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What EXTREME lengths have you gone to in order to save money for your family?

Posted by on May. 8, 2014 at 9:01 AM
  • 13 Replies

Extreme couponing, banning paper products, selling your car? What EXTREME lengths have you gone to in order to save money for your family? Have you ever gone TOO FAR to save a buck? If so, tell us what happened. Your answers could be included in an upcoming post on The Stir.

by on May. 8, 2014 at 9:01 AM
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Replies (1-10):
oddfox
by Bronze Member on May. 9, 2014 at 8:27 AM

It depends on how you define "extreme".  Most of us will try new things within our comfort zones, even pushing it a little, as long as it's socially acceptable among our friends, but few of us will attempt outright freeganism or dangling upsidedown in a dumpster by our toes. A recent blog considered "hanging laundry" and "cutting your own hair" "extreme" cost cutting measures.

That said, these things may be considered by some as "over the top". Curb gleaning furniture and washable kitchenware. Reusing plasic bags and containers. Reusing aluminum foil. Cutting hair. Foraging, (dandelion wine from the back yard's weeds, purslane in salads, berry picking in an overgrown area).  Using cloth instead of paper in these situations only; table napkins, clean up rags, diapers. Buying older postage from stamp dealers at discount. Making your own laundry detergent. So far there are no ill effects, other than an occassional too short hair cut and the laundry soap not working well in our very hard water.

Few of the ideas involve tons of extra time or risk and all actually do save money.

Mommabear81312
by Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Bump


othermom
by Bronze Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 2:37 PM

We have gotten rid of cabel before for a while to save money. we don't go out to eat often, but almost all our clothes second hand or on clearance.  I coupon, sell unneeded stuff. ect. nothing to extreme that I can think of

ablackdolphin
by Bronze Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 5:09 PM
I am big couponer
AmericanChild82
by Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 5:21 PM
Couponing, we dont pay for hair cuts, we dont eat out or pay for movies.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
lady_katie
by Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 7:55 PM
2 moms liked this

Well, what we did to *try* to save money wasn't extreme, but the measure by which we tracked whether or not we were *actually* saving money was. We cloth diapered for a year and kept track of each and every diaper we ran through the washer and dryer to see if we were actually saving any money. The results were surprising, to say the least. 

Our initial investment in the diapers was $434.50, and in the end, I ended up selling them on Craigslist for $200, so we ended up investing a total of $234.50 on them when all was said and done. 

We washed a total of 2149 diapers in that year and calculated that if we were to have purchased that exact number of "better brand" disposable diapers at $.16 each, the total would have come to $343.84, and if we had purchased "cheap brand" disposable diapers at $.12 each, the total would have been $257.88. 

$343.84 - $234.50 = $109.34 saved if we were to have used a "better brand" disposable

$257.88 - $234.50 = $23.38 saved if we were to have used a "cheap brand" disposable 

Now that we're using disposable diapers, we use the "up and up" brand from Target, which would fall under the "cheap brand" category. 

So, in a year of cloth diapering, we saved UNDER $25 TOTAL. 

This doesn't account for the cost of detergent, which I can figure out right now. I tried making my own detergent, but it wasn't working out very well, so I switched to Arm & Hammer HE with Oxi Clean and usually purchased from Target. Target has an online price of $8.69 for an 80 load jug (probably what I was buying). If I did a load of diapers 3 times per week, that means that I spent roughly $17.38 on detergent... which brings our "savings" down to about $6!

Now, every time I washed diapers, I had to rinse them, wash them, then rinse them 3 more times before drying (so, 4 rinses, a wash and a dry). I'm no electrician, but I'm betting that the cost to do all of that laundry is WAY more than $6 per year, meaning that we actually saved NOTHING AT ALL

And there you have it. Lesson learned. Cloth diapering does not save money, it actually costs money. It costs money, and time, and energy, and many hassles such as "diaper stripping" (cleaning the clogged detergent out of the "pours" of the diaper fleece so it actually absorbes instead of leaking right out the leg holes) and "sunning" (using the sun to try to bleach out the nasty poop stains that permenantly live on the diapers). 



mnmo3bb
by Amy on Jun. 7, 2014 at 8:20 PM

 We let our car sit in the garage for 9 months broke down and we just had the van and when it was nice my husband rode his motor bike/scooter (topped out at 70ish mph)... then we finally fixed it... the van then eventually broke down and we got a new one (well 4 years old lol) and paid it off in 7 months using the tax return and selling the above mentioned scooter... anyway, he mainly takes the bus to work! lol

ScrChk23
by Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 8:54 PM

We haven't done anything majorly extreme.  We buy some items in bulk, shop at garage sales and thrift stores for clothes, books, home decor, and hit the clearance sales for clothing for the next year and baby gifts.  We usually participate in my dad's neighborhood garage sale, eBay, Craiglist, and a local site to sell items that we do not need anymore.

mybratsmom
by Silver Member on Jun. 7, 2014 at 11:26 PM
That's pretty disappointing considering all the effort you put into it.

Quoting lady_katie:

Well, what we did to *try* to save money wasn't extreme, but the measure by which we tracked whether or not we were *actually* saving money was. We cloth diapered for a year and kept track of each and every diaper we ran through the washer and dryer to see if we were actually saving any money. The results were surprising, to say the least. 

Our initial investment in the diapers was $434.50, and in the end, I ended up selling them on Craigslist for $200, so we ended up investing a total of $234.50 on them when all was said and done. 

We washed a total of 2149 diapers in that year and calculated that if we were to have purchased that exact number of "better brand" disposable diapers at $.16 each, the total would have come to $343.84, and if we had purchased "cheap brand" disposable diapers at $.12 each, the total would have been $257.88. 

$343.84 - $234.50 = $109.34 saved if we were to have used a "better brand" disposable

$257.88 - $234.50 = $23.38 saved if we were to have used a "cheap brand" disposable 

Now that we're using disposable diapers, we use the "up and up" brand from Target, which would fall under the "cheap brand" category. 

So, in a year of cloth diapering, we saved UNDER $25 TOTAL. 

This doesn't account for the cost of detergent, which I can figure out right now. I tried making my own detergent, but it wasn't working out very well, so I switched to Arm & Hammer HE with Oxi Clean and usually purchased from Target. Target has an online price of $8.69 for an 80 load jug (probably what I was buying). If I did a load of diapers 3 times per week, that means that I spent roughly $17.38 on detergent... which brings our "savings" down to about $6!

Now, every time I washed diapers, I had to rinse them, wash them, then rinse them 3 more times before drying (so, 4 rinses, a wash and a dry). I'm no electrician, but I'm betting that the cost to do all of that laundry is WAY more than $6 per year, meaning that we actually saved NOTHING AT ALL

And there you have it. Lesson learned. Cloth diapering does not save money, it actually costs money. It costs money, and time, and energy, and many hassles such as "diaper stripping" (cleaning the clogged detergent out of the "pours" of the diaper fleece so it actually absorbes instead of leaking right out the leg holes) and "sunning" (using the sun to try to bleach out the nasty poop stains that permenantly live on the diapers). 

karla41164
by Member on Jun. 8, 2014 at 7:27 AM

We coupon, Keep things unpluged when not using them,Use a wood stove so we only use 135 gallons of propane a year do not eat out :( When using the coupons we take the amount we saved and it go's into a savings account and 2 years ago I was able to re do my kitchen and this year I now have a green house from my savings,

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