Most restaurants, even fast food places, will do their best to accommodate the special requests of their customers. So especially where your children are concerned – order their food exactly as they want it, even if that’s not how it’s listed on the menu. Otherwise, you’re going to spend good money on food your kid will pick apart or not eat at all. Take off the onions, add ketchup, put the pickles on the side – whatever it takes to please their pallets will please your wallet – if they eat it all, they won’t want you to buy something else an hour later.
A well prepared purse is an absolute must for the frugally minded Mom! If your kids tend to beg for candy in the checkout lane of the store, be able to hand them candy! You’re in plain view of the checkout counter and other customers – so it’s unlikely anyone is going to think your children shoplifted if they each have a piece of hard candy, gum, or lollipop from your purse while waiting in line. It’s also a good idea to carry something of actual sustenance in your purse, like cheese crackers, pop corn, or raisins in a zipper baggie. If it’s close to a meal time and you’re not quite finished shopping yet, you can hold them off with a snack and avoid having to buy fast food. Again, I don’t think anyone is going to accuse the kids of shoplifting if they’re ambling along behind you eating crackers from a zipper baggie.
Become a habitual product registration completer and warranty activator! Even if it’s a $5 coffee pot – spend .35 cents for a stamp and activate the registration and warranty! If the thing goes kaput… make a claim. Yes you will probably have to box it up, and cover the shipping, and yes the shipping may cost you more than a new $5 coffee pot would – BUT – did you know 90% of product manufactures send more than just a product replacement back? They sure do. Especially if you include a really heartfelt letter explaining how you love their product and would like to try some of their others. You’ll defiantly get a replacement coffee pot – but sometimes, you get a free upgrade to their newest model that compares to what you had. And sometimes you get money saving coupons too. Unless you activated the registration and warranty with the manufacturer, you’re out of luck if something breaks or goes out and the store you purchased it from doesn’t offer replacements.
Some sources encourage lowering the temperature setting of your water heater, or installing a timer. I encourage the use of a timer, but not turning down the temperature setting! If your water is uncomfortably hot to the touch, what do you tend to do when bathing? Turn on more cold water, right? The flow on the cold water faucet is increased, or the flow on the hot is decreased, in order to create a comfortable bathing temperature. If you’re using less hot water from the tank… less is being added to re-fill. The less that’s added to re-fill the tank, the shorter the time it takes to bring the water up to the desired temperature. If you have your hot water set to a comfortable level, you’re going to use almost exclusively hot water when bathing, draining the tank. The tank has to fill and heat all the way back up from completely cold, which takes more time. The more time it takes, the more electricity (propane, or gas) it uses. Use less hot water and more cold – it doesn’t require electricity (propane, or gas) to make cold water cold, but it does to make hot water hot.
Donating your outgrown and unwanted clothing and household items to charity is a wonderful act of kindness, and I encourage doing this – IF – you can actually afford it. But if your budget is tight, I suggest having a yard sale instead. You’ll still be doing people a favor by selling them items at a greatly reduced price – while doing your budget a favor by contributing back into it. And please, don’t get ridiculous or greedy! I hate over priced yard sales! I don’t care if you did give $20 for that shirt in 1963, I’m not going to pay $10 for it now. And unless you want to get stuck with it, I suggest you get real and drop the tag to a buck. Once you’ve had your yard sale, I’d then suggest donating what’s leftover to Charity.
Another thing you can do with the leftover yard sale items (if you feel they’re of no real use, and not really something you’d want to donate)… is “scrap them out”. Remove the buttons from clothing and save in a baby food jar – there’s no telling what else you could use them on. Really absorbent materials such as bath towels and old robes can be cut up into kitchen dish towels. It’s never a bad idea to save the glass pot from an old coffee maker – they do sometimes break and a replacement pot is almost as expensive as a whole new coffee maker. (This is one of the household items that I always try to keep “one more” of around at all times.) Knobs are another thing I keep an assortment of, if I’m tossing something out and it has good knobs on it, I pop off a few and save them in a zipper bag.