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Live cheap
Live cheap…live well

Here are 101 money-saving ideas for the truly frugal, with thanks to the web site www.allthingsfrugal.com.

The list covers every aspect of life — from Beauty and Shopping to Work and Travel:


*Lower your thermostat temperature a couple of degrees and wear sweaters around your house. For every degree you lower your thermostat, you save 2-3 percent on your energy bill.

*When you use your dishwasher, stop it before the drying cycle, and open the door to air dry your dishes.

*Make sure all your appliances are running smoothly by cleaning the filters regularly.

*Unless you are baking, put your food in your oven when you first turn it on.

*Close your drapes at night to help cold air from getting in.

*Open your drapes wide when the sun is shining to warm your room.

*Keep your windows shut as tightly as possible. Locking them will make the seal tighter.

*Close doors to rooms that don’t need to be heated, like closets, storage rooms, etc. Close the heating vent in unused rooms.

*Turn you lights off when you leave a room. It is cheaper to turn them on and off than leave them on, and the bulbs last longer.

*Use the lowest wattage possible and still have adequate light.
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In the Kitchen

*When you boil potatoes, always save the water. Use it in soups and stews, or cool it and use it to fertilize your house plants.

*Empty plastic liners from cereal boxes make good freezer bags or wax paper. Use for lunch bags also.

*Save plastic mesh bags to hold small items you want to run through the dishwasher, use to scrub dishes, or place items in to drip dry.

*Save the packaging from convenience food and make your own. Fill tv dinner trays with your own leftovers; jello and pudding cups with similar food, etc.

*Use old TV dinner trays to reheat food in the microwave.

*Cut off the tops of empty plastic milk cartons to use as funnels.

*Pour old baking soda from the refrigerator down your drain to freshen.

*Use pantyhose to hang onions and potatoes in your pantry. Store in leg section, with knots in between vegetables. Hang from the ceiling.


*Roses love crushed egg shells. They help keep snails out of the garden. *Save money growing your own food. Get a jump on the gardening seasons by starting your plants indoors in potting soil placed in empty egg cartons.

*Use old garden hoses to drip irrigate your garden. Cut holes along the length of the hose, and lay along plants.

*Be creative when it comes to containers. Some possibilities:

-Egg cartons; use to start plants.

-Old shoes, cute for ornamentals.

-Plastic milk and ice cream containers; cut to size and add drainage holes, or use to transport soil, rocks, or water. Cut tiny holes and place by plants for drip irrigation.

-Cracked mugs and bowls; use on the bottom of containers for good drainage.

– Cardboard boxes; use on a temporary basis for short-lived plants.

-Old tires; stacked them up, and filled with straw to grow potatoes.


*Use old newspapers for cleaning glass and windows.

*Use old dryer sheets to dust. Place them on the bottom of garbage cans and other areas of the house to eliminate odors.

*Cut up old, worn clothes for cleaning rags. Use old socks for washrags. Place them over your hand for easy dusting.

*Cut the top off empty milk jugs, and use to store bathroom cleaning accessories. Use to hold your toilet brush cleaner, and then just discard when dirty.


*If you can, buy your ice cream in big 2 gallon buckets. They can be used for all kinds of storage, from food to toys, as well as sand buckets for children.

*Use empty soda bottles to store water. You can also use them to water house plants when you are away. Cut small holes in the bottom, fill with water, and set inside the plant pots to slowly drip.

*Cut off the top of empty plastic milk containers to desired height to make storage containers to fit in drawers.

*Use ice cube trays for storage of small items.

*Use baby food jars to store small items. Screw the lid to the top of a shelf to save space.

*Use film canisters to store small items (like sewing notions) and small amounts of paint.

*Use empty luggage to store blankets, seasonal clothes, or gift items purchased in advance during sales.

*If you have items in storage areas with empty space, fill them with smaller items, and label them. Try to group things in a logical manner. Keep a master list on your computer.

*Store extra blankets in pillow shams that you can set on sofas and beds.

*Decorate large oatmeal containers and other similar empty containers with contact paper, pictures, etc., and use for storage of smaller items.

*Save empty plastic eggs that come out of bubble gum type machines: They can be used like plastic Easter eggs at Easter or to store small pieces of jewelry and keep earrings together.

*Use old shower curtains to cover wood stored outside.

Linens & Sewing

*Make potholders out of old ironing board covers.

*Make kitchen towels or table runners out of soiled tablecloths and towels. Make drapes out of tablecloths.

*Cut off the unworn part of old sheets to make pillowcases.

*Store sets of buttons on diaper pins, or keep organized in egg cartons. Take of the lids and stack to save room.

*Use scraps of fabric to make quilts.

Home Office and Computer

*Make your own postcards from heavy junk mail. Use the lighter pieces for notes.

*Use both sides of printer paper, whether it is to run through the printer again, or other purposes.

*Use unwanted CD’s as coasters, hang as shiny decorations for festive occasions, or use them to decorate the wall in your computer room.

*Decorate empty tin cans, and fill with pencils, pens, markers, scissors, etc. and place in each room as needed.

*Before you discard plastic gloves, make large rubber bands by cutting the top at 1/2 inch intervals.


*Use the tabs on aluminum cans to hang pictures. Just tack them to the back of the frame, or glue on with a hot glue gun.

*Use worn out sewing machine needles to hang pictures.

*Use the plastic bags you get at the grocery store to stuff your drapery toppers. Keep extra plastic bags stored in another plastic bag.

*Use plastic bags for trash. Great for wet items.

*Use colorful toy building blocks as handles on children’s dressers.

*Use old shower curtains as drop cloths when you paint.


*Save old Christmas paper and shred for use in gift bags.

*Make postcards, gift tags, or ornaments out of Christmas Cards.

*Save leftover wallpaper to wrap presents.

*Save empty glass jars for gifts and storage.


*I know they say not to do it, but I’ve been known to empty my vacuum bags and reuse them.

*Re-route your washing machine hoses so that your water drains outside for use in watering your landscaping.

*Never dry clothes completely in the dryer. Take them out while they are still damp and let them hang dry. With 100 percent cotton, don’t put them in the dryer. Hang dry and they will have less wrinkles.

*Install a Furnace temperature regulator, and turn the heat down 10 degrees while you are sleeping.

*Turn your Water Heater down to 120 Degrees. If you know when you will be using your hot water (showers, dishes, laundry, etc.) put an appliance timer on your hot water heater.

*Check the lighting in your home. Lower the wattage when possible.

*To keep your drains running smoothly- in addition to any chemicals you might put into them, fill up the basin with hot water periodically, and then let it run down all at once. The pressure from all the water will help clear the drain.

In the Kitchen

*Never throw away a plastic tray. Use them to store leftovers in the freezer, gift giving, and to carry food to social events.

*Save small plastic containers for children’s drinks. Glass breaks and can be dangerous.

*East less meat. Not only is it less expensive, it is more healthy.


*Always do your grocery shopping alone. Keep the husband and kids home. You will spend less money.

*Don’t trust the scanners at check-out counters. They make mistakes.

*When possible, know the price of what you are buying, and watch it scan.

*Many stores have the policy to match their competitor’s prices. If you see something in the newspaper that you want, but don’t want to travel to that particular store to get it, cut out the advertisement and take it to your local store.

*Shop the thrift stores with regularity. Know which ones have the best prices. Be on the lookout for candles (for emergencies), dishes, wallpaper remnants (for wrapping paper), patterns, yarn, sewing supplies, wool pants for winter outings, classic clothing, and other versatile items.

*When buying a non food item, always look in the back to see if you can find the identical item marked at a lower price. Often when prices increase, it doesn’t apply to the items already marked.

*When buying food, look for the expiration date and buy the newest item.

*Join a discount warehouse. If you don’t qualify to join, buy one share of their stock. Be sure and hold the stock certificate yourself. If a brokerage holds it for you, they will charge you for that service.

*If you must buy name brands- consider setting up an extensive filing system for coupons and rebates.

Organize cardboard boxes and save not only the UPC code, but the rest of the packaging. You never know what part of the packaging they are going to ask for. Be sure and not create a fire hazard.

*When you buy a car, pick one that combines low price, low gas mileage, lower insurance premiums, and low maintenance and repair costs. Your will save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the car.

*If you are buying from a dealer, check out a half dozen of them, and be sure and let them know you are looking around. When you leave the first time, they won’t expect you to come back. When you do come back, they will think they have a sale. They will not offer you the best deal until you start to walk away again.

*When you need new tires for your car, try and find some that are marked as blemished. They are considerably cheaper. They are just as safe as new ones, and usually carry the same warranty.

*Pump your own gas. Use the lowest octane your car manual recommends.

*Keep your engine tuned and your tired inflated for the best mileage.

*Find a good mechanic for your car before you are in a crisis situation. Find someone who you can trust. Take a recommendation from a friend and see how long they have been in business in your community. Check their certification, and ask how they will communicate with you about repair costs and options.

*When it comes to your auto insurance, shop around. Call the State Insurance Department for a list of comparison prices charged by different companies.

*Keep your deductibles as high as you feel comfortable with. If you have an old car, you may not want Collision coverage- just Liability.

*Be sure and take advantage of Homeowner Insurance Discounts for alarm systems, fire extinguishers, non-smokers, good driving records, good grades for students, and carrying multi-line insurance with the same company.


*Use leftover candle stumps as pincushions. Needles slide into fabric smoother.

*When your child’s pullover sweaters becomes to tight to wear, turn them into a cardigan by cutting them straight down the front and binding the front edges with an attractive trim.

*Keep your fabric remnants. Even if you can’t think of a use for them now, new projects will come along. You may end up using them in a quilting project or perhaps making a doll. They may become a collar or a piece of bias trim.

*Use leftover denim from cutoff jeans to make garden gloves. Simply trace around your fingers for the pattern.


*Take advantage of Beauty Schools. They are always looking for people to practice on. They usually do a good job, as they are watched carefully by their supervisors.

*Save money on make-up by letting your cosmetics do double-duty. Mascara can be used to line eyes with a small eyeliner brush. Depending on your coloring, it may also be used to line your eyebrows. Or use earth tone eye shadow. Lipstick can be used as blush.

*A tube of lipstick should last for 6 months. Buy it where you can take it back if you don’t like the color.

*Use baby powder underneath your make-up if your skin is greasy.

*Make your own facial powder by combining mashed inexpensive compact powder with twice as much baby powder.

*Remember to discard your makeup every 6 months for safety reasons. It is hard to do, but easier if you don’t have as much of it.

*Don’t waste your money on expensive facial creams. Many a woman gets by with a plain jar of cold cream.

*If you wear contact lenses, shop around. The prices differ dramatically for the same lenses. Check out mail order companies.

*Consider wearing glasses. They are cheaper.


*Old fashioned Doilies in good condition make great artwork, Frame them on a colorful mat board, and hang them on your wall.

*Surround yourself with the things you love. Things that have sentimental value are of far more worth than any art objects.

*Anything looks good in a frame and mat board. Display your children’s art work.

*Make collections of rocks, shells and other things you can collect together or on trips.

*When you buy your furniture, try to buy items that can be used in several rooms. Certain tables, chairs, lamps, etc. will never be wasted if you can move them around.

*Be eclectic. Things like plates don’t have to match. Put interesting colors and textures together, and enjoy the variety.


*Find a bank where you don’t have to pay account fees.

*If you must use your credit card, keep a running total of everything you’ve charged during the month. Subtract each purchase from your misc. money in your budget. That way you will always know if you are on budget or charging more than you can pay off when the bill comes.

*If you can’t afford a 15 year mortgage, try and at least pay a little extra to the principal each month. Extra principal paid at the beginning of a mortgage will save thousands of dollars in interest as well as knock several years off the loan.

*If you are shopping for a mortgage, or refinancing your home, look for the lowest rate with the smallest amount of points and closing costs.


*Purchase your tickets in advance, and always come home on a Sunday.

*Watch out for airfare wars and be flexible in order to take advantage of them.

*If you use a travel agent, always double check the rate. Call the airlines and ask them what the lowest fare is to your destination.

*Do not let your undeveloped film go through the new x-ray machines. It will ruin it.

*Compare the cost of traveling by air with renting an RV. The money you save on motels and meals may make it worth renting an RV if you have the time.

*If you have the time, also check the cost of traveling by train.

*If you need to rent a car at your destination, call around. There is a big difference in rates with different companies.

*Avoid buying duplicate insurance coverage for your rental car. Check your personal auto insurance policy before you leave home, or call your agent to see what is covered. You may also have some benefits from a credit card.

*Take showers instead of baths. You will save money on your water bill as well as your energy bill.

*Use less hot water. Washing your hands can use 2 gallons of hot water a week.

*Get in and out of the shower quickly. A five minute shower takes about 20 gallons.

*Always run your dishwasher with a full load. The dishwasher uses around 12 gallons each load.

*Run full loads in the washing machine, and use cold water when possible.

*Run your drainage hoses from your washing machine outside, and catch the water to use for washing your car and watering your plants.

*Stop water leaks immediately. A sink dripping one drop of water per second wastes 60 gallons of water if you let it go a week.


*Use empty plastic milk jugs, filled with water, in the freezer to fill dead air space.

*Save and Recycle plastic peanuts.Use them at the bottom of planting containers instead of rocks or gravel for water drainage.

*Use old diaper pins to hold socks together when washing.

*Save the plastic bags that come with your newspaper for packing items for trips and camping.

*Buy Term Life Insurance. It’s just as much protection, but cheaper.

*Never buy your checks from your bank. Their prices are outrageous. Purchase them through the mail. Take advantage of first time customer prices from several companies.

*Avoid using calling cards. Check the rate. It can be MUCH higher.

*If you must use these cards, hang up and return the call immediately.

*Both Long Distance Carriers and Credit Cards will usually lower their rates if you tell them you are leaving.

*Avoid buying stamps. Use automatic withdrawal from your checking account, bill pay, or drop-off centers for local bills if convenient.

*Send your mail to friends and family by e-mail..

*Buy your prescription drugs through a discount mail order company.

*Ask your doctor and/or pharmacist if there is a generic brand for your medication.

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