OT - Thrifty other stuff

Arielluria posted earlier about thrifty knitting tips - which is really bizarre because I was laying in bed last knight remembering a section in my nana’s old daily newspaper called “Thrift Tips”, and I was thinking I should ask on here for other ideas for thrift tips for home and health.

DH and I are attempting to live more simply and frugally this year and we’ve given ourselves an experimental grocery budget of £10 ($20) per week.

Its not a lot but we are managing - but reserves of things are running low.

My best tip is Lemon Juice and Vinegar for cleaning fluids - they cut through grease and are so much better for the environment that bleaches and chemicals.

Anyone else have any tips for a cheaper and simpler life?

[color=blue]$20! :notworthy: would you do our shopping please? lol. Our average is $150.00 a week for just the 2 of us.
anne [/color]

:passedout: :notworthy: :notworthy:

~never go to a store without a list.

[it doesn’t have to be written, but that is the best]

~and, on a similar vein, don’t just go to stores because you are bored.

The only exception I would make is to a store where you can kind of be there, like a book store or a knitting store that allows you just to sit and read or knit.

~buy “classic” clothes

~really make your “treat” foods, treats. In other words, don’t buy snack foods. We started doing this out of necessity. And I cut our grocery bill for four down to about $250 ~ $300 a month. We will go out and pick up something specifically as treats, but we eat far less of the stuff and save a ton of money!

I probably couldn’t give you many tips, but have you ever seen that show on FX called 30 Days and the guy who did Supersize me is in it? On one of the shows he and his fiance lived off of minimum wage in Cleavland (I believe, or it was some midwestern city). It was amazing to see how little you have if you have to live off of minimum wage, they could barely do it with two people, imagine for a family? Anyway, it was really interesting to see them trying to live a simple life without any kind of comforts they usually have.

This LJ community is chock full of helpful tips and tidbits. :slight_smile:

$20/week for groceries? DH is an amazing chef, so that’s one area where we’re a bit indulgent. One way that we do save on food is to be “inspired” by what’s on sale at the grocery store rather than deciding what the menu will be beforehand. So if swordfish happens to be on sale, that’s probably what we’ll have for dinner. If strawberries are buy one get one free this week, we’ll get a couple baskets of those instead of getting the super pricey nectarines. I can’t quantify the savings for you since I’ve always shopped that way, but I’m sure it’s pretty significant. Often times we’ll get stuff we normally wouldn’t because it’s on special – ribeye for instance. I’d never buy steak at regular price, but if it’s $2 off per pound, why not? Shopping at warehouse clubs (do they have those in the UK?) can sometimes be worthwhile too. Do you have a vegetable garden?

P.S. to Kaydee – 30 Days is a great show. Always very eye-opening.

hmm, this one has to do with being thrifty time-wise:

instead of waiting in super-long lines at Wal-mart (or similar stores), take your items to the checkout in the garden center where there is usually little or no line at all. you don’t have to buy anything plant-related, but if it makes you feel better, you can always just pick up a pack of seeds to “justify” it. :wink:

Well, we can manage to buy groceries for $40 a week for three people…so I guess we know what we’re doing (especially when you realize that amount includes diapers!).

Tips from us:

-One week a month, increase your budget enough to “stock up”. No matter how well you do weekly, there won’t be enough money to buy canned items and baking essentials.
-Take advantage of sales. Particularly sales like “10 bags of cheese for $10” or “Buy one bag of chicken breasts, get one free”. These will save you considerable amounts of money in the long run. So when you see these sales, make sure to allocate enough of your grocery budget to cover it. The first few times, it will mean skimping on other items for the week, but because you are buying the items in bulk, they will last you for several weeks and you won’t have to purchase them again.
-Freeze items like cheese and meat and bread when you purchase them in bulk. They will taste just as nice, and they won’t spoil.
-Buy store brands whenever possible. BUT keep an eye on the prices. Sometimes, the store brands are more expensive!
-Allow yourself one treat a week…whether it be a cake mix, pudding, ice cream, chips, a particular cut of meat. If you feel like you are being deprived, you will cheat. So allow yourself one “treat”.
-Eat lots of sandwiches. They are SO cheap. And canned soup.
-Do not buy “convenience” foods. Make your own stuff. From scratch.

Good luck! $20 isn’t much money!


Use newspapers to clean glass… w/ vinegar & lemon juice of course. The newsprint really cleans well, and it’s cheaper than paper towels. Only use paper towels to drain things on…
I have had the same roll of paper towels for over 3 months. I rarely use them… That saves… Buying in bulk is great if you are careful and repackage them. Then you have small bags that are easier to use and don’t get freezer burn.

janelanespaintbrush said
Shopping at warehouse clubs (do they have those in the UK?) can sometimes be worthwhile too. Do you have a vegetable garden?

:?? Whats a warehouse club? :??

I love some of the tips here - thanks guys.
Although we don’t have a veg garden yet (we have an overgrown forest of brambles) we will have by the end of the year. For Valentines day DH has bought me a Mushroom growing kit that produces 4 flushes of 'shrooms. I opened it yesterday and loads of fly’s came at me so I’m wondering if its OK.

We’re in week 2 of the experiment and £10 seems to be enough so far, we’ve cut back on luxuries and I’m cooking everything from scratch which is providing enough interest for us not to get too bored and its all so much healthier.

I have just run out of peanut butter though :pout: Not sure how I can cope with that :teehee:
And I’m on my last pack of lentils too! :heart:

Ginormous membership-based stores that offer big savings, though, depending on the product, you are often required to buy in bulk. The membership is about $50 annually, but over the course of a year, we save a lot more than that. For example, in the grocery store, a teeny weeny jar of marinated artichoke hearts is ridiculously expensive. At Costco, we can buy a huge wonking (1.845 kg) jar for hardly any money. (Believe it or not, we buy one every few months. :heart: them on pizza.) Some things (like meat) are not always practical to buy in bulk since there’s just two of us, but we still manage to get a lot of staples there. (Flour, butter, olive oil, yeast, ketchup, paper towels, and dishwashing detergent come to mind right now, though the list goes on. Generally, prices are lower per unit than regular stores, but there are a few exceptions.) They also have a limited selection of clothing, furniture, jewelry, electronics, office supplies, housewares, and other stuff. I just got new eyeglasses and saved over $200 over what I would’ve paid elsewhere. I’ve also bought car tires and batteries there, and my Mom even bought her car through there and saved a ton of $. Costco rules!

As far as shopping goes, I’m not the one to ask…my husband does the shopping. He can recall prices from different stores- something I can never do and knows if a price is a buy or not.

(Incidentally I do the same with yardage numbers just yesterday I thought I want 1200 yards of yarn when actually it should have been 1400. I have to write numbers/prices down to remember them)

Someone mentioned that their budget included diapers. Use cloth and you’ll save a ton. If it’s diaper service the cost is the same as buying disposables but 1) there is no water usage on your part to wash them. And 2) your garbage can will be less full and you can order smaller cans for garbage and lower your garbage rate. 3) and three in the long run this saves everyone environmental costs. If you wash your own then you buy them once, own them, and the only cost is the washing. I’ve done it both ways with both kids. When the baby out grow diapers you have nice dust rags, or if you bought a good brand they usually can hold up through another baby.

And garbage reminds me of something else. RECYCLE. In our area the recycling services is very broad and we can recycle almost everything and there is no charge for it. And things like milk cartons and frozen food containers we can recycle at our local co-op. So for a family of 4 we have the smallest can provided by the garbage service, often it isn’t even full and we pay I think under 15 a month.

Cleaning, I use vinegar and water to clean the floors, counter tops, and lots of other things. Very cheap. Use plain cheap Bon Ami for cleanser. If I think something needs bleach to really disinfect it a bottle of bleach is very cheap. I rarely use stronger store bought cleaning products and if I do I find the smells way too strong. Also used vinegar to de-oderize diapers back when I was washing them.

In summer months use a clothes line to save electricity instead of the dryer. Walk or bike or use bus/subway to save on buying gas. Switch to fluorescent bulbs to save electricity. Turn down the heat and turn off the lights. Small things that add up.

Good luck, your grocery bill is very impressive.

http://www.amazon.com/Grab-Another-Bag-Cook-Book/dp/0942407660/sr=8-1/qid=1171394570/ref=sr_1_1/105-6867035-2480423?ie=UTF8&s=books This is a cool book.

when you are cooking, cook something that can be reused (sounds odd I know). Make a ham, then use the hambone to make splitpea soup the next day. Roast a chick and use the bones and leftover meat to make chicken noodle soup.

Use the crockpot and freeze stuff so you can eat it later if you don’t feel like cooking or at at your budget.

Use torn nylons for head bands when washing your face. There are all kinds of things you can reuse.

I get all of my canned goods at the Grocery Outlet (which I’m sure you don’t have), but sometimes there are places that are cheaper for certian things. Shop around.

One thing that is a bit of an investment, but is well worth it and will definately save money in the long run is a vacume sealer. Now that I have one I buy chicken, meat, cheese in bulk, sepearate it and vacume seal. Before I seal I will put the marinade into the chicken, meat, veggies, etc. and when I want something I take it out and let it thaw durring the day. While it’s thawing it’s marinating so when i get home I thow it in the oven, make some rice and veggies and WaaLaa, dinner in 15 minutes. I never lable whats in the marinade so I’m always supprised, and it’s like someone else cooked for me. Plus buying in bulk saves money, and doing it that way saves time and energy.