Before You Rent
I always talk to my neighbors when I am planning to rent a big piece of equipment, such as a rototiller or carpet cleaner. Two or three people can usually use the item in the time allotted (such as a weekend) and split the cost.
A Simpler Christmas
I know most kids have too many toys. Some moms can't even get their kids to pick up their toys because the kids get so overwhelmed. If you are a busy mom like me, then you don't have time to pick up the toys for them. I have decided this year there will be no inside toys for Christmas from us or Santa. I plan to purchase outside items only.
Look for appliance resellers. I bought my kitchen appliances from a place in MI called Ted's Appliance. This company buys used appliances and refurbishes them. They supply an 18-month warranty. I paid less than $1000 for a stove, dishwasher, and fridge. There is always many styles to choose from, and they have energy efficient products, too. Plus, they are right here if I need to have repairs done on my appliances or choose to upgrade.
Cheaper? Or Better?
Yes, sometimes "living better for less" means spending more initially. It's not being penny-wise and pound-foolish. If you buy better quality things, they last. You save by not having to replace over and over. This is especially true with items that are used daily like pots and pans. I have a Calphalon set (Analon), and I've had it almost 15 years. I have taken care of it and only use plastic in it. I also made sure to buy the set on sale in the first place.
When Smaller Is Better
Our refrigerator died recently. When we went to price new ones, they were out of our budget. We got a 4.4 cubic ft. compact refrigerator for under $150 instead. We already have a large freezer and there are only two of us living in the house, so we have more than enough space to store our cold food. Since we bought the small refrigerator, we have noticed several benefits. Our power bill is lower. We have less food waste because we can see everything in the refrigerator. It is easy to clean, and because space is limited, we no longer buy too much.
Simple Stain Remover
I have five sons and a lot of stains to deal with. I went through bottles and bottles of stain remover and hours upon hours of work. Recently, on my monthly shopping trip, I forgot to buy stain remover. I decided to try adding some white vinegar to the load of laundry along with my regular detergent. I let it soak overnight and everything washed out beautifully, including grass stains. I am so pleased to find such a simple way to do the laundry! I just dump about a cup of vinegar in the washing machine. I've found that even if they soak for less time, the clothes still get clean.
At Home Extra Income
I work at home. I do marketing and do this when the kids are napping or in the evening. I know they are always looking for part-time night and weekend people at Walmart, Target, etc. Also, after school daycare for the neighbors is good. I did this before my marketing job took off, and had 5 kids from 3:30pm to 5:30/6pm. I could still cook dinner, and they all played so well together. It was easy money.
Easy Homemade Bread
I bought a bread maker from a thrift store for $7. I use it to knead the dough for me (takes about 45 minutes). Then I use the dough to make French bread, white bread, rolls, or pizza crust based on the recipe. I use regular all-purpose flour instead of the expensive bread machine flour and haven't noticed a difference in taste or quality. It does take some planning (I usually bake on the weekends), but it has more than paid for itself many times over.
Holiday Table Settings
If you are having a larger crowd for a holiday dinner, etc., having nice dinner plates for your table is possible. Just watch for pretty or bone china plates in thrift stores. Each can be purchased for about $0.50, and the different patterns will make your table look beautiful. This is a great idea for people just starting out with new households. Also, the plates can be used for gifts filled with homemade candies, baked goods, etc.
Dru T. in Gold Beach, OR
Time to Buy Turkey
When turkeys are on sale, I buy a fresh turkey and have the butcher cut it up like a cut up chicken. They do not charge extra for this. I freeze the pieces individually on a tray that is covered with wax paper overnight. Then I put them in plastic bags, using one bag for several pieces.
I buy a frozen turkey and have the butcher cut it into fourths or sixths. This saves a lot of money.
always get turkey fairly cheap during the holidays.
When ham goes on sale for Christmas, I buy a large ham and again have the butcher slice it into ham steaks or in smaller pieces. I buy it with the bone in. I buy a second ham and have it cut into fourths or sixths and have small hams to bake. I freeze it all just like I do the turkey. The ham needs to be used up a little faster than the turkey. Use it within five months or so.