Author Topic: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?  (Read 1924179 times)

PMG

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7550 on: November 10, 2016, 08:29:58 AM »
I started a new pair of pj shorts from fabric I had.  Will finish them soon!

I took the time to add pockets to them and just finished them. They fit great and are comfortable and cute!  I am so pleased. I don't wear shorts often outside the house but I need new running shorts and next summer I'll want at least one pair for casual wear.  This pattern might just work for both of those uses with appropriate fabric, or work as a guide to help me refashion the too big ones I own.  That leads to even more saving! I am pleased.

I also glued the pleather back in place on my cell phone case. It lacks in aesthetic but is functional again.

« Last Edit: November 10, 2016, 08:52:44 AM by PMG »

KCalla

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7551 on: November 10, 2016, 10:34:00 AM »
Several number touch pads on our over the range microwave have not been working for some time. For example, to set One Minute, we'd key in 60 seconds since the 1 did not work.  Tried Unplugging  it, wait, plug it back in --  helped for one number only.   Searched the internet and you tube and thought, why not try a fix idea I found.  We unplugged the microwave (critical first step!), loosened the control panel, and as suggested on line, loosened, re inserted and re captured the flat ribbon connector.  So far, everything except the power percentage control, which we rarely use, is now working well. 
The idea was that, over time, opening and closing the microwave door and perhaps steam exposure had degraded the amount of contact the ribbon had with its receiver.  I don't know about that, but do love that it's working again.
We're surprised and thrilled by our success!
If it happens again, we will may disconnect all of the wire contact plug ins and wipe them off and reinsert. 

PriestTheRunner

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7552 on: November 10, 2016, 10:42:41 AM »
Several number touch pads on our over the range microwave have not been working for some time. For example, to set One Minute, we'd key in 60 seconds since the 1 did not work.  Tried Unplugging  it, wait, plug it back in --  helped for one number only.   Searched the internet and you tube and thought, why not try a fix idea I found.  We unplugged the microwave (critical first step!), loosened the control panel, and as suggested on line, loosened, re inserted and re captured the flat ribbon connector.  So far, everything except the power percentage control, which we rarely use, is now working well. 
The idea was that, over time, opening and closing the microwave door and perhaps steam exposure had degraded the amount of contact the ribbon had with its receiver.  I don't know about that, but do love that it's working again.
We're surprised and thrilled by our success!
If it happens again, we will may disconnect all of the wire contact plug ins and wipe them off and reinsert.

Use dielectric grease if you take it back apart, it'll prevent the steam penetration between the contacts.  You can apply it to the relevant points using a q-tip.  :)
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OmahaSteph

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7553 on: November 10, 2016, 11:54:21 AM »
Swiped a can of soda from an office meeting yesterday and brought it back to my desk. It made for a nice treat today.

Pulled stuff out of the freezer to make a meal for tonight (made it last night for tonight) instead of waiting until the last minute.

Tomorrow will be taking advantage of a free family fun night organized by the school system at our local activity center. Saves us about $15 in swim fees and the kids have a blast with their friends. Will eat dinner beforehand to avoid expensive treats while there.

KCalla

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7554 on: November 10, 2016, 02:13:55 PM »
Thank you PriestTheRunner.  You have taught me about another new thing.  Will do this next time.
Karen

Bracken_Joy

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7555 on: November 10, 2016, 02:31:17 PM »
Usual things:

worked out in my home gym instead of having a gym membership

made a mocha at home instead of going out for coffee

still working at deep cleaning the house since purchase, instead of hiring a maid for the first big push (onto little random things now, like cleaning some old air freshener drips off a section of wall)
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soccerluvof4

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7556 on: November 10, 2016, 02:59:16 PM »
Pulled into a sub shop parking lot to get a sandwich and after a brief pause went home and made a salad instead!
" In life you don't get what you deserve you get what you negotiate"

frooglepoodle

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7557 on: November 10, 2016, 05:14:44 PM »
Packed food for a long weekend trip - muffins for breakfast, empanadas and sandwiches on homemade sourdough for lunches and dinners, apples for snacks. We will probably only get two meals out in 3.5 days away from home.

I skipped a formal work event that was mandatory for DH - saved $75 on a ticket and $40 on childcare.

PMG

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7558 on: November 10, 2016, 05:36:57 PM »
Did the Kroger survey to get extra fuel points.  I'm trying to get lots of extra points this month since we'll be renting a car and traveling for Christmas. I should end up with 40 cents off/ gallon of gas. 


NV Teacher

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7559 on: November 11, 2016, 07:52:58 AM »
Did the Kroger survey to get extra fuel points.  I'm trying to get lots of extra points this month since we'll be renting a car and traveling for Christmas. I should end up with 40 cents off/ gallon of gas.

One thing I do to get extra gas points is volunteer to do the shopping for work events at Kroger.  We have some kind of event every couple of months so the extra points add up over the year.

nessness

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7560 on: November 11, 2016, 01:24:55 PM »
Had an offer for a free Starbucks drink so I redeemed it. It was good but I can't believe how many people regularly spend $5 on them!

Returned a shirt and a sweater - I only have about 3 months left in what will probably be my last pregnancy, so I decided I need to make do with what I have rather than buying any more maternity clothes. The thrift store was offering a 50% discount for veterans. I asked if it applied to military spouses and they said sure, so I looked around and found a couple things that have been on my shopping list, including a pair of nice snow boots for my daughter for $4 - score!

I resisted the urge to get my dog's nails trimmed by the vet when we were there the other day and instead trimmed them myself today.

4alpacas

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7561 on: November 11, 2016, 02:58:18 PM »
Made lunch and dinner for tonight last night.
Ate a protein bar instead of buying breakfast

I realized that I have the option for free dental and vision insurance coverage for me AND my DH.  I called my DH, and he cancelled his vision and dental through work.  We will save about ~$15/month pre-tax. 

Linda_Norway

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7562 on: November 11, 2016, 03:38:14 PM »
A couple of days ago I bought my HB some new ski poles that he needed. I found the wanted model in 2015 colors, half the price of this year's model with 2016 colors.

Today in the shop I didn't buy an overpriced Christmas bread, but instead bought ingredients to make one myself.

Today we found a good Christmas present (online) for a relative. After that we shopped around for the cheapest shop for that product.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2016, 01:20:49 AM by Linda_Norway »

alewpanda

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7563 on: November 11, 2016, 07:51:51 PM »
Only went to the grocery store today.  Stayed home otherwise and painted/did chores/read/hung with dogs.

Found 5 cents on the ground while walking the dogs.

Replaced our one family vehicle (a few days ago), had researched and watched for a good deal/vehicle for a month, noticed a ding in the windshield, and got another 500.00 off the purchase price.

Stopped in at goodwill for some cheap frames the other day. Found 2 0.50 cent frames as hoped and found black ankle boots for 6.50.  Literally had watched and waited for a pair for 6 months.  They are way nicer than the ones I almost bought new at the local fast fashion store!


mustachepungoeshere

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7564 on: November 11, 2016, 10:54:03 PM »
Unexpected dry weather today so I'm catching up on washing from the past few days, hanging everything to dry.

I started writing Christmas cards so they will be done in time for cheap postage in early December.

Went grocery shopping and saved $51 (a gift card and specials).

I also bought a large picture frame for $10. One of my closest friends has some 'house rules' written on a piece of paper in her kitchen. I'm going to design a proper version and frame it as part of her Christmas present.

jengod

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7565 on: November 11, 2016, 11:25:51 PM »
Dug up and potted brambleberry shoots today. Will either use them to expand our berry beds or eventually for sale

Waste is lost profit made visible. #zerowastehome #permaculture

soccerluvof4

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7566 on: November 12, 2016, 11:24:34 AM »
Last night we wanted to do something with the kids "OUT" and include a meal in it. So instead of taking them for Subs we Went to a college Soccer game and picked up a monster sub from our local grocer for 5.99$ which fed the 4 of us. Night out with dinner and damn that sub was good. That was less then the cost of one sub at pretty much and sub shop and fed 2 adults and 2 kids easily.
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MBot

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7567 on: November 12, 2016, 11:52:44 AM »
- Got a free copy of The Millionaire Next Door from our library's free book table, paid $1 for a few kids books my son loves and will eventually chew/destroy.
- Sold a bigger piece of baby gear for exactly what I paid for it a year ago.
- went to farmers market and picked up cheap in-season root veg. Roasting them now.
- making banana bread to bring to a board game night tonight.

alewpanda

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7568 on: November 12, 2016, 07:07:42 PM »
Used 10.00 worth of paint on 2 5.00 chairs to finish out a "matching set" for our dining room.

Planned some meals out of what we have on hand and some condiments we need to clear out of the fridge.

Drank lots of water and coffee....a bum around the house day so I mostly nibbled on misc foodstuffs.

Hung dry clothes

Kept the heat low overnight and wore slippers, sweats and a hoodie until the sun warmed the house up :)

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7569 on: November 12, 2016, 07:24:10 PM »
Listing items on eBay. I should be able to make a couple of hundred dollars.

I finalised my husband's expenses, $470 back from his company.

Lunch was courtesy of a baker friend, who brought me a huge bag of freebies.

Thinkum

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7570 on: November 12, 2016, 08:01:29 PM »
Used the last of our turkey meatloaf to make deeeelicious meatloaf sandwiches instead of caving and buying take-out.

Dinner, I finally used our cauliflower to make a nice curry cauliflower dish with some brown rice on the side.


Hadilly

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7571 on: November 12, 2016, 09:59:52 PM »
Have wanted adirondak chairs for our deck for a while, but they are low on the budget priority list. Last night, neighbors put out stuff for junk collection this morning. Among the piles were two huge Jimmy Buffett themed chairs, painted with lyrics, giant cheeseburgers, salt shakers. It is hard to overstate the awesome craziness.

Somehow, my husband had no idea who Buffett is, so they really made no sense to him.

Currently in the garage but once we figure out their new color they will grace our deck.

Also, picked up a bunch of extra bread from a German celebration tonight and will make a bread pudding tomorrow.

Goldielocks

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7572 on: November 12, 2016, 10:03:35 PM »
I just googled Jimmy Buffet... Crap.  He looks so old!

Kwill

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7573 on: November 13, 2016, 12:26:12 PM »
Biked to Aldi today and found that it's cheaper than where I have been shopping.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7574 on: November 13, 2016, 12:33:03 PM »
Fingers crossed, but it looks like my husband successfully fixed our HVAC woes. It looks like, in spite of how several thermostats are advertised, they don't actually handle the hand off for dual fuel aux heat properly. As a result, our high pressure switch kept tripping. Previous home owner had HVAC company out 6 times since January. We had them out once. Luckily no cost to us on that visit since they didn't figure out what was wrong and just checked their old fixes. Anyway, after getting really into the weeds on the controls stuff (thank god I'm married to an electrical engineer) a super customizable $250 thermostat was able to solve the problem! We have receipts from previous owners, and they'd put over $450 into the various visits. I'll be very happy to have this resolved. PLUS, we can go back to the heat pump doing most of the work, so it should be cheaper in the long run.
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choppingwood

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7575 on: November 13, 2016, 01:57:49 PM »
I'd run out of lunch makings today. I heated up a quarter jar of Classico pasta sauce (a leftover) and the same amount of water, and ended up with a large bowl of tasty tomato soup, with nice bits of tomato and Italian sausage.  A little salty as an everyday lunch item, but I'd definitely do this again in the last day or two before a grocery order.

This afternoon, I am baking bread and muffins and tonight cooking tomato, onion, ginger and garlic sauce for some lentils and rice. This will all happily mix with other food on hand and get me to the grocery order.

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7576 on: November 13, 2016, 03:11:15 PM »
My husband's phone is off plan as of last week.

He's thinking of changing telcos for better coverage but hasn't made up his mind, so I'm switching him to a month-to-month plan and saving $75/month till he decides.

His phone plan is expensive, the phone (and data) is necessary for work, and it is subsidised by his company, but I'm still trying to get the costs down.

Jschange

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7577 on: November 13, 2016, 06:04:14 PM »
I joined bookbub and downloaded 6 free books. Exciting times ahead!

Linda_Norway

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7578 on: November 13, 2016, 11:55:57 PM »
At my current job that I have since 2 years, I buy food in the canteen. We have to buy day-tickets in a pack of 10. Recently the price was increased by 20%. In a previous job, where I always ate my own sandwiches brought from home, I missed eating in the canteen sometimes. So now I have decided to bring along sandwiches from home on some of the days, and eat in the canteen on other days. To save again some money.

Since I am in this job, I have also started shopping groceries in a more expensive grocery store, because it has the most convenient parking. I can save a minute in time. I will from now on shop more often in the grocery store that is generally cheaper, which is just down the road, equally far.

Those are 2 new habits that could save me money and that aren't difficult to overcome. :-)

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7579 on: November 14, 2016, 02:02:27 AM »
A local cinema had a discount on gift cards so I bought one for a friend for Christmas.

tomita

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7580 on: November 14, 2016, 11:02:24 AM »
I reviewed the family health plan for 2017 and saved around 800$ / year

Eilonwy

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7581 on: November 14, 2016, 02:20:58 PM »
I'm eating my feelings a lot lately, but I resisted buying expensive food and stuck with what we had in the house. :-\

mustachepungoeshere

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7582 on: November 14, 2016, 02:50:05 PM »
Forgot to add... had to leave work early yesterday, so I saved $1.45 on transit.

Eilonwy

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7583 on: November 14, 2016, 06:52:56 PM »
I bought clear plastic shower rings for $1.50 instead of $8 or so for color coordinated ones.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7584 on: November 14, 2016, 07:06:37 PM »
Turned down a job that would have required a 1+hr commute each way. As a result, they countered and there's a chance they'll open the office in my town, instead of the town they had planned on! If so, I'll be saving big money (and TIME). Plus, it's always awesome to feel this sought after, even if they opt not to move the planned office! Still cool they're considering.
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jengod

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7585 on: November 14, 2016, 11:54:27 PM »
* Sold an article for $75. When the money comes in it will go straight to an investment fund.
* Got a starting bid on a glazed flowerpot I picked out of a dumpster and cleaned up for sale.
* Found a dime on the ground; found four pennies in the change bowl of a self-checkout machine.
* Met a friend at Starbucks for coffee (facepunches!) but at least got the $0.10 reusable mug credit.
* Went running for free instead of joining a gym.
* Cooked dinner at home using homegrown spaghetti squash.
* Line-dried several loads of laundry.
* Breastfed, cloth-diapered, used cloth wipes.
* Fall cleanup compost pile is now five feet high. By springtime it will have decomposed down into rich black soil that we will use as seed-starting mix and to side-dress fruit trees.
* Dried chicken bones in a low oven and crushed them for use as a soil amendment.
* Supplemented chicken feed with backyard-grown sorrel and food trimmings from the kitchen
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Linda_Norway

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7586 on: November 15, 2016, 12:46:39 AM »
Today I'll get a free lunch at a hotel because of a job conference that is close by. Tonight when I go to my weekly (free) course around dinner time, I will not buy the usual cookies, but eat a left over portion at home later.

marcela

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7587 on: November 15, 2016, 08:45:35 AM »
A couple small and one big thing.
1. We decided to renew our lease through August 2018 and not buy a house. My husband's graduating in May and we will lose our housing subsidy so our rent is going from around$350/ month to $1,350 a month. The increase plus general resentment of loud/ undergraduate type neighbours had us looking at possibly purchasing a house in town. When we ran the numbers with a mortgage broker, it didn't make as much financial sense. The mortgage payment would be pretty close to what we will be paying in rent, but does not include utilities like our rent does. Also our apartment came furnished and we would have to buy all new furniture in the house were we to buy. It feels like losing money, but since we aren't 100% set that we want to stay in this town, we will probably come out ahead. I might still go back and forth on this the next time my neighbour has a 4am karaoke party.

2. Lunch was provided at work yesterday and as a thank you for helping to clean-up, I got to take food home. There was a giant tray of grilled chicken breasts left so I took home what I could package. Probably around 6 lbs of chicken!

3. Sewed some windows valances for a coworker over the weekend. We never actually discussed price and I've never done this type of thing for money before. I was originally thinking I would charge her around $50. My other coworkers talked me into going up to $15/hr and when I told the buyer, she said she was planning on $20/hr! $160 for a days worth of sewing which was much appreciated as it took my mind off all my stresses.

4. Sold a gag gift from last christmas online for $18. Now I just need to find the darn thing in our storage closet so I can mail it out tonight. It's been posted online since January so I had completely forgotten about it.

dorothyc

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7588 on: November 15, 2016, 10:43:05 AM »
* Sold an article for $75. When the money comes in it will go straight to an investment fund.
* Got a starting bid on a glazed flowerpot I picked out of a dumpster and cleaned up for sale.
* Found a dime on the ground; found four pennies in the change bowl of a self-checkout machine.
* Met a friend at Starbucks for coffee (facepunches!) but at least got the $0.10 reusable mug credit.
* Went running for free instead of joining a gym.
* Cooked dinner at home using homegrown spaghetti squash.
* Line-dried several loads of laundry.
* Breastfed, cloth-diapered, used cloth wipes.
* Fall cleanup compost pile is now five feet high. By springtime it will have decomposed down into rich black soil that we will use as seed-starting mix and to side-dress fruit trees.
* Dried chicken bones in a low oven and crushed them for use as a soil amendment.
* Supplemented chicken feed with backyard-grown sorrel and food trimmings from the kitchen

^ This is brilliant. I am trying to move towards zero waste, but not willing to give up meat. I have been roasting chicken, then saving the bones and other meat scraps for slow cooker broth, but then putting the remaining bones in the trash.
Last time I bought chicken thighs I did gently pan fry the skins, which I didn't need for my recipe, rendered out the chicken fat to store in the fridge for other frying jobs, and my wife was happy to eat the crispy chicken skins as a snack :)

Inaya

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7589 on: November 15, 2016, 11:03:29 AM »
Left the office late yesterday and discovered two leftover catered "box" meals, each with a cup of fresh fruit and a sandwich. One had a cookie, but I think the other had its cookie taken. Shoved in backpack and had free dinner last night and free lunch today, supplemented with "clean out the freezer" chicken-and-stuff soup.
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Bracken_Joy

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7590 on: November 15, 2016, 11:26:54 AM »
-Trying a new coffee we got through amazon subscribe and save. Coffee Direct "poor man's blend", came to like $5/lb. It's okay, lighter roast which we like, but pretty muted flavor compared to the super fancy local stuff we have done in the past. We will use the 5lbs we got, and we'll see for future times if we're going to stick to this. I'm undecided, but it is literally half the price, so...
-Instead of going and buying full price coffee at the store, we successfully waited for subscribe and save to ship us cheap coffee and held off using instant coffee we had on hand. That was a long 3 days.
-Used the "air dry" on my dishwasher instead of the heated dry.
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Eilonwy

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7591 on: November 15, 2016, 11:54:30 AM »
Not a coffee drinker, so I may be totally wrong, but maybe it would work to mix the cheaper stuff with a little of the good stuff?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7592 on: November 15, 2016, 12:05:52 PM »
Not a coffee drinker, so I may be totally wrong, but maybe it would work to mix the cheaper stuff with a little of the good stuff?

Yes, but they both come in 5lb sizes for that price, so at that point you're dealing with major flavor loss due to age. I suppose upping my game on air tight containers could help, but that's a pretty high upfront cost.
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Lunasol

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7593 on: November 15, 2016, 12:33:08 PM »
Coworker birthday at a restaurant in driving distance, I was going to offer my car but someone else did so I'm saving on gas and getting a free ride to the restaurant :)

PMG

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7594 on: November 15, 2016, 09:17:41 PM »
Didn't have time for a real lunch today but I rushed a couple bites of Greek yogurt and grabbed a bag of pistachios and my "emergency" store bought iced tea out of the cupboard. I was quite hungry by the time I got home at 7.

Anagnorisis

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7595 on: November 15, 2016, 10:25:11 PM »
Whew.  It took me a month but I worked my way through all 153 pages of this thread.  Nice work everyone!

Went into the office even though working from home was tempting so that I could charge my car at the free station near the train.  I can also expense the commute mileage, which more than covers the train ticket.
Turned the temps up on my fridge and freezer to 5 and 38 degrees respectively.
Researched and ordered a dual flush system for my toilet.
Packed a lunch for work, left my wallet at home to avoid temptation.
Read a library book on the train instead of using Republic's cellular data to entertain myself.
Exercised at home.
Invited to my parents for dinner and hockey.  Free beer and mushroom risotto!!

Goldielocks

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7596 on: November 15, 2016, 11:45:50 PM »
I made a home cooked dinner - again-- that is at least three weeks in a row now, without having my kids or DH make dinner, nor getting take out or a deli chicken.  Even on date night I managed to make a lovely dinner than just go to movies to save a bit.

I know few of you will be impressed, but when the other family members make dinner, they use much more expensive groceries so my dinners cost half of theirs, and taste better too.  Three weeks straight is a good run (I work full time).

Had handmade meatballs with mushroom cream sauce over pasta and fresh frozen (from my summer yard) yellow beans.

Gerard

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7597 on: November 16, 2016, 12:27:46 AM »
Road edition:

-drank half a bottle of cheap wine our excellent airbnb host had left over from a celebration.

-instead of having supper out, bought broccoli in SF's Chinatown (28 cents!) and cooked it for dinner with previously-bought bacon, pasta, and Manchego.

-researched museums we can get into for free with the reciprocal feature on my local museum membership... man, there are a lot of them.
"I can't believe you're still doing things your way after I explained why my way is better."

Ceridwen

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7598 on: November 16, 2016, 11:38:30 AM »

- Starting conversations with family members about doing a "Secret Santa" gift exchange amongst the adults instead of the usual gift extravaganza.  We'll see how it goes.


Happy to report that my family has agreed to the Secret Santa! The price range that was agreed to was higher than I would like ($150), but at least it's a step in the right direction.

Lunasol

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Re: What small things did you do TODAY to save money?
« Reply #7599 on: November 16, 2016, 12:00:00 PM »

- Starting conversations with family members about doing a "Secret Santa" gift exchange amongst the adults instead of the usual gift extravaganza.  We'll see how it goes.


Happy to report that my family has agreed to the Secret Santa! The price range that was agreed to was higher than I would like ($150), but at least it's a step in the right direction.
Well done! secret santa is much more exciting, too! :)