Tuesday, March 17, 2009


This Cheapskate had some good ideas on how to save money.

1. Don't have a cell phone. Lucky Chris' work pays for his Blackberry otherwise he'd be like me: cell phone less.

2. Get rid of a car. I guess the average American household has 2 1/2 cars. This would be nearly impossible for us. We need our 2nd vehicle. Besides we don't have car payments and insurance is reasonable. Gas is another story.

3. Give up meals outside of the home. He said that "40 percent of the average American family household food budget is spent on meals prepared outside the home."
Wow!! I was wondering about this exact topic because we eat maybe once or twice a month out of the home (minus Chris' lunch but those are mostly expensed) and I've been wondering what other people do. My goal is to spend not more than $150 every two weeks on groceries but I'm averaging $180 right now. It's pretty slim pickings towards the end of the two weeks but I can be creative towards that time if I put my mind to it.

4. Don't buy new clothes. If you looked at us you'd say....they need some new clothes. We actually NEED to go do this ASAP. We don't spend anywhere near as much as this article is saying people spend. It says $1800 per family!! I'm thinking per year. Geesh, what would that be like???


5. Let your college kids live at home while they go to school. He made a good point...that these kids accrue a lot of debt and then what happens after graduation??? They move back home.

So there you have it. These aren't ideas too surprising or anything you haven't thought of before.

I would add:

1. Unplug, unplug, and unplug that is things that don't need to be plugged into outlets.

2. Turn your furnace down a setting or two. This has saved us quite a bit on our gas bill in the past. It's back up to the highest setting for us but if you can turn it down and still have enough hot water for your needs, I say leave it down.

3. Turn it off. The computer doesn't have to be on all the time, same with the lights, radio, t.v. lamps, blah, blah, blah.

What are your cheapskate idea?


Loyd said...

why do so many families have half a car? what do they do with it?

ang said...

how in the heck do you only spend $150 every two weeks on groceries????? what is your secret?????

lucy said...

Ang, I went back and did the math. I spend on average $180.00 a month but my goal is $150. I think what brings it up is friend get togethers and taking in meals. I'm always having to do runs for fruits and milk. Those two things go fast here. I don't know if I have any secrets. We probably just don't eat as fancy as others. I'm just not sure.

Chris said...

I think its because we make most of our food from scratch. The only items we don't, would be bread, tortillas, some canned goods like spaghetti sauce (although I did make a mean alfredo sauce from scratch the other day. Nancy is great with keeping us on budget.

lucy said...

And I'll mention our own chickens that lay our eggs, the wheat we grind ourselves, and the rice patties in our back yard. hhahaha. just kidding.

ang said...

wait...now it's $180 a month?! not even every two weeks!??!?

you absolutely must send me a sample shopping list and a sample menu for a month of eating with y'all. seriously. email me. ang978(at)yahoo(dot)com

(i deleted that last comment because i had typed your last name in there...didn't know if that info was under wraps or not...)

Carson Calderwood said...

I started to believe you about the chickens and grinding.

Our cheapskate ideas:

-making old cars last
-buying in bulk
-research extensively before making purchases
-have a personal spending budget
-do it yourself instead of paying someone to do it
-buy it online. You can get many things on ebay from china at a much cheaper price and also save on sales tax
-commit to not buying it unless it is on sale
-learn ahead of time when different stores have sales and wait until that time of year to buy

lucy said...

Ang, I WISH. I think it would be rice and beans everyday if I got down that low. But it's about $360/month give or take.

Earlier this year I was wondering how much I go out to eat due to not wanting to cook and was wondering what I do cook. I rarely ever remember. So from 1/3 to 2/17 I actually wrote it down. I have never done that before and haven't since.

Have you ever been embarrassed to tell people what you feed your kids? And glad no one is around? I do!

Chris said...

I've been surprised how much I can do in personal car repairs. Searching online, is one of the best ways to learn about your car and how to fix various problems. It also makes for a great Saturday project to do with the boys.

lucy said...

I'll just go in order.

3-Shepard's pie
4-Spaghetti w/ homemade meatballs, homemade bread, veg., orange Julius
6-German Pancakes
7-Fried chicken/mashed potatoes/peas
8-Chicken Danish Dumpling soup/homemade bread
9-Tonkatsu(breaded pork fried)/rice
10-Salad (for dinner)
12-Homemade pizza
13-Gyoza (potstickers)
14-Ck Tamales
15-Stuffed green peppers and lettuce wraps
16-Chicken, spinach curry/rice
17-Chris and I ate at the melting pot (33% of the months food budget BTW) kids had potato bar
19-Potato pancakes and ham, apples, and orange Julius
20-Chicken noodle soup
21-French onion soup/home made bread/ home made donuts (never again)
22-Fried Ck, mashed potato, corn and coleslaw
23-Meat Loaf/potato salad
24-Thai-ish shrimp soup
25-Sweet and Sour pork and shrimp (Chris made)
26-German pancakes (again, kids love it)
27-Egg/cheese omelet
28-Kid's choice (which mean cereal)
29-Hamburger helper/peas (towards the end of the month I often start going for food storage, packaged foods)
30-Lettuce Wraps

1-Dinner at friend's house (brought in fruit/dip)
2-BBQ ck, potatoes, Cole slaw
3-repeat but with rice
6-Ck potato pancakes
7-Friend's house (brought in something)
8-Ck noodle soup
9--left overs
10-ck/rice/veggies/japanese furikaku
11-German pancakes (again)
12-Eggs and rice
13-Ck, rice, gravy, green beans, stuffing
15-Friends (brought in fruit)
16-Spagetti (by Chris)
17-Ck noodle soup (7 layer dip when friends were over)

After that I stopped recording.

lucy said...

sorry Ang, I see where you are getting the 180/month. that was a typo.

ang said...

do you plan out your meals ahead of time? and what are german pancakes??

lucy said...

On most days I don't plan my meals ahead of time. I usually just make sure I have basic ingredients to work with ie. eggs, milk, flour, rice, potatos, veggies, bread, pasta, meats. While I'm at the store, if something is on sale that I usually don't get (shrimp) or I'm in the mood to make something high maintenance (gyoza) that I haven't in a while then I'll purchase the ingredients. I probably should plan ahead so that I can be more creative. On occasion I use coupons, but I probably should more often.

German pancakes are really fluffy bread/pancake like things and the kids love them with some powdered sugar and once in a while with maple syrup. Also served with berries is yummy. They take a lot of eggs and I bake them in my oven right in my cast iron pans. Fairly easy and I know the kids aren't going to whine and give me a hard time about eating dinner.

I don't necessarily enjoy or dislike cooking. I just know it's cheaper and can be healthier and it's a better choice for us. I try to stay away from packaged things although I do buy juice boxes for K's school lunches, fishys, and other things. When I do splurge on the "fun" snacks, my grocery bill is easily increased.

I use to buy frozen chicken nuggets and french fries for when I'm in a bind and tempted to get fast food. Then I just can make it myself pretty quickly. But, I haven't in a while because it's too easy for me to be a slacker. I'm usually thinking about dinner right after school and even starting it then since we often have activities in the evenings.

I've had to get organized and the mentality to just do it or I'll pay later on that day if I don't.

About the grocery list...my last was from Maceys (I spent maybe $100). Kinda boring stuff.

I was more excited about my previous 2 weeks. I went to Smiths, Reams, and Maceys. Smiths had some rock'n deals and Reams had some awesome deals on veg/fruit, and at Maceys I got a few things (I mostly like their bread). But, I got so much stuff on that day for cheap by going to all 3 stores. It was all on the way but sort of a pain for the kids.