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Cutting back on stuff besides food?

Last post Thu, Apr 17 2008 10:40 AM by latenightleader. 46 replies.
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  • Wed, Apr 9 2008 1:17 AM

    Inflation fighter [IF] Cutting back on stuff besides food?

    The cutting back on coffee post got me to thinking. Are you cutting back on other things, too, and still getting ok results?

     On toothpaste, we use a small chocolate chip sized bit of paste instead of putting a big smear on the toothbrush. We put one teaspoon of dish soap in the bucket to wash dishes (no automatic dishwasher here). I am filling up on gas in the early morning hours and planning my trips very carefully to conserve fuel. I prefer fabric softener to vinegar, but I buy the generic stuff and water it down with three parts of water to one part of softener. We stopped using paper towels in the kitchen. We have a stack of rags from an old flannel nightie that we use to mop up spills.

    Any other ideas?

  • Wed, Apr 9 2008 8:06 AM In reply to

    Re: Cutting back on stuff besides food?

    Our biggest change has been to stop buying books - my husband, when I first met him, shocked me when he said he never uses libraries, just buys the books (hardcovers) that he wants to read. This went on for a long time until recently when we talked about it and agreed the money could be better used. It had made an enormous difference considering hardcovers can run around $20+ each. peace.

  • Wed, Apr 9 2008 10:10 AM In reply to

    Re: Cutting back on stuff besides food?

    I've come to learn that frugality and environmental concerns go hand in hand. In this area, we have:

    Stopped using paper napkings in favor of cloth; stopped using Swiffer type products; stopped using paper plates, etc. I use containers instead of plastic baggies when I can and washable utensils in our lunches. In the summer, we also only water our needed plants and have pretty much stopped watering the lawn. Our neighbor asked if we had underground sprinklers that we ran in the early morning b/c our lawn was GREEN (and we are in a drought area) but he never saw us watering. We have a grass type that is hearty and gave up on bluegrass. We also decided this year to really, really pare down any annuals.

    In other areas we have reduced:

    Laundry soap down to 1/8 of the given cup; 2 tsp of fabric softener when I use it; stopped using purchased cleaning products and made my own; 1 TB of dishwashing soap along with baking soda. We use 1/2 the amount of shampoo, soap and toothpaste. We don't use notepads anymore--we cut up recycled paper into fourths and staple it together for notepads.

    We rely heavily on the library and have stopped buying books (ok, I bought Eat Pray Love for my Bible Study Book club but got it cheap online--promises to be a lively topic!). I know there are other things but I can't think of them right now. Some are just so part of our lives that they don't seem like a sacrifice or even frugal any more. Just normal!

  • Wed, Apr 9 2008 10:30 AM In reply to

    Re: Cutting back on stuff besides food?

    We have done some of the other things listed here (traded paper napkins and paper towels for cloth, use less of laundry detergent, etc).

    But the main thing that I have been working on is reducing our energy (gas & electric) bill.  I couldn't believe that it was $315 in February-that is really high for us in the Winter.  So I have started hanging more loads to dry, become really conscious of lights that are left on unneccessarily, and lastly, I turned off our heat about a month ago.  It can get chilly in the morning hours so we wear sweats and heavier pajamas for the kids but by mid morning-the sun is shining and the house starts heating up so no problem.  My bill dropped to $175 in March and am hoping for an even further drop in April.  I expect to pay a lot in the Summer because it is 110+ here and we use our air conditioning, but the Winter shouldn't be so expensive!

    Am certainly taking other steps with both food and other household items but I am somewhat obsessed with our energy usage right now!

  • Wed, Apr 9 2008 10:45 AM In reply to

    Re: Cutting back on stuff besides food?

    Dear All, When I need boiling water, I heat it in the teakettle instead of itn the pot, & then pour the boiling water into the pot.  THis takes much less time, so I assume that it is also taking less energy.  The building pays for the stove's gas, but I still want to conserve for the environment's sake.  Yours in Him, Deb

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Government & Charity Assistance

    Proud guardian of Heart, a black female Miniature Poodle, a Psychiatric Service Dog

    Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise; give thanks to Him, bless His Name. (Psalm 100)

    Yours in thrift, Deborah

  • Wed, Apr 9 2008 12:31 PM In reply to

    Re: Cutting back on stuff besides food?


    I also have stopped using Paper towels, and we only use paper plates and plastic eating utensils when we  are camping. I stopped using paper towels a long time ago, I just hated the waste of throwing them away.

    I use only the smallest amount of toothpaste on my brush, but I don't put water on it before brushing, just after I have used the paste up then I start using a  bit of water on the brush to rinse with mostly.

    I use homemade laundry detergent, and it is so much cheaper than any boughten brand. I use vinegar for my rinse, instead of fabric softener. I just don't like the way the towels feel when you use fabric softener on them and they don't absorb the water when drying dishes either.

    When I do dishes I use a sponge with a scrubber on the one side, and I just put a small drop on the sponge and when it quits sudsing I just put another drop on it, it sure does save a lot of detergent when you use it this way too. I save a lot of my plastic jars that jelly etc comes in for use for my herbal teas when I want to store them after drying. They look as pretty as the store bought jars and I already paid for them, when I bought jelly.

    I limit my toilet paper useage, three squares for the pee, five for the poo. You can fold them up to be doubled and they wipe just as well as a whole handful and I don't have to buy it nearly as often since I have been doing this.

    I don't buy dog/cat treats anymore. I just give them a small amount of the others dry food, they don't know it isn't a "treat" and I am not wasting money on something they don't need anyway. The cat just loves the dogfood, and the same goes for the dog and the cat food.

    I do watch out for the electric and  gas usage a lot more than I had before. I hate to give all DH's hard earned money to others, when I think we could be using it for better things, like savings or paying off a bill early.


    ...and may the Lord bless us, with all we need. AMEN
  • Wed, Apr 9 2008 4:16 PM In reply to

    • rolo
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Apr 4 2007
    • Michigan
    • Posts 1,932

    Re: Cutting back on stuff besides food?

    We cut back on spending for toiletries quite a while ago.

    Baking soda for tooth brushing. We get our floss and brushes from the dentist, several times a year and free for the asking.

    We purchase bar soap, unwrap and let it dry out until it cracks before using.  Takes quite a while so you need to keep on top of it.  The dried out soap lasts FOREVER in the shower.  We have hard water and if we don't use the dried out soap it melts away in ONE week.  

    We found out that the dollar store brand of Pantene ProV 2 in 1 works just a good as the pricey brand name.

    Baby oil and sugar for a great skin softening scrub in the shower, baby oil from the dollar store too.

    Baby oil and petro. jelly for dry skin needs, other than on face.

    A tip I picked up on here: olive oil dabbed on the face works great for dry spots.

    We recently have found Queene Helene cocoa butter cream in a small jar and it works great for dry skin; the lotion in the tall bottle is thick and rich and both are great dollar store finds: $1.00 for each of those items.  A very soft cocoa butter scent, which is very nice.

    We haven't been able to find a good replacement for our favorite Gillette Daisy Classic razors and the they have jumped in price by just over $1.00 in the past few months.

    Also haven't found a cheaper replacement that we feel works as good in the feminine products department.  


    That is the killer.  Up and up and no relief in sight.   Dial down, conserve, or go w/o AC and the bill just keeps rising. 


    Dh commutes about 90 miles round trip daily for his work.  Teen dd and I conserve our gasoline as much as possible by walking about to the store, etc. and condensing driving to the minimum.  We still have to allot $350 monthly for gasoline.





    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." ~~ Dalai Lama XIV -

  • Wed, Apr 9 2008 10:40 PM In reply to

    Re: Cutting back on stuff besides food?

    I am cutting back on the annuals that we would normally plant in the flower beds.  I saved many things over the winter and have been taking slips and starting to root in water.  (My mom does this all the time).  Also, started packets of flower seeds and they are going great-I don't have huge expectations just trying to save on the otherwise $15.00 per flat that things were at last year.  We're expanding our vegetable garden this year...a little patience can go a long way.

     No extra's-got a starbucks coupon in our newspapaer for free coffee on Wednesdays..what a treat to get the coffee this morning.  It's good until May 28th and you just keep reusing.  Thus, I brewed a few cups less and home because I knew I had the coupon.

    I'm trying to use and reuse as many things as possible.  Also-keeping good notes and planning trips and thinking more before we start the car.  Gas is $3.55 here in the midwest and expected to climb.  I fill up when I see low prices even if only a few gallons.  It was a .10 difference yesterday between stations and I save $1.00 for stopping for 5 minutes.

    Not renewing the USA Today paper-will keep our local regional paper only. 

    Best of luck all


  • Wed, Apr 9 2008 10:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Cutting back on stuff besides food?

    Today I made laundry soap for the dark was only,  and I finished off making an other blanket I get the material from the thriftshop and for cutting back a dimesized drop of tooth paste to make it last longer and now to finish my braided rug, oh forgot instead of 68degress on the heater starter turned it to 60 dgrees thats it sports fans.

  • Thu, Apr 10 2008 9:12 AM In reply to

    Re: Cutting back on stuff besides food?

    Mostly we've cut back on the errands we run, I used to ask dh to get something off free cycle that was in a town 20 miles from home now I look to see where it is before responding to the post or asking him to take me some where. When we run our errands we try to get as many as we can in on one day and try to make them as close to each other as possible to save on gas. In another couple weeks I'll be starting the solar powered clothes dryer (stringing the clothes line) and telling ds#2 to use that unless it's raining out to save on the power bill.

    thrift is a sign of intelligence, any fool can spend money

    A merry heart does good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17 verse 22
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