Weird Ways That I Save Money

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

FASTER METABOLISM

An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.
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Happy $5 Friday! :mrgreen:

As you know, Mal and I are raising money for Team in Training and raffling off a brand new Breville juicer. We’ve received a ton of donations, but I know we can still do better! So, we hope that everyone will participate in $5 Friday and donate $5 to the cause. You’ll also earn one raffle ticket to win the juicer!

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I realize that we all have different financial situations, but every single dollar counts and you will help to fund research to find a cure for cancer. Please consider donating $5 to Team In Training today. You can donate to our team page here. Of course, if you’re feeling generous, we’d happily accept larger donations! 😉

We’d also appreciate it if you could tell friends, family, and coworkers about our raffle to support TNT. Feel free to post on Facebook and tweet as well! Every little bit helps!

Breakfast

I truly never get sick of eating overnight oats. Well, technically, I made overnight oat bran and bulgur, but you know what I mean! 😉

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In the mix:

  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup bulgur
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
  • Chia seeds
  • Dried lychee fruit
  • Barney Butter

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I also enjoyed some wonderful iced coffee with breakfast.

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Ice Cream Showdown

For the local folks…

The only thing better than spending a summer day eating ice cream is sampling over 20 different flavors of ice cream for a good cause. Am I right!?! 😀 The Ice Cream Showdown is @eatBoston’s latest effort to raise funds for local organizations: Lovin’ Spoonful, Share our Strength, Somerville Local First, Arts Union, and Community Servings. 100% of ticket sales will be donated to these organizations.

  • WHAT: Ice Cream Showdown – ice cream sampling event to support local causes
  • WHO: Stonyfield Farm, Chilly Cow Custard, JP Licks, Christina’s, Toscanini’s, Picco, Batch, Coop’s Microcreamery, and b.good.
  • WHERE: On Saturday, August 21, in Union Square, Somerville and on Sunday, August 22, at SoWa Food + Produce Market at 500 Harrison Avenue.
  • WHEN: August 21 and August 22, 2:00 – 4:00PM

Last year’s event drew in over 500 people. There will be tickets available on the day of each event, but the public can also get guaranteed tickets now at: http://icecreamshowdown.eventbrite.com/

Weird Ways to Save Money

I hope you enjoyed my post about ways to have fun in college, but not go broke. The second post in my financial series is about “weird” things I do to save money. I’d also love to hear what you guys do! I’m not afraid to do weird stuff to save a buck! 😉

Here are just a few of the weird (and semi-embarrassing) things that I do to save money:

  • I buy clothing and accessories at drugstores and dollar stores. I buy fashion staples (neutral color tank tops, t-shirts, socks, etc.) at places like Walgreens, Ocean State Job Lot, and dollar stores. I also buy tights, flip-flops, and sunglasses at these places. I also find fun home and holiday decor there!
  • I use every last drop. When my bottle of shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body lotion, etc. is just about gone, I tip the bottle upside-down and make sure to use every last bit. A lot of people do this, but I go one step further: I cut off the top with scissors and make sure to use it all. If there’s a lot of product left over, I’ll use a plastic baggie and an elastic band to cover the contents so it doesn’t dry up. With face wash and lotion, this makes the product last at least a week or longer.
  • No food goes to waste in my house. I’m sort of obsessive about making sure everything is used up. For instance, a wrinkly pepper goes into pasta, a bruised apple is made into apple crisp, a nearly rotten peach is saved by cutting off the bad part and tossed into a smoothie. I also organize my yogurt (and other dairy products) with the soonest expiration date at the front of the fridge, so it is used up first. I put leftovers in clear Tupperware containers and put them on the top shelf of the fridge so I don’t forget about them. I have even more tips over on Trading Up Downtown.

Question of the Day

What weird things do you do to save money?

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71 Comments

  1. I’m horrible at being frugal unless it comes to beauty products. I use EVERY LAST DROP of my shampoo, conditioner and other products, and I keep my makeup way too long (apparently you’re supposed to throw stuff away every year or so?). I pay good money for good stuff, so why not use it ALL?!

  2. I love your weird ways to save, particularly the last one. We’re moving in two weeks and trying desperately to use up everything in our refrigerator and pantry. I’m trying to come up with creative ways to use these forgotten items, so I’ll be perusing food blogs a lot this weekend for inspiration!

  3. I love the tips, Tina. I grew up in an upper-middle class home, but my parents most definitely did NOT, and they practiced all kind of money saving tips and instilled them in me and I do them now. I think, no matter what a person’s financial situation, they should strive to do the little things you have just described. I love the tip about cutting the tops off beauty products to get the last drops – that is SO my mom! I do this with almost empty salad dressing, honey, etc. Turn it upside down in the fridge/on the counter, or add a little water and shake, and you’re good for more days!

  4. i freeze stuff all the time whenever i think it could go bad and wouldn’t be able to use it! my freezer is stocked with bread and frozen fruit!

  5. I use only cash — no check cards, no credit cards. That way, when the cash runs out, I’m done spending! It really helps me from spending extra on food, treats, clothes, toiletries, etc.

    I think it is great that you teamed up with TNT for your marathon training and for some fundraising!

  6. great tips, I also am weird about wasting food and do the same thing as you. No need to waste good products.

    I love cruising through consignment shops on occasion just to check and see if they have anything good. The majority of my apartment was decorated with consignment items and I loved it.
    I have also found a pair of Citizen jeans before for about 15 dollars.

  7. Love the money saving tips. I need those pointers right now. I love buying flip flops at Old Navy because they’re usually 2 for $5.

    I’m going to donate this weekend. 🙂

  8. I don’t think any of your money saving methods are weird at all. I do the same things and I think being frugal never went out of style.

  9. I love the first tip!! I do the exact same thing!! People often don’t realize that you can get so many those great staple items (and holiday decor) at stores like that for SUPER cheap – and no one ever knows the difference! Love your blog 🙂

  10. I definitely employ all of the tips you mentioned, but when I have large expenses coming up (I’m moving in a month an will need new furniture) I really stretch my creativity. For example, since I’m moving to a posh, urban loft. I’ve decided to take my ugly boring old white desk and decoupage it for a fresher, unique look.

  11. I want to donate to your team in training page, I was just wondering if the amount you are looking to raise (about 11K) is all going to be donated or if some of that includes your travel expenses?

  12. General: The easiest way I save is to set up a direct deposit/auto transfer to my savings acct. That way it doesn’t “accidentally” get spent.

    Food: I also shop at discount grocery stores like Aldi when I can. And I make a meal plan for the week so I make sure I use up anything that may go bad.

    Clothing: I sign up for store credit cards at stores I shop frequently. Places (like Kohl’s) send you tons of coupons/special to use if you have their card. Then, when I need something, I shop when there’s a coupon and pay the card off when the bill comes. This really only works if you’re disciplined enough to only shop when you need something vs. just because you have a coupon. 🙂

  13. Mmm…I never knew you could do overnight oats with oatbran. That looks so delicious! 😀

    I’m definitely obsessive about making sure no food goes to waste too. There’s nothing like using up the last of the last of the leftovers and turning it into something completely new and delicious (usually 😉 ).

  14. We went through a period of extreme financial tightness last summer, so we were operating on a “cash only” basis for groceries. We had an envelope, we each added our share weekly, and we bought what we could with that money. Some weeks I had to weigh produce at the store and add up as we went along, to make sure we didn’t go over budget.

    I also shop the farmer’s market and Asian (and other ethnic) grocery stores for lower prices on produce, cheeses, tofu, rice, olive oil, condiments, and other staples we use. It’s amazing that some items are half as much at the ethnic markets!

    Other ways we save money? No cable, no high-speed internet at home, (yes . . . we still dial up!), no cell phone for me, etc. I lived for a period making less than ten dollars an hour, working only about 25 hours a week. It’s amazing what you can cut when you need to!

  15. Happy Friday! I am awful at saving money so I appreciate the tips. Food is probably the biggest thing I waste and I am ALWAYS throwing away bottles of lotion and perfume because I either get them as gifts or buy them on impulse.

    The best way that I save money, which isn’t weird at all, is just to bring my own bfast, coffee, and lunch to work. I also used to sneak nips into bars to save one the $10 drink costs. I always check receipts and I have actually managed to save quite a bit doing that… once I was charged $5 for one lemon!

  16. I cut the top off with scissors too! So funny. I also cut my toothpaste tube in half when it’s getting super low. Then I put it in a plastic baggie so it doesn’t dry out. I literally use EVERY last bit.

  17. I’m so glad to hear someone else does te baggie/elastic trick! My hubby makes fun of me but I just can’t stand throwing out a bottle of something knowing there’s more stuff in it! Some of the saving tricks I use are: unplug all phone chargers and unused appliances like toasters and juicers – this can save up to 30% on your power. I also buy things in bulk – costco is fantastic for this like shampoo, facewash, toothpaste and batteries. Although you feel like you’re spending more if you look at the price per unit it’s cheaper. I also get clothing staples here. Yesterday I bought a 2 pack of yoag pants for 10 bucks and 4 pack of tank tops (which i wear under everything) for 7!

  18. Sounds like our fridges are organized much the same way. I’ll also prechop some veggies so they are easier to use and put them in a noticeable spot so I eat them.

  19. Every week we study the grocery ads and then get what we need where it is the cheapest, even if it means going to three grocery stores! We also clip coupons like crazy and if something is a really great deal we stock up!

  20. love your ways of saving money 😉
    i love going for bargains and achieving great looks with a small sum of money. and i’ll forever compare the prices of groceries between the competing hypermarts. 😉

  21. Loving the tips!! I also am kind of nuts when it come to throwing food out. I recently moved from New York to Texas and have a whole bag of random food items that most people would have thrown away…a bottle of olive oil with only 1/4 C. left, 1/2 package of sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 a package of almonds, etc…lol

  22. Tina, what do you do when you have leftover food that isn’t necessarily very healthy? Do you feel badly wasting it, or do you eat it and then feel badly?
    I also have a hard time wasting food, which manifests itself in my never not clearing my plate and simply eating more of something because I just don’t want to see it go to waste.

  23. I too am fanatical about not wasting food. It not only costs more money, but being wasteful in general just really bothers me.
    In response to the comment above from Stacy, I think one way people can avoid wasting food is to be really careful menu planners. I shop at the grocery store / farmers market once a week, with a list that includes everything I need for the meals I’m going to be eating at home (or packing for lunch). It takes some time to get used to knowing how much you need, but taking a few minutes to plan it out every week makes a huge difference. If you stick to your list, you’ll buy less stuff that you won’t use!

  24. Tina, I love your tips, but you forgot to mention one important thing: you are not only saving money, but you are saving the environment by not being wasteful!! I also practice some of the same things you do, but I also cut my dryer sheets in half, never use the reccomended amount of laundry soap or dishwashing soap so it stretches the products 🙂

  25. Great tips! You are not the only one who turns things upside down- I add water to make it last that much longer (this works especially well with hand soap!) I also buy store brand when possible. Eating healthily in college is tough because my budget is so thin, so I have to pick and choose what to spend on. If I buy almond butter one week, I might go for store brand yogurt (and I NEVER buy any kind of fancy toilet paper/paper towels. So not worth it.) I also buy lots and lots of frozen vegetables and fruit because they’re cheaper and they don’t go bad. And I frequently stick my bread in the fridge!

  26. I totally cut packages in half to make sure I get everything in there as well! I remember my colleges roommates thought I was crazy, but whatevs.

    I also cannot ever bring myself to buy name brand if there is a generic available – groceries, drug stores, etc. My mom drilled that into my head!

  27. @stacy: What do you mean by “bad” food? As in tastes bad? Or not nutritious? Food that tastes bad, I don’t mind wasting. A cupcake, however, is a different story!

  28. I covet your oatmeal bowl….it makes me happy everytime I see it. 🙂

    I like your idea about cutting the product container to see what product is left. I also try not to let food go to waste. I am lucky enough to have an extra freezer in my gargage and I freeze everything!!!

  29. I love tip # 2 because that is one that I use all the time! Especially for my face cream which is one of the beauty products that I spend the most on, I always end up cutting off the top and sealing it with a bag in order to use it all up! I thought I was the only one!

  30. Ohhh JP Licks and Coop’s…how I miss you from my Boston days! Wish I could attend!

    The funny thing is that I don’t find these tips weird at all- they’re just good tips! 🙂 I also add water to my handsoap pump when it’s almost out and shake it. It lasts about an extra week. Living in Chicago, I try to walk everywhere and avoid taking cabs whenever possible. It’s amazing how much cabfare adds up!

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