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 What every day things do you do to stop wasting money?
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

LA
USA
3045 Posts

Posted - 04/08/2012 :  5:27:21 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Spices are so expensive and I love estate sales. I buy unopened spices and canned goods at estate sales for between a quarter and a dollar per item. I am careful to check for the expiration date, but some things really don't go bad, like salt, peppercorns, or vinegar. I'm amazed at the folk I see buying open items. Yeah, it's an inexpensive way to feed the family, but that's a bit too much for me.

Jnanne
Silver certified
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BCheatam
Star Contributor

IN
USA
290 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2012 :  3:26:07 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
If you have a Co-op around you, you can buy spices from their bulk bins cheaply. Gives you a chance to try some spice you may not have tried before because you didn't want to get stuck with a whole bottle if you didn't like it. You can buy only a teaspoon if you want. You generally don't have to be a member to shop there.

Silver Certified Mystery Shopper & Auditor in Central and Southern Indiana.
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

LA
USA
3045 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2012 :  8:29:12 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I was amazed and disappointed, moving from a community of around 100,000 to one of 300,000 to discover that there is nowhere here to buy bulk spices. I had been spoiled for a very long time by a wonderful shop in the middle of downtown Champaign, IL: Walnut Street Tea Co. They sell bulk tea, coffee, and spices as well as related gifts. A wonderful way to get just the right amount of spices at a reasonable cost and always have good quality at your fingertips.

Sigh. O for the good old days...

Jnanne
Silver certified
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 06/20/2012 :  1:35:46 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
With summer here, so are the fleas on the dogs and cats. My daughter was spending a fortune on sprays, pills, shampoos, etc, and nothing was really being as effective as she wanted.

I read some stuff online about apple cider vinegar being about the best thing you can put on a dog for fleas. The fleas cannot stand the acidic condition of the skin and fur and will literally jump off the dog.

She tried it and it worked beautifully. Within a day even the redness from all the scratching was cleared up.

Vinegar is sure a lot cheaper than those other things. I use vinegar for lots of stuff. It is great for athlete's foot or any fungus you might get on your skin. Fungus cannot live in an acidic environment.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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SheilaC
Star Contributor

Philadelphia, PA
USA
274 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2012 :  07:28:11 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Wow Juanita! You have NO idea how timely this advice is! I'd never had a problem with fleas before but now living in the city...... the dog brought them home to the four cats and, most unfortunately, to me! I'd even consider using the vinegar on myself instead of body wash! I'm so allergic to the critters!
Sheila
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

LA
USA
3045 Posts

Posted - 06/21/2012 :  4:26:41 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
On the one hand, the cost of the medicine is not cheap, so it wouldn't appear to be frugal. On the other, the cost of treating a dog who has heartworms is between $500 and $1000 (or at least it was when we had to have our dogs treated in 2008). I highly recommend Trifexis, a pill the dogs take monthly that treats a host of parasites, including heartworm, hookworm, and fleas.

Our beagle and one of the cats are horribly allergic to the flea bites and one the dogs started taking Trifexis (around $22 per pill from the vet) we haven't had to worry about fleas in the house. With two dogs and six cats, this is really a more cost-effective way to go for us. We have to give the dogs heartworm medicine, anyway. This is more expensive than just preventing heartworm, but for us it is worth it.

I like the idea of the vinegar, though. When I was a kid my dad would douse us with vinegar before sending us out to pick blackberries on the farm. It sure cut back on the bug bites we had to endure! He put it in an empty spray bottle and shot any exposed skin, getting quite a bit on our clothes, as well. (Probably not planned--just a result of our squirming). I'd forgotten about this until I read Juanita's post.

Jnanne
Silver certified
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SheilaC
Star Contributor

Philadelphia, PA
USA
274 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2012 :  08:10:27 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Jnanne,
The problems I've experienced with some of those one in all pills have been difficult. Certain breeds of dogs cannot tolerate one of the ingredients common in these called ivermectin. Some dogs can have seizures associated with other ingredients in those pills.
One of my cats will vomit profusely from having the behind the neck treatment.
And, it looks great, ah, one pill to kill all these different parasites but, when the animal doesn't have that particular parasite we are delivering to them an additional poison to their systems which can also add up very quickly in extra vet bills.
What I've done (and admittedly I have training as a vet tech) is search for those parasites common in the area I live and consider treating for them. This can often infuriate a vet who wants to sell the "one in all" pill when there is often a less expensive alternative.
It's really analyzing the costs and benefits of each treatment. It would be like giving a child a small pox vaccination when small pox seems to have been eradicated. It's just not good medical sense to subject a body to more stresses than absolutely necessary.
With one dog and 4 cats it just seems easier to me to monitor each one's needs individually than using a shotgun approach to all. (Although some nights I definitely do just want the shotgun!)
Sheila
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

LA
USA
3045 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2012 :  09:05:16 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I took my child for her smallpox booster last week. Smallpox is actually making a comeback big time in places where the vaccine is not being used. The reduced number of cases in the US didn't indicate the disease no longer exists--it indicated we were protected from it. To me it makes sense to continue to protect our children. The vaccine is much less scary in my mind than the disease.

Jnanne
Silver certified
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SheilaC
Star Contributor

Philadelphia, PA
USA
274 Posts

Posted - 06/22/2012 :  1:59:43 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Oops....sorry, bad example there. Since people became afraid of vaccinations many of those diseases we thought we had eradicated have come back.
But the medications we use for parasites are actually toxins which do not strengthen the immune system like vaccinations do. They kill any parasites which the animal may carry at the time.
Vaccinations, on the other hand teach the body's own immune system how to react when faced with the actual virus.
Sheila
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2012 :  03:12:09 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Regarding my previous post about using vinegar on dogs for fleas, when you first put the vinegar on the dog, the fleas go beserk looking for an escape. The dog will get very active for a few minutes with the scratching and so forth. I put some vinegar on my dog's lower back and the fleas took off for the dog's head and he was rubbing his snout against the carpet because of the flea activity. I put vinegar on the dog's neck and the fleas left altogether.

It will calm down in a few minutes. You can go online and read how vinegar can be used throughout the house to control fleas.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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Julie_WA_Writer
Star Contributor

Western, Washington
USA
1853 Posts

Posted - 08/15/2012 :  6:54:07 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I've been using Listia to send little gifts to nieces and nephews. It's like an online auction, only no money is involved. People give away things for credits (you get credits by giving something away). So I spend credits and little "I'm thinking of you" things head their way. Saves me postage and shopping time.

“Great empires are not maintained by timidity.” Tacitus
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JuanitaJ
Star Contributor

Houston, TX
USA
1082 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2012 :  12:05:33 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
This is not something that will save money but maybe save time and frustration. Save the cardboard toilet paper rolls. Fold up cords and place them in the rolls. Then you can mark on the roll what the cord is for. All the rolls then can be stacked in a box. It keeps everything neat.

Juanita
MSPA Gold Certified
Happily shopping the Houston, TX area.
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Jnanne
Star Contributor

LA
USA
3045 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2012 :  3:07:14 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Juanita, that has the potential to save me money. The part about storing all the cords together neatly where I can find them and not end up running to the store to buy another that I really wouldn't need if I could find the ones I already own!

Jnanne
Silver certified
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Ms.Baker
Valued Contributor

Evansville, IN
USA
135 Posts

Posted - 10/26/2012 :  7:04:37 PM  Visit Ms.Baker's Homepage  Reply  Reply with Quote
Hi there... I'm working on a major house project this year, so I have cutback anywhere I can. I want to pay cash for this project, so I am really shaving off everything.

Well, today I called my home security company, and I asked them to suspend my service for six months. They do not suspend service. But, they provided me with a three-month credit and a $10 discount for the three months after that.

I though I would share... that phone call is saving me an extra $150 over the six months. It all adds up.

Ditto with satellite... added discounts for six months.

And Cell phone service feew were cut in half... as long as I am on this contract.

People... call and negotiate with companies that have monthly fees.


Shopping the Tri-State area
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Wendy G
Star Contributor

Park Ridge, IL
USA
284 Posts

Posted - 12/27/2012 :  4:07:23 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Regarding fleas and internal parasites, we use food grade diatomaceous earth on the outside of the the animals and sprinkled on food. Do NOT use pool grade diatomaceous earth. I believe Lowe's carries the Garden Safe Brand for about $10. You can research online for food dosages. I mix it in wet food. It's a very fine powder made from skeletons of diatoms / small sea life forms that cut up and dry up the exoskeletons of parasites. It's effective and cheap and you can also use on carpeting.

http://wolfcreekranch1.tripod.com/defaq.html

Honestly I don't like giving my dogs heartworm meds or flea meds and I use preventative measures like this including keeping them out of weedy areas early morning/evening. it's not fool proof, but there are natural ways to rid of heartworm too, including the diatomaceous earth which I believe I read will clear it up in 90 days. Don't quote me tho!

The other thing we did to cut down on costs was to shop Aldi grocery stores. Their prices are great but they don't have a ton of organic food, some, but not a lot. Since we like to eat more organic food, we also usually sign up for a local CSA /organic farm. Many CSAs will give you a cheaper price in exchange for farm work, according to your abilities. We also also buy organic beans and lentils in bulk and we use the pressure cooker to cook a pot of beans ahead of time that can be frozen and used later.

We also do not buy dog treats but instead feed the dogs organic fruits and veggies that they like such as apples, carrots,n green beans, cabbage, citrus, etc. I like that we don't have to worry about Chinese manufacturers who end up killing dogs with their crap snacks and that the dogs are eating real food.

The other money saver in the long run for us was my purchase of a Vitamix blender. It can make all kinds of foods pretty easily like dressings, soups, smoothies, nut butters, puddings, nondairy milks, marinades, and doing tasks like grinding flours, making dough, chopping veggies (yes there are ways to do it). For example, I chop onions in the vitamix ahead of time and freeze in one cup increments for easy pull together meals. I also prechop and freeze 1 tsp increments of ginger (using my mini food processor). Garlic is minced and stored in olive oil in a pint mason jar in the fridge. No more buying the minced garlic from the store or chopping at the last minute!

I make rice, almond, and oat milks in the vitamix for very cheap. Rice and oat milk costs me approximately 20 cents per quart or less. Almond milk is about $1. When I see the nonrefrigerated almond or coconut milks on sale for 99 cents I buy them and stock up.

I make my own spice blends like garam masala. I buy organic in bulk online at Mountain Rose Herbs and then store in empty bottles from other spices or in glass mason jars.

The other food related $$ saver is my crock pot making food in bulk and freezing things like soups, chilis, etc.. Since we are vegans, I use lots of recipes from the books: Vegan on the Cheap and Eat Vegan on $4 a day. Buying in bulk, making some of my own convenience foods like mayo, seitan (fake meat cutlets, strips, etc). I do not buy premade things like fake meat crumbles but use things like bulgur wheat, couscous or pearled barley to stand in for the crumbles. Most fake meats are just expensive ways to serve you rice and beans! I'd rather have the rice and beans!

We also watch the sales at our local Kroger store and my husband even inputs the expiration date of products we use that will go on Manager's special (usually 1/2 off) of things that are usable and freezable like tofu, tempeh, earth balance (vegan margarine), veggie hot dogs (which the dogs like). My organic tofu usually costs 79 cents per tub this way!

One other way to save is to see if you have a local bakery outlet. In the Midwest, we have Aunt Millie's outlet. They have their own brand but also bake the Meijer brand breads. I usually end up paying between $1 and $1.29 per item and I buy and freeze whole wheat bread, bagels, english muffins, pita bread, and various types rolls. On average, due to their specials, I can buy 14 items for about $12 that retail up to $3.99 each on the grocer's shelf.

Groceries for our family of two run about $300 per month which is less than the Thrifty level of the USDA recommendations of $411 per month for our size family.

I also make my own laundry soap and surface cleanser (cleanser is simply orange peels and vinegar soaked in a mason jar for two weeks, dilute with water and add to previously cleanser bottle with a little grapefruit seed extract and or tea tree oil). I make 6 months of liquid laundry soap at a time for about $9. I store it in old laundry soap bottles.

These are some of the things we do. Another thing to look into is Patience Assistance programs for medications if you cannot afford them or your insurance does not cover your medication. I know someone whose yearly meds cost $5000 and she gets them free from the manufacturer.



Wendy
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Wendy G
Star Contributor

Park Ridge, IL
USA
284 Posts

Posted - 12/27/2012 :  4:21:14 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Also, I save the tops, peels, ends, etc of my organic vegetables like onions, carrots, potatoes, and celery in freezer bags in the freezer and make a pot of vegetable stock at the end of the week in the crock pot or pressure cooker. The veggie stock can be frozen as well.

I also make my own fake chicken powder broth like this one: http://fatfreevegan.com/blog/2010/11/01/bryannas-homemade-vegan-chicken-style-broth-powder/

There are recipes for other powdered broths as well. What I like is having control over the salt content and it is FRUGAL!

Wendy
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