A few weeks ago I was lamenting about the high prices on everything lately. Recession or not, it’s getting harder to afford the increased cost of living. I asked Being Frugal readers for help, and the readers came through in a big way!
This post is a compilation of comments and emails I received when I asked my readers how they deal with high prices and what things they do to make their money stretch further.
I’ve separated the tips into categories to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. I’ve credited each reader once throughout the article, though many submitted ideas in multiple categories.
Please consider visiting the websites of those who contributed to this project! They gave great advice here, and I’m sure they each have a lot more to offer on their individual blogs!
Now…what you’ve been waiting for. How to save money on just about everything.
Save Money Grocery Shopping
- Shop for produce at a local farm stand.
- Never buy coffee, soda, or other drinks or snacks out.
- Always grocery shop with a list.
- Take advantage of sales on items that you would normally buy.
- Only shop once a month.
- Keep a price book and track prices by unit cost.
- Stockpile staples when prices are low.
- Buy generic items.
- Use the Grocery Game.
- Plan meals according to what is on sale that week.
- Take advantage of rainchecks if the store doesn’t have a sale item that you need.
- Take advantage of rebates at Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid…but only if you’ll use the item and will follow through on the rebate.
- Buy enough of a sale item to last 12 weeks. That’s about how long sales take to cycle.
- Shop at discount marts: Grocery Outlet, The Dollar Store, etc.
- Bring your own bags to the grocery store. Many stores offer a small discount per bag.
- Take advantage of stores that double coupons.
- Watch out for deals on things that your friends need, and have them do the same for you.
Save Money on Cooking and Eating
- Eat less meat.
- Become a vegetarian.
- Eat leftovers.
- Cook large amounts and freeze extra for busy nights.
- Scrape out food jars to use the last little bit.
- Cook from scratch.
- Never eat out.
- Eat from your stocked pantry.
- Bring lunch from home (it’s worth it to invest in proper containers).
- Eat less. The average American eats too much.
- Don’t use the vending machines at work.
- Always have a meal plan. Always.
- Use the Once a Month Cooking system.
- Keep soup starter jars in the freezer. A little leftover this, a little leftover that. Nothing is wasted.
- Get creative with leftovers. Concoct new recipes, so nothing is wasted.
- Base most of your meals on rice or beans to cut down on meat consumption.
- Look for events that entertain and feed you at the same time. Church socials, shopping at Sam’s (think about those free samples)…
- Don’t drink soda. Drink water!
- Make your own jello cups (or applesauce cups, or pudding cups) for lunches and snacks.
- If your kids complain about generic cereal, put the generic in a name-brand box. They’ll never know the difference!
- Rear your own chickens.
- Join a freezer club. Get together with like-minded people to exchange meals for your freezers. It’s cheaper to prepare a lot of one meal and split it up, than to prepare a bunch of different meals.
- Make your own baby food.
- Always take a snack and bottle of water wherever you go. You won’t be tempted to stop for expensive fast food or drinks.
- Grow your own produce. No room? Try a square foot garden! Or use pots on the patio.
- Freeze, can, or dehydrate your produce.
- Cook with the crockpot to avoid using the oven, which warms up the house.
- Use a convection oven to accomplish the same purpose.
Save Money on Cars and Gas
- Run errands once a week and use the most efficient route.
- Walk as much as you can.
- Stay home as often as possible.
- Keep tires filled to their proper pressure.
- Don’t suddenly stop or accelerate.
- Bum a ride with friends and chip in for gas.
- Ride your bike.
- Use a diesel car if you have one.
- Coast when you see a red light ahead, instead of hitting the brakes.
- Use public transportation.
- Try to get by with one car if you have two.
- If you have one car that you only drive a couple of times a week, consider getting rid of it and using cabs.
- Drive your car until it’s old. This works really well when you buy a car that will run for 200,000 miles.
- Keep up on your car’s maintenance.
- Turn your car off at lights.
- Coast when you can.
- Limit city driving.
- Turn off the engine and coast to a stop. (Only do this if you know your car and know what you’re doing. It could be unsafe, depending on the car)
- On a long trip, keep a steady foot.
- Make it a challenge to see how far you can go on a tank of gas.
- Use a discount card to buy gas. (Many grocery stores offer them, as well as Costco).
- Fill up early in the morning when the air is cool, and the gas is dense. You’ll get more gas and less air.
- Fill up when your tank is half empty.
- Shop around for insurance. The rates can vary a lot!
- Use gasbuddy.com to find the lowest price on gas.