Sunday, March 8, 2009

Frugal Tip #19

Frugal Tip #19

Make your own stuff.

There are lots of things you can do yourself and therefore save money on. As well as save the environment in a lot of cases. An example of this is growing an organic garden! It takes a while to yield food, sure, and it takes some work, but you get fresh organic veggies out of it for your family at a fraction of the cost of buying them.

Another example is making your own cleaners. Not only is this a) cheaper but it also is b) better for the environment and c) healthier for your family. I've started to do this a lot, and it is seriously so much cheaper, and I don't have to worry about whether my baby is picking up any of the stuff that I'm using off the floor or tables, etc.

Here is a GREAT site that gives you recipes for many of the household cleaners that you use. Just scroll down a little ways and you'll see the list of cleaners and the non-toxic ways of making them at home:

Seriously, I think is a good thing... why spend money on the "eco friendly" (or even the not eco-friendly) stuff at the supermarket when you can make it at home for far cheaper? No brainer here, guys!

-Hot Frugal Momma

Frugal Tip #18

Frugal Tip #18

Freeze your leftovers!

This is something I just recently discovered... that you can freeze your leftover vegetables! I was always having to throw out vegetables I forgot to use before they went bad. Especially when you have to buy a bag of carrots, for example, for a recipe that uses 2 carrots. Then the rest of my bag would mold and I'd have wasted that money. Then I'd have to buy another bag of carrots for my next recipe.

But then... I discovered that you can freeze vegetables (and fruit and canned things) yourself. Most veggies freeze really well. Everything from bell peppers to parsley will freeze in a freezer bag and cook just fine afterwards. For the most part, all you have to do is cut off the useless parts of the veggies and put it in a bag in the freezer (you can cut it up too if you want). Voila! 2 weeks later, you take it out, cut it up frozen if you didn't cut it up before, and throw it in your recipe. Tastes just as good.

Frozen things can keep up to three months, which gives you time to use the leftovers. I also freeze my canned items that I only had to use half of... like tomato soup, etc. Then I defrost it later and use it. A great way to stretch your pennies.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Frugality Tips #17 & #18

Late Tuesday ideas for you. Hope they help you out! :)

Frugal Tip #17

Get a flu shot.

This is super frugal if you have insurance or a job that pays for it. Otherwise it's like $25 at a grocery store pharmacy or so which is still worth it. Some people have reactions to the flu vaccine, but that number is very small. In my opinion, the benefits outweigh the concerns on this. Getting the flu is horrible. I hate being sick in general, but especially with the flu. But when you and all your family members get a flu shot, your chances of getting the flu drop significantly. Even if it's not a good match, the flu shot will generally reduce your symptoms at the very least.

The ways this saves you money are many:
1) You don't have to miss a day or two or more of work because you're sick. Save those personal hours for something else!
2) Same as above, except because your children are sick.
3) You don't have to go to the doctor or the hospital if it's really bad.
4) You don't have to buy medicines to fight it off.

Flu shots are SO worth it, and hardly anybody gets them. I get them every year and it has been SO nice to not get sick. Although last year, the match between the virus and the shot was not good, so I ended up getting super sick anyway. But the 5+ other years I've gotten it, I haven't gotten sick... and before that, I would inevitably get the flu every year.

Frugal Tip #18

Sell stuff!

Craigslist and Ebay are my favorite places to go. I periodically go through the things in my house, and if I'm not using them, I post them on Craigslist or Ebay. If they're not worth much, I'll just freecycle them instead. Even with my broken computers, I'll take them apart and sell the pieces because processors, screens, keyboards, mice, all those things sell on ebay pretty well. And then I use the money to buy a new computer. :D

But seriously, go through your stuff that you don't use and sell it. After I get sick of my Wii games, I'll sell them for a decent amount on craigslist. Usually, I'll have bought them for the same price off the same place, so it ends up being cheaper than renting ($0 net). :P Old board games are worth a bit if they're still in good condition. You can sell clothes that are in good condition and no longer fit you or your children. Shoes you never wear. Your old couch.

My parents always gave their stuff in good condition to the thrift stores, but I can't really afford to do that, so I just sell it instead. And it makes me a fair amount of money! So I think it's definitely worthwhile.

Happy Tuesday!
-Hot Frugal Momma

Monday, February 2, 2009

Frugality Tips #15 & 16

Some more Get Healthy! frugal tips for you today! One is a free thing to do, and one is a cheap idea.

Frugal Tip #15 (Get Healthy!)

Ride your bike/walk/combine trips in the car.

You've probably heard this one before, but seriously, good idea! Not that gas prices are super high right now or anything, but besides saving money on gas for your car, you'll also save money on maintenance (did you forget that tires, oil changes, etc all cost money and have to be changed more frequently the more you drive?). Additionally, you'll be healthier if you're walking or riding your bike around. It's good for your heart and your weight, which means less trips to the doctor or hospital. Also, and this might be negligible, but not driving your car means less pollution in the air in your city, which adds to your health also.

So try and think of what you can do to cut down on the use of your car. Right now it's still kind of cold in Utah, where I live, and so it's hard for us to not use the car. However, once it gets warm enough, my husband can start riding his bike to work and I'll walk to the library with my daughter in a stroller. Right now though, we try to take one big shopping trip on one day of the week, instead of going two or three times a week. You can also stop at the store on your way home from work (or have your spouse do that), so that you don't have to make a separate trip. If you tend to go to several stores to get the "best deals" on something, Walmart price matches, so you can take the ads with you to Walmart and get the same deals... and cut down on your trips.

So anyway, try not to use your car unless you absolutely have to. Walk/ride to church, to the library, to work, to friend's houses, etc. Make your kids walk to school or take the bus (which is totally free), rather than driving them yourself, or letting them drive a car.

If you can manage to not use your car at all, you can even stop getting insurance on it and save an additional amount each month! :) That's hard to do though, I know.

Frugal Tip #16 (Get Healthy!)

Take care of your teeth.

Bet you haven't heard this one from a frugality blog before. Take care of your teeth! It will seriously pay off. Get in the habit of flossing every day (that was a hard one for me), brushing your teeth twice a day, and using mouthwash (the non-alcohol kind, because they've linked the alcohol ones to oral cancer). And make sure you get your teeth cleaned every 1 or 2 years by the dentist.

Luckily, where I live in Utah, they have a dental hygiene college where you can get your teeth cleaned for $5 if you don't have dental insurance (which we don't). It used to be free, but the economy necessitated an increase in rates apparently. You might have one near you; do some research.

But anyway, taking care of your teeth is much easier to do when you realize that it can cost QUITE a bit to get cavities filled and root canals done, etc. I know, because when we first got married, my husband had to get quite a bit of dental work done (a couple cavities, a root canal and a tooth replacement because one got knocked out). And even with our college insurance giving us a discount on dental, it was super expensive. So maintain your teeth, and keep from having to get expensive dental work done. :)

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Frugality Tips #13 & 14

We're getting into the double digits now, and now I'm going to be starting a series for a little bit. This is the "Get Healthy!" part of frugality.

Being healthy can save you a lot of money in doctor's bills and dentist bills, which are the things that drain the most money out of your pocket. People who are taking care of their bodies don't go to the hospital, doctor's or dentist's office nearly as often as those who don't care. And surprisingly, a lot of the aspects of being healthy can save you money.

Frugal Tip #13 (Get Healthy!)

Stop eating fast food!

Fast food is so expensive... Especially if you figure that with the $5+ you spent on a meal for just you, you could have made dinner for your family of 4 for the same price. So just don't eat out. It's horrible for your health (however much McDonald's tries to tell you otherwise). And if you're getting salads there, that's a super super waste of money. It's much cheaper to make your own salads. And they'll be less soggy (yuck!). All that fat and those calories will make it more likely for you to be overweight or obese. Obesity brings many expensive problems like diabetes, heart attacks, etc.

Cutting out the fast food can help you lose weight as well as save money now. :) Additionally, you should avoid going to sit-down restaurants. You will eat many more calories than at a fast food restaurant and it will cost you more. If you want to have a nice dinner with your husband (or wife), send the kids elsewhere and make a dinner at home instead. You can get some really good stuff for home consumption with that $40 you were going to spend at the restaurant!

Frugality Tip #14 (Get Healthy!)

Cut refined sugar out of your diet.

And by that I mean, candy, cakes, pies, ice cream, flavored yogurt, etc. Anything that has a sugar or high fructose corn syrup in the top 5 ingredients. Bread is still ok. :)

Confession time!

I used to be a BIG sugar addict. I couldn't go one day without eating candy or something sugary... I couldn't help myself but eat as much sugar as was placed in front of me. I couldn't say no. I guzzled pies at Thanksgiving, ate all the chocolates and candy canes at Christmas.

And then I realized that I was addicted. It took me a while to realize this, despite the obvious, because you don't think of sugar as addicting, like cigarettes and alcohol are. And then I realized that it seems like most people in America are addicted to sugar. Hmm... and I wonder why more than half of the people in the USA are overweight or obese?

Let me tell you though, the other day I went to a women's health class, and at the end of the health class they had rice pudding, because it's supposedly a "healthy" treat. Well, a) it's not really and b) it has a fair amount of sugar in it. So I declined to have any, explaining that I was not eating sugar.

Here is what I heard right after that statement from these women (who were of various sizes big to little):

"Oh, I could never do that."
"My dad tries to stop eating sugar all the time, but he never can."
"I love chocolate too much to stop eating sugar."

The first thing that I thought was, "Well that's really nice and encouraging. Thanks for being so kind." and the second thing I thought was "I have no doubt in my mind now that our society is addicted to sugar. This is sad".

I used to feel that way too though, that I could never stop eating sugar like some people. Until I decided I didn't want any substance controlling my life, tasty or not. When I realized that the average American eats WAY too much sugar and I was an average American.

Seriously, stop eating sugar. It's not good for your health (diabetes anyone?) and it is an expensive habit to maintain. I have been able to kick it in the rear by keeping sugar items out of my house entirely, and then eating a full meal before I go to the store (as well as bringing my hubby along and having him help me not buy it). Eat fruit instead for your daily sugar. After two weeks you won't have cravings any more and it will be much easier to say no to refined sugar. I feel SO much better now. I've come out of a sugar-induced fog. I notice things I didn't notice before. I feel happier (seriously, I had bad mood swings before). My sex life is better (that is a very nice side effect, actually, and is probably TMI as well). :)

Additionally, too much sugar depresses your immune system... so you have potential savings from not having to purchase medicines.

Check this out for more info on kicking the sugar habit.

More info.

How it affects your sex life.

You will save SO much money by not buying candy and cookies all the time to eat. Seriously, we've saved a lot by not purchasing these items any more.

Purchase old fashioned toasted oats and flavor it with fruit, instead of eating sugary breakfast cereal (Even the HEALTHY cereals like special k, etc, have TONS of sugar in them). Old-fashioned oats fill me up more, so with less, I feel more full. It's super cheap, $1 for a big thing of it and it will feed you for just as long as a $4 or $5 bag of Malt-O-Meal. And it's super healthy, as it's whole grain oats with nothing added and unprocessed. Fiber and protein galore! Other ideas for breakfast are PLAIN yogurt with fruit in it and no-sugar-added fruit smoothies. Eggs (which are not very cheap, but still an idea) and toast work too!

So anyway, I hope I have impressed upon you the money saving benefits of not eating sugar!

A) You will save money by not buying sugary items.
B) You will be much healthier! (less doctor visits! less purchasing of medicines!)
C) You will eat less.

So Get Healthy!! You can do it, and you'll save money doing it too!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Frugality Tips #11 & #12

Here are Friday's tips! Sorry they're late again, I was out all day with my fantastic hubby and adorable daughter and didn't get to it. :)

Frugal Tip #11

Turn out the lights.

You probably already know this one, but here's a refresher for you. Make sure you keep your lights turned off if you're not in the room (and especially if you're not home). This is hard if you have children that don't understand that concept (work on teaching them it), but by leaving the lights on in rooms you're not in, you're wasting a lot of electricity. And don't turn the lights on during the day unless you really really have to. I keep my lights out even on days when it's cloudy outside. Unless it's thunderstorming during the day, there will usually enough ambient light in your home to be able to see and read just fine. Even when I lived in a basement apartment, I was able to do that.

Frugal Tip #12

Get rid of your newspaper.

There are a lot of people (usually of the slightly older generation) who insist on subscribing to the newspaper. My parents still do, even though they have a tv and internet access, but I think it's a big waste of money. If you have the internet, you can easily access your local newspaper online, for free. You can search the classifieds there and everything. Even if you don't have tv or internet, you can go to your library and usually they have it. Or you can get online at the library for free and read it there. My point is, get rid of your newspaper.

Along the same lines, get rid of your magazine subscriptions (or stop buying them at the store). It's a waste of paper and money; you can access a vast majority of them online for free. Even Reader's Digest is online now.

With love from the
Hot Frugal Momma!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Frugality Tips #9 & #10

Here are your Thursday tips! Sorry they are a bit late. I was trying to work on taxes!

Frugal Tip #9

Ditch the landline and get cheaper cellphone service.

Do you have a cellphone (or two) and a landline?

Landlines will be obsolete in a few years, so why not just ditch yours now? Either people will be using VOIP or their cellphones. If you must have a landline, consider switching to VOIP (voice over IP), which is basically hooking up your landline phone to your desktop computer and using your internet to make calls. And yes you can still use the internet while you talk to people on the phone. Voip is only $20 a month compared to $30 a month for a lot of landlines and it works just as well. (There are several VOIP services out there, so do a search on google to compare).

Let me tell you though, ditching the landline for just your cellphone if you already have one is a good idea. It will save you $30 a month and you'll be just fine without it. If you're on a plan that has a minute restriction on it (and you're afraid you'll use all your minutes and it costs more than $30 to upgrade to a higher minute allowance), switch over to Cricket, which is a prepaid, unlimited cellphone service, that costs as little as $30 a month. It also has no contracts, as it is prepaid. Or, alternatively, you can ask your parents and/or siblings if they'd like to be on a family plan with you, which will save all of you money, as long as you split the bill. :)

Do it! All the college-age couples are doing it!

As a bonus, you will no longer get those annoying telemarketing calls. Nice, eh?

Frugal Tip #10


Ok, so this one I don't do. I really stink at budgeting things on paper. I can do it in my head, but writing it out? Not so much. But if you're one of those people who can handle writing things like that, set up a budget. I love reading for help with stuff, and they have a lot of info on being successful at budgeting.

Keeping track of your budget is a great way to figure out what areas you're spending too much money in, and helping you keep from spending your money on uneccessary items.

Keep on saving those dollars!

-Hot Frugal Momma
- Hot Frugal Momma -