What do you do to cut expenses down?

FarmerChick

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re-check all your current bills. find ways to cut costs. I just did this on cable/internet and saved money.

coupons. I do very well combining coupons and sales at grocery. 60-70% savings all the time. Once you stockpile a bit, you can easily shop sales and be very picky to find almost free deals on foods/everything.

can/preserve/freeze your own.

just stop spending. We are doing this. Just stop the $5 here, the $10 there, on junk.

lower thermostats. we do 66 in winter. when very cold I turn on my propane fireplace for that super nice warmth.

combine driving trips. be sure cars are tuned, tires inflated etc. for max efficiency.

sell things you don't need. I just did this and made $240 on 2 items. Christmas cash :lol:




the old saying-----watch the pennies, and the dollars take care of themselves. So true!!!
 

moolie

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First and foremost, we have a budget. That is huge to knowing what you are spending and learning how to economize. We pared our bills down to the very minimum and we don't use our credit card unless we are traveling, and then it gets paid off right away.

We cook everything from scratch, I can (water bath and pressure) just about every food you can think of keeping in a jar, and I make freezer meals with a modified once-a-month cooking method. We currently have a year's worth of fruit and veggies put by (canned and frozen) and about 2 months worth of meat and 4 months worth of grain--all bought in season or on sale/bulk deals. The freezer currently holds about 6 weeks worth of frozen dinners.

We garden and have the beginnings of a row of raspberry bushes and two apple trees. I saved seeds from this year's garden, took tomato plant cuttings for next summer, and brought my herbs indoors when the weather turned frosty. We compost and use it on the garden. We start our own plants indoors under fluorescent lights from seed.

We buy our food from local producers, mostly from the two year-round Farmer's Markets in town, and buy meat in bulk orders to save money. I have got to know the producers we buy from, and always ask for deals--the cheese/eggs lady knows me well and always points out the cheese specials. We shop the market at the end of the day and find great deals that way.

We use gasbuddy.com to find the best gas prices in town, and keep our car trips to a minimum--we ride our bikes in good weather and walk when there is snow on the ground as much as possible. We keep our thermostat low and don't use the air conditioner in the summer unless we absolutely have to (need it maybe a total of 10-14 days). We open blinds to let the sun in during the winter, and close blinds to keep the sun out during summer, and open and close windows in order to stay warm or let the cooling cross-breezes through.

We hang laundry to dry and only wash full-loads in the machine. We wear our clothes more than once and only wash towels weekly, sheets every two weeks. We use cleaning rags and cloth napkins. My daughters and I use home-made washable menstrual pads.

We use a reel mower and manual hedge clipper (like big scissors).

We each have a library card and go weekly. I bring home stacks of books every week: I check my "recommendations" on Amazon, then put library holds on the books I think I'm interested in and borrow them instead of buying. If I really want a particular book that I've test-driven via the library, I will buy it used if at all possible.

We re-use and recycle everything. We are real DIY people and make a lot of things that others would just go out and buy, often from other people's cast-offs. Almost all of our furniture was purchased second-hand, same with our vehicles, and we love thrift stores and used book shops. I sew/quilt, knit, and crochet, and we mend things rather than chucking them--we make things last. When things are outgrown by our kids, we pass them down to friends and family, and we take hand-me-downs in return. We print on both sides of a piece of paper, and make grocery lists on scraps before recycling them--cardboard, paper, receipts, you name it.

We make home made:

Bread and buns (hubs is our bread man)
salad dressings (different vinaigrettes plus mayonnaise)
mustard, relish, ketchup
Yogurt and kefir
Iced tea (sweet tea)
Laundry soap
Bar soap
 

BarredBuff

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Well here is my list.....

1. Grow most of our vegetables in the garden with the exception of a few things. Like potatoes, onions, and carrots. We have researched different ways to grow these and expect to have a good turn out next year. But you wouldnt believe how much growing a garden and canning saves. Its not very expensive, we either obtained the jars at a yard sale or had them so long they ve paid for themselves tenfold. We buy canning lids for the most part on the sales at the end of the year. We usually dont buy to many seeds because we use lots of open pollinated types. I figured it up one day at walmart and we had 170$ worth of green beans in our pantry for near nothing. So its very cost effective to can and preserve your own garden foods!

2. We buy on sale. If we are at Kroger or Walmart and its something thats on a good sale we buy regardless if we need it or not. And right now is a good time to buy on those sales. Several are going on because of the Holidays.

3. We buy in bulk. We just recently got into Sam's Club and have shopped there some. We bought things in bulk that were at a deal. Some stuff is not a deal. We get the Dog's canned food there, and some other things.

4. Have livestock. This can be a money saver if managed right but now we dont save that much but we should soon because we should be able to make our own feed soon. Hopefully anyway. Feed bills eat you up here, but you do save some money.

5. Make some cleaning supplies. This is usually a vinegar and water mix with some other ingredient. This is cost effective.

6. We recycle. We recycle or re use ourselves most everything. Usually burn the paper products but recycle cans and plastics.

I dont make our bread yet but I would like to start too. I make some of our butter. We will make soap soon.

Hope this helps, Im still growing and figuring out too!
 

Joel_BC

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We grow foodthroughout the outdoor growing season, and maybe about a month on the "shoulder seasons" on either side of it with our greenhouse. Corn, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, radishes, lettuces, kale, garlic, onions, leeks, cabbage family, carrots, beets, etc, etc... three kinds of berries, grapes, apples, pears, etc... hazlenuts, kitchen herbs...

For things we cannot raise, we save up money and shop on-sale, in bulk, or from the farm gate.

We can, freeze, and dry food for year-round.

We mend out clothes. Most of our clothing is practical, non-stylish, versatile, durable. We acquire about 25% of it from second-hand sources.

We save on gas and oil - mowing bracken, wild grasses, and other stuff around house & outbuildings, around the gardens, and on the hillsides - by using a small-engine walk-behind mower (no tractor or ride-it mower) and using a weed whacker. We also save by having no vehicle with more than a 4 cylinder engine. There is also a regional bus service that we can take for going and coming from town (for about 50% the gas, oil, and wear & tear cost of driving our car, and about 40% the cost of driving our truck) - good when the loads are small.

I have an adequate array of hand and power tools for carpentry, masonry, plumbing, welding, electrical work, painting, and outdoor homestead maintenance. I bought about one third of the tools at second-hand stores, pawn shops, flea markets, garage sales, estate sales. Otherwise, I try to take advantage of "sales" at building-supply stores. Meaning: we hire few services, doing 95% of our own work.

We share tools and equipment to some extent with trusted friends & neighbors. We also help our neighbors and sometimes seek their help (people power).

We buy music CDs by independent and regional musicians - but, with big-name groups & artists, we borrow CDs and sometimes make copies. We are sparing in attending ticketed entertainment.

We share books with friends and often buy second-hand books.

We've avoided beer, cigarette, and liquor habits. (I have the occasional social beer with friends.)

We eat at potluck suppers with friends nearly as often as we go to restaurants - and we don't eat at restaurants too often.

If we travel, we do it "modest" style.

We re-use/re-purpose all sorts of things.
 

Woodland Woman

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Around here the thrift stores are expensive. I do better to buy clothing on clearance usually 75% off when it is the end
of the season for the next year. I have always done this with kids clothes. I find clothes at garage sales too.

I grow as much as I can and then can it. Since people know I can they will give me extra fruits and veggies.

I make most things from scratch so few coupons do for me. The things I do use coupons for I wait til they are on sale and then I use
store coupons, manufactures coupons, and case discounts at the same time. I stock up when food is cheap and check expiration dates
and buy as much as think I will use from now till then.

I use veggie scrapes from the grocery store to help feed chickens. Eggs are such a good protein we make a lot of our meals
using them and therefore save money on food. I sell enough eggs to pay for their feed so anything we eat is free.

Instead of making laundry soap I just use a very small amount. If there is a stain I will treat it directly but the less soap you use
the less worn and faded your clothes will look. It is amazing how long I can make laundry soap last!

We try to fix as much as we can by ourselves. Thankfully my dh is very good at fixing almost anything.

When we need a big item I check garage sales, flea market and garage sales first. Then if I can't find what I am looking for I check prices and sales.
 

curly_kate

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Got rid of the cable & quit eating out so much. That saves more money that a person would think. I work at home, so I don't shop for clothes any more. And because of that, I'm working on ditching the data plan on my phone. Of course, that will involve getting rid of the smart phone because it "won't work" without one, at least according to Verizon. :rolleyes: So I'm looking for a "dumb phone" that's free. I'm also trying to convince DH to cut back on Christmas spending this year. We generally make a lot of stuff, but he LOVES to buy people "stuff" even tho we don't buy for a single person who "needs" anything. We're trying REALLY hard to have money saved by the spring to build a house, so I always invoke that when he starts talking about buying stuff.
 

FarmerChick

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hey Curly
any luck on how you are deciding to open that franchise or anything along those lines? just wondering.
 

saraltx

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- rent the cheapest place I could find in town
- keep the hot water in the house turned off most of the year
- never eat out
- exercise and stay healthy (keep medical bills low)
- have no cable/no TV
- have no a/c; only a fan instead
- have only a small space heater that I use in my bedroom when temperatures go below 40 degrees. Otherwise just wear extra layers
- unplug everything except the fridge and freezer when not in use
- don't leave the light on in more than 1 room at the same time
- have my own chickens
- supplement food with veggies from the garden (just started the garden last year, but hopefully it'll get bigger each year)
- compost
- use coupons only if I would have bought the product anyway (I think using coupons can cause people to ultimately buy stuff they wouldn't have bought otherwise, and ultimately spend more money)
- do laundry by hand and reuse the water to water the garden
- use the internet at the library instead of having home internet (well, I have home internet now because I take online classes, and going to the library for everything was no longer doable)
- combine errands to save gas, or use the bike (also, I do have to drive a lot right now, and I found out that going 60mph on the highway does indeed save a lot of gas)
- have no iphone or cell phone contract, but a cheap prepaid cell phone instead that I rarely use
- make my own shampoo, soap, and laundry detergent
- hang the laundry out to dry
- cut my own hair
- use makeup only when I have to (at work)
- don't spend any extra money for holidays
- buy used clothes and wear them until they are rags (at least around the house) - then use them as rags!
- Buy used textbooks. Get other books from the library
- obey the speed limit to avoid tickets ;-)
 

me&thegals

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1. Refinanced the house 3 times now, saving probably about $20,000 in interest over 20 years.
2. Savings account to pay for big purchases out of pocket (like a car this year, tractor for business) and therefore no interest paid out.
3. Heat house with wood.
4. Reduced electricity by line drying clothes yearround, CF lights, low usage.
5. Grow/hunt most of our own food. Barter/work for all dairy, bread wheat, beef, apples. HUGE savings for us! Plus earn many thousands/year on 1 acre in which the rest is sold through CSA, farmer's markets, local hospital. Can, freeze, dry and otherwise process much of that food to make bacon, sausage, canned goods, etc. Make almost everything from scratch (except crackers, some bread, tortillas, pasta).
6. Raise our own meat birds, chickens/turkeys/ducks for eggs. Sell more than enough to cover all costs, plus earn several thousand more each year. We eat the eggs/meat free.
7. Forage for a LOT of berries, asparagus, mushrooms. Make jam from foraged berries and sell for $5 per 1/2 pint, sell fresh for $5/pint and freeze many, many gallons for our own use.
8. Buy 90% of clothing used.
9. Make own laundry soap, bar soap, shampoo, dishwasher soap, lip/body balm. Sell enough to cover our costs, plus earn several thousand more per year.
10. Inexpensive and infrequent vacations. Many weekends visiting friends and family, many weekend excursions hiking, biking in local state parks or on our own land.
11. AC is broken, so didn't use at all the last 2 years.
12. No TV, tobacco, alcohol, rarely soda, cheap chips :)
13. Got rid of landline--now only cell instead of both. Not as much savings as first believed, but still a savings. Very basic phones--no data usage.
14. Use vehicles as little as possible and fuel-guzzling truck only when absolutely necessary. Farm car gets 40 MPG, my car 36 MPG.
15. Pack cold lunches for kids 4 out of 5 days, for myself every days. DH eats from home every day. Many of our restaurant meals are freebies at Culvers since we get so many of their coupons.
16. Books, DVDs, etc. from the library rather than purchasing.

Probably more, but I can't think of them right now: )
 

animalfarm

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Most of what other people have listed.

Pay cash for everything. No cash; don't buy it.

Don't go to the bank, that way we don't have any cash and can't buy it
.
Don't go to stores and you don't need money because you can't see anything you just got to have; out of sight out of mind.

Keep the credit card locked up at home at the top of a tall tree just above the eagles nest. Gotta be real desparate to use it.

Buy what we NEED or what someone else needs, when its needed and don't monkey around with the commercial Christmas gift buying spree. Come over for homemade hot apple cider and donuts anytime. The fact you want to visit is gift enough.

Don't go to the grocery store. They don't have anything I need anymore, and nothing I want that I can't make. Might need to go every year or so to keep the salt and sugar stash topped up.

Go to the feed store, because they feed the milk cows that feed us and quite a few other people by feeding chickens, pigs and calves and supply the dairy products. Don't have to go to the feed store if things got real tough.

Don't have TV. Wastes time and money and we have our own real life reality shows around here.

Use skype for phone calls, a cell phone with free incoming plan and no contract; we don't make calls. Walkie talkies around the farm and in town if we feel an urgent need to contact the significant other. The rest can wait.

Shop local. We have a small 2 horse town with a lumber store, pharmacy, and the feed store of course, only 4 min. down the road. That pretty much covers the important bits other then movies and they are so bad these days we don't bother with them much anymore.

We eat out a lot. The BBQ is just around the corner and a little past the well. We use a solar oven in the summer too. The propane oven in the house only gets used in the winter when the heat is serving two functions.
 

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