beatrice_otter: Are you challenging my ingenuity? (Ingenuity)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
I don't know about you, but I grew up in a family that HAD a box of shoe polish and supplies, but never really USED them.  But now I am a convert.  I need professional shoes for work, and my basic black ones were getting pretty, uh, unprofessional looking.  They were bad.  Really bad.  So I was talking to my Mom about how I'd have to replace them.  Dad looked down and said, naw, they just need to be polished.

Now, I was skeptical, because we're not talking actual good-quality leather shoes, here.  We're talking cheap fakes.  But he insisted, so I went to a shoe store (one of the nice ones) and got myself a bottle of black shoe polish.

The shoes do not look new, but they are back in the firmly professional category.  And not only those shoes.  I also tried them on my black tennis shoes.  Again, not real leather, and this pair had places where the top layer of the vinyl had come off.  With polish, you have to look very carefully to see where those places are.  They no longer look like "good for nothing but yardwork," I can wear them out and around town.

I got the bottle of polish for like $9, and it will be enough to last me for years to come even polishing all my pairs of black shoes on a semi-regular basis.  It will save me so much money in not having to buy new shoes.

And, best part?  It's this new thing where you don't have to brush the shoes or polish them after.  You just make sure the shoes are clean and dry, daub the polish on with the included applicator brush, and let them dry.  That is it, that's all you have to do.  The same company (tarrago) also makes clear polish, so you don't have to get a bottle for each different color shoes you own.  I don't think the clear polish would cover the places where there's an actual layer of vinyl missing, but it would probably get rid of scuff marks. 
holyschist: Image of a medieval crocodile from Herodotus, eating a person, with the caption "om nom nom" (Default)
[personal profile] holyschist
My current situation )

I'm thinking about attempting to save more money via coupons: I don't want to go buying stuff we won't use with coupons, but making more of an effort to use coupons for things we do regularly buy. Right now we're pretty good about using coupons for a) craft supplies, b) one local Japanese fast food restaurant, and c) PetCo, and d) more pricey gift things (e.g. I made some photobooks with Snapfish as gifts, and waited for a 3-for-1 coupon).

What we are not good about using coupons for is day-to-day grocery and cleaning supplies--manufacturer's coupons more than store coupons.

Have any of you found coupons to be worth the time investment? If so, do you have any recommendations for a system to encourage actual coupon use with minimal time spent clipping-and-wrangling?

Have any of you found coupons to be totally NOT worth the time investment? I mean yes, the amount we can save with coupons is minimal next to what I'd make with one small freelance assignment, but coupons are reliable and assignments are not.
vass: A bottle of diet Coke with the words "When you pry it from my cold, caffeineless hands." (diet Coke)
[personal profile] vass
I have come to the conclusion that the most frugal thing I could do is to stop drinking diet Coke and put all the money I spend per month on soft drinks into a savings account. I really, really love diet Coke. But I want a savings cushion, and the money has to come from somewhere.

If I give up diet Coke and icecream except for special occasions, I'll save about AUD$120 per month. I have enough tea, both loose leaf and in bags, to last me a long time, because I simply like the diet Coke better, for the caffeine; and for the hydration I can simply drink water.

If I substitute chickpeas (51c for 100g dry even if I don't buy them in bulk, then cooked in the crockpot and then refrigerated or frozen) for my beloved vegetarian hot dogs (on which I spend about $25 a week) I'll save nearly $70 a month.

If I made just these changes and no others, I could have a $1000 cushion in less than half a year.

Or I could be less frugal and just buy soda water instead of Coke, and save $45.30 per month. I'd still get my cushion in less than 7 months. And maybe at the end of that time, I won't want Coke or icecream or vegie hot dogs any more. (It seems unlikely, but people's tastes do change.) Or I could just be happy with my cushion, and go back to my old wasteful ways. Or I could do it half a year every year, and in five years I'd have enough for a term deposit.

I would like some encouragement, please, because I'm very scared.
jamethiel: A common kingfisher sits on a branch with a background of green foliage. (Default)
[personal profile] jamethiel
So, I have the day off! That equals me posting!

First things first: how are your challenges going? I am doing REALLY WELL. I have eaten a packed lunch every single day, made dinner every single night and only bought hot cross buns once.

So: the menu for this week.
Friday: Home-made Sourdough bread bruschetta
Saturday: Kangaroo Bolognaise and salad
Sunday: Left over Pearl Barley and Vege soup (told you that was a lifesaver)
Monday: Beef and Turnip casserole
Tuesday: Salad and Beef roll as I was out at Photography class
Wednesday: Oriental style Chicken and Noodle soup
Thursday: Vaguely Moroccanish Lamb with lentils
Tonight: Hamas curry

If you want any of the recipes, just comment~

Today's recipe (which was for breakfast, but anyway)
cut for recipe )
jamethiel: An Australian Raven, with spirals. A painting that I owen by <user name="moonvoice"> (Raven)
[personal profile] jamethiel
This is really prep for the week ahead. This is one of those things that I've found that is so much cheaper to do yourself, there's really no contest. It will require a bit of freezer room, or you can do it in smaller quantities and put it in the fridge. It'll keep at least for a couple of days and one of my tips for not buying take-away is soup, so you'll use it then.

Are you ready? The first part of the challenge, should you choose to accept it is:

MAKE YOUR OWN STOCK.

If you've made your own stock before, just skip past this bit. It's just a guide for people who have never done it before

Recipes behind the cut )
jamethiel: Money! (Money)
[personal profile] jamethiel
So, I've been reading a lot on frugal living. In general, it's something I'm really in favour of. But you can carry it too far. I've never met a pair of darned socks that didn't give me blisters, for instance. (If they don't cause you blisters, congrats! Give me your darning secrets!)

Cut for length )
jamethiel: Money! (Money)
[personal profile] jamethiel
I've said it before, but I'll say it again: to save money, your income must be more than your expenditure.

Most people's isn't. Most people have an income and expenditure that are around about equal.

One of the things that I'll be doing is recommending areas that you save money in. One of those areas is exercise.

Exercise done properly has health benefits that actually saves you money in the long-run (that's provided you don't have a pre-existing condition. Get medical advice before starting to exercise if you think you might have /duty done).

The trouble is, you can actually pay a WHOLE HEAP of money for exercise. And sometimes it's wasted, too. For the record, I will say that I enjoy my gym very much and for me it's a worthwhile expense because I do use it and I do go. The pilates classes I go to alone would cost me my entire monthly membership in a fortnight if I attended private lessons. Going to a gym has other benefits, too. A professional to guide you in the correct way to do exercises. People to give you motivation.

But if you don't use it, what's the point in paying for membership? There is none. Also, I motivate myself. Someone coming along and saying "You can do it!" seriously irritates me.

However, it's perfectly possible to exercise by yourself. The cheapest and probably easiest of all exercises is walking. Shop around for gyms, if you want to use one--it's a trade of between price and convenience. Your local council would possibly have a subsidised fitness/exercise centre. Your local Y would possibly have a pool that you can use at a reasonably low fee.

Buy a skipping rope. Get some exercise DVDs and a yoga mat. Go and have a look at this post here, whcich has some EXCELLENT suggestions on how to exercise cheaply.

Personally, I'm doing the "Couch to 5k" program aimed at getting someone who's completely unfit up to running 5km. Eventually I'm going to have to move away from my gym and I'm hoping to have alternative forms of exercise in place so that I can be fit and not spend a bundle.

What are your cheap exercise tips?

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