about how much time is spent ordering food, waiting to pick it up, sitting at restaurants or waiting at the drive thru.

    A couple hours one weeknight or weekend isn’t that much time to spend preparing food for future use. And your house will smell good.

    You don’t have to be a caterer, just make more than you’d eat and save it.

  16. oldgraygeek says:

    Join a warehouse club like Costco or BJ’s — or both. (I refuse to endorse anything related to Wal-Mart). The membership fees can easily pay for themselves… they do for us!

    We pay Costco $100 per year for a business membership. In return, I get a $10 per month discount on my small business’s Web hosting. The membership is paid for right there, with a $20 ‘tip,’ and then we save additional money on food. Then, we get 2% of our purchases back each year. That gift certificate just showed up today: $38.80. I’m heading over there now to spend it on a toy, er, tool for the workshop.

    We don’t eat too many cold cuts, but we do happen to eat about three pounds of Cooper Sharp sliced cheddar cheese per month. It costs $7 – $9/lb. in the supermarkets, but BJ’s sells it for under five dollars a pound. This one item saves us more than the $45 annual membership fee, and then we save on many other items as well.

    • morganlh85 says:

      @oldgraygeek: At Sam’s, their higher level of membership also includes things like roadside assistance. Get your tires at Sam’s and you get free rotation and roadside assistance as well.

      • shepd says:

        @morganlh85:

        Or, if you live somewhere that winter tires are a necessity (or just plain good advice), rotate your tires yourself. It’s not hard at all. :) Please don’t say you didn’t buy rims for the tires, that was a money wasting mistake. You are probably spending $30 a year per tire to get them swapped & balanced. Cheap rims are about $50 a tire + $10 or so to balance them (you’ll usually get a break on the labour when you are buying the rims or tires). You’ll break even the second year if you do the swapping yourself. And you can pack a full-size spare (winter tires work okay in the summer, they just wear down a lot quicker–so don’t drive forever on it).

        If you don’t live somewhere that requires winter tires, you could always use the spare to rotate through the combination, it only requires one extra tire change.

        Why yes, I have lots of spare time, and I likes it that way. I’d rather to everything myself and save money than work twice as long and do nothing myself.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @shepd: where do you get wheels for $50? i’ve been shopping around & even the junkyards want ~$100/wheel.

          • shepd says:

            @mac-phisto:

            This is in $CDN… so in the US it would be cheaper (of course you don’t have Canadian Tire, but it shouldn’t cost more! Or, if you’re close enough, just hop over the border…)

            I bought these for my Corolla for $46.99 CDN last year (I recall the price quite exactly for some reason–I think the salesguy was a jerk, because I remember going elsewhere to get the tires fitted even though it cost me a bit more). It seems they went up a little to $59.99, probably because winter is over. They could also have been cheap because my Corolla still uses a 4-bolt pattern.

            Enjoy!

            • shepd says:

              @shepd:

              Oh, for crying out loud, CT’s links suck. Perhaps this will help:

              Search for:

              15-in. Multi-fit Steel Rims – $59.99 – Product #09-5919-8

              HTH!

    • Jubilance22 says:

      @oldgraygeek: I have a BJ’s membership which I love. My company gets a discount on the membership cost, and we get an extra month, so it more than pays for itself.

  17. great_equalizer says:

    If you absolutely have to have it today, wait until tomorrow to buy it. If you still need it, get it, otherwise leave it alone.

  18. Quill2006 says:

    Use your local library for books, movies, and music. It’s free, or rather, you’re paying for it with your tax $. You can usually request that they buy a specific title.

    Don’t buy stuff. Seriously. You don’t need it. Food, gas if you have a car, other necessities, fine. If you want something, don’t buy it, go home and think about it. Easiest way to avoid this is to not go shopping.

    Turn off the water when you’re washing your hair. Don’t leave it running when you’re brushing your teeth. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once; save on dentist bills by preventing cavities!

    Check out rummage sales for clothes; I’ve gotten cashmere sweaters with the tags still on at rummage sales; the best ones are in wealthy neighborhoods. As long as you aren’t spending a lot to get there and you only buy stuff you actually need, it’s usually worth it. I’ve gotten great gifts for people at rummage sales too.

    Avoid being friends with people who are getting married. Seriously, this is getting expensive. Can’t you guys just live in sin for a few years?

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Quill2006: lmao on that last point. for real! you guys are driving me to the poorhouse!

    • floraposte says:

      @Quill2006: I’d up the flossing to twice a day, even, now that it’s been demonstrated that preventable gum disease greatly ups the chances of heart disease. Floss is cheaper than valve surgery!

  19. rugman11 says:

    Also, cutting the ends of the toothpaste? Let’s do the math on that. I brush my teeth twice a day and go through one ~$1.79 tube of toothpaste every three months. In other words, it costs me about one penny to brush my teeth. I’m not cutting open my toothpaste to save 12-15 cents/year. There is a fine line between frugal and cheap and that “tip” definitely crosses it.

  20. Leita Terranova says:

    Make the Snuggle bear cry: tear those dryer sheets in half. A half works just as well as a whole on static and you won’t go to work smelling like a field of chemical flowers.

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      @Leita Terranova: or ditch softener altogether!

    • George Stankow says:

      @Leita Terranova: And you can usually reuse them at least once or twice, even if torn in half. When you can’t feel any of the clay on them anymore, then go ahead and use the other half. Plus, not everything needs to be un-staticky. Jeans, for instance, don’t need the sheets, if you wear enough to wash them as a separate load (guilty).

    • Ratty says:

      @Leita Terranova: You don’t even need those sheets to begin with, it damages your clothes.

    • amandakerik says:

      @Leita Terranova: Just putting vinegar in the washer’s spin cycle (where liquid fabric softener would go) will do it most days.
      It neutralizes left over soap, softens your clothes, removes static and doesn’t smell like chemical soup.

      Or for an even better smell: dry outside in the sunshine

  21. Tightlines says:

    My fiance and I throw our spare change into a jar for a year, then cash it in and use it for gas money on our yearly vacation to Canada. It’s usually good for at least three or four tanks worth.

    • Saboth says:

      @Tightlines:

      I used to do this, and would usually end up with $100-$150 at year’s end. Good for about 1/3 of my christmas shopping. Then I got married, and my not-so-frugal wife thinks that change jar is some kind of tip jar for getting treats. So the last time I took it in, expecting to get $100 or so, turned out to be $8, because she had removed all of the change except pennies over the course of a year. And she still swears to this day she only ever took out “2 or 3 dollars”.

    • wallspray says:

      @Tightlines: thats a saving money, not “money-saving” … There’s a difference

      • Tightlines says:

        @wallspray: Well, instead of your change disappearing into the ether, you’re using it for something. Think of it as squeezing the last remaining toothpaste out of the tube, except you’re squeezing the last few pennies and nickels out of your dollar.

        • floraposte says:

          @Tightlines: But it doesn’t disappear into the ether or disappear unused. I’m not going to begrudge you a system that works for you, but unless you lose all your change to the sofa cushion monster otherwise, it’s just redistributing money, not finding unused bits at the end of the tube.

    • SFbiotch says:

      @Tightlines: My partner and I do the same. We celebrated our one year anniversary this past weekend, paying for the entire 3-day trip to Sonoma with $300 from our dollar jar (we put all dollars bills left at the end of our day in this jar” and ~$150 from the change jar. HOWEVER, I miss seeing those once very full jars around the house now that they’re cashed out.

  22. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    jamesdenver: Or, share with a neighbor, or have a friend over, or rotate who cooks/brings food. But make sure you have the good fortune of having friends who cook well.

    beckster: What if you use the hot setting on your washing machine? It doesn’t melt the ziploc bags, does it? What about generic brand, have you tried it with that? I think I would try it, but I use generic (well, BJs Warehouse brand).

    rugman11: I agree about day-to-day necessities. Lattes are generally not necessities. But I would say that budgeting is more important than absolutely only buying only what is necessary, especially when it comes to food. Buy what you enjoy without being unreasonable.

  23. Thorny says:

    Some of these tips are fine, if you keep it up 100%. But if you fall off the wagon and over-spend on something even just a few dollars then you’ve lost what you saved cutting your toothpaste open like an idiot.

  24. citking says:

    Some things I have found:

    -Do your own auto maintenance. This requires a bit of up-front investment for some tools, but spending $75 on a quality socket set, an oil-filter wrench, and an oil pan will save you a lot down the road. For a filter and 4 1/2 quarts of oil I paid $18 as opposed to the $30 and up most places charge. I was quoted $500 for a brake caliper change that I did for less than $100 with some brake fluid and an aftermarket part from Checker.

    -Carry a $100 bill in a hidden area of your purse or wallet for an emergency. $100 is a hotel room, or a meal, or a car rental fee, should something go wrong. The trick is to set your mind to only use it in a true emergency.

    -Split your internet. This is a big one for apartments: If you can, hang up a flyer, set a secure WPA or WPA2 key, and charge them $5 or so a month. If someone abuses it, change the key and give it back out to those who are still using it.

    -Buy a desktop laser printer, not an inkjet. Yes, the printer and toner are more expensive up-front but a typical toner cartridge pumps out 5,000+ sheets (as opposed to the roughly 500-100 that an ink cartridge can do). If a black cartridge costs $20 and the toner is $80, you’ve saved $120 or more. Plus toner cartridges don’t dry out and look a hell of a lot more professional.

    -Purchase a programmable thermostat and learn how to use it properly! This, combined with plastic on my windows, knocked my heating bill in my house down about 50%.

    -Keep AC adapters on a power strip, then switch it off when they aren’t being used. Great for cell phone chargers, Playstations, etc.

    -Join a movie club such as Kerasotes’ 5-buck movie club or the much-less of-a-deal Marcus Spotlight club.

    -Plant a garden. For $2.00 in seeds you can get a lot of fresh produce. If you don’t have a garden space, check out a community garden.

    -Use the library instead of the bookstore.

    -Make shipping costs, and not the cost of an item, the priority when shopping online. Keep the product price a close second, but by searching sites such as Newegg.com for free shipping you might save some $$. I saved $30 on shipping charges by altering my last computer’s components.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @citking: def. agree with your first point – with labor rates at $90/hr on average around here, doing your own work can save big bucks. i’ll be doing struts all around for $210* soon vs. $450-600 at the mechanic.

      *$200 for the struts; $10 for the beer so my friend will let me use his compressor

      i would highly recommend AGAINST your internet tip though – reselling your connection can put you in some serious trouble with your provider (as in big penalties/jail time kind of trouble). not worth the benefit, imo.

      • citking says:

        @mac-phisto: Good point mac…should probably clarify this to get permission from the ISP first or use certain throttling techniques to limit bandwidth. God forbid someone use it to do something illegal as well. Might be one of things that would work better if you live near a few close friends or something.

      • shepd says:

        @mac-phisto:

        Get a better provider. The good ones have no problem with you reselling your internet, if you choose to (although some of them would like you to buy a business account). Also, if you are splitting, consider getting an unlimited account, or, if there’s a cap, a capped account with, a maximum spend (ie: $25 then its unlimited) or a hard cut off (ie: After 60 GB your internet is turned off), or throttling after the cap (ie: Your internet runs at 1/10th speed after 60 GB). That way you don’t end up in the doghouse for rates.

        You’ll probably also want to invest the effort into setting up some form of VPN access and logging so that when your neighbour browsers teh illicit nastiez you can prove you aren’t the one with the sick mind. Purchasing some static IPs and handing them out one per person would work if you are too lazy/don’t want to log. Providers that are okay with reselling are usually the ones that have no problem selling you blocks of IPs.

        On the other hand, if you aren’t a hardcore techie, well, you can forgo the previous point and take the risks that go along with it.

        The AC adapters probably aren’t sucking down all that much power as you think. If they were, you would find a nice warm glow coming from the power bar, since if they aren’t plugged into something, the used power would have to be emitted as heat at the cube rather than the device if it were to keep sucking it down.

      • Ragman says:

        @mac-phisto: I had my bike in the shop getting a tire put on last week. I glanced at the current labor rates and reaffirmed my “do-it-yourself” commitment. Oil change: $90-100. My oil & filter costs me under $50, and it’s an easier job than the oil in my car.

        My old car was 8 years old when the dealer wanted to do $1200 worth of repairs to it. I said “no”, went home and ordered $400 worth of parts from Autozone.com and fixed everything they quoted plus a few extra.

        Figuring out just how much money you’d save doing it yourself is a big motivator.

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @citking: Sharing internet violates most TOSs….plus what if your neighbor was a closet pedo?

      This comment written via my neighbor’s unsecured WiFi connection

    • floraposte says:

      @citking: Won’t most car rentals or hotels need a bigger cash deposit than $100 these days?

      • citking says:

        @floraposte: I’m talking emergencies and such. You can generally, at a moment’s notice, find someplace to crash at should you get stuck in the middle of nowhere. I’m talking a night, maybe 2, before being able to tap your normal cash reserves. While credit cards will work, cash always works, so it’s good to have some “just in case”.

        • floraposte says:

          @citking: You’d think cash should always work, but it’s unfortunately not true–$100 really won’t get you a car rental, for instance, because of the deposit requirements, and it’s not enough to cover the cash deposit requirement at many hotels (since the deposit will be greater than the value of one night’s stay). So I would agree with you on the utility of keeping a cash stash about you, but I’d recommend making sure you don’t have just cash.

  25. EBounding says:

    1) Stay in one weekend a month and live off the food in your pantry. I imagine most people spend money during the weekends when they’re not working. This also forces you to plan your spending ahead of time. The more you think about what you spend, the better decisions you’ll make.

    2) If you live in an urban area, cancel cable, and just get a good indoor antenna. There’s plenty of entertainment over the air and on the internet.

    • Cyclokitty says:

      @EBounding:
      Agreed.

      I do my grocery shopping on Friday when the sales and specials come out. This means I have a fridge and cupboards full of food — no excuse to eat out, and on the weekends I have time to try new recipes or bake bread, make casseroles for busy nights.

      We got ride of your cable more than 10 years ago and instead use our little indoor antenna. I’m actually looking forward to the signals going digital because it looks like the signal will be stronger. I can capture 7, maybe 8 or even 10 channels depending on the weather, all are local and all have something or another to watch.

      I check out the second book and video stores for bargain priced DVDs. Spring and autumn are a good time to score new, barely touched movies. People move, leave town after school starts and begins, and do big household clean ups at these times.

  26. Leita Terranova says:

    Instead of leaving that ugly bottle of dishwashing liquid on the sink, squirt half into a clear glass bottle (I like the kind with a spout used for olive oil) and fill the rest with water. Looks pretty, too.

  27. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Quill2006: Turning off the water during hair washing is really only a good idea if you’re absolutely impervious to cold. At 7 a.m., there is absolutely NO way I’m turning off a hot shower.

    And having friends who are getting married really isn’t expensive unless they have a wedding that requires a long drive, or they expect you to spend $300 on a gift..which in that case, I agree, you probably shouldn’t be friends with them.

    I had three weddings to attend last year…sure we spent a little money, but our friends were happy we were there, and not because we showed up with a gift. It’s also important not to be a jerk and not attend a friend’s wedding just because you (not YOU, Quill, I mean a metaphorical you) think it’s too much out of your way to buy a small gift.

    Leita Terranova: Make Snuggle bear cry even more by buying generic sheets :-P

    • oneandone says:

      @pecan 3.14159265: Or don’t use the dryer sheets! I don’t really understand them (I grew up with clothes that were air-dried), but maybe it’s something people can learn to live without when funds get very tight. I don’t really see the utility. Or maybe I’m just traumatized from all the times my roommate at school did her laundry (with tons of dryer sheets) and the hour it took her to spread everything out on the bed and fold it ended up gassing me out of the place. To be fair, she had to put up with my cleats & smelly sports gear, so maybe there was some sort of karma involved.

      Anyway, dryer sheets – maybe something to consider cutting out?

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @oneandone: We ran out of dryer sheets a few weeks ago and washed a load of clothes without them. They came out pretty stiff. It’s not the smell I care about – clean clothes shouldn’t smell like cool mountain breeze or lavendar – but I like soft towels and soft clothes. The generic sheets tend to have less fragrance and you can reuse one again. But no, I’m not cutting out dryer sheets. Stiff towels aren’t worth the $1.50 we pay for a pack of 40 we can use twice by reusing one sheet once more before throwing it out.

        • oneandone says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: I understand. Now that I’ve started using a dryer, the air-dried towels I get when I go home feel like cardboard.

          • Travis Estell says:

            Keep in mind that using fabric softener reduces the absorbency of towels. It essentially coats your laundry in a waxy layer that repels water.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Negotiate everything! You’ve got the money, and they have the service. So always ask if that’s the best they can do. I’ve had a lot of success with the cable company, and when buying things at big box electronics store. At J Crew the other day, I found out they offered student discounts. So my advice is to always try to negotiate. My next target: Verizon Wireless.

  29. ahoy-captain says:

    I load the fark up on toothpaste — I use way more than I need for any given brushing. I enjoy turning the sink into a soapy, sudsy, pasty mess.

    @ 4 cents a day, wasting toothpaste is one thing I can definitely afford.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Best ways to save money:
    1. Increase income
    2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
    3. Make interest your servant, not your master
    4. Shop online, make it worth your time (free diapers in exchange for an hour of your time better be a lot of diapers. 10 ain’t gonna cut it).
    5. Get a low credit limit and a high emergency fund (what you could live off of comfortably for 3 months at a time).
    6. A house is not always the ideal living arrangement.
    7. Sell off old stuff you don’t need.
    8. Make your own lunch–can taste better and be healthier than going out to eat. Limit going out to eat to once per week or less.
    9. Ask the essential question for purchases over $20: “Do I really NEED this now? Can I go two weeks without it?” Then take 10 to 20 minutes to evaluate other opportunities/offers.

  31. Radi0logy says:

    Wash your windows with used newspaper – works better than paper towels and saves money. Another article today recommended getting lots of packets of hot sauce from taco bell, do the same with mayo, mustard, ketchup relish, napkins etc. You don’t have to buy food, just go inside and help yourself. Unplug devices in your home when you’re not there – they use up power even when not on. A little diligence can save north or $50 a month in a small apartment. Also space heaters are good for small apartments in the winter — Don’t heat rooms you aren’t in.

    • mac-phisto says:

      @Radi0logy: sis?

    • RedwoodFlyer says:

      @Radi0logy: Sorry…it’s one thing to get the most out of what you have, but things like stealing mayo etc will lead to what some chains have already done: Charges for all condiments.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      @Radi0logy: Its one thing to bring home the extra condiments that are left if you take 2 packets of something and only use 1 if you are eating at Taco Bell, but you definitely should not be walking into a restaurant just to steal the condiments. That is stealing regardless of how much you take and that is just plain wrong. The business pays for those condiments, so every time someone does this they either charge for condiments or raise the prices on food if it is happening a lot in the area.

      Newspaper ink bleeds so um, I really don’t think washing windows with it is a good idea, as you will just be making them more dirty in the first place. If you cannot afford paper towels use an old rag.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @Outrun1986: i actually do the newspaper thing myself & let me tell you…it works. i don’t know how; i don’t know why, but it does. try it on your car windows one day – you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

        & on that note, soapy water mixed with a bit of ammonia or vinegar works just as well (if not better) than most window cleaners.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Outrun1986: I agree..it’s just tacky to walk into a restaurant (even if it’s a fast food place) and take their sauce packets.

        I don’t get washing windows with newspapers either…they’re not as absorbent as paper towels or a rag. It’s much more frugal to use an old t-shirt or an old wash cloth. Or even to go to the dollar store or thrift store specifically to get rags to wash windows with.

      • Radi0logy says:

        @Outrun1986: Can anyone verify that these companies pay for condiments? I was under the impression that the condiment manufacturers provided them for free in exchange for the advertising of having their name on every packet that leaves the store.

        As for the newspaper, it works perfectly, and produces a much cleaner shine than any old rag you have, which coincidentally requires washing, waste of energy, soap, etc.

        a href=”#c11562036″>floraposte: I’ve always only had electricity as an option, so no input about the relative efficiency of gas from me.

        Finally, thank god reply works again.

    • floraposte says:

      @Radi0logy: People will need to be careful with the space heater idea; electric heat in some areas will cost considerably more than gas, so running a space heater will cost more than just closing the registers/radiators in unused areas.

    • Jaime says:

      @Radi0logy: Microfibre cloths work great – wipe glass with damp one, then with dry one to polish. Toss in washing machine when dirty. Repeat. Save money!

  32. puddinhead says:

    I tried to do the baggie-washing thing (huge fan of Tightwad Gazette!) but they always dried with a film or didn’t dry all the way, and generally were a huge pain for me to deal with, so I invested in a giant roll of clingfilm from Costco. I use that for 90% of my food covering needs, and don’t feel so guilty about the few baggies I toss.

  33. erratapage says:

    Regarding the weddings. You get two reasonably priced meals and possibly some free alcohol and entertainment for the cost of a single gift. Now, in my area, a couple can spend as little as $30 for a wedding gift. That makes a wedding a fairly good value for entertainment!

  34. Laughing-Man says:

    Learn basic sewing – Doesn’t have to be anything fancy just some needle and thread to sew on buttons or repair small tears along seams.

    Buy a large freezer and buy in bulk – over the long term this can save a lot of money. Have some freezer bags and foil at home, go out to a bulk store buy a 10 lb container of hamburger and break it up into 1 lb bags. Savings will add up quickly and you don’t have to go out to shop as often. The more you go out to shop the more impulse buys you will make.

    Cook with Rice – rice is a great side dish or filler for almost any meal and it is VERY cheap it’s also very healthy. If you do this on a regular basis a rice cooker may be a good investment as most double as vegetable steamers as well (vegetables are also great to buy in bulk frozen).

    Learn to change your own oil for your car – when you do this buy a reusable oil pan (one that seals) so you can take the oil to a drop of for recycling.

    Don’t be afraid to bargain or ask for discounts – even at a large chain store, hotel chain, ect. – to do this you will have to do some leg work. Find the cheapest prices you can then start playing stores against each other (show one chain another’s deal). You can also get a discount by buying “extras” you were going to get anyway (i.e. If you are looking for a new pc and wireless mouse/keyboard) talk to the sales rep about your interest in the most expensive object and then you can say something like “Well I like this PC but it is a little above my price range – especially since I am looking for a wireless keyboard/mouse also – If you were to take 10%-20% off the price of the pc I would be able to get the keyboard/mouse also” Note this works best if you also pretend to be interested in other things they offer like a protection plan up until the last minute.

    Hope some of these help =)

  35. Blinky987 says:

    I’m a fiscally responsible and educated 20-something. I know, I know!

    I stopped using debit completely. Because I make a conscious effort to not spend extra in an attempt to gain “points” through my credit card reward program, I’m able to save a flat 2-3% on nearly all my spending. You have to be smart about it, but I really love my credit card- though I’d be considered a “deadbeat” by the CC company’s standards and I’m sure they hate me.

    For organic food, you can join a co-op. If you don’t have money to put forward, some will let you work off your portion with labor.

    For basement storage, I just made myself some shelves. I’m a white-collar kinda guy, but I’m also very curious and like trying out new things. The shelves weren’t terribly hard to make, and I saved a bunch of cash by making them myself. I’ll probably try more projects in the future!

  36. emilymarion333 says:

    1)cook at home.

    2)no Lattes – if you have to have coffee get drip coffee – $1.75 a day is much better than $4 a day.

    3)make your lunch or buy frozen meal – Safeway has them 5/$10 so that is only $2 per day on lunch.

    4)switch to cell phone only. I have not had a land line in years.

    5)wash you hair over 2 or 3 days..instead of every day…you shampoo lasts twice as long and it is better for your hair.

    6)clean with vinegar – it is cheap and better for the environment then other household cleaners.

    7)Clip Coupons!

    8)Do your own year maintenance you can be saving over $60 a month!

  37. emilymarion333 says:

    @emilymarion333 – I mean to say YARD maintenance….

  38. JulesNoctambule says:

    @rexmus1: I’m still shocked that some people make it past age ten without learning how to prepare food. When people make it past 30 and still lack those skills, I wonder what else they lack.

    • Adah says:

      @JulesNoctambule: Alas, my cooking skills have disappeared. I blame it on being in the Army for two years and having no access to a kitchen. The closest thing I ever do to cooking now is make Easy Mac. It’s going to be scary when I actually get an apartment at the end of the year.

    • fasdy says:

      @JulesNoctambule: Agreed! I know someone who wants to be a brain surgeon, and yet he had NO IDEA what to do with dry, uncooked pasta when someone told him to make it. It’s terrifying.

      When we were little, my sister and I had our own “restaurant” in the kitchen and would design a menu to print out, cook, and serve it to our parents. And it wasn’t simple dishes either. That shit was awesome.

  39. puddinhead says:

    I second Costco for savings, if you can restrain yourself from taking advantage of great deals on lobster and crab :) We buy diapers and baby wipes and save a ton. Before my daughter was eating solid food we bought formula there. It is $10 a canister as opposed to $24.00 for name brand. When you go through a canister a week that is a huge savings.

  40. meechybee says:

    My mother is an incredibly frugal shopper — I’m not. She lives in the ‘burbs, and I live in Manhattan. She has the luxury of ample storage for bulk purchases, I sometimes have to use our bulk purchases as furniture.

    There is one thing we have in common though, We both like preparing large Sunday meals and eating leftovers for lunch. I love making one-pot meals and stews — most of which use cheaper cuts of meat and inexpensive vegetables. (Everyday Food magazine has a ton of great recipes.) Even my uber-chic lunch bag was still cheaper than what I used to spend on take-out lunch.

  41. AbsoluteIrrelevance says:

    Costco + vacuum sealer.

  42. morganlh85 says:

    If you can trust your family, use a family plan for your cell phone. Our plan includes myself, my mom, my brother, my aunt, and my grandmother, so the monthly fee ends up being considerably less than each of us having our own plan, especially since people like my grandmother rarely use their minutes, and since we are all in the network our calls to eachother are free.

  43. mbz32190 says:

    NEVER pay for cheaper health and beauty items, including toothpaste. You can always combine coupons with store sales to get free deodorants, shampoos, toothpaste, lotions, etc. The cutting open tubes thing is useful for more expensive items, but not toothpaste.

    NEVER buy anything at full price unless you absolutely must. I always check out Fatwallet or SlickDeals.net before buying anything to see if I can get what I want for less. I needed a new printer as mine stopped working. Combining a sale high-end all-in one Brother printer with Staples coupons and rebates, I was able to get that, along with 4 reams of paper for under 20 dollars.

    If I need gas, I check out gasbuddy.com and look for the cheapest stations along my route or in my general area. The difference may only be a few pennies, but it adds up quick.

    Yes it does take a little planning, but when your money is more valuable than your time, it’s easy to do.

  44. Saboth says:

    1. Change your own oil. Takes about 15 minutes and you can do it for about $10-$15.
    2. If you have a pump soap bottle, when it gets about 1/5 full, fill it about halfway up with water. It still lathers and cleans fine.
    3. Instead of getting Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig plans, buy whatever is on sale at the supermarket. They have the same nutritional content for 1/2 the cost.
    4. Plug your drain in the tub when showering. This gives you a visual que as to how much water you are using. I usually finish my shower when it is up to the top of my middle of my foot.

  45. Brent says:

    Buy your clothes on eBay. Clothes cost a fraction of the retail price when buying them second-hand.

  46. chrisjames says:

    Cut out dry cleaning. Buy a cheap, shallow, plastic storage bin, one that might fit in a sink or bathtub. Ours was about $10, but you thrifty people can find one for much cheaper I’m sure. Soak dry clean only clothes in soap and water. Layered clothes still should be dry cleaned, unless you really want to risk it, but our solution is to just stop cleaning them (only jackets and coats really, which don’t need much maintenance).

    I forget which fabrics you absolutely mustn’t put in water, but none of our clothes are of those materials, so I wouldn’t know. The labels should say anyway.

    Cutting out dry cleaning saves us about $40 a month.

  47. theglassrat says:

    No, not smart, especially if you live in an area where there is a likelihood of being mugged, being caught with nothing is not good.

  48. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Oh I just learned how to make an amazing roast for about $7. Get a pound of Angus stewing beef ($4 or $5), marinate it with a little bit of wine (or beer), herbs and soy sauce. Add a lot of fresh vegetables and broil for about 18 minutes.

    Make the same combination of sauces to baste the meat during the broil so you get really, really juicy meat.

  49. Brent says:

    If you don’t have medical insurance, use the Emergency Room and tell the intake receptionist that you’re homeless. I’m not kidding.

    • youbastid says:

      @Brent: That’s called “claiming destitution” and it’s about as respectable as stealing money out of a salvation army jar.

  50. Brent says:

    Share a wireless signal with a neighbor and split the cost. If s/he lives close enough, the signal should carry. Just be sure to secure the signal so that only you and your neighbor are using it.

  51. Odiase says:

    1.) Call whomever you get services from (ie. Verizon Wireless, Comcast, etc) and ask for information on promotions. I managed to get a 30 dollar credit applied to my account for six months just by asking. You wont get anything until you ask for it.

    2.) Coupons! Coupons! Coupons! I’ve cut 20 bucks out of my weekly grocery bills by collecting and clipping coupons.

    3.) I know this sounds ghetto, but…before I go out on the night on the town I fill my flask with the strongest stuff I have in my liquor cabinet. This why I don’t have to by drinks. Or if I’m going out to eat with friends, I try to eat something before leaving home so I just order a cheap appetizer when I’m out.

    4.) Use websites like http://www.gaspricewatch.com or http://www.gasbuddy.com to keep track of where the cheapest gas is in relation to where I am.

    5.) Gamefly and Netflix. I’ve saved hundreds in going to the movies and buying games cause of these services.

    • legwork says:

      @Odiase: On #5, Redbox. We don’t watch enough to justify a subscription.

    • Cyclokitty says:

      @Odiase:
      # 1 — I went with a little known DSL service that is half what my friends pay for, and with limitless downloads.

      #2 — I’m with you on coupons! God those little bits of paper are fantastic. It’s free money!

      #3 — I don’t drink, but when I get free movie coupons (lately they’ve been cut out of cereal boxes) I bring my own snacks and drinks. Why pay $15 for popcorn and sugar water?

      #4 — I ride my bike for most of the year. Luckily my gas is free!!

      #5 — I’m in Canada so we don’t have a lot of mail in DVD rentals. BUT the local library has tons of current DVDs for free. I’m very lucky.

  52. JohnDeere says:

    i grow worms from my scrap food. i use my worms too feed 55 gallon barrel of 40 catfish. i use the waste water from the fish to water my vegetable garden. i eat the vegetables and feed the scraps to my worms. it never ends

  53. HooFoot says:

    Become a savvy shopper at the supermarket:

    Read your supermarket’s sales circular religiously. Plan your meals for the week around what’s on sale and stock up on your favorite non-perishables when they go on sale.

    Keep a running price list of products that you buy often. Refer to it when you think you’ve spotted a good deal so that you can either stock up or pass.

    Small, local ethnic markets tend to have the cheapest, freshest produce. [The popular recommendation is to go to a farmer’s market, but not everyone has access to one at all times of the year. Plus, the ones in my area tend to overcharge since they know they will attract customers no matter what; this is why it’s helpful to keep a price list.]

  54. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    Don’t bother with cutting your paper towels in half, just tear off little bits at whatever size you need and ignore the perforations.

  55. missdona says:

    Don’t buy clothes that require dry cleaning, except a couple of nice suits if needed. If I can’t wash it, it doesn’t come in, even if it’s the deal of the century.

    Reseach and do coupon code searches on high ticket items. I bought a really great (5* reviewed) memory foam mattress this weekend online, a quick search found a 5% off code, which wound up saving me about $40. It was worth looking.

  56. JaneBadall says:

    We installed ceiling fans in the bedroom and living room. They really help keep cooling costs down. Of course in the summer when it’s hot, we’ll use the AC at night but for just regulating temperature, the fans are perfect.

    Also, since I live in southern CA, I don’t need a heater. I turned off the pilot light in the wall unit and my gas bill when down by 30%. (Which was a little frightening, I had to wonder if there was a leak)

  57. Berz says:

    Dont buy foaming soap refills, its a ripoff. It’s watered down regular soap. Make your own from regular liquid soap refills.

    Add 1 part soap to 9 parts water + mix in the container. You now have foaming soap.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Prepaid cellular is a great way to save money depending on you calling habits. The spouse and I average about $25 per month on calls, much cheaper than any standard post paid plan that I can find.

  59. bnelson333 says:

    We just spent about $450 on diapers and wipes. How does that save any money? They’re reusable, adjustable (one size fits all), cloth diapers and flannel wipes.

    We expect our son to be in diapers for at least another 24 months, and given that we easily spend $70 a month on disposables, we should save at least $1200 in the long run. Plus the resale value of the bumgenius diapers is high, we can probably get $200-300 back when we’re done, pushing our savings to $1400-1600.

    • JohnDeere says:

      @bnelson333: lol. my wife complained about seeing someones used panties at a yardsale once. but wait till i tell her about a black market for used diapers.

  60. describe_one says:

    Shop @ Aldi; everything comes to about half the price of shopping at any normal grocery store w/out coupons.

    Find a specialty produce store or farmers market in your area; buying produce from regular grocery stores costs me nearly twice as much and the produce was not as good.

    Don’t pay for TV; you can find just about every show on the internet for free (hulu, downloads, etc). You can also use VOIP on high speed internet in lieu of a landline.

    You can even skip paying for internet if you live close enough to a Starbucks or other place with free wi-fi.

    Do you dry cleaning at home w/ a kit and an iron. You’d be shocked at how much you pay someone to do something this easy.

    Join a trading group such as Freecycle; where you can get used items for free (or get rid of lots of unwanted junk).

    Shop at used bookstores, both online and IRL (GREAT FOR STUDENTS). The library also has lots of good books, but newer titles are always harder to get ahold of.

    Create a “bulk club” – take 2-3 friends and split up bulk items (usually TP, paper towels, cleaners, etc) from Sams Club or Costco into usable amounts that won’t take up all your space.

    • JohnDeere says:

      @describe_one: just cancelled directv this morning. the only thing that i watched when it came on was battlestar galactica, its over now so its hulu and eztv.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @describe_one: Who are all of you people who have this amazing Aldi’s?! I don’t have such a thing!!

      Freecylce is a really cool thing…but it’s not for everyone. It’s more useful if you’re looking for baby or children’s clothing, or toys. Me, personally, I found it to be MUCH more trouble than it was worth when I was looking for something. When I was giving away, it was easy, but when I wanted to find something, it was a nightmare and not worth hunting it down for free.

  61. mac-phisto says:

    reconsider your “extracurricular activities”. too many of us center our time together around an activity that costs money. instead, go to the park or the beach, have a movie night at each others’ homes, do pot luck dinners together, have a game nite.

    you can still do dinner/drinks/movies out once in awhile, but if you cut that back to once/month vs. every weekend, you’ll save LOADS of money.

  62. ohnoes says:

    Don’t use hot water for washing or showering.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @ohnoes: And take the savings you get from a lower water bill and sink that into the medical bills and lost time when you get sick from showering in ice cold water!

      • drewdc says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I’ve been using nothing but cold water to wash myself for about three years now. I came to this practice gradually; I grew up taking mostly hot showers, then for a few years I took cold showers in the summer and hot showers in the winter. A couple of winters ago I started to go cold turkey with respect to hot water, and I haven’t gone back.

        I’ll admit cold showers are not for the faint of constitution, so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. But it’s possible, if you’re willing to make a few adjustments. Here’s a few tips on making do without hot showers:

        1. Exercise vigorously right before taking a shower. Your excess body heat will make the idea of showering with cold water more tolerable — or even desirable, if it’s a warm day and you’re soaked in sweat.

        2. Take “navy showers”: i.e., turn on the water in the shower until your body is wet, then turn off the water while you lather and scrub yourself. Turn it on again to rinse off. I started doing this back when I took hot showers, and I realized that with this simple step I could save a significant amount of water (and the energy used to heat it). Doing so also makes cold showers less uncomfortable in the wintertime — while you’re washing yourself, your body generates a bit of heat from muscular exertion, and some of the water you will use to rinse yourself is heated slightly by the interior of your home.

        3. During the chilly months of the year when you don’t sweat much, don’t take a shower every day (unless you have serious body odor issues). On the days you don’t take a shower, wash just the most-soiled portions of your body with a washcloth, soap, and water from a bucket or basin. You can also wash just your hair under running water from the bathtub faucet (or showerhead, if you have the kind that is attached to a hose).

        4. Corollary to #3: If you live in a climate in which the temperatures fluctuate a lot during the chilly seasons, check the weather forecasts and schedule your showers for the warmer days.

    • veg-o-matic says:

      @ohnoes:

      Or if you can, adjust your water heater down a degree or so. We had access to our heater in an old apartment and experimented until we found an acceptable temp. Hot water doesn’t run out as quickly, and you have an automatic cap on how hot you can possibly make it, taking out all that guesswork and need for self-control. A boon for the cheap and lazy.

  63. Hoss says:

    Make a list of the items you buy regularly that are costly — such as razor blades, phone batteries, hair gel, water filters, etc. Then go to eBay or another site and buy several at a much cheaper price.

    For other items — buy several when there is a good sale, not when you ran out and can’t shop around.

    Lastly, if you pay off your credit card each month, use a cash rebate or similar card and routinely charge everything.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Hoss: Amazon Grocery is really cool for bulk items that are small, like razors. Not everyone can buy 30 boxes of granola bars, but razors can be placed in a hall closet really easily. I don’t think I’ll ever use eBay for toiletry items…

    • Veeber says:

      @Hoss: If you don’t use the really expensive cartridge razors and switch to old fashion safety razors, the per use costs plummets too.

  64. The Porkchop Express says:

    When doing regular laundry, use about half the amount of soap the bottle or box says. You don’t need that much unless you have a job that Mike Rowe might show up at.

    generic/store brand stuff when you can (I don’t do it with meds, just because)

    • Cyclokitty says:

      @Lo-Pan:

      I also boost laundry detergent with a bit of washing soda or borax (both are much, much cheaper than laundry detergent and do an amazing job).

  65. madame_underpants says:

    One thing that nobody has mentioned yet: Learn to can.

    Yes I know, it’s old, outdated, going to get sick from it, but trust me, I learned to do it, and it saves us a ton of money. Get a copy of the Blue Ball Book of Canning, and read through it. Considering I have a love for pinapple jelly on my english muffins in the morning, and the little jars cost me 3.oo+ at kroger, I just learned to make my own. ( Pinapple juice+pinapple chunks+sugar+pectin=morning happiness)

  66. basilray says:

    Avoid big purchases without researching prices on the internet first. If you know what it goes for in a retail location, you can ALWAYS find a better deal online.

    Recently, I decided to purchase a North Face Denali Fleece jacket. They retail for $165. They were on sale for $120. I found one AFTER shipping for $85 BRAND NEW WITH TAGS! I effectively saved $80 by purchasing online.

    If you’re worried about a jacket or shirt not fitting, go to a store and try it on…then come home and purchase it on-line!

    E-Bay is king!

  67. Digitizer says:

    Want to save on utility bills? Spend LOTS of time at friends and families houses as often as you can. Just be sure to turn off your air/heat, lights, etc. before you leave!

    • Digitizer says:

      @Digitizer: …and if they feed you, that’s a bonus!

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @Digitizer: In the summer when it’s really stinky, stinky hot, I sometimes turn off the air and go spend the afternoon at the air conditioned library. My A/C isn’t very efficient to begin with so it’s got to be hellishly hot before I turn it on, and at a certain point, it’s more comfortable — and cheaper — to just decamp to free climate control.

  68. TEW says:

    I use craigslist for my PS3 games and other electronics. If I wait for 6-12 months after the game was released you can get the game for half of the new price and if wait longer you can get them for next to nothing. Also furniture like desks and tables are dirt cheap and if you really want to you can buy stain and sand paper to change it to whatever color you want. Used is good.

  69. bnelson333 says:

    @JohnDeere: I know… that’s why we bought new (shudder), but I’m not kidding. Check out diaperswappers.com, those folks will pay almost as much as brand new (assuming good quality).

  70. Brent says:

    When hospitals stop charging thousands of dollars for simple E.R. visits, people without medical insurance won’t need to claim destitution. Relative to the charge for medical care, we are destitute.

  71. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    my secret is I don’t make any money.

  72. Anonymous says:

    I refill my foaming soap dispenser (originally one of these Dial products http://www.dialcorp.com/dialcomplete/ I think). Just put about a 1/4 inch of regular dishwashing liquid (without moisturizers) in the bottle, fill almost to the top with tap water, replace the top and shake it up. No need to spend $2-$3 per bottle when you can get a good 50 – 60 refills for the same price. (I also can’t stand the toxic stew of fragrances the manufacturers put in the hand soap, so using unscented or less scented dish soap reduces that problem.)

  73. Ed Chan says:

    Don’t tell your spouse about the bonus money! Oh wait, there was no bonus money??… Ah crap!

  74. ovalseven says:

    Don’t throw away the laundry detergent bottle when it seems empty. Rinse it with water, the pour it into the machine. It’s good for an extra load.

    Same goes for dishsoap, and shampoo. Just fill the bottle with a little water, then shake for an extra use.

    But for me, that’s more about reducing waste than it is about saving money. That’s why I do the toothpaste thing too. If it ain’t empty, why toss it?

  75. Anonymous says:

    When you go out to the mall or such and see something you want that you didn’t go there to specifically get, walk away from it and continue shopping. If you remember it by the time your done, and can think of valid reasons why you should have it, then evaluate the cost and buy it if you decide you need it and can afford it.

    The biggest part of saving money is learning to manage your money.

  76. Anonymous says:

    This might be a little specific, but those foaming pump hand soaps are the same price as the non-foaming brand, and you are getting mostly water. I refill my handsoap pumps with high-quality liquid handsoap mixed at a ratio of 1 part soap 2 parts tap water. This works perfectly, and you are saving 66% of the cost of the pump soap.

  77. Sargasm says:

    Switch your maintenance prescriptions to mail order.

  78. alternatestory says:

    @Brent: Re your suggestion that people buy clothes off eBay — a decent portion of the clothes online (at least the ones billed as New With Tags) are stolen. I work retail and I know that some shoplifters fence the stolen clothes online via eBay and similar sites. It is definitely caveat emptor.

  79. Outrun1986 says:

    Go on Google and try to find ethnic markets in your area. You will find places that you don’t even know about. You can also visit restaurant review sites as they often have information about these types of markets. These markets often have super fresh produce at 50% off the big grocery store’s price, plus you can feel good that you are shopping with the little guy.

    Even more helpful if you like to cook a specific type of cuisine. Our local Italian market has regular lunchmeat that is cheaper and better than any of the larger more popular grocery stores. You probably don’t want to go too far out of your way unless you plan on buying a lot but you will find places that you don’t know about that aren’t that far away as well.

    Sauces and spices are often cheaper as well at ethnic markets, and you will get to try yummy things that you didn’t even think about trying in the first place..

    I just found an Asian market that is in an area that I frequently visit and I couldn’t believe it was so close by, sure you can get the produce at the big box store but its 50% off at the market and its just as fresh if not better, plus the market is 3 min away from the big box store.

  80. Anonymous says:

    Re-sell your books, magazines, cds, computer games, etc. Most metropolitan areas have used book stores that will pay (in cash or trade) for the items you no longer want. This will save the hassle of posting on craigslist or ebay. If must own a book or cd (versus borrowing from the local library) try one of these places first.

  81. Ambyr Lix says:

    4 sites that I regularly visit…
    1)rehash.com- this is a site where you can trade clothes, shoes, accessories, etc with others. All you do is agree on a trade with someone, and ship the items to them. So you get a new wardrobe for the cost of shipping.
    2)Dealnews.com- I search this site daily for great buys, and always refer to it before making any kind of purchase other than food.
    3) retailmenot.com- coupon codes for purchasing just about anything online.
    4) beatmyprice.com- compare prices on just about anything other than food.

  82. juri squared says:

    If you knit or crochet, recycle yarn from thrift store sweaters. Check out this tutorial.

    Grow a veggie garden! I’m starting one for my family this spring.

    • Burgandy says:

      @jurijuri: If you know other gardeners or crocheters, hit them up for extra seeds or pattern books or extra yarn. The crazy, I mean, enthusiastic ones, will be happy to share. The more enthusiastic they are the more they have to give, only crazy ppl like me would have 5 watermelon varieties started already, if my neighbors wanted my extra seeds they could have their picks.

  83. MrsLopsided says:

    Blue Bunny Ice Cream (plastic) containers are over-engineered and great for holding leftovers.

    [www.bluebunny.com]

  84. Anonymous says:

    You may have heard that it’s impossible to put toothpaste back into the tube. Well, I decided to put that bit of “conventional wisdom” to the test.

    Because we often travel with just one bag each, the space and weight of the stuff we bring is critical. For years I’d been buying small “travel size” tubes of toothpaste just for travelling but it’s always bugged me that these cost almost as much as the regular sized tubes that contain several times as much paste.

    So, with that in mind I set out to find a way to refill an empty tube. I started off by gluing together two caps. Crazy glue works fine. Just be sure that the glue spreads around the entire outer rim of the caps to ensure that there are no leaks. Next drill a hole through the middle of the two caps to allow paste to flow from one tube to the other.

    Now screw a full tube at one end and an empty tube at the other, then squeeze paste from the former into the latter. For this to work properly the empty tube must be free not only of paste but also air. Rub a toothbrush handle along the almost-empty tube to squeeze out the last bit of paste and air.

    The photo below shows a newly-refilled small tube on the right and a regular size tube on the left. Crest uses the same caps on all sizes of their paste. I believe Colgate does too.

    Img: http://www.financialwebring.org/gallery/toothpaste_refill.jpg

  85. djanes1 says:

    I eat every part of the buffalo, pirate music and movies from somebody else’s WiFi, raid Pharmacy dumpsters for Freegan health care, and click on every banner ad that promises me a free iPod.

  86. Digitizer says:

    This may seem crude to some, but if you’re single (or living with people who won’t mind this), only flush the toilet at the end of the day, right before you go to bed as a way to save water.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Digitizer: This can become a huge problem if you throw in toilet paper every time. Either learn to throw toilet paper into the wastebasket or flush every so often…that is, if you choose to do this..which I’m not convinced saves much money. If you work, you’re out of your house for 8 hours a day anyway.

    • t0ph says:

      @Digitizer: I live on the beach, and grfowing up I remember a few homes would have a sign above the toilet that read:

      “In this land of sun and fun,

      we never flush for number 1″

      LOL. I had a roommate that would not flush (in fact, it was his parents house that I first saw the sign) and we had to tell him to PLEASE start flushing.

      It smelled like Satan’s piss after a healthy dose of asparagus.

  87. deep.thought says:

    1. Be productive, not consumptive; unplug your television and never look back! Trust me, this one is essential, you will thank yourself a few years down the road. This life is real, short, and apparently the only one we get–we don’t have time to waste watching fake people in fake places facing fake dilemmas being laughed at by fake laughter. Television is Never a substitute for real life.

    2. Purchase with utility as priority; ask yourself ‘Do I really need it? How often will I use it? Will it make me more productive or waste my precious time? How long will it last, what’s the warranty like? Is there a cheap or free alternative, can I do it myself? Is the price fair? How long will it take for the benefit to outweigh the cost (ROI)?’ etc. Before you roll your eyes and think ‘ugh, how bland’ (if you haven’t already), utility can also be entertaining! Seek that which also involves personal growth and/or learning, something you’ve always been interested in but never got around to such as Spanish guitar, painting, or economics. Whatever you choose, choose carefully, start with the cheap bare essentials, and commit yourself to a plan with a goal, otherwise you’ve simply fallen into the oh-so-common trap of retail therapy. Whatever it is, it must be better than staring zombie-like into the blinky-flashy light box.

    3. Buy what was new a few years ago, especially with clothes and electronics. For example, I recently replaced my entire 5-7 year old wardrobe (approaching an indecent level of wear & tear) from an irregular factory outlet, getting around $5,000 worth of clothes for $500. Designer brands are so particular that I can’t even tell what’s irregular about the garment most of the time, it’s fantastic! Similarly, year old electronics often go for 25-50% of (not off) the original MSRP, and the difference in performance is negligible.

    4. Never stop learning, your mind is your most valuable possession. The profit of a keen mind transcends primal money, but ironically also opens the path to financial security.

    5. Most importantly, be happy with what you have and who you are; never confuse the two. People might judge you, but that’s ok, their opinion doesn’t matter. More often than not they are too busy worrying about what you think of them to be judging you anyway. And don’t be judging, you’ll automatically be less concerned with being judged to begin with and people will really like being around you.

    Change yourself from the inside out,
    and the rest follows naturally.

  88. richcreamerybutter says:

    This may sound silly, but I’ve saved a significant amount of money by simply not buying something I need until I’m completely out. Maybe it’s a psychological trick, but I’ll often just change my mind and decide I’m bored with a particular product anyway. I’m also forced to make more trips to the store, so I get more exercise (though I realize this is very impractical for those who can’t walk or bike to your shopping areas).

    My other tip: save a portion of that birthday or x-mas gift certificate you received to use for someone else’s upcoming present.

  89. Cyclokitty says:

    I ride my bike from about March til November or December — depends on the when the snow starts and melts.

    I save $110 a month on public transit costs for the rest of the year by bike riding to work, errands, grocery shopping, visiting friends, and happy sightseeing. I love it!

    Bike riding is relatively inexpensive. Get a bike, lights, bell, sturdy lock and a helmet. Study up on whatever special bike rules in your home town – can you ride on the sidewalk? Are bikes given a break on the typical car rules? Or are you a vehicle like a car, and you’d best watch your cycling?

    If you don’t have a bike then check out your local bike stores and talk to the staff about the kind of riding you want to do, and your current skills, and where you are riding. There are loads and loads of bikes available at every price range. My bike knowledge was zero when I decided to cycle everywhere but I had birthday money so I spent $600 for all of my bike gear. Check out garage sales, second hand stores, word of mouth (tons of people buy a bike, then store it lovingly in the garage so you can buy it for $20), and last year’s model on sale at the bike store.

    Please, please, please don’t buy your bike at Walmart, or Target, or Zellers or whatever store that sells bikes put together by some toothpick chewing doink with a lug wrench. Odds are the bike is put together so badly, so improperly, and so dangerously you might as well make your first ride to the emergency room.

    You don’t have to be at the peak of physical excellence to ride a bike. I am a plus sized woman and I ride like a happy maniac on my bike. My bike is made from aluminum with double walled rims and carries me just fine. Believe me, you don’t have to be slim and athletic to ride comfortable and safely. Just a bike and some practice!!

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Cyclokitty: Can you carry groceries or anything on your bike? I think if we really tried, we could walk to the grocery store, but then comes all that energy to lug stuff back… we never go for small things, only for a decently long trip.

      • FigNinja says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: I do. I use pannier bags that hook on either side of the rear rack of my bike. They each hold about a bag’s worth. I have a front basket but I don’t put anything heavy in it since it can make the bike harder to steer well. I also usually have a backpack with me. I have a small, collapsible one I got at ecobags.com. It easily stows away if I end up not needing it. Hope this helps!

      • Cyclokitty says:

        @pecan 3.14159265:
        I have a rear rack on my bike ($15) and a set of shopping panniers ($39 less a 15% discount from REI), and a basket on the handlebars. I can easily ride home with 40 to 50 lbs worth of groceries on my bike. It’s a lot easier riding to the grocery store and back (about a 4 mile round trip) and quicker than walking (I’ve done that with a grocery buggy — took F-O-R-E-V-E-R). I want to get a trailer so I can bring back bigger things like big packages of toilet paper, cases of pop etc. I’ve seen other cyclists do it and it’s actually easier with a trailer than all over the bike.

        My route is hilly but it’s still easy and pleasant.

      • floraposte says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: You can get various kinds of racks and carrying configurations, including bikes that basically seem to be the pull-along grocery carts with a front wheel and a seat. I don’t do full shopping on a bike, so I just have a couple of side-attached baskets. Something like this [www.amazon.com] is useful because you can fold it up or just take it off the bike if you’re not schlepping.

      • veg-o-matic says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: Seconded and thirded on the panniers/racks and general goodawesomeness of biking. Never underestimate the utility of a good sized shoulder bag either.

        If you want to go the trailer route and are particularly handy/have more patience than we do, you can try making your own: [www.wikihow.com]
        Or use a trailer/tub combination like those used by the good people that pick up our recycling: [www.pedalpeople.com]

        Get yourself some good gloves, thick pants, windbreakers and a face mask (like these wool-free beauties [www.justiceclothing.com]) and you can ride well into the late fall or even winter depending on where you live.

        I got rid of my old car, finally got me a bike sized for a real adult human and haven’t in my life known such happiness.

  90. xamarshahx says:

    sales sales sales, never pay retail, buy less coffee and make your own, try to bring lunch atleast twice a week to work, ask yourself twice if you really need the item, start using hulu over itunes for tv shows, start using cash more then credit

  91. Anonymous says:

    At my apartment complex all the utilities are included in the rent, so when it gets cold I’ll just turn on the shower and leave the door open so the warm air from the bathroom comes out and warms up the other rooms.

  92. Daniel Parmelee says:

    Threaten to cancel subscriptions you have. Sometimes they will just arbitrarily knock a percentage off your bill.

    My Blockbuster Online account was $11.99/month. I started to go through the online cancellation process, and they suddenly said, “Hey, if we make it $9.99 would you keep it?” Of course I said yes. $2/mo * 12 mo = $24/yr. Free money…so why not?

    Netflix, Comcast, AT&T, they all have similar things.

  93. Anonymous says:

    Don’t buy sodas or any flavored water.

    When you go to restaurants, get a cup of water (the same water for the overpriced fountain drinks). Instead of buying bottled tap water in bulk, get a filter and drink your own.

    Besides being expensive, it’s bad for your health, and massive amounts of resources are wasted to transporting liquid.

  94. CFinWV says:

    For the ladies: Diva Cup. (Or Moon Cup)

    • Heresy Of Truth says:

      @CFinWV:

      I have to second this. More comfortable, cheaper, and no more emergency trips to the drugstore at 0300 in the morning forcing your spouse to threaten to buy you a five year supply on the spot.

  95. lancepeeples says:

    “I’ve heard that one before, but another new one was to “step on your toilet paper rolls.” That way it doesn’t dispense as fast thanks to its ovular shape and you save on sheets.”

    Also, the paper has 2 sides, so be sure to turn it over and use the backside to double the usage.

  96. Scoobatz says:

    I just tell my wife that she can’t buy [something] right now because “of the economy and stuff”.

  97. Daniel Parmelee says:

    I’ve started visiting the grocery store across the street from my office every Monday morning. I buy a loaf of bread, cold cuts, and fruit/yogurt/etc. Probably costs me $20/week to eat lunch, as opposed to the $8+ each day I spent at the cafeteria.

    Also much healthier…probably eating 700 calorie lunches now instead of 1500+.

    And the beauty is that learning to eat less is cheaper — you buy less food, and are in better shape. Win-win.

  98. k6richar says:

    brew your own beer

  99. tangent4 says:

    SAVE ON SALES TAX: Simply shopping online can be a huge money-saver. Since you can often avoid sales tax and shipping (which avoids gas cost of going to the store) you can save a lot.

    Another option – especially for big ticket items and when you can’t avoid paying sales tax online — research sales tax rates of your neighboring states. I live in Maryland and often go to Delaware (0% sales tax) to buy things. If you plan to buy a lot of things, the gas is definitely worth it!!!

  100. VA_White says:

    @undefined: I see a lot of blog entries and articles on how to save money on groceries but not a lot of ink is spilled on how not to waste what you spent so much energy getting on the cheap.

    Paying $1.00 a gallon for milk doesn’t save you money if you end up throwing three gallons away because they spoiled before you could drink it all.

    And even the tiniest bit of something leftover – like 1/2 a cup of cooked squash or leftover oatmeal – can be saved and incorporated into another dish like muffins.

    Don’t buy more than you can use; use everything you buy.

  101. VA_White says:

    I see a lot of blog entries and articles on how to save money on groceries but not a lot of ink is spilled on how not to waste what you spent so much energy getting on the cheap.

    Paying $1.00 a gallon for milk doesn’t save you money if you end up throwing three gallons away because they spoiled before you could drink it all.

    And even the tiniest bit of something leftover – like 1/2 a cup of cooked squash or leftover oatmeal – can be saved and incorporated into another dish like muffins.

    Don’t buy more than you can use; use everything you buy.

  102. metaled says:

    Electrical savings: Replace all the bulbs in your house to CFLs! A 20 watt bulb replaces a 75 watt incandescent and gives you 100 more lumens. Don’t use the 75-100 watt equiv. where a 40 watt one will work (porch, fridge, hallway etc…) Over a 5 year period EACH incandescent will cost about $70 in fees while each CFL is about $20! (Not to mention replacement costs for regular bulbs.)
    Use power strips with your rechargable items (cell phones, pda, toothbrush, even laptop), the black box you plug in (transformer) to charge these items still suck up the power when the device is not being charged or in use. So if you charge your phone for 2 hours, but leave it plugged in for the additional 22 hours a day, then you are paying for 22 hours of electricity! (x’s the number of devices you have)

    As for not carrying cash, I agree. I don’t carry cash unless I’m going out to buy something specific, then only that cash.. My wife does not know how I have done this for the 23 years we have been together. I do have a gas card, AAA membership, change in the car’s console for parking (from every purchase!) and a 1976 $2 bill folded up in the back of my wallet for almost 30 years! (my dad gave it to me for emergencies as a kid and I have never needed it yet)
    I’ve come across a lot of things I have wanted to purchase over the years, but by the time I get home to get the cash, I usually figure out I don’t really need it or want it. Otherwise, If I do want it, I’ll go back or comparison shop.

  103. chapoec says:

    Cancel your cable or satellite and use an antenna for local tv. Then download all your movies, music, and shows from a bittorent site or a direct download site that gives you links to rapidshare or other sites.

  104. FigNinja says:

    Make your own cleaning products or buy concentrates! You can clean just about anything with a few basic things like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, washing soda, borax, and ammonia. There are tons of recipes online. If you don’t want to go that far, you can get conentrated cleaners like Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds, or Mrs. Meyers that make dozens of bottles of cleaners for a fraction of the price. Most cleaners are mostly water and you don’t need all those bottles.

    I’m actually looking into making my own cleansers, conditioners and such now, too. We’ll see if it works out. Before, I used to buy in bulk at the beauty supply. Way cheaper than buying smaller bottles. Less waste, too. So much of what is good for the wallet is good for the planet.

  105. Anonymous says:

    A tip from Pagan Kennedy: have a thrift store party. Invite everyone over and ask each person to bring something they don’t want anymore (books, clothes, decor, etc) put it all in a big pile and redistribute. That can take care of an entire group’s desire for new junk, without any of them spending a dime.

  106. metaled says:

    Live in an apartment or don’t have a yard, so you can’t garden? Container garden or check with your local park (or garden club). In Los Angeles, you an rent a garden lot from the parks department for about $20 a YEAR, not month. Besides the free food, you get lots of exercise and meet tons of nice people that are willing to help. Soil additives, tools, sometimes seeds and other services are included!

    here’s info to one of them:
    [www.laparks.org]

  107. Anonymous says:

    I marry all my bottled goods- when I start to run out of shampoo, I turn it over, start a new bottle and after a few days I pour the old bottle into the new bottle.

    I do this with body washes and facial cleansers too- sometimes the blends are even better than the originals!

  108. Ilovegnomes says:

    Another grocery shopping tip…

    When buying meat, find a grocery store with a butcher. Buying more meat than you need wastes money. If your grocery store sells only prepackaged meat and you can’t find the exact amount that you want, flag someone down that works there and have them check the back. The savings add up quickly.

  109. bootyj says:

    Make your own swiffer cloths from an old flannel shirt (go to the thrift store if you dont have one), old flannel works just as good as the throw away cloths, and they can just be washed in the washer with towels (and the swiffer is a neccesity at my house with a dog and a cat and 2 boys on hard wood floors)

  110. Smorgasbord says:

    DISPOSABLE RAZORS
    Clark Howard, of the radio talk show by that name, had someone suggest drying your disposable razor after use and it will last up to a year. I started leaving the cover off of mine when I was done and got the same results. Putting the cover on won’t let the water evaporate as fast, thus leading to rusting.

    TOOTHPASTE AND SHAVING CREAM
    Never use the amount of toothpaste or shaving cream the commercials show. Most of it is wasted. Experiment to find out how much is right for you.

    LIQUID SOAP
    If you use a liquid soap dispenser, NEVER use a full squirt unless you need it. If you have soap bubbles in the sink when you are done, you are using too much. You can always add more soap, but you can’t put the extra back in the container.

    GASOLINE
    Always drive downhill.
    Take your girlfriend and your wife out for dinner at the same time.

  111. HogwartsAlum says:

    Saboth said: “4. Plug your drain in the tub when showering. This gives you a visual que as to how much water you are using.”

    I do that too; and then finish washing with the water in the tub (shaving my legs mostly). That way the water isn’t running while I do that. Since my tub faucet leaks badly right now when the hot water is on, I have to take a shower lickety-split to not end up doing it in cold water. (I’ll get it fixed when I get my tax money.)

    –Which leads me to…get leaks and other money-wasters fixed!

    –Also, wash clothes in cold water. Saves money.

    –Bring your lunch to work (several people have said that, but it’s good advice).

    –Buy things at the flea market. If I need a saucepan or a colander or something I could buy used, I go to the flea market and look for stuff rather than even Walmart. It’s also a good place to look for used furniture and books. Fun, too. And if you must splurge, it’s cheap.

    –Combine your errands to save gas. If I have to get a prescription and go to the store and stop by the library and the post office, I’ll do it on Saturday after my skating lesson. Then I make one round trip and not a whole bunch of trips for one thing. A lot of those things are close together too and I’m already down that way.

    –Also, if I’m short, I don’t have a skating lesson. I call my coach and say, “Next week.” As long as I cancel the night before, I don’t have to pay her anything.

    –As soon as the weather gets nice, dry sheets and towels outside if you have a yard. Saves money and makes the sheets smell WONDERFUL.

  112. Leita Terranova says:

    Turn heavyweight clothes such as denim jeans inside-out before tossing into the dryer – it’ll cut the drying time down by almost half.

  113. astroglide says:

    We wash all of our clothes (dark, light, white) in cold water. One a month we’ll put all the whites into a load (or two) and give them a good, hot soak and wash with bleach to compensate.

    Not only does washing your clothes in cold water save money on your electric bill (or gas if you have a gas hot water heater) but it also will extend the life of your clothes.

  114. frankieman70 says:

    research whatever you buy online, just google it and also always check retailmenot.com or similar sites for discount codes. always use discount codes always.

  115. Anonymous says:

    Use less laundry detergent : You can reduce the amount of fragrance and chemicals you expose yourself and the environment to, as well as reduce your consumption of detergent by reducing your laundry detergent usage. For a front loader washer, we use about 1 tsp of detergent, and it always comes out clean and fresh. 1 jug of laundry detergent lasts my family of 3 around 6 months.

    Water down your dish soap: It’ll last you longer and again, your dumping less detergent down the drain. Depending on how thick the dish soap you have bought is, you can work it down to half water/half soap, still get your dishes clean and use a lot less. The best thing is, it’s easier to rinse the soap from your dishes and less fragrance is left behind.

    Learn to make bread and do it whenever you need bread: I used to spend $2.25 for a loaf of plain white sliced bread, and anywhere up to $3.89 for multigrain. Now that I make my own bread, the cost works out to around $.35 per loaf and I can pronounce all of the ingredients that went into it.

    Buy in bulk: I buy bread yeast in a warehouse store for restaurants and pay $4.59 for 1 kg of yeast. The alternative is $4.99 for a small jar of around 1/4 that much yeast. I can find similar exponential savings with pasta, rice, tuna and sauces like soy sauce.

    Satisfy the sweet tooth with home made goodies: A package of brownies costs around $5 at the grocery store, I can make a batch for around $1.25 cost wise. A dozen cookies? At least $4 at the store, at home less than $2.

    Give people food on special occasions: Christmas, birthday and special occasions are frequently magnets for dollar store acquisitions, junk and thoughtful scraps that while well intended, just add to clutter. Save money by giving a home made pound cake wrapped in cellophane with a cute ribbon on it to a coworker on their birthday, a plate of decorative cupcakes for a friend, cookies etc. I usually give out loaves of fresh multigrain and gourmet rye breads I made the night before. People love it, it costs me very little, but shows that there is thought and care behind the sentiment.

    Don’t shop where it’s pleasant to shop, shop where you can save: There is a warehouse store by my house, mainly aimed at restaurants and other case lot shoppers. It smells like wet cardboard, it’s cold, the floors are unpainted cement, the employees are scarce and the shelves look more like a warehouse than a store, but I can get 10kg of flour for $6.98 and that’s a steal!

    Never underestimate the power of generics: If there is a price difference between the generic and the brand name, try the generic, it’s usually quite comparable.

    Prioritize your biggest expenditures: If there are “pricey” things you like to buy, set a price limit for them. I don’t buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts unless they are less than $9 per kilo. If they are that cheap, I’ll buy a lot and freeze what I don’t need until later.

    Rediscover the wonder of legumes: When it comes to food, legumes offer protein and nutrition in a small, cheap package, especially when purchased dry and in bulk. Look up recipes and find some new favorites. Just working in a few legume heavy meals a week will save you a lot.

    Where’s the beef?: For any cooking done with ground beef that is cooked loosely, such as casseroles and tacos, stop buying lean or extra lean ground beef. Regular is cheaper by far, and if you cook it, drain then rinse it under running water, return to the pan and add your spices and flavor, it will taste good, be just as low in fat and be far cheaper in the long run. Extra lean usually costs around $9.50 a kilo while regular is around $4.50 a kilo.

    Map it out: Gas is pricey sure, but we don’t always have a very clear idea on what it costs to go from here to there. It’s hard to see with a generic idea like “I spend $70 on gas every two weeks” what behaviors could change or improve the situation. Map out the distance you drive to go places you typically go, then figure out with the gas mileage of your car how much it costs you to go there and back. Sometimes once you see the dollar value on the trip, going to the mall or wherever doesn’t seem so important. Combine trips if going to particular areas of town, to reduce the going back and forth.

    Stop lying to yourself: Don’t let yourself get away with excuses such as going out to dinner is faster or easier. Be honest with yourself about indulgences and luxuries you don’t need. Advertisers are trying to appeal to our emotional side without us as consumers ever consciously connecting the dots. Be real about what is motivating your desire for things and what the true impact will be on your finances and your goals.

  116. bumpducks says:

    Pack your lunch for work the night before while cleaning up after dinner. It’s one less thing to worry about in the morning.

    Plan ahead when leaving on vacation.
    -stop the newspaper while you will be gone
    -set back the thermostat
    -unplug surge protectors and other electronics to minimize electricity used in standby mode
    -refill older travel size shampoo and body wash containers.
    -pack an empty water bottle in your carry on luggage- you can refill it once you pass through security, and you won’t be tempted to drink the $7 bottle of water sitting in your hotel room.

  117. ZukeZuke says:

    1. Cut out Starbucks from your daily life and brew your own pot of coffee in the morning. Take it to work in a thermos + travel mug. Save Starbucks for evenings out w/your Honey.
    2. Bring your own lunch to work, whether brownbagging it w/a sandwich/leftovers or convenient frozen lunches (Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones) from the grocery store. You’ll cut your lunchtime calorie intake in half, avoid the 2pm afternoon sleepies from a full tummy, and save $5-7/day, which adds up over a month.
    3. Stop taking your laundry to the dry cleaner and learn to iron. Dryel home dry cleaning kits work in your dryer and will save you big bucks.
    4. Cut back on cable/satellite services. You probably don’t watch 70% of those channels anyways.
    5. Stop buying DVDs and join Netflix or Blockbusters’ online video rental service. For the price of 1 DVD, you’ll be able to watch 3-6 movies/mth in the comfort of your own home on your bigscreen LCD. Besides, how many of those bought DVDs do you ever actually go back and watch?

  118. trujunglist says:

    Well, you said no idea is too miserly, so here it goes:

    I travel for business A LOT. Every month or so at minimum, and sometimes I can be gone for most of an entire month. Therefore, I’m always at hotels. Most hotels give out free soap, shampoo, and conditioner, with maybe some lotion or mouthwash if you’re lucky. I say that because I take them ALL and hoard them. I have a huge box full of shampoo, soaps, conditioners, lotions, shower caps (for my future gf I suppose), make-up remover, etc all from hotels. I’ve probably saved quite a bit since I no longer buy shampoo or conditioner and rarely have to buy soap.

    • FrankAdmetus says:

      @trujunglist: I save $11 per month by not using my insurance card at Kroger’s supermarket pharmacy. Certain generics are sold at the set $4 cost, but if you present your prescription card you pay the $15 co-pay instead of the retail price.

      Direct deposit to savings and transfer only what you need to pay your bills to your checking account. It’s amazing how much you can save.

  119. aidenn says:

    When I shower, we have a 2.5 gallon bucket I take in and put kick around the floor to catch the extra water. I then use the greywater to water the flowers in the windowboxes.

    I know, I know, not for the klutzy, but my plants love the water.

  120. KenJason says:

    Collecting change is a good way. We saved up enough change to buy our Wii. The next thing we spent change on was a ski trip (paid for hotel stay.) Right now we have over $100 in our change bag from the last 9 months or so.

  121. utexasheather says:

    Clipping coupons. No joke, I save anywhere from 10 to upwards of 40% of my total bill when I use coupons. The trick is to only cut them for the products you will actually (and usually) purchase. Don’t be tempted to buy something just because you have a coupon and it looks interesting. Chances are you will never use/eat it. The Sunday paper is my favorite source, but of course they have a slew of on-line coupon websites, only downfall is having to print them out. If and when you do print them out: go to the box marked “Preferences” and remember to select “Print in Grayscale” in the options and under print quality, select “Draft” so you don’t use any color ink and you minimize the amount of black ink when you do print them. Hope this helps!

  122. trujunglist says:

    @Metaled

    Thanks for the garden plot info! I had no idea they had that. I do a lot of container gardening now (did you know kiddie pools make excellent gigantic plots? not that I have room for it right now..) but I’d much rather get the benefits of an actual piece of land.
    Thank you to all, there is a lot of excellent advice in this thread.

  123. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    Crockpots!

  124. Charlotte Rae's Web says:

    Watch for those switch your prescription to a certain pharmacy deals. Pharmacies here during certain promos will give you $25 gifts cards for up to 2 or 4 prescriptions transferred to them.

  125. SoCalGNX says:

    1. Never buy anything that has to be dry cleaned. If you can’t avoid that, use the “dry clean at home” products that you put in your clothes dryer.
    2. Cheap cuts of meat and a crock pot.
    3. Dollar store for spices and seasonings to try new recipes at home.
    4. Wash clothes in cold water.
    5. Maintain your cars (change oil and other fluids, filters, belts) and drive them a couple of more years.
    6. Board games for family night at least once a week.
    7. Hosting a get together?Make it a potluck.

  126. orlo says:

    Celibacy, if you’re male. Pimping is an even better alternative.

  127. ZoeSchizzel says:

    Here’s a big one: STOP SPOILING YOUR KIDS! I’m always amazed at how otherwise sane and thrifty people will spend any amount of money on all kinds of unnecessary crap to keep their kids happy.

    Your kid does not need a new or nearly new car or even a car that doesn’t smell like feet. Seriously, you can prevent pricy teenage pregnancies if you make sure your kid’s first car is too small to lie down in, and stinks.

    Your kid does not need lavish birthday parties, designer clothes, full-price movie tickets, fancy dance dresses and a limo on prom night.

    Your kid needs supervision, a realitic budget for entertainment and extras, and a part time job.

  128. joellevand says:

    @ everyone who said wash clothes in cold water

    Um, are you all men or do you all not notice that after a few washes, your panties reek of crotch rot? Or is that just me?

    I now do one load every week of socks, boxers (for the husband) and panties in hot water. Everything else gets cold, but the undies…I mean, that’s just ASKING for a yeast infection, IMHO — not to mention the smell.

    • Anonymous says:

      @joellevand: That’s just you. Also if you hang your undies up to dry in the sun it’ll kill any yeast on the cloth better than hot water and bleach will.

      I even wash my daughter’s cloth diapers in cold and hang in the sun to dry. They come out clean white and smelling fresh. I don’t even use bleach!

      • joellevand says:

        @KeelyLaterensis: It seems to me — and once again, this could just be the clothes my husband and I buy — that if it doesn’t come out in the wash, the drying just bakes in whatever didn’t wash out.

        Also, what’s the sun? We got snow here last week — it’s been one of those winters.

  129. veg-o-matic says:

    We make our own almond milk and use some of the piles and piles of leftover almond pulp to make some fantastic face scrub. Works great and soooo much less expensive than anything else on the market. And using various essential oils, I get to pick what it smells like every time I make a batch. Can’t get much better. The almond milk also ends up cheaper than buying other packaged soy/oat/almond milks (at least as far as our calculations showed)

    The rest of that pulp.. well, it sits around in the freezer until we make it into a (mostly) delicious hot breakfast or various baked goods. No waste! Hooray!

    Use vinegar and water to clean tile and linoleum floors. As long as you don’t mind “picklefloor” for a while, it’s just as effective as anything else.

  130. Anonymous says:

    Turn off the cable/Sat TV and move to online viewing. Fewer commercials, watch on your schedule, and most of all free.

    Jump in the shower and get wet. Turn off the water and lather up with the soap and shampoo. Turn the water back on to rinse. It saves about a third of the water used per shower and your soap does not immediately get rinsed off but rather actually has a chance to do its job before going down the drain.

    Fill your cars tank up only half way. That way you don’t pay to drive 6 to 12.5 gallons around while burning the first 6 to 12.5.

    Coupons, cook at home, garden if you can, chickens if you can.

  131. Justinh01 says:

    I wear contacts, and as unsafe as it probably is, I stretch my one month disposables out to six to eight weeks. I also use half as much contact solution each night as I used to, which saves a few bucks a month.

    I hope my optometrist doesn’t read this site.

    My biggest savings as of late have come from not going out to eat. Instead of getting a $12 pizza from the pizza place down the street, a $5 frozen pizza from the store tastes just as good (try the Newman’s Own pizzas — they’re awesome). Also, I’ve embraced using coupons as much as possible. We also don’t go out to movies as much, just order them via Pay Per View, which saves an easy $20.

    Life isn’t quite as fun, but seeing my savings grow makes me happy.

  132. chemmy says:

    Learn to coupon (for free) and put that knowledge to work. I was at Target today and “spent” $36.22. After coupons, I spent $4.06

    Similarly to CVS – learn to work the “ECB” system. Last time I was there, I got a bunch of soap, shampoo, snacks, soda, soup… About $40 worth of stuff and my total spent was $0.67. And….. I got back about $10 in CVS coupons to use on ANY purchase for next time. My total savings so far this year at CVS is almost $700 and I’ve probably spent $50-$60 out of pocket.

  133. vastrightwing says:

    1) Close all your bank accounts except your no minimum balance free checking account.
    2) Put your savings in your mattress to avoid the bank stealing your money. They pay no interest anyway.
    3) Pay off your highest interest debt first.
    4) Check all of your bills and call about any discrepancies.
    5) Shut off your cable. It’s unnecessary. FREE over the air TV is better.
    6) If you have a land line:
    a) Turn if off and use only your cell phone or
    b) Get Magic jack or some inexpensive VOIP service other than Vonage.
    7) Call all of your service providers and negotiate a better rate.
    8) Stop going out for lunch and dinner. It’s much cheaper to make your own meals.
    9) Have drinks before you go out (I know what you’re thinking, but be real).
    10) Don’t pay scalping prices to go to a concert. Don’t go and watch the ticket prices drop, then go.
    11) Sell your unneeded stuff on Craig’s list.
    12) Barter with friends and relatives.
    13) Buy local when possible.
    14) Put only regular gas in your car, premium only costs more, but offers no other benefit.
    15) If you must purchase goods, shop on-line, there is nothing you NEED immediately other than food.
    16) Team up with friends and share a food club (BJs, Costco, Sam’s) membership and shop together. Then split the huge packages up when you get home and freeze stuff you aren’t going to use immediately.
    17) Make your own lunch for work.
    18) Go to the library for videos and other entertainment. They often have events and books are great to read especially when they are free.
    19) Write your congressman and ask them to stop spending money they don’t have and vote in local elections to turn down unnecessary spending.
    20) Slow down and watch for police and yellow lights, towns are enforcing laws like crazy to make you pay. Pay the parking meter or you will get a more expensive ticket. Towns are counting on you to forget to pay the meter.
    21) Cut back on long distance travel: you pay a fortune in taxes for air travel, hotels, meals, rental cars, etc.
    22) If you purchase goods, buy the minimum you need, paying for more than you need is wasteful and encourages over consumption.
    23) Use your bank’s free bill pay service to manage your bills. Never use credit cards to auto-pay for anything. Never allow a vendor to debit your bank.
    24) Pay all personal transactions with a credit, never use a debit card. A mistake on the vendor’s part can cost you hundreds of dollars and wasted time fixing the damage.
    25) Read the fine print of all contracts before you agree to sign.
    26) Don’t trust a sales person: read what you’re about to sign. They will lie to get the sale (most of the time).
    27) If a deal sounds to good to be true….
    28) Re-evaluate all your services every 6 months. Credit cards, cell phones, cable/satellite, utilities, etc. Often new deals can be had, but they will not give them to you unless you ask.
    29) Buy generic items and look at the cost per oz/lb
    30) Buy ink for your printer on eBay for about $1.25 per ink tank. They work for me and I save a ton of money.

  134. burnedout says:

    My husband and I share razors – the blades we like are expensive but they nick his face long before they nick my legs. So, he uses them on his face and after a couple of uses he passes them on to me. We spend only half as much on the super-good blades.

  135. furseekr says:

    This assumes you have a fairly new dishwasher. If yours is older, reduce the cycles and soap gradually to see what works. If your dishwasher has a water heating option, use it and turn your home water heater down. Use the shortest cycle possible. Use less soap. Start with each cup half full. I fill each cup about 1/3 full and the dishes are clean. Don’t rinse dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Don’t use the heated dry option. If you open the dishwasher right after it stops and pull out the racks, the hot dishes will dry almost immediately.

  136. mommy_dearest says:

    This is so dumb, but I recently started actually measuring out how much laundry detergent I put in the washing machine, rather than just eye balling how much I pour in. It lasts so much longer now.

  137. mdovell says:

    I’ve switched to a single blade razor (not a straight edge…) its also called a safety razor. at first it will cost more but you can get the blades for 20 cents each…I just bought 100 and I should be set for two years!

    there’s trading services that help. I recommend bookins.com you trade books or dvd’s for points and you use the points for other trades. it’s easy to say get a box set of something you can’t find while at the same time making room for things.

    if you get a mp3 player then download some podcasts…get a fm transmitter or wire it into a car…or just burn to cd and you have free content instead of a xm or sirus subscription.

  138. kcarroll78 says:

    I use the remainder of my body wash/shampoo and fill up my hand soap dispensers. I used to throw them away when I couldnt get anymore out, now when they get that way, I prop upside down, then pour into pumps.

  139. Alys Brangwin is a Tar Heel bred says:

    Be a vegetarian. You eat cheap everywhere! People also worry that you aren’t eating enough and send you home with extra food.

  140. synergy says:

    I’ve known people to watch for the housekeeping people to come around noontime when bathrooms are most busy and waiting for them to drop off the rolls of t.p. then taking some home.

    Also, yesterday a friend told me she considered swapping the stickies on the organic fruits/veggies with the regular fruits/veggies to save money on groceries. I hadn’t thought of that one.

    Of course, both are forms of thievery soooo…

    • bluepotatoes66 says:

      @synergy: If the cashier is paying any attention at all/knows their codes for fruits and veggies/knows their fruits and veggies they will notice the swap in labels and probably just ring it up correctly anyway.

  141. ryaninc says:

    Get a few heavy duty, 3 prong timers ( [www.amazon.com] ) and put them on the power hungry things in the house. I plugged my TV, stereo, DVD player, Xbox and Wii into an power strip and then that into the timer. They all get turned off completely every night. Over the course of a month, it works out to the same time as if they were off for an entire week. I put another under my computer and the second monitor, printer, speakers, and chargers all get turned off at night. Saves at least about 15 bucks each month.

  142. Shrew2u says:

    @mac-phisto and Nicole Glynn: You can also go fairly gourmet on the cheap – Four servings of pecan-crusted chicken (from Cuisine At Home magazine), steamed vegetables and brown rice for about $2.00 per serving.

    Get 2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts (watch for sales and cheaper bulk packs, freeze into portions appropriate for your household), pound to 1/8″ flatness then cut in half. Should cost less than $2.00 per pound.

    Dipping Mix – whisk together
    *2 egg whites (keep the yolks to make yourself a rich scramble/omelette or use in a meatloaf) – $0.42 ($2.50/dz)
    *juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes (you’ll use the zest for the pecan crust) – $0.25 or less
    *2 t cornstarch – $0.05 for this portion, if you have to buy a box

    Pecan Crust – mix together
    *3/4c (3 oz) crushed pecans (cut tiny air hole in bag of whole or split pecans, cover with clean rag and take your frustrations out on it with a hammer) – $1.50 or less
    *1c coarse breadcrumbs (cube a cheap baguette or mini ciabatta loaf, completely dry out the cubes at 200 degrees, put dried cubes in a plastic baggie then whack like hell with a hammer until you get a mix of fine, medium and large crumbs; freeze extra crumbs) – $1.00
    *zest of 1 lemon or 1 lime – cost covered before
    *1 T chopped parsley (buy a parsley bunch, chop it all up, then store leftovers in a freezer bag in the freezer) $0.12 or less for the amount used
    *1/4 t black pepper, 1 t salt, plus 1/4 t cayenne if you have it – pantry item, so basically free
    *if you have thyme, oregano, sage and/or basil on hand, add 1/2 t of one or two of those spices – another pantry item

    Veggies – bargain-shop for under $0.50 per serving; look for on sale and in season
    Rice – bargain-shop for under $0.15 per serving

    Dip breasts in dipping mix, then press into crusting mixture while covering and pressing top with mixture (it will be very loose – handle with care). Set the breasts aside for 20-30 minutes while preheating oven to 450 degrees and heating 2T of oil in a large, nonstick, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken on one side for 3-4 minutes, then flip and place skillet in oven for 6-8 more minutes.

    For non-instant/non-quick-cooking brown rice, you’ll want to start the rice before you prep the breasts – the 45 minutes it takes to cook the brown rice will be enough time to prep and cook the chicken. Also, get the water going to steam the veggies while you’re letting the crusted chicken rest. (Cheap steamer basket = metal strainer.)

    It takes a while to prepare, but when you want to really do something special for yourself, it’s a good way to eat gourmet on the cheap.

  143. amandakerik says:

    Saving money tips… let’s see…

    Freecycle, gardening, questioning whether you NEED something or just WANT it. Craig’s list.
    Networking can get you a lot of stuff / help. Expand your social circle to include people you wouldn’t normally be around.

    Finding your passion / dealing with baggage will stop you from medicating yourself with food / shopping / etc.
    Explore your neighbourhood! There are a lot of edible plants out there as well as tiny stores that have awesome deals / people.

    Keep your internet, cut the cable / newspaper / etc.

    Take care of your stuff, and be curious about how things work; you may find that it’s easily fixed or can be used in a small project for something else.

    Learn to cook and sew. Talk to older people (the elderly / seniors), they’re treasure troves of untapped info.

  144. Anonymous says:

    1) If you MUST shop online, save money using coupon codes — ex: retailmenot.com is a great site that lists all the latest active coupon code discounts/free shipping codes for virtually every major online retailer. For certain online stores, you can use more than one coupon, which means savings on top of savings!

    2) I stopped subscribing to cable and now I get my TV show fixes from Hulu, MegaVideo, and other network websites that post their latest TV show episodes online (ABC, MTV.com, VH1.com, etc).

    3) Home cooking, obvs. Try to make simpler versions of restaurant appetizers/entrees at home. I found a simple crab cake recipe online and it only costs $10 or so to make 4!

  145. Kim Schmidt Marshall says:

    Use half the amount of detergent instructed on the packaging. This is a ruse for the public to consume more, ergo buy more. Your clothes will come out just as clean and you will have more product left.

  146. Thunderdome says:

    Patience and thrift.

    I know too many people that MUST HAVE IT NOW, so they overspend at places like Best Buy when they coulda went home, found it for 20%-50% cheaper online, and still had it within a week. Shop around and shop online.

    Thrift stores. A lot of people think they’re just for the ultra-poor “dirties” out there, but there’s tons of crap that’s of great value in a thrift store. I got a perfect retro 1960s stand mixer for my brother for x-mas for $5, even though his wife wanted a $250 Kitchenaid with “retro” styling.

  147. edwardso says:

    I make my own dog food. It’s healthier for the dog than all the gluten filled food and we can usually just add all our leftover beans, rice and veggies to it. I buy the cheapest cuts of meat and marked down stuff then add whatever is on sale. Her allergies are improving and I don’t have to make an extra trip to Petsmart

  148. Keanon Liggatt says:

    Cancel your cable TV. Use your Interwebs to watch your programs.

    Ride a bike.

    Stop shaving.

  149. hornrimsylvia says:

    @undefined: this is a winner in so many ways: no paper waste, no buying tampons or pads. i’ve had mine for a year and it has paid for itself. more people should talk about it.

  150. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    @JulesNoctambule: I can tell you how people get to where they can’t cook. I grew up with a single mom who worked all the time and she didn’t teach me how to cook.. She didn’t make dinner very oftin and when she did she wasn’t in the mood to make it into a teaching lesson.

    If it wasn’t for my grandma I wouldn’t even know how to cook scrambled eggs or grilled cheese.

    At this point I would really love to go take a basic cooking class so that I can start catching up on all the things I’ve missed out on.

  151. hornrimsylvia says:

    I have to thank consumerist.com for pointing out most measuring detergent cups hold more than three times the recommended dosage for a load. Thanks for reminding me of this!

  152. caligulala says:

    Notice how a lot of these tips require quite a bit of time and effort? If you’re living in a two income household, consider one income quitting or reducing their hours. It seems counter-intuitive, but how many times have you come home from work and spent $30 on takeout because you were just too tired to go to the store after work?

    Mr. Lala and I are now happily living on a much reduced income after I reduced my hours to very part-time. Since I’m home so much more, I have the time to make sure the household runs smoothly, shopping sales, etc. We’ve cut our food expenditures by 2/3’s and our stress levels by at least that much. Now in the evenings we have time to make a nice dinner together and chill out, rather than worrying about how we’re going to get the dang laundry done before bed so we have clean socks in the morning.

    We’re also still managing to put a big dent in our debt payments each month. It’s not for everyone, but if one partner hates their job, it may pay off to have their new job be saving the household money. Fake housewifery FTW!

  153. Vicky says:

    I use a form of birth control that limits me to 4 periods a year and reduces the length and severity of those which I do have. Since I naturally have very rough periods, it’s been great for my energy level and productivity. It saves me a good deal of money on sanitary supplies and over-the-counter medication for pain relief and upset stomach. I can maintain a smaller wardrobe because I don’t have to use my “bloaty clothes” very often. And let’s be frank – it stabilizes my mood and prevents a lot of emotional eating, impulse buying, and other costly, unhealthy habits.

    YMMV – I know some people are uncomfortable with the very idea and I respect that, but it’s been a real improvement to my quality of life and it keeps me from sabotaging my own goals every 28 days. If I were not reducing the frequency of my periods, I would at least speak to my doctor about how to reduce the symptoms.

  154. vladthepaler says:

    Toilet paper rolls? Just use newspaper.

  155. Customer_Service_Slave says:

    Ask for water whenever you eat out. Sodas cost you about $1.50, but only cost the store like 5 cents in soda and paper cups. That’s why they make the cashiers ask “Do you want something to drink” every food place you go too, especially fast food.

    Water from the tap is free, and studies have shown that bottled water is essentially tap water replaced in a plastic bottle.

    When your friends think you’re being cheap, say that I drink water, cuz it’s good for you, cuz it is. Sodas are harmful with their HFCS, rotting your teeth, and essentially making you more thirsty than before.

  156. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    Go “NotShopping”. Whenever my boy and I get wistful about books, or movies, or tech gear, etc. and we can’t afford any, we make it a date and go to one of our favorite stores with the express intention of just window-shopping. If we see anything we really want, we have to come back another time and get it — NotShopping is strictly for browsing.

    If you’re an impulse-buyer (we’re not) you may want to leave your money at home when you do this, but either way it’s a nice way to get some of the pleasure of shopping (walking around oogling things you like) without spending the dough! (And it’s not terrible for stores either — sometimes we DO see something we like, go home, and come back later when we can afford it. And it’s not like they’re not paying to keep the building open anyway.)

  157. Anonymous says:

    Change your light switches.

    Seriously. I have automatic dimmers in my house for most of my lights. I set the intensity to about 70-80% and with one push I am always at the lower usage setting. If I need brighter lights, just tap the switch two times.

    Here’s the really best part. By using a dimmer the light bulbs last WAY longer. This is beceuas they don’t experience the sudden jolt of being turned on. Bulbs on dimmers in my house have not been changed AT ALL in over 4 years, while other bulbs have been changed 3, maybe 4 times at least.

  158. Ninjanice says:

    1. Have a meal-share deal with a friends. I’m single. I have a lot of single friends. We take turns hosting dinners at our places. It keeps us from going out and spending money, plus I get 2 homecooked meals for every meal I make. I also like it because I have issues with cooking too much food, so I don’t waste as much.
    2. Buy from bulk food stores. I’m single, so I often have to buy stuff in much larger quantities than I can use. Now I shop at my local bulk store and can buy the quantities I need. I save a ton on herbs and spices in particular. Instead of having to buy a whole bottle of some spice I’ll use once before it expires, I can buy the couple of teaspoons I need and pocket the extra money I would have spent.
    3. Start a compost heap. Not only do you get free fertilizer and it’s good for the environment, but you’ll probably save money when you see how much crap you throw out and adjust your buying patterns.
    4. Organize your cupboards in a first-in-first-out order. Put the new stuff in the back so you use old stuff first and it doesn’t go to waste.
    5. Stash a little cash in your car. I always see great prices for gas- if you pay cash. I used to miss out on the cheaper price for paying with cash at the gas station because I never carry cash with me. Now I keep cash in my car.
    6. Swap magazines, books, DVDs, etc. with friends and family. My mom and her sister do this each month with magazines. Each one buys specific magazines then they get together and trade at the end of the month.

  159. TexasP says:

    Many cars that require premium gasoline in the USA only really need 91 octane. Since all mid-grade gasolines are mixed at the pump from regular 87 and premium 93, feel free to create your own blend.

    Two-thirds 93 + one-third 87 = 91 octane

  160. Bargaineering.com says:

    We have a one person, one light rule; if you move from room to room, you have to turn off the lights as you go. There’s no reason you have to light up a room you’re not in and once you get into the habit, it’s easy to maintain.

  161. Anonymous says:

    sew your own reusable ladies sanitary items.

    Seriously. You can download the patterns free online and it is a hell of a lot cheaper than buying that disposable crap every month!

  162. Anonymous says:

    Get a vacuum sealer (seal-a-meal). I bought the cheapest version $49 months ago & it had paid for itself…Makes freezer food last longer & pre-made meals are a snap to heat up. You can make stuff in bulk…They Rock!

  163. gman863 says:

    * Store brands can be as good (or even better) than name brands. Kroger has great pasta sauce for $1.19; Ragu is usualy $2 or more. Even with a “double coupon” promo, the store brand is still cheaper.

    * Even if you don’t like the taste of store brand food, certain items that consist of a single ingredient can be much cheaper and just as good. 500 count Member’s Mark Acepitophin (sp?) is under $5 at Sam’s Club – less than the cost of a 100 count bottle of Tylenol (same ingredient, same strength) at Wal-Mart. Ditto for bleach: A bottle of Clorox sells for around $2; I can get the exact same amount of chlorine in a bottle for half the price at 99 Cents Only or Dollar Tree. Salt, baking soda and milk are other examples.

    * Skip the “organic” crap. The $2.49 gallon of store brand milk likely came out of the same cow as the $5.99 organic gallon.

    * Pay attention to the quality and quantity of paper goods. Bounty towels may cost more than the store brand but – if it takes 4 cheaper towels to clean up the same mess as one Bounty – the $1.29 roll of Bounty equals the same number of uses as 4 79-cent rolls of cheap ones ($3.26). On toilet paper, look at the number of sheets per roll. A four roll pack of Scott extra soft has 3-4 times the # of sheets as standard single 4 roll packs of Charmin or store brand tissue.

    * Rechargable batteries save money and the enviornment. A $20 charger with 4 “AA” batteries can be reused up to 500 times. If you must have disposable batteries (such as for a hurricane supply kit), ditch the Duracells and Energizers in favor of store brand alkaline batteries – same life, half the price.

    * If you have credit cards you carry balances on, don’t be afriad to call the bank and negoiate a lower interest rate (especially if you are getting pre-approved offers from their competitors). Even a 1 or 2% drop in your interest rate will add up to big savings over time; I have friends who have been able to drop the rate even more — from 19.8% to 9.9%.

    * Save on your PC costs. AVG offers a free anti-virus program for home use (www.avg.com/free) that’s as effective as a $70 copy of Norton. To speed up your PC, go to http://www.iobit.com and download a free copy of Advanced System Care to clean your registry and manage startup programs that slow your system down..
    If your PC is under 5 years old and only has 256-512MB of memory, a $30-$40 memory upgrade is a quick fix for speed. If you’re a more advanced geek looking for free, safe and tested software, check out http://www.majorgeeks.com and http://www.zdnet.com.

    * If you have an electric water heater, buy and install a timer to turn it on and off at preselected times (about $40 at a hardware or home improvement store). Three hours in the morning gives me enough hot water to shower and shave; three hours in the evening is enough for the dishwasher and laundry. Gas or electric, set your thermostat to low (about 120 degrees). It saves money and reduces the risk of scalding or burning from water that’s too hot.

  164. Hello_Newman says:

    The clear answer is BBQ! I buy lots of burger and chicken, sometimes steaks (at a real meat market they often have pricing on an item to get you into the store) and do a giant BBQ and freeze everything (give burgers time to cool or you’ll have hockey pucks).

    I started doing it just to have healthy food instead of going to McDonalds for a burger but it’s a lot cheaper to have it all frozen along with fresh rolls from the bakery. It also saves a lot of dishwasher runs without having to cook that stuff up each night.

  165. Anonymous says:

    If you’re like me and spend a lot of money on shoes, then I know something that can help you save hundreds! I found this website called http://www.newheeltips.com – its sells replacement heeltips online for less than half of what the cobblers charge you!