Miserly Tips Page 2:

Keep the inside of your computer mouse clean. Power off your computer and unplug your mouse from the computer. Turn the mouse upside down and twist around the little circle thing so that it comes off. You will see three sensors. They will look different depending on whether you use a PC, old Mac, or iMac, but there will be three; they roll around like little wheels. They will probably be encrusted with lines of dirt that look like stripes. Carefully pick off this dirt (don't use water) with a pencil, or with your fingers if you have small hands. The cursor will move more smoothly across the screen and the mouse will LAST LONGER so that you don't have to buy a new one

Submitted by: Rebecca Morris

Hair spray gets out ink stains on clothes. Just spray, rinse and wash. Several years ago we decided to splurge and get a family portrait. Nice big hefty price ( because we were young and did not know where to go for cheaper family pics.) We brought them home and I proceeded to separate them to send out to family. My daughter decided to make them look better by giving me a beard and mustache and her daddy long hair and her sister a new face all together. I was in tears, she was so tiny and proud. I called my mom and she said try hair spray. They were already ruined so I had nothing to loose. She said to spray and wipe fast yet gentle. It worked!!! There were still indentions were she pushed real hard but all in all I saved them. I do recommend trying a little spot first to be sure it wont damage the pics. On old family photos that the family members are not around anymore you probably should take them to
be professionally cleaned.

Submitted by: Lori in Pennsylvania

I have always been trying to find a way to organize my coupons so that I could utilize every coupon and remember under what title I put the darn thing. Well after many different ways of storing them I have finally found the way to easily find my coupons when I see an ad or see an item on the shelf that is on sale.

I bought a note card box and note card with letter tabs on them from A-Z. I file them under the manufacturer so that I never have to question where I put the darn thing just yesterday. And I never have to go through large stacks in the supermarket because having them filed by letter makes them all smaller piles to look through. I wish I would have thought of this before!!

Submitted by: Stacy in Toledo, Ohio

I go to our local newspaper and buy the end rolls. About $2 worth will last us over a year. I use it for wrapping paper (Christmas, birthdays...etc.), table coverings (for parties and wedding receptions), paper for the kids to paint, color and draw on. They LOVE it and so do I! Very inexpensive (cheap). The kids love to draw on the paper before I wrap the gifts. It makes things extra special for them too!

Submitted by: Kim R., Iowa

I'm not a mom, but I do like to recycle my food. my grocery store sells fresh delicious French bread at 4:00 in the afternoon for $0.99.. I'll add this to my meal for dinner. The next morning I'll have French toast, etc.. Usually at the end of the week its pretty much hard as a rock, I still can't bear to throw it away. That's when I'll grate it put it in a zip lock baggie, add seasonings and I've got bread crumbs for my recopies. Also I use to hate paying for a huge loaf of white bread that would go stale by the end of the week even after making several sandwiches. My brilliant idea is to make home made croutons, place leftover bread in a single layer in the oven with the temp on low for about a half hour, cut into cubes, drizzle salad dressing on them, place them back in the oven till golden brown, and voila. The best tasting croutons ever!

I have one more miserly hint. Always buy generic brand medicines. I'm a nurse and the hospital never ever would dream of paying for name brand meds, generic is the same thing, so was should you pay more for packaging?

Submitted by: Daphne, Las Vegas NV

Good food does not mean high grocery bills. I find I can make great meals economically when I have just a few basic, and inexpensive ingredients in my kitchen. I always keep on hand:

Onions Fresh Garlic
Celery Green Pepper
Turnip Carrots
Ground Cumin Ground Sage
*Thyme *Basil
*Oregano Bouillon Cubes
Ham or bacon scraps or ham bone
Olive Oil Whole canned plum tomatoes
*Grow your own cheap w/very little space
These ingredients stand as my base for most dishes including sauces
(great meal stretchers).

To sauté onions, garlic and basil I puree and add 2 large cans of whole tomatoes (.50 at my market currently), a little tomato paste and a little olive oil and I have an excellent marinara sauce for pasta, pizza, or any Italian dish. (It takes less than 30 min. to prepare) For soup or cooked dried beans my base is usually sauté celery, onion, garlic and sometimes carrots or green peppers. Add ham scraps or bouillon cubes, beans or vegetables, maybe some noodles and meat pieces and you're set.

For chili or jambalaya the base is sauté onion, garlic and green pepper. In a saucy beef or chicken dish I sauté a chopped turnip along w/onion and garlic and maybe carrots.

When I start with the right base I can make most anything. Casseroles begin w/ the base, add meat, veggies, and a cream sauce (melted butter and flour and milk). Mix w/any filler like noodles, cheese, potatoes or bread stuffing.

Herbs: thyme w/beef dishes or jambalaya; oregano w/chili; basil w/Italian; a little cumin is great in potato soup or bean soup; ground sage and thyme in chicken dishes.

Best rule of thumb: when seasoning add a little at a time and taste, or take a little from the pot and add new seasoning. If it tastes good, then season the whole pot.

Submitted by: Debbie in Pennsylvania

I make all of our family's bread from scratch! I don't really care for white bread, and the bread my husband and I like, Arnold brand, is so expensive that I decided to make ours from scratch. We save SO much money, and I love making it. I went online, found recipes on Breadrecipe.com (there are hundreds!) and on Sunday afternoons after church, I look forward to getting in the kitchen and lovingly mixing, kneading and baking our two loaves for the week ahead.

Instead of paying close to $3 a loaf for our favorite Arnold brand bread, I can make two loaves for $1.50 - that's even cheaper than some bakery stores' price! My husband loves my bread, and also loves how cozy it makes the house smell as it bakes. We use it for sandwiches, bread-with-dinner, and breakfast toast. We figure we're saving about $150 a year on bread alone, which will buy my plane ticket to Florida for Christmas with my husband's family this year.

Submitted by: Sabrina from Arlington, VA

I'm a SAHM of three girls, 4 year-old twins and a 3 year-old. In the process of re-doing their rooms and playroom to make them more conducive to little girls instead of babies, I found that I could put my diaper changing table to double use. As the girls had outgrown it, I had planned to sell it, only to realize that I needed some shelves in their playroom. Voila! Instant bargain, as I don't think I could have sold it for what new shelves would have cost. I just stored the pad that came with it. It's much wider and sturdier than other shelves at which I have looked. It holds lots of toys, and the shelves are "deep" enough for Barbie carriages and horses. And, who knows, I might have another baby one day and can use it again!

Submitted by: Alison in Locust, NC

When my daughter was born, I had boy clothes from my son, many of which were overalls (by then they had been made into shortalls). To use these for my daughter without making her look like a boy (she was a baldy for a long time, and a lot of these had airplanes or trucks), I cut the legs off and sewed a length of fabric around just under the bib, and she had some really cute dresses! The fabric could be a cheap remnant from the fabric store, garage sale, or from one of my ripped or otherwise worn out dresses from myself.

Another thing I do is cut out all the zippers, buttons, and elastic from worn out or ruined clothes with notions in good condition. That saves a lot of money, as sewing can become rather expensive. Just this morning I cut the top off a too-short sundress, folded over the remaining bodice, sewed it to where the skirt attached, and put in elastic from a pair of her leggings she'd ripped. Now it comes to under her knees, so she'll be able to wear it for a good while yet! Lastly, I buy or accept all offered comforters and quilts, no matter how ugly. I rip them apart and have cheap batting for new ones!

Submitted by: Michelle, Independence, OR

I am a mother of three children (all girls). They wanted to throw a surprise party for their father and they wanted to decorate as well. I having little to no money, decided to make a nice dinner, which I based by what was on sale and by what I had in the house already. I did not have money to buy decorations.

We printed and posters on the computer which the children designed. But the best thing of all is we made paper chains from construction paper I had bought at the dollar store. I had the children decorate every single piece which added a great personalized touch. We made sure we mixed up the colors. It took some time and work but the children loved the project. To my own surprise It looked much better that any streamers I have ever seen. We saved it and plan on using it on our next occasion.

Submitted by: Eve in Middletown, NY

In the part of the country I'm from, we have two great discount stores, The Family Dollar Store and The Dollar General Store. They have their own great brands at unbelievable low prices. For example, large boxes of store brand cereals, such as fruit loops, rice krispies, corn flakes and cheerios are only $1.00 a box. Family size packages of store brand potato chips are also only $1.00.

These stores carry everything from groceries to bath items to medicines to toys and gifts at great savings.

For children's birthday parties, I have filled a gift sack with items purchased from these stores: Casper the Ghost cartoon video ($1.00) coloring book (.50) crayons (.50) box of four hot wheels cars ($1.00) bag of assorted candies (1.00). The kids love these surprise sack, and I've only spent $5.00.

Submitted by: Debbie in Achille OK

I read where you were being asked for frugal landscaping ideas and thought I would share what we have done. For a $10 a year membership fee, the National Arbor Day Foundation will send you 10+ trees, plus put you on their mailing list to receive newsletters. They are great and even a brown thumb like mine can get them to grow like weeds!

Submitted by: P. Williams in Virginia

I save water (a precious natural resource) by putting a clean 1 quart mayo jar in the toilet tank. This saves a quart of water with every flush. We also invested in a water saving shower head and just love it. The new head has better pressure than the old one and we are using less water. I fill the second sink with hot water and rinse my dishes there instead of letting the water run. I realize that the water bill is usually the smallest bill and seems insignificant, but it all adds up and we are saving a resource too.

Submitted by: Karen in Indiana

This is just a frugal cooking tip. We have a lot of whole wheat (unground) on hand in our food storage. I like to use it to stretch my ground beef in recipes. I boil wheat just until soft and keep it in the fridge to use whenever I brown ground beef. If I am browning 1/2 lb. ground beef, I add 1/2 to 2/3 cups of cooked wheat as a filler. I also
generally brown onion with the meat. The meat and onion flavor the wheat and it takes on the same taste as the meat. We use this mixture in anything that calls for ground beef. It is inexpensive, low fat, and high fiber. (I have also substituted Grape Nuts Cereal to browning meat when I have not had whole wheat on hand) It has stretched our meat!

Submitted by: Angie in Mobile, AL

I freeze milk that I buy it on sale. I learned this trick when my husband was unemployed and my nursing daughter and I were on the WIC program. We were provided about 2 gallons of milk a week. That was way beyond our normal consumption so I began to freeze it in our big chest freezer.

We place the milk in the refrigerator to thaw. It will take a few days to thaw. The milk separates when thawing so we shake it to mix it a little better. We have found the longer you freeze milk the more it separates. So we only freeze about 3 gallons at a time--just enough to get us through to the next sale. It also prevents us from having to run out and get milk at the last minute.

Submitted by: Christine in Lafayette, IN

My husband, and I live in New York City, one of the most expensive areas in the country. High rents, high prices, and many window shopping temptations. I save money by using the internet for household purchases, taking advantage of the fact that there are currently so many competing internet retailers. For example, I find an
internet drugstore that is offering free shipping or a large discount.

Because these retailers are often located in the midwest, their prices are already much lower than NY City shelf prices. Plus I don't have to pay sales tax because the store is out of state. Lower price per product, no sales tax, and either free shipping or a discount! And I do my shopping at the computer in the evening when my baby is asleep so I don't miss out on quality time with her, I don't get tempted by store windows and displays, I don't pay $3.00 for a roundtrip subway/bus ride to the store, and I get to put my feet up!

Submitted by: Gigi in New York City, NY

I was spending $10-$20 on breakfast cereals every time I did the grocery shopping. After discussing with my husband ways of saving on the grocery bill, He agreed to give up his cereal for oatmeal (not the kind in the little packets that are full of sugar). We now are saving $20-$40 a month and eating healthier food!

Submitted by: Kirk Beebe

Almost all of my friends, and a good number of my relatives are avid bookworms like myself. Unfortunately, new book costs are prohibitive these days (I can really get into trouble given 10 minutes alone at Chapter's!), and even used book stores are costly if you read a lot, as many of us do. The library is a good option, but some of us do not have access to a car / public transportation as often as we would like. To save on books, my mother, mother-in-law, some friends and myself have formed an informal 'book exchange'.

All of us have a good store of books, having been avid readers most of our lives. To supplement these 'libraries' we all also buy books at 25 cents a piece from Goodwill or the Sally Ann on occasion, and sometimes receive coveted titles as gifts. Whenever we visit each other, we bring a sack of books from our personal 'libraries' we think the other may be interested in reading.

Conversely, the visitee might have a bag set aside for the visitor as well. The borrowed books may be passed back to the original owner, or, since we all know each other well, lent to another member of the book exchange ring and eventually given back to the owner through the last person who borrows the 'bag'.

We have found this informal book exchange to be enjoyable / beneficial in a number of ways, namely: (1) The big savings on book costs (free is always wonderful), (2) The greater access to a number of different types of books (my mother-in-law is an avid gardener, guess where I 'borrowed' last year when we put in our first vegetable garden?), and (3) We find we visit each other more often - primarily to 'exchange' books, but also we have interesting discussions about the books we have read, since both people have now read the same titles!

Submitted by: Su-Kim in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)

When grocery shopping, I use the envelopes that my bills come in to write grocery lists on (after the bills are removed and paid!). I turn them longways and put a list of what I want from each store under headings. Also, I usually like to divide the bills into 2 piles so I can determine which bills need paid which half of the month. I like to pay them before I head out to the grocery store....It feels great!! I also often scan the ads of all the local stores and pick which have several items on sale that I need. I only like to go to 2 or 3 stores to save gas and time, so if there aren't enough sale offerings at one store (for produce, meat and other perishables, non-coupon items) I'll choose another.

Finally, last summer I converted some unused basement shelves into a pantry for canned goods. I always store boxed items in large Rubbermaid containers so they won't get damp. I buy meats on sale and store in our freezer. If we have a blizzard or we can't get to the store, we always have plenty of food in storage!

Submitted by: Lori in Wooster, Ohio

One thing that also helps me stay away from fast food on those 'spontaneous' outings with the kids near lunchtime is to have pre-made sandwiches in the freezer. When I make lunch (usually PBJ) I easily double up with little added effort. I precut, put in zip lock sandwich bags and freeze. As we're running out the door for the next adventure I grab them and go. They're thawed by lunch, help keep the drinks cold, and the kids have never complained about how they taste!

One of the most helpful ideas for me was the doubling up and freezing dinners and cooking in large quantities. I've also started using bags for freezing and saving even tiny leftover portions (instead of feeling like I should eat it!). I didn't freeze meals for the last couple of weeks, and sure enough we've ended up having a couple of pizzas!

Submitted by: Beth More

I am a SAHM with 13 month-old daughter. A good and easy way to make a teether is to use a baby sock that's lost its mate. Turn it inside out, wet it thoroughly, and fill with an ice cube or two. Be sure to tie it in a knot so the ice cannot escape and that it is large enough so the baby cannot choke on it. Babies love the texture of the terry cloth.

A also read a great tip in Dr. Sears' Family Nutrition book. You can save lots of money by making your own baby food. Just grind fruits or vegetables with a baby grinder or blender and pour into ice cube trays to freeze. You can then pop out the amount you need for each serving. You can slow freeze the food in glass baby food jars, as long as you leave room at the top for expansion.

Submitted by: Lisa in Red Oak, Texas

My husband and I rarely used to go on dates, with the price of the sitter, the movie, and the dinner, it just wasn't worth it, instead we would complain all year and then come December, go to an office Christmas party (and pay the sitter a small fortune).

Well, that is no longer the case. We belong to a church with about 50 other families that have children about the same age as ours. After speaking to a couple of other parents we instituted a "kid's night out" for 5.00 per child, our kids get to have pizza and cool-aid, watch a movie, have popcorn, and play with each other from 6:00 until 11:30.

$2.00 from each child's pay goes to the entertainment and the balance of $3.00 goes to the sitters (usually High School girls that are also members of our church) Kid's night out is run once-a-month and we have sign ups each month so that we know how many sitters we will need.

This has been a win-win situation for us all, the kids feel like they're doing something special by getting to stay up late with their friends and the parents are able to have some quality time together without spending that months savings.

Submitted by: Tami Blackstone

I really like saving money and being frugal, but there are just some time that I feel deprived. I combat this by sharing books. I have three friends that have the same taste in books that I have. we each rotated our libraries to the next person. Then we started collecting books that all of us had read and traded them in at the used book store. Then we take turn passing them around. If there is any cost, it is also split four ways. I am a voracious reader, and this lets me indulge without spending a mint on book that I'll never pick up again.

Submitted by: Cheryl in Beaumont, Texas

I am a single Mom of a 10 year old son. I found that the cost of buying shorts each summer was outrageous! I decided that since his pants were okay except for the knees, I just made them into shorts! It's easy to do. Just cut them at the right length then hem them. He has more than enough shorts each summer and they can also be used as swim trunks because they cost a lot new also.

Submitted by: Kellee in Kitchener,Ontario Canada

Here are some miserly tips that I have been using for a long time. I hope you enjoy them!

*Instead of throwing out unusable pieces of veggies, fruits and breads I recycle them to make compost. I use molded bread, corn cobs, apple cores, and banana peals among other things. I just toss them in a large butter bowl add a little water and in a few weeks you have a wonderful rich compost for your garden and plants. (do not use any meat product or cheese, they will cause maggots).

*When cheese gets that dried out look to it, don't throw it away! Cut off the dry part and place in a baggie in the freezer. When it is full you melt it for veggies and soups.

*Kids are rough on shoes, especially the laces. When my kids walk on the laces until they are nothing but threads on the end I wrap them with clear tape. This helps with putting them back through the holes if they happen to come out.

*I make my soap go a long way. When the soap gets down to the "nubbins" and you can't use it any more, save them in a bowl. When it gets full add water to cover all the soap. Let sit over night and goo. Pour the goo into the blender and whip with more water. Add this to empty shampoo bottles to make liquid soap.

*Vinegar, Vinegar, Vinegar! Baking soda, baking soda, baking soda! Need I say more? You can clean with it, cook with it, and just about anything with it.

*Instead of buying a bag of ice for over a dollar to put in the cooler reuse your milk bottles. Fill them with water and freeze. Place in the cooler and it keeps for hours for longer trips.

*As a treat for breakfast make your own egg mcmuffins for the kids. Buy english muffins, eggs, bacon and cheese on sale. Make a batch of them and wrap in wax paper and freeze. Bake at 350 for 15 min. to serve.

I hope these help anyone out there looking to save money.

Submitted by: Brandy in Columbia, SC

Here is a tip that some of you may find useful...I've always been known to think ahead in terms of planning, but this one takes the cake! My baby isn't born yet, but my husband and I are planning for the years ahead in several ways. First of all, I am still in college (we live in family housing here at my university) and one of the perks of living on campus is that we still get free access to cable television. As we will soon be moving, I'm taking advantage of this resource while we can (we will probably not pay for cable later on). I purchased good quality blank video tapes on sale and checked my local cable listings for educational and entertaining, wholesome TV shows for kids. I wrote down the schedules and programmed my VCR! I'm concerned about the content of many shows these days, and want to carefully plan what our children watch. I've taped and neatly labeled many shows from the Disney channel, like the old classic Mickey Mouse and friends cartoons, various children's movies, and other educational type shows, such as nature shows on Discovery which feature baby animals, etc. If I have time, I watch the shows myself and edit out the commercials.

I feel that this will be handy when our kids want to watch some TV, because not only can we be sure of what they are watching, we can avoid overexposing our children to commercialism, thus keeping them from "needing" every toy they see advertised on television. Also, we save on cable costs, and avoid the expense and hassle of buying (at $20 each) or renting videos that our kids can watch! I bought four 8-hr. tapes for under $7.

Submitted by: Staci, Eugene, Oregon

Share plants with your friends and neighbors. We needed to redo a large bed in the front of the house...and we're dead broke right now (the heater died and we need to replace it). We used to spend hundreds of dollars on bedding plants that required LOTS of water during July and August.

My friend was redoing her garden and her hosta had gotten HUGE and out of control. She gave me 4 very large hostas...I sliced them into about 10 plants. I took some seedum and split it and replanted it in the front bed with the hosta. AND gave my friend some of it as well. These are perennials that will grow and multiply over the years (my seedum started out as three stalks given to me by a friend....I now have 8 plants in my garden..huge lush plants)

Submitted by: Sue in Cherry Hill, NJ

We bought our kids one those plastic swimming pools (K-Mart had it on sale half off!) because it will be cheaper than going to the public pool or running through the sprinkler. I like to keep the water clean, so we empty and refill the pool about twice a week. When we do, I use a large bucket to water the garden with the pool water. The pool actually holds enough water for me to water my entire garden well. The kids even like to help.

Submitted by: Jennifer, St. Joseph, MO.

If you don't mind the s on your screen, you can save $15 - $20 per month. Http://www.netzero.net was the first I heard about. Then there is Http://www.freei.net and also the K-mart store has http://www.bluelight.com. All can be downloaded. If you go to K-mart, they have CD's at their store you can pick up. They're free. The most recent I found was through a local TV station http://www.wjla.com. Check your area.

Don't forget, if you don't have a computer - go to your local library. Mine has internet connections. And you can always sign up for web-based free e-mail to keep in touch with friends and family.

Submitted by: Ava in Mechanicsville, MD

I am a SAHM of 5 (13, 10, 7, 2 and 1 years). Two of my kids play Little League baseball, so I am at games at least 2 days out of the week. I was getting tired of spending $1 for a hotdog at the ballpark or trying to cram in dinner after the game.

SOLUTION: for $12, I purchased 48 hotdogs and 48 buns. It took 10 minutes for me to cook them all on the grill, another 10 to stuff them into the buns. I put the dogs back into the bread bags and popped them into the freezer. I can take out a few and microwave them, wrap in foil, and place in a cooler.

We have hotdogs to eat on the road or at the game that taste just as good as the ones that are under the warming lights at the concession stand for a fraction of the cost. A friend told me to submit this, so here it is!

Submitted by: Ruth, Springfield, VA

If you can do some things in the morning, you can save in the garden. Try to water your potted outdoor plants or garden before 10 am so that the water won't just evaporate away quickly like it would in the heat of the day. Also, you can check the forecast to see if rain is predicted to see if you need to water or not. If it will be over 80 degrees that day, you should water your potted plants that morning. If it won't be that hot, you might be able to skip a day of watering. Same for watering the lawn, but we don't usually water it. If it dries out in a drought, it will come back again pretty quickly in the fall when the rain comes back. Very few spots will die out completely & you can reseed them in the fall in little patches. That's cheaper than a lot of water over time. Jerry Baker recommends not cutting the lawn until after 7 pm so that the lawn won't lose water. Also, the evening/night dew & temperatures act to "heal" the grass after being cut. He has lots of good tips for cheap & effective gardening also. He says use newspaper layers (3 or 4) covered with grass clippings for a great mulch. Pretty cheap & saves on watering later! I watch him on TV & tape his tips.

One more "morning" tip: if you fill up your car's gas tank in the morning (the earlier the better), you will get about 1 free gallon of gas per fill-up. That's because the gas in the tanks at the station expands during the heat of the day (especially in the summer). You get less for your money later in the day. They caution you not to "top off" your gas tank in the morning or your might have an expansion problem when it gets hot. I don't know if it would explode or not, but they say don't do it. At today's prices, a free gallon adds up over time.

My best tip is to use up food leftovers like they were gold. Make them the start for the next meal. When money is tight, use up all the canned goods etc. hiding in your cabinets & shelves. It's amazing what you can find. Also, when you want to decorate the house & have no extra money, clean your closets & drawers out. You will find all kinds of stuff you forgot you had & can use as decorative items. Think creatively! It's almost like Christmas with all the stuff you'll find. Bonus: you'll have some better organized closets, drawers, etc. Good summer project!!! Just do one drawer or shelf at a time so you don't end up with too much mess & get
discouraged. Have fun!

Submitted by: Carly, Monroeville, PA

I had a window in my car go out. ( meaning the motor that moved the window will not roll up or down.) I started to check around at the dealerships for a price and an installation and boy, it sure knocked me back. The window it self was about 94.00. To install was 389.00! So I started to check the junk yard. I was a day late and a dollar short, they just sold their last one which was only 40.00. BUT, they did recommend that I could get the window installed at another place even if I had to pay 94.00 to get the window part. I took the recommendation. To install the window at this other place was only 45.00. A total savings of 344.00. I was angry that I had to pay the 94.00. But 139.00 compared to 483.00 is a BIG difference! Check the junk yards. Ask questions.

Submitted by: Lisa from Memphis, TN

I too, love to garden and attempted to re-landscape our yard this year. I found that there are groups (ask around the neighborhood) that will get together every spring and have garden parties. Everyone invited brings perennials from their garden, if you are just starting you would bring a dish to share. When everyone is there, draw numbers and then pick from the perennials.

Also, in our area, we have some old farm homes that have been sold to developers and are being torn down and used by the Fire Dept. for practice. They have no use to the garden items around the home etc. Call to ask permission (or go and take your chances!) We SAVED hundreds of plants by doing this and putting them around our homes.

Or, last but not least, ask friends and family members if they have any unwanted plants or shrubs, or perennials that need to be thinned that you could use for your yard.

Submitted by: Lisa Tord

As a SAHM with two children ages 5 yrs. and 10 mos., I have two tips that have really saved me money and they involve things that can be expensive if you let them - clothing and groceries.

With clothing, I keep an eye out for end of season bargains. I have purchased my daughter's entire wardrobe for this coming fall and winter by doing this (with the exception of shoes, although I have begun buying those in advance as well). I will admit that you have to be good at "guessing" what size your children will be and this is easier for my daughter (10 mos) than my son, but it can be done! I have even purchased his backpack for next school year ($4 for a $17 backpack!) and am beginning to stock up on school supplies now so that it won't be such a shock on the budget in September.

With groceries, we have a chain discount store that honors the sale prices of the competition. By just skimming the ads, I have been able to save money on our grocery bill. This has been especially good for those "special" items that I don't normally buy but sometimes get a hankering for. Not only does this save cash at the market, but also
saves on time and gasoline (especially wonderful with the price of that on the rise) that would be spent driving around to get the sale items.

Submitted by: Holly from Ohio

Don't throw out the wrapping paper from gifts, even if they have sticky tape all over them. I cut it up into shapes and and it keeps my three year old busy on a rainy afternoon inside. He learns about shapes and what pictures he can make, while gluing them on to some old scrap paper. If there are characters on the paper, I cut them out and stick them on some old cereal carton cardboard, attach some wool/string and together we make a mobile to hang in his room.

Submitted by: Louise from Australia.

I have found that I go through a pair of hose, on average, every second wear. I found a great way to reduce that, and its cool. I am also pregnant and wanted to find a way to use nylons without buying expensive and temporary maternity hose. I simply switched to thigh highs! The pulls are less and the fit is comfortable. They are a bit cheaper too. And if you don't think they stay up, they do. I am overweight, before pregnancy, by 50 lbs and I doubted they would stay up but they do.

Submitted by: Donna, Lakeville, Massachusetts

I am a SAHM for 15 years with 4 children. On weekends we like to entertain ourselves with a video or two. Instead of spending a few dollars each weekend I use the internet to access our local library system and find movie titles we are interested in and place a hold on them. My library calls me when they are in and I pick them up on Friday so we have them for the weekend. We save quite a bit on this free entertainment considering we would have to spend anywhere from $4-$10 dollars for rent on these every weekend.

I also don't buy regular sandbox toys anymore either. I go to the thrift shop and buy bread pans, pie tins, kettles, dishes etc. for only about a quarter to fifty cents each. They being aluminum or sturdy plastic last for a couple of years and the kids love making muffins etc. with these grown-up utensils.

Submitted by: Cindy Offenstein

Left Over Soup ~ Whenever I have a spoon of vegetable left over (I cook from scratch), or a piece of meat, I put it in a container in the freezer. When the container is full, I put the contents in a crockpot and add half a bag of barley (if it's beef) or beans (if it's pork) and water. Seasoning is already in there because of everything being cooked before. This meal is less than $1 for the entire family. We have it once a month.

Submitted by: Ellen Winningham

just HAD to let you know--saving dryer lint is not TOO out there. It makes a GREAT firestarter. Simply put a "glob" of dryer lint in each section of a cardboard egg carton (save those egg cartons too). Then melt candle wax from old candles over the lint to cover and kind of seal the lint to the egg carton. Separate the individual egg sections and you have your firestarter. Simply use two or three of these each time you make a fire and I guarantee your fire will start easily--no newspaper needed. They also make a great Christmas gift. Decorate a paper brown lunch bag with some Christmas Trees, Snowmen etc., put a few firestarters in a tie with a pretty ribbon. Be sure to include the instructions because I guarantee your friend with fireplaces will love them!!!

Submitted by: Elizabeth D Amico

comment from a reader:
The firestarter is a good idea and one we use in Girl Scouting --- but we learned one thing the hard way... If you have pets - DON'T use the lint from your dryer... (pee-ewwwww)
Lori Howe

Rather than buy expensive dryer sheets, I make my own. I found a Tupperware pickle keeper (the one with the lift up center) at a garage sale. I fill it about a 1/4 full with liquid fabric softener and the rest of the way with water. Then, buy cheap sponges and cut them in half and soak them in the fabric softener solution. When you run a dryer load, wring out one sponge (not totally dry, but not dripping) and put it in the dryer with the clothes. When the load is dry, put the sponge back in the softener solution. This really works and is much less expensive than dryer sheets. You can use any brand that smells nice to you. You can even water the fabric softener down more if you like.

Submitted by: Leslie Leeberg

This tip is for people who would love to garden. Buy a couple of packages of seeds such as cosmos and zinnia's. In the fall harvest the seed pods when they start to turn brown. Viola! You now have 100s if not 1000s of seeds for next year. They make wonderful gifts and are so easy to grow. The first year I did this I was just amazed at how many I could plant the following year. If you love color and don't mind a little work this is the way to go.

Submitted by: Pam in Bristol CT

Being a homeschooling mom of 4 girls with another on the way, we need to save wherever possible. I have found that the www.priceline.com webhouse is fantastic! Just yesterday I got 34.00 worth of laundry soap and automatic diswasher soap for 17.00! When you log on for the 1st time, they give you 6 half price tokens but those are quickly used up. The trick to getting your prices is to purchase a larger quantity and IF they reject your offer, try again later. I have always had good luck there. Most local stores accept their cards, just ask at the store office for a priceline card, then follow the directions on the card. Also, if you are a homeschooler, utilize your local library, it's free and the resources are great!

Submitted by: Patty Cayten

We live in Alaska and the cost of living is high. I have learned REAL FAST to use homemade cleaning supplies (formulas found here online); I use up what's in my freezer; I make everything from scratch; I scour online sites such as this to find more money saving ways; I buy HUGE hunks of meat at dirt cheap prices and chunk it, grind it, slice it thinly -- to make LOTS of different meals. Chicken is always bought on sale.

My most recent accomplishment was taking old hand towels, trimming the edges and then cutting in various sized LARGE squares. Then stitched them back together (zig zagged) in a quilt fashion. I now have 3 large bath towels that are perfect for the pool, washing the dog, or just for the kids bathroom... they like the zany-ness of them. On one of them I had some black satin like ribbon and I spelled out their name (it was a short name...lol)... And of course the old towels worn to the threads were also recycled into new washcloths and the worn parts joined the rag bag. You never have to buy paper towels when you keep a rag bag around.

Submitted by: LJ Moeller

Recently I noticed that my children are going through twice as much milk. I don't know if you'll find this useful but I wanted to send it in anyways. Lately I have been stretching my milk by buying whole milk and mixing it half and half with Prepared powdered milk. My family is still getting the calcium and vitamins they need and I find myself saving the cost of 1 to 2 gallons a weeks.

Submitted by: Michelle Shouse

I've been a Miserly Mom for about three years now. I am still learning a lot, but find out something frugal everyday. My Miserly tip has to do with budgeting bills. As most of us are probably aware, the utility companies offer budget billing in order to better budget your outgoing monthly utility bills over the year by paying the same monthly premium. I take this one step further and make my own monthly budget for all my bills.

Here's how it works. I determine what my monthly outgoing bills are and pull the last six to twelve months worth of bills. I add up the monthly cost for all of my bills and divide them by the number of months. I take the average and add another five dollars as a cushion. The amount I come up with is the amount I pay each month. It's amazing how quickly you build up a credit on your monthly bills. I started doing this in March and by December, I had so many credits built up, that I went out and bought a beautiful (used) seven piece solid french pine dining room set. It's a great way to pay bills and save money at the same time, not to mention how much the companies like the fact that I'm always ahead. Sometimes I'll get notices from them stating that I don't have to pay them because I have such a large credit. I always pay them though.

Submitted by: Pasley Carol

When the Christmas season was done, I ended up just storing away old Christmas cards or even discarding them.

I have learned to reuse them the following year just by cutting off the picture (top) card. If the inside of the card has no writing on it, I simply used them as post cards by writing the address of the person I am sending it to on one half and a little message on the other half with the return address.

Instead of paying the postage of sending a card, you pay postage for sending out post cards. PLEASE NOTE: Do not send the same "postcard" back to the same party that sent you the card the previous year.

Submitted by: Lisa, Dearborn Heights, MI

I keep a running record of the leftovers that are in my refrigerator (everything from 1 serving of soup to half of a tomato.) Before preparing a meal or snack, I glance over the list to see if I can use one or more of the leftovers before they go bad. I use a small wipe-off board so as soon as I use the item, I can erase it from my list (a laminated piece of paper and a dry-erase marker would do fine.) Since I re-use a lot of plastic tubs that you can't see through, I used to forget about left overs all of the time. This has helped me tremendously by reminding me what is in the refrigerator.

Submitted by: Brandi, Waco, TX

I'm a SAHM with 2 children, over the past four years I've found many ways to cut corners without much sacrifice.

1. Call your local grocery stores and find out if they accept expired coupons, all but one grocery store in my area accept them.

2. Walgreen's has a rebate club, which I use to by alot of medicines and household cleaners, with coupons, after rebate I can usually pay less than a dollar for these things. You can pick up the rebate booklet monthly at Walgreen's then watch they're weekly sale papers for the rebate items to go on sale, buy with your coupon, send in your rebate.(we like to put the rebate checks in a special savings account for something special).

3. Make up a big pot of spaghetti sauce and freeze in ziploc type bags. I only use 1 lbs. of ground beef for the whole pot and can get about four meals from one pot of sauce. So one night we'll have spaghetti, another night stuffed shells, another homemade pizza (use use spaghetti sauce as pizza sauce) and
maybe another night vegetable lasagna.

4. Buy your bread at a thrift store, you can get about 3 loaves of bread for about a dollar. Just check your phone book for locations. Almost all area's at least have a wonder/hostess thrift store.

Submitted by: Angela, South Elgin IL.

To get crystal clear ice cubes use bottle water instead of tap water, add fresh fruit, like berries, etc. add them to your favorite drinks. Makes a nice surprise on the table

Submitted by: Carol De Stasio

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