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Tips for Low-Cost Living

8/18/2008 1:42:34 PM

Tags: Living on Less

Blog Action Day 2010 is upon us, a day in which bloggers across the world write about a single issue to raise awareness and prompt widespread discussion. The subject is poverty, and we're planning to contribute a list of tips on how to live a rich life on a low budget. As part of the Mother Earth News community, we thought you'd have a "wealth" of ideas to contribute. Please share your wisdom by posting a comment below.  



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Post a comment below.

 

Maurice Robson
6/4/2011 10:51:11 AM
The lowest cost habitation is a cardboard box, but for a few dollars more, buying a low cost boat and living aboard, is the answer. I bought my boat, a Watkins 27 foot sailboat on eBay - sight unseen. Cost: only $1,100. I now live in a lovely marina in Hampton, VA. I pay only $185 a month for berth fees, some electrical costs, and insurance. Total fixed monthly costs: ~$300 a month. The marina is located within an upscale gated community, with free tennis courts, a swimming pool, sauna, showers, etc. The marina is located within a salt marsh, with gulls, ducks, herons, egrets, ospreys, and the occasional bald eagle flying around. Can not be beat - at ANY price.

A McGuire
2/26/2011 12:33:28 AM
I love books, but they are very expensive. So when I find a book I want to read I open up my local library's website and request the book all from the comfort of my laptop. Our region has a program where they borrow from other library's and courier them to mine. When it comes in they call me. (I do this alot!) If I like the book I buy it from amazon.com --they never charge me sales tax and are always cheaper than anywhere else. I have experimented with laundry detergents and Tide is the ONLY one I will ever use. Others do not get stains out of our clothes and I can't afford to buy new ones all the time.

A McGuire
2/26/2011 12:27:20 AM
-Get out of debt, whatever it takes just do it, it's nuts to owe money to people -Grow your own food, your local extension office has lots of classes in the spring to help you learn, not to mention the valuable advice the internet offers -reuse breadbags and wash plastic bags and reuse (not if used with raw meat), I've been washing mine for months now and have only had to buy gallon ziplocs once -use your public library, oh my gosh how i love my library! they have all the magazines i used to subscribe to, for free! -cook from scratch, as close to the source as possible, not only is it healthier but it's cheaper -buy from a warehouse store, my Sam's Club is where I get most of my groceries -buy grass fed beef from family if possible, i refuse to eat that grain fed crap -shower less often, leave the house less often and combine errands -simplify your life and you won't want all that junk around anymore -choose quality over price, better quality lasts longer -when leaving the house always take a big reusable bottle of ice water with you in the car, you always get thirsty and it will keep you from spending $1.49 on one Pepsi -start your children out with simple toys and keep it as simple as possible so you don't have to keep 'upping the anty'...don't let them watch Dora so they won't be begging for Dora toys at Walmart -never get kids in the habit of getting something when you go shopping, bad idea!

Jennifer Walling
2/24/2011 9:36:16 PM
Thank-you all for passing along your helpful tips...here are a few of my own that will help save you money and simplify your life: 1) Stop gift giving. If you feel you must give a gift make sure it will be well used. Homemade edible gifts are always appreciated-jams,breads,flowers from your garden etc. 2) Don't buy anything white in colour-easily stained,too much maintenance and money (hot water, bleach) to keep it looking clean. Dark colours and patterns hide stains and will look new longer (wash in cold water to keep from fading). 3) Purchase neutral coloured clothes (black, greys, browns) that can be mixed and matched to make multiple outfits. Stay away from trends...they are quickly outdated. 4) Head straight to the discount carts in your grocery store...I pick up overpriced bread, and not so perfect looking fruit and vegetables for next to nothing. 5) Know how to properly store food to avoid spoilage and waste. 6) Shop around to make sure you are getting the best deals on insurance, utilities, etc...this alone can save you hundreds of dollars a year! 7) Always ask for a discount...don't mention a figure, just in case they might offer you a larger discount. 8) Switch to a vegetarian diet...you'll be healthier, slimmer, and spend less money. 9) Read everything you can to live simply and cheaply. Teach others. 10) Zero cost entertainment: walk, cycle, hike, Geocache, library, board/card games,reading. Best wishes, Jennifer

Wendy kovacs
2/24/2011 5:50:43 AM
Pallets! What can I say, they are free everywhere and with a bit of elbo grease they have turned into walls for horses stalls,5 stalls worth,gates,a dog house, platforms to build goat houses and shelters on and even my favorite..A goat -condo. Two stories tall complete with roof and a picket fence! Pallets are a wonderful source of lumber in these tight times.Claw footed bath tubs, no one wants them but me! They do take help to fetch, but there I have great friends and family for that, they are easy to clean waterers for animals! Go by your nearby fence installer and they are usually willing to let you take used wooden fencing, i have used the posts for fences and to support the pallet walls! Good Luck Keep your eyes open!

Chris Smith
2/20/2011 9:49:49 AM
I retired early at 60 with a small pension and moved from the States to Panajachel, Guatemala in the Western Highlands at 5,200 ft elev. Climate's "Eternal Spring" with usual temps in the low-to-mid 70's, though today it's 91 F with 64 F at night. My hotel suite's rent is $153/month and includes WiFi, Cable TV, a good big bed with designer linen, private bathroom, a balcony with the view of 3 Volcanoes and room service if I wish. I'm a Bachelor so the lack of a kitchen isn't a problem - I have a toaster oven and coffee pot and use a hotplate on the balcony if I want to cook a dish. It's a walking or bicycle town with very cheap buses and 3-Wheel Tuk Tuk taxi's so shopping daily is never a problem. Most people pay $200-250/month tops for houses with kitchens. My town is on the shore of a giant crater lake and I live within the Caldera! How's that for excitement? I could live here for $800/month easy, though some Gringo's do it on $500. Good meals (even Gourmet) can be purchased in the colorful restaurants for $2-5, prices depending on which meal of the day it is. Think I'll have a Spinach Quiche and salad for dinner today. For $4-6/wk I can get all my fruit and vegetables at the giant Indigenous Mercado here. If you love to cook your costs are cut in third over eating solely in restaurants. Thanks to my friends from The Farm in Tennessee Panajachel is gifted with soy beans, tofu and tempeh and cheap vegetarian fare is plentiful, though I eat local Tilapia, Tuna...

Eloise
2/18/2011 9:32:19 PM
LED light bulbs -- 4 at 7 watts each, in our kitchen, light the whole room for 28 watts. They last 10-20 years. If we need extra light for a task we only use it for 15 - 20 minutes. Expensive, yes, but saves energy every day, especially in the winter. Rain barrels: we have 6 - 65 gal. barrels and plan to add more. It took only 1 1/2 inches of rain to fill all 6. Free water for many years. Will keep the garden going during a drought. Ollas: Used in Mexico & China for hundreds of years. Unglazed Terra Cotta clay pot with narrow neck---buried up the neck in garden---fill with water and it seeps out slowly where plants need it. Much more efficient than drip.

Atasteofcreole
2/18/2011 11:30:14 AM
We're movie watchers, no tele so I get movies from Amazon or half.com for a fraction plus shipping! I have yet to pay (except for series which is one year of something) over $5 which includes shipping for a movie! PLUS you can watch it over and over and over!

GinaJordan
2/17/2011 5:26:16 PM
If you live in or near a large suburban area, go shopping at thrift stores or consignment shops in the "ritzy" section of town. People who donate to places like the Salvation Army Thrift Stores usually drop their things off at the closest location to their home. I have often found nice designer and high quality clothes at the stores in the higher end neighborhoods for $1-5 each. Likewise, you can find nice things for a dollar at the dollar-type stores in those areas, too. My friend had a very tight budget this past year, but she got all of her Holiday shopping done for about $25 total by shopping at the Dollar store in the high rent neighborhood....and nobody knew the difference.

Technocrat
2/17/2011 3:32:53 PM
I have a simple trick I use to reduce my heating costs in the winter. I take the dryer vent loose from the wall & plug the outlet hole with fabric. I then place a ladies stocking over the end of the hose (to catch any lint that the lint trap misses) & hang it from the wall in the laundry room. I am paying for that heat, why should I throw it away? I get the added bonus of adding humidity to my house during our dry winters. I set my thermistat pretty low anyway (60 degrees F at hight & 64 during the day. In this way I add a little heat to the house that the furnace does not have to produce. It makes a noticable, if not dramatic savings in my propane usage.

Chroe
2/17/2011 10:15:06 AM
For outdoor clothes line space indoors in winter, we have three sets of inconspicuous hooks at each end of the least used room in the house. I have three clotheslines with loops that slide over the hooks for hanging laundry across the room. The lines come off the hooks when the laundry is done and no one notices the hooks. Don't like stiff bath towels? When we do use the dryer in winter, I run the dryer vent hose into the house for heat and humidity (electric only, not natural gas or propane, CO poisoning issues!). No point in pumping heat and moisture outside, which in turn pulls cold air in from somewhere else (if you have a super duper sealed home this may pull air back in wood stove and appliance flues)

Margaret DuBois
2/17/2011 6:26:22 AM
I took the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course at my church and have cut my expenses by 1/2 thus far. I now clip coupons and shop only on sale for everything. I can't remember the last time I paid full price for anything. I have eaten out only twice in the last year with gift cards only. My garden provides herbs and some vegetable but I get most vegetable at the local organic farmers market on Saturday mornings. I love to read and use the Public Library for all books and also all movies, cd's an dvd's.

Mandy Lange
2/16/2011 8:07:34 PM
I have a large veggie garden for food and an herb garden for making my own herbal medicines instead of the pricy OTC meds. I save money on breakfast by making homemade rolls, buns, breads, etc. I buy our clothes at the local thrift store-spend $1 on a shirt vs. retail. I cut off the legs of worn out jeans to make shorts. I save sturdy containers for cheap left-over containers. We stay away from expensive processed foods and make most things from scratch. We buy in bulk from a club store at significant savings over the smaller sizes in regular stores. We limit our eating out, road trips, etc. to once a month and less than that if needed. I choose to be a homemaker which saves us money on childcare and gives me the time to shop for cheap clothes, make the "from-scratch" breakfasts and meals. I make all my own soaps, shampoos, lotions, dishwasher soap, detergent, plant food, which saves tremendously. I knit all of the family's gloves, hats, scarves. We don't buy something unless we can pay for it in cash and feel good about the decision afterwards. All of our cars, motorcycle and camper are paid off and we have no credit cards. We are strictly a cash only family and have had so much peace from knowing we are not straddled to our eyeballs in debt. All these things come together to make a very low-cost way to raise a family of five on one income.

Faylee
2/16/2011 5:48:19 PM
We all know how to regrow onions by placing them in water but did you know you can do the same with celery? Simply cut the head off about one inch up the stalk, place it root side down in a shallow dish, add water then sit it in a sunny window seal and watch it grow. Sprouts will shoot out. You can use these sprouts in soups, salads, casseroles and many other recipes. [2] If you are using a recipe with pasta, rice or beans in it, and it calls for one pound ground meat, try using 3/4 of a pound instead. I bet no one will notice the difference. For every 4 recipes you use this way, you save money on a pound of ground meat. [3] When you go grocery shopping,,,go alone. Studies show for every extra person you take with you, you add 5-7 dollars to your spending.

Sibkiss
2/16/2011 5:23:32 PM
I have been struggling with underemployment for a couple of years so I have used some of my time to learn about cooking from scratch, and old fashioned nutrition. I love the internet instructional videos about cooking too, and our favorite is about pizza. My boyfriend thinks I should open up a pizzaria but I just enjoy the idea that I know what I am eating and drinking, and can improve it through dietary study, like books on eating alkaline foods, organic gardening, and building clay ovens, for instance. You all are great and I love to know that people are becoming so appreciative of self reliance and nature like we are. We are saving for moving to the MO Ozarks and living abundantly though frugally, if the depression is coming when the USD collapses.

Jan Steinman
2/16/2011 4:59:59 PM
Learn to fix things, and then don't buy anything you can't fix. I'll spend many times as much for something that I can repair instead of something that is designed to break, but it always pays off. I won't buy a car with a computer in it. That means nothing newer than the early '90's for diesel vehicles. But you fix them with a wrench, rather than a $10,000 fault-code analyzer. And with fewer things to go wrong, they don't need as much attention. Diesel pickup trucks tend to be premium items. A good diesel will go for a million miles. But unfortunately, the diesel engine tends to be sold as part of a premium package, with things like power door locks and power door windows. Shortly after the warranty expires, you'll find your windows won't roll down and the doors won't open! Avoid all the "bells and whistles" that tend to make things less fixable.

Leigh Perry
2/16/2011 2:05:29 PM
Being dirt poor for most of my life, I learned dumpster diving toddling along with both of my grandmothers. If you live in a college town, find out when classes end each semister. The week before and after-for a total of three weeks-are great times to dumpster dive. Stay away from the dorms and concentrate on apartment complexes housing mainly students. Especially international students as they really lighten their moving load when they finish school. Military towns are also great for dumpster diving. Another online place for free stuff is Freecycle.org Its international in scope and local in how it works. Build up barter/trade circles in your neighborhoods. Whether its garden produce or carshare, its usually worth the effort.

Wanda_7
2/16/2011 1:58:34 PM
Bob 4: I missed the last part of the last paragraph. Cut the celery off about 1" above root and grow in water???? I love my celery and got other ideas - now to grow it if I can..............thanks. Wanda wanda28@adelphia.net

Elizabethe
2/16/2011 9:52:58 AM
We find that food storage really cuts down our food costs. It also gives us peace of mind in the event of a crisis. You don't have to get expensive freeze dried survival foods. Just buy a hundred pounds or more at a time and put it in buckets, of foods like When stores have sales on foods in tin cans we buy a couple cases, not a couple cans. We have rotation racks so that we are always eating the oldest first. If you buy in this kind of bulk, you can often convince wholesalers to sell to you way cheaper. We also garden as much as we can manage and fill a cold storage every fall. We can everything we can get our hands on. Buy pumpkins after Halloween! Scrounge fruit that others are not harvesting and can it. Make your own bread. Eat less. In the winter, live in a smaller portion of your house for a few months and only heat what you must. Get a wood stove or fireplace insert and scrounge wood. Practice self-reliance. For eevry purchase ask "Will this help me be less dependent on others, or on outside income? Can I do without?" Valuable adage: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

Bibi
4/1/2010 9:37:05 AM
My dryer has been broken for the past 6 months. I have been putting all my clothes on hangers and hanging them in every available doorway. Large items like towels and blankets, I have an extra shower curtain rod over the tub, that I use when everyone is done showering. My gas hot water heater, I've been turning down to warm, until we are ready for shower, then I turn them up. There seem to be a busted pipe, but I can't afford a plumber right now, so I have turned off the gas and the water to the boiler for now, and I am boiling water for sterilizing dishes and for a large container we have in the tub for old fashioned showers with a cup. Just my few survival tips. Saves on water too.

Frank Mc
3/7/2010 11:52:19 PM
We have a friend who was in a difficult situation, and needed our help via housing. We live in a small house, and having 4 children and 4 bedrooms, didn't have the extra room to house him. Not being one to let such a problem stand in my way, I recalled the many times, while reading Mother Earth News, that I read about Straw Bale houses. I new I could come up with a quick, easy, and unobtrusive solution to our dilema, using straw bales, but how? I thought about our garage, which is rather large, large enough to actually house 4 cars, plus a wide range of tools, although it is a two-car design. I realized that if I moved/consoladated my tools into a smaller area of the garage, using the space more efficiently, I could easily fit a new room in the back corner. It would not be a huge room, but it could fit into our budget, and provide a warm, easily heated retreat for our dear friend. So I purchased 90 straw bales from a farmer friend, who incidently, gave us a huge discount when he learned of the purpose for the bales. Thanks, brother! Then we began stacking. I reasoned that we would need to create 4 bale walls, although two of the walls were already accounted for in the block walls of the garage. Cinder blocks are NOT known for their high insulation values. So I stacked bales, in a running bond pattern (just like the typical brick pattern) till we had stacked them to the ceiling. We hung drywall, painted, installed trim, door, etc., and were finished! Ta, da!

Erica Etelson_1
3/5/2010 2:57:17 PM
Installing solar panels is now much more affordable than most people realize. Depending on where you live, new financing mechanisms such as the Sungevity Solar Lease, PACE (property-assessed clean energy) and PPA (Power Purchase Agreements) allow you to get solar with zero money down--you pay off the system on a monthly basis, and your monthly payments are likely to be less than you're paying for electricity right now. Also, if you go with one of these financing mechanisms, you'll be guaranteed a fixed rate for 10-15 years so you won't have to worry about utility rate hikes. Last but not least, there are some great rebates and tax credits available right now for PV systems and solar hot water heaters--check out http://www.dsireusa.org/ for details. I've had solar panels on my roof for years but wish this kind of creative financing had been available to me (oh well). I'm going to see if I can find an installer who will put up panels on my son's school using some kind of PPA. (Oh, and if you live in New Jersey, check out this article about how installing solar can actually be a get-rich-quick (while saving the planet) scheme because of an amazing incentive program mandated by the state--http://solarpowerrocks.com/new-jersey/im-moving-to-new-jersey-just-to-buy-homes-and-put-solar-on-them-seriously/).

Julia Rain
3/4/2010 6:04:14 PM
Our household has been spending the past year trying to declutter, simplify, and pay down debt. It is amazing how much useless stuff has accumulated in just 14 years for us, 30 years combined with my mom. It was a painful realization when ridding ourselves of (thus far) 4 pick-up truck loads of, basically, crap. We recycled what we could, donated what was usable, but most went to the dump. I feel badly for that. Essentially, we need to stop buying "stuff". These days, most things are designed to break quickly so that you're forced to buy again. Ask yourself if you really need it. You can save money, waste, and energy (to produce and use them) if you learn to go back to simpler ways. What we've done to live frugally: buy only what we need, grow a garden, compost, save seeds. Reduce trash with recycling and composting,take our trash to the dump ourselves, cut down power usage with CFL's,replaced our a/c with ceiling fans. We cook from "scratch", buy bulk packs of meat to cut and freeze, and avoid buying pre-packed foods. We bake bread, crackers, snacks at one time to save oven heat. Oh, and no more soda pop because of corn syrup and $! Do what we all did before the days of mass consumerism. It's cheaper, simpler, and healthier.

Erin_14
3/3/2010 8:46:00 PM
If you live in a city, or otherwise have access to a good public library, *use* it! At my library, I'm able to get even the latest releases if I'm willing to wait. Learn to use the holdshelf, it makes this possible. And there are plenty of other books. Most of the how-to books I eventually purchased I tried out by checking them out from the library. Also, again if you're in an area that allows this to be practical, ride your bike, walk, and use transit. It is amazing how much cheaper it works out compared to insurance and repairs. I used to drive really old cars, and do most of my own repairs so my costs were pretty low, but when my last one died I just didn't replace it. When I really need a car, I use a carshare, but it's amazing how rarely I really need one. And I'm feeling a lot healthier just because I get so much exercise. Who needs a gym?

R. McClaren
3/3/2010 8:16:54 PM
When I moved from Texas to Colorado, I couldn't afford to bring my furniture with me. So I found all the furniture I needed in the "free" section of Craigslist. I got really lucky because the guy I got my couch from not only delivered the couch to me and didn't even charge me for his gas, but then a week later when someone else was giving away livingroom chairs and a bookcase, the couch guy went and got them for me. Then I went to JoAnn Fabrics and found 15 yards of some nice appholstery fabric that had been discontinued and was on sale for $3.00 per yard; so fabric and thread cost me just over $50.00 after tax. And I got a used sewing machine from the ARC Thrift Store for only $25.00 to make slip covers for my new "used" couch and chairs. So for only $75.00 I have a furnished living room with what "looks" like brand new furniture. I also got a free bed and mattress off of Craigslist. I have always believed in buying used rather than new if I can find what I need at a thrift store, but Craigslist adds a whole new dimension to the concept of living an economical and environmentally friendly lifestyle.

James Webb_3
3/3/2010 8:09:45 PM
I read a lot of comments for those whom are at home. What about those of us who are truckdrivers? There are many great ideas on here yet here is one for those who spend their time on the road. If you have to do laundry on the road, use only the washer. When the washer is done (if you have a standup sleeper) take the laundry out to the truck wet and run clothes line across the top of the sleeper to hang the clothes on. You will not have to worry about a drier that half works, you don't have to buy airfresheners because you now have clean laundry scent. Has a bonus, if it is hot outside, with the windows and vents open you can lay under the damp laundry for natural air conditioning. Of course there are many other ways to save when you are on the road. I'll be glad when I can get my house finished and get out of this truck and live life at a much slower pace.

john m_3
3/3/2010 7:41:20 PM
learn what edible plants are in your area, most have a rich menu of minerals and vitamins, and you do not have to plant or maintain them. things like dandelion are well known. i once ate all the dandelion on my place and had to go foraging into the woods and neighbor's lawns offering them the opportunity to get rid of this "weed". chicken manure and straw litter combined with bags of leaves and grass clippings that your neighbors thoughtfully pack into new plastic clean bags and leave them on the street in front of their houses for you to get and make plant food from them. it is easy, mulch about 6", garden and foundation plants. these will disappear. the same with the garden walk ways, mulch them, your feet will smash these to something the bacteria love. in early spring rake up the "stuff" in the walkways and put it into the planting beds. start fruit trees and berry vines, grapes, nut trees, things that will produce food for a long time once they are established. asparagus beds are good for at least 20 years. chickens are good for eggs and the about 50% hatches contain roosters that make good food young(the first time they crow). look up "chicken tractors". for winter heat, get an epa rated wood stove. i pick up a lot of firewood free. neighbors in san marcos texas have to cut up and bundle wood for trash pickup. check things like "craiglist" for free stuff. there is a lot of very good materials to be had. i have never paid for firewood. relax and think.

B. Tomlinson
3/3/2010 5:16:13 PM
My own approach is to homestead. I am pretty well starting from the ground up.. well to be honest, from the ground down! I am building a timber-frame underground home, of a very modest size, using the building methods from The $50 and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler. The total budget for the house, solar panels, and water system is $5000. Most of that goes to the power and water systems, but those also will save me from bills in the future. By going underground I could actually live without either heat or cooling systems, but because I truly love a good fire and want a point source heat source, I will have either a rocket stove or perhaps an inexpensive wood burner. Add to this plan, a full garden, forest gardening, foraging, fishing, perhaps some hunting, raising some sort of livestock (not sure if I am going to go with goats to make cheese, or ducks for meat and eggs..) and you have my simple plan for being able to survive whatever economic and political woes we are going to be facing for the next generation or more. Like others here I have also shed most of my anchors (read "stuff") along with the desire to compete with the tech geek friends of mine, or the friends who really want to keep up with the jones'. I am cultivating more friends with frugal people who know what it means to respect others.

Richard Schwab
3/3/2010 4:18:18 PM
Cheapest food I have found all year round is SPROUTS! Very easy to grow anytime, in any climate. Order the seeds online, soak one night, drain, and rinse twice a day and there you have it. You have a salad ready in 4 days for a couple of pennies, or steam them, or cook them like greens (I'm not a southerner, but they love their greens!) and they're extremely healthy. You can also get various kinds of seeds to add flavor. Radish seeds are very flavorful if you like radishes.

mona_1
3/3/2010 2:16:06 PM
First thing is make a budget. Find out where you are spending the greatest amount of money. Saving nickles and dimes is great, but if you losing dollars due to high housing, transportation, insurance or interest charges then that is a great place to focus your attention. Also for families with children - figure out how much it really costs you to have a second spouse working. Include cost of day care, transportation, clothing and other work related expenses in your budget analysis. It may actually SAVE you money for one spouse to stay home until all the children are in school.

MICHELLE WALKER
3/3/2010 2:11:14 PM
I belong to Southside Community Land Trust here in Providence, RI so growing my own food is a natural. I am learning how to do it better. Starting your own seedlings is a great way to start your garden and it's cheaper than buying them. Another good thing: I got rid of my Cable TV several years ago. I also got rid of my land line and I use a 'add minutes as you go' cell phone. For me, it's cheaper since I'm not a phone talker anyway and the minutes carry over. And I got rid of my credit card years ago. I unplug electrical appliances, like the computer, when not in use. I own a home and the entire electric bill averages $25 half of which is taxes and fees. I have learned to do most of the minor repairs around the house myself. Now, IF I COULD ONLY FIND A JOB!

AS Richmond
3/3/2010 1:40:44 PM
I read this somewhere- I think on the Simple Dollar blog: think about everything you use (toothpaste, toilet paper, shaving cream, laundry soap, dish soap, salt, pepper, saran wrap, etc.) and ask yourself, how little of something can I use and still get the same results? Maybe start by cutting in half the amount of shampoo you would usually squirt out- if you need more, add more, but you might find half works just as well, or maybe you need even less than half. Make a game out of seeing how long you can make something last. Little savings add up.

Russell Meyers
3/3/2010 12:53:03 PM
Growing your own food is one of the best things you can do to improve your life. Especially if you have the space for even a small garden. I've learned this in the past year. Instead of spending money and time on outside, short-lived forms of entertainment, you find yourself shopping for good deals on seeds, potting soil, etc. Then exerting effort and getting exercise, getting outside where you may just be sitting inside. Rather than focusing on what movie to go see and being disappointed after seeing it, you spend hours researching what to plant, when to plant it, how to take care of it as it does grow. Then you have a positive anticipation, watching the seeds for when they sprout, then the seedlings growing larger and extending to excitement as they grow to form fruit, vegetables or flowers (your choice). Just having growing things around makes you feel better and if you raised them, it's good for your mood and self esteem. If you grow food, it lowers your grocery bill, if you grow flowers, it brightens your environment.

Blair_4
3/3/2010 12:06:21 PM
Mother Earth News sent me this article on how to make a rag rug a little while ago: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Do-It-Yourself/Make-Rag-Rug.aspx?utm_content=01.13.10+DIY&utm_campaign=DIY&utm_source=iPost&utm_medium=email While doing many of the same things that many people have posted here, I find the most important thing to remember is mindset: I affirm to myself that I live in abundance, and it´s true. Everything I actually need comes to me. Abundance and joy! The most important thing is to be happy! When I catch myself worrying too much, I decide to fast from all worrying for an hour, and then keep the hour going for as long as I can. I´m pretty sure Saint Francis would say yes, of course you can live in poverty and be happy!

Denise et al._2
3/3/2010 11:33:12 AM
In the US, just about in any rural area, and even in many suburban and urban areas, you can contact an Agricultural Extension Agent, through it your Master Gardners, who will, at no charge,help you get started growing food. Food is grown today in back yards, roof tops, balconies and community gardens. Not only will this self grown food vastly reduce your cost, but it is generally healthier than store bought and it will give you great self satisfaction.

3/3/2010 10:41:15 AM
To Penny who grew up in the Amazon Would love to make the kind of rugs you described? Any suggestion of where to learn this skill?

charlesbrooks
2/1/2010 1:45:50 AM
How To Make money with affiliate programs Today. Affiliate marketing is the easier and probably the most effective method to make money from the internet. It is basically, a kind of selling technique where potential buyers from your website are directed to the websites of sellers. For every click, the website owner gets a small commission. www.onlineuniversalwork.com

Deborah_1
11/12/2008 9:56:21 PM
I break eggshells carefully near one end before using and then save the empty shells in the carton to fill with soil next spring for seedlings. We purchased white night lights for all the rooms in the house. There is enough light to use the bathroom, dress, brush teeth, etc. before turning on the brighter light to comb hair, etc. We use drying racks outside in warm weather and put recycled concrete block on them to keep them from tipping in windy weather. They can be moved easily to take advantage of the sun as it moves across the sky. In the winter, we put them up inside a spare bedroom where they add moisture to the air.

Batha
10/31/2008 4:12:23 PM
Eat at home, write down every penny that comes in and every penny that is spent. You will have twice the amount of money to spend and it will most likely be spent on things you need, not on things you desire. Measure the food you eat. Eat to live. Plan a food budget. You will be healthier and feel better. If you do eat out, drink water and put a $1 in your savings. Use this money to pay off your mortage early; own your home in 15 years. Learn to sew. Hang your wash on a clothes line. Pay cash. If a credit card is used, pay it off at the end of the month. Give the TV away.

jan dennis
10/28/2008 10:27:06 PM
A few other things not yet mentioned that are worth noting: even if growing lots of food, it's good to fast every so often. It saves money. Also recent studies say that being a little underweight increases health and longevity. So you can save $$ on dr. bills. Also sprouting makes food go farther and increases its nutritional value. Again, possibly saving on medical bills. Find a way to do everything for yourself - especially cutting hair, doing repairs around the house and on the car etc. Or trade skills with someone who can. And one of the biggest ones - be CAREFUL who you pick for a life partner. Picking the wrong one can be expensive. Like as in they rip you off, leave you with kids they don't support, or they handle $$ badly and leave you to pay the bills.

Bonnie Hickox_1
10/27/2008 1:34:33 PM
My husband and I live on almost nothing here in the Nevada desert. We have chickens for eggs and chickens to eat. We went in on a huge garden with my sister in law. They paid for the seeds we do the work, I do the canning and we go 50-50. We get fresh organic veggies all year for the work only. We also have sheep. We do the work for my in laws and we get a lamb for the freezer.

Richard_1
10/23/2008 9:21:26 PM
Switch to Double Edge Razor Shaving. Initial cost of 10-25 dollars and then 10-15 dollars a year for shaving supplies if your a man. Less if your a woman or do not have much of a beard. Your cost will go from $1-$2 a shave to .10-.15. Plus you don't sacrifice your skin at this cost. You can get as low as .28 cents a shave with bulk disposable plastic razors from Amazon but you will regret it every day. Plus the double edge has the benefit of being completely recyclable and the blades multifunctional so no unnecessary waste.

Steve DeJernett_1
10/16/2008 8:42:25 AM
I didn't read all the comments but I didn't see a mention of freecycle.com. It's a free service that allows people who have "stuff" they don't need anymore to give it to poeple who need "stuff". I've seen everything from boxes, baby clothes, buliding materials, to washing machines. Nothing is sold or promoted. Its just a way of giving away rather than having things that are still usable end up in the dump.

Larry McCann
10/7/2008 9:43:12 PM
Can you live in poverty and be happy? At age 60,five years ago, after my children were gone on their own,I took early retirement,quit claimed the big sprawling house I owned to the wife,packed a small van with a sleeping bag and my clothes and tools and headed for the mountains of calif. to find the cabin I dreamed of since a teenager.I found "Heaven" in a 1-room pine paneled,cedar sided cabin I have lived in since,in a river canyon in the Sierra's. I pay $300.a month rent for it,in an old mining town of 12 people at present.I never really started "living" 'till I moved here!While not living in true poverty,my S.S.check is meager(my 401k was heavy in tech stock and was gone over night)and I have to watch every penny.When you find you can live better without all that commerial junk,all pressure is off you and you actually get a "High".Most days now I hike(no trails) the wilderness,fish or just put a few miles on my hammock.I'm amongst bald-headed eagles,playful otters, cougars and rainbow trout now.I especially love having no T.V.;giving me time to carve wood or paint.Yes,you can be very happy on less;just deny the craving for MORE.Less is More.

Anne K.
9/29/2008 8:39:41 AM
Gotta share www.greenhour.org -- National Wildlife Federation's resource for parents to help get kids outside in the natural world again. Aside from the health and spiritual benefits, spending a green hour every day with your kids is a great way to save money -- you can do it nearby, in your backyard, in a park -- even in a city! Even in the rain! No need to use a lot of gas in your car, electricity. If kids were more excited about green hours, think how much money you would save on cell phones, cable tv, video games, etc... The trick is to make it not seem like a chore. Start early and often with your little ones! Anne Keisman Online Media Coordinator National Wildlife Federation, Green Hour

Eve Sibley
9/28/2008 2:50:33 PM
We can use modern technology to build a new world of self reliance and gardening! Check out the new site WWW.WORLDFOODGARDEN.ORG to grow the world garden!

Robin_2
9/24/2008 3:36:48 PM
Perhaps the technological advances over the last 50 years have changed our perceptions of what is needed to substain life. I personally do not know anyone that lives in poverty. However, because of "lust of the eyes" we seem to "need" more and more to make us happy and we have bought into the idea that we can just charge it. Ben Franklin and the founders of our country would have a fit for sure. I think that each person must determine what kind of footprint we want to leave behind. The reality is that most people won't remember that you chose to forego the dryer, or the car, or whatever it is that you decide is too excessive for your personal lifestyle, but hopefully some will, and you will go to sleep each night knowing that you have done what you could.

P L
9/22/2008 11:57:14 PM
I wish my Dad would get with this. I and my daughter live with him. He gripes about the cost of taking the garbage to the dump. He gripes about the electric bill going sky high since we moved in, due to hot showers, heating up the hot water tank. He gripes about me planting winter crops to supplement our food and try to eat healthier ALL year around, not just summer. He gripes when I want to bring tomato cuttings indoors and make starts. He REFUSES to use a clothesline. He had a cow when I put used cardboard boxes in the compost pile (at least he composts...). He won't put egg shells in the compost pile. He consistently buys plastic, plastic, plastic. But at least he recycles. See, he grew up in a very poor family. They had goats, lived in a shack with no plumbing, and his brothers shot a deer or rabbits for dinner. They had chickens, and they never threw away anything. They swept out the boxcars that the grain came in on the railroad tracks to scrounge free grain to make bread with. Their entertainment was playing with a jackrabbit, their siblings, or swimming in the irrigation ditch. They were poor, dirty, and always working. They lived off the land. To me, this sounds like heaven, but Dad says he HAD to live like that, so he refuses to live like that now. He thinks I'm crazy because I want to. He has all the tools and the know-how to build some of this stuff, like the solar on demand water heater, and the passive heating greenhouse attachment thing... but he refuses to do it. He cites his reasons that it's all about money. But when he's bored... he goes down to Walmart and buys another couple movies, some more bottled water, and who knows what else. Stuff he doesn't really need. I think he just thinks I'm crazy anyhow.

Mitzi_1
9/22/2008 8:46:59 AM
A few things I didn't see above: 1. Practice really good hygiene. Keeping your teeth clean is cheaper than getting fillings; washing your hands is cheaper than being sick. 2. Eat well, low on the food chain (Indians have turned beans and rice into a delicious art). Good food (like dark green leafy vegetables) is a cheap indulgence even if you can't grow it, and worth it health-wise. 3. Buy clothes for the long term. Check seams, buttons and the heft of the cloth with an eye on being able to wear it for years, not just a few seasons. Buy a little loose to allow for weight fluctuations, but if you avoid junk, drink water, and work hard, the weight should control itself unless you have a thyroid problem or genetic predisposition. For every purchase except socks and underwear, say "Could I wear this 10 years from now, or would it look silly?" 4. Enjoy low-cost fun with those you love. Potluck at church or a dinner club. Low-cost or free days at museums. Open-air concerts in summer. Hiking in parks. Local vacations to see natural beauty instead of the tourist traps. 5. Give of your time if you don't have money. Help an elderly neighbor with basic maintenance. Babysit for someone who needs to get away, or a latchkey kid who needs attention. Teach a class about a skill you have that others need. We were "poor" by American standards growing up, but my parents did more for other people in a month than most do in a year. That's real living.

Nicol Gilbert
9/20/2008 10:15:34 PM
One way I found to save money is to plant some of the fresh veggie that we like around the house in the flower bed. This has been a big help on the grocery bill. And if I have enough to can, then I can it for later on in the year. And it is a lot better for you than what you get at the store...

Brigitte Fuller
9/15/2008 12:09:01 AM
Hi having the ability to look at what is necessary is the best thing. Be Frugal, I came from a family who was smart with their money. Used cars instead of car payments, keeping house up on maintence kept the house efficent, and most of all my mother keeping it clean I often find that being a pack rat (which I am now getting out of) is essential to save money you never loose anything and rebuy and then find later. No credit cards ( trying to pay the last one off) and pay your bills on time (if you add up all the charges due to late fees which they really dont mind I think due dates where created to make people pay more who can keep track) make everything on the auto debit it will help you stick to a budget. Bought a little house drive a little car and live a big life! (little house comes with almost an acre) make a true homestead. Buy a few chickens 1 or 2 goats if you get a male apparantly you can become a stud service and charge a fee.( still researching the goat bit,have a small barn will make this their new home. If you dont have a chicken coop or dont know how to build one look for an old doghouse disinfect and use. yes I have seen chickens in dog houses:) Grow your own food, and try and stay away from eating all those really gross foods that are made with things that you cant even say outloud. THE BEST MEAL IS A GREAT CHICKEN WITH MASHED POTATOES FEEDS FOUR AT ABOUT WHAT $8.00 ? cant get that at the store. Buy from thrift stores although I have often found better deals at walmart than at some in this area. We are in Canada and we go to the states to do grocery shopping. I cant buy 3 pounds of chicken breast for 6.00 in canada, strangly enough it says "product of canada on it". There is a myth about freezing cheese process you can but dont really like it. block cheese not so good unless you want it to crumble. Although the secret is this, use the shredded cheese which in the states I buy for about $2.00 a bag, (sorry Canada cant beat that) and wh

Cheryl_2
9/13/2008 5:31:42 PM
this is a great website for money saving tips. plus they have a great "everyday cheapskate" newsletter that gives you daily savings ideas. http://www.debtproofliving.com/

Desundial
9/13/2008 2:34:45 PM
I've been thinking about what Alison asked, "Think hard: How can someone living in poverty remain positive and enjoy the simple life?" Not having money can feel like not having any choices - being trapped and unable to live with self purpose and direction - to realize one's dreams. But this trap can be turned around. The happiest people are those who don't get bothered by all the things people say we "must have" and don't get caught in wanting something just because they can't have it. Simple living can be a choice, a freedom rather than some sentence. If you don't value what you can't have and believe you can make the choice not to have these things you can be free to pursue what is important. For example, television doesn't really interest me, so I don't care that I don't have a giant flat screen t.v. In fact I am glad. It is important to reflect on what one does have and remember life's larger priorities. Family, friends, or just daily beauties are the things to be treasured. To me, in the end it is more important to be able to wake up and enjoy a good sunrise than watch 100 satelitte channels. This is about seeing the upside, rather than the downside. My bike ride to work and school allows me to appreciate a sunny day, take in all sorts of sights, enjoy the air, etc. so that it is an abundance over the stress of fighting traffic in a car. One person's poverty can be another's abundance.

Desundial
9/13/2008 1:07:07 PM
You don’t have to move to the country to save money. I’m a married graduate student on a tight budget living in an apartment in a city of 1 million. What we do: 1.) Keep our tiny 1 bedroom rental. Larger or more central would be nice, but means higher rent or living way farther out. No room for extra stuff - gives discipline. Something new means something old goes. Have to have a good reason to deal with the hassle! 2.) Commute by bike, daily, 18 miles round trip. (I don't have a car, have good bus service, but saving the high fare motivates.). I do it as long as I can until winter gets too cold, unless I’m sick. A little rain is no barrier. Husband has a car but walks or bikes 20 miles RT even when the weather is bad (made of stronger stuff). Takes him 2 hours one way to walk - he likes to add extra miles for fun. Yes, he gets up at 5am. This is a choice - fun and de-stressing. Gets cranky if he can’t go. No need to pay for a gym and saves on gas. 3.) Wear pants, outer layers several days, if clean, before washing (alternate different pairs so it’s not so obvious). Have a smaller than average washer, no drier. Use a multi-tier, fold away clothes drying rack in the bedroom. 4.) No dishwasher. 5.) No television. Prefer the radio anyway. 6.) Use the libraries for school, entertainment, etc. Rent movies or buy them from close out bins, than circulate between friends. 7.) News, free podcasts, craft patterns, recipes, etc. from the internet which I can comes free at school. 8.) Try to avoid pre-prepared foods. Know the stores that closeout produce and bread. Freeze the extras when prices are good. Compromise with canned fruit or veges when fresh is too costly (Big step for an ex-californian). We’re two, but cook for four and freeze the leftovers in 1-meal size containers for nights when we’ll be too tired to cook. 9.) No soda. 10.) Cut up old t-shirts for rags, or make into strips to knit rugs (for the fun more than the rug). If we n

Kris_1
9/12/2008 10:30:07 PM
We usually use a toaster oven for our cooking. It uses less energy than heating up a whole oven. When the sun is shining, we can use our solar oven instead. I made it very cheaply from a cardboard box and foil (see http://solarcooking.org/plans/newpanel.htm) We are currently building a solar food dryer so we can dry a lot of our garden produce using the sun's energy (see http://www.solarfooddryer.com/). We borrowed "The Solar Food Dryer" book from the library and are building it without the optional backup lightbulb heat source.

Sonja_1
9/8/2008 12:37:06 PM
I work for a Mental Health agency and one of my capacities is teaching some of our people to cook on a fixed income. The things they commonly put on their grocery lists are items with little or no nutritional value. I grow a big garden just so I can bring in fresh veggies at no cost to these people. I also teach them how to put these away for the winter months so they can have veggies year round. All of us, no matter what our financial class, have unique abilities and gifts. It is our responsibility and privlege to help those who need it most. Not whether we think they need it or not, but whether or not we think they need it! It only takes one hand to help a person up and sometimes that is the only hand it takes to get them back on the road to success. Donate to your local food sharing programs, Crisis Centers, and any other organization that helps those in need. We are all brothers and sisters.

Patricia Campbell
8/30/2008 3:21:04 PM
I thought back to when I was a struggling student and was happier than when I "had it all." I gave my excess to places that distribute to the needy, ditched the house to which I had become a slave, and moved to a simple house where my neighbors have chickens. I am learning about keeping chickens, and maybe I will take the plunge next spring. I am removing my lawn and all plants that a good landscape is "supposed to have" but nobody has ever given me the reason why. Dwarf fruit trees have replaced some shrubs. I will purchase TV converter boxes since my time is better spent in the garden than watching cable. I am learning dutch oven cooking for when it's too hot to cook and am planning a fire pit to make it easier. Yes, my property value isn't the greatest but life is good.

Matt Hirschfeld
8/28/2008 4:48:47 PM
I came across a energy-saving opportunity for low-income families while research energy-saving tips. http://www.naturalhomemagazine.com/2008-08/energy-efficiency-for-the-home-saving-money-for-all.aspx

enchantedsb
8/26/2008 11:29:34 AM
Living in a fairly large city makes some people think it more difficult to live simply, but I have found the opposite to be true. My family and I practice what I like to call urban foraging. Our city was built right in the middle of several old orchards, and many of the trees were left to fend for themselves along the canals and rivers that run through town. We are able to harvest apples, oranges, figs, almonds, walnuts and grapes just by walking along the waterways. There are also areas where the city planted olive trees for shade. These municipal trees make quite a mess in the fall, and the urban forestry division is very appreciative when we eliminate some of the problem. I have visited many cities in California, Arizona, and Nevada and every one of these cities provide plenty of forage for those who are willing to do a little research. We feed our family of 6 people, and too many pets to mention on about $60 a week. The other families we know in the area (From 3 to 6 member families) spend more than double and sometimes triple that amount. Foraging worked for our ancesters, and it still works today.

Alex Kallas_1
8/25/2008 1:48:07 PM
For the last three years we have been working on sustainability in agriculture and landscape applications. We are now producing almost all of our food, and neighbors too using 1/10th of water and resources.

Katherine_2
8/24/2008 9:52:49 AM
Free celery Bob? Your post was cut off just like your celery stalk! Please repost how your grow your free celery :) Thanks!

mona_1
8/23/2008 11:52:19 PM
Take a long time making decisions about housing and transportation. Committing yourself to higher mortgage, rent or car payments than you can afford can effect everything else in your life. A house or apartment is just where you live. It is not a statement of who you are. A smaller place that you can afford without killing yourself will allow you to enjoy your life. Your own personal touches (not those expensive designer do dads) will make your house a home. Seek out others who enjoy the frugal lifestyle, it makes it easier that trying to keep up with folks who are living a consumer lifestyle. If making a recipe that uses a pound of meat (hamburger or chicken) use 3/4 pound instead. In most recipes (spaghetti, casseroles, soup, etc.) you won't notice the difference, will be eating less fat, and will save 25% of your meat cost. Plan your menus for the week. That way when you come in from work, too tired to think, you can just follow your plans and not be lured into picking up fast food or calling out for pizza. Having a couple of meals made ahead and frozen is a great time saver too. Don't believe those commercials that say "buy this, you deserve it". It's a hook to get you into debt. Buy, or make, or borrow what you NEED. Living frugally is not a burden, it's the sensible way to be in charge of your own life, and not let the bankers, credit card companies, and other big businesses be the one's in charge.

Penny_1
8/23/2008 9:18:42 AM
I grew up in the Amazon where materialism is not a way of life and the cities of South America where abject poverty kills many people daily. Here in the states where most everyone eats, has shelter and clothing, it is hard to imagine myself as "under the poverty line". Nevertheless here we sit and here we barter, give, take, share and learn ways of using what others consider thow-aways. Living now 30 miles south of the Manitoba border, the cold seeps in thru every crack and crevice of this 1902 house. So I make rag rugs the "ole hill billy way" and yes, I learned this from a self-proclaimed hill billy. Using stained, stretched out or otherwise unfit for public wearing tshirts, sweats, or other clothing, I cut into strips and loop by hand... no thread, no stitching.. and cover the floors with an array of color (when outside the snow covered landscape is like a pen/ink etching in greys, blacks and whites). Cozy, priceless (free), and everyone wants one of my "boot scrapers" for their entries. When the rug is beyond redemption, it migrates to the basement to create insulation from the cement floor. Use everything "just one more time". Look at everything as a creative tool to use. And never say "no" to anything anyone offers you.

Dawn Sipos
8/22/2008 3:21:01 PM
We live in a larger Canadian city and participate in the Freecycle program (www.freecycle.org)which is also available in the UK and the States. Many local people post to the site in order to give away or request items. There is no charge to join and the items are free. I also save the seeds from produce that I purhase in the grocery store over the winter months; peppers, zucchini, squash and tomatoes and then plant them in the Spring. I generally let my perennials self seed and then participate in a flower-swap that we set up at work. Saves loads of cash when you start swapping things like small trees and surplus vegetable and herb plants!

Barney Five
8/22/2008 2:04:00 PM
To Barbara Kelley. To make gardening possible on your rock patch, check out Square Foot Gardening (www.squarefootgardening.com). By building the smaller beds filled with high fertility "Mel-Mix," you can grow more food in a much smaller space, so you don't overwork yourself caring for it, and you can fit the beds into smaller spots that normally wouldn't be considered usable for gardening. Plus a smaller bed can be closer to the house so you save energy getting there and back. They recommend 4x4 foot beds but we made one only 2x4 feet so we could move it around the yard. We have so many trees we have to chase the sun around the yard, so we called the bed the Sun Chaser.

Barney Five
8/22/2008 2:03:02 PM
To Barbara Kelley. To make gardening possible on your rock patch, check out Square Foot Gardening (www.squarefootgardening.com). By building the smaller beds filled with high fertility "Mel-Mix," you can grow more food in a much smaller space, so you don't overwork yourself caring for it, and you can fit the beds into smaller spots that normally wouldn't be considered usable for gardening. Plus a smaller bed can be closer to the house so you save energy getting there and back. They recommend 4x4 foot beds but we made one only 2x4 feet so we could move it around the yard. We have so many trees we have to chase the sun around the yard, so we called the bed the Sun Chaser.

Lorraine Davidoff
8/22/2008 11:03:13 AM
Re free and/or cheap houses. I bought my $5500 house from a house mover out in the country near my acreage. He low bids or gets free houses. I went out to look when he got new houses in. I've seen free houses listed in newspapers and other advertising. Schools with portable buildings give them away for little or nothing when the new additions get built. Universities and churches frequently buy up surrounding houses, then put them up for bid or give them away when they are ready to expand. Get on their mailing list. McMansions coming in older neighborhoods give away the original houses. McMansion builders frequently know of houses coming up. A high end remodeler gave me high end used cabinets for very little also. Small towns that have a net population loss have many houses free or that can be purchased for almost nothing and moved (I was tempted by a pretty 2 story classic home for $20,000 but stayed modest). Get online and look at tax sale listings. Some of those are cheap and worth moving. It takes a little time to watch and find something... I looked for several months before I found what I wanted. I've seen a variety, from 3500sf down.

CARMEN ORTIZ
8/22/2008 9:31:58 AM
This is how I cut expenses way down: -Sold large, beautiful house in Minneapolis (I saw signs the values in the area were going down which the get rich quick guy who bought it didn't). -Bought old smaller run down house (which I love) for cash, in a small city, with 1/3 acre yard. Was all lawn which I am pulling and converting to organic vegetable and flower gardens; a large detached garage which looks like a cottage that is now my studio; a chain link fence, that encloses most of the yard, that I covered with raspberries, grapes, gooseberries and squash for food, privacy and security. -Planted more than a dozen dwarf fruit trees and tons of berries, small fruits and native plants-wildlife needs food too. Now a certified Backyard Wildlife Habitat by WF. -Flowers beds include beautiful vegetables like Swiss Chard. -Lots of plants to hopefully attract bees (saw two lonely bumblebees during a very cold cherry and apple bloom time). Allowed hardy oregano to flower and bees are all over. -Replaced all light bulbs pricy at first but worth it. -Hippy time "If yellow let it mellow..." you know the drill. -Spreading crops growing up to make room for more. -Growing tropical fruits indoor during winter and outside in warmer weather. Pushing my luck with a taro experiment in tropical Minnesota. Aka: Elephant Ear-yes edible. -Back to canning, freezing and drying. -Wait until I run out of underwear before doing laundry. -Cooking from scratch. (I work as a part time cashier and I am amazed on how much frozen and processed food, snacks, softdrinks people buy, versus fresh fuits, vegetables and meats. I can only imagine how much they would save.) -Free compost from the city-only leaves allowed. -Got rid of satellite TV and TV addiction cold turkey. -Post on freecycle-nice TV anyone.

jayfurlovsya
8/22/2008 4:59:06 AM
Biomass Energy In the early 1900s, Henry Ford and other futuristic, organic, engineering geniuses recognized (as their intellectual, scientific heirs still do today) an important point, that up to 90% of all fossil fuel used in the world today (coal, oil, natural gas, etc.) should long ago have been replaced with biomass such as: cornstalks, cannabis, waste paper and the like. Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol or gasoline at a fraction of the current cost of oil, coal, or nuclear energy, especially when environmental costs are factored in, and its mandated use would end acid rain, end sulfur-based smog, and reverse the Greenhouse Effect on our planet, right now!* *Government and oil and coal companies, etc., will insist that burning biomass fuel is no better than using up our fossil fuel reserves, as far as pollution goes; but this is patently untrue. Why? Because, unlike fossil fuel, biomass comes from living (not extinct) plants that continue to remove carbon dioxide pollution from our atmosphere as they grow, through photosynthesis. Furthermore, biomass fuels do not contain sulfur. This can be accomplished if hemp is grown for biomass and then converted through pyrolysis (charcoalizing) or biochemical composting into fuels to replace fossil fuel energy products.* *Remarkably, when considered on a planet-wide, climate-wide, soil-wide basis, cannabis is at least four and possibly many more times richer in sustainable, renewable biomass/cellulose potential than its nearest rivals on the planet, cornstalks, sugarcane, kenaf, trees, etc. (Solar Gas, 1980; Omni, 1983: Cornell University; Science Digest, 1983: etc.).

jayfurlovsya
8/22/2008 4:49:06 AM
My offering to end poverty is to LEGALIZE HEMP AND MARIJUANA. It is a miracle plant that can solve all the major problems.We need people to admit prohibition is a mistake. Do some research beyond propaghanda commercials designed to scare people with lies. Everything started with this plant and we need it back. My favorite book is THE EMPORER WEARS NO CLOTHES by JACK HERER. It is competely researched and is posted for free at his website. The Lakota nation in south dakota are some of the poorest people in America and they have done their research. They claimed their right to grow it. Right before their harvest the DEA raided and destroyed the crop illegaly. Now the indians have a festival to harvest what grows wild. A documentary about this scandal is called STANDING SILENT NATION.

Liz_1
8/22/2008 12:12:09 AM
I have devised a "hundred year rule" for purchasing items, finding solutions to cooking, cleaning, and basic everyday living. The rule is to ask yourself, "What did they use 100 years ago?" Before buying modern commercial products for cleaning,cooking, bathing, beauty, entertainment, etc., I imagine what a mother of three in 1908 living in the country would use. The answer is always almost so easy and obvious I can't believe it. Not to say that I would give up my KitchenAid stand mixer,my energy effcient washer, or the internet, but it is a good basic rule to check with first. It puts things in perspective. Many modern "conveniences" aren't as convenient as the manufactures would like us to believe. And the more parts and motors something has - the more likely it will eventually need repair. Mass amounts of money can be saved by purchasing "old-fashioned" simple tools and products to do chores.

Liz_1
8/22/2008 12:11:48 AM
I have devised a "hundred year rule" for purchasing items, finding solutions to cooking, cleaning, and basic everyday living. The rule is to ask yourself, "What did they use 100 years ago?" Before buying modern commercial products for cleaning,cooking, bathing, beauty, entertainment, etc., I imagine what a mother of three in 1908 living in the country would use. The answer is always almost so easy and obvious I can't believe it. Not to say that I would give up my KitchenAid stand mixer,my energy effcient washer, or the internet, but it is a good basic rule to check with first. It puts things in perspective. Many modern "conveniences" aren't as convenient as the manufactures would like us to believe. And the more parts and motors something has - the more likely it will eventually need repair. Mass amounts of money can be saved by purchasing "old-fashioned" simple tools and products to do chores.

Marie Jenkins_1
8/21/2008 8:46:13 PM
The thing that most enhances my feeling of wealth is being generous. All the produce from the garden aside from what we need is donated to local food pantries that serve daily meals to the poor and mentally challenged. Used or no-longer-used items go to the library book sale or the church bazaar. If someone comes to my door looking for work, I hire them, if only for 1 hour and pay them as much as I can. When I don't have a dime to give to charity, I give a smile to everyone I meet. I give my place in line to an elder or help someone get the trash and recycling out of their car at the transfer station. Opportunities to feel rich abound and I feel truly blessed everytime I give!

garden goddess
8/21/2008 7:02:44 PM
I guess i have always lived a frugal life style, my mom was raised during the great depression on a farm so she told me many things. One of the things i do is compost, seldom does any kitchen vegetable waste go to waste, in fact i have a small garden and the compost goes right into the garden, so the worms can get right to work, when i throw something like squash, tomatoes, peppers etc; in, by the springtime i will usually have new plants, i call them volunteers, these work very nicely as my inexpensive garden plants. Another great source of garden seeds is the internet, someone always wants to share for the small price of postage. I usually buy my clothes from rummage, garage sales and thrift stores, used clothes is also a great source for material you can reuse, if you sew and make something else for yourself or the kids, or make quilts with used clothing, there are so many ways to save so much. I have chickens now and plan to free range them as much as possible hopefully to save a little in chick feed.

Tricia_1
8/21/2008 1:32:07 PM
For me, Ive finally accepted that I am from a consumer culture and as such will likely always be a consumer. I do beleive however, that I can consume with a low impact and therefore limit my consumption fo itmes when I do need them to the following - Yard/moving/estate sales Thrift Stores Craigslist Freecycle By knowing what I need or might need in the future I am able to browse these resources and make purchases/accumulations that meet my needs and keep resources out of the landfills. Thanks for this topic, very informative!

R Ramcharan_1
8/21/2008 12:57:34 PM
The public library is the number one item on my list of living cheaply/simplification resources. The librarians in our town are pretty agreeable about adding books to the collection, which means a) I don't have to pay full price plush shipping and handling for them, b) other people get to read them and c) they don't stack up in my house. Ditto videos and newspapers, which is really handy if you don't want to pay $50.00 a month for cable.

Linda Coy
8/21/2008 11:59:01 AM
My hubby and I have always been "Mother Earthers" and raised all our kids the 'ways of the land' also. Now with the economic situation so stressful my husband still has to keep his job, but one way we figured out how to save a ton of money and help the earth in the process is to choose ONE day a week and keep the little car parked. We walk EVERYWHERE we want to go on that choosen day. We tend to use Sundays. Churches, neighbors, friends, family, parks, on and on are within walking distance (the ones too far away we group together when doing errands on other days). We never leave our little town on Sunday's unless an emergency comes up. This one action has saved us a lot of gas money for buying produce we can't seem to grow in our own little gardens. Even our local produce man is within walking distance on a nice Sunday afternoon. We also share our produce with our neighbors who in turn share with us. Can't ask for more huh!

Alison Rogers_3
8/21/2008 9:49:16 AM
Thanks for the great suggestions everyone - keep 'em coming! Think hard: How can someone living in poverty remain positive and enjoy the simple life?

Allysa Hampstead_1
8/21/2008 9:45:00 AM
One of our biggest savings this last year was using a clothesline. We cut almost 25% off of our electric bill with that single act. Between the energy used to run the dryer, and the AC trying to keep up with the heat generated by the dryer, it makes a HUGE difference. We even hung out clothes all winter. Granted they take longer to dry in winter, but as long as the temp is above freezing, they will still dry. But in the summer, I can't wash them fast enough to keep up with the clothesline. We also went to CFLs all over the house. And we try not to use the multi-light fixtures, like the chandelier over the table and the ceiling fan lights, when we can help it. We will use a single bulb lamp or natural light whenever possible. Opening the windows will save a ton of money as well. We didn't even turn the AC on this year until well into June. And if you have ever experienced an Arkansas summer, that is fairly amazing. We used ceiling fans and open windows to cross ventilate the house and it was very comfortable until the humidity started kicking in. As for food, invest in a freezer, canning supplies and a dehydrator. Those three things can save you a bundle on your groceries. You can buy fresh food when it is on sale (my local chain store closes out produce twice a week)and save it for when it is not in season. Drying food is handy because it doesn't cost anything to store it. I have even made meal kits that are dehydrated, like mixing dried carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, and bell pepper with a couple of crushed bullion cubes and some chopped up beef jerky to make a stew that just needs water. And it will all fit in a zip top sandwich bag.

Allysa Hampstead_1
8/21/2008 9:43:21 AM
One of our biggest savings this last year was using a clothesline. We cut almost 25% off of our electric bill with that single act. Between the energy used to run the dryer, and the AC trying to keep up with the heat generated by the dryer, it makes a HUGE difference. We even hung out clothes all winter. Granted they take longer to dry in winter, but as long as the temp is above freezing, they will still dry. But in the summer, I can't wash them fast enough to keep up with the clothesline. We also went to CFLs all over the house. And we try not to use the multi-light fixtures, like the chandelier over the table and the ceiling fan lights, when we can help it. We will use a single bulb lamp or natural light whenever possible. Opening the windows will save a ton of money as well. We didn't even turn the AC on this year until well into June. And if you have ever experienced an Arkansas summer, that is fairly amazing. We used ceiling fans and open windows to cross ventilate the house and it was very comfortable until the humidity started kicking in. As for food, invest in a freezer, canning supplies and a dehydrator. Those three things can save you a bundle on your groceries. You can buy fresh food when it is on sale (my local chain store closes out produce twice a week)and save it for when it is not in season. Drying food is handy because it doesn't cost anything to store it. I have even made meal kits that are dehydrated, like mixing dried carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, and bell pepper with a couple of crushed bullion cubes and some chopped up beef jerky to make a stew that just needs water. And it will all fit in a zip top sandwich bag.

Barb_4
8/21/2008 7:02:59 AM
Visit (walk, bike or carpool to) local yardsales and church bazaars: much of my kitchenware was purchased for $1 including jumbo muffin pans and McCoy mugs as were my bedding and towels: new down alternative King comforter for $10, never used. Great way to authentically stimulate local economy.

jan_1
8/21/2008 3:23:05 AM
Do all of the things already mentions but one of the most important things I think is not to read magazines. They are the single most effective method of distributing dissatisfaction. The articles always suggest ways to buy your way out of "problems". Even if they are free - don't look.

Patty_2
8/21/2008 12:03:58 AM
I only read the grocery ads clip restaraunt coupons. Skip the Sunday circulars so you're not tempted to buy stuff you would love to have but don't really need. Learn to tell the difference between needs and wants. Stop smoking/drinking. Turn your pants inside out before washing to keep the color longer. Don't buy bras at 2nd hand shops - they are there for a reason. My daughter resells her curriculum on the internet so she can afford to buy next year's books for homeschooling.

mothermayhem
8/20/2008 10:46:03 PM
I'm a mom of two girls, with three teenage step-sons. My husband has been out of work for two years with a back injury, and I have turned my Yankee thrift into a fine art. Food and clothing are our most basic needs and cheap entertainment tops the list of wants. Planning a weekly menu before shopping helps to maintain a budget and eliminate waste, and add at least two alternates to the menu in case the ingredients of one of your meals is ridiculously priced. Be aware of your families' eating habits and cook exact portions to eliminate leftovers and waste. During the school year our kids take advantage of subsides breakfasts and lunches at their schools. They receive many healthy and delicous meals. Shopping for clothes at second hand shops offer incredible savings, and a chance to find trendy and practical clothing for the family. Stores like my local Salvation Army offer a weekly half off the price sale. Several local churches have community closets where those who cannot afford anything can get what they need, and kids can get a backpack and school supplies at no charge. I buy our winter outerwear at the end of the season, and I pay a little extra (up to $25) at the first markdown when I find the clothes in the right sizes because it will keep many kids in our family warm for many years. All our kids live in hand me downs, and when we're done they go to cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. Our extended family and friends get together often for meals and conversations. We all make something hearty and enjoy our time together because talk is cheap. We have a small flower and vegetable garden we tend together. I also take advantage of the many resources of our local library, free story hour, free and discount passes to museums and fun parks, book cirle discussions, and the free movie loan outs. We go fishing and camping as a family and utilize as many of the states free parks and trails as w can. I take advantage of free playgroups and parent

mothermayhem
8/20/2008 10:45:28 PM
I'm a mom of two girls, with three teenage step-sons. My husband has been out of work for two years with a back injury, and I have turned my Yankee thrift into a fine art. Food and clothing are our most basic needs and cheap entertainment tops the list of wants. Planning a weekly menu before shopping helps to maintain a budget and eliminate waste, and add at least two alternates to the menu in case the ingredients of one of your meals is ridiculously priced. Be aware of your families' eating habits and cook exact portions to eliminate leftovers and waste. During the school year our kids take advantage of subsides breakfasts and lunches at their schools. They receive many healthy and delicous meals. Shopping for clothes at second hand shops offer incredible savings, and a chance to find trendy and practical clothing for the family. Stores like my local Salvation Army offer a weekly half off the price sale. Several local churches have community closets where those who cannot afford anything can get what they need, and kids can get a backpack and school supplies at no charge. I buy our winter outerwear at the end of the season, and I pay a little extra (up to $25) at the first markdown when I find the clothes in the right sizes because it will keep many kids in our family warm for many years. All our kids live in hand me downs, and when we're done they go to cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. Our extended family and friends get together often for meals and conversations. We all make something hearty and enjoy our time together because talk is cheap. We have a small flower and vegetable garden we tend together. I also take advantage of the many resources of our local library, free story hour, free and discount passes to museums and fun parks, book cirle discussions, and the free movie loan outs. We go fishing and camping as a family and utilize as many of the states free parks and trails as w can. I take advantage of free playgroups and parent

Sophia_5
8/20/2008 9:09:55 PM
I grow my own garden, raise herbs, and have several flowerbeds. What I do is trade perennials with everyone I can including some small nurseries. Then I sell them at very low cost because I propogate and divide. The proceeds go to charities. There are people that need our help and this is my way of giving back! I have been canning since I was 17 and this is one way to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Get creative, go to the library or the internet is a great source. It's a great feeling to know that you didn't pay someone to do your work for you. I found a quick easy way to dry herbs. Wash first and put in colander so the excess water drains away. Strip them when they're fresh and lay on the cooling racks you use when you bake. When they're fully dried, put them in brown paper bags, secure with a clothes pin and if you have an attic, put them there. If not, place them in a dry area. This keeps your herbs dust free and ready to use. Also you can grow your vegetables in your flower beds. I put several pepper plants in one of my flower beds this year because it gets hot and has lots of sun. I have also planted tomatoes and potatoes in the same bed. You can also grow tomatoes and peppers in pots for the winter and save money. Have fun with whatever you're learning!!!

Nancy_1
8/20/2008 8:41:09 PM
I use Freecycle over the internet. I have received a fruit press, shredder, empty amber jars with droppers, 3 pickings of cherries, dozens of canning jars, and much more. I also give away items such as books, clothing, extra produce from the garden, boxes of misc from spring cleaning. Oh and you can also post wanted ads. This works well for grass clippings and leaves. I have yet to get an old fashioned hand crank ice cream maker. This week I posted a wanted ad to pick apples and am going this weekend! She says they have a few worms in them. Sounds "organic" to me.

Bonnie White
8/20/2008 6:57:24 PM
The best way to save money is to reuse. reduce, and recycle. Composting is great way to use all three and making great soil amendments for growing your own food. Grow food in every possible place you can, along the sides of the house, use fences for support, raised bed started on the lawn. I use tire planter which I call Eco Planter, because I get the old tires from from a tire store, cover with old plastic (even shower curtains or plastic table cloths work fine) and finish with coffee sack burlap tied with strips of the burlap. Fill the planter with compost , soil and coffee chaffe( a bi-product from roasting coffee)leaf mold (shredded leaves that have broken down) can be used as well. You can use coco peat or peat moss if you want to buy something. Now use it to plant tomatoes, potatoes , fall and winter veggies. Train those blackberries to grow on the fence. ( don't spray them train them and eat them) Use your coffee grounds and tea grounds in compost pile along with food waste. Gather those leaves left on the street for the city to pick up and compost them. You can bag them and use them when you want to. Other ideas are to buy clothes at second hand stores. I make recycled journals from cardboard or cereal type boxes covered with paper sack materials and decorated with pressed plants or label collage. Your can tie the paper in with jute, bailing twine or whatever your got. It makes great gifts and fun project for children. We'll that's all for now. Bonnie From Oregon

Becka Schexnayder
8/20/2008 4:26:09 PM
Started a garden this spring. The garden was small but added two more smaller gardens in front of the house. The three gardens had cut what I buy at the store way down. I will be working on a fall garden at the end of this month. One thing my mother-in-law told me was to eat what was in season. I like her idea of eating in season.Packed my freezer full from three greenbean plants! And last spring I dug up wild onions and garlic plants. But don't dig them all up!! Need to let them produce more plants for next spring. A friend gave me her left-over yarn which I crocheted into an interesting throw-blanket. Also twice a year I check out the outlit store for clothes that are priced at seven or nine dollers. When my husband and my jeans gets holes in them,I patch them up with cutting out what I need from one of his old jeans. On my patch-work I needlepoint butterflys, moths,or flowers. My favorit jeans has a white butterfly and a yellow moths. I am almost done with sewing, by hand, a greenhouse. The greenhouse is made out of platics bags that were saved over the years. And at one of the local lumber store I found pvp pipes that were left over from pre-cut pvp pipes. They were cheaper then at cost. The pipes will make the frame for the greenhouse cover.

Jay Schwartz
8/20/2008 4:01:30 PM
To Lorraine Davidoff, where did you find a place for $5500, along with 14 acres? I'd like to hear more...Thanks! Jay in SanDiego

Becka Schexnayder
8/20/2008 3:40:39 PM
Interested in cutting the cost of living. Also had learn how to cut cost in a few area.

wendy_1
8/20/2008 2:58:19 PM
when I was a new parent 7 yrs ago I bought some things brand new like cloth diapers etc. and name brand clothes from a consignment store. I remember someone offering to loan me clothes for myself and baby and I thought WHAT??? WHO DOES THAT???? What was I thinking? LOL Fast forward...I've since found my brain and I GET IT NOW. Now we buy all of our clothes from Goodwill or the Salvation Army... but even that is becoming 'trendy' for many thereby driving the costs up! So garage sales are the ultimate bargain for kids clothes- but of course you have to buy out of size and out of season so having a place to put it is important. I still have all the clothes and dipes I purchased over the last 7 yrs and have loaned them out to many friends and when they are done, they hand the totes back. Anything that you don't want wrecked, don't loan out LOL It will save your friendships!! Most of us carry our babies in a sling, breastfeed and cosleep thereby negating the necessity of the overpriced "anti cry" gadgets like swings, strollers, bouncy chairs, play mats, play pens, cribs etc. If still in warranty period we also loan car seats etc that are very expensive or buy 1 good one that can be passed on to our other kids. We use hand crafted wooden or all natural cloth toys or we make them and also the kids play outside alot. I buy underwear and socks in large amounts and usually I will buy all the same colour and style so mismatched and lost socks don't exist LOL I taught myself to knit 7 yrs ago and manage to knit hats and mitts and wool diaper covers and wool pants to keep babies and children warm in the winter. Although we homeschool and my kids are still young, so we can get away with alot of this because the pressure to be fashionable or eat out isn't there. We started a local food coop thru a company Ontario Natural Food Coop and there are about 10 families that all order together. Our family buys our grains like rice, quino, mi

julibelle
8/20/2008 2:48:39 PM
Don't let stuff accumulate..use it or lose it - grow alittle of your own food, even a couple of tomatoes in a pot or a little lettuce.. -All that stuff in the garage, shed, attic, storage unit, sure you're gonna use it some day but someone else NEEDS it today. Bicycles, duplicate tools, craft stuff, books, kitchen stuff, TVs, cd etc. Give it away. - use a clothes line or drying rack as often as you can. Your clothes will last longer and you'll save some energy$$ -Clear out you 'fridge/freezer. Make three piles - usable, desirable & ick....estimate the costs, make a note of what is in each pile. Adjust your shopping list -Learn to cook a few simple things really well - a poached egg, a simple soup, gingerbread. -Make your own salad dressings, small amounts once a week -Reconsider the meat/starch/veg dinner plate - soup, protein based salads, am omelette for dinner with a salad, add some grains to 1 meal a day and some greens too -If you've got one, shop your Farmer's Mkt -At the grocery store, shop the outside aisles, avoid the cereal, cookie, snack aisles, you'll be amazed -Find a store that sells items in bulk (no, not the CostCo/Walmat) bins. Buy your oatmeal, rice, flour granola etc there - as little as you need, as much as you want. Make it an exploration in abundance not privation

Pam_6
8/20/2008 2:44:44 PM
I do a few things to save... First add a few guineas to your chicken flock, they are great to "de-bug" your yard. This way I dont have to buy chemicals to get rid of fleas, ticks, ants... They are fun to watch and better than a guard dog. They sound alarm if anything is around that doesnt belong. Next, no matter what car you drive remember heat equals evaporation, evaporation equals money lost into the air. So add gas only in the cool of the day, as well as drive in the evening or early morning when possible. Catch rain water for your outside critters. A barrel and tarp with a small hole makes a great combo. It keeps the leaves and trash out and is a custom fit funnel for the water. It also means your chickens, guineas, dogs, goats... are not drinking clorine. Lastly, study "online" to find what wild plants that grow in your region are edible. You will be amazed what our ancestors ate that we now spend money to get rid of in our yards! Many are very tasty and of course they are free. It makes a great family activity to see what each other can find and identify... spend a weekend in a park or reserve in search of some unusual ones for entertainment that pays you back in food or herbs.

wendy_1
8/20/2008 2:40:33 PM
when I was a new parent 7 yrs ago I bought some things brand new like cloth diapers etc. and name brand clothes from a consignment store. I remember someone offering to loan me clothes for myself and baby and I thought WHAT??? WHO DOES THAT???? What was I thinking? LOL Fast forward...I've since found my brain and I GET IT NOW. Now we buy all of our clothes from Goodwill or the Salvation Army... but even that is becoming 'trendy' for many thereby driving the costs up! So garage sales are the ultimate bargain for kids clothes- but of course you have to buy out of size and out of season so having a place to put it is important. I still have all the clothes and dipes I purchased over the last 7 yrs and have loaned them out to many friends and when they are done, they hand the totes back. Anything that you don't want wrecked, don't loan out LOL It will save your friendships!! Most of us carry our babies in a sling, breastfeed and cosleep thereby negating the necessity of the overpriced "anti cry" gadgets like swings, strollers, bouncy chairs, play mats, play pens, cribs etc. If still in warranty period we also loan car seats etc that are very expensive or buy 1 good one that can be passed on to our other kids. We use hand crafted wooden or all natural cloth toys or we make them and also the kids play outside alot. I buy underwear and socks in large amounts and usually I will buy all the same colour and style so mismatched and lost socks don't exist LOL I taught myself to knit 7 yrs ago and manage to knit hats and mitts and wool diaper covers and wool pants to keep babies and children warm in the winter. Although we homeschool and my kids are still young, so we can get away with alot of this because the pressure to be fashionable or eat out isn't there. We started a local food coop thru a company Ontario Natural Food Coop and there are about 10 families that all order together. Our family buys our grains like rice, quino, mi

carolyn taylor_1
8/20/2008 2:00:37 PM
Good ideas!! 1. Put bubble wrap on windows 2. Compost, compost, compost 3. Recycle everything 4. Don't watch commercials or go to department stores 5. Hike 6. Learn simple solar power techniques

Jessica Reeves-Rush
8/20/2008 1:31:43 PM
First of all, if you can't afford it don't buy it. Saves you a lot of money. I'm not just talking about New clothes and gadgets. I'm talking about cars and possibly houses (we're working on the latter). Buy used and save the difference. Freecycle is great! I just got a double jogging stroller~FREE. Kids are expensive, we're trying to teach our kids they don't need every new thing. And also showing them the thrill of finding a perfectly wonderful toy at a yard sale. It's like a treasure hunt! In fact, with babies, everything can be used. They use stuff for such a short time! Don't be scared to let people know you're open to hand me downs! This summer I'm scouring yard sales for un-used fabrics to make Christmas gifts. All the kids are going to get dress up clothes: Cloaks, aprons, costumes... All ages love this. Scour the internet for crafts that can become gifts! Sometimes supplies can cost nothing. Melt all those crayon bits into star shaped crayons, or cirlcles or hearts using a mold, and put them in stockings. Sometimes in investment can pay for itself: sewing machines, tools, seeds, etc.

Lorraine Davidoff
8/20/2008 12:48:44 PM
Number one for me: I realized that I can only be in one car, one house, one room at any moment of the day. I now live happily in 660 (open plan) square feet on 14 acres. If I'm not using it, I give it away or sell it. It takes TONS of stuff to fill up 4000 square feet of house (I know, I used to have one). Note: there are many empty houses in the U.S. My jewel of a house cost $5500 including moving and leveling. No mortgage! CraigsList is a favorite, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, garage sales. I garden, eat fresh foods, and drive in to the train station. I relax and watch the butterflies for entertainment. Late afternoon sun hitting all the sunflowers at the same time is magical. I don't watch TV all the time and get inundated in advertising that encourages silly desires. Getting older helps... when you see that desirable $50 item sitting at Goodwill for 50 cents and you notice it was just a passing fad. If not... hey, knock yourself out for 50 cents!

Bill Smith_1
8/20/2008 12:31:22 PM
I have a small homestead. I have reduced food consumption cost with my garden. What I would like to do is lower my grid and fuel cost and produce as much energy as possible. Does anybody have any solid applications?

Ken Rogers_1
8/20/2008 12:19:19 PM
My wife and I both receive social security disability, so as you can imagine money is tight each month. We decided the first thing we needed to do was cut utility bills, starting with the electric bill. I removed all of the light bulbs in the house, even in closets, and replaced them with compact flourescent bulbs. My next project was to put up shrinkable plastic on all the windows and seal the doors. My wife shopped on ebay for insulated drapes, which she got at a great price. I put up a clothes line, and abandoned the electric dryer (except in really bad weather.) We wash all clothes in cold water, and use the air dry feature on our dishwasher instead of the heat dry. Thus far our savings have been around 20% for the past year. My next project will to be replacing our hot water heater with a tankless on-demand water heater.

Lorraine Davidoff
8/20/2008 11:20:54 AM
Number one for me: I realized that I can only be in one car, one house, one room at any moment of the day. I now live happily in 660 (open plan) square feet on 14 acres. If I'm not using it, I give it away or sell it. Frees up space. It takes TONS of stuff to fill up 4000 square feet of house (I know, I used to have one). Note: there are many empty houses in the U.S. My jewel of a house cost $5500 including moving and leveling. No mortgage! CraigsList is a favorite, Goodwill, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, garage sales. I garden, eat fresh foods, and drive in to the train station. I relax and watch the butterflies for entertainment. Late afternoon sun hitting all the sunflowers at the same time is magical. I don't watch TV all the time and get inundated in advertising that encourages silly desires. Getting older helps... when you see that desirable $50 item sitting at Goodwill for 50 cents and you notice it was just a passing fad. If not... hey, knock yourself out for 50 cents!

Barbara Kelly_1
8/20/2008 11:13:38 AM
At 72 I find myself too old to start a homestead, even if my rock-strewn mountain site would permit it. So producing my own food is only a limited dream. But, by using sound bean-and-grain-based vegetarian menus, and eating what is in season, I cut the cost of food to a bare minimum. By making double portions, I reduce the cost of cooking fuel. We grow no grass and allow nature to provide our landscaping. I have taken other steps toward low-cost living, most of which are time-intensive, but worth it. Reducing my spending has become a game for me. I can't keep the prices low, but I can reduce what I buy. And the fun of thwarting big oil and big box stores outweighs any sense of deprivation. I examine my media-induced 'needs' and eliminate those that are not essential [which, btw, are MOST of what I'm told I need]. For example, I store a portion of my wardrobe, and periodically 'shop' in my own closets, a form of recycling. Since I no longer commute to work I can control and limit my outings. A single trip once a week takes care of my shopping needs. All stops are within a circle beginning and ending with my house. I lower my thermostat and wear sweaters and socks; open my windows to cool the house with cross breezes, and take great pleasure in giving less money to those who thrive on greed. Not a big thing, but worth it. BMK

Bob_4
8/20/2008 10:58:26 AM
Attention celery lovers; Do you want free celery? As a vegetable gardener, I am almost embarassed to admit it, but..........I BUY celery. I think celery is one of the most under-appreciated and under-used veggies out there, and would love to cut a fresh head right out of the garden. Unfortunately, I have limited space to garden, and celery takes a long time to mature. So much time, in fact, that I could get 2 or more crops of shorter season veggies in the same space before celery would ready for the table. So there it is; I'm a celery buyer. If you're anything like me, you try to get the most out of anything you buy. Celery is no different. I use the stalks fresh and cooked. I use the leaves in salads, soups, and in whatever else could use a splash of flavor. Years ago I tried a recipe that called for celery "flakes", and was amazed to find how much a small jar cost. When I read the ingredients and discovered that it is nothing more than dried celery leaves, I put the jar back on the grocery shelf. I started drying the leaves from my store-bought celery, (Don't forget to wash them well) and storing them in empty spice jars. It is more flavorful than anything you can get in a store. When all the edible parts of the head were used up, I put the celery "core" in a freezer bag, along with all the onion ends, carrot peels, and chicken bones I had saved to make stock. I was proud of myself; I had used every bit of the veggie I had purchased. You can't get more thrifty than that, right? Wrong. I hear what you're saying. "So where is the FREE celery this joker promised?" Ok, here it is. I get MORE celery than I bought, and it is absoutely free. Do you remember putting a carrot top in water and watching it grow as a kid? Same idea. Instead of throwing the "core" in the soon-to-be-stock freezer bag, I grow it. I don't break the stalks from the head, I cut them off about an inch from

Charlyne
8/20/2008 9:32:20 AM
If families lived close to one another and helped each other in all things,(I don't mean being nosey or bossy),then this worry of poverty wouldn't be such a worry. We have a son and his family living on the north side of our place and another son and his family on our south side and a son and his family in the Army. We are very close in heart and , no we don't always agree but we always work for the best for all. We raise our meat, we raise and preserve our garden produce and we share. We aren't above trading or thrift stores.Yes, we bargain hunt and do garage sales We feel very thankful that God has seen to our needs. I guess my biggest gripe is that so many ask for our produce, which we would willingly share, but...many of them want us to do it all for them. ...Do they want us to grow it, pick it, chew it and **** it for them ? Many people are just out and out lazy.

Bill & Yvonne Petty
8/20/2008 8:54:46 AM
These are a few of the things that have help us to cut our cost: 1. Buy a good used fuel efficient car instead of a new car. 2. Check out your local Habitat for Humanity for building supplies. 3. We have a wonderful resource of parks in our country. They are free and offer wonderful activities - hiking, picnicing, children's play equipment, etc. 4. Watch your local grocery store for sales. I buy meats on sale, fix my meals and freeze. Also my friend and I will share on big pieces of meat.

Marilyn Ming_1
8/20/2008 8:53:23 AM
I vowed to use everything that I bring into my home, at least twice. Paper towels used to wipe up water, are dried and used again. Toilet tissue and facial tissue is used with cardboard under garden beds. Plastic containers are used to start seeds, etc. Of course, any parings and leftovers, are in the compost bin. I belong to Freecycle and if I can't get to my garden and take care of produce that is ready, I give it away. When I can, I save seeds and if I don't want them, I give them away. I take cuttings of what I have, and again, if I don't want them, I give them away. I buy clothes, household items, etc., from DAV, Goodwill, etc. It is rare that I am in a retail store. I plan and shop once a week. If I don't have it, I don't consume it. I purchased water timers for outside watering since it's easy to forget when I am irrigating. I guess my motto is "recycle, recycle, recycle"!

Jen Perkins
8/20/2008 8:45:38 AM
Buy as much as you can second-hand (we are Craig's List junkies), and give and receive hand-me-downs. It not only saves you money but cuts down on pollution-generating manufacturing.

Jennifer Martin_1
8/19/2008 8:21:30 PM
***plant a garden, no matter how big or small, you will benefit financially from any food you are able to grow on your own, especially with rising food prices resulting from high fuel costs. ***learn how to cook! buy raw ingredients from the grocery store if you do not grow your own food; prepared foods are expensive! ***learn how to preserve/can food. you can find food much cheaper when it is in season, so learn how to preserve food that you can find inexpensively during its peak season so that you may enjoy it all year long!

Eric Patnoe
8/19/2008 2:20:40 PM
A few come right to mind right away; 1. Cancel your cable or satellite TV subscription. 2. Save seeds from this years harvest 3. Keep a few free-range chickens for eggs. In the Spring, Summer and early Fall let them forage around the garden and yard. They will needs very little bought feed. 4. Trade with neighbors; services, produce, meat supplies etc... 5. Don't mow the lawn, get a couple young goatsthat need to be hand-fed. When they're weened collar and stake them out in the yard with a water pan. Milk and cheese possibilities for the future too.

Paul Kemp
8/19/2008 8:21:02 AM
The obvious first step to living a rich life on a small budget is for each family to get in position to produce as much of their food as possible at home. Cut out the middleman. Stop buying food at the store; start growing your own. It is highly inefficient to work for money and have your income taxed, then pay someone else to grow your food at a high markup compared to what it would have cost if you had grown it yourself.







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