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Topic Glitter Guide: Frugal Living Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By lilyblue On 05/03/02  

Post all of your thrify living ideas here.



By kazoogrrl On 05/03/02  

Pick one thing to splurge on, so that you don't throw money and time away on quick-fixes that don't really make you feel good.

My example - my hair. As long as I have a good cut and color I feel 100% better and more put together. Then I don't spend money on lots of clothing or trinkets hoping to get the same feeling. And going to the salon every 6 weeks is relaxing, makes me feel pampered, and it leads to a lot of compliments, all things that boost my self esteem and general well being.

Also, I wash my sandwhich baggies, as long as they don't stink.



By lulabelle On 05/03/02  

Steal toilet paper! :)

--lynda



By acorn On 05/03/02  

ooh! I steal toilet paper too!



By ladyjane On 05/03/02  

* Hold a Naked Lady Party instead of thrift shopping for clothes! :) Perfect around this time of year, when everyone's cleaning out closets, and switching winter clothes for spring and summer stuff!

* Go to 10%-50% off sales at department stores, find your bargains on sales racks...and then open a department-store card, and get the additional 10% off! ...Then, never use that card again.

* Plan your meals in advance, or at least pack your lunch -- saves $$$, and you waste less time during lunch. Also, sometimes a well-made lunch is better tasting than take-out. For example, I've made a tortilla wrap-up with a burrito-sized tortilla, some salsa, and some shredded cheese, then microwaved it when I got to work -- and had a co-worker say "mmmm! When did we get a mexican place near here???" :)

* Learn the difference between "want" and "need".
Want = I really, really wanna have something!
Need = I can't really live without this -- food, clothing, shelter, a fan on hot summer days, etc.
--Think about this -- will you care about this thing you "need" in a week? In a month? In two days? Next season? No? Well...maybe it's just a "want." That's not to say you can't get stuff you "want," just budget for it. Or wait a few days, maybe you'll "want" something even cooler, or it might show up elsewhere at a cheaper price!

* When grocery shopping, buy sale items you need -- and use a coupon at the same time! If you have a store "preferred card", use that, too. If you are in a state with "Double Coupons" -- Damn, I'm jealous! There's no double coupons around here! :P

also, check www.stretcher.com for tons of money-saving tips.



By goddess On 05/03/02  

beware of taking advantage of the "sign-up for our card and get 10% off today!" offers. this will affect your credit rating. first, your rating goes down based on the number of times your credit is run. second, it looks bad if you have a lot of credit cards. if you do open these accounts, make sure you call and close them, don't just stop using them. the account will show as open on your credit report until you actually call and close it.

i'm learning all kinds of stuff about credit now that it's too late. wish i would have known this stuff before. these are the things that count agaist you when you want to buy a car or house. credit sucks!



By ladyjane On 05/03/02  

Ooooh. Thanks for that credit-card tip, goddess!

I don't wanna botch my credit rating! Yipe!



By goddess On 05/03/02  

you're welcome! i think they should teach kids about credit their senior year in high school. who didn't get their first credit card on their college campus the first week of school???



By glamarama On 09/26/02  

I have to append to what goddess said about it "looks bad if you have a lot of credit cards" - this is only true if you have a lot of credit cards *with balances*. If your credit report shows tons of accounts that all have zero balances then it actually looks pretty good (when I bought my house and got the credit report I was shocked that I had 15+ department store cards left over from my teenage days - but I was told I have really good credit because only my visa had a balance). Department store cards can actually help someone with bad or no credit begin to accrue good credit - just pay it off immediately when you use it. Those cards charge insane 20% interest!
I agree that you should close accounts that you don't need - but only for security purposes, so nobody else can steal the #'s and use them. But I'm pretty paranoid :)



By nicegirl512 On 05/03/02  

-I second bringing your lunch. I save TONS of money that way.

-Get used to drinking water. Cheap, cheap, cheap (and healthy).

-make an Excel spreadsheet and record everything you spend (I have several general categories: rent, electric, gas, insurance, etc., then household, groceries, crafts, clothes, cash, etc.). It motivates me because (1) I have to admit how much I spent on frivolous stuff, like clothes and (April's overindulgence) craft supplies, (2) I see exactly how much I spent on what and how it compares to the past several months. I cannot overemphasize the helpfulness of doing this. Since I started doing it I am spending about $100/month less because I dread having to enter an impulse purchase on the spreadsheet.

-When you MUST shop, allocate $5 or $10 and go to McFrugals or some other bargain store like that or a thrift store. You can get a bunch of little stuff that satisfies your urge to consume (it sucks, but I totally have that problem where sometimes I just want to buy stuff, even though I read the Feminine Mystique and know it's wrong).



By lilyblue On 05/03/02  

visit the library. I am getting a whole new CD collection from the stuff I borrow. It is try it before you buy it and no regrets if you don't like it.



By shrinkingviolet On 05/03/02  

oh, don't just call and close those credit cards!!! Make sure they note "Closed at the request of customer" It can look bad if they just close, because it isn't specified if you closed it, or if the CC company closed it.

My tip: keep a little list of all those things you lust after in your purse. Whenever you are shopping and you see something you must have, write it on the list. Wait a few days and if you still even remember you wanted it, go back and get it. Cuts WAY down on impulse spending. :)



By amaryllis On 05/03/02  

freeze your credit card in a bowl of water in the freezer. you'll still have it but, you have to wait for it to thaw out..gives you time to really think about what you're using it on.



By Elf_Chick On 05/03/02  

heehee, does that affect the magnetic stripe or anything though? ;p

-Shannon, who fears getting her first credit card once she gets a "real" job...



By amaryllis On 05/03/02  

no, it doesn't hurt the magnetic strip...i 've frozen and re-frozen mine..and it still works well.

this has helped me alot because i'm so impulsive when i shop.



By lilyblue On 05/03/02  

but the freezing thing does not help when you memorize the credit card number. You can always impulse shop online.



By amaryllis On 05/03/02  

ha! i guess you're right. never thought about that....i don't have mine memorized but, yikes! i can see through the ice.

dammit.



By megadeluxe On 05/03/02  

LOL, lilyblue! i hear ya on that! sometimes i wish i could just freeze my brain.



By sophiapagoda On 05/23/03  

just wanted to say that the plastic-in-the-ice idea totally made me crack up.



By sparkle7 On 05/21/02  

Thanks for the credit card closure tips, I followed your advice and I'm telling friends about it too.



By valerium On 01/08/03  

Woo! thanks for bumping this thread!

Since I've been having "fun" monitoring everything I eat for my diet, I figure now would be a good time to start monitoring my money the same way. Does anyone have an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of spending? Just something I can start with an modify as needed. Drop me a line.

Thanks everyone!
valerie
v(at)valerium.net



By Paperdoll On 05/04/02  

Make a list of dinners you want to have for the week and then buy the groceries you need for those meals (saves a lot on unused groceries and keeps you from discovering you're missing sundried tomatoes mid-recipe). Make enough to pack left-overs for lunch every day. I save *so* much money not eating out. Also, when you go grocery shopping, buy a week's supply of snacks (dried fruit, pretzels, cereal, Luna bars, etc.) because everybody wants a snack/break during the day and this will keep you from running to Safeway hungry with debit card in hand.

Get a travel cup (Bed, Bath and Beyond has them for $4) and bring coffee to work with you. I save a bundle on coffee since I stopped getting lattes every day.

I have library cards and I use them.

Figure out the types of styles you love for work and for hanging out during the day and for going out at night. Make lists of the clothing and accessory items that you want to achieve these looks. This sounds shallow, but it works. I've saved money on clothes, from brand-new stuff to thrift scores, because I walked away from things that were cool in theory, but wouldn't fit into what I was shooting for.

Do free things. I just joined a book group at this great indie book store in my neighborhood. It's free *and* we get tea and brownies during the discussions. I bought the first book, but the next one I'm checking out from the library. Either way, the book store discounts the books the group picks each month.

Go to short-story or poetry readings, or throw them yourself, or have a friend throw them. This is so hip in a snap-your-fingers-instead-of-clapping way.

I'm a big fan of skipping the dinner-and-a-movie thing unless it's a very cool flick from a director I love. It's just too expensive, the last several box office movies I've seen were nothing near as good as I'd hoped AND people talked through them, beginning to end. I'd rather make tacos (or, better, have Kickarse Karen's enchiladas because, as her name implies, she's a kickarse cook) and rent Rushmore and have friends over.

Make a budget. I was so broke, and I mean *so* broke, for a couple months until I finally did a budget and realized my monthly expenses were more than I was actually making. Since then, I've downsized (had my student loans reduced, traded in my 2001 Civic for a 1995 Sentra SL2, stopped eating out, buying coffee, etc.)and I'm just now getting everything under control. Once you get your budget, establish how much you can use for fun, withdraw it in cash, and when it's gone, it's gone. If you have big plans for the weekend, that small $20 in your pocketbook will keep your daily snack/coffee breaks in perspective.



By thriftstorediva On 05/05/02  

I know this is going to sound so-oo wierd but..Amaryllis do you or have you ever lived in miami? I just clicked on to this thread and I remembered a girl I knew from fbs and snailmail back around 1989 and wondered if you were her. I had a little zine (only got 1 done)Tawdry Stigmata back then and I was still using my goth girl name Cybele. oh..the 80's! I just had to know!



By kickarse On 05/06/02  

I agree with making and carrying around lists of the stuff you want. If you see something you think you want, put it on your list and wait it out. If you still want it weeks later, go ahead and get it.

But another good thing to do is make lists of stuff that you need for your "wardrobe scheme", or to decorate your apartment, or for your record collection, or whatever. Then when you feel the need to shop, only buy stuff off of your list. You usually end up spending way less, and you're much more satisfied with your purchases. No buyer's remorse! Plus, your decor and your wardrobe will look so much better. It also reminds you that for every $20 you spend on impulse crap, you're $20 further away from the goals on your list.

Oh, and Paperdoll, I made another batch of those enchiladas this weekend and I brought the leftovers to work today! I'm so flattered that you liked my food!

**and I just realized that I basically restated everything you said. But it's such good advice, it should be said twice!



By kungfugirl On 05/06/02  

I just want to thank you so much, paperdoll, for you're detailed budgeting tips. I'm going to print them out and live by them until I have enough money to go on vacation, even if it's only to San Francisco. I just got paid on Friday, went on a horrible shopping spree this weekend, and now have to deal with the fact that technically I only have $30 to last me until next Thursday. Ugh, I always do this to myself! At least I went grocery shopping in advance.

By the way, what book club did you join? I want to join one, too.



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