Save Money

Edited by BridgeMix, Anonymous


How To Save Money On Everyday Living

This article is a guide to help you break free from the chains of money dependence!
This guide is not for the faint of heart!
You may decide to do this by choice, but many people through no fault of their own find themselves needing to suddenly cut back on spending or stop spending altogether.
This guide focuses mostly on how to save money on groceries and household items. It is also however, a philosophically oriented piece about some of the lesser known but still valid ways to consider spending less over a longer period of time.
This is not an article on where to put your money to invest it. Honestly when we looked it over, we found that the best return on any kind of investment is Real Estate. Other than that, we have no advice to give about financial services or how one might use them to save or make money. We have found that financial services are not usually helpful in saving money. We tried investing and found that we lost all of the $ initial funds we put in. It was okay and we had fun watching the markets, but in general it was like Vegas gambling, and gambling of any kind is not usually recommended for saving money. Try to just say no to it for at least 6 months to a year and then see how you feel.

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Attitude Is The Key To Living Without Money

Saving money can feel different and uncomfortable sometimes because you may not have all of the things you're used to having. This can be a problem when it comes to having fun with friends and family. Many times friends and family will not be happy when you announce that you will be reduced to one household income, or no household income, etc. due to:

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  • Job loss,
  • Going back to school,
  • Becoming an entrepreneur,
  • Staying home to watch the children,
  • Getting a divorce,
  • Trying out a different kind of lifestyle, independent of traditional streams of income.

All these things can be either happy or sad, depending on your attitude!
If you find you need to save money suddenly, you mustn't feel sorry for yourself! This is an ideal opportunity to explore new experiences in life and discover your true priorities!
This is the first key to adjusting to living without money.

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Dealing With The Reactions Of Friends And Family

It feels bad when you can't take people out and pay the tab as often as you would like, but it does not mean that you can't still give of yourself. There is a new movement back to nature, back to passion for life, away from the constraints of what many of us were taught to worship, that is money and the things it can buy.
Some friends and family may pull away entirely from you without your regular paycheck.
Don't take it too personally if they do.
Some people think that you've gone crazy and it's best to distance themselves from you! Don't bother trying to explain to them that far from having gone money crazy, you've gone Money SANE!

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The Psychological Mindset To Saving Money

Even Livin' The High Life In Expensive Hotels Is Limited

Even while living in a Hilton, Shangri-La or other luxury hotel, you would have to do without many amenities of a normal household. For instance,

  • You can't possibly store enough food for a week's supply in a tiny hotel fridge, and even the wealthiest among us don't want to order room service or eat out all the time, it's a hassle!
  • No matter that you're in a swanky hotel, you won't be able to cook anything for yourself unless you've brought along a portable burner.
  • Your drinking water supply is probably limited to what you have in a bottle.
  • You won't be able to wash your clothes (of course there's a sink), but if you want anything else washed, you're dependent on the Hotel's laundry service. You guessed it, neither cheap nor instant. Again, even if you have the money, do you choose to wash your clothes that way? Most people would prefer to either use a washing machine at home, or even go to a laundromat. No different from a person living in a swanky hotel.
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So if you can't afford to have a lot of food on hand, or washing facilities are not handy, just remember the Hilton hotel folks!
I've had occasion to live in Hilton and Shangri-La hotels for more than 6 months at a time for work, and discovered these things myself!

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Myth: Rich People Never Ask For Discounts Or Try To Save Money

Some people are paid to save money!
When I worked in the film industry as a production and production coordinator's assistant, I performed all kinds of money saving duties like:

  • Calling all around town to get the best prices on everything needed to set up a production office,
  • Going to the discount wholesalers to buy food and office supplies,
  • Arranging the best price for a wall of TV screens for a commercial,
  • Calling to arrange get-away's for my bosses and their families. I was told to ask for any freebies possible and to impress upon the hotel that VIP's would be staying there worth any extra goodies that the hotel could throw in for free.
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One of the most interesting things I learned was that often times even the highest paid people, who probably make more on one film than most do in a year, file for unemployment when their contract is up!
The point is, many people who can afford to pay full price still ask for the discount, so don't feel embarrassed if you do too!
However, it's always good policy to be polite and respectful to clerks, cashiers, etc., and not to haggle with anyone, nor insist on any kind of discount, or do anything that might make anyone feel uncomfortable. You don't need to be rude or haggle with anyone in order to save money, simply buy only the things with the best marked price. Saving money doesn't mean you have to be rude, offensive, or not act with class.

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Buying Labels And Brands Doesn't Help To Save Money

Think about this, how much money do you think the biggest selling music artists in the world would make if everyone in the USA alone purchased a copy of their CD. Probably a lot, right?
Now think about this: What's your favorite brand of anything that you must have? How much money have you spent on it in your lifetime? If it's say, Heinz Ketchup or Charmin Toilet Paper, how much money do you think you've spent on that brand loyalty in your lifetime?
A lot more than you paid for that old Zeppelin CD! A lot more than a whole lotta Zeppelin CD's!
It's easy to see how brand loyalty spending can add up!
Hey, nothing against brands or labels, they're great! However, you should know exactly what you're trading to participate. Take a good look at the low cost alternative, whatever it is and ask yourself,:
"Which one feels like freedom?"
It's usually the less expensive or generic brand.
Ironically though, if you spend less regularly, you afford the more expensive items you really want!
Add up all the money you're spending just on brand loyalty, and then ask yourself if you're willing to take back that cash for a while by buying no name or discount items.

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Top Money Saving LifeStyle Tips

  1. 1
    Find a less expensive place to live!
    Cut back on your biggest expense and move away from the large urban areas if housing and apartment rentals are too expensive there. This may seem like too large a hurdle to undertake, but if you are able to reduce your high rent or mortgage payments, it's a huge step in saving money!
    This equals more freedom, because if you can cut time off of your mortgage or spend less on rental payments, that's extra years you might be able to spend doing other things besides working mainly to pay those huge ongoing payments!
    Here's one great idea how you can do this.
    A woman worked for a large retailer in a very expensive city to live in. She decided to move to a smaller town in which her employer had another location. She received a transfer and as a result was able to afford a higher standard of living due to the fact that her expenses reduced so drastically, and her nicer new home cost significantly less than where she moved from.
    She found a hidden goldmine of freedom by spending less on her living expenses.
    All she had to do was find the opportunity and ask for a transfer!
    Are you in a similar situation? You could save yourself a bundle by doing what she did!
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  2. 2
    Get An Online Job.
    Telecommuting to work at a job online can save a lot of money on work related expenses such as new car payments, repairs, maintenance, insurance, and fuel, lunches, coffee breaks, clothing, cosmetics, childcare and more.
    Call center companies such as Sykes and Convergys offer opportunities for those who would like to work from home in a virtual office environment. Many of these jobs are customer service related and accessible to many people. They usually don't require much to get started except a phone and small headset, which is pretty reasonable to purchase. Here are a few websites offering online employment:
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  3. 3
    Embrace the Spend Nothing Mindset.
    Don't worry about not spending. Most rich people don't spend a lot - if they do they run out of money!
    Sir Elton John, the world famous singer and songwriter, ran into financial problems when he ran up a florist bill of a few hundred thousand dollars! He felt that since he had worked for the money that he should be able to buy the things he enjoyed, and one of those things was flowers, but even he had to curtail his floral fetish to save money when it started to run out.[1]
    Sir Elton loved flowers, but just about anything that has you convinced that you need it when you don't, can have the same effect. For example:
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  • If you buy your lunch every day, it adds up.
  • If you have to buy new clothes often, especially name brand, it adds up.
  • If you adore high end cosmetics and fragrances it really adds up!

You can allow it to get out of control if you're convinced that you need that item in order to feel whole or worthwhile to yourself. You can step out of that shadow and find power in buying less expensive items. I've discovered a $5 cream I like better than my old $50 cream!

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  1. 1
    Stop renting & try to buy a home.
    Many people don't believe that they can actually afford to buy a home. Maybe you grew up living in apartments and assume that only the wealthy can buy a house. If you control and focus your spending, you too can purchase your own home. You might quickly dismiss this as not an option for you, but it's worth it to sit down and find out how much a home would actually cost you. Even if you don't make a lot of money, you may still be able to buy a modest house or property. One way to do this, for instance, is if you were able to move to a rural area where a small home might cost you less than $500. You might actually be able to save enough for a down payment if you find a motivated seller! In many cities, you would spend that much in three years on rent!
    Look into some of the small, beautiful towns that exist beyond the city limits and you may find an affordable paradise!
    Search online real estate sites such as [Trulia] to find out where some of these places are.
    In extreme cases you could even find homes or mini homes in need of repair that you might be able to do yourself. These homes can be a great stepping stone for someone looking to save money and enter into the real estate market. If you have a job and can save up even a small down payment, you can be free from high mortgages and rents much sooner in your adult life.
    You can change your life for the better just by moving.
    Another benefit to this is the stress reduction you'll enjoy when you choose to leave your rushed life style and high mortgage payments behind!
    City life is wonderful and something that should be experienced, but when you're done with that, you might choose to look into some of the options mentioned above.
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  2. 2
    Stop buying new cars.
    Reduce your car to one per household if possible and pay off the car you already have. When it's paid off, enjoy the freedom from car payments for a while. Vehicles are very well built these days, and routine maintenance doesn't cost that much by comparison.
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  3. 3
    Take up a new fitness regimen.
    End your gym membership and embrace the neighborhood by walking, jogging or doing activities that can be done from home like yoga or weight lifting. If you already have a bike or treadmill, that's great, but don't buy anything! Use what you have! Some even believe that light weight training is the key to staying young! [2]
    For more great fitness ideas, visit VisiHow's [Physical Activity & Diet category page].
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  4. 4
    Stay Home.
    Spend more time in the place you spend most of your money on! Invite others over for fun times at your cozy home. If you must buy alcohol, have a sherry party. Sipping sherry is less expensive and takes longer to drink than most alcoholic beverages. Plus it's uber classy and will make you feel like you're in an Agatha Christie Movie - hopefully without the murder mystery though!
    More fun and inexpensive things to do at home:
    • Play board games or free games online
    • Read
    • Watch great classic movies online for free at [sites like this.]
    • Learn to play an instrument, write a novel, learn new skills, etc!
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  5. 5
    Stop buying anything you don't really need.
    When a need arises that's not staggeringly important, don't buy anything. Instead of rushing to spend money on new items, look back into your belongings and past purchases, search your drawers, closets, cupboards and storage rooms, empty your purse, jeans and coat pockets, etc. You may be surprised to find that you are storing things you forgot all about, which will do fine for your needs.
    Go back and take another look at what you've got. Finish off everything you buy and don't waste anything. Use up that shampoo, lotion and hair care stuff before you allow yourself to buy more.
    Ran out of your favorite spice? Use the one in the back of the pantry that you don't normally reach for.
    If you use what you have, you can relieve yourself from the need to constantly be shopping and buying, spending time and money in stores, making purchases for items you already own.
    If your goal is to get ahead financially, this is one of the best ways to stop leaking money! Put a stopper in that wallet and eliminate the leak by just never buying anything you don't actually need! Try it for a year and you'll see the results.
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  6. 6
    Stop buying in bulk!
    We've all gone Bulk Buying Bonkers! It feels so smart and prepared to buy all those extra bottles of something because they come discounted in a three pack. It can be a fun money saver to do so, but many times when you take a closer look and figure out the cost per item, there is almost always a more cost effective alternative for a single item.
    Another weird thing is that people have a tendency to over-use items if there is a lot of them sitting there. For instance, you may have more self-control, but I sometimes take two paper towels instead of one just because there are plenty. Even paper towels can add up so it's good to be aware of exactly what your consumption is. If you've only got a little bit on hand, you may find that you can do just fine with less. If you multiply this tiny action by every family member daily, you can begin to see how we really can save if we harness the power of the BUY NOTHING mindset.
    A lot of our money slips away because we buy things or brands we don't need. We don't believe that we can afford to buy the big ticket items we would really love to have, or the time to pursue our true passions.
    Stop buying into expensive brands and things you don't need, and discover how much of your own freedom you can buy back simply by buying nothing when you don't really need to.
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  7. 7
    Get a pay as you go cell phone plan.
    We had to jump through hoops to do it since the big phone companies don't want you to be aware that it's available, but we went from $ per month with two cell phones, to $10 A MONTH for a pay as you go service! We didn't really use our cell phones that much anyway, so for us this was an easy decision. We can still use our phone, send text messages, and connect to wifi when it's available, plus we've accumulated over $ available for whatever calls we need because the unused monthly minutes roll over!
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  8. 8
    Stop buying napkins and paper towels.
    We use cloth napkins and then wash them every few days when they need it. We try to use rags and old newspapers to clean and pick up spills instead of automatically reaching for those pristine, paper towels. We do keep a roll on hand for emergencies, but even then we only buy the generic 2 pack for under a dollar. They get the job done!
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  9. 9
    Stop buying clothing for a year.
    Find what you need in your closet or drawer. Find alternative ways to "McGyver" what you need. If something needs a button, sew it on yourself! Stop dry cleaning anything for a while if possible. Make things last longer.
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  10. 10
    Take care of your own grooming.
    Cut and colour your own hair. If this is not possible for you, just find a way to wear your hair that won't require help from a professional. Put your hair up. Wear hats or scarves, wear braids. Do your own nails, find new ways to wear old clothes.
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  11. 11
    When leaving the home, be prepared with drinks and snacks!
    Don't leave the house without a tasty mug of your favourite drink and a bottle of water, for you and everyone you're with. Make sure it's something everyone enjoys, like hot cocoa, a favorite tea blend, or a good cup of coffee. This way needs and temptations are taken care of before you even leave the house.
    If possible, make sure you put the beverage in an attractive mug, cup or bottle, so you and your family will feel good about drinking from it rather than embarrassed.
    Take along non-messy, easy to pop in your mouth snacks such as apple pieces, homemade oatmeal fudge bites (see recipe below) or trail mix of any kind! Nuts and dried fruits are great for traveling! They are satisfying, small, easy to store, don't require refrigeration and can be eaten without making a mess.
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  12. 12
    Fix what's broken.
    If something breaks try to fix it, or use another alternative you may have sitting around your house, or find a different way to do the same thing. For instance, if the coffee maker breaks don't buy a new one, find a more creative solution! Maybe you've got another kind of coffee maker on hand hiding somewhere in a cupboard, or try instant coffee for a change. Do you have a French press still in the box or one of those cup at a time coffee filters that you pour hot water into manually?
    In order to have the right mindset to save money it almost needs to be religiously adhered to. Make it a habit to go and look at what you've already got! My family has done this many times and we're still discovering great things we bought years ago which are useful to us now! We've fixed many of our household items and saved us tons of money over the years! We like to wonder how people lived years ago. They got by fine without these modern conveniences, so I'm up to the challenge too!
    For more great fix it ideas, visit VisiHow's [Home Repair category page].
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Basic Meal Plan For a Week

Below I've created a list of items, meal plans and recipes for a week's worth of money saving meals, and some of my basic weekly grocery orders. I compiled this over a number of years and I averaged out my spending to about $60 per week for almost all of our food needs. Not every order costs exactly the same, but you can get the general idea of the kinds of foods we purchase, with very few name brands or pre-packaged side dishes or snacks. These groceries supplied all of our needs for a week at a time. In certain cases, some items carry over and don't need to be bought every week and we plan that into the money saving budget as well.
We broke it down into a no-nonsense $60 (approximate) a week budget because some people might only have that weekly, and I want them to see how they can buy enough food and prepare it to feed a family of two adults and one small child. However, I would recommend to go shopping every 2 weeks with a $120 budget if possible. This way you can buy some items in bulk, like meat items. Unlike most bulk buying, you can save if you're only buying for 2 weeks at a time. However, trying to buy for more than 2 weeks in advance I have found gets too confusing and becomes counter productive. Your money runs away from you like a child toward the toy section!
Try to minimize confusion and just buy the necessities. It's easier and more manageable to know exactly how much money you're spending in one week or two. Also this prevents buying too much of what you don't really need.
Our meal plans are typically what most people might eat over the course of a week. We don't profess to provide perfect nutrition, a low fat or gluten free diet, but we do feel that we've taken into consideration a balance of healthy and convenient food to provide a reasonable amount of nutritious and satisfying food for a person to be comfortable and well fed for a week.
This meal plan presupposes that you have a place to cook, a refrigerator and probably about 2 hours per week to pre-make some of the recipes in the meal plan, since there is very little pre-packaged food in our plan in order to both save money and eat healthier.
We've tried to keep in mind that maybe a working person who works all day while their child is at school might be able to prepare some of these items ahead of time on a weekend so that they can be eaten later in the week when there is not as much time. If possible, use washable compartment style lunch containers such as bento boxes.
The meal plan includes a few quick and easy recipes, but does not allow for any type of eating out. Every dollar is carefully placed and necessary to buy just enough for everyone to get enough to eat in order to be comfortable, and nothing is left over to waste.
A word about Eggs.
Eggs are very affordable and super healthy for you! Here's some supporting information.[3]
Get enough eggs for everyone to have two eggs, five days per week. Eggs are useful and nutritious for any meal.
It's important to remember to get enough protein and veggies when you're trying to save money and avoid too much pre-packaged foods and excessively high carbohydrate consumption, both for health and saving money. We do however, enjoy some of the traditional cost effective foods like rice and pasta, but we're vigilant about not letting them take over. This is a very important part of staying healthy while saving money. Your health is just one thing you can't gamble with, and one of the best ways to stay healthy is to eat nutritious food!
Here is a basic shopping list to feed two adults and one small child for a week.
One week's worth of groceries for $60
(Your local prices may vary by region.)

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  • 2 dozen eggs, $4
  • 1 bag of 3 minute stove top oatmeal, $2
  • 1 small container of milk or cream for coffee or to add to oatmeal if desired, $2
  • 1 10 lb bag of potatoes, $3
  • 1 large 2 or 3 lb bag of apples, $3
  • 1 container ground beef, under $2
  • 1 package chicken bologna, under $2
  • No name ranch dressing, under $1.30
  • Herbal tea/regular tea box of 20, $2
  • Coffee/no name or dollar store, $3
  • Fruit tea for children or those who like juice type drinks, $2
  • 1 or 2 loaves of bread enough for 3 or 4 days of sandwiches for everyone's lunches, $3
  • Head of lettuce, $2
  • Head of cabbage, $2
  • Bag of onions, $1
  • Box of bouillon, $1
  • Large bag of pasta grams, $1.50
  • Margarine (non hydrogenated is healthier), under $2.
  • Bag of semisweet chocolate chips, $2
  • Box of cake mix, $1
  • Bag of sugar, $1
  • Plain yogurt large size, $2
  • Cooking oil, $2
  • 2 ramen noodle packets, $0.50
  • Package of duck egg noodles, $1
  • Bag of regular popping corn, $2
  • Protein only meats for three meals (no fillers, only proteins), $6
    Fruit Tea
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More about this list...
3 meals worth of healthy, protein-only main dishes such as chicken, pork, fish, turkey, or whatever you can find on sale. The budget for all 3 items is 6 to 8 dollars. This is where it can really help to be able to buy a family sized pack of meats or tofu or whatever your protein source is. In the example pictures, you can see that we were lucky to find a turkey for under $10, so we ate turkey about four times that week. You may find that in order to save money and get enough high quality protein per week, that it's necessary to eat all of what you buy. However, our goal here is to get through the week well fed, not necessarily to eat exactly your choice every day. Let me tell you, we were very happy to get to eat so much turkey that week!
You may find another more cost effective way to add fruit into your diet, but a 2 or 3 lb bag of apples will be enough to be sure no one goes without enough fruit and this is very important. Apples are a more refreshing and versatile choice than most fruit, and can be used to make an apple/oatmeal dessert, breakfast or snack if needed. (See recipe below for simple Apple Oatmeal cake).
Use yogurt for many things like sauces, or in place of sour cream on potatoes, etc., or eat it alone by adding apples or any fruit and sugar.
Buy close out bread and ripe veggies at the end of the day. Don't assume the big box store has the best price. Plan your shopping for a weekday evening if possible and watch for the specials and things they are getting rid of when less people are shopping. Look for produce and other items including meats that will be expiring soon and buy those for deep discounts. Stick to the budget and don't even buy anything that's a great deal if you or your family won't eat it in the next week or two MAX!
Items we regularly find great deals on by shopping mid-week evenings:
Breads and Bread products. We usually have a bread budget of about $2 or 3 dollars for two loaves of bread. When we shop in the evening, our local grocers usually have carts of half priced breads. Now this stuff is high quality, store baked probably only yesterday or the day before! Compare that to a brand name loaf of bread that sits on the shelf for a week before selling! We still feel that our discounted bread is much fresher!
Veggies. Our grocery stores also have carts of veggies that don't look as good, or are really ripe. My mom used to say that you can't even find a good tomato in the stores anymore because they are all unripe! The funny thing is, the best tasting veggies truly are very ripe. You won't have a problem consuming them in a few days though because you're buying for only a week or two! Don't try to store too much and only spend your weekly budget amount on that week's groceries. Buy a bag of oranges which are on the shelf for $1 and take out the one or two that are starting to look bad. You'll find that you have a lovely bowl of excellent quality fruit. Don't feel bad about this, you're eating like a farmer would, at the peak of ripeness! Here's a tip too, avocados aren't usually ripe until they are turning brown. That's the time to get them and make yourself some guacamole! Eat ten dollars worth of Avocados for $1!!!
Beautiful Organic fruit for 50 cents!

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Avoid pre-packaged baked goods.
Raisin bread is a good investment for a breakfast or snack, but avoid any other pre-packaged muffins, cakes, pies, cookies or the like. Also at this time, unless you have a lot of baking flour or the like on hand, don't do a lot of baking. Instead, switch to purchasing one boxed of no-name cake mix per week for $1 and make a delicious snacking cake with simple home made frosting. Bake the cake in a Bundt type of pan to make it easy to cut and serve. Flip the cake over so the flat side is on top and your frosting will not slide off! Your family will be able to enjoy an expensive treat all week! How much do you think this Chocolate Bundt Cake would cost you from the store? At least five or ten bucks right? Well we made it for less than $2!! Feast your eyes!

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Avoid Waste! People spend a lot of on food and much of it goes wasted. Almost half of the food grown in the US ends up in the garbage.[4]
Other things to consider.
In addition to groceries, we buy the following necessities at the lowest prices. We don't own a dishwasher so we just use regular dish soap. We find that laundry soap is an item where you really can save money if you're willing to part with the leading national name brand. We use less expensive name brands and find that our clothes get clean just fine! Here are the prices we usually pay for these items on sale or at dollar stores.

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  • Dish soap, $1
  • Laundry soap, $2
  • Personal soap, $1
  • Dryer sheets, $1
  • Toilet paper, $5

Meal Plan For A Week

Sometime Saturday or Sunday, or on your day off:

  • Prepare the large pasta dish which will be dinner on Saturday night (Day One), but cook a big pot full so there will be leftovers for a second quick dinner on Monday or Tuesday night, and one day of leftover pasta lunches for everyone.
  • Pre-make the cake and frosting
  • Pre-make two huge bowls of salad
  • Pre-make the fruit and oatmeal cake
  • Pre-make pasta salad if using it
  • Pre-make a large pitcher of iced tea
  • Pre-make chocolate oatmeal treats
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The week's meals will look something like this.
Our first meal starts on Saturday, so even if you work all week you will hopefully have about 2 hours to pre-make many of these recipes useful in saving money. I've tried to make everything somewhat quick and easy but some things will need to be prepared ahead of time and that's key to spending no money during the week.

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  • Breakfast - Eggs and fried potatoes with an apple
  • Lunch - Protein noodle soup made with bouillon and sautéed cabbage
  • Dinner - Pasta dinner with small side salad and bread if desired


  • Breakfast - Eggs and fried potatoes with apple or yogurt
  • Lunch - Bologna sandwich with ranch dressing, small side salad, oatmeal apple cake or chocolate cake
  • Dinner - Baked chicken legs or fried pork bits (any protein that is not processed), baked cabbage wedge with butter, baked potato with butter or ranch dressing topping


  • Breakfast - Yoghurt with sugar and apples or Oatmeal with a splash of milk or cream & sugar
  • Lunch - Leftover pasta with apple and side salad
  • Dinner - 2 hot dogs on bread with ramen and large side salad (Yes, hot dogs are processed meat! We'll tell you why it's OK below!)


  • Breakfast - Oatmeal and eggs or eggs and potatoes
  • Lunch - Bologna Sandwich with ranch dressing, small side salad, oatmeal apple cake or chocolate cake
  • Dinner - Baked Chicken or any protein only main dish (chicken fingers and anything processed does not count), baked potato and side salad.


  • Breakfast - Eggs and fried potatoes
  • Lunch - Leftover Protein noodle soup made with bouillon and sautéed cabbage.
  • Dinner - Leftover pasta dinner from Saturday


  • Breakfast - Yoghurt with sugar and apples or Oatmeal with a splash of milk or cream & sugar
  • Lunch - Bologna Sandwich with ranch dressing, small side salad, oatmeal apple cake or chocolate cake
  • Dinner - 2 hot dogs on bread with ramen and large side salad (see picture below)


  • Breakfast - Any of the mentioned foods
  • Lunch - Bologna Sandwich with ranch dressing, small side salad, oatmeal apple cake or chocolate cake
  • Dinner - Baked Chicken or any protein only main dish (chicken fingers and anything processed does not count), baked potato and side salad.

Here is a picture of what a mid-week hot dog meal might look like. In this case I added bagged veggies to the ramen noodle mix but it's not necessary if you've got salad. You may think that eating hot dogs and bologna is not healthy, but in this meal plan you are hardly eating anything else that's processed, and we feel that since it's almost the only processed food in this plan that it's as reasonably healthy or healthier than what many people are trying to get by on. There are no trips to McDonald's or Tim Horton's, nor many additional processed items so it seems fair to include hot dogs because people usually like them, they're quick to cook for working folks, plus they are very cost effective... One package can be 2-3 meals!!

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Prepare popcorn ahead of time for mid-week snacks. It's much more healthy when prepared fresh, and one bag makes tons and tons of snacks!


Money Saving Recipes

Apple Oatmeal Cake

  • About 3 cups oatmeal,
  • one egg,
  • a teaspoon of baking powder,
  • half a cup of sugar,
  • 2 cups of cut up apples,
  • two tbsp cooking oil,
  • 2 tsp margarine,
  • enough water to moisten (about quarter of a cup)
  • Some vanilla if you've got it and/or cinnamon if it's on hand but it's still fine without it.
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This recipe can be adjusted to use almost any kind of fruit and should be used to take the place of any kind of breakfast or small snack or healthy dessert needs.
Put everything in a medium or large square pan and cook at 325 Fahrenheit for about 30 to 45 minutes.
This is a simple snack cake.

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Easy Chocolate Frosting

  • About 1/3 cup choc chips
  • About ½ cup sugar
  • About a tablespoon of margarine.

Slowly melt all in a pot, when it's melted together remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Spoon onto cooled cake.

Basic Lettuce and Cabbage Salad

  • Cut up one to two heads of any kind of lettuce but try to buy a big one!
  • Shred or cut ½ of an entire cabbage head
  • Add shredded carrots if budget and time allows

Mix all together and store. Make two huge bowls which can be quickly relied upon as a side dish all week.

Chocolate Oatmeal Treats

  • About three cups of oatmeal from your bag of quick oats
  • About a half cup of chocolate chips
  • About a half cup of sugar
  • Tsp Vanilla if possible
  • About two tbsp margarine
  • Dash of salt.

Melt chocolate first in medium heat pan for about three minutes or until it starts to melt but be careful not to burn it! Add in oatmeal and mix till coated with chocolate. Mold into a square shaped container and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Cut into fudge sized squares and enjoy throughout the week!

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Basic Noodle Soup

  • Take a large pot, melt a ¼ cup of margarine or oil.
  • Cut up an onion, cabbage, carrots, or whatever your budget allows and sauté in the margarine or oil till tender. You can skip the veg here if you don't have the budget.
  • Fill the pot ¾ of the way with water, bring to a boil
  • Once it's boiling, add 2 to 3 boullion cubes
  • Buy a large block of duck egg noodles. You will find it in the specialty noodles section next to the ramen. It's much more substantial than ramen, and has 4 grams of protein per serving! Add in entire block of noodles, probably 6 ramen sized chunks.
  • Cook for about ten minutes.
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You've got a very substantial noodle soup which can be eaten now and saved for a lunch later in the week.

Basic Pasta Dinner/Lunch

Sauce is the most prohibitive expense when making pasta, but here is a way to make a light but yummy sauce for a fraction of the price. No, it's not thick and rich, but it's at least as yummy as Michelina's and a lot more cost effective!

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  • Brown medium ground beef, pork or chicken in a huge pan, like a Wok sized pan or a big deep frying pan. For the meat, even a small portion like a dollar or two's worth of ground beef, will be enough to make a great meat sauce. Don't drain the fat, this will give flavour to your pasta dish.
  • Start a big pot of elbow macaroni. Any pasta is fine, but elbow macaroni also travels well in lunch boxes. You will be making at least two dinners and one lunch from this pasta dish.
  • Once your meat is cooked, if budget and time allow, you can sauté in two large onions, garlic, carrots, anything you want. However, if you don't have anything else it's okay, just move to the next step.
  • Add in any seasoning such as Italian seasoning mix, a bit of salt, a tbsp of sugar, any other seasonings you want. Add water to ½ way fill the pan. Add in one can of tomato paste, dissolve completely, bring to a boil.
  • In another cup, mix about ¼ cup of corn starch in water and dissolve. Once your mixture is boiling, mix it in to thicken your sauce mix. Repeat till you achieve desired thickness.
  • Pour over pasta and mix together
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This will make dinner for tonight, plus a lunch later in the week, and a pre-made quick dinner! Leave the remainder in the pot and cover it. It will be easier to access for a quick meal or for lunch!

Samples Of What Our Shops Might Look Like

We visit at least four different stores on our weekly shopping trip and many of our groceries come from dollar stores. We also know the best local deals on eggs, cream and other necessities. This picture shows the way we usually purchase things.

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You may notice that we always buy lettuce and cabbage. Cabbage is about the most cost effective, healthiest, versatile veggie there is and you can use it raw as a great addition to your salad, or cooked into a pasta, noodle or rice dish, or a steamed as a wonderful veggie side dish! Most importantly though, it goes a really long way and is packed with nutrients! If you can afford carrots or onions they are the next best buy in, but if you really need to save money and stay healthy, a humble head of cabbage is a very good friend.

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Freedom Advice

It might be best not to tell anyone but your immediate family who will be experiencing it with you about your money saving plans. Many people just don't understand and you don't need any input from people who won't understand your determination to take control of your finances by saving money. Having to endure any gossip or small talk is just extra work which takes you away from your ultimate goal. In a world where people are not doing what they want to be doing, there is a higher chance that they're bored at their coffee break, lunch time or evening and just don't have anything more exciting in their own lives to talk about. Try not to judge them, but realize you're not one of them and you have a right to take charge of your own financial well being.
If you are able to save enough money, hopefully you are on your way to living an authentic life where you can spend more time doing all the things you love!

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Can't I Have Any Fun At All, You Ask?

Well this is the whole reason we're doing all this saving, so that you can have fun and take time getting to know your true passions, spend more time with your family, and get ahead financially!
By practicing these techniques over a period of time, you might find that you truly are richer than you think!

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Sources and Citations

  1. [Sir Elton John's Floral Finances]
  2. [Stay Young with Weights]
  3. [Why Eggs Are Good For You]
  4. [Food Waste: The Next Food Revolution]


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