Forum: Adults / Money Matters

Money Matters
Money saving ideas
By LoriCook Comments: 1762, member since Mon Aug 17, 2009
On Thu Sep 11, 2014 08:50 AM

The thread about the food bank has got me thinking about ways a person on a tight budget can afford entertainment and activities that make them feel happy. I think if you have lived through tough times it forever changes the way you think about money. You can be poor and still eat well and have entertainment, it just takes creativity.

What are some things you like to do that a free or low cost?

I shop at thrift stores. I have bought bikes $10, roller blades $5 and my best find-an inflatable boat $10. Lots of low cost entertainment there. We take advantage of free movies in the park during the summer and in the winter we borrow books, dvd's and cd's from the local library. Our library also offers free magazines and music downloads online. That has saved me a TON of money. They also have computers so if you can't afford internet you can use their computer an hour a day.

10 Replies to Money saving ideas

re: Money saving ideas
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Thu Sep 11, 2014 09:59 AM
Edited by YumYumDoughnut (99333) on 2014-09-11 10:01:53
We got rid of cable and just bought an Apple TV ( it cost us like $100). I pay for a Hulu Plus and it costs only like $8 a month. We used to be paying about $80 for cable each month, and so we are saving a bunch of money.
We do pay quite a bit for high speed internet, but that is because I work from home for part of the day.
If there is a sport game that we HAVE to watch, we either go to a sports bar or friends houses.

I have learned to become a good cook and bake gluten free. GF products cost so much at stores, that I learned to use naturally gluten free products. I buy a lot of frozen vegetables/fruits when the fresh stuff is out of season. I usually eat vegetables and fruits that are seasonal, so it is a lot cheaper. I have a lot of fun " hunting down" bargains at stores.

I turn off all the lights in each room to save on our electric bill. I know people who keep their whole house lit up.

Free activities that I enjoy are hiking, walking around the city, and window shopping. I also enjoy knitting, crafts, and I love looking for new ways to clean my home. I use Pinterest a lot to find cheaper ways to do the housekeeping. I feel like it is my job to keep the house clean, so I find fun ways to organize etc.

I also like visiting the elderly neighbors. They are about 90 years old and most of them have lost a spouse and they refuse to go live in a nursing home. I try to stop by with cookies and occasionally help them out with some chores that are a bit harder for them. They have some amazingly darn good stories about growing up in their era. I love visiting with them!

I also have pantry dinner nights. I usually come up with a gourmet meal using stuff from the pantry that is about to expire. I don't look up any recipes and just try to invent my own!
re: Money saving ideas
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7177, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Fri Sep 12, 2014 02:42 PM
Coupon sites like Groupon and Living Social.

I was unemployed for a little over year. The first couple of months I was really good about my money. I only traveled by foot unless it was a job interview, I wouldn't buy meals unless it was a social occasion (and then I'd choose carefully but I didn't want to become alienated from my friends and depressed), etc. But after awhile I really started to get stir crazy during the day. What got me through it was that I found a deal on living social for 14 yoga classes for $14. It was too good not to do even though it was a bit far away and one way ride would cost more than the class itself. It really made all the difference for me. Having the yoga classes made me have something to look forward to in my day that was "normal" and without breaking my budget. I could do the afternoon classes which weren't too crowded, with a teacher I loved. After the 14 classes were up I ended up buying a package of 20 classes for like 25% off or something. Unfortunately I didn't get to use them all before I moved back in with my parents. But I honestly felt that was some of the best money I spent while I was unemployed. You can't just stay in the house all day and these "deal of the day" type sites allow you to find things to do in your area cheaply.
re: Money saving ideas
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6359, member since Thu Jul 12, 2007
On Fri Sep 12, 2014 03:01 PM
Thrift is a lifelong habit. By any standards I live very comfortably and I would probably be considered wealthy by most standards. It was not always that way. Both my wife and I come from very modest circumstances. Once we got away from living paycheck to paycheck...pretty much the norm for the first 5-6 years of our married life...we tried to look at the big picture, sometimes investing in things because they saved money in the long term. The houses we live in and have lived in were bought because they met our needs but were not at the limits of what we could afford. I almost always buy new cars but I buy them for transportation, not because they are some symbol of my affluence. I could now afford Mercedes or BMWs, but my Camry gets me where I wish to go. We use coupons when we dine out, which is often. I spent $17K when we needed a new heating/AC system, the absolute top of the line for my house, but this unit is so efficient it halved our utility bill. We are close to recouping our original investment in utility savings. We started modest investments as soon as we could afford to and increased our contributions when it was prudent (like after the kids were done with college.) Most importantly, we had a game plan with goals. We both did have middle class careers thanks to the education we both had. We were both the first in our families ever to go to college. Neither of us were in a career particularly relevant to our college majors, but were sufficiently broad to get us hired to begin with.

Jon
re: Money saving ideas
By hummingbird Comments: 10419, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Fri Sep 12, 2014 09:25 PM
Brew your own :P

Seriously, there are some really good kits now that make it so easy and for a small outlay you can save so much money over the years by making your own wine or beer.
re: Money saving ideas
By SarahdncrPremium member Comments: 634, member since Wed Jul 29, 2009
On Sat Sep 13, 2014 06:40 PM
Edited by Sarahdncr (214611) on 2014-09-13 19:01:24
Edited by Sarahdncr (214611) on 2014-09-13 19:02:07
Edited by Sarahdncr (214611) on 2014-09-13 19:03:53
Even though I am single, my life has pretty much mirrored Chacone's. I started out with very modest means coming from a family who had modest means as well, at best. (Both my parents were civil servants (teachers) back in the day when teachers, even those in the Northeast were earning almost nothing back in the 50's - 70's).

Joining the Forces after school was the best thing I ever did.

And even though I am very comfortable today, I still live my life very frugally. I just love to shop for neat clothing finds in 2nd hand/re-sale/thrift store's, I still use coupons when buying my groceries, I don't eat out very much at all. My car's I have had, I have always driven into the ground before getting a new one. I do my own house-cleaning, yard work, laundry (all a great workout too!), and oh......I still love my flip phone!!!

There is nothing wrong with living a frugal lifestyle what so ever, and it makes me so sad when I see or read of young folks burdened with so much debt because they are attending pricy undergrad (Uni)private schools, and/or who are choosing to live in big city centers for the city lifestyle social scene that modern society and peers are dictating to them that they need to do to get themselves established.

I so wish more young folks would think twice about some of the financial decisions they are making early on in adulthood before they actually go ahead and do them.
re: Money saving ideas (karma: 1)
By dancin_til_death Comments: 4381, member since Sat May 08, 2004
On Mon Sep 15, 2014 08:25 PM
A big part of it is being okay with not spending money. My parents sent me to a really good school, and the education was fantastic, however I came out thinking you had to spend money to be accepted in the world. I think a lot of people feel like this. Growing up I always felt we were less because of this. Going to university I was lucky to be surrounded by fantastic wonderful creative people who were similar to me in that we didn't have families who could support us. We had to pay our own way. So we took pride in finding ways to save money. Cheap alcohol = winning, 2$ for a kilo of meat = winning. We were incredibly proud that our meagre incomes were enough for us to survive in an expensive city. Later on these small skills were invaluable in being able to save for big ticket items. eg travel overseas.

I think a lot of it is an evaluation of needs vs wants, thought there is a element of creative budgeting. I still live in my dream city, however I have always made sure that I rent close to public transport, and to work. The result is that I don't need a car. I spend approximately 10-20$ on public transport. Furthermore now that I am in full time employment I am building a house deposit fairly quickly.

One tip I would say is make a savings account which is separate, and ideally not easily accessible to you. Transfer a set amount into it each paycheck. You will often have an urge to get money out, however if you create barriers to access it then you are much less likely to use it. In the past I have made these accounts with my Mum and if I have wanted to take money out I have had to ask her. It was amazing, only twice did I take money out of it out of the 4 years I had the account, and they were legitimate spending needs.
re: Money saving ideas
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7177, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Tue Sep 16, 2014 09:22 AM
Edited by Moonlitefairy06 (90715) on 2014-09-16 09:23:44 quote didn't work
dancin_til_death wrote:



One tip I would say is make a savings account which is separate, and ideally not easily accessible to you. Transfer a set amount into it each paycheck. You will often have an urge to get money out, however if you create barriers to access it then you are much less likely to use it. In the past I have made these accounts with my Mum and if I have wanted to take money out I have had to ask her. It was amazing, only twice did I take money out of it out of the 4 years I had the account, and they were legitimate spending needs.


YES YES YES. I think this is a wonderful idea. I started doing that immediately when I got my new job. Right now I'm only putting in $100 a paycheck, $200 a month, but it's a start and it's adding up. If I do get a raise at some point I will absolutely put more of my paycheck into my savings account. I don't need more spending money, I'm doing fine right now with paying my bills and such. Anything extra will go to my savings account, student loans and 401K.
re: Money saving ideas
By aerial Comments: 1170, member since Sun Sep 02, 2001
On Mon Sep 22, 2014 05:35 AM
You can volunteer for an activity. I have depression and I know getting out and going to do something for a feel valued helps, plus it is something to do.

I use Retail me not to find coupons and deals. I have also created quite the cookbook of ramen noodle recipes at 16 cents a package when you are hard up you can't beat it.

In the past I have sold unneeded things on ebay, or you can have a garage sale. I have also done odd jobs for people like housekeeping. A couple of my housekeeping jobs took 4 hours, they had their own supplies and made me $80-$100 and that is a lot when you are really struggling.

Other fun things are walks, hiking, some museums are free, library, check for free community events on weekends.
re: Money saving ideas
By Moonlitefairy06member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 7177, member since Fri Apr 16, 2004
On Mon Sep 22, 2014 03:10 PM
While I've never sold anything on ebay I have bought things on ebay that have been brand new in original packaging for much less than their retail price. Sometimes people buy too much of something, or something they end up not needing and it works out well for you. But only do it for things you would buy anyway or else you can find yourself with a lot of things you don't need too!
re: Money saving ideas
By fairy_dustmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6584, member since Sun Jan 20, 2002
On Fri Nov 14, 2014 01:45 AM
I've had a few bouts of unemployment and financial bad luck over the past 6 years, after I moved to a new city. But I was able to live frugally during that time and still do many of these things:

-Stock up on toiletries and beauty/hygiene products when they're on sale, so you won't be stuck buying it while you're in a rough patch financially or paying full price when you've run out and need it now.

-Stock up on canned/non-perishable foods so that if you hit a rough patch, you'll already have something to eat and won't need to spend as much on food until the rough patch ends.

-Look for events that offer free food (Facebook is great for this), such as cultural festivals. That way, you won't have to cook or spend money on food for at least one meal.

-Check around on Facebook, other websites, newsletters, etc, to find stores, restaurants, etc that offer free samples.

-Go to "swapping" or "trading" events where you can get books, clothes, etc, for free if you bring old ones you don't want anymore.

-If you want to socialize without spending much money, look for events that don't require you to pay cover or buy food/drinks (or have specials for these). I am a member of a very popular language exchange group that meets in a bar once a week, and a big glass of draft beer is $5 during happy hour (and though most of us do buy at least one drink we're not required to do so).

-If you want to host a social event, have a potluck (where guests bring food to share), movie night at home, board game night, etc. Specify that it's BYOB (bring your own booze - very common among young people here). At most, you might have to spend a little money on food/snacks.

-Make/bring your own lunch to work instead of going to restaurants/cafes.

-Hang your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer. My apartment has hot water radiators, so when they're on in winter, I put my clothes on them so they dry faster than when I just hang them.

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