Frugal Tips #2

There was a time when I walked into the grocery store and automatically went to the name brands on the shelves. Now I try the generics. Try the store brand and see if it tastes different. If not, save yourself some money.

When my girls were young, I spent so much time washing towels. I don't know why it didn't occur to me then to have the girls use their towels more than once. 

Now that it's just me, it's a regular part of life. I haven't had to buy towels in at least five years. Probably longer. The more you wash and dry something, the more wear and tear on it. 

Speaking of washing and drying, I usually wash clothes one day per week. I usually wait until evening when it's cooled off a bit. If I have more than one load, which is infrequent, I do one load right after the other. 

The dryer is already warmed up and I figure (hope) it takes less time to dry the second load. That's my theory anyway!

There are times I see there is a sale on something. But if it's not within my two mile radius where I normally shop, I won't go there. 

Even if it's on sale, if you're going to have to drive farther, it might not be such a good deal in terms of gas and the use of your car. 

I have learned pretty quick that the best way to not spend money is to stay out of stores!

I have a bathtub shower. I keep my bar soap on the side of the tub. I tried one of those gizmos that fits over the shower, but it kept falling down. 

When I'm through with my shower, I turn the soap container over to drain the water out that's accumulated during my shower. Saves on having to buy bars of soap. 

Speaking of showers, some people like long ones. But it's a real waste of water. Get it done and get out. You'll save on heating water and the use of water. 

Are you drinking bottled water? You're wasting money. You can take water from home by just thinking ahead. I never did understand that bottled water trend.

Stopping at Starbucks for coffee regularly? Again, wasting money. I don't go for fancy coffee. I can't believe what it costs. I'm not spending my money on that.

Sometimes the old magazines you just couldn't bear to throw out pile up. When that happens, I tear my favorite pages out and glue them in a notebook. Then I have all my favs for when I want to sit and browse.

I decorate the notebooks with scraps of paper and things I've cut out of old calendars to dress them up so I can leave them out. 

Haircuts: Fifteen bucks is my max price for hair cuts. There's a salon right around the corner where I can get my hair cut for that price. And since it's so close, I'm not spending much on gas.

Use credit cards? I use to. Now I want nothing to do with them. The interest you pay is astounding. Better to just save the money for something you really want. 

These days, I find it fun to see how cheaply I can live. To see how I can transform a room or project for next to nothing. 

Speaking of which, I'm about done with the kitchen. I think by tomorrow I'll be able to show you what I've been working on. 

Now remember, this is a very low cost reno. Like around $30. So don't be expecting a complete overhaul with new appliances or anything. Just my manual labor and using, for the most part, what I already had around the house. 

If you'd like to share a frugal tip, please leave it in the comments so we can all live more cheaply. 


  1. I did the magazine thing when I recently moved. Saved only my favorite pages and got rid of the rest. I used to buy several magazines a month. Now I hardly buy them anymore. They were getting so expensive and I probably save hundreds of dollars per year. Sometimes I go to the library and sit in a comfy chair and read the magazines they have. Costs nothing and I catch up on any issues I missed. I also do a lot of recipes and home decor by looking at photos on the internet = free!

  2. GREAT tips Brenda! So true that when we slow down a bit and think about what we are buying, how far we are driving, and if it is "really" necessary...amazing the time and money we can save. I missed your Tips #1 post, off to check it out!
    Blessings sweet friend...

  3. Great tips, Brenda ......thank you ! Looking forward to seeing your kitchen project !

  4. It is easy to recreate your favorite meal at home, for a fraction of the cost and have leftovers. Pinterest is great for copy cat recipes like soups from Panera, etc. and even coffee drinks from Starbucks. Even egg McMuffins! You can freeze just about anything. xo

  5. All great tips Brenda, thanks.. even if folks arent on a budget, why throw money away on stuff. I also dont take long showers or fancy coffees. Just a cup or 2 of folgers and I'm satisfied.

  6. There are some great ideas here, Brenda. I have given up everything but my Starbucks- I have one a week and that is my "treat" to myself. I buy a lot of store brands (never thought I would do that) and buy on sale but wont' drive miles to do it.xo Diana

  7. You have so many good ideas. And it's true that the more you shop...the more you buy. You always see something that's tempting when you browse. When I wash a load that has a couple of heavy towels in it, I remove everything else when it's dry, leave the towels in to finish drying with the heat that's still in the dryer (turned off). Just don't forget about them! heehee!

    1. I do it differently. Keep the towels separated off to the side of the washer when unloading it into the dryer. I dry all the lighter weight things, then put the towels in alone. Both take less time (and energy) to dry. I put it on "less dry" all the time, and have NEVER opened a door to damp clothes. SKIP the MORE DRY choice and see for yourselves. Of course, one could dry the towels first, and put the lighter weights in second :)

  8. Brenda, I enjoy reading your blog, you are a creative person with many new ideas, it amazes me how creative people are on these blogs. Hope you will continue the frugal series, got some new ideas from you, we can all share to help each other with today's sagging economy depleting our income. I do miss seeing your back yard with the pretty flowers. Hope you are doing alright during this warm summer.

  9. You always have great ideas Brenda. I've been doing many of these things for years because my Navy wife mother had 5 children to feed and cloth. I also had 5 children and am so thankful for all the things I learned from her. Just like you, I find that I enjoy saving money. Here is the "however". I love my Starbucks. It makes every other corner I cut worth it.
    I love your frugal tips. I am looking forward to seeing your kitchen. I just painted my kitchen and would love some inspiration.

  10. I take quick showers! I mean wash my hair, wash me, rinse and I'm done! I also use my towels a couple of times. I do use credit cards, but pay them off at the end of each month. If I couldn't do that I wouldn't use them. I have one that gives me Amazon points that I use to help me by books! Great tips and I like the frugal lifestyle!

  11. Here's my tip. I grocery shop once a month and it saves a ton of money not being in the stores once a week.

  12. The magazine thing is a great idea! And I've never caught the Starbucks bug. Their coffees aren't that good to me; way too sweet and waaay too over priced. I don't know if readers use puppy pads, but I have found buying adult incontinence pads at a discount store (Dollar General in my area) is cheaper, plus the pads are much larger, thicker, and an overall greater value. (I'm sure training them to never pee in the house is even more frugal...LOL)

    1. FYI: Hubby discovered the Walgreens' puppy pads and are actually cheaper there than at Dollar Store. Plus every time you buy something at Walgreens, you earn points. Our last puppy pads from Walgreens were actually free since we used our points.

    2. Thanks Olivia. I need to check those out. We have three little dogs. Only two use the pads, but it seems we get more use from one big pad than the tiny puppy pads. Plus we have dachshunds, who seem to misjudge how long their bodies really are...LOL. They hit the big pads a little better!

  13. These are some great ideas, Brenda. I'm even more frugal (hate to say cheap) about magazines. I go to Barnes & Noble, or the library, to look at magazines and when I see a page I really like, I take a photo of it with my phone and then download it to my computer when I return home.

    1. I also go to Barnes and Noble and read my favorite magazines. Some of them are $10 and I will not pay that for a magazine.

  14. I think Hubby and I are pretty frugal and we are not wasteful. I do treat myself to Starbucks' soy lattes at least once a month.

  15. I love all your frugal ideas.....another thing I do is unplug! If I am not using it or will be using is unplugged. I do leave tv and micro plugged in--don't want to reset them. But lamps, chargers etc.....unplugged--especially in rooms I am not using--college daughter's room--when she comes home-we plug in for the weekend. I use a lot of the store brand items...there are only a couple of things that I will not trade so that is good. Keep the ideas coming!

  16. Some good ideas here. You spoke of coffee, I love the stuff. I bought a Keurig earlier this year, had several Target gift cards, a pharmacy discount card and good sale = mine! I buy Target's brand for day to day cups, and save my Gevalia for the weekends. I don't like Starbucks, seems over roasted to me. I drink my coffee black, so no extra expense there.
    Still working so travel 10 miles each way to work - never fill up in the heat of the day, learned that years ago. Keep your tires at correct pressure, this really helps gas mileage.
    Take cash to grocery store, no cards or checks, you will not overspend. Look up the ads on line.
    The public library can be such a money saver. Movies, books, magazines. Free movie night during the fall and winter.
    Keep up the sharing!

  17. Love all your ideas, one I would love for you to try is an updated version of taring the pages out of the magazines, I don't buy magazines anymore, I just use Pinterest, there pictures of everything in the world and you pin them to your own boards on that subject, wow it's all free, what ever subject, they have more mags for money..Phyllis

  18. Love the frugal ideas. I don't buy magazines any more, I read blogs instead. It's much more realistic.

  19. I almost kicked the magazine habit...but once I got on the homesteading trail, I switched from dwelling magazines, to Hobby Farms and Backyard Chickens! Ha! ...I'm still trying to let the internet be my 'magazine'. I figure since I'm paying for it and I don't count it at a luxury any longer I may as well let it take the place of my magazine habit. What can I say? I try!
    I'm with you on the towel usage. I make the Littles use their pool towel all week. Once they get out of the pool, the towel goes to the clothes line along with their suits and once they're dry the towels get folded and all put in a basket for next days swim.
    Not everyone can have a clothes line...I get that. But, wear and tear on clothes can be saved by not always drying in the dryer too. For instance blouses, t-shirt and nighties can be hung on hangers to dry. You can hang them from a nail on the porch...or from the shower rod in the bathroom.
    Just some tips I thought to share.
    Love reading these types of posts Brenda. Your right it helps us all to live more cheaply! ~Pat

  20. The best tip is to stay out of stores when you don't need anything. I bought my new dishes on a needless trip to TJ Maxx - I was nearby. Now, I love my dishes and didn't pay much, but I really did not need them.

    We do use credit cards, but have never carried a balance. As long as you pay it off every month, you're good.

    I think the best thing for us was downsizing. We don't have room for things just because they are cute. With less "stuff", we spend less time cleaning and with the time we save, we can be out on the beach or doing our favorite sports.

    Buying less stuff actually leads to a better life style for us.

  21. Love the $30! Now that's a budget I can live with!

    Staying out of the stores is probably my favorite tip! I even send my husband to do the grocery shopping 'cause I will always find something NOT on the list - usually a lot of somethings!

  22. Can't wait to see your refreshed kitchen, Brenda! Thanks for all of your good tips and advice!
    One of mine is that we eat every single leftover, and my hubby and I share meals a lot at restaurants when we go out.

  23. Wow - I like the way you think ! This is all good advice....I'm beginning to see (took me to age 57) how these 'things' we think we need so badly, just weigh us down....I'm with you Girlfriend !

  24. I certainly agree about magazines. Nowadays I still buy some but in the last six months I have only bought about four of them. They are so expensive I have to really know that I'll want to peruse that magazine several times over the course of a year or two before I purchase it. They were all vintage / cottage / bungalow / flea market style types.

    Not a Starbucks fan so no problem there..I just buy Folgers when it is on sale.

    Small house so I can't fit alot in...that saves money, you are so right ! :) Any things for the house aside from flooring that I needed in the dining room in May have all been from a local thrift / mission store.

    Clothes: dry on delicate and take out before they are completely dry...don't want them to shrink / sheets and spreads and quilts and such, as well as towels..usually I line dry them. I do that more for the fresh air scent, though. In the dead of winter I am not going to do that! :)

    In the garden stage now where I am eating tomatoes and cukes fresh from my garden and starting to can tomatoes as they ripen. Free zucchini from a neighbor...mine did not take off at all :( Corn from local farmer..leftover fruit goes into small batches of jam. It is easy to eat very cheaply now when the produce is fresh and local.

  25. All great tips, Brenda. I have been cutting my own hair for years. Since my hair is curly I just let it do its own thing and no one can tell if the cut isn't perfect. xo Laura

  26. I was a townie kid till I married my farmer. I was in for a shock as starting out we had no income for a year till the next years crop came in. I became frugal real soon. One thing I did was hang my clothes up inside in the winter and outside in the summer. I still don't use the dryer. I, also, don't use fabric softener. I had a friend who developed severe skin problems due to fabric softener. I have a garden but if see something pretty cheap in grocery store I buy and freeze or can. It, at first, was hard for me as friends bought things I thought I would like but not being frugal is a game to me. Sort of a beat the system idea. Challenge is always good. Makes me grow as a person.

  27. Reading your tips always takes me back to my childhood and younger adult life when these habits you and the other readers talk about were just a way of life. Now, the older I get, and the more I can buy, most of the time I don't anymore. There eventually comes that aha moment when you realize that it is not STUFF that makes you happy. Buying STUFF all the time is compensating for an emptiness within yourself which STUFF will not fill. Much more productive is to find what is causing the emptiness and find something more worthwhile to fill it.

  28. Hey Brenda; I hope that you are doing well. Thank-You so much for posting Money Saving Tips!!! Everything which you posted is so helpful and true!!
    I purposely try and save as much money as I possibly can, as you never do know when, or if you will need it for something important such as a trip, or if a good buy comes along for something important, or if you need it for some unplanned Bill!!!
    No matter whom you are, what you do or how you live with money, I am convinced that you can always save money no matter what.....I have been there and have done it when I had a new car to pay off. (Good Example) I paid it off in record time, and still had money left, if I needed it monthly. (I did without much during that time!!!) If I can do it, anyone can!!!! :-) It is the same with Cooking from scratch. Meals are better, and you have more food. I can and do share Wonderful meals at the drop of a hat with Family and Friends, all of the time. I enjoy living with Less!!! :-D
    Thank-You again Brenda. Take Care!!!

  29. Hi Brenda, A lot of these tips are good for the environment too. Thanks for sharing with us!

  30. I hope those who use Keurig coffee makers are using refillable K cups for their coffee. Those little cups are spendy and not good for your carbon footprint. My appliance repairman, Mr. Yoshi, suggests doing only one load or a few every time to let the machines cool off and swears this makes them last longer. I am still wondering where I can put my outdoor clothesline, as that will cut your utilities and make your clothing and dryer last longer.

  31. I also unplug my washer and dryer when I'm not using them. All my appliances and lamps are on power strips so when I leave the house or go to bed at night, I'm not using much electricity at all. I'm now saving $31 per month since I started doing this just a little over a year ago. It all adds up!

  32. Great tips, Brenda. Guess I have always been mindful of my spending. I never went right for the name brands, some things I found as good as the name brands, some, I found it was worth the extra , but always waited for the sale and stocked up. I made my shopping list of what was on sale and mapped it out my trip home from work, that way I got the best sales, and no wasted gas.
    We saved a lot by not having pets, frankly we couldn't afford them, the vet bills, grooming, food etc.
    Never smoked or drank, so saved a lot on cigs and wine.
    I research everything that I am buying so I know I am getting the best price. I do use a credit card, but we never carry a balance and we get money back on our purchases.
    If I am buying on line, I link to mrrebates first, so I get a %age of my purchase back. It all adds up.
    We keep our cars as long as they are running well, haven't had a new car in over 10 years.
    Yes, and staying out of the stores is the best way to save.

  33. Great ideas Brenda and I can't wait to see the kitchen.... Speaking of Starbucks... yesterday I figured out how much we spend on coffee pods for the Keurig... Yikes, I could take a vacation!

  34. I love your frank style. Great tips. I have much to learn from you! We got rid of cable TV for a year, and saved a ton. I didn't miss it one bit, with all the things you can stream for free on the internet. I started reading more blogs and watching art/craft tutorial videos on youtube and was happy with that as my entertainment. Unfortunately, my hubby missed live sports, which is harder to replace, so we went back. But if you don't have that constraint, I highly recommend doing an experiment where you cut cable for a few months to see how much you miss it. That's a lot of money each month that could be repurposed. (And then, in order to get you back as a customer, they will give you a great deal for your first year!)

  35. Some good ideas Brenda. I spend very few dollars on clothing. One tip that has worked for me is to shop
    Goodwill and thrift stores. I can't tell you how many times I have purchased designer label clothing,
    purses etc. this way and some items which still have the tags on them for just dollars. I used to feel a
    little guilty but I now actually do have to watch my pennies and I feel I am doing my part by not letting
    clothing and the like go to the landfills. I am helping the environment as well. People that don't know
    me well see how I dress and think I spend a lot. They would be surprised !


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