Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tips for Saving Money

by Sariah S. Wilson

So in these higher-priced times, I know we can all use a little advice on how to save a buck.

I do not have this advice. Oh, I know some of the obvious things - like when you use a dryer sheet you should tear it in half because you don't need a whole one (someone who worked at an industrial launderer said they used half a sheet in their industrial-sized dryers, so we didn't need more than that) - or buying generic (unless a coupon makes the brand name cheaper).

I recently got an email forwarded from someone who claimed to be a former employee of an oil company, with advice on how to fill up your car to save money (never let the tank get below the halfway point, and only fill up in the morning. Something to do with gas vapors).

Therefore, I'm turning this blog over to you (and this has NOTHING to do with the fact that I've been unable to think of a suitable blog entry. NOTHING). What are your tips for how to save money and cut corners? Do you have any websites that you visit that have these sorts of tips? Email lists that you belong to?

What is the number one thing you've done that has saved your family the most money? (For me, I think that would be shopping at Wal-Mart for our groceries. A store that I used to shop at (local store called biggs) claimed that they had the lowest prices, until I went and realized that their prices had risen as high as the most expensive store (Kroger's). I saw an article in the paper comparing the supermarkets and each time, people saved the most money at Wal-Mart. I've cut our food bill considerably by shopping there. I like their clearance shelves where I've been stocking up on food storage items with things they've marked down.)

How do we get more frugal?

(EDITED TO ADD - I forgot to do my bit of blatant self-promotion this week. (How can that be? Did I have you worried?) Marsha Ward did an interview with me, and you can read it here.)


At 7/19/2008 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cancel your internet account! 8-)

At 7/19/2008 10:14 PM, Blogger Keri said...

The Dollar Stretcher has some great tips, ranging from the simple to the extreme. They come out with new articles each Monday.

The one thing I have done that has saved me the most money is to make my own laundry detergent. Grate a bar of soap, put it in a pan with water, and melt it. Then add 1 cup washing soda and 1/2 cup Borax. Stir and put in a 5 gallon bucket. Fill the bucket with hot water and stir. Let it sit overnight to gel. Use 1/2 cup per load. I can make a whole bucket's worth for about $1.50 and 15 minutes of my time.

At 7/19/2008 11:17 PM, Blogger Pat said...

A couple of my friends have told me that is supposed to be a really great place for that kind of stuff (embarrassingly enough, I haven't looked yet...)

At 7/20/2008 12:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, here are some suggestions:

1. Don't eat out. Ever.

2. If you defy rule number one, get a burrito at cafe rio. The veggie enchalada style is only $7.00. Then split it. One burrito feeds two people for sure.

3. If you get the burrito, tell the preparer person to give you half as much rice and twice as much beans. They always over stuff it with more than double the beans. When you split it, you nearly get a full burrito. Very smart. Very frugal. Very cool.

4. Park the car. Drive a scooter or a moped or motor bike.

5. If you don't park the car, only drive it downhill. Take a bus back up the hill at the end of the day.

6. If you listen to suggestion #5 you will also have to ignore that goofy childhood thing your parents told you about, "What goes up must come down." It works in reverse. Which means there is no free lunch. And the first law of themodynamics sucks.

7. Stay home more.

8. And read my book.


At 7/20/2008 12:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I love your soap making suggestion. I'm going to try that one.

I have a couple more to add to the list:

1. As soon as the sun goes down, open all the windows in the house and turn off the AC.

2. If you find you have lots of bugs in the house because of rule #1, shut the screens.

3. Eat one meal a day. Snake of some seeds, nuts, raisins during the day.

4. No more fruity, milky, sugary drinks. Get rid of the shakes, the sodas, the juices, all of it. Drink water. You can save thousands of dollars a year. Really, you can. We did.

5. No more trips. Really. No driving to California or Florida, or anywhere. Just stay home. Go to the park. Let the kids splah around in a wading pool. Or take a hike. Or go to the local library and read my book, of course.

6. Stop buy stuff. You don't need any of it. Outside of some hygiene stuff and food, stop buying the other stuff. Two pair of pants and a coupld of shirts should get you through the And ladies, how many shoes and dresses do you need, really. Just stop buying them. Three dresses, two pair of shoes, a couple of shirts and you're good for a year or two. You can save thosands. Again.

7. Cut out all the junk food. That's right. No more desserts, ice creams, candies, bars, chocolate. You don't need any of it. And you can save.....thousands. In fact if you get the clothes thing and the food thing and the drink thing down you could pay off your house in a few years and save some serious cash.


At 7/20/2008 1:03 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

I married a doctor. We are being frugal by not buying a vacation property. We're fabulous like that.

Okay, so seriously, we're drowning in student loan debt. Some great suggestions here!

At 7/20/2008 7:41 AM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

I buy almost all my and my children's clothes at a local thrift store. I'm blessed to live in an "upscale" community, so the donations to the thrift store are amazing.

The children wear gymboree and baby gap and I'm wearing Anne Taylor and I pay $0.50 per article of clothing for the kids and $5-$8 per piece for me. It takes dedication, though, to find stuff.

Oh and I second the getting rid of non-water drinks. Not that I do this, but we spend a fortune on juice and soda. All we should realy buy is milk.

At 7/20/2008 7:50 AM, Anonymous Floyd the Wonderdog said...

I use the advice that my Grandmother gave me. "We don't have to keep up with anyone, we're the Joneses." We don't compare our lifestyle to anyone else's.

For some great advice, listen to the Dave Ramsey syndicated radio show.

Only buy used cars. Never lease. Never rent to own. If you have credit card debt, pay it off every month, otherwise cut up the cards and pay cash for everything. Brown bag lunch. Get a library card. Rent movies rather than paying outrageous theatre prices. Buy it on sale. Dial up is much less expensive than cable. Rabbit ears rather than cable. Tithe. You get the idea.

At 7/20/2008 4:04 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

I second Pat's suggestion for great site for helping you find the deals for things. However, you are only saving money if you were going to purchase it anyway.
Water from the tap- no bottled water or sugar drinks.

LY-I am still working on the shoe thing, but I did pass up a cute pair the other day that was on sale and I had 2 coupons that would have made them $40 cheaper, but I figured I would have to buy a dress to match and then earrings and a bracelet and... so I just walked on by. How's that for savings?

At 7/20/2008 4:24 PM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

I try to save money by winning free books instead of buying them. And speaking of which, when's the next contest on your site, Sariah? *wink*

At 7/20/2008 6:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You should try some low altitude shopping. You can save on fuel costs, despite the medical risks.


At 7/20/2008 9:21 PM, Blogger Sandra said...

Ly- I don't suppose that was on the billboard as well? Fuel costs are nill if it is virtual shopping and the medical risks with shoe shopping only come if the heels are too high- no parachute needed.

At 7/21/2008 8:08 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

Also, if you get a list of "tips" in your email, check out to see whether they're legit or not.

At 7/23/2008 12:23 AM, Blogger L@pterces said...

One of my favorite sayings is "There's nothing wrong with buying 'used'." Remember that after you wear it once, or use it once, it's used.

Thrift stores are great, online resources like Craigslist free classifieds, and even ebay, are great. With the shocking waste that goes on in this country, you don't have to wait long for something that's new in the store one day to be discarded and available for a fraction of the original price.

Learn how to do simple home/auto/electrical repairs- there's huge money to be saved there, and again, lots of online resources to help.

When you must drive, make sure your tires are inflated to proper pressure. Change your air filter. Drive the speed limit, or under- guel mileage drops of dramatically above 60 mph. Don't carry extra weight in your car.

At 7/24/2008 12:33 AM, Blogger Sandra said...

L@pterces reminded me of something. Check yahoo to see if your community has a freecycle group. A great place to trade what you don't need or get what you do


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