8 ways to save money…

1.  Cook with more beans and whole grains.  Price per protein – beans are way cheaper than meat or eggs.  I’ve committed to making beans and rice twice a month and a bean or grain soup twice a month.  This way I know that at least four times per month I am substituting a healthy protien for meat, and cutting costs.  Cooking with dried beans cuts your costs even more. 

2.  Get a freezer.  Years ago we bought a chest freezer for our extras.  Typically my freezer is jam packed around September and close to empty around May.  Here are a few things I keep in it:

– lots and lots of berries (pick ’em in the summer)

– half of a deer my Dad gave us a few years ago (I just used the last package the other day)

– homemade jams and jellies

– summer produce (do your homework though, not everything freezes well)

– soups

– pizza dough

– bread (this leads me to my next point)

3.  Never pay full price for bread.  I get Nature Bake bread at the outlet for less than $1.50 per loaf (you have to buy 12 loaves to get it at this price).  It’s not wimpy bread either folks.  There are many of these places around if you are willing to trek there.  I just go every other month and stock up.

4.  Make your own laundry soap.  Last week I made my own laundry soap.  I’ve been using it now for a week and I find that it works just as well, if not better, than my previous brand X.  At the cost of about one cent per load, it’s a quick way to spend less.  It took me about 30 minutes to make this, but that’s just because it was my first time.

5.  Find free or cheap events in your area.  Most places offer a free or reduced price at least once a month.  For example, the Oregon Zoo charges 9.75 per adult, BUT, on the second Tuesday of every month they charge a 2 dollar admission fee.  So we only go to the zoo on Two Dollar Tuesday.  The Oregon Symphony offers a free concert in the park series in the summer.  So guess when the Robinson’s go? 

6.  Learn how to cook – I mean really cook.  More time in the kitchen means less money at the grocery store.  Buy raw materials and force yourself to make that pizza dough instead of buying the crust already made.  Sure, your family may suffer through a few cardboard pizzas, but sooner or later, they won’t even be able to tell the difference.  This takes planning and thinking ahead.  I have to think about dinner the day before so that I can soak the beans, defrost the meat, ect.

7.  Be organized.  Right up front I will tell you that this is the point I am least likely to follow through on.  Truthfully, my husband does most of the organizing.  But the point is this, if you don’t know what you have because you don’t know where it is, you are more likely to go out and re-buy that thing.  If I kept a running list of what was actually in my freezer, I would be way more likely to use the food that I already had instead of buying new.  I do this with cosmetics and medicene all the time as well.  You forget where the cough syrup is so you go out and buy new, what a waste!

8.  Dress your kid in used clothes (they’ll never know the difference).  They key to this is that you have to think ahead a few seasons.  Just the other day it was really hot and I realized that Eli has no shorts.  I went to Target and got some.  They were cheap, but still, if I had been thinking ahead I could have garage saled or thrift saled them.  Also, people with older kids love to hand down thier barely used (or sometimes well used) clothes!  Take advantage!  Sort them for future use so you will know what you have.

 Coming soon:  Ten things to I like to spend money on

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9 responses to “8 ways to save money…

  1. Beans and rice only 2x/mo with Paul as your husband? LOL, not sure how he likes those but they do eat them a lot in Costa Rica–black beans mostly I think which I like better than some other kinds.

    Lots of good ideas. Another is using the crock pot. That’s an easy way to cook dried beans. Also good for cheaper cuts of meat to make like pot roast and it comes out nice and tender and when cooked with vegetables a meal ready to eat. Can be especially good for working women if they plan ahead a bit.

    FlyLady.com has ideas on her website with sample menus including shopping lists and all.

    One thing that we are starting to do also is to mark things with dates when put in the freezer and then also in the fridge when opened since its easy to lose track of how long its been in there.

    Oh, and FreeCycle.org can be a good source of kids clothes and toys, etc and a good way to pass them along when no longer needed.

  2. Really great ideas. I love your advice blogs. I can tell you put a lot of thought into what you have to say. It helps that I agree with it all too. 🙂 I am going to try the laundry soap!

  3. Another option is to bake your own bread. I hate that unless we buy the most expensive bread, it all has high fructose corn syrup in it.

  4. Great, great ideas!
    I tried the homemade laundry soap a long time ago and it turned out like her picture…all thick and lumpy. I thought I had done something wrong. I guess not. I’ll have to give it a try again. You can also make your own dishwashing detergent. I’ve heard it’s easy, cheap, and works great, but I haven’t tried it yet.
    You inspired me to be more ambitious about these things!

  5. Yes. It does come out all thick and lumpy. I was not able to use the cool water container thing that jeana used. I think an old laundry soap container will work though. I am going to try that next.
    And yes. Paul does love black beans. I usually make enough for us to have quite a few meals from it.
    Mmmmm … I also love homemade bread. I have tried to committ to make my own but – alas – I have never followed through with it. I have a few more ideas on bread that I will save for another post.

  6. Hi- Your blog about saving money took me back to our young dollar scrimping years when you all were little. I think I did most of those very some things- after awhile it becomes a lifestyle and a fun challenge! Looking forward to seeing you Saturday- love mom

  7. Annie, I applaud your frugalness!! Many people think I’m crazy for digging through dollar bins at the thrift store, etc. to save money, but there are so many things you can do to save SOOO much. BTW…if there is ever anything that you’re after thriftwise, just let me know and I’ll totally keep an eye out while I’m doing my digging. I love the homemade laundry soap and use borax anyway so I’m looking forward to trying your recipe link. I have been debating the chest freezer too and I think that’s something I might have to pursue. Homemade bread is the best and it seems like more work than it really is b/c you have to let it rise (sometimes multiple times), but it is SOOOO easy. I have a great bread recipe book that I think you would like and could totally borrow. SAVE ON you ROCKSTAR mom!

  8. annie, i love these ideas. maybe i could come over and just shadow you for a day. you seem to have alot of info for me to glean from. abby

  9. I just heard about your Website from my daughter in Georgia. Shelley made some of
    your laundry soap and I laughed. Not to hard I guess because, guess who made you laundry soap yesterday me. I was easy I hope it works good also. At least I am giving it a try.

    I only put a few drops of lavender essentice oil. I can barely smell it. I think it needs more can you add that after you cook it also ? I would like to add alittle more. Thank you

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