Friday, March 26, 2010

My List of Frugal Things

I have a few things that I have done for so long that I don’t even think about them, much less think about them as being frugal. But my friends have mentioned that they would love a list of some of my tips. So here goes:
1. I cut my dryer sheets in half. I read about this one many years ago, tried it and never went back. I have a family of 6 and do a ton of laundry and I think I only buy a box like 2 times a year, if that. I couldn’t tell you the last time I bought them.

2. I hate throwing away food. We either have leftovers as they are, I reuse them in a new dish, or I freeze them for later use. For instance, leftover veggies get frozen for soup. Mashed potatoes get frozen for shephards pie. Over-ripe bananas get made into chocolate banana muffins. You get the idea.

3. I make my own laundry detergent. I have stated here why I do this. We all have such sensitive skin, but with as much laundry as I do, it does save us a ton of money.

4. I use coupons when I can. But I don’t get a paper just for the coupons. My mom gives me hers after she has gone through them.

5. I buy some things generic. I have tried almost everything in a generic form. Some work out, some do not.

6. I make all my own cleaners such as window and a heavy duty cleaner. I love these and make a new batch every week.

7. I make almost all of our baked goods from scratch. This is mostly due to food allergies. However, I do enjoy it and it does save a lot of money.

8. I make homemade baby wipes. Again, this was done for the purpose of sensitive skin, but is also very frugal. I have made them from both paper towels and from old t-shirts that I have cut up and then pitch when I am done.

9. I rarely buy things for myself. Over the years, this has simply become a routine. Not that we don’t have the money, but I just wait for my birthday or Christmas or if it is something that I really want, my husband will surprise me with it.

10. I almost never get my hair cut and I don’t color treat it. This is mainly because with 4 kids and working part time, I simply do not have the time to have these things done. Every now and then I will have highlights done (usually with a gift card), only to buy a store bought coloring kit to change me back to my regular color because I don’t have the time to go every 6-8 weeks. For instance, I just had my hair trimmed last week, before that, it had not been cut since October.

11. I reuse my kids school papers. The ones that are black on one side, I either print coupons on the other side or I use them for my lists.

12. I don’t use hair products with the exception of the occasional squirt of hairspray. Again, I have very sensitive skin and hair products irritate it. But also, is a money saver. One bottle of hair spray will last me almost a year.

13. I don’t wear makeup. Again, I have horribly sensitive skin and with the exception of under eye concealer and lipstick, I don’t wear any. I did try some very expensive makeup recently but it irritated my skin so I am back to my normal routine of concealer and lipstick for work and special occasions and nothing but face lotion on my days off.

14. I am always looking for ways to reuse things. For instance my curtain in our master bathroom is made from kitchen napkins that I sewed together. This bathroom has an American flag theme, the decorations and accessories were purchased at the 4th of July clearance sale at Kohl’s. The younger two kid’s curtains are made from sheets, as is the large bay window curtain.

15. We don’t eat out a lot. We are dealing with food allergies at our house so it can be difficult to eat out. But again, this does save money.

16. Our cars are paid in full and we plan on driving them until they die.

I know there are many more, but this was all I could think of at this time. To some this list may seem too extreme, to others it may not be extreme enough. But everyone needs to find the balance.

We still have HD cable, high speed internet and cell phones with data plans on them. So we do have some things that we splurge on. But at the same time, I do the things above to cut back in areas where I can. Every little bit helps. And in our case we are saving for a new house.

We are down to a few debts and when those are gone, we will have new windows installed. We are then putting all our money towards getting our house on the market to sell. Not to mention a down payment for a new one.

This post is linked to Frugal Friday.


  1. Great list. I am not a big makeup/hair person. I waited waaayyyy to long this last time to get my hair done, but I saved a bundle on the 2 times I should've gone but didn't.

  2. I like a lot of what you have on the list but some stuff we do a little differently. I guess being frugal is 'relative' to lifestyle perhaps? We have basic phone plans for all of us and no TV subs just plain old antennae. We have DSL for work/school etc. We do get our haircut often but after slumming it at Great Clips and getting our hair hacked by a lawn mower it was in my opinion 'worth' the sacrifice. we have one car paid for another one we are still paying for but small payments and will be paid off in 2 years. That same care is pretty much maintenance cost free other than bulbs, filters and oil which Toby does and if anything goes wrong it has the super dooper warranty on it so worth it again.

    I never thought to cut the dryer sheets in half, I will be doing that from now on! I have one can of hairspray from 3 years ago so yeah i am with you on that one!

    The cleaners and wipes and detergent I will have to give a try since Henry has horribly sensitive skin.

    I do bake pretty much everything we eat except Toby's GF bread, leaving that one to the professionals.

    Oh and Jen give me an email or txt or call - You can return the foundation!