Have been put in mind of a comment I made to a Blogger who requested Thrifty Tips at www.mychurch.org/blog/383932/Thrifty-Tips-Wanted I am cutting and pasting it and posting it below and am adding some additional Practical Ideas to it. You may want to visit the Link above ... a very special lady and friend writes a Blog on numerous Topics and other Bloggers and Friends responded to her request for Thrifty Tips ... Mine being only one of many. Enjoy!

Craigs List is a good place to find deals in your area, and some barter and offer free stuff too ... as does www.freecycle.org. Think used before you think new... as many people do not use what they buy as an impulse by... or they only use it once then try to find a home for it. Regift such items... or buy at thrift shops/yard sales when you can, for Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary, Wedding, Thinking of you gifts... and keep a box of such items to pick from.

www.AngelFoodMinistry.com and greatfoodforall.com are two places to buy food at a low price. See if there is one in your area by posting your zip code at their website, if not, think about beginning one with the help of local volunteers. Their menu changes every month and you can see the current menu at their site, before you decide if you want to find one or not... so do check it out.

In our small community, four years ago we began a 'Free Community Exchange' along side a 'Free Pot Luck' on the last Saturday of each month. This past Summer we expanded to the next small town with a Free Community Meal on the 3rd Saturday. We are finding this to be a way for the Community to come together and get to know each other more intimately again ... people donate items to us and we give then away for free, one does not need to give/exchange to receive. Other Volunteers have joined us... it is something we believe the Spirit of God led us to start and we can see a need for it to grow from community to community as the idea catches on and people are finding themselves struggling financially. Several local churches offer their facilities for free and ask for donations/volunteers during their Sunday Services.... and we post Flyer's all month to draw the community in. We call it 'Feed My Sheep'... if anyone wants advice as to how to do this in their local Community, contact me at Networkers@msn.com and I will willingly give details.

Check out your local papers for other such things which may be going on... there you will find other groups that you can network with, refer or utilize yourself, such as the local Pregnancy Crisis Center, where one can get help with baby items/food for example.

The local Health Departments and Fire Departments have Free Community Programs in our are to help with free flu shots and free car seats ect. If you check them out fairly regularly you will see what's available for time to time. Sometimes such things are posted at the local Library Bulletin Boards too.

Speaking of the Library... they have free movies and story hours they offer (a way to get your children out and entertain them for free, especially in the colder weather when the local Parks are too cold to hang out at)... and they are a great place to check out free DVD's and VCR's, CD's, books on tape, as well as books... saves on having to buy/rent. In our Local Community we also have a group called "Friends of the Library" where we can buy used books for very low prices. Used Books Stores often take books and give you credit for future purchases.

If you have children, see if there are local programs offered for free for them via you local community center. If your budget it tight, there are Free Scholarships/Grants available... and sometimes some places/organizations like the local Dance Studio or Art Center, Community Sports Clubs or Boys and Girls Clubs will let your child in for free or on a barter basis, (you help clean up after wards, for example). They usually know of resources you can utilize like Summer Camps and other Programs. They will also know if there are any Free Meals available during the summer for those under 18, to supplement the Free Breakfast and Lunch Programs offered during the school year.

With regard to school... those who are struggling to purchase school supplies may want to check with the Boys and Girls Clubs and local Organizations. Many of them have items they give away to help fray the costs and the Principal usually has Funds set aside too. When it comes to finding School Clothes... many Churches help in that area... don't be afraid to call around. Again... keep your eye out in the local paper under the Events Section... in our area... every year we have a church who offers free oil changes for Single Moms once a year... and every fall there is a Health Fair which offers free Cholesterol Tests, Flu Shots, Blood Pressure Checks, Eye Exams and the like. They usually also have info available which will tell you of other services.

Barter when you can. Our Local Dance Studio loves to help out struggling families by having the parents help out where needed. Some Tradesman are willing to Barter skill for skill.

If your income is below $29,000 in most areas you can get shots and some dental care from the Local Health Department for free or at a reduced rate. Teaching Hospitals affiliated with Universities will work with you on payments plans and will often reduce their Charges.

More and more Pharmacies sell some generic medicine for $4.00 per prescription. Buy Generic first... if you check the ingredients you will discover they are exactly the same as Brand Names.

During the Holiday Local Churches and Benevolent Organizations offer Food Baskets and sometimes will have families who want to adopt a struggling family so they can purchase Christmas Gifts for them. Social Services and the Salvation Army (ask about their Angel Tree Program) usually begin taking names around September... and stop around November 1.

See if you can qualify for the local Food Bank... you don't have to be a part of a Social Services Program to quality in some areas. Farmer's Markets often donate excess to them in the summer, as does 'Hunters for the Hungry'... (they donate deer meat), and some Grocery Stores offer day old Bread and Baked Goods. Sometimes these places will take your name and call you when they have too much deer meat... if you don't quality, as they hate to toss frozen deer meat etc when they need to make room for fresh food. If you volunteer often some will give you of their excess too... and it's a excellent place to serve.... you will be given many prayer burdens as you do.

Buy from Local Farmer's Markets/Produce Stands, they are usually cheaper than the Grocer. Most people who sell at Farmer's Markets are willing to sell (for less) or give away bruised/blemished veggies and fruit, which can be used to can or freeze. (A miss shaped tomato for example will not sell) If they are too bruised, and you grow your own food/plants and need free compost... they are usually willing to give you the stuff which is rotting, and you can compost it or give it to your farm animals as table scraps.

If you decide to check out www.Craigslist.com for free items you might want to consider looking for free or cheap compost and spoiled straw. (Hay has Seeds) It's amazing what is sold or given away there... I've known people who have upgraded their homes through them.

Grow your own food if you have the space... start some plants indoors early... such as tomatoes and peppers, the seeds will usually last for more than one year and save on the overall cost and you get your harvest earlier than if you had purchased them. Grow your own herbs too!. Herbs can be expensive, fresh or dried. Preserve your own fruits and veggies ect. If you don't have land, pick up a large plastic barrel saw it in half, fill it with enriched soil and use it as a planter for some veggies.

Plastic Barrels can be used to catch rain and used to water plants.

Local Farmers are usually willing to donate or sell for $5.00 a truck load of muck from their barns, which can be used to make free Compost. Such when it is composted produces free rich soil. (don't be afraid to ask, and to be resourceful, people are usually willing to give away to someone who has such a willing spirit to do for themselves or is need of saving) Don't forget to compost weeds and table scraps, which are not meat items.

Before putting Mulch down... lay a thick layer of cardboard or Newspaper, or Magazines down first; you can get excess from the Recycling Center. This will keep the weeds from growing through as quick. It will eventually breakdown and create compost, which enriches the soil, breeds worms which are beneficial to your plants and helps keep the plants moist during a dry season ... saves on the water bill too.

The Local Tree Pruning Service the Highway Dept uses, are usually willing to deliver you free chipped up trees at the end of their day you can use for free mulch... (they trim in winter too and you can collect it then and use it later). Sometimes local woodworkers are willing to give away free shavings for mulch/pet cages and sawdust to be mixed with cattle or horse manure, to improve soil which is heavy with clay, (some consider shredded leaves mixed in with the soil to be better). A bedding 3-5 feet around Blueberry Bushes is a great source of Acid and it helps them to produce more fruit.

Speaking of Fruit... if you have the space... plant Fruit Trees ... think Edible Landscaping. Some Trees may take a few years to come to maturity, but you will have plenty of fruit later if you do. Whenever Mother's Day came... my children would give me a Fruit Tree as a gift. I have a Persimmon, Apricot, Figs, Sweet Cherries, Peach, Plum/Prune, Apple, (some self pollinate, some need a mate and we bought the Dwarf size and those which grow best in our local). Last year I planted a English Walnut and this year I have an Almond ordered. If space is a problem try smaller plants and bushes. We also have Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, and Grape Vines. When Spring comes... I hope to visit http://www.ediblelandscaping.com/ it's fairly close... to check out some plants which are not as common ... we still have some available land.

Grow your own mushrooms... if you like to use a lot of them. They can be grown indoors all year and outdoors too.

Also... I take the mushroom stems and boil them and then cool them, then I puree them and freeze the broth either in a large batch for soup flavoring... or in ice cube trays or small dishes, to add flavor. Boil down left over carcasses from Ham's, Turkeys, Chickens, Beef and the like and freeze the broth for seasoning later, with or without the meat you picked off. (Ice cubes or larger batches) Take the bones and give some to your Dog to gnaw on to keep their teeth clean, it's cheaper than buying raw hide bone at the pet shop... or toss bones at the far corner of your property for wildlife, if your into feeding nature as we are. The bones are gone the next day in most cases. (You can also take left over bacon grease and mix it with stale bread crumbs, cereal, crackers, cookies, oatmeal cooked or dry, peanut butter, nuts and bird seed, ect and freeze it and then put it out on a cold winters day to feed the birds).

Speaking of leftovers... you can take any leftovers and put them in a large canning jar, or container of some sort and freeze it until you have a large batch to make Hodge Podge Soup out of. (yes you can mix and match meats, gravies, veggies, a little here a little there, adds up to a flavorful pot of soup later).

You can use left over bread for bread pudding, bread crumbs, homemade croutons, and the like. One can do the same with crackers... I have a great recipe for Toffee Cookies made out of Crackers. Bread can be freshened see: www.ehow.com/how_2182009_freshen-stale-bread.html is a great site to find out how to do lots of things!

Make your own homemade hot chocolate mix, Bisquick, pudding, bread crumbs, cakes, French fried ect... this is more economical in the long run if you have the time and inclination. If you don't already do so and you need to save money and are conscience of portion control... why not consider bagging up small bags of potato chips rather than buying them prebagged.... have the kids do them the day before, for themselves to save you time, or better yet have them do it with you if your looking for ways to spend time with family while doing chores with them. Reuse the plastic bags that meat and produce comes in for Cherries or Grapes in School Lunches... and if you do not already do so... start packing lunches again and make their snacks and cakes from Scratch or from a Master Mix (Recipes offered on a Post elsewhere on this Blog)... especially on Special Occasions ... that can save a lot of money, and if you do it with the children you are teaching them how to cook. If you have a seal a meal, you can reseal the cracker, chip and cereal bags to keep food fresh longer.

Buy items when on sale, especially food and make your meals based upon what you bought on sale, rather than on an impulse buy. Stock up on Pantry items when they go on sale or you have a coupon for them. Meat is usually marked down in the morning... but ask the gentleman behind the window.

Invite a struggling Family over for Dinner... or trade off with other Families on a regular basis and share larger meals such as a Turkey, Ham, Pot of Stew and the like ... this is a good way to form a social group or Cooperative. Speaking of Cooperative... buy bulk together and save on costs. Don't forget to boil down that Carcass... Ham, Chicken, Turkey etc... and use the meat/broth for other meals like Pot Pies, Soups, Chicken and Dumplings and the like. Freeze extras portions for later meals *Homemade Master Mix Bisquick can be used for the Dumplings and Pot Pies.

Plan recipes based on what you have on hand which needs to be used up. Shop with a list so you are not tempted to buy what you don't need, and never shop hungry and when you do buy an item on sale, think about what you have in stock already to make a meal out of, and buy items accordingly for the recipe.Always check the price per pound and buy what is most economical if you use the product up quickly. Sale items are not always cost effective... so even if something is on sale, look at the price per pound on that item, the store brand, which in some cases taste just as good.

Before walking up the the register or before putting it in the cart, think again.... is this necessary? When you can, stock up.... for a rainy day. Make it homemade when you can... and make a large portion and freeze part of it for a day when your too busy to cook. Defrosting in the Microwave on such days is a real time saver.

Hang Clothes out to dry... and freshen them up in the dryer to get the wrinkles out just before you put them on... if you haven't already done so... you may discover you like the fresh scent of air drying them and save on the cost of fabric softeners. Take a small Cloth and soak it in some Fabric Softener and use it as a dryer sheet... and when the scent begins to go away... add a little more, no need to resoak it.

If you need to use a dryer, use it at night, the rates are lower. Use all of your appliances at night for that reason (like Dishwasher). Did you know it's less expensive to use a dishwasher than to hand wash? Saves on water, time and energy. Put you Computer on a Sleep Mode... saves on energy and unplug small appliances or put them on a outlet that you can turn off when not in use lie a surge protector.... even though you are not using them, they do use up some energy when plugged in. Turn out the lights when you leave the room and consider the benefits of not leaving the TV on for background noise ... it not only saves on money, but it gives you an opportunity to think on your own. Plus... the benefit of peace and quiet or the sound of Nature or putting on soft music instead is more conducive to being relaxed. That means less stress and less stress helps you fall asleep easier, and it is better for your health (blood pressure) and attitude. Also getting 8 hours of rest is good for your health and attitude as well. AND if your healthy... that saves on Medical Bills.

Consider checking out some of Dr Oz's Links - www.doctoroz.com. They give you helpful tips on Health which if you make them part of your lifestyle can keep you away from the Doctors.

Use light bulbs which are energy efficient. They may cost more up front, but they last longer and cost less to use. Buy them one at a time if need by. We bought the kind which shine with a white light 'daylight' as we like it bright in our home. They come 3 way too if you want to have a softer light at light. LED lights are great too.

If you can... insulate your home well. Turn down the heat in rooms that you don't use or close some of the vents and doors to these rooms when not in use, (guest rooms) and put a drafts stop at the bottom on the door which leads into the Hall so the cold air does not come into the rest of the house.

Make your own 'green' cleaning products.... there are lots of recipes on line. Also... when picking cleaning chemical... if your not going green, keep in mind, Ammonia and Water is an inexpensive cleaner... it's not necessary to purchase Brand Name Cleaners if your looking on ways to save. Vinegar and water does wonders for windows and you can use discarded Newspaper instead of paper towels. (Pick up Free Papers for this use). Before I was married I owned a Housecleaning Company "Keepers of the Home" and I know of lots of cleaning tips I will share in another post someday.

Instead of Paper Products... use cloth Napkins and Hand Towels and use Rags for cleaning.

If your not picky about pet food... if you have table scraps... collect a day or so worth of scrapings off plates and Feed your Pet's this. Use to be... back before it became Popular to purchase dry dog food... this is what most people did... and they cut back on the dry food by mixing such in.

Find creative ways to recycle... for example, cut attractive buttons off worn out garments and refresh a favorite garment by sewing them on. Sheets and Bedspreads can be used as fabric for making Curtains, even Shower Curtains and they are great for Quilting liners.

Save Scraps of Soap and put them in an empty liquid soap container with a little water and fragrant oil to make your own Hand Soap ... once it dissolves it works like new.

Combine left over lotions and add your own scent to it them when the container is full ... put the containers in hot water or the microwave for a few seconds to melt them enough to pour them out easily when you get to the end of the container. Save until you have a batch then add the scent. Make you own Essential Oil. *I have a Post telling you how here, under the Topic Aromatherapy.

After using Scented Candles... save the left over scraps and put them in a Potpourri container or in a warming jar under a tea light Candle to get the most of them. When the scent needs refreshing... add some Essential Oil

Well that's all for this post.... enjoy!

Would very much appreciate it if you added tips and ideas of your own below, they don't all have to be thrifty ... practical works, all categories are welcome. In 0ther Posts I will be posting ~ Thrifty Recipes and Practical Substitutions ~ hope you will come back and join in with me when I do ... in the meantime, please leave your link in the section on the left, created with people like you in mind!
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2 comments:

On 1:58 PM , Sharon said...

I loved this post and have posted something as well about thrift store shopping on my own blog today!We were on the same page Bren!Love~Sharon

 
On 3:51 PM , bren said...

Great Sharon... Am gonna post the link you speak of above here so others can find it: http://sharingsharon.blogspot.com/