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Thread: Handy hints for saving money

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    MotherBear's Avatar
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    Default Handy hints for saving money

    On the back of the ?Simply can?t afford to live in NZ? thread, I wondered if we?ve got a secret store of cost cutters that we draw on when the purse strings need to be tightened and would like to share with others. You never know what useful tips you might find on here if we all pool our resources and even little savings can mount up.

    Just a few of mine are:

    Only fill the kettle with enough water for your immediate needs to save electricity.
    Go to bed earlier in the dark evenings and get up earlier to make the most of the daylight and heat from the sun.
    Dry clothes on the washing line whenever possible to save using the tumble drier.
    Use cotton dishcloths instead of those rubbery ones that start to shed bits after a short while and you can?t keep them properly clean. Cotton cloths can be put in the washing machine frequently or even sterilised if need be.
    Always make out a supermarket shopping list and try to stick to it so you don?t make impulse purchases that you don?t really need or can?t really afford.
    Use the library for books instead of buying new or buy from secondhand book stores.
    If you don?t regularly do home-baking or feel you aren?t any good at it, find some easy reliable recipes that you can do and bake from scratch instead of buying ready made. It?s healthier as well as cheaper.
    Take sandwiches or similar to work instead of buying snacks from a local shop or takeaway.
    Invest in some microfibre cleaning cloths that clean without streaks. They aren't particylarly cheap but you can often do away with expensive cleaning fluids, especially for windows and other shiny surfaces and they do last a long time.
    Negotiate a good price with your local butcher for bulk purchases of meat and stick it in your freezer. Could well work out cheaper than buying bit by bit from the supermarket.
    Buy veggies in bulk when they?re in season and cheaper and freeze them.
    Buy only one type of shampoo, one conditioner, one body lotion, one hand cream etc. at a time. Finish one before investing in a different one. You can only use one at a time anyway and it avoids the clutter of a pile of half empty bottles standing around waiting to be used up.
    If you grow your own veggies or flowers, compost a wide variety of household waste to enrich your garden and also save on paying for extra rubbish collections.

    That'll do for starters. If someone finds only one of these suggestions useful, it will have been worthwhile.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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    Debd's Avatar
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    Great tips there MotherBear! I've been using those knitted cotton dishcloths - I bought 4 newly knitted oned from an op-shop for 20c each, they're great! And they're not skinny either, ha!
    I'm not so good with giving tips so I'll just take yours in instead, ha!

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    selchie's Avatar
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    Good tips, MB. I'm a big fan of sack lunches from home, and just don't understand why so many people I know buy lunch every day.

    Another idea also helps save energy: unplug or turn off electrical items that don't really need to stay on. The cost to power even those little ready lights on surge protectors and LED clocks adds up.

    If practical, walk or ride a bike - don't drive. Free exercise and fuel conservation are bonuses.

    Mow your own lawn rather than hiring a service (popular in the States). More bonus exercise. There's also fuel conservation if you get an "acoustic" (push) mower.

    How about ignoring TV adverts - you really don't need most of the junk they're trying to convince you to buy.

    Make gifts, rather than buying them. We do this with many friends, and they with us. It means so much more to me to recieve even a little handmade something than to get an expensive bought gift.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
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    Try this site http://frugalliving.about.com/ there is a lot of great ideas on there.

    Since moving here, we have become very aware that we are living in an area of New Zealand that is of very high conservation value and although I have alsways been interested in the environment, I have changed a lot of my habits. It has two benefits, - less rubbish and it costs less.

    I used to buy seed trays and plant pots, now I cut milk containers in half for plant pots and cut the large juice bottles in half from top to bottom to create seed trays. Saves a fortune and reduces our waste.

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    Do they have the plastic carrier bag nightmare going on in NZ? Here, every shop you go into tries to put just 2 or 3 things into one carrier bag and move on to the next. People come out with hundreds of the things. Take bags or boxes with you when you do the shopping so you can refuse the plastic ones.
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    selchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawn View Post
    Do they have the plastic carrier bag nightmare going on in NZ? Here, every shop you go into tries to put just 2 or 3 things into one carrier bag and move on to the next. People come out with hundreds of the things. Take bags or boxes with you when you do the shopping so you can refuse the plastic ones.
    We have a pile of canvas bags that we use for groceries and many other purchaces. They're not only reusable, but they're sturdy. We even get a 5 or 10 cent refund per bag at the grocery store.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
    - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, mid-1800s

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    Probably the best bit of advice I've ever received I'll pass on to all of you:

    Live below your means.

    I will grant you, I'm not particularly good at it myself, so my wife and I force ourselves to do that by putting away 15% of our income and adding money each month to our mortgage payments and to our other loans. (Our only loans were student loans--which I just paid off the last of a month ago--and our 2 cars, one of which was purchased used. I couldn't afford to pay cash for the cars because the first was bought when my first son was born and I had to give up my 7-year-old pickup truck, and the second was bought when my wife and I were both in graduate school!)

    One important point from the other money related discussion that could be made here is that those people who most of us think of as 'rich' are usually just folks living way beyond their means. I strongly recommend the book 'The Millionaire Next Door' to everyone, especially if you have teenagers who are beginning to get the wrong ideas about money.
    Last edited by KiwiHopeful; 08-04-2007 at 01:55 AM.
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    selchie's Avatar
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    I agree with KiwiHopeful about not living beyond your means. Learning how to manage money is important, no matter what income level you're at. Good job, KH for keeping your debt load low!
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
    - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, mid-1800s

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    Thanks, Selchie :)

    Another practical tip to go along with MB's original list is to buy yourself a FoodSaver or other similar vacuum-packing system. It cuts down on waste from things coming out of the freezer worse for wear.

    Cooking meals ahead of time and freezing them also cuts back on the Friday-night-don't-want-to-cook-let's-eat-out Syndrome. Dishes with a nice sauce or gravy work well, since they freeze and reheat without turning the meat into rubber or leather.

    I personally don't do this very often myself, but whenever my in-laws come for a visit my father-in-law brings us about 15-20 one-dish meals--since it's on his dime that makes it *very* cheap. ;)
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    selchie's Avatar
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    Enchiladas are great for freezing. I roll 2 in cling wrap, then store them all in a freezer bag. ... Are Mexican food supplies (tortillas, dried chiles, etc.) to be found in the markets? We might have to grow and make our own, if not.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
    - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, mid-1800s

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