Austerity Measures -- Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    This is a good one. It's amazing how quickly lunch adds up. Where I work, there's a fully functional cafeteria that's open from 7:00(?) to 1:30 plus a mini-cafe/coffee bar that's open from 7:00 - 4:30. If you're not thinking about it, you could easily spend $15 - $20 per day. $4-5 -ish for breakfast. $7ish for lunch A grande coffee = $4. A smoothie or maybe ice cream in the afternoon = another $3. That's almost $20 a day. $400 a month, if you go to work every day. But it doesn't seem like a lot of money, if you spend it a few dollars at a time.
  2. Debra

    Debra Member

    I limit myself to one trip per week to the grocery store & twice a month to target. It is amazing what I save on impulse buys. I also look at me grocery store ad online on Wednesday & plan my menus around what meat/poultry/veggies are on special. Also, my .02 is that w/ Netflix, Hulu plus & amazon prime I don't need cable.
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I was looking at Amazon Prime earlier today. They offer one free book download every month from the Kindle library. Very cool. (DS got a Kindle for Christmas in 2011.) When you add in free two-day shipping on Amazon orders of any size, $79 a year is a VERY good deal, IMO. (ETA: And another way for me to save cash. I normally go for free what-ya-callit shipping from Amazon, but to do that, I have to spend $25 or more at a time. So I round up my orders to $25, thereby buying lots of things that I didn't intend to. Another form of impulse purchasing.)
  4. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Most of my suggestions (Netflix, Hulu, menu planning, strict shopping, evaluating need v. want, bringing meals from home) have already been covered. One thing to note, however, is that you will often end up spending just as much, if not more, if you cut out your cable service--if that's how you also have your internet. Around here, packages with basic cable + internet are either less than or equal to just internet. (Ask me how I know.)

    I find coupon shopping to be dicey. We used to do it, years ago; it's why we started getting the Sunday paper. But we've changed what we eat, and I really just don't find the coupons particularly useful any more. Instead, we buy certain things in bulk, and go with El Cheapo Brand for them (toilet paper, dish soap, hand soap, mouthwash, Windex, laundry detergent, etc.). I find that some cheap/generic brands are OK, while others are definitely not.

    One thing that we spent some money on a while ago, but it's saved time and money in the long run, is to invest in dish cloths and a lot of dish towels. We have a lot of them. A whole lot. I keep them in a shallow basket on top of the fridge for easy access. This cuts down on sponges and paper towels (you already know my dislike of paper towels). For most things, it's just as easy to grab a towel or dish cloth to clean something up...and then we can just throw it in the laundry with other stuff.

    Oh, and speaking of laundry, we wash everything in cold water and air-dry as much as we possibly can.
    Bailamosdance likes this.
  5. toothlesstiger

    toothlesstiger Well-Known Member

    I'm not doing anything extra. We are a pretty frugal family. I do my own home maintenance when I can. I enjoy cooking, so we eat out quite infrequently. And as much as I'd love to do the whole "organic food only" thing, I buy regular meat, produce, and other staples in quantity from the local restaurant supply. I like buying sirloin for under $3/lb. :) I work in the city, so I always brown bag the lunch, I cringe at the notion of paying $9 for a sandwich.

    Right now we have both Netflix and Amazon Prime (trial version). What I really like about Amazon Prime is that I can rent the movie if it doesn't stream free for me. With Netflix I don't have that option. So we are going to be cancelling the Netflix in favor of Amazon Prime.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member






    Thanks. Most of the inexpensive cable bundles I know about, around here, are for new customers only, but I will call and ask. Maybe the company I have will be desperate enough that they'll give me a deal to keep me from quitting.

    And you're right about the dish cloths and towels -- or most things where you can use disposable versus reusable -- at least in the long run. One example that comes to mind was the time when I got sick of washing dishes so used disposable dishes and cutlery for months. Good grief! That added up quickly.

    I hear you about the cold water for laundry, but (I think we talked about this before) there are certain things that i will always wash in hot with bleach. Dollars be danged. Hygiene is at stake. If you had a fifteen-year-old, you might understand. *grin*

    btw, I took heed to the tip that you inadvertently gave in a thread (recipes? YA?) a few weeks ago. Cook in bulk and save food for later. IIRC, you mentioned making one rotisserie chicken into a billion (Okay. At least five.) things. Not bad, when a rotisserie chicken only costts bout five bucks.
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I hear ya. This is why I've started taking a bag of whole fruit and keeping it in a fruit bowl on my desk. The cafe at work charges either $0.79 or $0.89 for whole fruit. I cannot abide the idea of paying the better part of a dollar for a banana. Yes. You figured it out right. They charge tax, because it's a "restaurant."
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah and I guess I'm stating the obvious here, but what they heck. Libraries are the best deal in town, if you're a voracious reader. Free. Libraries.

    Even though almost everything I buy from Amazon is a book, I rarely buy a book that I haven't at least browsed at a library or at a brick and mortar store. Most of the stuff I read, I borrow from the library. And I have (my own, neurotic) rules** about browsing at brick and mortar stores, to assuage any feelings of guilt.



    ** I only read magazines that are already visibly thumbed-through and unsaleable. I buy a book at B&N roughly once a month, because I like the privilege of being able to hang out in a bookstore and read to my heart's content, but it's often from their bargain books section. The full priced at B&N stuff I buy from Amazon dot com, because I can usually get the best price there.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah and, when it comes to food. If you eat take out (which I know is a big if,) find out if they have specials. A lot of places have discounts on certain days of the week, discounts for veterans, discounts for AAA members. Tons of stuff you'd never think of.

    And the other thing is know what take-out food costs. This means that sometimes fast food/take-out is a rip off. (e.g. fried rice from my local Chinese food restaurant -- $9 for a serving that I could make for $2 lol) But sometimes take-out is a decent deal. (e.g. full rotisserie chicken meal with rice and beans, and another side of your choice at Pollo Tropical for under $15 ($12, last time I checked.) )

    ETA: I googled. Pollo Tropical is a chain restaurant that is only in the SE US and parts of Central America. It's a great deal for families, though. I can't count the number of Sunday afternoons I could barely get in the place after church let out. :)
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Yep, this is another rotisserie chicken week. White meat for curried chicken salad, thighs and drumsticks for DH's dinner the other night, and the carcass gets frozen for when I eventually make stock. All for $5.
    bordertangoman and pygmalion like this.
  11. Purr

    Purr Well-Known Member

    I should have thought of this, too, because I get most of my books from the library. I order them online through the library's website, and another family member picks them up when they're in. ;)

    Another family member brings in magazines and books from the local senior center. They're free, and we can keep them as long as we like. :)
  12. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Costco.
  13. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    So long as you can resist the impulse purchasing!

    Actually, a lot of times I don't find that the prices are all that much better for things.
  14. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I am working on making my own bread..with mixed results. I have made one delicious loaf using coconut milk and raisins. it makes just fantastic toast, but my other wholemeal loaves have been edible but not risen enough..housebrick density..I have used an oven and trying out my sister's breadmaker..
  15. bia

    bia Well-Known Member

    Oh, good reminder -- I need to get back to using my breadmaker. I used to make bread every week, but it's been a while. Mine ends up quite dense, too, but I kinda like it that way, so that's okay. I do want to figure out some recipe adjustments to the texture, though -- my bread tends to end up crumbly, and I want chewy. Time to do some research.
    bordertangoman likes this.
  16. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    I have a suggestion, don't use a breadmaker. They're not that great. Also, especially if you're not using regular bread flour alone or cut with whole-wheat, you need to REALLY let it leaven. If you use just heavy grains like rye alone, all you will ever get are bricks-there has to be something with more gluten in it to rise. Crumbly means you're missing some sort of moisture. (And if you go gluten free with rice flour, you NEED things like xanthan gum or it will crumble. Gluten is what gives bread structure.)

    Netflix and Hulu are cheap, I guess, for people with high-speed (even if I had high-speed I don't like watching TV shows on computers and I don't waste money on a cell phone that does things other than make calls.) I just go with DirecTV's basic package--I figure anything on premium channels I REALLY want to see will eventually be out on DVD. Or edited for broadcast TV. I really wish, though, we could do a la carte choices--I almost never watch local channels (between kids' channels, Ovation, and BBC America, even PBS is becoming obsolete), so ditching satellite isn't really an option, but I do get a LOT of channels I never watch.
  17. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Yeah, my bread machine has been sitting in my garage for years now. Personally, I find that free-form bread is simply better. If you have a decent stand mixer (that can knead your dough without seizing up), it's really not that difficult either.
  18. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    i AM STILL at the experimental stage. My first raisin loaf improved vastly because 1. I mixed the dry ingredients in a bowl 2. I could see the flour wasnt wet enough, so I chucked a fifth more water in, and lo, it rose, like manna from heaven..So its getting a feel for what the yeast will do. Some don't have the oomph to cope with a knockdown and a second rise so its one kneading and rise and straight in the ooven...
  19. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member


    isnt that defeating the point? its either breadmaker and be totally lazy or make the bread yourself, but using a mixer? where is the fun in that?
  20. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    For me, it hits the sweet spot between quality and convenience. I find that the results are far superior to what a bread machine puts out, but that I lose little to nothing over kneading the dough by hand. To be clear, the kneading is the only thing I'm doing with the mixer.

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