Five Frugal Habits 2/24/2017

Costco's $4.99 rotisserie chickens are the best deal in the store, and they're delicious!

Costco’s $4.99 rotisserie chickens are the best deal in the store, and they’re delicious!

Frugal habits are those things we do almost without thinking about them. Here at Casa Aloha we started doing them to save money, but after a while they became regular, and remain now as ways to help us stick to our budget and save. Here are five frugal things we do every week or month:

  1. Brett packs YaYu’s lunch every day in her washable lunch bag, along with a cloth napkin and stainless utensils (if needed) we bought at Goodwill. She takes a stainless steel Thermos for hot foods, and everything else in stainless steel or Pyrex containers. Zero waste.
  2. We buy a $4.99 Costco chicken every month, and get at least four meals from it. Last week we had a roast chicken dinner, Asian chopped salad with chicken, leftover cold chicken for dinner on leftovers night, and chicken salad (sandwiches for Brett and YaYu, just salad for me). The bones went into the freezer and will be used to make chicken noodle soup later.
  3. We do all of our weekly laundry on Sunday, three loads of it, and hang approximately a third to half of it to dry outside. Two of the three loads are done in cold water; the whites get washed in warm. Otherwise during the week the washer and dryer are not used.
  4. Brett (and WenYu, when she’s home) always takes ‘navy’ showers: get wet, turn off water, lather up, then turn on the water again to rinse off. YaYu and I, on the other hand, are masters of efficient five-minute showers. Both techniques help keep our water bill down each month, especially when we have to run the sprinklers.
  5. We wash out, dry and reuse all Ziploc bags (unless they contained meat or cheese – the bags get greasy), and the plastic bags from the farmers’ market, Costco and Big Save.

What frugal habits have you developed to help you save? I am always open to learning new ways!

8 thoughts on “Five Frugal Habits 2/24/2017

  1. Hawaii Planner says:

    We do similar things. Another more recent frugal habit for us – making our own yeast rolls, which are great for quick between sports snacks, or sandwiches when we’re running low on bread. I also price check all of our flights for Alaska’s price matching deal.

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    • Laura says:

      The yeast rolls sound yummy – I could do that too! We have our bread machine, and it would be very easy to whip up the dough in that while I do other things. Can you share your recipe? YaYu is not much of a bread eater, but think she might like the yeast rolls.

      You’ve done a terrific job with the Alaska price matching. Wish Hawaiian did that, or at least let you do it more than once (that’s their limit).

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  2. Vicky says:

    I’m probably not as hard core frugal as you guys. However things I do try and do are (1) no food wastage – I am lucky enough to live 2 blocks from the supermarkets so I shop probably 4 days per week. However, it’s always off a list and only what I need for a day or two at a time. (2) those evenings when I feel out of ideas and no desire to cook I’ll revert to the old favorite of scrambled eggs. (3) I wait for coupons before I’ll set foot into CVS. If I get a $5 off $25 I try and make sure I don’t go over $25 and always buy off list.

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    • Laura says:

      Cutting back or eliminating food waste is the BEST way to be frugal – the most expensive food you buy is the food you throw away. And, staying out of stores (like CVS, etc.) is another good way to save. We’re getting pretty good though at going in, buying what we need (using a list), and then getting out.

      Funny, we don’t see ourselves as hard-core frugal, at least not compared to others we know. We sort of pick and choose the things that make sense to us, or at least allow us to do what’s important to us.

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  3. Laurel says:

    Cutting the cable was a big one for us when I retired, and we’re glad we did given the intense political situation. We both agree we’d be wringing our hands more and paying a lot for it if we hadn’t.

    The whole chicken is a great one, although I typically buy one and roast it myself. So many things from Costco are staples here, too. Their TP, Kleenex (on sale only), bulk packages of gum (my habit), nuts, canned goods, maple syrup, EVO and other staples are all so much cheaper than our local grocery. But there are also things we used to buy there that we can’t use before they go bad, since it’s just the two of us. Milk is one example.

    DH recently bought a battery charger and four sets of AA chargeable batteries. We go through a fair amount of them with some of our electronics, and he found them on sale.

    Our local movie theaters have $5 movies on Tuesday for all pictures with few exceptions. So when we want to see a new movie on the big screen, that’s the new plan. Saw La La Land this week and loved it. Otherwise, we wait for them to hit the 2nd run theater.

    Your frugal tips are beyond my level at this point, and I learn from your tips all the time. Thanks!

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    • Laura says:

      All your tips are great! We have basic cable here, although we only use it for PBS. We looked at cutting it, but it only added $10/month to what we pay for our Internet service, so we decided it was worth keeping.

      I would go to the movies if they were only $5! More than the money though, I get restless in theaters – I prefer to watch here at home where I can get up and move around if I need to – so we rarely go, and just wait for the movies to be released to video (or Amazon).

      I’m not sure we’d make it here if there wasn’t a Costco.

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  4. Mona McGinnis says:

    I like frugal tips. I consolidate my errands so that sometimes I go to town only once a week, thus saving on fuel. Driving the speed limit also reduces fuel consumption. This fall I bought a new vehicle with a V6 instead of the V8 and I see the improvement in mileage. I often “shop at home” and make a menu based on what’s in the fridge/freezer vs planning the menu then making a shopping list. Soup is often on the menu using up veggies and leftovers before they spoil. I so agree with you that the most expensive food is that which is thrown away. The weekly menu often included a meatless main dish. I freeze the drippings from any roasted meat to use in soups – instant flavor booster. I burn wood to heat the house in conjunction with a natural gas furnace. The thermostat gets lowered at night or if I’m away from home for any length of time. I also turn the water heater down when I’m away from home for >24hrs. I aim for Tuesday night cheap movies or the matinees.

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    • Laura says:

      You’ve got some great frugal habits! We do many of the same things, although here we don’t need to worry about a thermostat. The hot water in this house is ‘on demand’ as well, so we really save with that. We try to have meatless meals twice a week, and when we do eat it try to treat the meat as more of a ‘condiment.’ It doesn’t always happen, but we try. We batch errands as well, but we’re still in the car here every day because of getting YaYu to school, etc. The biggest savings since we moved to Hawai’i has been with our food spending. I used to make a menu, then shop, but now we buy ‘basics’ and then, like you, I shop the fridge, freezer and pantry. We budgeted $1000/month for food before we moved; we’re now down to $500, or a little less (but of course the girls’ expenses now eat up the difference).

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