Frugal idea exchange

Sarah - posted on 03/10/2009 ( 28 moms have responded )

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Hi everyone! I am fairly new to being frugal and would really like to get some ideas. I already do some of the basics like coupons, shopping at thrift stores, things like that. I would really like to get some new ideas and possibly share what little I know already. I make a few of my own things like laundry soap and some cleaning products. I am learning to bake my own bread and cooking as thrifty as possible. So,if anyone has any ideas I would love to see them and maybe I can help someone else!

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Connie - posted on 03/10/2009

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OH, and another frugal tip -- stop using credit cards for all regular purchases (I still use them for car repairs that just have to be done, emergencies, etc)... the "experts" have done the studies and have proven that people, even the most disciplined it seems, will spend a little to a whole lot more when they are putting it on credit, even when they have the $ in the bank and can pay the bill in full every month.  I guess its a psychological thing that makes you think you have more than you really do ... I didn't believe it so I tested it (and I really thought I was about as frugal as they come), and I have to confess for the good of the cause that "they" are right.... ugh.

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Christian - posted on 03/21/2009

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I've read alot of the suggestions & am going to try out the detergent one! One more idea, consignment stores, they are more expensive than thrift, but you can bring all the outgrown kids clothes and they will sell them and give you a % of the profit. My oldest is a girl so alot of her clothes go to the consignment store since her brothers aren't interested in any glittery jeans :) ! I also take my older clothes to a women's consignment store. Sometimes you get more cash for your trades if you get store credit, which works out because if thye just outgrew a bunch of clothes they need "new" clothes. I also take some older books (some we r keeping for forever) that the kids or I just aren't interested in reading again to a used book store, thewy work the same way a clothing consignment store works.



Hope that helps

Sarah - posted on 03/21/2009

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Quoting Emily:



I would love to make my own laundry soap!!  I was wondering if making your own is hard on skin.  I have 3 children who are very sensitive to all products, their skin will break out right away.  Before I make a batch I wanted to know if this would break them out?  What do you think?





My aunt has chemical sensitivities and uses this soap without any problems. I am not totally sure about Fels, but  the rest of the ingredients are natural. If you want to use other soap you can use anthing that doesn't have moisturizers in it. Before you make it, you can check the MSDS on any soap that you decide to use.



My aunt also uses just baking soda and water as well, if she has a problem with soap. I have read articles of people that don't use soap at all, only Borax or soda and have had no problems with their clothes. Hope this helps!

Kelly - posted on 03/21/2009

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I use baking soda to clean the tub and sink in the bathroom. When I have it, I cut a lemon in half and use that as the scrubber. The two react a little but they clean nicely together. I may also use a bristle brush if I have no lemons. It does take some elbow grease but I was just tired of having that chemical smell in the tub....and knowing that my kids were bathing in the residue, no matter how much I tried to rinse it out.



I have the ingredients to make the laundry soap, I just haven't had the chance yet. I'm looking forward to using it! Sad how something like that makes me excited lol. I kept seeing the liquid recipe and although it doesn't sound hard, I like the idea of the dry one.....seems easier. I wasn't able to find the Fels Naptha, I did find other laundry stain/soap bars at the grocery store though.

Emily - posted on 03/21/2009

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I would love to make my own laundry soap!!  I was wondering if making your own is hard on skin.  I have 3 children who are very sensitive to all products, their skin will break out right away.  Before I make a batch I wanted to know if this would break them out?  What do you think?

Schmoopy - posted on 03/21/2009

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There's this frugal living website: http://www.flylady.com/

People who are into it are total followers and call themselves "Fly Ladies." It has tips on how to save money and organize your life.

Judy - posted on 03/20/2009

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I like your laundry soap -- can you use it in HE front load washers?



I have a steam cleaner for cleaning it works super and fast too. I use it on just about everything makes cleaning walls a breeze. You can even clean the oven with it. I just bought a Shark for the floor and I have used it to steam clean my carpets it works great!! The inital cost is a bit expensive and I use distiller water as I clogged up 1 steamer, but it goes a long ways and water is cheap and nontoxic to buy.



Here are some inexpensive meal ideas. I buy roast beef when it'son sale buy 1 get 1 and grind my own hamburger so I'm not paying for fat. I also cut up my own steaks and stew meats from roasts. (You can also do this with other meats)



Crock pot meals are really cheap to make also and save you time. Just add a meat, veggies of your choice and some liquid ie, can condensed soup, a cup of coffee, water, ect. Flavor it up with spices of your choice depending on family size you can get a couple meals out of it. My DH says I beat Rachel Raye I can make a throw together a meal in less than 15 min. meat, veggies and salad.



Hope these help you out a bit.

Joanna - posted on 03/20/2009

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Thanks Vanessa. That's funny you thought of the Duggars, the size of their family reminds me of my mom's family too. My mom's family is catholic though...so big family, lots of drinking, card playing and other stuff the Duggars would never do.

Vanessa - posted on 03/20/2009

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Joanna, that's a really cute story. Sounds like something my own grandfather would do! :) Your story gave me mental pictures of the Duggars doing something like this. But I'm sure they wouldn't do anything like that because they're just so darn good. hehehe. Great story!



By the way, I'm lovin all of your tips Joanna.

Joanna - posted on 03/19/2009

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Stop buying paper towels. Instead of recycling or throwing out old ruined clothes and towels, cut them up to use as rags. Also, newspaper works well for cleaning mirrors and windows.



Have a Swiffer or other type of floor cleaner that requires disposable sheets? Cut old socks or towels to the size of one of the sheets, spray it with cleaner and use it instead of the sheets. You can wash and reuse and save money.



I still love my grandpa's favorite penny pincher idea. We used to laugh about it all the time but now I find myself doing it too. When car dealerships have sales promotions where they offer free food, (Usually hotdogs and pop, sometimes other stuff though) take the kids and have lunch for free. Look at the cars for fun. My grandparent's had 13 kids and at one time they owned an old school bus that they used for driving all the kids and grandkids around. I remember being very little and my grandpa loaded us all on the bus and took us to the Ford dealership for the free hotdogs and Coke. My grandpa thought it was so hilarious to see the looks on the salesmen's faces.



 

Vanessa - posted on 03/18/2009

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Quoting Vanessa:



Quoting Krystyl:



 






also, I'm looking into making my own laundry soap, anyone who has a good recipe, lemme know! (I don't ever see Fels-napa in the stores (not even sure what it is?))










Well, I live in southern california and I found Fels-Naptha at my local Stater Bros. in the laundry detergent aisle. Look for it on the top or bottom shelves. You know, that area that most of us don't pay attention to. lol






Anyway, I went to WalMart first and they didn't have Fels-Naptha so I used Zote instead (which is another laudry bar soap). If you cannot find it then try using Zote, its works just fine. You can also use Ivory, Sunlight, or Kirk's Hardwater Castile bars.






 






Another thing I'd like to mention is that I was never able to find washing soda at any of my local stores. I substituted it with baking soda and it works great! My clothes are so much brighter than they were when I was using Tide. And I'm saving over $10 per gallon!!






Don't let a little soap bar hold you back from all the savings. People think I'm crazy for doing this, but I think they're crazy for spending their hard earned money for junk detergent. When they can make a better batch for WAAAAY less. :)





By the way a nice person on this website referred me to the website below for the laundry detergent recipe. :)



http://www.duggarfamily.com/recipes.html

Vanessa - posted on 03/18/2009

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Quoting Krystyl:


 



also, I'm looking into making my own laundry soap, anyone who has a good recipe, lemme know! (I don't ever see Fels-napa in the stores (not even sure what it is?))






Well, I live in southern california and I found Fels-Naptha at my local Stater Bros. in the laundry detergent aisle. Look for it on the top or bottom shelves. You know, that area that most of us don't pay attention to. lol



Anyway, I went to WalMart first and they didn't have Fels-Naptha so I used Zote instead (which is another laudry bar soap). If you cannot find it then try using Zote, its works just fine. You can also use Ivory, Sunlight, or Kirk's Hardwater Castile bars.



 



Another thing I'd like to mention is that I was never able to find washing soda at any of my local stores. I substituted it with baking soda and it works great! My clothes are so much brighter than they were when I was using Tide. And I'm saving over $10 per gallon!!



Don't let a little soap bar hold you back from all the savings. People think I'm crazy for doing this, but I think they're crazy for spending their hard earned money for junk detergent. When they can make a better batch for WAAAAY less. :)

Tina - posted on 03/15/2009

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I found awesome tips at livingonadime.com

Great recipes, money saving tips, gifts, etc, all on a frugal budget!! It's awesome! We also don't use credit cards anymore and it seems to help so much! We have also found an awesome company to buy toxin free cleaning products from and actually save more money then when we were shopping at wal-mart! So we use safe, toxin free cleaning products for our family and home and we save MONEY! Now, who wouldn't want that? I even found that I like their laundry detergent more then the fells naptha one we were making for about 5-6 months, it's less hassle, cleans my clothes better and I think we save b/c after you buy everything that goes into it, you could have just bought this detergent and it's toxin free!!! My kids have extremely sensitive skin, and these laundry products are wonderful and kid friendly! Now I do all my babies laundry and mine and my husbands together! Saves on water and time!

If you are interested in the toxin free cleaning/ and personal care products we use, please contact me and I'll be happy to share it all with you!! tinakeller@mac.com

Stacey - posted on 03/15/2009

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We love to make an receive gifts but at times it gets frustrating when you get stupid presents that you don't like/ We now use www.gifteer.com to make and share wish lists, so we know we'll make and get smart gifts.

Kim - posted on 03/14/2009

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Hi, I know you said you clip coupons. Have you checked out the site couponmom.com? It's pretty neat, it will pair up all the coupons with sales at kroger, meijer, target, walgreens, rite aid and more! Also did you know that both rite aid and walgreens will let you use a store coupon along with a manufacturer coupon on the same item!

Sarah - posted on 03/13/2009

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I have a Meijer here in Mich. and that is the only place I can buy the Fels or the washing soda. But I do know that if you can't find it in your local grocery store, you can order it online from Amazon or some place like that. The washing soda is Arm&Hammer brand and you can always go to their website and order it.
You don't have to use washing soda or the Fels to make laundry soap, though. I have found numerous recipes for different kinds of laundry soap, powdered or liquid. Go to Tipnut.com and put laundry soap in the search bar. That is where I have found all of my laundry recipes. In some cases you can even use baking soda instead of washing soda. My aunt suffers from a chemical sensitivity so she just washes in baking soda and water. Hope this helps!

Connie - posted on 03/13/2009

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also, I'm looking into making my own laundry soap, anyone who has a good recipe, lemme know! (I don't ever see Fels-napa in the stores (not even sure what it is?))






HI - Fels Naptha is an old soap (my grandmother used it at the turn of the last century) but I think only real grocery stores carry it -- in my area (Indiana) that means Marsh or Kroger but not WalMart or Meijer (the same with the Washing Soda).  You can also buy it online but shipping makes it less frugal unless you're going for great quantities ... it is less than $2 per bar around here. Hope this helps!

Krystyl - posted on 03/13/2009

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I also Buy in bulk. ( to an extent, as I don't have a deep freeze)



Buying produce locally (farmmarkets, Fleamarkets) saves $ and is better for the economy and ecology!



I use craigslist (www.craigslist.com) to buy household things that I need, but can't afford to buy brand-new)... somtimes they have usefull things in thier 'free' section too



I use public transit,... this may be nigh-impossible for moms with younger kids,... but I buy a bus pass ... $40/ month. ... and I don't have to buy insurance, gas etc.etc. ... BUT this obviously can't be done in some situations.



 

Krystyl - posted on 03/13/2009

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I make my own bread



I shop at thrift stores



I use coupons



I find free samples of all sorts of things online [sometimes full-sized samples!)(www.mysaving.com)



I'm part of an pay-per-read email site ( free to register) www.hits4pay.com



also, I'm looking into making my own laundry soap, anyone who has a good recipe, lemme know! (I don't ever see Fels-napa in the stores (not even sure what it is?))

Connie - posted on 03/12/2009

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Thanks for those ideas!  I too use vinegar in my dishwasher -- no more white filmy dishes!  Good reminders!

Sarah - posted on 03/11/2009

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For cleaning, I have found it hard to break away from plain old bleach. I am struggling to use natural or less chemical based cleaners, but nothing cleans like bleach, especially in the bathroom! But, I use vinegar and lemon juice in the dishwasher which helps with the hardwater spots. Peroxide works well for cleaning, too and it is cheap! Baking soda and vinegar clean the toilet pretty well, too. My favorite site for tips and recipes is Tipnut.com. I love this site!
As far as bakery outlets, I don't buy bread there because my husband is allergic to penicillin so we really have to watch the sell by dates. Not only that, but for whatever reason, our outlets here aren't that much cheaper than the sale price at the grocery store.
I also really like Freecycle.com. That is a cool way to unload things you don't want and to ask for things that you need or want. I would really like to cancel the cable so I am trying to wear my husband down to no avail.
Oh, and another cool thing is MagicJack. For those that don't know, it is phone service through your highspeed internet service. It is $40 to buy and then only $20/year for phone service with all the long-distance and phone perks included. I must look like I am trying to sell something, but I just want to pass this along and hope that it helps someone.

Connie - posted on 03/11/2009

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Quoting Ranel:



How do you make your own laundry soap? And what cleaning supplies do you make & how?






The laundry soap I use is:  1 bar grated Fels Naptha soap (found at a grocery store), 1 cup Borax (found at Wal-Mart), one cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda - also found at the grocery).  You can make it into a liquid (there are a lot of online sites with this recipe) but I don't have time, so I just use it powdered.  Mix it together and store in a plastic bucket!  Use 1-2 Tablespoons per load.  Quick and easy and very good!



BTW, it is reported by some that you don't have to dissolve it first, but I don't add clothes until the tub is about 1/3 full, since it is powdered.  Also I usually grate about 5 bars at a time ... again a time thing -- the large recipe takes me less than 30 minutes to make while I'm watching a movie with my kids :-)



Not only is it inexpensive, it makes my whites so bright - I don't have a water softener and didn't realize how dingy my laundry was... but now it is amazingly clean!  It also gets stains out (I do use Shout! for pre-treatment if necessary, but that's only for bad stains -- you can also just rub the Fels Naptha soap on the stain and it will work as well if not better --AGAIN it just takes more time and effort than I have right now).



Hope this helps! 



I am still hoping someone has some other really good frugal cleaning recipes - so far this is the only one I've found that is outstanding!  Thanks everyone for your ideas!!!

Courtney - posted on 03/11/2009

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Some books full of great ideas are Amy Dacyczyn's Tightwad Gazette, 1,001 Bright Ideas to Stretch Your Dollars by Cynthia Yates, and Mary's Hunt's Debt-Proof Living (and her website www.cheapskatemonthly.com). If you have some books you'd like to get rid of and some you'd like to buy, check out paperbackswap.com. I've been using this site for several months now and love it! For the price of postage (usually $1.50-$2.60), you can send out one book to another PBS member and receive a credit to choose from one of the other 3 million+ books posted on the site. Membership is FREE.



 



I love to bake bread and discovered I can get a large bag of yeast at Costco for less than the price of a 4-pack of yeast at the grocery store. The bag lasts me about two years (in the fridge), and I bake about 6 loaves of bread a month.



Also, a local thrift store has a half-price week once a month. I load up on kitchen stuff, kids' books and kids' clothing. Hope these ideas help!

Courtney - posted on 03/11/2009

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Quoting Connie:



OH, and another frugal tip -- stop using credit cards for all regular purchases (I still use them for car repairs that just have to be done, emergencies, etc)... the "experts" have done the studies and have proven that people, even the most disciplined it seems, will spend a little to a whole lot more when they are putting it on credit, even when they have the $ in the bank and can pay the bill in full every month.






That's so true for me, I've noticed. Ever since I switched from credit cards to cash (about two years ago), it's SOOOO much easier to keep track of expenses, even when I use my debit card. All I have to do is figure out how much cash I've taken out (or debits I've made) for each expense category (groceries, household miscellany, entertainment, allowance, etc.) and I know how much is left for the month. Every time I make a debit purchase or ATM withdrawal, I note in my checkbook what category or categories that expense is for (e.g., an ATM withdrawal of $200 might be $100 grocery, $40 entertainment and $60 household misc.).

Ranel - posted on 03/11/2009

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How do you make your own laundry soap? And what cleaning supplies do you make & how?

Connie - posted on 03/10/2009

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Is there a day-old bread store nearby?  We are able to get organic whole grained breads often at $.49/loaf so I just buy a lot and freeze them - less time and $ than even homemade and still very healthy!  Also, our local chain store does produce, fish, bakery, and meat markdowns early in the morning -- so I usually get these at about 60-70% off for the "good stuff" like dark leafy salads, salmon, etc.  I make my own laundry detergent (the excellent fels naptha kind) but haven't found other cleaning products that work really well-- any suggestions from you??

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