Thursday, February 28, 2013

59. More Meatless Meals

One huge way to save money is to switch to eating less meals that include meat. Meat is a huge expense and switching out a few meals for meatless can save a bundle.

A couple of options are:

  1. Pasta with a red sauce (no meat)
  2. Veggie stir-fry
  3. Egg Plant Parmesan
  4. Fried Zucchini Pasta
  5. Calzone
  6. Grilled Cheese
  7. Quesadilla
These are just a few options, many more can be found at the various recipe sites on-line.

Switching out one or two meals per week can save a lot.

Until tomorrow

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

58. Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers (the original rectangular ones) are not just for babies. Although we used them as actual diapers for our second child and saved a fortune in diapering expense, we also discovered multiple uses for them after the need for diapering. When the children were still in diapers, we used these as spit-up rags, changing cloths, and anywhere we needed a "clean" spot for the kids. Once the kids no longer needed these things, we discovered that cloth diapers make excellent cleaning rags and make amazing shoe polishing rags. We, also, discovered that they work very well for a cool cloth compress and they work well as a catch-all for sick people. They are very good seat covers (when that is needed) and they make great hand towels. They are so versatile that I buy at least one pack for everyone I know who is expecting, even if they are not planning to use them as diapers.

Until tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

57. Classic Movie Date

One thing that we love to do as a family is to watch movies. We often plan a viewing of a classic film and make our kids sit through it, this can be done as a family date or as a couple date. The classic movies are usually not someone's first choice for a movie, so choosing them can be something really special. Usually, these movies are ones that a lot of people talk about, but not everyone has seen. Enjoy a classic film on your date night!

Until tomorrow!

Monday, February 25, 2013

56. Homemade Bread

Making your own bread is a great way to save money. When my mother-in-law lost her job a couple of years ago she began to save money by making her own bread. She came up with some great recipes for bread. Begin with a basic artisan bread and experimented with multiple add ins to change it up. She came up with some amazing recipes.

Here is a basic recipe:

Experiment with add ins for different flavors.

Until tomorrow!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

55. Using Flat Sheets as Curtains

When redecorating, or moving in somewhere, using flat sheets as curtains is much more economical than buying curtains, most of the time, and there is much more variety. You can either invest in clip rings or just cut a rod sized slit in the back of the top (folded portion) of the sheet. These work nicely, especially if your curtains need to be long. You can cut and hem them if you need shorter coverage. We have used this often, especially when the kids were younger, it made life and room theme redecoration much easier and cheaper. We currently are using this as curtains on two oddly shaped windows in the house we have recently rented and used it in the house that we rented last year which had four windows we needed to cover.

Until tomorrow!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

54. Buying Store Brands

Saving money by buying the store brand of items when the quality is comparable. This is something that we learned relatively easily, some people rely on brand names to be certain of the quality of the item, but you must try the store brand so that you can objectively make your own decision. There have been numerous studies done on the comparability of the products and many of those can be found on-line.

Until Tomorrow!

Friday, February 22, 2013

53. Organization

One of the most effective methods of saving money is to be organized. Being organized keeps you from buying doubles of things that you already have and helps you to better use bulk purchases. If you have your things stored in an organized fashion, you will be less likely to waste what you have already purchased. You have to be careful to refrain from "Over-Organizing" and you have to do enough organizing to fit your life. You should be able to find things relatively quickly and you should have a place for everything. If it takes you longer to organize your stuff than to search for it (after your initial organizational endeavor), you are "Over-Organizing". It should not take you crazy amounts of time to put your stuff away, it should be relatively simple to maintain your organizational system.

There are a multitude of resources available to help you find organization in your life:

Until tomorrow!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

52. Lead for Mechanical Pencils

If you like to use mechanical pencils, then buying lead to refill them is the cheapest method unless you find them on sale. Make sure that you get the correct pencil lead size for your pencil and your preference. Wooden pencils are generally the cheapest, but if you prefer mechanical, then buying a nice one that you like and refilling the lead and eraser is the cheapest way to keep them.

Until tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

51. Not Using Disposable Cups, Plates, etc.

We rarely use disposable cups, plates, etc. We have had friends who use paper plates and cups for every meal, the cost of this is much more than the cost of washing actual dishes. We do use plastic spoons, forks and knives; however, we wash them and reuse them (we have found that for packing lunches plastic-ware is less likely to be missed if identically thrown away by a kid).

Until tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

50. Reusable Water Bottles

Save money and the environment. It is interesting how so many money saving ideas work towards both goals. Finding a reusable water bottle that you like is very important to make using one viable. If you don't really care for the bottle that you have, you are less likely to use it. So invest a little more into getting a really good bottle. There are multiple places to find reusable bottles and you have many options available. Each person in my family has a very distinct type of bottle. We have one who likes a metal bottle, one who likes the flip up straw, one who likes the flip top and one who likes a pop top. Every body will like their individual style and should find one that suits them.

Until tomorrow!

Monday, February 18, 2013

49. Adopt a Shelter Pet

If you are thinking about adding a pet to your family, try a shelter or rescue pet first. Often, if you want a specific breed, you can find them from rescue non-profits. If breed doesn't really matter to you, try a shelter adoption. Most rescues and shelters charge a lot less than what it will cost you to get a pet from a breeder or store. Usually when you buy a pet from a breeder or store, you also have to pay for all of their shots and for spaying or neutering, when you adopt from a rescue or shelter the pets have all of their health concerns already addressed.
Until tomorrow!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

48. T-Shirt Quilt

My family loves t-shirts. We get t-shirts for many major events, that trip to London, that concert, that movie. Then when the t-shirt gets a hole in it, it goes into a box to be saved. Well, this is what we are doing with those t-shirts. Making T-Shirt Quilts is a relatively easy way to reuse those beloved t-shirts and to make a great blanket.

If you can find t-shirt sheets on sale, then the backing is much easier to make, if not just piece together both front and back.

Until tomorrow!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

47. Your Own Garden

It is getting that the time of year to begin your own garden. If you have space in your yard or in containers growing your own produce is a healthy and less expensive way to have great food. Growing your own food can save a lot of money. You can start a raised bed garden if your soil is not conducive to growing, or you can create a soil enriched area in your yard.

Here is the blog of a friend who began his own gardening adventure:  I am not sure if he will keep up on his blog, but I am pretty sure he will keep the gardening going.

Here are some links to help you find out more on creating your own garden:

Friday, February 15, 2013

46. Grocery Price Book

One helpful, money saving tip is to create a grocery price book of the things that you buy most often. This is a notebook with one page per item, with the price of the item listed from several local stores. Basically, this book takes some time for the initial set up; but once you have it done, the maintenance is pretty easy. This book will help you to know whether or not a "sale" item is actually a deal and will help you to figure out when to stock up on your most used items.

This tip came out of the book Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn

Happy shopping!
Until Tomorrow!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

45. Dryer Bar

We had been dryer sheet fabric softener users for years, when Bounce came out with the Dryer Bar. This bar sticks in your dryer and takes the place of Dryer Sheets. The cost of this bar actually works out to be much cheaper than the dryer sheets for us and I don't have all those dryer sheets filling my trash. (Although I recently discovered a way to use them as embroidery stabilizer.) I have noticed that Gain has designed a bar for their fabric softener product as well. This will even work after hang drying your clothes, then throwing them in the dryer for a couple of minutes.

Happy laundry!

Until Tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

44. Romance at Home

One of the nicest ways we have discovered to keep the romance alive and to save some money is to plan a Carpet Picnic Date. What this consists of is to screen a movie, have a carpet picnic (with cheeses, crackers, fruits, finger foods, etc.) and a bubble bath. This way we are able to spend time together without braking the bank.

This "Plan" can be adapted for multiple likes, but the concept is the same. Create a romantic evening at home, you might even schedule a sleepover for the kids. Creating time together can improve your relationships, also.

Until tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

43. Hanging Laundry to Dry

This is something that I have struggled with for a long time (we use to live in the desert and one strong wind would make this a waste of money and time). I love the smell of line dried clothes and it is so much cheaper than using a dryer. You can hang your clothes and then throw them in the dryer for a few minutes, so that they are able to be folded. If you don't have the yard space for a clothes line, you can always get one that folds up to use in a room inside. Either way will save energy and money!

Happy hanging!
Until Tomorrow!

Monday, February 11, 2013

42. Generic medications

I have recently been placed on a continuing medication. The "name brand" version costs $30 for a 30-day supply. My doctor switched me to the generic brand from Walmart and the cost is $10 for a 90-day supply. There are a number of medications that are available on the generic list that are available for this same price. Check the list, and then check with your doctor. You could end up saving a small fortune.

Until tomorrow!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

41. Making Pizza from Scratch

The last time we ordered a pizza, it cost us a fortune and it wasn't very good. We decided that we could do better if we made our own.

We began by finding a crust recipe that works for us. Crust is one of those personal things, some people like thick crust, some like very thin crust, some like buttery crust; there are so many options, you really have to find a recipe that works for how you like your crust. The main thing that we like is that we can add whatever toppings we want. We purchase the toppings that we like and end up with enough for making two of each type of pizza, so we are able to make two different pizzas and then save the rest for next time. Our pizza actually ends up tasting better than most pizzas we have purchased, either from a restaurant or some other pre-made version. We, also, get exactly the toppings that we want on each pizza.

Pizza night is one of our favorites.

Until tomorrow!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

40. Packing lunch

Packing your lunch is a simple way to save $$$$$. If you pay for lunch at a fast food place, you are probably spending upwards of $5 per lunch. If you eat at a sit down place, $10. You can effectively pack your lunch and any snacks for under $3 per day. You can pack your lunch in a stylish lunch box or bag, using washable storage containers and save the environment, as well.

These can be found just about anywhere. We have this type for sandwich, fruit and crackers; we, also, have some for soups and some for salads. You will have to get containers that will work for you.

They have some really well made, insulated, stylish lunch bags here:  Erie Drive if you are interested.

Until Tomorrow!

Friday, February 8, 2013

39. Indoor Herb Garden

Planting and cultivating an indoor her garden is a fantastic way to save some "GREEN" and put some flavor in your food. If you enjoy that sort of thing. First off, let me say that dried spices are really pricey and not as potent as fresh herbs. Growing your own herbs and spices can save you a bundle as long as you take care of them. What they do to improve the flavor of your food is something else entirely.

Until tomorrow!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

38. Pre-Owned Clothing

One of the things that has saved us a lot of money over the years is the acquisition of Pre-Owned clothing. Children's clothes are easy to find and easy to clean, so they are the most logical place to start. However, we have also discovered that finding specific pieces, such as a dress jacket can save a fortune. There have even been a few pieces that I have redesigned into a new, updated dress. Sometimes the items being sold are in really great condition and just need cleaned and pressed. There are ways to alter the collar, or the fit, easily enough if you can use a sewing machine. If not, you should learn some simple techniques.

Here are some sites that have some great ideas for updating your clothes:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

37. Exercising at Home

At one time, we joined a gym. We opted to pay for the contract year in advance instead of letting them do the automatic billing from our account. Our entire family was signed up, they had a pool, children's exercise classes, adult classes, machines, personal trainers, all of the bells and whistles; we all went exactly 3 times. What a waste of money. We decided that perhaps a gym membership was not financially viable for our needs. So, we have moved on. We now exercise at home. We have purchased a treadmill and a bike, we have acquired multiple weights, yoga equipment and we have a variety of videos. It has been a challenge to carve out space for our Exercise Room, but we have continued to manage. We find a lot of equipment available on Craig's List or at yard sales. It seems that a number of people purchase exercise equipment with the best of intentions, however, they do not use it for long. Figuring out what exercise program will work best for you is imperative, for your health and your wallet.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

36. Closing vents

We currently live in a two story house and one of the things that works for us is to close a number of the vents upstairs, because heat rises. This way we are pumping most of the heated air into the lower level and it rise up naturally. We close vents in rooms that we do not need additional heat in and we, also, have a couple of radiator type heating units to warm up our bedrooms before bed. We have found a couple of different methods to reducing our heating bill, you have to see what works best for you.
Until Tomorrow!

Monday, February 4, 2013

35. Sticky Putty

If you have ever had a pre-teen or teenager want to hang crazy posters on their walls, you will understand this tip; if not, and you have kids,  you will understand eventually.

 In searching for a method to save our walls, we came across "Sticky Putty". What a wall saver, this is the best stuff ever.

When we discovered "Sticky Putty" we were able to allow our kids to decorate their own rooms. No more worries about the tape that peels off paint, or nails(tacks) creating holes everywhere. Now, your walls are saved. There are multiple varieties available and most work very well. This has saved us through multiple interests and our kids can decorate their walls with whatever posters they are currently interested in without fear of having to repaint.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

34. Making your own Valentine's Decorations

When our children were young we started making our own Valentine's Day decorations. This is much cheaper and way more fun than buying ready-made decorations. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas, you can find a lot of them online. Here is one of my favorites; it is a challenge, but worth it. If you like
paper weaving it will be right up your alley:

Woven Paper Heart Pocket:

Matterials - 2 sheets of colored paper (different colors works best)
                  Paper cutter (optional)

Step 1: cut the paper in half lengthwise.

Step 2: fold the paper in half along the
short edge.
Step 3: cut evenly spaced slits on folded edge
stopping approximately one inch from the top
edge, on both sheets. You may have to use the scissors
to even out your cuts. (You want to make certain that your
cuts are long enough to incorporate the width of the other

Step 4: begin weaving- the first strip will go around, then inside,
then around, then inside, continue until the strip is completely
woven through. Repeat with the next strip, working the strips
to the next spot until all strips are woven. This can be frustrating,
so stay calm and move gently so as not to rip the paper.
(I have also found that felt and other non fraying fabrics work
well for this and are more difficult to tear.)

Step 5: even out all of the strips to create a woven pocket.

Step 6: your woven heart should be a pocket to hold your
Valentine's treats.

Step 7: Add decorations as desired!

Here are some sites to check for other ideas:

Here is a place to download a free book of Valentine's crafts:

Until Tomorrow!