We arguably live in a throwaway culture in the West: instead of fixing or upscaling things, we tend to buy new products. And many of us spend money on frivolous things, left, right, and center. That new phone that just came out? That cutting-edge fashion statement of a coat? We’ve got to have them. Here and now. However, there is a different way to live.
The r/Frugal subreddit is here to save the day (and your wallet). A community of over 2 million dedicated members, it’s a platform for people to share advice on how to live a frugal lifestyle. And it’s been active ever since 2008. We’ve collected some of their best recent thrifty hacks below.
When you’re done enjoying this list and upvoting all of your favorite pics, make sure to drop by the comment section to share any frugal living tips that you might have, dear Pandas. And if you’re in the mood for some more r/Frugal goodness, be sure to check out Bored Panda’s previous article about the online community right over here.
Bored Panda was interested in learning more about frugal living and how to save money, so we reached out to financial expert Sam Dogen to get his take on things. Sam is the author of ‘Buy This, Not That: How to Spend Your Way to Wealth and Freedom’ and the founder of Financial Samurai. He told us that the number one thing that we should be doing is saving more money. Or, as he calls it, paying ourselves first.
"We need to always pay ourselves first by automatically contributing to our tax-advantaged retirement accounts and setting aside a recommended 20% or more of after-tax earnings to save and invest. The more you can make your savings and investing automatic, the better. People are surprisingly good at living on less," he said. You'll find our full interview with Sam below, dear Pandas.
#1 I Refuse To My Buy My Baby Girl A "Feminine" Blanket When I Have A Perfectly Good One Leftover From My Son
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#2 Rosemary Went Crazy In The Garden - So I’m Using Sprigs To Freshen The Bathroom - The Steam From The Shower Accentuates The Smell Keeping The Bathroom Smelling Fresh
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#3 I Am Too Cheap To Buy Cuff Links And I Work In A Machine Shop
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According to author and financial expert Sam, people easily overspend on food and entertainment the most. Many of them aren't aware of how much they're actually spending.
"I was talking to one woman who thought she should only be spending $4,000 a month on food and entertainment. Yet, she always gets a credit card bill for $10,000 a month instead. She had no idea where all the money was going. When she finally did a detailed analysis, she realized she consistently overspent on food, drinks, and all sorts of automatic streaming subscriptions such as Netflix, Disney+, and more," he gave a specific example about the importance of taking a close look at one's finances.
#4 When Your Bar Soap Gets Wafer Thin, You Can Still Use It Up All The Way Be Pressing It Onto The Next Bar When It's Sudsy And Let It Dry
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#5 Get A Library Card...
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#6 Finally, A Pinterest Project That Worked Well And For Not Too Much $$
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Sam personally believes that we don't live in a throwaway culture. "Overall, we are becoming more conscientious of how we spend our money and recycle products. From buying secondhand cars, to getting hand-me-down children’s clothes, to buying used luxury items on the Internet, we are making our money go farther. But I do believe there will be more revenge spending going on this year and next year as we move on from the pandemic."
According to the expert, the biggest benefit of living frugally is saving yourself time, which is your greatest resource (alongside energy). "The less you need, the less you have to work. And the less you have to work, the more time you save to do whatever you want," he said.
"As a frugal person, there is also a mental decluttering. The fewer things you have, the more free feel. Attachment is one of the reasons for suffering. To be able to let go is a wonderful feeling and ability."
#7 Don't Forget About The Abandoned Paint Can Section Of Lowe's & Home Depot. Scored A Gallon Of This Color For Only $9!! You Can't Even Get A Sample For That Price. (Sorry, No Before Picture. We Were Too Excited To Wait)
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#8 I Refuse To Pay The Silly Prices For A Stuffed Toy, My Son Wanted A Few Characters To Match The (British) Children’s TV Shows. So I Made Them From Felt Instead
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#9 Obvious But Not Obvious
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For the r/Frugal crowd, frugality is a mental approach that people take when they think about resource allocation. “It includes time, money, convenience, and many other factors.” It’s all about wasting less and gaining more.
What’s more, the subreddit stresses that everyone has a slightly different understanding of what frugality and frugal living entails. So it’s best to enjoy the content and discuss things peacefully. Fights over semantics, on the other hand, aren’t very welcome. In short, the community is open to everyone and frowns on gatekeeping.
#10 Wanted New Fabric, Wouldn't Get New Fabric Until I Used My Old Stuff. Wanted A Rug, Didn't Want To Pay For A Rug. Two Birds, One Stone! Work In Progress. Made From New Batting (Less Than $20) And Scrap Fabric (Some 20+ Years Old). Not The Prettiest Thing I've Made, But I Like It.
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#11 Vet Didn't Give Us Cones When They Got Neutered/Spayed So We Improvised! (We Made Sure They Could Breath And Eat Just Fine.)
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#12 I Run A Small Coffee Cart; Just Discovered You Can Use Old Cartons As Coffee Trays!
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Earlier, Jake Butler from the ‘Save the Student’ team that advises British students on how to make their money go further, told Bored Panda about one way to save money. He took a look at food costs and how to reduce them, with regard to saying ‘no’ to fast-food and takeaways while learning to cook at home.
#13 Since We're Doing Greenhouses, I Built This At The Beginning Of Lockdown With Reclaimed Pvc, Wood, And Polyethylene Film For Greenhouses. It Held Up To 2' Of Snow On Top Over Last Winter As Well As A Handful Of Strong Wind Storms. No Plans, Just Boredom!
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#14 My Tried-And-True, Almost Foolproof Method For Growing Endless Green Onions
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#15 I Drive Through A Nice Neighborhood On My Way To The Grocery Store. Found This Dyson Dc40 With A Free Sign With Other Household Items In The Yard. Brought It Home And The Suction Was Horrible. Watched A Single Youtube Video To Remove The Clogs - Needs A Good Clean But It Works Perfectly
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Jake pointed out that you can save quite a lot of money if you choose to eat out less. However, this doesn’t mean having to wave ‘goodbye’ to your favorite meals. You can learn to cook them at home, whether with the help of a recipe book, advice on the internet, or video tutorials. The added bonus is that when you cook for yourself, you’re in total control of what goes into the meal. Nutritional control, here we come.
#16 My Fiancé Wanted To Flatten Her Pockets With An Iron But Realized We Didn’t Have One. Showed Her You Can Get By Using A Pot Of Boiling Water And A Spray Bottle. I Guess Growing Up Poor Can Come In Handy
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#17 Reusing Jars For Individual Cold Brew Teas And Loving It!
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#18 My Favorite Wool Socks Still Had Perfect Tops But Thinned Out On The Bottom, So I Patched Them Up
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“The good news is that you can easily recreate your favorites at home for a fraction of the price. It's much healthier this way too. Google is definitely your friend here as you can find fakeaway recipes from a number of sites,” he told Bored Panda.
#19 I Wonder How Long This Took To Make
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#20 Cut My Full-Size Sponge Into 3rds For Doing Dishes
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#21 I Restored My Own Headlights Today And Am Pretty Proud Of The Result. Saved Over $100 Compared To Taking It To A Shop
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“During the lockdown, McDonald’s even released instructions on how to make their famous breakfast egg McMuffin at home,” Jake said that some companies were very friendly in how they treated their customers, empowering them to cook at home.
#22 Found $128 Free People Sweater With Dark Stain For $15! I Covered It Up With Dip Dye, New Favorite Sweater!
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#23 Boyfriend And I Were Looking To Buy An Elliptical Which Can Be Hundreds To Almost 1,000 Dollars. Decided To Check Craigslist And Found This For Free! Works Great And Saved Us So Much Money
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#24 What "Heavily Discounted Luxury Foods" Do You Buy?
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“The good news is that the ingredients for most of these recipes aren't too pricey and you can still hunt for bargains to make the dish cheaper. Buying in bulk is always a winner too when it comes to saving money so it's a great idea to get together with friends and maybe take it in turns to make your favorite fakeaways,” he said.
#25 $3 Dye = New Life For My Dingy Hand Towels
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#26 Garden Cart I Made For My Wife. Nearly All Reused, Upcycled Or Free Materials
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#27 Instead Of Buying A Home In Toronto We Helped Renovate My 91 Year Old Grandmothers Basement Into A Fully Self Contained 2 Bedroom Apartment. We’re Still In The City But Only Paying $700/ Month. Here’s The Master With Hand Me Down Solid Wood Furniture.
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The secret to good-tasting food, Jake told us, lies in the seasoning. “Salt and pepper won't break the bank, but they can make or break a meal. Don't forget that sugar can take a dish to the next level too.
#28 If You Live In An Apartment Complex Just Check The Dumpster Once In A While. Found A Working V6 Dyson And Just Had To Clear The Roller To Fix. People Throw Away Just About Anything
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#29 I Was Looking For Something To Hold A Tealight. Yogurt Was Good, Too
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#30 Didn't Had Bread But Didn't Want To Run To The Store Only For That (We Know It's Never Only For Just One Thing). I Had To Use The Oven Anyway, So... Here Is The Best Looking Bread I've Made In My Life
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#31 Instead Of Buying New Skates I Got These Thrifting For 15$. Soaked Them In The Sink With Gentle Laundry Cleaner And Then Got A Permanent Fabric Marker From An Art Store. I Still Need To Get Laces For It Though
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#32 Fall Tip - Lots Of People With Apple Trees Don't Harvest; Never Hurts To Ask!
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#33 Well... I Had This "Disposable" Pepper Mill For About 14 Years And It Finally Bit The Dust. Just Refilled It Over The Years With Bulk Peppercorns. So Long Friend!
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#34 My Sister-In-Law's Christmas Tree
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#35 Fix For Broken Lid - Drilled A Hole In A Golf Ball And Screwed It On To My Crock Pot. No Need To Dig Up A New Lid. Golf Ball Cost: $0. Screw & Washer: Found In My Tool Box, So $0. Took Me About 10 Mins. New Pot Lid: $30 Or So, Or Replace Entire Crockpot, So Yay!
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#36 Zero Cost Urban Garden Project In Northern Canada. Harvesting Daily And Planting Quick Producing Cold Weather Crops Like Radishes, Spinach, Lettuce And Chard.
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#37 I Started Making My Own Specialty Iced Coffee At Home When I Realized My "Occasional" Habit Was Getting A Little Too Frequent
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#38 Sneakers Repaired, Thank You Mom!
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#39 If Anyone Lives In Central Indiana, Brownsburg Goodwill Has A Bunch Of New Wedding Dresses For $19. Rumor Is A Wedding Dress Store Closed And Donated Remaining Stock
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#40 Finding A Ton Of Cheap And Perfectly Working E-Readers At Thrift Stores. Got This For $10!
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#41 I Reuse Ziploc Bags Because They Are Expensive Af
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#42 Someone Left This Fully Functioning 32” Lg TV Out By The Dumpster. Luckily I Snagged It Before The Rain Moved In
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#43 We Love Our Roomba But The Replacement Bags For The Cleaning Station Add Up. The Wife Cut The Bottom Open And Uses Clips To Hold It Shut So We Can Reuse The Same Bag Multiple Times. Works Like A Charm!
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#44 This Cardboard Box Is Now His Favourite Spot (Super Old Towel Included)
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#45 Family & Friends Went “Gleaning” At A Local Farm. $40 For A Totally Frugal 3hour Family Outing And All The Food!
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#46 Ugly Used Office Chair? Reupholster With Heavy Weight Fabric To Give It New Life!
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#47 I Finally Understand Why People Buy Large Cuts Of Meat When It Goes On Sale. Quit Job For School, Trying To Be More Frugal, And We Got 2 Large Top Roasts For Buy-One-Get-One-Free And Processed It/Cut It Up At Home Ourselves. Now We Have Meals For Days
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#48 Everyone Needs To Know This! If You Work At The Local Farmers Market, You Will Get Tons Of Free Food
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#49 Dad Doesn’t Toss His Hoodies When The Zippers Break. Buttons Made From A Broken Broom Handle And Loops From P-Cord. This Is An Upgrade From When He Used To Just Apply A Strip Of Duck Tape
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#50 Decided To Refurbish My Old Headphones Instead Of Upgrading. $8 For A Pair Of Generic Pads And They Feel Like New!
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#51 Don’t Waste Plastic Saving Half Your Banana.
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#52 Built My Own Sidewalk With Glacial Sand Dug Up From The Side Yard And Leftover Base Rocks Used During Home Construction
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#53 Always Check The Clearance Aisle In Your Grocery Story. The Giant Bottle On The Left Isn’t Organic, But Had To Buy At $1.70. The Bottle On The Right Is $5.49.
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#54 Friendly Plastic Can Quickly And Easily Refurbish And Repair Many Broken Items
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#55 If You Have A Bakery Outlet Store Near You, You Can Pick Up The Same, Fresh Bread And Cakes That You Get At Your Local Store For Less Than Half The Price. I Picked Up All Of This Yesterday For Less Than $13 With More Than A Week Of Shelf Life On Everything
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#56 Your Old Cell Phone Can Be A Capable & Old Fashioned Radio
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#57 Hemmed Curtains And Used Leftover Fabric To Make Accent Pillows For The Couch. Very Happy With How It Came Out.
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#58 Setting Up My Frugal Seed Station!
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#59 Crochet Swiffer Mops. Wet Refills Add Up With 2 Dogs. No More! Made 2 For $3/Ea And They Work Way Better Than The Refills
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#60 Hi-Vis Jackets For Dogs Are Between $40 And $80 Nzd - I Brought A Second Hand Child’s Hi-Vis Jacket For $1 And It Fits Perfectly! Frugal Win!
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#61 Enjoying The Freebies Through Birthday Coupons & Apps.
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#62 Save Clothes From The Trash With A $10 Fabric Shaver. Sweater Went From Fuzzy And Pilled To Like New In A Matter Of Minutes.
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#63 All Made From Dollar Tree Items.... DIY’ed..... My Kids Like It
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#64 When The Sun Hits Your Laundry, Like You're Saving That Money, That's Amore!
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#65 Does Anyone Else Love Making Frankenstein Meals? Cleaning Out The Fridge And Pantry And Using Up All The Odds And Ends Forces Me To Be Creative And Usually Results In Something Delicious And Unique.
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#66 Turkeys Post-Thanksgiving
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#67 Frugal Shower Hack: Don't Have A "Low Flow" Showerhead, And Want To Conserve Water? No Problem. Add A $10 Ball Valve That Will Pay For Itself And More. You Can Even Stop The Shower To Use Soap/Shampoo And Turn It Right Back On Without Losing The Heat Setting.
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#68 A Small Container Of Herb And Garlic Cream Cheese Was $5.49 At The Store The Other Day!!!! So I Bought The Regular Brick For $2.49 And Made My Own Herb And Garlic Cream Cheese! It's Really Good!
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#69 Very Cheap Home Made Tree Ornament Ideas! Pinecones, Roasted Orange Slices At 150 For 3hrs, And Cinnamon Sticks.
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#70 Did You Know You Can Wash Swiffers?
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#71 Psa, Do Per Unit Comparison Instead Of "Value Pack" Promises
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#72 I Make My Own 'Interactive' Chews For My Dog With Separation Anxiety
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#73 My Partner Made (Quick + Charming!) Labels For My "What A Year" Hot Cocoa Mix To Send To Friends & Family...
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#74 Polishing Your Shoes Is The Frugal Choice
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#75 I Start A Remote Job Next Week, I Had A 20" Wide Desk, And Decided To Build A Desk Extension/Raise In Order To Have A Three Monitor Display. I Used Scrap Lumber But I Did Have To Get A New C-Clamp To Make It Work.
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#76 Instead Of Throwing Out Your Potato Peel, Fry It Up With Some Curry Powder, Mixed Herbs And Olive Oil.
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#77 I Can Confirm That Oui Yogurt Jars Are A Great Size For Starting Succulents And Cuttings.
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#78 2nd Hand Isnt 2nd Rate. $150-200 Stainless Steel Frypan And Cover For $20 In Great Condition.
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#79 My Idea Of Frugal Living Is Knitting Myself A Scarf For The Coming Fall/Winter. While Watching The Sunset
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#80 3 Months Ago I Asked You All For Ideas To Inexpensively "Remodel" My Hideous Bathroom. Here's What I Did For Less Than $200!
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#81 Prepping The Garden For Winter. We Pile Mulched Leaves, Add Mesh Or Whatever So The Leaves Don't Blow Off. Then Before The Snow Comes, We Cover With A Black Tarp. The Beds Warm Up Faster In The Spring And The Leaves Compost Down To Make Amazing Rich Soil For Planting
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#82 This Sink Was $758 New, Plumber Wanted $650 To Replace The Old Sink. I Got The Sink Scratch And Dent For $125 And Did The Work My Self ($11 In Parts).
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#83 Downstairs Mini Fridge Stopped Working. Wife Said To Just Toss It And Get A New One. Watched A Couple Videos On How To Diagnose/Fix Refrigerator Issues. A $9 Replacement Overload Relay Later And It Works Again.
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#84 When They Start Charging 3$ A Unit For Dunkaroos
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#85 It’s Now The Dollar+ Tree
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#86 This Breakfast Cost 35 Cents.
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#87 Saving Money While On Vacation!
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#88 Just Bought A House! 24m & 24f ~ These Are Our Base Bills • All Other Money Goes Towards Savings & Unexpected Expenses
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#89 Instead Of Buying The Expensive One Time Use Swiffer Cloths, I Just Use A Reusable Towel And Cleaner In A Bottle.
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#90 Does Anybody Make Their Own Yoghurt? Takes 3 Minutes A Week And I Save Around €30 A Month, As Well As Saving Loads Of Plastic.
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#91 I Had Some Leftover Fabric Spray Paint And Decided To Freshen Up My Most Worn Hat
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#92 Protein Bar Recipe For Less Than $0.70/Bar Canadian.
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#93 Saved Myself From A Stupid $247 Dollar Mistake.
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#94 Cheap Mason Jars, Sauce Included.
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#95 Yarn And Push Pins.
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#96 Using Moving Blankets Over Windows To Help With Insulation
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#97 Repurposing A Damaged Frying Pan, With A Bit Of Paint It's Now A Cool Decorative Bowl
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#98 Made Another Cake To Save Money, Love How It Turned Out!
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#99 My Local Library Lists How Much I’ve Saved By Borrowing Instead Of Buying Each Item. $127.44 On What I’ll Read/Play In A Week.
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#100 Friend Just Moved Out Of Home To Begin Med School And Is Utilising Cardboard Boxes To Save On Shoe Racks And Other Furniture.
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#101 Bought All This For £4.95. Always Try To Hit The Reduced Section When They're Doing Final Reductions
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#102 Meal Prep Breakfast For 1-2 Weeks. Organic Hardboiled Eggs (12 For 0.21¢ Each) Bulk Sausage 30 For 0.33¢ Each) And Gluten Free Biscuits From Some Flour I Had On Hand. All For Around $16. Yay, Frugality!
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#103 Made A DIY Cardboard House For My Bunnies. I Had My Eye On A $70 One On Etsy But This Works Just The Same. Besides Bunnies Don’t Care About Aesthetics ;)
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#104 Wedding (Including Proposal, Ceremony, Reception, And Honeymoon) At $10k. Inspiration From Posts On This Sub. Hoping We Can Do The Same For Someone Else By Sharing This.
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#105 On Today’s Episode Of Yummy Things I Make With Help Of My Bread Machine, I Put My Skills Honed By Working At Domino’s For A Year To The Test By Making A Homemade 16” Pizza For Approximately $4.25 Rather Than Going Out To A Restaurant And Paying $14-20 For One! Sure Beats Frozen Pizza Too!
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#106 Mechanics Wanted $1200 For Parts And Labor To Replace My Axels And Tie Rod. I Did It Myself In Two Days. Saved $873.
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#107 Our Mostly Free Halloween Porch Decorations, We Made Everything Except The Pumpkins
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#108 Finally Broke Down And Got The Expensive Rice Cooker
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#109 I Wanted To Hide My Laptop Vertically Behind My Monitors. It's Not Pretty, But 30 Minutes And Some Scrap Plywood Saved Me $50 And Some Desk Space.
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#110 Buy Kid Stuff For Your Pet And Pet Stuff For Your Kid
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#111 Frugal Birthday Present! The Planter Was $5 And The Plant Was Propagated From One Of My Own!
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#112 Food Doesn't Have To Be Fresh To Be Healthy - A Weird Lunch, I'll Admit, But Most Of This Was From Jars. I Always Keep Them In As It Can Pep Up A Meal And Is Low Waste And Nutritious. Tomatoes, Cucumbers, And Carrot Were Fresh, Everything Else Pickled, Frozen, Fermented, In Oil, In Brine, In Cans
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#113 I Use The Plastic Lids Of Products As Paint Palettes. Acrylic Paints Peel Off, So I Use Them More Than Once.
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#114 My Frugal Wife Isn't Even Pregnant, But She's Not About To Turn Down Hand-Me-Downs From Her Sister.
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#115 Took Detachable Long Strap From $1 Tiny Bag, Added To $15 Thrifted Leather Purse Missing Its Crossbody Strap = The Neutral Travel Bag I've Been Wanting
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#116 Fuzzy Baby Clothes Restoration Project!
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#117 I Found Dupes Of Starbucks’s Banana Nut Loaf And Iced Lemon Loaf At Walmart For $1 Instead Of Over $3 And Less Calories Too! They Taste Identical.. Not A Massive $ Savings But A Big % Savings. These Little Things Add Up!
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#118 Used Binder Clips On Hangers For My Shorts And Skirts Instead Of Going To Buy New Hangers With Clips
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#119 Cat Tore Up My Couch, But I Was Able To Fix It For Free!
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#120 I Had A Lovely Vintage Dress Which Ripped In The Back And Didn't Want To Throw It Away, So My Grandmother Kindly Made It Into A Top And I Love It!
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#121 Evidence Of Inflation
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#122 I Put A Timer On My Scent Dispenser
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#123 A 2 Pack Of Cream Cheese Is More Expensive That 2 Single Bars. This Makes No Sense!!
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#124 My Standing Desk
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#125 Researching (Expensive!) Air Purifiers For A Foster Cat With Allergies. Watched A This Old House Yt Video And Had Everything On Hand Anyway So I’m Trying It Out. Definitely Not Attractive!
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#126 $5 End Table. Repainted And Repurposed
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#127 The Stealership Wanted $35 To Clean Excessive Corrosion Off My Car Battery And $55 To Replace The Corroded Positive Terminal. I Fixed The Problem For $1.99 In Pads And About 30 Labor From Wire Brushing. Didn’t Even Need To Replace The Terminal (Though I Had To Pry It Open With A Screwdriver).
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#128 Frugal Tip! Stock Up On Charcoal In The Fall! I Usually Wait For Lowes To Do A 2 For $10 In The Fall. I Hit The Jackpot This Past Weekend!
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#129 Adhesive Remover For A Frugal Double Win! Removing The Labels From Empty Spice/ Cheese Shaker Bottles Saves You From Having To Buy New Shaker Bottles For Your Own Spice Mixes And Let’s You Buy The Cheap Bagged Spices Instead Of The Bottles!
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#130 If You Need A Cheap Meat Free Protein Source, Try Getting Soy Chunks From A Bulk Food Store. At My Local Shop It Only Costs 40 Cents Per 100 Grams It's 50 Percent Protein And Doubles In Size When Cooked.
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