Frugal Living Tips

Do you ever get the hankering for ham, but don’t really want to cook one? 

I live alone and the idea of cooking a ham doesn’t really appeal to me. So I’ve started going to my grocery store deli and asking for three 1/4 inch slices of my favorite Virginia smoked ham. For less than $5 I have meat for three meals.

I fix some side dishes and eat one slice each evening for three nights. It’s mighty tasty. I don’t mine eating the same meat three days in a row.

Sometimes I get the midday meal my grocery store serves at their little restaurant in the store at noon; meat and two sides. Then I take it home and split it into two meals. Just heat it up in the microwave or oven.

When I cook, I always freeze meals for later. Make a big meal in the crock pot and you’ll have plenty of food to freeze individual meals for one or two.

When I order Chinese food at my favorite Chinese restaurant, Chopsticks, I go in before 4 p.m., when the lunch menu ends. I order two lunchtime meals and take it home. So I get the lunchtime price and have meals for two evenings and just heat it up.

Another thing I like to get is the turkey sandwich at Arbys. I take it home, eat one half and put the other half in the fridge for later. Personally I like it better heated up to my specifications anyway. Plus I often get coupons in the mail.

I don’t shop in the Walmart store. But I do shop Walmart.com quite a bit. Buy $35 worth and you get free two day shipping on most items. 

I paid for Amazon.com Prime this year, which is about $100. Not so sure I will next year. This was my first year to do that. But I’ll have to look at all my options and see if it’s worth the cost. 
 
I do order a lot of things online, but I hate to pay shipping costs. So I tend not to order anything until I have enough in my Cart to get free shipping. Sure helps and I don’t have to use my car and pay for gas.

I buy all prescription dog food for the pupsters online at Chewy.com. Free shipping and most of the time I get it in less than 48 hours. Last time I got it the very next day! Don’t even know how they do that. 

Another way to save money is to bundle at least three errands into one outing. I try to always do that if I possibly can. I plan on where to go based on the shortest routes to save on gas.

My car is 11 years old and I doubt I’ll ever buy another one. So I’m trying my best to get all I can out of it. 

I have close to 44,500 miles on my vehicle right now. The only things I’ve had done are oil changes, which I know are very important. And I’ve purchased four tires.

Even though I live in an apartment, as you know I am fortunate to have a large patio. I plant a lot of herbs every year. I always have at least one tomato plant. 

You can garden in containers and still get a lot of good eating from a small patio or balcony garden. 

I have really enjoyed the chives this year. Don’t know that I can get through the winter without my fresh chives, so I might plant a small pot and put it in my kitchen window. Along with a few other favorite herbs.

Herbs are pretty hardy plants. Just give them sun and don’t over water!

As you all know I had them take my stove when I moved in so I could have a washer and hook the hose up to my sink when I do laundry.

I’ve found that it doesn’t heat up the place cooking in smaller appliances. I don’t miss a big stove at all. So that was a win-win for me!

Please add your own personal frugal tips in the comments. We’d all love to read them. 

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26 Comments

  1. I got this book as a free download for my Kindle. You might find it interesting. Publication date: 1832

    The American Frugal Housewife
    Dedicated to those who are not ashamed of economy.

    By Mrs. Child

    A fat kitchen maketh a lean will.—FRANKLIN.
    "Economy is a poor man's revenue; extravagance a rich man's ruin."
    Twelfth Edition. Enlarged and corrected by the author. 1832.

  2. I love all of your ideas and I purchase lunches at my favorite Chinese restaurant and split them up and freeze them. I'm also a big fan of crock pot cooking as it doesn't hit up your kitchen and there is a great website called http://www.recipesthatcrock.com that has some great recipes. Check it out! Carol

  3. We have Amazon Prime but it's worth it for us because I order so much through them. We don't eat fast food or prepared meals, but I find I buy packages of organic chicken and organic grass-fed ground beef when they're on sale or at Costco (bulk; cheaper than the regular grocery stores) and store it in our extra freezer. Same with chuck roasts or pork tenderloin, etc. Chicken breasts can go a long way when put in the Crockpot with seasonings and salsa and use it to make tacos or serve over rice. Or dice and stir-fry with lots of veggies.

    Shopping at thrift stores – especially if you are lucky enough to have a Goodwill, Savers or Salvation Army near you – are great money savers on clothes, household decor, kid's toys, books, etc.

    Our cars are old and have very high mileage. I am driving a 2001 Honda Accord. We drive our cars until they "die". We don't trade them in for newer models if nothing is wrong with them. We take good care of them with regular maintenance. I dread the day when we have car payments again.

    If you eat out, most restaurants have specials on certain nights of the week. Or use coupons from localflavor.com or Groupon.

    Use your local library for books and movies.

  4. Brenda, Chewy.com is awesome! Since you mentioned it on-line in one of your posts I tried it to get the particular brand of cat food I use. It came so quickly I was amazed. Since that first order I've ordered again when I was really close to running out of cat food–like on the last can! It came in two days! How DO they do that? So, I'm indebted to you for mentioning their web-site. It's so convenient because I don't have a car so it's a hassle to get to the pet store for cat food. So, thanks!

    I think some of your ideas about frugality are good. I don't like to eat restaurant food only on occasion because I am very picky about what goes in my food and you don't know with food served in restaurants. I have to be gluten and dairy free, so it's hard to find a lot at most restaurants. So I routinely eat and home and I'm afraid I'm not nearly as frugal as you are, Brenda!

    As

  5. We have baseboard heaters in our house and we keep them TURNED OFF at the breaker box most of the time and just use one little wall heater and an electric fireplace to heat our 1000 sq. ft house! It works great, even down to 15 below zero. If we need a little heat in the bedroom, we have a little portable heater (safe one). Sure has saved on the electric bill. The power company told us that even if you turn your baseboard heaters down to 60 or lower, they are still sucking energy even when not heating up! That was a shocker to us. I do all that you do, but we don't grow our own food anymore, just some tomatoes during the summer, and cucumbers but don't can or freeze any. If I can get some free or cheap produce, I WILL freeze it or make something like salsa or applesauce or jam, and freeze it if there's enough. We always eat every leftover we have and I always make more than enough for at least 2 meals. I love when I don't have to cook the next night! Marilyn

  6. We have Amazon and use it constantly because we don't have stores nearby. It works for us with the free movies, etc.. Traveling to a movie house is just out of the question….29 miles each way. We have a Costco card and again have to travel 1 1/2 hrs one way so if we are going, we normally stock up…but..I have found myself spending waaay too much just because we are there. There's a point that you have to ask, are you really saving any money? I like your chinese food lunch menu ideas. I have started ordering one lunch combo chinese plate and my husband and I split it. It's just too much food to consume.

  7. Great tips. I've used Amazon Prime for several yrs and love it. I also use Chewy and it's great having it dropped off at gate. I actually wanted to make some Navy beans and I like to use pork hocks but couldn't find any and wound up buying park chops. Half will go in the beans and half for another meal.

  8. Great tips. I especially like the idea of ordering at the end of a restaurant's luncheon menu and dividing the meals. why didn't I think of that, lol. Like you I don't like to pay shipping costs and did a trial with Amazon. It saved me $26 in shipping costs for a gift. But now I need to make up the rest of the Amazon prime costs before end of year. I only meant to do the trial but the date slipped past. This time I've asked for a reminder of the renewal period. Like you I will have to see if it's worthwhile since I don't buy from Amazon all that often. Maybe I will if I don't have to pay for shipping. We will see 🙂

  9. We use Amazon Prime and I love it. I order almost everything but food and some clothes online and many of their prices are better than the store. We order things like vacumn bags, refridgerator water filters and such usually at a savings aside from the gas saved if we drove all over the place. We order almost all Christmas and birthdays gifts. But aside from shopping we also get free, unlimited photo storage and Amazon tv viewing for many shows and movies. They have other services that come with the membership as well but we don't use them all. I guess I sound like I work for them but I don't, it's just that since we retired we don't go out as much and this has really helped us and saved us money.

  10. I got rid of cable. It was costing me 240.00 a month. I thought I would miss regular television programing especially HGTV. But I don't. I do miss hearing the news in the morning while I get ready for work. But I check it online or my phone. I only have internet and I get Hulu and Netflix. It has been a year now since getting rid of cable. I save 160.00 a month.

  11. Good morning Brenda. I always water down my shampoo. I use a bit out of the bottle then fill it up with water and repeat. I experimented until I figured out the consistency I need. This really stretches a bottle which is awesome because my favorite has again been discontinued and I'm one the last bottle.

    I adopted my grandma's house dress lifestyle. I change as soon as I get home and decide if my "town" clothes need to get washed or if I can wear them again, then I either hang them or toss them into the laundry basket. I can wear my house clothes for two to three days as long as I'm not doing anything messy or sweaty. Of course I change if they get dirty. It saves electricity, water, detergent, and my money that would have to be spent on new clothes. I've taught DH and DS to do the same.

  12. Love your tips, I also do the same things, it is nice to have cooked meals in the freezer for later on, and I like ordering from Walmart as I do not have to lug all those heavy bulky items up to my apartment from the car. I often think of Amazon Prime but I am not sure if I would use it often enough. I may try using it next year.

  13. You know I try to grow as much food as I can to stock the freezers for the winter months. My freezers are all full now so I'm sending food home with my sweetie who has an empty fridge/freezer in his basement. I also do a lot of online shopping, to save gas and time. I also order from Chewy, their prices are great. And I combine errands, just like you. I also just changed out nearly every single bulb in my house to LED, which will save a lot for sure. And I primarily heat with wood, which is a ton cheaper than paying for oil. I'd rather keep the thermostat a little lower and put on a sweater, and I have throws in the living room as well. Every little bit helps!! I use coupons when I can, and shop through Ebates when I can as well. I also use SavingStar, and all the ecoupons my local store offers.

  14. I AGREE WITH YOU, PLAN YOUR OUTINGS.
    THERE IS NO NEED TO GET IN THE CAR AND RUN TO CONVENIENCE STORE FOR A CUP OF COFFEE OR A SODA AND BACK HOME. THE WOMAN WHO HELPS ME OUT AROUND THE HOUSE THINKS NOTHING OF DRIVING 20 MILES ONE WAY BECAUSE SHE WANTS KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN. WE LIVE IN A SMALL TOWN, SO YOU HAVE TO DRIVE AT LEAST THAT FAR TO SHOP AT WALMART, OR FIND A FAST FOOD PLACE, MOVIE THEATER ETC. I HAVE KNOWN OF TIMES SHE WILL MAKE SEVERAL TRIPS TO A TOWN 40 MILES AWAY TO GET SCHOOL SUPPLIES. COME HOME REALIZE THAT ONE OF THE KIDS NEEDED SOMETHING SHE FORGOT, SO OFF THEY GO AGAIN. OVER 80 MILES EACH ROUND TRIP AND THINK NOTHING OF IT.DOESN'T FEEL LIKE FIXING SUPPER, SO LOAD THE 2 KIDS IN CAR AND OFF AGAIN ANOTHER ROAD TRIP.THERE IS NO PLANNING AHEAD, MAKING A LIST AND GETTING EVERYTHING DONE IN ONE TRIP, WASTING GAS PLUS THE WEAR AND TEAR ON VEHICLE.THIS IS A NORMAL WAY OF LIFE FOR MANY PEOPLE.
    LIKE YOU. I PLAN A NICE MEAL, ENJOY IT FOR A DAY MAYBE TWO AND FREEZE THE REST FOR ANOTHER COUPLE OF MEALS.THIS CUTS DOWN ON PREP TIME, COOKING AND CLEAN UP TOO.
    I LIKE FRESH HERBS AND GROW A NUMBER IN A LARGE POT ON PORCH. I WILL LIKE YOU BRING ONE OR TWO OF MY FAVORITES IN FOR THE WINTER.
    HOP YOUR "REMOVE THE WALLPAPER GOO PROJECT GOES WELL. BE SAFE AND DON'T OVERDO.
    SNUGGLES TO THE PUPSTERS !

  15. I try to save in lots of areas because I have medical bills. Thankfully there is a lovely second hand clothing shop where I buy 90% of my work clothes. That saves me a ton of money as there will be brand new clothes from Nordstroms, with tags still on them, for a fraction of a price. (I just bought a $120 knit dress for $16.) I keep my tv and wireless on a plug in strip and shut them all off when I am not at home. I eat organic and such, but I do eat all the food. I have very little food waste. I also use Amazon Prime and Chewy and purchase a lot of items on line as to not step foot in the stores. I almost exclusively use the library for my reading/audio books. I use Amazon Prime Channels on Audible and Amazon Prime for TV shows/movies. (I squeeze every penny out of that Prime yearly payment!)

    I have tons of little ways I save money. I have lots of nice things, nobody looks at me and says "oh, how you suffer", but trust me, I will pay for quality but I won't waste money.

  16. On Easter sunday I fell in my kitchen and dislocated my left shoulder. Since then I have had to move in with my daughter for a while in preparation for a move to a smaller more independent living arrangement. Since i'm not a candidate for a shoulder replacement and the rotator cuff is completely torn I now have restricted range of motion. with PT I have learned to use my arm as good as it will ever be. I can shower, wash my hair, wash dishes, fold clothes and pretty much do most ADL's with learned alternatives to ROM. I have saved a lot of money by ordering on line and staying out of stores. Ha Ha. I have learned a lot from you in that regard. Frugal is the way to go. I like the meals you plan and the way you provide so many with little effort or cost. I look forward to reading your blog every morning. I have been known to say, "Brenda says."

  17. The best frugal thing I've done lately is to make a meal plan and actually stick with it! Our banking online shows us how much we spend per category and one of the categories is restaurants. I was astonished and mad at myself last month to see that we had spent more than I should ever say. This month, after realizing the error of our ways, we've spent one fourth of the amount we spent last month. We feel great about that. Groceries are so expensive for a family but I think if you eat it all and don't waste any then it's money well spent.

    I've been reading frugal living blogs lately. I find them so intriguing! I've been reading The Prudent Housewife, Retro Housewife Goes Green, and several others. Some of them are frugal to the EXTREME but I'm sure it works for them. Also, I've been watching Rachel Cruze videos on Youtube. She's Dave Ramsey's daughter who speaks on smart money moves. 🙂

    1. Hi Stacey,

      Congrats on making a meal plan and sticking to it! May I ask where you bank? My bank used to break my spending down into categories but now just shows my balance. I miss being able to track my spending and living alone, every penny counts!

      Beverly

  18. One of my favorite frugal tips is just disciplining myself to use the smallest amount of any product to get the maximum benefit. It is just so easy to squirt out way more toothpaste, facial cleanser, dish soap, etc than I actually need to get the result I want. I like to use certain brands of product, some of which are pricey. By using only what I actually need, I can stick with that brand and still save money. Also, I discipline myself to keep track of every cent I spend. At that end of the month, I total and analyze. One month, my calculations showed me that I had spent a ton of money on water and snacks at the convenience store. I was instantly converted away from that nonsense! Figures don't lie. I learned this trick from an amazing book, Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicky Robin.

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