7 Simple Money Saving Tips

I’m answering another question from Facebook today.

Amanda wanted to know some of my frugal tips.

Buy used.

Furniture, clothing, dishes, towels, sheets, home decor, etc. can all be found used.  We shop mostly yard sales, but second hand shops can be useful for harder to find items (like boys blue jeans sans holes in the knees).

Buy in bulk.

We do this mostly for food. We purchase from co-ops, restaurant suppliers and sometimes directly from the farmer.

Go paperless.

We generally do not purchase paper napkins, paper towels, etc. We’ve chosen to use all cloth, except for toilet paper. Check out our cloth napkin solution.

Make your own cleaning products.

We make all of our own cleaning supplies except for the detergent for the dishwasher. We mostly clean with baking soda, white vinegar and Castile soap. We also make generous use of microfiber cloths and water.

Here is our recipe for laundry soap.

Don’t buy what you don’t need.

Wouldn't you rather have a houseful of these?

Most people have too many clothes, too many toys, too many computer games, too many housewares, too much stuff! If we would simply purchase what we need, we would all have plenty to share with those who have need.

When we have too much stuff, we need more space to store it and require more time to manage it. Simplifying is an easy way to save money.

Pay cash.

If you can’t afford to pay cash, you can’t afford it.

And because I know that people will ask, we personally believe that a home is the one legitimate reason to go into a reasonable amount of debt. However, it would be ideal to purchase a home with no debt.

Recognize the difference between a ‘need’ and a ‘want’.

Cell phones: Until two years ago we had no cell phones. When our children got old enough to stay home alone, we decided to move into the cell phone world. We spend less than $10 a month for a simple pre-paid phone that we only use for emergencies. Even this is a luxury and certainly not a necessity.

Hair appointments: We do all of our own hair cutting in house. (I actually made a how-to video for boy’s hair cuts that I intend to post. Someday. :) )

Classes and sports: Need I say more?

Restaurant eating/Fast food: Even if you are super busy, eating out is not a necessity.  It requires some planning and forethought, but people survived for centuries without fast food joints. When you chose to take the family out to eat,  recognize the privilege  that it is and enjoy the blessing of it.

Clothes dryers: Our family of 12 recently lived for 3 months without a clothes dryer. We live in a rainy, humid climate in North East Tennessee and this was during our cold season. We’re very happy to have a dryer again, but we know that running it is certainly a luxury and not a necessity.

Cable TV/Netflix/Video rentals: There is a library full of ‘free’ books, Cd’s and often even videos and even that is providing a ‘want’, not a ‘need’.

A second car: Our family survived with one car for many years and for many/most people having one car is a viable option.

What other ‘wants’ are we tempted to claim as ‘needs’.

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23 Responses to 7 Simple Money Saving Tips
  1. Sarah
    March 7, 2012 | 8:43 am

    I would love to see that hair cutting video. My attempts have been rather disastrous!

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  2. Lovin' Life
    March 7, 2012 | 9:39 am

    I hope that you post the hair cutting video. We have 4 boys and I would love to be able to cut their hair. It would save us a bundle! :)

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    Carol Reply:

    Hi- My husband cuts his own hair and our sons hair with a Flowbee. He has been doing it for over 20 years and its probably saved us a few thousand dollars. I just checked online and its $80. Well worth the investment. Just google flowbee. Also, youtube has some vids you can watch to see how it works.

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  3. ephale
    March 7, 2012 | 10:04 am

    We’ve gone for years without buying more than an item or two of clothes for my kids…we have a great hand-me-down system at church. It’s easy to organize a clothing exchange a couple of times a year, or just get hooked into a hand-me-down ring that keeps clothes going until they are too worn out to use. It’s fun to see things my kids wore pop up at church on different children over the years and I love it that we’ve saved so much by not having to buy clothes!

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  4. Megan
    March 7, 2012 | 11:49 am

    I would also love to see the boys hair cutting video! :)

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  5. Monique
    March 7, 2012 | 12:11 pm

    Umm, no pressure, but my son would REALLY appreciate the hair cutting post as well. (REALLY (c; ). Oh, and we totally copied you on using washcloths for everyday napkins. Big hit around here!

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  6. Annie
    March 7, 2012 | 12:19 pm

    Your tips are so practical yet valuable at the same time. We too employ many of the same things your family does.
    Living within our means, even below our means at times, has shown us such wonderful things about our Lord! He is so faithful! And when we have a need that goes unmet (maybe it’s due to a lack of money or we cant find what we are specifically looking for)we trust that if the Lord wanted us to have it, He would have provided it. And many times what my husband and I noticed was that the timing was just not the right season for us to have what we thought we needed because God wanted to give us His best later on! I can say this is true in our homeschooling needs, transportation needs, clothing needs, food needs, etc….

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  7. Oana
    March 7, 2012 | 12:33 pm

    Can I ask where do you get your free books?

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Borrowing books, CD’s and videos from your local library is free. Sorry if that wasn’t clear in the post.

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  8. Heidi
    March 7, 2012 | 1:35 pm

    Great post. My hubby reminds the kids that the things they think they “need” are just “wants”. We have that discussion with them (and us) often. :)

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  9. Genieve
    March 7, 2012 | 2:30 pm

    I would love to see that hair cutting video. I definitely need help in cutting hair :)

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  10. Dawn McKenna
    March 7, 2012 | 4:13 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of months and just today realized that you’re in my neighborhood, lol. We live in Knoxville but are moving to Kingsport in May. It’s always nice to follow a blog that’s in your area. Somehow it all seems more applicable. Love the blog and thanks so much for the inspiration and the occasional laugh. Both are always welcome.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    *waves hi*

    My family lives up in Kingsport. My father is the pastor of a church up there and that’s where we lived until just 6 1/2 years ago. We miss all of our family and friends. Enjoy! :)

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  11. Valerie
    March 7, 2012 | 5:06 pm

    We went through some lean years and also amassed a wonderful list of frugal living ideas that continue to stay with us. Once you experience the satisfaction of living on less you never want to go back to overspending and overconsuming!

    One more thing we learned is to water down shampoo and body wash. It’s easier on your skin and hair as well. :)

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  12. Jean Anderson
    March 7, 2012 | 11:08 pm

    I make my own baby-wipes – that saves a fair bit of money, and they’re biodegradable (not like the bought ones). You could use cloth all the time but if you’re going out sometimes it’s useful to have disposable ones :)

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  13. Gayle
    March 8, 2012 | 2:37 am

    I am curious what you meant about classes/sports? Do you mean that your kids aren’t involved in organized sports? Just curious as I can’t imagine not letting my kids play soccer, basketball, football…etc. Or do you mean another way to save money on sports? Sorry for not getting it. :)

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    My point is that classes and sports are not necessities, even though many people in today’s society seem to believe that they are. No child ‘needs’ to play organized sports. :)

    For physical fitness our family runs cross country together.

    We personally have chosen to limit our involvement in organized sports because there are many other things that we think are a better use of our time. (Again, this is just our personal decision.)

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  14. Nikki
    March 8, 2012 | 5:34 am

    As I’ve been hurriedly preparing for Danny to leave next week I’ve been compiling a list of non-food non-perishable household goods for him to buy. And after looking at getting 1860 size 5 diapers, I’m thinking it’s time to go back to cloth.

    Thanks for the great reminder. And I love that you use washcloths as cloth napkins. So smart! I’m making a note!

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  15. Irene
    March 8, 2012 | 9:13 am

    Here is a link to an old book I found once…from 1832! It’s called The American Frugal Housewife. It’s pretty interesting to read the old recipes, and there are parts that make me chuckle, but there are also parts that can be quite convicting. It reads pretty much like a lecture on how households should be managed…..lots of the same issues back then, too.

    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13493/13493-h/13493-h.htm#page89

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  16. Bethany
    March 11, 2012 | 8:35 am

    So does that mean your kids aren’t in sports? Would love to see the video as well, I would love to be able to cut my husbands hair! But have been scared to even try it before!

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    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We basically don’t do organized sports, not so much because of finances (although if that were an issue, sports would be the first thing to go), but rather because of our priorities. We just believe that much of the time and energy that our society puts in to sports could used more productively.

    We do run cross country and participate in cross country events fairly regularly.

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  17. Emily
    March 11, 2012 | 5:02 pm

    Oh you live somewhat near me. We live in south east Tennessee, near Chattanooga. We would love to meet you all but I’m sure you get that all the time. : ) Just throwing that out there in case God should make it possible. Have a blessed day.

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  18. Monica
    April 12, 2012 | 9:11 am

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE post the hair cutting video! I’m begging!!! :)

    [Reply]

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