View Full Version : The hard times thread/Beat the Recession

02-04-2009, 09:27 PM
So the economy is in the stinker right now many of us are being laid off, or have had our hours cut. Many of us can not find jobs, or get enough hours to pay our bills.

Why don't we pool resources for ideas on how to lower our living costs and find employment.

To start with I'm finding right now that networking is more important than every before, K is using all of his fathers contacts to get the inside job on the industry he wants to get into. I'm not legally allowed to work yet but I plan on finding a job through temping.
Less employers are willing to take a chance so if they can see your work you have your foot in the door.

Also sites like Craisgslist (worldwide) or www.Kijiji.com (USA and Canada only) there is Gumtree for the UK,these had jobs that are casual or maybe a little out of the ordinary along with many employers who like the low cost or free advertising.

For cutting down expenses there are hundreds of websites with tips and hints. I am a coupon and free sample hound, I have a basket in my bathroom filled with samples of moisturizer, shampoo, face packs you name it (especially baby products... free nappies anyone? I give them to my friends with babies) I have a separate email address for the freebies so my own mailbox isnt clogged.

There is also msn money boards, they have hundreds of threads on saving money on food, making your own laundry detergent, how to stretch your food or get onto those hard to find jobs..product tester (Ive personally done coffee and fast food surveys).

I'm personally not about to spend hours a day to save $5, but I am willing to spend 10-15 minutes in order to cut down some of our costs.
I also subscribe to a couple of newsletters that offer up tips that people are talking about.
http://www.thesimpledollar.com/ is a good one, its written by a nice regular guy who has a family and wants to live as economically as possible without hurting the lives of his family by being cheap. He is very good at finding ways to cut down costs without cutting down on quality of life (I think thats very important, we have enough stress right now without feeling deprived)

http://www.destitutegourmet.com/ is one cook who is dedicated to quick easy cost effective meals so you don't have to live off 2 minute noodles (unless you like them)

If there's enough interest we could even start up a group on CS... what do you all think?

02-04-2009, 10:51 PM
Just a thought for the sixteen - twentyfour crowd here. I am about to go back to Job Corps. I know a lot of people here are in college, but I can't afford to go to college [no job at all, plus no copy of my hsd], so if you're in the states, are between the above mentioned ages, and want some career training, Job Corps is a good idea.

http://jobcorps.dol.gov/about.htm It's a free education, with no bills, they pay you to be there, and will help you find a job when you're done.

02-05-2009, 04:04 PM
There's always a creative way to bring in a few more bucks, or to reduce overhead (whether its at home or your business). Well the hard part is figuring it out (LOL). But I was reminded of this when I was reading the business section of sundays paper and they were doing a writeup on a new local business that does Kimchee (Korean Fermented Vegies) and their estimated gross revinue was only at 5 grand. Well I got to thinking, thats a at least a extra thousand bucks in their pocket at the end of the year. They only operate a web store and most likely operate out of their home so expenses are minimal. so thats one way to bring in some extra scratch.

I plan on reducing what I spend by not being able to eat real food for the next month or so (the gastric bypass next week). But honestly, clipping coupons and timing your purchases around sale times. I use a site called slickdeals.net. I know it probably goes against everything that this site stands for in some ways (you have some people there who tend to promote rather SC attitudes). But you can also find some great deals and save alot of money. I use the site to by paper for my shop, CD's and DVD's for the shop and all kinds of other things.

But I think a Group on here would be great we all need help to stretch our dollar as far as it will go these days.

02-05-2009, 04:45 PM

1. Do not buy name brand anything- you are paying extra for the name.
2. Do not buy "junk food"- as much fun as it is- it's still junk.
3. Only buy for one week- eat the leftovers completely before shopping for the next week. Yes, even if you are sick and tired of it- eat it anyway.
4. Write on both sides of the paper.
5. Shop at places like Aldi's and bent-n-dent shops for food.
6. Shop at the Salvation Army (or similar) for clothes and household items.
7. Watch Craigs List for the "curb alerts" and free drops in your area.
8. Turn down the heat a degree or two- it makes a difference. I have a blanket that I wear as a wrap all the time.
9. Turn off the lights when you leave the room- turn off your computer at night.
During the day- use natural lighting as much as possible.
10. You probably don't actually need that- put it back- resist the urge.

02-05-2009, 04:45 PM
Why don't we pool resources for ideas on how to lower our living costs and find employment.

Excellent idea for a thread. May consider stickying this until the economy improves.


02-05-2009, 04:50 PM
Ive also started a Hard Times social group if anyone wants to join!

02-05-2009, 04:53 PM
A couple things I do now. I make all my own bread, its really not that hard and a 5lb bag of flour costs about as much as 1-2 loafs of store bread and it tastes better =-).
I follow a savings blog. www. thebargainjargon. blogspot. com Most of her stuff is washington, but a lot of the stores are nationwide and the deals can be taken part of.

I buy all my kids clothing at the end of season sales- the childrens place always has a bunch of racks for just 1.99.
Target puts kids clothing on clearance on tuesdays. And it seems that every threee months they put toys on 75% off, So I have started buying toys then and saving them in a box to give as b-day, and christmas gifts throughout the year.

There are a lot of websites that help you plan your meal so you can use cross over ingredients throughout the week.

I think a group would be great. Saving money is fun! (as my talking 'professional' barbie says)

02-05-2009, 05:15 PM
I have a blog set up (myrealname).com that I can use to promote myself. My resume is on there along with posts about what to do, basic support things, what I've done professionally.

Keep it 100% professional (no political, unless that is your profession).

DirectNic.com has a deal where it is $15 a year for the domain and that also includes hosting. Most hosts include at least one database and Wordpress is free along with many themes are free, too.

Pop some tastefully placed adsense ads on there and if your blog is good enough, it might even pay for itself.

Get some posts up on the site and slap it on your resume (I'd recommend to .com your real name, if that isn't available, get it in another TLD (.org, .net, .info) or a country based one (.co.uk, .us, etc..).

Get going on professional social networking sites like Facebook (well, that isn't too professional) and LinkedIn (I'm on there too, PM me your username to link up). Network!

Also, if you don't have a job, don't sulk around the house - get out. Even volunteer doing things you like, who knows who you'll meet out there.

02-05-2009, 05:53 PM
1. unless dealing with heavy soil, use short wash cycles for laundry and dishes
2. plug remote-operated electronics into a power strip. when you go to bed at night or leave the house, cut the power to the strip; remote-operated devices continue to use low levels of power even when turned "off".
3. turn off heated drying on your dishwasher.
4. replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent.
5. when cooking (especially with gas; it's harder with electric ranges), match the flame to the size of your dish; any larger and you're just wasting energy.
6. if using a laptop, operate on battery power as much as possible. only use outlet power when you need to charge.

02-05-2009, 06:28 PM
1. unless dealing with heavy soil, use short wash cycles for laundry and dishes

..and unless bleaching or need a heavy clean - use cold water.

Lower the temperature on your hot water heater (unless you really need it). 130 degrees is warm enough for a good hot shower.

02-05-2009, 06:50 PM
Also, join up on yahoo groups, such a Freecycle and Cheapcycle in your area. People are always giving things away, or selling them cheap, and you can usually find pretty good deals that way.

02-05-2009, 08:02 PM
I do all my washes in cold water

For towels and sheets I add 1/4 cup bleach to the load to kill any germs that might be lurking. I also do a second rinse on them to make sure the soap is rinsed out completely.
We have a clothes hanger in the apartment (we pay to heat it to 22 degrees so why pay more for a dyer)

Again I only use the dryer for sheets and to soften towels (air dry then 20 minutes in on the lowest heat setting.
I make my own cleaner to, 4 parts water, 4-5 drops sunlight soap and 2 parts bleach

I use it to wipe down counters, clean floors, you name it. To clean windows I only add 1-2 drops sunlight and add in 2 parts white vinegar. I make the solution up once a week in small batches so that the bleach is still active.

Growing up we couldnt use commerical cleaners because my brother and I couldnt take the chemicals. My mum cleaned the house with baking soda, vinegar, lemons, sunglight soap and bleach thats it.

She also watered down our laundry degergent by half, the same with dishwashing liquid.

02-22-2009, 02:22 PM
Things are generally reckoned to be tight financially right now. Do you have an idea for saving money?

Cheap and nutritious meals. Money saving tips in all areas of life. Special offers you've seen and think other CSers may be able to benefit from. I'm talking about advice for life, not just work.

Go for it, and don't be afraid to ask if you're curious.


02-22-2009, 02:38 PM
We cut our landline and DSL (internet) - cut out an "extra" package with cable TV and picked up a cable modem - saves us about $80 a month now.

Local grocerey store (Publix) has a lot of buy one, get one free sales. If it's not perishable and we use it, I stock up on it, a lot. (I have about a dozen large Tombstone pizzas in my freezer now).

Lunches (while at work):
24 pack of Ramen soup (in the cups) - $7 at Sams
30 pack of baked chips - $12 at Sams

There's a month's worth of lunches for under $20.

Repetitive and boring - hell yeah but it's cheap.

Cook in bulk and portion out meals ahead of time. I'll cook a while bag of ravioli at once and portion it into 3-4 meals before I eat any of it - put all but one in the fridge and eat the other. I'll also do the same with a box of mac&cheese and a pound of ground beef or turkey.

02-22-2009, 02:39 PM
Dropping landline and moving other services to the bare minimum.

COUPONS!! I have a reciept somewhere of over 200 where I only paid about 70. I know some people have done better...but that was good for me.

Ordering out less...making more things at home.

Lace Neil Singer
02-22-2009, 02:43 PM
Reduced sections = goldmine. If you have a freezer, you can buy marked down meat, bread etc and freeze it for when you need it. Same goes for damaged packaging and stuff marked down cuz there's a part missing, for example, a fourpack of beer with one can missing. It's not the packaging you're eating/using, so no need to worry. I've bought loads of good, cheap stuff from the reduced section, including loo roll reduced cuz the packaging was torn, and a roll of bin liners halved in price for the same reason. As for dented cans, as long as the contents aren't breached, they should be safe as long as you eat them as soon as.

Also, don't turn your nose up at economy or basic food items. Most of the time, the food is exactly the same as the general food items, just the packaging is basic and you're not eating/using that, as I said before. You could also buy bulk stuff, sharing price and item with another person; I do that with my parents sometimes in order to make the most of buy one get one free offers on items that would normally be too much for either of us to consume. But by sharing the item and splitting the difference, we both get the benefit. ^^

02-22-2009, 02:56 PM
Me and SO cut out the home phone (we have cellphones under the same provider), bring lunches to work, downgrade internet and look for good deals.

02-22-2009, 04:03 PM
I'm not directly affected by the recession -- work's steady and we're hiring instead of laying off. But I'm still always into saving money.

My shopping cart is almost always filled entirely with items on sale, particularly buy one, get one free items. I plan my meals around the Sunday sale circular.

I buy household necessities in bulk.

I joined Amazon Prime to get free two day shipping. Their prices are good, no sales tax, and some of their sales are really great. I generally look at other internet shopping sites to see if I can find it cheaper than Amazon -- usually I can't after shipping is figured in.

02-22-2009, 04:09 PM
I try to bring lunch to work. Even if I do buy lunch it's pretty cheap because the company subsidizes the cafeteria to keep the prices low. Nice perk, moreso since there aren't really any convenient options for going out, especially if you are like most of the employees and only get a half-hour for lunch. (I'm salaried and get an hour, but there's not a whole lot of quick options around other than Subway and pizza.)

My roommate and I have a phone/internet/cable package, but we don't have any premium channels (just basic cable). We don't really use the phone much (we both have cell phones), though I'm not sure if it would be cheaper to drop the phone and pay for internet and cable separately....

We stock up on paper products (TP, paper towels) at Sam's club (I go with my mom because I don't buy enough to justify getting my own membership), but we don't have a lot of storage space for food (tiny apartment kitchen), so I try not to get too much more than I can use in a reasonable amount of time. Our freezer isn't real big so buying too many extras to freeze isn't really an option. When I buy lunch meats I only get enough for a few sandwiches to make sure I don't end up wasting it. I'd rather stop more often on the way home from work (I pass right by a grocery store so it's not using any extra gas) than buy extra and end up tossing it because I didn't eat it before it went bad. I just have to will myself not to buy extra stuff just cuz I'm there...

02-22-2009, 04:47 PM
1. To the poster who said COUPONS: I completely and totally agree.

I had never cut a coupon in my life before my divorce. Then I started it casually out of cost-cutting necessity.

Now, since I squeeze 36 hrs a week into 3 working days, I have alot of time on my hands and have REALLY gotten into it.

I always play by the rules, and dont scam or do any nasty tricks, but even I am shocked by how much I can save.

It also helps to go to the store (if its feasible) at off-peak times. The cashiers seem to appreciate it, and I dont feel so awful holding up the lines. Also, it helps to double check and make sure you meet all the restrictions on the coupons.

2. If your company offers a program to work from home, check into it. I work from home about 75 percent of the time, and the savings in gas is phenomenal.

3. Check your current cell plan to see if there are any other deals which would save you monthly money. Read the fine print, though. Most of them require a contract extension, but if you're happy with your carrier, its worth it.

4. Re-shop for auto insurance. I saved 240.00 last year by switching to my current company. 20.00 a month is ALOT to me.

5. Compare rates at your local cable company vs satellite. Each has their pros and cons, but I saved 20.00 a month by switching to satellite recently.

6. Combine trips when running errands. I've started doing this, and notice a difference at the gas pump.

Thats about it for now, I'll post more if I think of them. :)

02-22-2009, 04:54 PM
If one doesn't believe that they can save money by combining gas trips may I suggest writig down when you get gas? I use a little app on my iPod touch that tracks my millage, when I had services done, mpg, and other little tidbits. This has allowed me to get 26 mpg and I can really see the savings there.

02-22-2009, 04:59 PM
On cell phones, skip the pricy monthly plans if you don't use the phone much. I find it's cheaper to use a Prepaid plan. When I first got my phone from T Mobile, I went ahead and purchased $100 of minutes so they would last a full year instead of 9- days. Took me 2 years to go through them, and I just bought $10 at the 1 year mark so I wouldn't lose them. Now I get maybe 50 every few months, which is a lot cheaper that the cheapest monthly plan.

Bring your lunch. Seems everyone at work goes out and spends 5+ on lunch. I bring a little cup of salmon, an apple, some cheese, and crackers. It's healthier, cheaper, and I don't have to leave my desk.

Skip the cable altogether. It's too expensive and there's never anything on. Netflix is a lot cheaper, and you get to pick and choose what you watch and when you watch it. Especially good for those with little time to actually watch TV. And if you like TV shows, just wait a few months, and the next season will be on DVD. Put that on your list and watch the entire show rapidfire. Or get the eps online. Either way, no commercials.

If you must upgrade, buy used. Since I have money now, I bought an iPod with more space and a Qwerty cell phone. The Phone I got on eBay for far less than a new one, and the iPod is one my friend sold me cheap. Sure, the batteries aren't 100%, but it's cheaper to replace the battery than to get a new phone. And all electronics get banged up a little eventually, so getting one with a little cosmetic wear that still functions properly will save a bundle.

02-22-2009, 06:11 PM
I've been a student since 1991, and I grew up pretty dang poor. This stuff is all second nature to me now :)

- Pack your lunch; cook supper at home (The Boy actually packs a lunch for me as I leave pretty early in the morning; then when I get home I make supper. It's a nice way to feel connected and that we are taking care of each other).

- Cook extra supper portions to take with you for lunch, if you have a microwave available. Don't forget your fork!

- Cook a big batch of soup, chili, casserole, whatever, and freeze portions for later suppers so you can get more variety. (Unless you don't mind eating the same thing for a week. I don't, actually!)

- Try out meatless recipes a couple of times a week - a tasty change and saves you $ on meat. (Cheese is pretty pricy now too though, so don't go overboard with that - a lot of my 1970s vegetarian cookbooks go pretty heavy on the cheese).

- Buy fresh seasonal veggies and fruits; frozen ones for out of season. Cans are expensive and you lose a lot of the nutrition.

- Pay attention to grocery flyers. Don't buy things just because they are on sale or you have a coupon - you aren't saving anything if you buy something you don't need. After a while you get a sense of what the best and average prices are for your staple items, and you won't have to compare as closely.

- Crock Pots are fantastic for those of us who work long hours. Set it up in the morning, yummy food will await your return. Plus, you can take the toughest and cheapest meat and make it fall apart. Caution: go easy on the seasonings. Onion powder goes unbelievably bitter in a slow cooker. That was a very disappointing batch o' beans...

- As has been mentioned already, try the store brand/generic versions of staple foods and household supplies. Often these are the same things as the national brands, repacked for the store. I'm in Canada, and I have had very good luck with the Safeway, Co-op (Harmonie or Co-op Gold), Costco (Kirkland), Shoppers Drug Mart (Life), and Superstore (President's Choice) brands. Check to see what's on sale.


- Make a priority list. Things you need for work go at the top of the list; basics like a certain colour pants or shoes. Buy the best quality you can of these items first. (Unless you work somewhere that your clothes get wrecked quickly, in which case go cheap). Buy these at a workwear store to get the best material. For some reason it is ridiculously hard to find women's trousers that are not made out of flimsy fabric! I have had really good luck with Dockers.

- For work shoes: I wear a size 8 shoe, which is the same as a boy's 6. I go to the school uniform shops and buy lace-up black Oxfords - they are sturdy and comfortable and look decent for work. Again, women's shoes are often flimsy and that drives me nuts. Look for shoes that can be repaired - as long as the upper holds together you can re-sole and re-heel shoes for less than $10. If you are on your feet all day it is WORTH IT to get really good shoes. If your feet are sore your whole outlook sours, and you can end up with long term injuries to your joints and back too.

- Thrift stores can be great sources for cheap clothes - probably more for women than men. I often find items that are brand new - either they didn't fit the way someone wanted or the style changed. Men's clothes seem to be more worn out though.

- Consignment stores are worth checking out, but are often overpriced. I have had NO luck at outlet type stores like Winners (if I am going to spend an hour sorting through blouses I want to spend 25 cents, not $25), but your mileage may vary.

- In general look for clothes that are well made in classic styles, and try to keep to a few colours that mix and match well (and that suit you! It doesn't matter if a colour is "the new black" if it makes you look like a corpse).

- If you are in a job that requires you to "keep up with fashion" (some sales and office jobs), try to use smaller pieces like jewellery, scarves, or other accessories to update the basic outfits. People notice those and not the jacket you're wearing.

- learn to mend and/or alter clothing to fit you; mending is important so that you won't lose a whole outfit because the pants seam came undone.

- take care of your clothes; hand wash items that need it and make sure to take care of small repairs before they turn into large unfixable ones.

- Invest in a clothes drying rack to save money on dryers and for the hand wash items.

- Use cold water for laundry. Exception: White t-shirts. Use warm water for these or they end up grey. (It frankly doesn't matter if your socks and undies turn grey but if it's something people can see you want to avoid that).


- Pot luck dinners. TV night with friends. Books from the library. Share books, DVDs and jigsaw puzzles with friends. Find a hobby instead of going shopping out of boredom. Share a hobby with friends. Go hiking in your city or in nearby parks. Join a book club. Take a course at your local recreation centre or county extension (cost per class is usually way less than you'd spend to see a movie or go for dinner - sometimes they are even free).


- Check the prices of monthly transit passes or books of tickets.
- Car pool with coworkers or friends
- Consider a bike! (Used bikes are good places to start - mine cost $5 at a church bazaar and I have 1000 miles on it :D)
- Don't assume you *have* to have a car of your own. There may be other options.


- If you have anyone in your life who considers the size of the gift to indicate the depth of affection, go slap them. Now.
- Make gifts or invite people to come to events with you instead of buying something expensive.
- Baskets of small gifts are fun to put together and really wonderful to receive.
- Movie basket - a couple of DVDs (secondhand even); popcorn & treats; maybe a blanket for cuddling on the couch.
- Pet basket - toys and treays for the family pet; watching the critters play is fun for their people as well :)
- Gardener Basket - a garden catalog; new tools; gloves; gift certificate for an hour of your time to help weed or to mow the lawn; a little windchime or suncatcher


- Exercise to keep yourself healthy and to reduce your stress. (Biking is my thing; walking the dog - borrowed from neighbours if need be! - gardening, playing with kids, dancing, or running may be yours).

- Consider taking a vitamin/mineral supplement just in case your diet isn't always the best. I also take fish oil capsules and a Vitamin B complex because these are both very good for stress. The store brand ones are probably fine, don't feel you have to spend $100 at a vitamin store! Anything is better than nothing.

I'm sure I'll think of more... I like the other ideas that are coming up in the thread!

02-22-2009, 08:13 PM
BT and I hardly ever go out to eat - but we're both kinda homebodies anyway. Rather just hang out, cuddle on the couch, watch a movie.

There's a Half-Price Books in town, and it's always my first stop for books. (I've had mixed experiences with movies/music). I've found textbooks there, and considering I'm in upper-level grad classes, that's saying something.

And tonight, I'm having people over, and instead of the usual smorgasbord of home-made goodies, I went very very simple. Chocolate dipped some strawberries, made Rocky Road Rice Krispies, homemade salsa, chips, popcorn, and some pizzas. BYOB. And if you like to hit the sauce occasionally, I find that local stuff is usually cheaper, and sometimes tastier, than the national brands. Example - BT recently had me try some Kansas whiskey - and it was smooth with just a hint of an afterburn. He said it was about half as much as a bottle of Jack. And you're supporting local companies.

If you do go out - go to lunch or just split appetizers. Save entertainment money for truly special occasions - theatre tickets, concerts, art exhibits. Usually not much more than a night at the movies and a much better experience.

Meals - buy veggies and fruit!! Yes, it's cheaper to eat Ramen, but your body needs the nutrients and fiber. And I second the vitamin recommendation - I like the Women's One-a-Day complete multivitamin.

02-22-2009, 09:13 PM
My list of tips (full-time student)

-For clothing, stick to discount department stores (in Australia, they'd be ones like Kmart and Big W) i.e. not $2 shops, but still cheap-ish. More often you can get block coloured shirts or pants for a good price and they can be used to layer or mix and match.
-Start a little herb box. The herbs themselves are only a few dollars from your local garden shop. (I'm growing parsley, sage, basil, rosemary and mint, the first three are in one box, the other two are in their own pots) If you decide to grow mint or rosemary, my advice would be to place them in their own pots-they swamp everything. They can be used to flavour dishes, make teas or in the case of the latter two, be used as potpourri.
-Buy clothing accessories that can be used in more than one way. A scarf that can be used for a headband or a belt for example. A sarong could be converted into a top as well as a skirt or a dress. There's a certain type of strapless top that I see in some places that can be worn as a skirt as well as a top.
-Like others have said, bring your lunch in from home instead of buying your lunch. Or if you work in a supermarket or in a place that has fresh fruit, veggies etc. a few people I know will make their own salad rolls which usually cost them all of $3. (most of us are part-timers)
-Shop around for big-ticket items. Compare prices and what will work out better in the long run.
-If you can, learn some basic home skills such as sewing-it'll be cheaper to repair those old clothes than take them to a dressmaker. Especially if you need to replace buttons.
-Shop around for deals on things like movies, arcades etc.
-If you can, try and catch public transport to major events rather than relying on the car. Or carpool if you can. (I know some people can't use public transport to get to work or uni) Set up something with work.

Australia isn't hitting the recession quite yet, but we're feeling the crunch, so we're being careful.

02-22-2009, 09:20 PM
I'm a big fan of Martin Lewis - Money Saving Expert (http://www.moneysavingexpert.com)

Very British orientated but there is plenty of sound advice there.

With groceries, don;t try immediatly dropping to the cheapest option. You are more likely to change buying habits permenantly if you downgrade one level. So if you would usually buy premium, switch to regular. If you usually buy regular, switch to own brand and so on.

Going shopping when hungry is a bad idea.

Going shopping just before closing means you can get a lot of stuff reduced which is fine for freezing.

Take a shopping list with you and stick to it.

Use leftovers for lunches/ extra meals. For example, i roasted a chicken today even tho there is only me. I've had roast chicken today and will have chicken sandwiches tomorrow. Tomorrow night i'll make chicken pie for the freezer and the carcass will be turned into chicken soup for lunches later in the week.

If you are in the UK, register for Quidco http://www.quidco.co.uk to get cashback on your online purchases. In America, try googling Big Crumbs or FatWallet. 9No idea what they are like as I've never used them)

And finally whenever a contract comes up for renewal, be it phones, insurance or whatever, the renewal price is never the best option. Most insurance companies send out annual renewals only a week before the due date so you haven't time to shop around. Diary for a month before the date and you have time then to check out comparison sites adn so on for the cheapest deal. And quite often, ringing your current insurer up to see if they will price match another company's offer works.

02-22-2009, 09:22 PM
I forgot to add the Golden Rule:

It's only a bargain if it is something that you need and would be buying anyway.:)

02-22-2009, 09:29 PM
Once a month or so I google for free samples, and they usually arrive within a week. Teabags, coffee, etc. Most are one per household but if you find one that's one per person, get each person in the house to apply for it. (But this might put you on a direct marketing list)

Also, just using the Internet to search for bargains. For Australians, http://www.lasoo.com.au/portal/ lists pretty much everything that's on sale at every store.

We booked the hotel for our wedding night through http://www.wotif.com/ $500 rack rate at a 5-star hotel... $198 for the night, including Wotif's fee.

ETA: Also, I keep seeing ads about people who have saved $500 on their car insurance... when I got my insurance, I shopped around and $500 is my entire annual premium.

02-23-2009, 01:11 PM
My wife is a nurse, so she's recession proof. Therefore we haven't had to do some things or go to great lengths, but we're still trying to save money, get out of debt, etc.

1. Lunches are either Ramen, Tuna, PB&J, or leftovers

2. We don't really go out to dinner anymore, maybe once in a blue moon. (Valentine's Day, but probably not again till her Birthday)

3. If we order dinner out it becomes lunch/dinner for the next few days.

4. Trips out are combined so we don't have to make several trips

5. When we need to gas up a vehicle we combine that with other trips so we're not burning gas just to get gas.

Lace Neil Singer
02-24-2009, 06:07 PM
I'd add for clothing tips:

Teen girl stores. Yes, you may feel a bit out of place, but clothing stores that are aimed at teenage girls are a great place to buy cheap socks, bags, jewelry, makeup etc. Just cuz there's a crunch doesn't mean you can't treat yourself. Plus you can pick up cheap tops and black trousers there.

Boy's trainers. It's weird, but boy's trainers are usually really hardwearing and a lot cheaper than girl's trainers.

Charity shops. As well as clothing, you can buy books there, and shoes. Charity shops in the rich parts of town are a goldmine. XD

Above all, do not turn your nose up at stores like QS, Peacock's etc that sell cheapo clothes. A lot of the time, the clothes are well made and just as good as expensive brands; in any case, if you buy a skirt for a fiver you won't mind as much if it wears out in six months as you would if you'd spent 50. Markets are also good, if you fancy a knockoff that looks designer. XD

02-24-2009, 07:06 PM
Discount clothing stores - you can actually get some really nice things and it doesn't cost you a bomb!
Instead of going out to movies, rent a DVD.
Frozen veggies are pretty nutritious and somewhat cheaper than fresh. If ya'll have no-name brands, they're also cheaper. Even if it's only by 10c per product, it all adds up.
Create an exchange program with friends for books where you swop paperbacks once a month so you have something new to read, but doesn't cost you a thing!

Keep an eye on how things are arranged in the supermarket - they put the big brands and more expensive products in the middle of the aisle at eye level height. Look above and below.

For food, when you make supper, keep the leftovers for lunch the next day. Fruit is the ultimate take away food, and it doesn't normally come in styrafoam packages :) A packet of apples can last you a week and cost maybe a couple bucks. Great snack too for when you're peckish!

Cancel that gym membership and start a walking club with like-minded members of the neighbourhood - alternatively! Offer to walk the neighbours' dogs (e.g. Neighbour A on Monday, Neighbour B on Tuesday etc). You can charge em maybe a buck or two, you get exercise, the doggies are happy, and you get a little extra cash so you don't have to give up your daily cuppacino habit :)

For the ladies: Buy some nice discount makeup and use that for everyday wear. Save the good stuff for special occasions. Ditto with perfume. Instead of body cream, olive oil actually does work pretty well, and you could even blend a little of your favourite essential oil with it for a bit of scent. Have a glitter cream preference? Get some no-name brand plain moisturizer, and throw in some of that old bronzer or blush that you don't use anymore.

If possible, see if it's more economical to use a laundromat instead of doing laundry at home.

That's all I can think of for now....

Mr Yuck
02-24-2009, 07:39 PM

Interest rates are down, check into refinacing.
My wife called our bank last week, we're able to drop from 6.125% to 5.25%. It will cost us $1100 to do the deal, but the beauty of that is it rolls right back into the mortgage payment.....the length of the mortgage will not change.

So for the time it took for 1 phone call and us going down to the bank to sign the necessary paperwork our mortgage is going down $67 per month.
Not a huge amount, but $67 is $67.

draftermatt.....wish nursing was recession proof everywhere. First time in the 19 years i've been a nurse where i've seen not only a hiring freeze at our facility, but they're actually letting a few nurses go.

02-24-2009, 08:50 PM
One of the TA's in my department just found out he wasn't being funded next year. And since I'm technically a state employee, I may not get paid next Friday. (The state of Kansas is basically broke. Yay.) And they're not doing tax refunds.

Needless to say, when I went to the grocery store today, I was a bit more careful than usual. Staples, off-brands, cheapest cut of meat I could find, cheapest veggies. Various things that can go in lunches for Monday/Wednesday. I should be good until next Friday, and even then I'll probably just need to by milk, bread, bananas, that kind of thing. The most expensive things - ham (for sandwiches) and chocolate soy milk. I noticed that, for some things, the name brands were actually a little cheaper than the store brands. For example, the store brand scalloped potatoes* were 2/3.00 while the name brand was 1.30/each.

*no, not healthy, but cheap and filling

02-24-2009, 10:09 PM
new dish washer
let me explain about 2 years ago our dish washer broke down, then the coldwater pipe in our sink died so we can barely use our kitchen sink.
while we do rent it cant be fixed because my aunt who owns this unit cant do it until we have someplace to stay because the enite counter and flooring has to ripped out then replaced.
so we went out and bought a new dishwasher (which we will be reimpershed on) so we can do more dishes instead of 10 or so at a time in a bathroom sink or 50 or so at a time in a bathtub, which will take hours and we dont have to eat out if we dont have time to wash eerything.
300 dollars now will save us a 100 a week later.

02-25-2009, 12:07 AM
I'd like to endorse and expand on the library hint.

First of all - except for gas (and when combined w/ other errands, negligible) FREE!

Second, even if you're small town, most areas of the States have interlibrary loans. Most importantly, they almost ALL have an online component.

A typical book borrowing for me is to run across a reference or suggestion from someone. Go online from home. Place the book on hold. (They have never NOT had a book yet.) In a few days, I receive an email telling me the book is at my local library. I drop by in the next few days to pick it (them) up. A friend in Scottsdale has a DRIVE UP window at his library :lol: (I still like to go in and peruse once in a while myself.)

Third. CDs. DVDs. I always check the library before renting a movie. The choices are a little more limited than the book selection, but for classics they are hard to beat.

02-25-2009, 12:40 AM
i though of real ideas
if you are an avid reader but cant alwasy afford your new books in your series or you want to read this is great! you post books you like or hated or just wanted to share and you can order other books from other members. i read up to book 5 in the vampire earth series this way, found tamora pierce books and others.

learn to use a needle
you can mend as other refer to but you can buy cheep clothes and add or subtract things you hate with a needle or a seam ripper.

some online clothing stores are actually pretty cheap and i found the cost of shipping is what i would spend driving around looking for clothes in my size.
i just bought two undershirts (which i havent been able to find anywhere ofr monthes) two pants and a skirt for 66 dollars with shipping and that way i have a few more items to replace ripped pants that i have worn for years
oh and like jeans but can find denium ones that fit you?
look for twill. its soft airy very durable and tends to be alittle cheaper.

02-25-2009, 03:17 AM
Clearance tables are awesome! My local supermarket had some awesome instant noodle cups on clearance, so I just paid $12 for 2 weeks worth of lunches.

02-25-2009, 03:44 PM
Kiwi pointed out that she started this very similar thread a while ago, so I've merged them. Let's include all manners of surviving in hard times - economies you can make and good places to look for jobs.


02-25-2009, 05:09 PM
Out of all the people listing clothes...try to keep your clothing down. Having a ton of clothes only makes the clothes washing time more hectic. I for example only have three pairs of jeans and about a dozen sweatshirts/shirts. But I do have eight sets of work clothes so two loads of laundry is all work clothes. While only one goes for the rest of my main clothes. Not going to talk about under things.

Also that will save money when it comes time to pay the water bill.

02-25-2009, 05:53 PM
Something I've done with some success, this cuts cost and helps you cut calories if you're dieting, is to cook all my meals at once, portion them out, and refridgerate them... never eat more than what you've portioned. It's cut my food expense by about $20-$30 a week and I think I"m noticing pants fitting better.

Oh, and if you live in an area with transit, see if your company/school has a program for discounted transit passes, save money, reduce foreign oil consumption, and reduce smog... it's win/win/win if it's available.

oh, eta- other things I'd suggest, if you have cable and high speed internet and you often rent videos/go to the movies, cut the cable and sign up for netflix, it's less than $20 a month, much cheaper than going to the theatre, and you can even cut your cable because there is nothing you will get on cable you won't be able to get on netflix (granted, it may be a while later)

02-25-2009, 07:35 PM
I was reading today on the msn money message boards that one of the best thinks to do is to simply stop shopping. Stop buying for an entire month.

Eat the food in your pantry (just buying fresh fruit,vege, milk)

Dont buy any clothes, dont rent any movies etc. Rely on your supplies that you already have for just 30 days. K and I did a stocktake of our freezer and pantry and realised we could go 3 full weeks without needing anything other than milk and bananas

sure we would have to have soup and toast for lunch everyday and oatmeal everymorning (well I have oatmeal everymorning in winter anyway) but we had plenty of frozen veges and fruit, we had two loves of frozen bread and enough fish, chicken and bacon to give us meat almost every evening.

we have also put a freeze on buying clothing, household items since Feb 1st. The only thing we had to replace was paper towels and we decided to get a 5 pack of kitchen cloth towels instead. We can wash the towels and use them over and over for the same price as a 4 pack of paper towels.

try it, only buy what you absolutely must for a month. pay your bills and the smallest amount of extra food that you can to get buy on. You might find you have a couple of hundred dollars left at the end of the month or you might have nothing left, but you could have caught up on a few bills.

02-26-2009, 04:23 AM
Anybody have any suggestions for figuring out a budget with an uncooperative partner? :mad:

"Don't buy bread," I said. "I bought this big bag of flour and some yeast, I'll make bread!" (Note: I make damn fine bread). "But it's not sliced. It's too hard to slice. I like the storebought bread, it's sliced."

Dude, trust me, you don't want ME slicing any bread at the moment. I might "slip."

02-26-2009, 05:04 AM
Babe just use the serrated knife it cuts the bread just fine! :)

And for those with cars, check your tire pressure. The winter months can play havoc on tire pressures, the colder it gets the lower the air pressure. So keep tabs on it. Don't skip your oil changes, that $50 dollars now will more than pay for the $3000 for a new motor if you don't change it. Its a little thing but little things add up. Or even learn to do an oil change yourself, it looks scary but its really not at all. Parts stores take back oil, they may change a couple bucks but after the investment in the basic tools its cheaper to DYI it.. :)

Hell I do all my own work, I save a bundle and have made some cash from friends cause I will work cheaper than the "quicky lube"..

Der Cute
02-26-2009, 05:34 AM
1. If you're a girl - hand wash your bras. They last longer, and it doesn't cost to do laundry.
2. Borax is your friend. Use 1/2 the normal amount of laundry soap, and add about 1/2c of Borax. Clothes will be just as clean, it's a good stretcher. Kills germs just fine, and even softens jeans :).
3. Vinegar for windows. Don't need to buy Windex or Rinse Aid anymore. Use Vinegar for washing windows (get the spray bottle at dollar store or use the old windex bottle!) and Instead of using Rinse Aid for your dishwasher, use Vinegar...works better and is much much cheaper.
4. I hang-dry almost all my undies- the less heat from the dryer - the longer they last.
5. Chili and soups are easy to cook, and freeze, and eat later.
6. Go to the Bread Thrift stores. They're the bakeries themselves, the local factories for store bought bread. You can get healthy bread there, like 5 loaves for 6 bux etc.
Or, make your own.
7. Grow your own herbs in the windowsill. It's easy, fun, and you are saving LOTS of money. You can spend up to $10/bottle for herbs/spices at the grocery store. If you're not inclined to grow things, go to a store that has bulk - and you can buy spices in bulk. (Health section). Right now I've got basil and catnip growing (Fuzzy's getting excited about the nip.)


02-26-2009, 12:34 PM
Or even learn to do an oil change yourself, it looks scary but its really not at all.

doing the disclaimer that should have been included... if you live in an apartment complex do be sure to check with your property management to make sure there are no rules against doing auto work on site. My property management can and does fine people for doing work on site, so be sure to check first and not risk getting a huge fine to save a few dollars on oil changes.

alternatively, try the local places rather than the chains... at least when I've gone to those places they've been cheaper than "quicky lube"

02-26-2009, 08:59 PM
Skip the cable altogether. It's too expensive and there's never anything on. Netflix is a lot cheaper, and you get to pick and choose what you watch and when you watch it.
Check your local library to see if they have any videos to borrow. Libraries in larger towns and cities often have a DVD selection, and you can borrow them just like books, no fees unless you return them late. And frequently, they have unusual stuff that you won't find at Hollywood or Blockbuster (things like silent films, foreign films, BBC videos, etc.)

02-26-2009, 11:29 PM
On cell phones, skip the pricy monthly plans if you don't use the phone much. I find it's cheaper to use a Prepaid plan. When I first got my phone from T Mobile, I went ahead and purchased $100 of minutes so they would last a full year instead of 9- days. Took me 2 years to go through them, and I just bought $10 at the 1 year mark so I wouldn't lose them. Now I get maybe 50 every few months, which is a lot cheaper that the cheapest monthly plan.

good idea; also if you go to your mobile provider (especially if you're on contract) ask to see your usage; you can see where and how you spend my money; after finding out how little i actually use my mobile I down graded my contract (after getting the awesome upgrade) from 40 to 15 / month :)

Bring your lunch. Seems everyone at work goes out and spends 5+ on lunch. I bring a little cup of salmon, an apple, some cheese, and crackers. It's healthier, cheaper, and I don't have to leave my desk.

Luckily my work provides me with my lunch, but if i they didn't I'd certainly get around to using my lil bento box.
SO takes a selection or ready meals to work for lunch; they cost about 1 each so is quite good. we get the Salisbury's ones because they are mainly pretty good quality; no e numbers etc.

Skip the cable altogether. It's too expensive and there's never anything on. Netflix is a lot cheaper, and you get to pick and choose what you watch and when you watch it. Especially good for those with little time to actually watch TV. And if you like TV shows, just wait a few months, and the next season will be on DVD.
Check your local library to see if they have any videos to borrow. Libraries in larger towns and cities often have a DVD selection, and you can borrow them just like books, no fees unless you return them late. And frequently, they have unusual stuff that you won't find at Hollywood or Blockbuster (things like silent films, foreign films, BBC videos, etc.)

Mmm Libraries are a great thing ;)

we're moving soon, so will be dropping Virgin. I've been doing alot of research on what internet provider to use; one great site that's impartial is http://www.thinkbroadband.com/isp/compare.html - they show reliability and customer service as well as value for money and speed tests.

We'll be dropping our cable altogether; we rarely watch TV now, but we'll save up for a decent Freeview box; the main channel we watch is Dave anyway ;)

we both walk to work and neither of us drives so that saves alot too; i do a one-weekly shop when i can and stock up as much as possible. also i cook 'from scratch' nearly all the time so it helps alot (if anyone wants tips or recipes please PM me ;) )

also for saving energy; i bought a few E-On powerdowns (http://www.eonenergy.com/At-Home/Going-Green/Energy-Saving-Advice/Interactive-House/Resource-Centre/resource-centre-powerdown.htm) from Ebay (at a huge reduction of price); it's amazingly useful, also i bought a roll of 3-pass lining (http://www.curtainfabricsonline.com/proddetail.php?prod=120033679405) for the curtains that i am currently sewing that on.

02-27-2009, 08:49 AM
Hello everyone, this is blas, your community Recessionista.....(gosh I hate that word)...

While you are saving money on your absolute necessities, it's also a good idea to take a good look at how much money you may be wasting on skin care, hygene products, cosmetics and hair care.

You can still look amazing while on a tight budget.

You do not need to waste your money on expensive acne and other skincare solutions that are overpriced and above all, overly biochemically engineered. Can you even pronounce half of the ingredients in your face wash? I can't.

I have been using baking soda/water paste, gentle soaps, honey and vinegar for my skin in recent times, and my skin has never looked better. Baby wipes, while still a little pricey, can take off makeup just as effectively and cost less than makeup remover at your local department store.

All you need to flush your system....water. Water water water. If your have access to clean tap water, take advantage of it! If you can afford it, buy green or white tea in bulk (tea bags are still pretty cheap, but the big bottles are just slightly less expensive than soda pop and juice).

If you are like me and a slave to your own horribly oily skin.....forget mattifiers and expensive makeup primers. I thought Avon's MagiX skin perfector was a steal for $10 until I heard about Milk Of Magnesia. A regular sized bottle of Phillips is less than $5 and will last you a year. WARNING: This is only for people with oily skin! Yes....constipation solution as a makeup primer. Use after washing your face. It will keep shine and excess oil away for HOURS. A little goes a long way, so do not apply too much. Many people notice a difference in pore size and amount of pimples over time as well.

Suave now makes shampoos and conditioners for blondes and brunettes. I bought some a couple months ago and it works JUST as well as John Freida. Also, invest in Suave's hairspray and taming lotion. It works just as well as the other stuff you'll spend 3-5x as much on. Their shampoos/conditioners smell very nice. It can be your little secret.

As far as makeup goes.....in my opinion, Covergirl, Revlon, L'oreal, and Maybelline have came a long way in recent years. Although they still may not compare 100% to the luxurious feel of expensive makeup, in times like these, if you are still going to wear makeup, I say swallow your pride and save some money. Most Wal-Mart makeup brands like those above do have mineral foundations, mineral blushes, bronzers, and at a cost that won't break your budget. Again, it can be your little secret. I have no issue at all with the quality of these brands.

02-27-2009, 11:09 AM
I'm in an interesting position. I have a little (well, reasonably substantial) cash spare, and I'm trying to work out if I should knock another chunk off my mortgage as I was intending or save it as ready and liquid cash. Knocking money off the mortgage would be good in the long term, but I may have one or two expenses coming up.

Got a month or two to think about it.

Don't hate me too much!


02-27-2009, 01:39 PM
Ahh, skincare. I can't wear Cover Girl or any other Wal-Mart-esque brand. They don't make foundations pale enough that don't make you look like Casper the Friendly Ghost. I am extremely pale, but my skin has a lot of pink undertones that I don't like to cover up. So, I get Clinique, the stuff I've been using since high school. It is pretty reasonable for department store makeup (about $15 I think) and one bottle can last me for 6 months. I just take really really good care of my skin and only wear makeup 3-4 times a week at most. My skin's pretty clear, just have some freckles and a large birthmark on my forehead I like to keep covered (forceps, literally a 'birth' mark).

Baby oil is also a damn fine makeup remover - it's what we generally use for stage makeup. Just be sure to use a really good soap afterwards. And buy and use eye makeup remover (baby oil could be used for this, too). When I last went to an optometrist, he had to rub my eyes with cleaner - apparently I hadn't been cleaning up eyeliner/mascara well enough and I had gunk at the base of my lashes. ICK.

It shouldn't
02-27-2009, 02:54 PM
Put in a garden.

Or just a few pots with tomato and pepper plants on your balcony.

I grow most of the vegetables we eat myself. In the summer/fall I can/preserve and freeze Which usually lasts us until the next harvest.

I have invested in one of those vacuum sealer gizmos. You don't even have to pre-cook most veggies. Just wash the veggies really well, clean/peel/trim and then I seal them in undividual size portions and freeze. When it's time for using them, just put in boiling water, bag and all, till they are cooked/hot. You can even make yourself "steamer bags" just poke a little hole in the bag with a pin, put in microwave pin-hole side up and cook for 2-5 min. To make things even more tastier I add a tablespoon of butter and some seasoning to the veggies before I seal and freeze them.

The best vegetables to do that with: Corn, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, kohlrabi, brussel sprouts and peas.

The herbs I freeze in mini ice cube trays. Just Chop the fresh herbs, distribute evenly in the wells of a ice cube tray for mini ice cubes, then fill up the wells with water and freeze. Take herb/ice blocks out when frozen and store in a ziploc bag in freezer. I find them easier to use and less messy to store when I do it that way. Just grab a cube (or2) and drop it in the soup/stew, or thaw a cube in one of those mini strainers over a cup to use for other things.

To keep the weeds in the graden down to a minimum, I lay old newspapers about 3-4 layers thick all around the veggie plants and cover the papers with a 2-3 inch layer of grass clippings. I guess you could cover it in mulch too. The grass clippings are just there so the wind won't blow the news papers away.

03-30-2009, 02:00 AM
I'm surprised that no one has added to this in a while...

For those who make lunches for work, any of you do Bento boxes? I've been thinking of getting into them and have a found a few books online but nothing yet concrete on if I want to or how I can. (I know I want to cause they look yummy...but me and mornings don't get along.)

For the couponers...any good sites you like to use online?

03-30-2009, 02:41 AM
I don't talk on the phone all that much. So I use a Virgin Mobiel phone. You just buy the phone, and then you can either buy phone cards or go online and have so much a month put on. The phones are stylish, mine even takes photos, and you can text. You don't have a contract. It saves a lot of money especially if you don't talk a lot.

If there is a sale going on and you have a little extra money, buy a few of the food items on sale that you use a lot, and just store what you don't use.

Again, places like goodwill are good places to find great deals on clothes. I found some clothes in my size that still have the tags on them.

Also, garage sales and estate sales are your friend. You never know what you might find.

03-30-2009, 05:55 AM
Contact lens wearers- check in with your optometrist and see if they know of any specials that are available for your brand of lenses.

Now, we mostly deal with patients who have vision insurance of some sort, so if you *don't* it is probably cheaper to order through someone like Costco or 1-800 Contacts. If you do have insurance, check with your optometrist and see if they can hook you up. (And be nice when you do, because who knows you could be dealing with me! :lol: )

At my office, a good half of the lenses that we sell are set up so the more boxes you buy, the cheaper the price per box. In the long run, it's cheaper to purchase your year supply of lenses all at once instead of one box at a time. We also have a stack of rebate forms for our major disposable brands that can get you a nice chunk of change back.

(NOTE: I'm not sure if this is available everyone or how long the special will last, but Ciba has a special for some of their Focus Dailies where you can get 2- 30 lens boxes for $15. Focus Dailies can be expensive, so this price is a bit of a steal, especially for patients who only wear contacts on certain occasions)


Also- be kind to your lenses and they will last you longer. I don't care what brand you wear, I recommend (for many reasons) that you DON'T sleep in your lenses. If you remove and clean them daily, your eyes will be healthier in the long run and your lenses will probably last you a couple weeks longer.

Ultimately, you need to consult your optometrist regarding your wearing schedule, but in my experience I know I take amazing care of my lenses so I am able to wear them for 4 to 6 weeks. Again, you MUST consult your doctor before doing this, but if you take care of your lenses they will take care of you. :D

03-30-2009, 08:17 AM
There is one web site I found that shows you how to make food cheap.
There's an emergency $45 menu, and a everyday $70 menu. Shopping tips, recipies, etc.

Don't laugh too hard at the name.


03-30-2009, 12:01 PM
Washing your air conditioner twice a year and changing or washing your filters monthly can make a real difference in your electric bill. If your filters are really dirty (or missing), have the indoor coil checked and cleaned if necessary. In addition to saving electricity, your equipment will last longer.

Evil Queen
03-30-2009, 03:30 PM
Your Freezer is Your Friend


Did you know you can freeze a lot of the fruit that's on sale (deep discounts) during the warm season? I just learned that I can freeze grapes and plums. I purchased grapes a short time ago for the freakishly cheap price of .42 a pound. I bought 5 lbs (the limit), cleaned and froze them on a baking sheet (so they woudlnt' stick together). Then dumped them into zipper top bags at a cup each. Tada! I have grapes for when I want them! Grab a bag and toss them in my work bag on the way to work. They thaw while I wait for my break and you loose no flavour.
For plums, just slice, add a teaspoon of lemon juice and pour into a bag. Two cups fits in the sandwhich bags just great! I recently used two bags for a plum cobbler. It was tasty!
Have Bananas on the verge of going too ripe? Peel and freeze them! Eat them still frozen with a touch of chocolate syrup for a diet friendly snack or thaw them out and use them for Banana Bread!


You'd be amazed what you can freeze for dairy products. Whole Milk freezes nicely. Just allow it to thaw in the fridge for two days before use and shake the container. There's no taste difference as long as you remember to shake it!
Every now and again, HEB and Kroger will sell their 8oz packets of shredded cheese for CHEAP. Stock up and toss into the freezer as well.
Oddly enough, Sour Cream does NOT freeze well at all. Do not try it.

Plan Ahead with OAMC meals:

OAMC means "Once A Month Cooking". SmileyEagle does a similar trick with Once a Week Cooking. Google OAMC recipes and give them a try! I've had several that are damned tasty and well worth the time you spend on that lazy day off where you don't feel like going anywhere.
A Personal favourite is Meatloaf (you can use your own, just multiply the ingredients) and frozen pizza. it's cheaper to make your own then to buy it at the store, which is still cheaper then ordering in! Below is my favourite Meatloaf recipe (and this is the one my SO likes so it must be good!)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Combine 2 lbs lean ground sirloin, 1 cup oat flour (instant oatmeal that has been turned into flower in the food processor), 1 finely chopped onion, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup milk, 2 lightly beaten eggs, a dash of salt and a dash of pepper in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands and shape into 2 loaves about 7 1/2 inches long by 4 inches wide (basically the size of a loaf pan). Place on a slightly greased rack of a broiler pan and bake for 40 minutes.
To Freeze, cool and wrap in foil, seal and label. Freeze for up to 3 months (if you had also put it in a ziptop bag to prevent freezer burn, you can freeze it for longer).
To Reheat; thaw in fridge for 8 hours and bake (still wrapped in foil) at 350 Degrees F for 45 minutes or until heated through (approximately 165 degrees is my favourite internal temperature).

Go to websites like recipezaar.com and search for "OAMC/Feed an Army" recipes. :D

My next favourite is Lasagna. Just follow your favourite recipe but DO NOT COOK THE NOODLES. Put the dish together with the uncooked noodles and either freeze or refrigerate over night. Then, bake as you normally would the next day. The noodles soak up the extra juices from the tomato sauce and cheese mixture so it's nice and tender. I have gotten rave reviews for "Make Ahead Lasagna". Give it a try.

03-30-2009, 03:30 PM

Repair, repair, repair. Fix everything, and keep it in good repair. It extends the use of EVERYTHING.

And clean. Clean filters, clean motors, clean mechanisms run more efficiently, and are less likely to break down.

Re-read the manuals for all your mechanical and electronic stuff, or find the manual online. Find out what you should be doing to keep it in good condition.

Go through your house. If it's not useful, beautiful, or a memento important to you, get rid of it. If it's excess and you're keeping for 'useful', get rid of it. Sell stuff. You may be surprised how much more real room you have - and how much you earn getting rid of the excess.

If you're renting, you may even find out that you could live comfortably in a smaller (and therefore cheaper) place. (Also cheaper to heat, cheaper to cool...)

If you own, and you can possibly afford to do so, insulate. You can get some insulation-stuff you mix in with paint, so if you're redecorating, insulate as you go.

Learn to sew. Making your own clothes is cheaper than buying, and you get exactly what you want. (Well, after the learning curve.) If you don't want to make your wardrobe, learn to sew enough to mend stuff.

Learn to cook. Cooking from basic ingredients is much, much cheaper than purchasing prepared meals.

03-30-2009, 05:24 PM
You can freeze bread and yoghurt too. So if it's on sale, you can buy 5 or 6 loaves (or whatever is the limit), head home and freeze it! No change in taste or texture.

Freezing your yoghurt is also great if you have an icecream craving - simply grab a frozen yoghurt instead!

09-09-2009, 06:46 PM
For those that are interested in going out occasionally restaurant.com is a great place to get gift certificates, they usually run $10 for a $25 g/c. They also have 70% and 80% off sales a lot. And today 9/09/09 they have a 90% off sale. enter the code NINETY at check out and get a $25 g/c for just $1. although it looks as though it's only in the US.

Most of the places do have a spending minimum, usually $35-$50 on a $25 g/c.

Evil Queen
09-09-2009, 08:12 PM
Guys, I cannot stress enough the importance of having an emergency fund.

Open a seperate savings account and lable it as "bad shit" or something similar. I'm a poster on MSN Money forums and a lot of people there recently got laid off. It's terrible. Luckily, a lot of them have decent sized emergency funds so they can afford to be jobless for a little while until a new one is found.
It's slow going at first but will be worth it in the long run. Just throw in whatever you can afford once a week or, like me, once a month.

Right now I have things pretty darned good. So I'm easily dumping $300 a month into it (I make just over $1000 a month). But I also have roommates, which helps with the bills and mortgage. But then again, I now work in a college town and the hotel I work for is always hiring people simply because we're so busy.

ANYWAYS! Emergency fund! Very important and will be a god send if you ever do loose your job. And don't stop sascking away the cash once you're financially stable either! The best funds are the ones that will get you through A YEAR of being jobless (use to, the best funds were for 3 months, but with the economy the way it is, things have changed). So you should have enough monies to pay ALL the bills plus food, clothing and the occational "OH MY GOD THE CAR BROKE DOWN!"

cinema guy
09-09-2009, 10:41 PM
This is an incredibly useful and informative site: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/

It is Uk based, but a lot of the information is appropriate anywhere. There may be a US equivalent.

09-10-2009, 05:23 AM
Pay off your credit card or any other debts you may have with the money you save. The interest can murdelize you. I'm 2 months away from paying off my credit card, and I'll finally be able to save some money!! See if you can get a phone plan with unlimited texting, and text people instead of calling (thats what I do :) )

09-10-2009, 05:58 PM
Knocking money off the mortgage would be good in the long term, but I may have one or two expenses coming up.

Hehe bringing down the mortgage principal is *always* a good thing :) I did that the first year I was in my house. Didn't change the monthly payment, but it does cut down your interest for the year. Do that enough times, and you'll actually save money in the long-term.

Also, pay off any balances in full. Fees and penalties can easily cost more than what you owe.

I also agree that you should keep any vehicles in good repair. Proper maintenance is much cheaper than either a new vehicle or a rebuild!