Ten Ways to Save Money

by M.D. Creekmore on April 30, 2012 · 54 comments

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Bam Bam

We are all looking for ways to save money. Every little bit helps. The more money we can save, the more money we have to put toward preps. In what follows I share some ideas that I’ve picked up that have helped me save money. These are ideas that I have implemented and which have worked for me. I am curious to hear your ideas. Let’s put our minds together and figure out ways we can save.

1. Stockpile groceries and hygiene products.

With the exception of some fresh fruits and vegetables, and milk I only purchase groceries and hygiene products when they are at their rock bottom prices. And even then I use a coupon. To get started with your stockpile, make a list of the items your family uses regularly. Then keep an eye out for sales. When an item your family uses regularly goes on sale, buy enough to last 6-8 weeks. If the price is really good, buy a years supply. Do this, and over time your stockpile will grow.

2. Make common items at home.

Before purchasing an item, ask yourself if you can make it at home. In the past few weeks I have learned to make laundry soap and dishwasher soap from basic ingredients like washing soda and borax. These turned out so well that I am stunned. Why didn’t I start doing this sooner? What other items can be made at home for a large savings?

3. Cook from staples.

Basic foodstuffs are inexpensive: beans, rice, wheat, oats, corn, pasta; and yet a multitude of dishes can be prepared from them. We have started a program of eating meatless dinners one night a week. Sometimes I will make a tuna pasta salad with veggies from the garden. Sometimes I will make bean and cheese burritos. The main thing here is to cook with real ingredients instead of buying processed foods. If you buy staples in bulk, you can save even more money. I am so impressed with folks who make their own bread on a regular basis. This is one of my aspirations.

4. Grow a garden.

Gardening can save a lot of money. From March until December, I can usually count of some kind of vegetable from the garden. (I am still learning about growing winter gardens.) During the summer months, the veggie for the dinner plate is often as simple as sliced tomato. If you have onions and cucumbers as well, make a tomato, onion and cucumber salad. Plant some yellow squash and zucchini and you will have plenty of veggies for dinner.

If you do not have room for a garden, you can still save money by eating seasonally. Ever notice that watermelons cost $8.99 in April but by the end of May they are going for $2.99? Buy at season’s peak and save money.

5. Can produce from your garden.

Eating seasonally saves money. Canning produce when it is available at rock-bottom prices (or free from your own garden) also saves money. I am down to my last pint of mango chutney. Right now mangos are going for $1.99 a piece. Next month they will be two for a dollar.

If you are new to canning, start with water bath canning. You can make bread & butter pickles, salsa, chutneys, relishes, jellies and preserves. Once you master water bath canning, you can take the next step and start pressure canning beans, meats, soups and other low acid foods. I am just amazed that folks will spend $12 for a can of meat—you can pressure can your own meat for less than $2 a pint.

The best thing about canning is that you’ve got all kinds of Christmas presents ready to give away. A nicely decorated jar of bread & butter pickles is always appreciated.

6. Buy clothing and other items off-season.

By March, stores usually begin to put winter clothing on clearance. You can pick up winter clothing at half price. This is the time of the year to buy winter coats, thermals and sweats. Buy them and put them up in the closet. When cold weather comes around again, you will have something new to wear or to wrap up to put under the Christmas tree.

Do the same thing with summer clothes. If you wait until the end of July or the beginning of August, you can catch some great sales on summer clothing.

7. Pack lunches and snacks instead of eating out.

There are two things I avoid when I am out and about: vending machines and coffee shops. I refuse to pay $5 for a cup of coffee.

It is much wiser to plan ahead and pack a lunch or a snack. If you wait until you are starving and pass by the vending machine with candy bars for only $1 it’s easy to give in to temptation. If you plan ahead, you will have healthy snacks on hand so that you don’t get hungry enough to be tempted by the vending machine.

Do you get sick of the same old meals? Here’s an idea. Get a map of the world and a cheap set of darts. Pin the map to a garage wall. Close your eyes, and throw the dart at the map. Whatever country you hit is the cuisine for dinner. You can do the same thing with a stack of international cookbooks. Close your eyes and pick a book. Randomly open the book. Whatever page you open to is what you cook for dinner. Few people can actually say they have cooked Szechwan Duck. (Note: Although you would most likely have to go to the grocery store to purchase some ingredients, you would still spend less money than you would if you were going out to eat.)

8. Take care of what you own.

Buy the best quality you can afford and take care of what you own. You will pay more for higher quality merchandise. But quality is worth the extra expense. When I am looking to purchase something, say a kitchen utensil or a tool, I want something that is gong to stand up to wear and tear. If the item breaks in a couple of years and I have to replace it, how much more will I have to spend in the long run? It’s better to go with quality from the start.

The second part here is to take care of what you own. The two biggest ticket items for most of us are our homes and our vehicles. If homes and vehicles are properly maintained, they can last a lifetime and beyond.

This is also a good place to note that maintaining your health will save you money. We all know that we should eat right and exercise. But vaguely stated ideals do little in our day-to-day affairs. Here are some ideas: when selecting a snack, choose a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar. Drink unsweetened ice tea or water instead of soda. Don’t just say, “I am going to exercise more this year.” Say, “I am going to take the dog for a 20 minute walk after supper each evening.” And do it.

9. Barter for things you need instead of buying them.

Everyone has some skill or product that can be bartered. I can a lot of different products. Many of these things are inexpensive and easy to make. I have recently begun bartering home canned products for free-range eggs. Bartering is a win-win situation. The person on the other end of the deal is getting a good product. And I can rest assured that I am helping my local community.

10. Go in for free entertainment.

It does not cost an arm and a leg to have a fun-filled family outing. Spend a rainy afternoon making a list of activities that do not cost money. Here are a few: hiking, swimming, bike riding, taking a picnic. You could go to a museum or a community concert. Check out your local community calendar for a schedule of events in your area. You can often find festivals, play and concerts. Play cards or a board game. Bake some cookies. Visit your local library; check out books and DVDs. Take your dog for a long walk. Go hunting for arrowheads. Go bird watching.

Call your local extension service and see if they have any free classes. Take a class. Volunteer to teach a class. This is a great way to learn new skills such as cheese making, soap making, canning, gardening and composting.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Stealth Body Armor Level II vest courtesy of SafeGuard ARMOR™ LLC and a $150 gift certificate for Wolf Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner.com   A total prize value of over $600.

Second Prize) Winner will receive a Wise Essentials Kit courtesy of LPC Survival and an EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves.. A value of over $300.

Third Prize) Winner will receive copies of both of my books “31 Days to Survival: A Complete Plan for Emergency Preparedness” and “Dirt-Cheap Survival Retreat: One Man’s Solution”  and a Katadyn Siphon Water Filter courtesy of Mayflower Trading Company.  A total prize value of $107.

Contest ends on June 5 2012.

54 comments

Cold Warrior April 30, 2012 at 9:40 am

Super great advice in this article.
My wife and I have done every one of these things for the 30+ years we have been married. When we married we had $500.00 in the bank. After many 16 hour days and 6 day weeks, our net worth is well over 1 million.
That’s not to say that this will happen to everyone, but pennies saved become nickels, and nickels become dollars if invested right.

I’m not trying to brag, because it’s by God’s grace that we are so blessed, but for young couples starting out, the sooner you start counting your pennies, the better/safer off you and your family will be.

Bam Bam April 30, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Cold Warrior,

Thanks for the nice comment on my article. I would be interested to hear what else you and your wife do to save money. What things do you all make at home? I am learning how to make bath soap at home. In my research I learned that commercial soap making process removes the glycerin from the soap. They do this because they can sell the glycerin on the side and make more money. But the soap that’s produced drys out your skin. And then you have to buy moisture lotion. So by making bar soap at home I save money by not having to buy commercial soap and by not having to buy a lot of moisturizers, like face cream and hand cream.

Cold Warrior April 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Can’t say tht we have ever made our own soap. Unlike many of our neighbors, we clean our own home, do our own laundry, cut our own grass, and do oil changes on the cars.
We haven’t had a vacation in 3-4 years, don’t own an x-box, TVo, cell phone, snowmobile, boat, custom car, or motorcycle. We pay $15.00/month for basic cable. We never go to the movies, but look for $5.00 DVD’ instead.
If we drink, which is seldom, it’s hard liquor, as good beer and wine can get costly.
Some what we save goes to “The Church” and some to an aged couple in the family.

village idiot April 30, 2012 at 3:17 pm

When you perfect it, I’m hoping you will post your method for making bar soap at home, Bam Bam. I’m making the laundry and dishwasher detergent now, and would love to make soap as well.

Bam Bam April 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm

VI,

I will write up an article with pictures when I get the process down. Right now I have been acquiring the stuff to make it and reading books from the library on soap making. I can’t believe we buy soap that dries our skin and then pay for lotion to moisturize our skin.

Clippins April 30, 2012 at 10:24 am

Bam Bam, this post is right on point. This is a good article to have the ‘on the fence with prepping’ spouses read. All very good points.
Clippins.

Yadkin Girl April 30, 2012 at 10:34 am

Bam Bam,

Good article.

I agree on buying quality and taking care of what you have. It may cost more initially but you never have to buy it again. I also try and avoid “impulse” buying – it almost never fails that when I do this I regret it!

Personally, I can’t stand processed food. I would rather have a PB&J sandwich before I would eat most of that stuff! Cooking from scratch not anly saves money but it is much more healthy.

As for baking bread, it is not like how your grandmother did it – knead, knead, knead – just take the leap and you will find out it is fun and rewarding!

Bam Bam April 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Yadkin Girl,

I would love to make bread regularly. I did for a while. But then my family got fat and complained.

Spook45 April 30, 2012 at 10:38 am

Discounted shopping! We have a place locally that is an ESSEX trucking outlet where they sell all of the stuff they get stuck with in the trucking industry. PRetty much anything hauled by truck is subject to turn up in this place. Clothes, furniture, outdoors stuff(camping, hunting fishing and even some survival stuff) electronics, home stuff(sinks, faucets, electrical outlets ceiling fans) I mean they have everything, even some auto parts. ITs a treasure hunt everyday nad the longer stuff sets on the shelf, te cheaper it gets. I went a similer store up in VA for wilson trucking and its amazng the deals you can find in these places. For instance, I sure everyone here is familer with the Becker BK 2 or the Becker companion. They retail for around 112 and the average price is around 89. I found one for 36.99, it was 40 OTD after tax. What a deal. I shoot a lot, this wk I got a 100 count sillouette targets that show the vitals. Retail around 70bux, I got the whole box for 23. The list goes on.

Michele April 30, 2012 at 11:24 am

Another money saving idea – if you have a woodstove (or fireplace insert with glass doors) is to use ash to clean them – yep, ash. I take a piece of newspaper, wet it, dip it in some of the ash in the woodstove, and wipe the window. Takes all that black stuff right off. I usually have to use a wet paper towel to get off the last of the ash stuff, but in seconds (and free) the window is sparkling clean – without having to breathe all that nasty spray stuff.

village idiot April 30, 2012 at 11:37 am

Good common sense article, Bam Bam, and all the info in one place. I also think one should take advantage of the things that are basically free. I killed six deer last year and the costs were minimal. I paid $35 for a combination fishing and hunting license and used less than a box of 20 shells for practice and hunting. The meat is healthier, too. Small game hunting and fishing are other options as well. We also gather as much as possible from the wild, such as plums, mayhaws, possum grapes, blackberries, huckleberries, peaches, pears, apples, persimmons, pecans, etc. State Parks and National Forest lands are full of these goodies. Just be discreet and polite. We have a couple of State Parks we go to that the rangers know us well and allow us to pick what we want. We just make sure to leave some for them, and do nothing to harm the forest. No litter, disturbed grounds, or damaged trees and bushes.

For people who don’t have a garden, picking on halves is also a strategy. Some people who have large gardens will allow people to pick the produce and get half of it with the owner getting the other half. I’ve done this numerous times. Look for a big garden owned by older people. They are usually very generous, and will agree to this arrangement. Win-win. Think outside the box.

Bam Bam April 30, 2012 at 2:05 pm

VI,

These are great ideas. I never thought about scouting about for fruit trees on public property. I also never thought about scouting out old people’s gardens. But I bet you they would love to have a young person around helping to do some of the heavier work in exchange for some of the produce. From my experience at the old county store the old folks really like to talk and pass on all their knowledge. They are genuinely excited when a young person is actually interested in what they have to say.

village idiot April 30, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Yes, you said it exactly, BamBam. Older folks are always very excited for someone to visit, and it’s amazing how open and hospitible older people are when someone is interested in what they have to say. And almost every older person I’ve ever known loved to pass their wisdom on to a younger generation. We all ought to take a little more time to visit and listen. And learn. Thanks for a great article.

Harold May 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Sure wish my kids and grandkids felt that way. I can see them just tuning me out when I try to impart some knowledge to them. I usually get a flippant reply of “why go to all that bother, just go to the store and get it.” Only problem is they want me to buy it for them and buy their lunch also at a fast food place.

Cold Warrior April 30, 2012 at 1:45 pm

A couple of others things to do.
#1 only use a credit card if you are sure that you can pay off the balance each month. Then it becomes an interest free loan.
#2. Buy a good used car and drive it until the wheels fall off. I’ve got a 14 year old SUV and the Mrs. a 8 year old sedan. Neither are ready to be replaced.
#3. I give myself a buzz cut instead of going to a Barber, while my wife does her own nails, instead of going to a salon.
#4. My wife makes most of her own costume jewery from supplies she purchases at the local craft store.
5# We almost never eat out, for what I would pay for meal out, I can grill a steak at home and have a Martini to boot.

DJV April 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Bam Bam, great article! For those of us who are in the habit of doing things as ecomically as possible, some of these things may sound obvious, but for folks who may just now be finding themselves in a financial crunch, it may be news. But I’ll say this, for those of us who already know alot of how to save, it’s always good to have a refresher course! And it’s motivational! Thanks so much for your time in writing this article. I’m printing it out for my notebooks!

Bam Bam April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm

DJV,

I am always looking for ways to save money. I am hoping to pick up a few more ideas from everyone’s comments.

DJV April 30, 2012 at 2:30 pm

And as for your comment about making bread, I too, wa making all of ours and I gained weight! I haven’t stopped making it, but I’m trying not to eat as much of it!

george April 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I do a lot of these things and am working on doing more in the future. All of the last 6 vehicles I have owned have all had over 250,000 miles on them when I got rid of them. Of the three I have now , the newest one (all purchased used) has 125,000 on it the other are over 200,000 miles, I don’t believe in car payments but I do believe in good regulare maintenance, it is money well spent. The only clothes I have payed full price for are socks and underwear ( and I usually buy when on sale) the rest is always bought at clearance, or thrift stores, I just love the Dillards clearance center by six flags in tx when I visit my sister. I have bought nautica, tommy hilfiger etc at prices of $5-10 for each peice, but I usually prefer the Dillards house brands which are even cheaper if you catch them right. Plus I love yard sales and estate sales and auctions , you can pick up stuff for pennies and even free sometimes.
And I agree with you 100% Cold Warrior I can cook a steak way better at home than any I have ever eaten at a restuarant, plus have an extra martini and not have to worry about driving home. Okay enough of this I really have to stop checking this site on lunch and need ot get back to work!!!

Sparrow April 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Great Article BamBam!
I love your ideas of free entertainment. And I have not tried canning yet, nor making soap. There is also ‘kick the can’ icecream’ (online instructions), which can be very healthy when made yourself, tastes great, and a fun game to make it.

So much traveling has brought a wealth of yummies from parks, like village idiot; and I’m learning new ones. Mushroom hunting in Omaha, NE. Walnuts, apples, and huckleberries in IL, Kiwi and Blackberries – oh my enough to make pies and have them for breakfast every morning with so much left over for everyone, in Oregon. Even Dandelions are great in salads and are rich in vitamin-A, C, iron and calcium, and are purported to help diabetes, cancer, and liver function. There are local herb classes in almost every area – though i think there is a cost.

Bam Bam April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Sparrow,

My folks have an ice cream machine up in the attic. They said I could have it if I could find it. Now that would be a project.

FarmerKin May 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Bam Bam,

Ice cream is easy. I can help you with that when you find the machine, if you like. Any idea if it is hand crank or electric?

When I was a kid we had a hand crank machine. We would all take turns, starting with my little brother because it was easy to turn at first. I got second shift, then my mom and then dad. Quite a work out … but fun too … with a reward at the end.

Sometimes we would make it when we had company over and would incorporate everyone (smallest to largest) into the rotation.

Nice article. Especially like the “take care of what you own” segment. I grew up knowing I had to take care of what I had, because otherwise I would be without … unlike the kids today, so many parents will just keep replacing their stuff for them.

Bam Bam May 2, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Farmer Kin,

Next time I go up to visit my folks I am going to get the one out of the attic. It’s an old hand-crank ice cream maker. I absolutely love peach ice cream.

Amateur Gardener April 30, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Great article. As for #8, a friend still drives her 1987 Celica – just emailed me last week to say it has over 193,000 miles and still going strong. Not sure my 2003 vehicle will last as long but we’ll see. :)

Bam Bam April 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Amateur Gardener,

I had to buy a new truck in ’97 because I hit a deer in my old one. That truck is still humming along. Soon my truck will be older than most of the students I teach. LOL I did pull out my cell phone one day in class and they were amazed to see a phone with buttons.

Mother Earth April 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I do most of the stuff listed. The nearest store is at least 45 min round trip, so it pays to store as much as I can. I try to do quarterly runs to Costco on top of buying on sale items. I do have a big garden every year and continue to plant fruit trees and bushes.

A couple of things I also do; order cherries from a local farm market. They bring them fresh from Michigan. (my tree doesn’t supply all the demand yet) that way I get them bulk and divide and freeze. Another suggestion, if you know a truck driver or someone who travels a couple times a year, they can bring you produce in a return trip. For instance, I have a family member who drives to Florida very year in may/June and I have her stop and buy boxes of peaches for me on her way back. Living in Ohio makes getting fresh peaches from Georgia a treat and is much cheaper/better than the store. Btw, people will mock you for canning and preserving in my experience. My reaction to someone mocking me for canning tomatoes was to tell them “I prefer my tomatoes without fly eggs and maggots”. And yes, I am sarcastic when pushed. Luckily, no one knows just how much I preserve!

Bam Bam April 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Mother Earth,

I have never been mocked for canning but my study is beginning to look more like a pantry than a study. I’ve got as many jars as I do books. Unfortunately, the jars are all in cases and stacked up all over the floor. I really need some way to organize my cases of home canned goods.

Mother Earth April 30, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Bam Bam, I feel your pain! I have cases of jars all over part of my basement. I out grew the shelves last year. With all my other preps, I’ve got a serious need for a lot of shelves.

I’ve been asked more than once over the years why do I can when I can just buy it at the store. It’s just easier to talk about the health benefits.

Rex J. April 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm

BamBam,
Just one thing to say; GREAT ATRICLE!
Rex

Kelekona April 30, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I’m still not that great at saving, but I do have some odd habits.

I own two pairs of wearable jeans that I will wear until the inner thigh frays, and then I will keep wearing them on days that I don’t leave the house until they become too ripped to answer the door in. (Having two decent pairs instead of one inside and one outside pair certainly seems to be adding to their life.) I also don’t wash anything above socks and underwear every single time I wear them. (Actually, considering all of the aged denim I have hoarded, I should try patching my house-jeans as soon as they reach that point.)

I also tend to go seasonalvore on the fresh foods. Tomatoes are expensive, I’ll go with canned. Everything else is price dictates diet. I really need to do a small study the the merits of bone-in versus boneless meat, though I do crock the bones for stock. I would mention eating smaller meals saves, but I can’t seem to keep myself from going into the 2,500 calorie excess.

Somehow I tend to not spend much on self-care products. I determined that I would have to chop off a year’s growth of hair to go shampoo-free. I don’t cut my hair at all and one bottle of shampoo lasts a pretty long time. (I don’t buy the cheapest shampoo, I gotta pay 2-5 dollars per standard bottle to get any sort of worthwhile quality.) I cut my husband’s hair because I can usually get his style right.

I just read an article on how to keep yourself from buying unnecessary items. Sorry, can’t remember the article or the gist because I developed a mindset and it’s working for me. Though the side-effect is that I tend to dramatically apologize for doing things like spending an entire $8 on random useless oddments from the thrift store. (Basically I try to convince myself that I cannot afford a single thing that I don’t need and then go small when I do break that rule.)

I have determined that I cannot wear really cheap shoes, but practical mid-range shoes give more mileage per dollar, equaling several years of use, and are sometimes worth getting repaired.

Justin Mountford April 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I think we are in a dangerous race to zero. It seems daily deals sites and $2 phone apps as setting the expectation that if it’s not heavily discounted or super cheap then don’t buy it, for obvious reasons this is very bad for the economy. If a race to zero plays out companies won’t be able to compete with cheaper “off shore” companies more local jobs will be lost, we are already seeing this.

I love the money saving ideas and I think more than ever we need to reduce reliance on the supply chain, however won’t it simply be adding fuel to the economic fire if people all of a sudden stop buying the basics??

Food for thought
Cheers,
Justin.

Bam Bam April 30, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Justin,

I think most folks don’t have a problem paying for quality. I just have a problem paying for stupid. For instance, we were in Sam’s Club last week and saw a (large) bottle of Tide for $24.99. You can make five gallons of laundry soap for about $3. I think so many of our manufacturing corporations have gotten so top-heavy (too many vice presidents) that the quality does not justify the price. If these large corporations collapse, that is just capitalism. Smaller, leaner businesses with a better product will win out.

TN Sam May 1, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Bam Bam thanks for the great article. Where do you get the information for making your own laundry and dish detergent? I’m kind of hesitant (sp) about using just any recipe for them off the internet. Would you be willing to share what has worked for you? I’m for anything to save money. Thanks
Keep the Faith

Bam Bam May 1, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Sam,

It’s real easy. You need three ingredients: borax, washing soda and bar soap. I use Forty Mule Team Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (NOT baking soda) and Fels Naptha. All ingredients can be found at Walmart in laundry/cleaning isle.

Grade bar soap. Put two quarts water on stove. Dissolve bar soap in hot water. While grated soap is dissolving put warm water in five gallon bucket with lid. When grated soap is fully dissolved pour into five gallon bucket. Add one cup borax and one cup washing soda. Fill remainder of bucket with warm water. Let sit overnight. The next morning the laundry soap will turn to a gel. The only thing about using homemade laundry soap is that you need to stir it each time before using it because the ingredients will separate.

Justin Mountford May 2, 2012 at 6:08 am

Hey Bam Bam,
Your comment: “I think so many of our manufacturing corporations have gotten so top-heavy (too many vice presidents) that the quality does not justify the price” is so true and really the heart of the problem…..
I hope the smaller guys can rise up, but it’s being made very difficult esp in manufacturing to match costs and make anything effectively without “offshore” it to much, much cheaper labour.

jr from ar April 30, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Bam Bam,
Great article….As a new pack member I proud to absorb any and all info I can. I have been doing alot of those things over the years, much to the credit of my little tightwad princess wife…I am excited to see what next I can pick up here!

livinglife April 30, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I have always been cheap except for key items. I buy clothes two months after the ‘season’ is over or later. Easily save 50-75%. Same with hunting and outdoor gear. Cabela’s bargain cave is a great place also. New years Eve or day before are some of the best bargains, day after sales still have profit.
I will buy good shoes and boots, they are investments and will last longer.
Buy a quality gun and ammo. The difference between a sub 1 moa and 2-3″ group at 100 yards is still a kill. I have a long range rifle and one for close action. Bulk ammo is cheaper. Reloading your used bulk ammo brass is cheaper still and not really complicated.
Sadly we have become a throw away society, trends and fashion tell people to ‘upgrade’. T shirts and blue jeans!
Many stores offer non advertised specials certain days to draw people in, check around.

JP in MT April 30, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Bam Bam:

Although I don’t do everything on the list, I do many of them. Since I left the conventional workforce, he have taken a drop in “disposable income”. However I think our quality of life has gone up. I saw that things, economically speaking, was going down, We desired to do with less. Since then, we have significantly increase our self reliance and dropped need for cash.
It has been great. Thanks for the suggestions/reminders.

Prepper RN May 1, 2012 at 2:03 am

I am a tightwad and saver, always have been. I am debt fre except for my home. Drive a used car and make a lot of my own stuff when I can. I have alsways liked the taste of my cooking more that the store bought, processed or restaurant food. I have been on my own sice the age of 18, put myself through college. Have a good paying job. I like security and no debt more than a new outfit or new car. I like knowing that when I have a need, like a new furnace that I just bought, that I can pay for it and even got the price down an extra bit.
I love the home made laundry soap. (TIP, take your emersion blender to the concoction and it does not seperate.) I use octigon soap to make a liquid dish soap with as well. I coupon and do all the other things from the article. I mostly miss out on the tage/garage sales though. I work every Fri-Sat-Sunday, 12 hour nite shifts. But I make more money with this schedule and there are plenty of other ways I find bargains.
Thanks for the great article.

Prepping Preacher May 1, 2012 at 7:37 am

locate and browse local salvage stores… there are 2 in my area within 5 minutes of my home… “big box” stores are good but very often the salvage comes from them at these discount outlets… yes, oftentimes the packaging may be damaged – hence the reason for salvage – but if i can buy the same product for 10 – 30% less, i certainly will… just Saturday, i purchased 12 – 28 serving cans of potato soup(no damage to any of the 12 cans) for $3/ea which would normally cost $5 – $7 ea. also today picking up a bag of lime and discounted 6pk of synthetic motor oil for my p/u… the lime is for my outhouse on my b.o.l. till i can get septic installed…

JayJay May 1, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Many of these are just common sense; I just bought Joe Boxer pjs priced 27.00 a set for $2.
As matter of fact, I buy nothing full price!!

JayJay May 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm

And books at Goodwill are 50 cents.

Prepping 101 May 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm

So many people forget the incredible saving you get from putting food in the pantry you are going to eat tomorrow at today’s prices. With food constantly going up in price, it may be the best investment you ever make.

Donna H May 1, 2012 at 8:53 pm

You Go Girl, you realize saving money like this is actually making money from an old budget? I do what you do for the most part but:

I shut off my electric water heater. I take showers with water heated on my wood stove that heats my house in winter. In Summer I used the 150 foot hose laying out in the sun (solar heating) all day for showers, and inbetween, I heat water again on my wood fueled grill outside. Gives me $40 more a month.

One electric light in the house in use at a time-40 watts. The rest were my yard solar lights I brought inside in a jar, and old candles in a jar.

I used 1/2 packet ramen noodles with garden veggies, little cheese and a small dallop of sour cream for a meal. To save on fuel for cooking everything was made in one pot, or one pan. Cost of one very filling Ramen dinner was 45 cents. I kept my budget to $50 a month per person in food. I don’t use food stamps or assistence, I’m too independent. I grew a veggie garden and picked wild foods for free suppliments.

I went from heating with propane to heating mostly with wood with a wood stove. Our National Forest in my area allows a $10 permit for a year to take dead and downed wood. I made $1400 from my old budget a year with some work. In cold seasons I cook on it, dry my clothes near it, heat my bath water with it, and heat my 1200 sq ft home.

I made fewer trips to the store with buying in bulk, saving me lots on gas.

What new clothes? I only bought new undies and socks…the rest was Good Will and rummage sales, etc.

I got creative in cooking from scratch, buying 2 old brown speckled bananas for a dime for banana bread, making fruit cobblers from the wild berries, Squash pie from the garden, and finding many ways to cook fresh caught fish from the lake. …I made iced fruit teas from low priced walmart bag tea and juice left from canned peaches. I didn’t buy Starbucks $4 iced coffees, I made them for 20 cents and mine tasted better. I developed NUKE potato chips in the micro, and home made carrot noodles from scratch, and baked my own bread- Sourdough hard crusts with soft insides.

This all was not always of choice, but mostly out of necessity.

Patti May 1, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Hey Bam Bam, Nice article! Thanks for sharing your tips.

breadmomma May 2, 2012 at 2:24 am

Winter growing information …Eliot Coleman is one of the country’s best growers…he has published several books on in ground green house, hoop house and winter garden..organic, sustainable and practical…with very little tools…check out his information..I went to his farm way up in Maine…he grows from August to May…market gardens…amazing and I tested his ideas in winter time Nebraska…using hay bales and cold frames I was able to grow greens and other vegetables year round…by using winter hardy greens such as kales, claytonia, mache, and others under coverings and cold frames, I would go out in 3 ft of snow drift, lift the lid and have an incredible amount of fresh greens, spinach, carrots, and such…amazing…

Bam Bam May 2, 2012 at 10:56 am

Oh Breadmomma,

I feel shame. There is no excuse for me now. I should have a beautiful winter garden here in Florida. LOL I am making progress. This year I grew everything from seed (except the tomatoes which I wanted to get in the ground at the end of February). We’ve had temperatures in the 90s for a month now. I am just glad my tomatoes and cucumbers have set fruit. Had I waited until March 12 to plant (average last freeze), it would have been too hot for my tomatoes to set fruit.

Mary May 2, 2012 at 4:34 pm

A lot of people think that they can’t save money because they don’t have any left at the end of the month. If you save it up front you can do it. Put 10% in a special account and live on the rest. Also keep a little spiral notebook and write down EVERYTHING that you spend for a month or so. You will be shocked at where it all goes–more goes for junk than you ever imagined. My SIL quit going to the vending machines because it was too much trouble to write it all down!! He saved a bundle just from that. Also lost 3 pounds that month. A friend found out that each time she stopped at the convenience store for gas that another $5 or $6 dollars went for junk food and drinks. She hadn’t even thought about how much went that way. Try it sometime and find out where it all goes. That makes it easier to save.

SurvivorDan May 3, 2012 at 11:56 am

Since I retired I have learned (with difficulty) to be more frugal both in my necessary and ‘recreational’ (Starbucks et al) purchases. Where was your article in 2008, huh ?!

Seriously, sound advice from an obviously knowledgeable prepper.

Never got going on my learn-to-can-stuff program. I’ll start by getting the basics at Walmart this week. Thanks for the motivator Bam.

Being from Hawaii, I love a good mango. Never met a mango based recipe I didn’t like. :)

Bam Bam May 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm

S. Dan,

Speaking of Hawaii, I was born in the pink hospital.

SurvivorDan May 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Ho-ho ! Local girl !

Bam Bam May 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Survivor Dan,

I didn’t know any of this stuff back in 2008. Back then I was living high on the hog. But not any more–budget cuts to education. What is the expression? “Necessity is the mother of all inventions?” With decreasing paychecks and increasing taxes, gas and groceries, I have had to cut back.

BTW, I have a great recipe for canning mango chutney. It’s great on black beans & rice, pork or chicken. And it’s an easy recipe for beginning cnners.

SurvivorDan May 3, 2012 at 5:10 pm

“BTW, I have a great recipe for canning mango chutney. It’s great on black beans & rice, pork or chicken. And it’s an easy recipe for beginning cnners.” U tease me….

Puh-leez giff to po’ mango eatin’ cama aina….

Bam Bam May 3, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Dan,

Here’s the recipe for mango chutney.

1 cup white vinegar
3 cups white sugar

6 apples, peeled and chopped
4 mangoes, peeled and chopped
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
2 cup onions, diced
1 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup ginger root, peeled and finely diced

2 Tbs. lemon juice
4 tps. curry powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. canning salt

Put vinegar and sugar in pan. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add fruits and veggies. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, boil gently for 20 minutes. Add lemon juice and spices. Cook another five minutes.

Process in water bath caner 10 minutes for half pint and 15 minutes for pint.

Yield: 5 pints or 10 half pints.

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