Miserly Tips_Page 5::

I would like to suggest a resource for your website. The resource www.tastymeatloafrecipes.com is an informational website providing a range of information that may be useful
to your readers.  Thanks so much for your time!

I have been making my own laundry soap for about a month now.  It's cheap, easy to make and it WORKS!  You'll need:
1 bar of grated soap (I use Fels-Naptha because it is designed for laundry use)
1 cup of washing soda (NOT baking soda)
1/2 cup of Borax
A 5 gallon bucket with a lid
1.  Melt the grated soap with 4 cups of hot water in a pan on medium heat.
2.  Pour the melted soap mixture into the 5 gallon bucket.
3.  Fill the bucket half way with hot water.
4.  Add the borax and mix well.
5.  Fill the bucket to the top with hot water.  (I leave about 3-4 inches off from the top so I can mix it easier)
6.  Add the washing soda and mix well.  (Scrape the bottom of the bucket to make sure that there are no clumps resting on the bottom of the bucket)
7.  Cover the bucket and let it cool for 24 hours.
When you take the lid off, the soap will be a gel.  Mix the soap up again and it's ready to use.  The soap will be like an egg-drop soup consistency.  Use 1 cup for regular loads and 2 cups for heavily soiled loads.  This soap will NOT sud up.  It's not the suds that cleans your clothes; it's the ingredients in the soap that cleans your clothes.  Fill your container with the soap and it's ready to go.  Shake your container every time you use the soap because as long as the soap sits undisturbed, it will gel up again.  If the soap is too harsh, just fill your container half with soap and half with water and shake your bottle to mix.  You will still have to pre-treat stains and use bleach on your whites.  If you think that there is a soapy residue on your clothes, just pour some vinegar (about half a cup) in during the rinse cycle.  It won't make your clothes smell like vinegar.  It'll help rinse the soap out and it can be used as a fabric softener substitute.
If you don't want to make the liquid version, just grate the bar of soap, add the washing soda and borax, mix well and keep it in an air-tight container.  Use 1 tbls. for regular loads and 2 tbls. for heavy loads.

Submitted by: Jen

I am not a mother, but I am a hairstylist and I have a great tip to cut down on your monthly or bimonthly hair expenses. If you are having a tight month or two don't hesitate to tell your hairdressers. We have budgets too! We understand. In these tougher times we are feeling the strain too. So there are a few options. 
Most salon owners and stylists want to keep their clientele and are willing to give a good client discount. The problem is no one asks. If you explain that you would like to come and get your hair done on a regular basis but can't afford to pay the prices a lot of owners will offer percents off of your service total for loyal customers. 
Another option is asking if you stylist will do what we call an express color. Some salons offer, but don't advertise this service. At my salon for $30 you could get your pesky roots touched up around your hairline and part for half the price. Doing this in between doing your entire root touch up will help stretch your dollar.
Finally, if you are a regular with your stylist you could speak to your stylist about bartering. As a hairstylist I have a client whose husband works on my car in exchange for hair services. In fact just last week a clients' brother built me a book shelf in exchange for my client's full highlight and haircut. 
The point is, if your stylist values you as a client they are always willing to cut a deal to keep you. Just Try it!. 

Submitted by: Alison

I am a working mother, one of the ways that we have saved was by disconnecting our land line phone which was costing about $40/month.  We purchased the �Magic Jack� for $19.95/year resulting in $460/year savings.  We also switched each of our cell phones to Net Zero for $15/month, a savings of $35/month over our previous plan.  Total yearly savings for 2 cell phones $480.

Submitted by:Darlene, Lubbock, Tx

I did some shopping around for prescription drugs. I used the generic equivalent, which cost $54.99 for 60 pills at CVS. I checked the price at Costco, and I could have bought 100 pills for $19.89. For 145 of my pain pills, I paid $72.57. I could have got 150 at Costco for $28.08.

I would like to mention, that although Costco is a 'membership' type store, you do NOT have to be a member to buy prescriptions there, as it is a federally regulated substance.. You just tell them at the door that you wish to use the pharmacy, and they will let you in.

Submitted by: Cheryl

I am a mother of 4 children:   8, 6, and twin 5 year olds.  My miserly tip is to buy cloth napkins for meal times rather than use disposable tissues/napkins. We keep them in a large basket on the floor next to the kitchen table.   I do a load of laundry every other day so the washing is not more work they just go in with the other items.  They are easy to fold and the children like to help fold them in different shapes- triangles, rectangles, and squares, while I fold the "hard" stuff like their clothes.  Or if we do not feel in the mood to fold we just lay/toss them in the basket.  It seems more formal but it really is to keep the cost of buying boxes of tissues to a minimum.  I have not bought a box of tissues in over 5 years.  Ok maybe a couple boxes  for runny noses now and then but hardly ever.  And then you lessen the need to buy paper towels a well.  It is a bit of a one-time investment but in the long run it will work for your homes as well. Oh and do not choose white for the color of the napkins.

Submitted by Deborah, San Jose, CA     

Call all your monthly service providers (i.e. phone, internet, cable, car insurance, etc.) and ask what introductory or long-term customer discounts they can offer. Just one five minute phone call saved me $10/month on both my phone and cable bills. I also found out that I was due a discount on my auto insurance just by having a dual home/auto plan with the same insurer. Three phone calls saved me $615 for the year.

Submitted by: Melissa

We have a Super Walmart store with a big meat department. We have made friends with the butcher who will call us a couple times a week to let us know that he is marking down meat. We feed our dogs a raw diet so we stock up on stuff for them as well as us. We got tons of packages of turkey legs and wings for less than fifty cents a pack after the holidays. We get beef tongue, tripe, and organ meats for the dogs for pennies.

This tip is for miserly moms out there with pets! I have a friend who volunteers at the local animal shelter, and shared with me this great money saving tip over those expensive flea/tick treatments and shampoos out there! At the local animal shelter, they use *plain* Dawn diswashing soap. Wash the animal once, killing the live fleas and some of the eggs. Wait one or two weeks, and repeat the wash. This works for dogs or cats, and it saves tons over the more expensive flea/tick shampoos that you buy in the store!

Submitted by: Jennifer

There are free infant eye and vision assessments for baby's up to one year. Many participating providers nationwide. www.infantsee.org

Submitted by: Kristl

I have a money saving tip. Always check the bottoms of your receipts. Especially from department stores. JC Penney has an offer to fill out a quick survey online and then you can print out a 15% off coupon for your next purchase.

The bottom of supermarket recipes have deals sometimes too. The Albertson's receipt I got the other day had an offer for a free loaf of their fresh baked french bread.

It's a simple tip. But every penny counts.

Submitted by: Lisa, Torrance, CA

My hair is thin and flat, so I need to wash it every day to give it body. I used to get an expensive conditioner and shampoo. Then I realized most of the shampoos were the same, so I started to just get a nice conditioner, and use a cheaper shampoo. I also set a limit on how much I will spend on an item. Over time, I started to realize I didn’t need a fancy conditioner every day, so I “pad” out my week with a cheaper one (again, Suave or White Rain or equiv). When dying my hair to cover the gray started to dry my hair out, I stopped using shampoo every day; I actually just really massage conditioner in like it was shampoo instead. Just a little thing, but it all adds up!

Submitted by: Kathy

I am a stay a home wife on disability and my husband is on social security, so saving every penny litterly is important. We use MAGICJACK.COM telephone service, it is $19.00 a year, no taxes, no other charges, we have 911 service voice mail and it has been very reliable and I have saved a ton of money that has been necessary for medical bills. I was skeptical at first and tried it out before I cut my $39.95 monthly provider off. I haven't missed them at all and I have had great service from the people at MagicJack. I do not make anything from recommending them. I just think if you need to save money then it is worth your time to investigate this service. I have saved $420 for the year versus only $19 for the same service. and not paid the taxes.

Submitted by: Mary, Texas

I am a working mom with both kids now pretty much raised. I am the 6th of 7 children & am very emphatic about not wasting food: just ask my kids. I have discovered that if you have leftover lettuce salad that it can keep for a day or two if you keep it dry. To do this, first try not to make your salad too wet in the first place. I will put paper or a cloth towel into the bowl before I start making the salad & then on top before I chop the tomato into it. Remove the towels before tossing. To put away the leftovers, I put 2 or 3 paper towels, or a clean dish towel on top of the salad, cover the bowl (something that seals works best) & turn it upside down in the fridge. This can also be done with clear plastic wrap, but get it tight. If I get some salad out later & the towels are pretty wet, I put in dry ones. You will have to educate your family so that you don't end up with salad all over the floor and so that they can also replace the towel as needed!

Submitted by: Shelly

I know I'm not the only mom who has made her own baby food, but I can't urge other moms enough to try it! I'm a first time mom who decided to stay at home, which reduced our household income by 50 percent. I breastfed my son until he started with solids at 4 months. Once or twice a month, usually the same times I do my grocery
shopping, I whip up baby purees. I cook all the usuals you will see on the store shelves of bottled baby food--sweet potato, peas, apples, green beans, bananas, plums, blueberries, roast chicken, etc.

For example, frozen bags of veggies, even the large ones, are only about $1.50 on sale. Boiled up, pureed with a bit of the water they were boiled in (just enough to make pouring the puree easier), and poured into ice cube trays (4 trays for $1 at my grocery store), I have enough cubes for nearly a month of servings. Once the cubes are frozen, I put them in freezer bags with the name written on the front. Each cube from the trays I use are just shy of one ounce, so portioning out the correct serving size is simple. I plop a few cubes into one of those 4 oz or 8 oz reuseable containers and either microwave for 30 seconds to defrost, or simply place the container in my to-go bag and the cubes are thawed by the time I get to wherever I'm going. Because I make up lots of different batches of foods at once, I'm able to keep my baby's diet varied yet balanced. And I wash the bags with hot soapy water, rinse well and reuse for the same item written on the outside. (I bought the heavy duty, quart size freezer bags, so even though they were a bit more expensive at first, I've use one 40-count box in 10 months.) My trays each have 16 cubes, and usually a large bag of veggies or fruit will yield about 4 trays of puree. For each 2 oz serving, that comes to about 5 cents---even on sale the packaged purees come in at around 10 cents per 2 oz serving.

I use a regular blender, that's the easiest. Also, I have one of those hand blenders with a mini-processor adaptor cup that comes in handy, too. For peeling and coring apples, pears and sweet potatoes I use one of those old-fashioned hand crank, spiral tools that suctions to the countertop (found one at a local discounter for $10 on sale). Peeling, coring and slicing a bag of apples takes literally 5 minutes--great for making quick pie filling, too.

I buy most of my veggies/fruits from the $1 bins at my local grocery store and produce stands in my area. The minor bruising or flaws that lands these items in the discount bin can be cut away with no loss of nutrition or taste. Applesauce is one of the best "cubes" not only for the baby but as a replacement for oil in cake/brownie/muffin/bread recipes (replace same amount of oil with applesauce).

Submitted by: Cris, Pensacola, Florida

Ever since my oldest daughter was a baby, I've been cutting baby wipes in half before I use them. I find that for a small job, a half wipe is fine and for really dirty diapers, the bigger wipes would get dirty just as quickly and I'd have to use another wipe anyway. Cutting them in half allows me to get twice the number of wipes for my money. It only takes a few minutes when I buy the package of wipes to sit down and cut them all in half before putting them into my wipes boxes.

Submitted by: Emily

I'm an almost stay at home mom! (I work 2 days a week) and know that every dollar saved counts. A huge money saver for me has been frequenting our bread second hand store. The bread we normally buy is $3.29 per loaf in the grocery store and sells for $1.59 at the bread store. Also, they sell milk for about $1.00 to $1.50 less a gallon then the regular grocery store does. Since my family are prolific milk drinkers and I have not been able to convince them of the mixed milk idea, it has saved me about $20 per month to get my milk and bread there. Thanks for all the other tips!

Submitted by: Heidi

When my tubes of hand lotion, moisturizers, facial cleansers, etc. are almost finished and no longer respond to squeezing, instead of tossing them away, I cut off the bottoms of them and scrap out the lotion that is remaining. This allows me to get a few more applications from these types of products - a big savings, particularly if you prefer to purchase higher-priced cosmetics, etc.

Submitted by: Pamela, St. Catharines, Ontario Canada

A 15 pound Jennie-O turkey recently cost under $10. It came with a gravy sauce mix, too, which was very easy and I didn't have to buy jar or canned gravy. I stuffed and roasted the turkey on a Monday and served it like a
Thanksgiving meal. The store-brand stuffing mix was delicious. The next day I cooked the carcass in my slow-cooker all day to make enough broth for two batches of homemade soup (one later that week, another for the freezer for another week). One lunch was hot turkey sandwiches (turkey on bread with mashed potatoes and stuffing on the side, covered with gravy). Another lunch was turkey salad sandwiches, made just like chicken salad. I used several chicken casserole recipes which I adapted for turkey. Toward the end of the week, I froze the remaining turkey meat, so I have cooked meat in the freezer for future poultry dishes. All in all, I was able to stretch that $10 turkey through at least 10 meals!

Submitted by: Sandra, Ocala, Florida

I'm a SAHM with 10 children and a large yard. We vegetable garden and I'd like a lot of flowers around, but am only able to afford a few perennials a season.so I must start from seed, right? Well I don't seem to have "a well
lit windowsill," nor room or money for a light set up. They never grow well for me or damp off during transplanting. So I looked up on the web seed starting, and found "winter sowing." This is amazing, easy, extremely cheap, and fun. In recycled plastic containers (like milk jugs) I seed annuals, perennials, and veggies by the hundreds. Seed is cheap at the dollar store and some online seed companies. The idea is to sow the seeds
outdoors in these (google winter sowing) recycled containers during the late winter, and they come up and are ready to plant in early spring. The containers are like mini greenhouses and after the snow melts, you look in your containers, and there is GREEN. It's fun! And because they have been grown outdoors in the cold, they are tough. Check it out if you've had trouble growing from seed before.

Submited by: Cena, Patterson, CA

All phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial 800-FREE-411, or 800-373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. In exchange for the free service, you will hear an advertisement before you hear your number.

I have two kids, a 9 year old girl and 10 year old boy. Keeping matched sets of gloves together was always a hassle.

Now I buy just black gloves. They're "unisex", both can wear them, and they always match. Also a great time saver--no more hunting the missing glove. I also do the same thing with knitted hats--just buy black hats.

I found the bust buy for kids gloves is at WalMart--3 pair for $1.49. Buy them when you see them--they sell out fast!

Submitted by: Susan

I have a family of four which includes two teenagers. I am always looking for money saving ideas and ways to keep stuff out of our landfills. I use the original plastic containers that products come in to fill with bulk items I have purchased and need to put into something of a more manageable size. Mustard and chocolate syrup containers are especially heavy duty and last along time. I refill empty mustard containers with other condiments like ketchup that I buy in bulk at Costco. I put maple syrup, also purchased in bulk at Costco, in the chocolate syrup containers which brings looks of surprise from guests that we have for breakfast. Baby wipe containers with the snap down lids are very sturdy and my husband and I are still using them after 13 year for storing various nuts, bolts and organizing craft supplies. Just use a permanent marker to write on the outside what is on the inside. Another way of recycling is doing crafts with the kids. My daughter has made me pencil holders out of tin cans decorated with layers of tissue paper that are glued on. She has taken sparkly glue and decorated recycled pickle jars. The price of the container, free, they are recycled! The cost of art supplies, minimal. The end product, priceless! I still use these
items every day. We reuse the plastic buckets from bulk laundry and dish detergents for outside work and cleaning. All of this helps our environment and saves money. If you cannot use the containers that food comes in please recycle, thanks!

Submitted by: S Perkins, Oregon

Do you have carpets that you have professionally cleaned several times each year? Well, I do and I have found this solution to the costly procedure. My husband and I purchased a Hoover carpet cleaning machine several years ago.
I use mine once or twice each year for a thorough cleaning in high traffic areas, and for touch ups on spills or pet stains that just seem to happen. We have our carpets cleaned professionally once a year, usually at the end of summer or in early fall. When cleaning in between times I heat water on the stove to just the hot stage, not to boiling. I then poor it into the clean water reservoir, and "shampoo" my carpets using just hot water. I was
told by a professional carpet cleaner that you should not use anything other than hot water when home shampooing your carpets because hot water leaves no residue. When you use soap it leaves a residue, and the residue attracts
dirt. By using my "in between" professional cleaning procedure, our carpets stay nice looking, and we have no really bad stains. Also when we do have the professionals come in I only have them do the high traffic areas each
time. The little used areas, like our formal living and dining rooms only get done about once every two years as we seldom use them. As an extra bit of info, Hoover now makes a machine that heats the water for you, but I do not know how well it works. By cutting back to one professional cleaning each year we save $500.00 annually, we paid $350.00 for our machine, so it paid for itself quickly.

Do you buy expensive body soaps? Well, you don’t need too. When I was in the military I learned that washing my hair and body with a shampoo conditioner combo worked fine. We had few showers and lots of people that needed to use them. It was more convenient to just carry one bottle to the shower rather fiddling with several. I used a combination shampoo and conditioner to handle all of my cleaning needs. Since I used a shampoo and conditioner combo, I was able to eliminate shaving crème as well. My skin was always
nice and soft, I smelled good, and I saved time and money. I also had a less cluttered wall locker.

Have you ever been shopping and you see something you just "have to have" even though it is not on your list? Well, I have found a way to curb unintentional spending. You have to have restraint, but this tactic really works. When I find an item that is just too cute or too good of a deal to pass up, I carry it around the store for awhile. Usually after about 10 or 15 minutes the urge to splurge has faded and I can place the item back on the rack and walk away. This works especially well in the one stop shopping stores that have groceries, house wares, toys and clothes all under one convenient roof.

Submitted by: Becky in Washington State

One of the largest wastes of money in the average family is automobile use. Here are a few tips:

1. Buy used cars and pay cash for them. Most cars lose 30%-50% of their price in the first 3 years, and have only lost 10%-25% of their useful life. Whereas some new cars can be bought for 0% financing, the intrest savings are lost to the huge depreciation. Used cars have a much higher interest rate, sometimes 5%-15%. Instead
of paying those rates, pay yourself and earn 5%-10% on the money while you make "car payments" to yourself! Consider a new minivan. Looking online I see the 2006 Toyota Sienna with 4 miles on it, for $45,000. It will last aprox 200,000 miles (300,000 if well cared for, but lets assume the low end). If you get 0% loan, $750/month for 5
years and you paid no interest. You can buy one 3 model yrs old (a 2004 in Dec 2006) with 52,000 miles for $15,000. If you paid yourself $750 a month, earning 5%, it would take you 1 year and 8 months to save the $15,000 and you still get 150,000 (or more) miles out of the car! You have just paid 1/3 the price (a 66% discount, and EARNED interest while doing it), and only gave up 25% (or less) of the value. Consider this: if 2 gallons of milk cost $4.00, but you could get 3 half gallons for a total of $1.35, would you do it? It is the same thing.

I have paid cash for all my cars, and yes, it can be hard when starting out because you may have to buy a cheap car - make sure your car is safe for your kids, you may not be able to do this right away. Once you have the first car you have paid cash for and you start making those car payments to yourself, it is very easy. I have saved tens of thousands of dollars. Make sure to have your independant mechanic do a complete evaluation of any used car BEFORE you buy it to make sure there are not excessive problems. My mechanic has saved me from buying cars that would have been money pits.

2. Maintain the car. Check Tire inflation every 3 months. Inflate to the pressure listed in the manual or on the sticker on the car, NOT the pressure on the tire (the tire lists the MAXIMUM pressure for the TIRE, not taking into account the car the tire is on). Change air/fuel/oil filters on schedule in the owner's manual. When following the maintance in the owner's manual, use the "severe service" schedule unless most of your driving is long (2+ hrs) sustained highway driving. Keep in mind that around town and short trips are the hardest on your car.

Considering the HUGE impact on the family budget, this can literally make the difference between mom staying home raising the kids or having to work outside the home.

Submitted by: Chris, South Hadley, MA

I use tortillas all the time (makes anything you have in fridge a meal!) and I notice your contributors do too. Making them instead of buying them really changes a meal. I don't have my own recipe, but allrecipes.com has great ones, as do most bread cookbooks. It costs pennies to make a dozen, rather than $1.50 or more in the stores. And
the taste difference is amazing. I can't even eat the packaged ones now.

Thanks for the great site!

Submitted by: Jennifer

I'm a SAHM of 4 (1,3,5,10) & live in a rural area. We love our library for free DVD rentals(our library has a revolving newer release section that circulates between other libraries every 3mos.) We check out our favorite magazines there or take home their free outdated magazines. We check out lots of kids videos as we have an anntenna instead of cable. Even my 3yr.old loves the library. We also are heating our home w/a woodstove this year & not only is our heating bill down but I use a drying rack for my clothes which dry very nicely in the room w/the woodstove.

We purchased a bike stroller (2nd hand stores are great!) which we make quick store runs, or errands by bike when we can. I've not only saved on the gas bill but gained a healthy lifestyle. Hint: if you don't have the kids the stroller works nice for up to 4grocery bags or more if your ambitious!

Submitted by: Candy, Ontonagon, MI

Stretching Ground Beef
When cooking ground beef or ground sausage I save back about a half a cup and freeze it. My husband didn't notice there wasn't a full pound of meat in the recipe and we will have spaghetti with the sausage amd hamburger another night.
I also freeze portions of lasagna or caserole. Since it is just 2 of us, we would get tired of it. This way I don't throw away food anymore!
Summer in FL

Miserly Tip # 298

Video Games
You can trade your kids' old video games with new ones at gameswap.com for $1.99. On a tight budget it sure beats buying brand new games!

Submitted by: Erin, San Diego, CA

My husband researched the different phone companies to find the best deal. He found SunRocket, which nobody seems to have heard about. It is phone over cable for $199 per year, which is about 16.60 per month. This includes unlimited long distance, all local calls and tax. It has made a significant reduction in our phone bills.

Submitted by: Lea from Tulsa Oklahoma

I use a lot of hairspray daily and I need to buy a good shampoo to get the buildup out. I decided to try something different to save money rather than buying the more expensive shampoos. I bought a bottle of Suave shampoo and added a few teaspoons of baking soda (of course you have to shake very well to mix ) to the shampoo and to my surprise it totally stripped my hair of all oils and hairspray. Not only have I saved money, I get to enjoy all kinds of different scents that Suave has to offer.

Submitted by: Lynn- Nederland, Texas

I purchase bed sheets from yard sales and thrift stores and I use the fabric to sew our pajamas.

I can usually get full or queen sized sheets for around a dollar a piece and it's enough fabric to make a gown for myself and a pair of pj's for each of my kids.

The kids think its fun that we have matching night clothes and I don't have to pay the average of 10 dollars per outfit for each of us.

Once you make or buy a simple pattern in a basic style, the cost for the pajamas is pennies.

Fuel prices continue to be very high. My wife is a stay-home-mom, so with many other families, the gas station hits our budget hard. What to do? After researching the subject as an automotive mechanical engineer, I didn’t like most of what I found online: advice was often oversimplified, incomplete, incorrect, expensive (buy a $30 book or a membership), or fraudulent (selling a device or product with false claims which is actually useless or detrimental to fuel economy). And the big hype over hybrids often doesn’t mention that most of these vehicles aren’t as frugal or financially wise as the car companies lead us to believe. So, I decided to write the Ultimate Fuel Economy Guide and make it available for FREE: way over 30 ideas to increase your MPG and save money on gas (or diesel).

The Ultimate Fuel Economy guide also includes valuable maintenance tips, and considerations for purchasing a newer vehicle, to stretch the value of all your vehicle dollars. And it continues to grow and improve.

It’s located here: http://www.ultimatesyntheticoil.com/Improve_Fuel_Economy/Increase_Fuel_Economy.htm Tracking all our mileage on both vehicles, I estimate that of the tips we’re using so far, we’re saving about 15% in fuel. But some of our friends are reporting 20% - 30% savings. As an added bonus, we’re saving well over $100 per year in maintenance costs on each vehicle. I think it will help nearly anyone save money on their vehicles.

Submitted by: Brian in Bryan, Ohio

When we moved to Alabama (from Tennessee) I found that my long distance phone charges were about $75.00 to $100.00 each month (not including charge for local service). I was always afraid to open my phone bill because I never knew what was going to be in there) It was then that I started using a calling card (it's about 4.16 cents per minute). These can be bought from Sam's in denominations of 100 minutes to 1250 minutes or higher. You can also add minutes to the cards by phone. This helped me so much that I have continued to use a calling card after we moved back closer to my family. We are now only 50 miles away, but it's still long distance. You always know what your phone bill is going to be because it's the same every month. The only small hassle in using the calling card is having to dial those two long numbers every time you make a long distance call. Still, I solved this problem by programing those two numbers into my phone and then you only have to dial two short numbers. This little time makes a huge difference if you call long distance alot.

Submitted by: Donna Morristown, Tennessee

I used to work in the meat department at the local grocery store. It's not widely known but if you ask the meat department will wrap your meat in any size package that you'd like. Such as 1, 1 1/2, or 2 pound packages. We also wrapped in frezer paper. Hope this helps someone save some time.

Submitted by: Andrea, Oregon

Years ago I bought (at a going out of business sale) pant hangers. I've used these hangers to put together outfits in my childrens closets. On one hanger I may have a pair of pants, shirt, socks, and underware. This is a great time saver especially when there was 5 children under age 10. The children could "pick" out a pre-approved outfit.

Submitted by: Andrea, Oregon

My husband and I have tried to have me stay at home and provide childcare for some extra income, but due to outrageous health insurance rates (my husband has minimal benefits as a contractor), we were forced to reconsider this plan. Now I work the 3-11 shift, 3 nights per week and every other weekend totaling 32 hours per week. We pay very little for childcare (just a few hours per week), and my son is home with either my husband or me most of the time. The time that he is away provides good socialization for him. This is working well for us. We really value the times that we are all together, and this situation is helping my husband to be a very involved father. I am able to earn a good wage in the field that I was educated in, and I have great benefits. Working opposite shifts helps us both earn a living and avoid high childcare costs. Even working part time during evenings and weekends when children can be home with their fathers is an option for moms who have decided not to work full time.

Submitted by: Danielle, Albany, New York

The inside of our home is in need of paint after 7 years. Today I was at Home Depot getting a gallon of paint mixed for a specific area. While the paint clerk was mixing my gallon, I checked the rack that is commonly called
the "ooops rack". On this rack you will find cans of paint that were mixed but the color did not come out quite like the person had wanted. These cans of paint range from $1.00 for a quart to $5.00 for a gallon. Today I found a
five gallon container of interior paint in just the color I needed which was Off White. Cost $15.00. I had the paint clerk open it so I could verify the color, and it was fine. Previously for another house I have paid over $60.00 for the same size and color. Several weeks ago I found a nice can of bluish lavendar, for my son's study area for $5.00 also. It pays to check.

Submitted by: Becky, Washington

I still use the cheap soap, and I have three boys! Enough said! To get the ugly stains out with out buying the spray n wash or shout which in our area is almost 4.00 a bottle, I use a mix of dish soap and water. Most of the stains in our clothes are grease based so dish soap and water work great with our cheap detergent. With our detergent I use only half the recommended amount and everything comes out clean. Also, I use dryer sheets and with those i cut them in half, and they still do their job. My soap, spray, and my dryer sheets last me well over a month and this is what I spend- 2.83 for soap, 1.88 for dish soap, and a 1.44 For 80 sheets! Pretty good for 3 kids!

Submitted by: Beth H., San Bernardino, CA

The absolute best window cleaner in the world is good old rubbing alcohol! You can use it full strength or water it down - I put it in a spray bottle. It doesn't streak, it will work on that nasty hairspray residue that gets on everything in the bathroom, it shines chrome. I even add it to my windshield wiper fluid (it doesn't hurt the paint) - This is especially helpful in the wintertime as it melts the snow and frost! It works on just about everything. It's much cheaper than even the store brand window cleaners and works so much better! It disinfects too!

Submitted by: Pat, Athens, Alabama

Reader Comment: A very inexpensive thing to use is 1/2 hydrogen peroxide with 1/2 water.  It is very cheap, and I will say it is the best glass cleaner I have ever used and it is an amazing spot treatment for laundry.  It never leaves a streak, and I feel confident using it on things that my young children may put in their mouths.  ~Hannah

I am a stay at home mom of a 6 month old. My tip is to make your own baby food. All you need is a decent food processor or blender. The cost per serving is minimal. When my son first started on solids one carrot lasted seven meals. It does take a little more time but you can also control what is in the food as it is all vegetable or fruit and maybe a little of the water it is cooked in. I also add the pureed fruit to his cereal instead of buying the combined cereals. The box of cereal lasts twice as long this way.

Submitted by: Kathryn, Oshawa, Canada

EDITOR"S NOTE: A "nappie" is a cloth diaper
I am a SAHM of a four month old. In my attempt to be frugal after giving up full time work, I chose to use cloth nappies. To make the nappies last longer I also use nappy liners, however these are expensive and I just couldn't justify throwing them all away. Now when my son has a wet nappy, the nappy goes in the nappy bucket and the liner goes in a seperate small bucket for soaking. When it becomes time to wash, I place all the liners in one of those bags you get for washing delicates and throw it in the washer with the nappies. The liners last weeks this way, and a box of 100 lasts me about 3 months instead of about a week and a half.

Submitted by: Cassandra, Taree, New South Wales, Australia

Many tipsters mention shopping at consignment shops, but have you tried clothesswapping? You can have fun with your girlfriends, clean your closet, get clothes for free, donate to charity, and take a tax write off! Here's how it works: send out invitations (Evite works great or simply email) to your friends, asking them to bring at least one other friend. You need "critical mass" for a good Clothes Swap and it's good if you don't know some of the
people (or their clothes). A dozen people works well, though more and a bit fewer are fine too. Each person should bring a food treat to share; host supplies basic drinks. Most importantly: each person brings clothes they no
longer want, for whatever reason (leave the really stained or torn clothes at home). Usually there are mostly women's clothes but now that my friends and I are married with kids, we've been swapping men's and kids clothes too. There needs to be at least 2 full-length mirrors per 10-12 people; if you have one, ask a friend to bring another. Pick the largest part of your house and pull the shades (and be sure to send your older male family members away for a couple of hours).

Once the guests have arrived, sort all the clothes into basic categories: shirts, pants, shoes, accessories, dresses, etc. Make sure guests leave their own purses (and eventually clothing) in another part of the house so they don't go missing. Then, swap! Basically, dig through the piles, try things on (it helps to not be too shy; you're all girls after all--wear decent underwear, or a jog bra and those stretchy jog shorts). This gets to be a lot of fun with everyone encouraging everyone else (Oh, that looks good on you, No you don't look fat, etc.). When people feel done, bag up all the leftovers. There will be a lot. Usually the host ends the day by taking the leftovers to an agreed-upon
charity, and of course claiming the donation on her taxes. I try to swap twice a year and it really feels like shopping. Sometimes I get a couple of things, sometimes a whole bag, and my closets are cleaner. Happy swapping!

Submitted by: Niki, Berkeley, CA

The best tip that I have learned is to use an "envelope" system. We found that our family was swiping our debit card without hesitation, so we purchased a dollar store coupon filer with blank tabs. After paying all the bills we pull out what we've budgeted for shopping, gas, entertainment, etc. and seperate it into the filer. It helps us see where we are spending our money and it definitely makes us think twice about impulse buys.

Submitted by: Aislynne Edwards, Hope Mills, NC

I make all my cakes from scratch (cheaper in itself than mixes) and as soon as the cakes are baked and cooled, I slice, wrap and freeze them - not only are the cakes are ready for lunch boxes, but they are not sitting around saying "Eat me!"

Love the website, even at this distance.

Submitted by: Victoria, from Freshwater, Isle of Wight, England

My name is Frances and I am a SAHM for 2 years now. Here are a 2 ways we save money around here.

First, I make out a menu for the week and make my shopping list accordingly. That way I only have to go to the store once a week and I know what to cook every day. That saves us lot of time and money. It really helped us eliminating going out to eat a few times a week because we didn't know what to make for dinner. I think I cut about $100 - 150 of our monthly food budget by sticking to my menu.

Second, when we do go out to eat, we order 2 meals and ask for an extra plate. When the food comes, we just give some of our food to our 2 year old daughter. We have learned over the last year that she never finishes her meal and always wants what mom and dad are eating. That really saved a lot of money for us. Usually, kids meals cost between $3-5 and with going out once a week it save a bundle over time.

Submitted by: Frances, Starkville, MS

I enjoy using the daily face cleansing cloths that you use once and throw away. However, they can be very costly. I found that a national grocery store chain has a very nice daily face cloth that is very reasonable in price and even has a "rough" side for exfoliating. I cut them in half, so I can use 1 whole cloth in 2 days. This stretches a month supply into two!

Whenever I make macaroni and cheese from the box, I only use 2 tablespoons of margerine instead of the 4 tablespoons as directed. Not only do I save margerine, but the dish is lower in fat.

Ping-pong balls make wonderful cat toys and are much cheaper than fancy ones from the pet stores. I buy orange ones so they are easily seen on the floor.

Whenever I print something from the internet on my printer, there are always these extra pages with very little printing. I save these as scratch paper or I use the clean side for printing things that don't need to be "perfect", like a school report.

If your family loves watching DVDs for entertainment, check out the numerous online stores that allow you to rent them for a monthly fee. Most of them don't have a specific deadline, thus ending late night runs to the video store, and most of them allow you to rent an unlimited number each month. This has been far cheaper for us than going to the local store. Also, the online stores have lots of the classical movies that are more "family-friendly".

Submitted by: Cindy

We had a fire in home and faced the daunting task of replacing everything. We found to great ways of saving on major purchases was to call our local rental centers (Rent-A-Center, Colourtyme, Ect) and ask if they were trying to get rid of any of their stock. Also, definitely check scratch and dent places. The deals are great. Know your laws! We found a scratch a dent place just across state lines. Because the product was being delivered across state lines, we did not pay sales tax.

Submitted by: Georgette, East Stroudsburg, PA

Here are three tips that save money!
1) We spend a lot of time in the car driving back and forth from Houston to Austin. I keep my 6 1/2 year old step son entertained by saving the comic section of the paper every day and put it into a large three ring binder. When it comes time for a trip, we pull out the comics and let my step-son color them. In addition to keeping him entertained, he likes to read them out loud to us and it helps him practice his reading skills!

2) My friends and I have a box of baby clothes, blankets & burp rags that circulate to everyone every time they have a baby. When you are done, we simply wash them and pack them back up for the next person expecting! To be considerate, we all try and make sure to wash out or bleach out (the bleach pen works wonders!) any stains that we can see. This saves a ton of money and it's all ways fun to see that outfit again that made your little one look so darling! It's also fun to discover the "new" outfits that have been added!

3) To save on paints, we make our own from recipes on this website http://www.scribbleskidsart.com/generic207.html. For paint brushes, we use old toothbrushes (after they have been put through the dishwasher first!) and for paper, I take old paper grocery bags and cut them so they lay flat. I flip them so the blank inside is facing out and then using masking tape, I tape his "canvas" in place. It prevents paint dribble on the table and when he is done, we carefully peel the masking tape from the table and use the tape to tape it on the wall!

Submitted by: Liz from Texas

Christmas Presents
We each get presents on our own birthdays. To honor Jesus' birthday, we only buy gifts for others (outside our family).

This saves a lot of money, but also results in an attitude of selflessness rather than the selfishness which would normally characterize us all at Christmastime.

One year our two children chose to buy a new pair of glasses for a little girl in a large family. With the help of the Walmart vision center closest to the child, we were able to do this without her knowing who paid for them. The children enjoy seeing this little girl in her new glasses.

A good place to look for free dirt is your local pool building co. In our town they are happy to deliver as it saves them time and money. Just call and see if they will put you on a list for when they are digging in your area. This allowed us to put in hills and even out our lumpy lawn.

Submitted by: Dianne, Modesto Ca

Shopping in Australia is very different in the sense that you really have to calculate the cost/savings in everything. There are no breakdown to unit prices in front of the item, which I really miss as it made life so much easier. I now have to shop with a calculator and people give some odd looks. LOL. Oh well, that's easy to put up with. Store catalogs come out every week and I rely on them for my weekly menu. I have some that I would be happy to send you if you'd like to take a look at them.

There is no such thing as a coupon, which I used to find beneficial on certain products. I used to work part time for an airline and passengers would give me either samples of their products or coupons for them. Usually these coupons were for the total price of the item, so I wouldn't pay a cent. Now those I miss!

Warehouse clubs are none existent unless you are affiliated with a business, they are not for the average person to join. I have found a way to join so that part is taken care of but now I need to go in there and compare the prices to see if it's worth it. I know they don't sell fruit and vegetables, not sure about the meat though. It is on a much smaller scale than Costco.

There is no Farmer's Market where we live, maybe they are in the bigger cities, but our nearest capital city is 7 hours drive away. I used to shop at the Farmer's Market late in the day, close to packing up time when things were being greatly reduced because the seller's didn't want to take it home with them.

The biggest thing that I have found to be helpful in your book is getting back to the basics and losing the processed foods. I used to apply various aspects of your book when we were in Califronia and found it all to be very simple when you got right down to it. At the end of the day you just have to choose which mind set you want to live by.

When we moved here we had 3 1/2 months without our furniture and had to replace all of our electrical appliances and of course food supplies. As you can imagine this is a very costly exercise and we still have not replaced everything. With renovating the house and a husband that is gone 5-6 days a week, I just wanted to keep the meals that I cooked quick and easy, unfortunately I was opting for more ready made foods. Not a good decision but a learning experience.

Then one of my wake up calls came when our 10 year old broke out in a full body rash. The rash, we determined was from a flavor enhancer 635, which is a mixture of 631 disodium guanylate and 627 disodium inosinate. Having started eating more processed foods than we used to, his body finally couldn't take anymore and broke out in this horrible rash which lasted almost 2 weeks even with taking prednisone (Sp). Looking at the foods we had in our pantry I was shocked to find that these chemicals were even in basic things like soups and even chicken stock. Once our furniture arrived I checked all of the food that the movers had packed (yes they packed everything that wasn't nailed down) and sure enough these chemicals were in the foods we'd been eating for years. Ryan was quite lucky as some people have died from severe reactions to these so called "enhancers". If you'd like to read more about these enhancers here is the website: http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info/factsheets/635/RIBO1.htm

One other thing that sealed the deal to go back to the basics was when the boys asked if they could buy lunch at school one morning. "Sure" I said, so the lunch menu came out and their lunch totals came to $7.30c each. I hear you ask what on earth did they buy? All they had was a ham/pineapple/cheese melt on bread, milk and a slice of cake, I supplied them with fruit. I almost choked, but knew I couldn't tell them no as I had already said they could. We made a deal that they would only be buy it once a term. Ryan realized the large jump in price from what was paid in California ($1.25) and was also shocked. Something is rubbing off on him, thank goodness.

So needless to say I'm very careful about what goes in to my shopping cart now and not just on a price level. We're also on the search for a bank with lower fees (unfortunately it's not practical to continue using USAA). I'm saving frantically to replace appliances such as a freezer (asking price is $1200). I'm doing the research at the moment for a bread maker ($215) to see if it's cheaper to make or buy our own bread. A loaf of wholewheat or white bread (preservative free) is $2.90. Electrical goods are much more expensive here, I had sticker shock when we started buying items, so you have to ask yourself if you really need it. I brought my Kitchenmaid mixer with us, to replace it it's over $600 here but for me to use it I have to buy a transformer for $300. If I'd known that I would have sold it and bought one here. Oh well, live and learn.

Submitted by: Gia in Australia

Instead of buying expensive and often toxic and environmentally hazardous toilet cleaners, I put two alka-seltzer tablets in the toilet while I clean the rest of the bathroom, give a quick go-over with the brush and it sparkles with little effort.  Saves time and money.

Submitted by Hannah, Nova Scotia, Canada

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