Thursday, June 24, 2021

Refresher #2 - More Saving on Things we Can

 More ideas on things we can take control of and save a little of our hard to come by funds.  Whether you are employed or retired - you want your money to stretch as far as possible.  There is absolutely no sense in wasting things or money.  We all need to be the best stewards of what we have - and be the best we can be!!!!!

  • Keep track of where your funds go.  Pay attention to bills and frivolous spending.  A notebook and pen will work - just keep track for a while and you may be amazed at how much you waste
  • Unplug appliances that are not being used.  I never leave small appliances plugged in - I guess that comes from the many stories I have heard over the years of sudden fires.  It may not save a ton of money on electric - but it all adds up.  If it saves you from a fire - well that could be a savings of life!
  • Stop using so many paper products.  Use rags for cleaning.  Use cloth napkins instead of paper.  Only use paper plates when having outdoor meals.  Paper costs a lot and then you just throw it away!
  • Turn off lights when not using or not in a room.  It all adds up
  • DECLUTTER - how does that save?  Well, you can sell your stuff and make extra money.  OR you can donate and get a receipt for taxes.  OR you can give away stuff - just having less clutter makes for a calmer home - this a calmer you!  That can be worth a lot!!!
  • Make your own cleaners or use natural products.  I mainly use alcohol, peroxide, vinegar, (not all at once) and baking soda and of course HOT WATER.  Keep it natural.  Soak your citrus peels in vinegar to make a great citrus cleaner.  Not only does it save - it is better for the earth
  • Make your own bread crumbs.  Stale bread/crackers/chips - use them all.  You can grind up stuffing type bread and make your own.  I never buy bread crumbs any more.  I use what I have.  Can mix in corn meal or flour as well when breading items
  • Line dry laundry when possible.  I know not everyone can hang clothes outdoors (not allowed).  You can hang up in the basement over a tub or on a rack.  Hang in the garage.  IF there is a will there is a way!  Dryers use a lot of energy
  • Make extra meals to freeze for another day.  Leftovers? Or just cook ahead.  There will always be a day that you don't feel like cooking - so resist temptation of eating out by having meals frozen ahead.  It can be as simple as soup or casseroles - precooked meat - you name it.
  • Contact companies whether you love or hate their products.  You may get free product or coupons if you LOVE something.  You could possibly get a replacement or a refund if you HATE something.  It is worth a try.  Most products have a phone number or email listed on the package
  • Keep nice jars (from store bought stuff) to use for dry storage.  Many items last a lot longer is stored in glass - it prevents moisture and buggers!
  • Water things down.  Use less.  You can water just about anything down and it will still be effective or taste good.  I always add an extra can of water to frozen OJ.  I water all soap products down - shampoo, dish soap, laundry detergent, body wash, etc.  No one need all that detergent to clean something.
  • Keep up on vehicle maintenance.  A good running vehicle is a cheaper vehicle.  Maintenance is very important.
  • Take care of yourself - good HEALTH saves a fortune!!!!!!  Eating right and taking vitamins and herbs is a lot cheaper than tons of doctor visits and hospital stays!!
  • Grow and dry your own herbs.  Use them for seasoning or for teas
  • Keep old clothes for rags or for remaking into something new.  Remake into a new clothing item, craft items, quilts, etc.  
  • Check around on pricing.  Call your utilities like cable and internet or cell phone call your insurance companies to see if you can get a lower rate.  All the can say is no - but they may say YES
  • Learn to make your own seasoning mixes - they are so easy to do and no extra chemicals.  You can make to reflect your tastes.
  • Take care of your home and do maintenance when necessary.  If you take care of things - hopefully you won't have a major expense down the road.  Maintenance is so important in ALL areas of our lives!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Think about alternative places to shop.  There are lots of places that sell groceries now.  Grocery stores, ethnic stores and even home improvement stores!  Yep they literally do sell anything from soup to nuts and bolts!  Goodness, if you have a place like Menard's near you - they often have the greatest deals on grocery items.  They also have good deals on t-shirts, hats, socks, gloves, etc.  great deals on animal/critter feed.  Look at Big Lots/Odd Lots, Ollies, discount groceries, Amish stores, The Christmas Tree Shoppe, Rural King or other farm stores, bulk stores............................many, many choices.
  • Have an extended pantry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Seriously, this is probably one of the most important money savers.  Buy cheap, sales, clearance and stock-up.  Buying at a cheaper price now is truly 100% money in the bank!!!!  WHY pay more when you can spend less now and be prepared for anything that comes your way?
  • Keep cash on hand at home.  You never know what may happen in this old world - so always be prepared with cash on hand.  At least you are able to maybe make purchases or you can barter or buy second hand.  Keep it - hide it -  and be prepared.
I know most of these things just sound like common sense - but little things DO add up.  Get creative and RETHINK everything.  
There are just so many things we can do to save our dollars.  As prices go up on may things - we need to be more vigil on how we spend.   No one thing will probably save you a fortune - but small changes can end up making us all save more.

I am not trying to say you need to have a huge amount of money in the bank - I mean you do have a life to live.  BUT you need a good emergency fund, you need to be prepared for losses in life that can affect income and you need to save in one area so that maybe you can enjoy a little more in another area.

Live your life and enjoy - just be SMART!  
Be prepared for whatever may come your way.  You never know what can happen in a flash.


  1. Cheryl, you are one smart cookie! I would say that you are blessed in the brains department and you have learned from life experiences as well. Pinterest has lots of frugal recipes and tips. I knew a lady way back in the 60's and she always watered down her dish soap and detergent. When you think a bottle is empty, add water and be surprised how much product is left. It makes so much sense to eat at home. You know what is in your food, how it was prepared and can adjust for any food allergies or tummy upsets.

    Have been picking black raspberries and they are plentiful this year. Froze some and we have been eating them fresh and in smoothies and I will make a raspberry rhubarb crisp tomorrow. Have had a few cherry tomatoes and yellow pear tomatoes. Can't wait for the Mr Stripeys!

    1. Well thank you my dear! I have managed to learn a lot of useful tidbits over the years. At least I think they are useful.
      Good for you - black raspberries yum! I have blooms on maters but no fruit yet. Can't wait. I grew Mr. Stripey one year and they were good.

  2. Everything that we buy goes into my budget ledger so I am really aware of where the money is going here and it does make us think. Some budgets are in cash here for the month and when it is gone it is gone.

    Last year we completely overhauled our pantry storage and realized that we had an entire shelf devoted to paper plates and napkins and could not even remember when we had used any of it for just the two of us. So we packed it all away and gained an entire shelf for food storage. We do use paper when all the family comes home for anything just because I want to spent time with them and not time on dishes. We are soon to be a family of 19 and that is a lot of cleanup! This Spring I bought a beautiful set of plastic dishes at Sam's Club using a gift card earned through Swagbucks. We have been using those outside every day and even carried them to the park for picnics. We always take cloth napkins to the park because they don't blow away and it is easy to cover a plate to keep away insects.

    For about 20 years I have been making a 12 ounce can of frozen lemonade with 7 cans of water plus an extra 1/2 cup of sugar. It tastes like homemade that way and I get compliments on it all the time.

    1. I keep paper plates and bowls and cups for those big occasions too. I agree - better to spend the time together. There is always a time and place for breaking our own rules!

      Yum on the lemonade. I will give that a try for sure. Sounds perfect.

    2. Paper plates and bowls came in very handy when my wrist was broken and I was doing dishes one-handed. The few dishes to wash, the better.

    3. There is another good reason to break the rule of no paper. There will always be reasons that we don't expect.
      No steadfast rules!

  3. You know when I see a post form you I automatically get a smile on my face. I just noticed it and started to laugh. Instant smile! My mother had so many paper napkins stored in a box when she passed. I was raised with cloth and still use them every day. But I am using down the paper ones when we are outside eating. Love this post.

    1. Thanks. We always used cloth at home too. I try to. If it is just me - it is usually a washcloth - which is easy to wash! I need nothing fancy for just me.
      That is funny - Mom had her stash!!!!! Well use them on those outings and smile then - cause Mom is with you!

    2. Love all these good tips. There are several I need to work on. Keeping track of spending can really help you realize where all the dollars are going. One of my weaknesses is going to the dollar store most weekends and not realizing how much I'm spending because I think oh, it's only a dollar but it adds up! I wanted to tell you also that I read one of your older posts about freezing grapes. I had never heard of that but I've been doing it this summer and it is my favorite snack. It's getting me through this HOT summer here in Arizona! Take care and thanks for all the great ideas!

    3. Hi Rose. Thanks - yep those $1 purchases can add up. We don't realize how much we can spend on just little purchases, A coffee or pop a day or cigarettes or lots of dollar purchaes - they can add up quickly.

      Frozen grapes are one of my favorite summer treats. They are just so refreshing. Glad that is helping you stay a bit 'cool'.
      It is nice to hear that people go back and read older posts. THANKS

  4. When we had really messy stuff to eat, we always used fingertip towels and the children had a better time of keeping hands and mouth clean. I made so many napkins and used those to not use paper. Always good tips here.

    1. Any washable cloth is great for a napkin. Small kids MAY need something bigger than a napkin and little towels are perfect.
      Napkins - you can't make anything any easier - I don't know why more people don't!

  5. Menards ... 11% off rebate sales, purchase your larger home improvement items during that time and then use the rebate checks to restock your pantry. Also, I've found that the "gotta save" push often adds to my stress and dissatisfaction. To ward off that, I've chosen one grocery item I won't skimp on, kind of like that special treat for myself. And that's creamer for my morning coffee. Not the International Delight flavored stuff, just real half-and-half. I use so little that a small container will stretch 2-3 weeks. And it is soooo worth it and makes skimping and saving on the other stuff so much easier, because I don't feel that I'm depriving myself. And, at Aldi's it's half the price of other grocery stores, so I'm still saving.

    1. Exactly - love the 11% rebates. You can stock your pantry or buy gifts - win-win.
      Love the idea of treating yourself. It is kind of like a diet - if you never have a 'bad' for you food you will feel so deprived. This way way you save and feel happy too.

    2. Lori, this is a great idea! Why didn't I think of it? ;) We just did a major landscaping and I have some larger rebate "checks" that we can use for stocking up or Christmas instead of frittering them away.
      Thanks for the idea.

  6. Excellent advice my friend!
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

  7. My dad had a toaster catch on fire because it was plugged in. No one had used it that day. So yep in my home no toasters plugged in unless in use. Never leave a dryer or washer running and leave home. Water damage from a washer leak or a hose breaking can be huge and my mom and dad again had a dryer get red hot on the back panel. Something got stuck while it was running and luckily mom was over at the neighbors and came home in time.

    As for the unexpected all I can say is - expect the unexpected. My 40 year old son died in his sleep this year and I sure didn't expect to pay for a cremation. I had about 1/2 the money but was able to make arrangements. I was surprised that my ex husband (well maybe not too surprised given what I know about him) didn't even offer to help even a little bit. As usual he figured I would take care of everything. I was able (with God) to come up with the rest of the money. Now my goals are to save up for a hot water heater since ours is around 25 years old! (you know that is close) We want to get one in before winter. And my mom announced she is selling her car in 2 years and stopping driving due to age and the expense of keeping her car. So that fund is in the works now too. I have asked her to please check with me if she is selling and see if I can swing it. Our car is 16 years old so we know that it is soon coming to the end of it's natural life. I think the thing to realize is how old your stuff is or that holidays like Christmas and Birthdays come every year so it shouldn't be a big surprise. We just replaced a very old furnace 2 years ago. And life goes on! Take care.

    1. I have just seen too many horror stories about plugged in small appliances. My microwave is the only one that stays plugged in due to not being able to get to the plug easily.

      WOW on the ex - kid of explains the word EX!
      Those unforeseen things happen. 2+ years ago I had a funeral for hubs. Yes, we had a plot and marker already paid for - but it still costs some change. I kept things minimal as he would have wanted - and still costly. I understand.

      My vehicle is coming up on 20 years - repairs have been made - but still going! Those unexpected items can truly send some people over the edge. Thankful we ALL (here) have the sense to know crap can happen and we need to be prepare.
      Save those pennies and dollars and they will take care of you!

  8. When I was growing up, Mom put a clean dish towel on the dining room table and we ALL used it. We'd just pass it back and forth during the meal. Then it was tossed into the wash pile. Probably not as sanitary as your own napkin but we all survived! lol And we all have fond memories of 'pass me the towel please'.

    1. Hey, you were all related - no matter. Whatever works!
      I love little fun memories like that. How cool.

  9. We don't use tissues, instead use cloth hankies. MoF, the boxes I do have here I bought last year when the kids came and they were still mostly full.
    We use Norex cloths for cleaning or rags for messy spills. We use kitchen towels for napkins also unless there is company. I did buy plasticware and paper plates and plastic cups when the kids were here. Again to save on water usage and time spent on dishes. Bought in bulk at Sam's club, it was cheaper and the extras will keep for next year or used for field meals at harvest.