Ask the Readers: I used to __, but now I __ to save money.

By Greg Go on 26 May 2009 (Updated 30 June 2009) 146 comments

Congrats to the Winners!

Winner 1: Comment #130 from Paul (Fiscal Geek)

I used to just let our overdraft credit line pick up any checking account overages now I use You Need a Budget almost every day to track my expenses.

I used to check my email every 3 seconds from my phone now I enjoy a quiet moment without a data plan.

Winner 2: Tweet from @mattbramanti

@wisebread I used to just renew my insurance, but now I shop around to save money.

We'll be asking all of you a new question next Tuesday.  Stay tuned!

 


 

Fill in the blanks to this statement to win one of two $10 Amazon gift cards we're giving away:

I used to ___, but now I ___ to save money.

Some of the things I've done:

  • I used to eat out all the time, but now I use my crockpot at home more often.
  • I used to have a lot of junk in my car, but now I've emptied it out to save money on gas.
  • I used to go out for drinks, but now I stay in for board games with friends.

By the way, check out this interesting TIME magazine article on how people's buying habits change in a recession.  (Our own Linsey Knerl is featured in the article too.)

To cut expenses, consumers are going out less, a phenomenon retail analysts call cocooning. Among couples, cocooning can lead to canoodling, which can lead to ... recreation.

Win 1 of 2 $10 Amazon gift cards

2 Ways to Enter

  1. Post a comment below.
  2. Tweet your response to @wisebread.

You may enter both ways.  

If you're inspired to write a full blog post, go for it!  Post the link in the comments and/or tweet it to us to qualify for the drawing.

Rules and Deadline

  1. Contest ends tomorrow -- Wednesday, May 27 at 5:59 pm PDT.
  2. 1 commenter and 1 twitterer will each win a $10 Amazon gift card.
  3. Winners are selected by random draw.
  4. Winners will be announced on the Living Large on a Small Budget radio show.  We'll also talk about some of the more interesting responses.
  5. Contacted winners have 7 days to respond before we choose another winner.

 

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Jules

I used to go to the dealer, but now I save money by going to an independent mechanic.

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I used to buy books, but now I visit the library to save money.

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atexasgirl

I used to take yoga classes, but now I teach yoga to save (and make) money.

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TheFrugalYogi

Love it!!

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Deb

I used to use the dryer for every load of wash, but now I use the clothesline for most things (weather permitting). It not only saves $$, but it's also good for our planet.

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thechilibuddy

I used to leave my electronics running on power supply, now I charge them in the office and run them on batteries to save money.

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Amanda

I used to work and have insurance, but now I stay home with my son and go without insurance to save money.

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Guest

Amanda-
I am not sure this is the safest idea. Unforeseen medical bills can be a well paved road to financial ruin. Try checking with your state or WIC to see if you can get medical coverage for at least your kids.

Guest's picture

I used to buy books every week but now, in addition to using the library, I'm re-reading what I already have.

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Bobbi

I used to buy alcohol at dinner but now I just buy a regular drink and save.

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Valerie R.

I used to spend aimlessly, but now I track my spending in order to save money.,

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Heather

I used to buy fresh raspberries all the time, but now I planted a raspberry bush to save money. We're expecting our first crop this spring!

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krizcpec

I used to spend greenback like water, but I am wise enough to begin to save money for a more secure future.

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krizcpec

did I get it right by just filling in the blanks or am I supposed to write about the change in my spending habit?

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I used to go through the McCrackin's drive-through for my kids, but now I make them wait or until we get home.

I used to buy treats while grocery shopping, but now I smartly pack snacks!

I used to go to the store for one thing, now I shop smarter and plan my trips accordingly.

I used to buy bottled water, but now I REFILL MY OWN BOTTLE!!

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Bucky

I used to spend money on gas getting to and from work. But now that my company has gone belly up and I'm unemployed, I'm staying at home and saving all that gas money!

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MAJ

I used to send my shirts out to the laundry ... but now I iron them myself at home to save the cash.

Oh how I miss those crisp, starched shirts ...

Guest's picture

I used to schedule at least two family vacations a year, but now we're cutting down to one brief, close-to-home vacation later this year to save money.

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Bren

I used to buy bottled water but now I have a refillable portable metal carafe (filled with Britta's tap water)and tote it with me - SO much tastier, colder and CHEAPER!

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Mary

I used to buy yogurt and kefir but now I make my own at home.

Now I need to take inspiration from Heather and grow my own berries. We'll have our first raspberry crop this year as well, but I could save a lot by growing blueberries...

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Guest

I used to go out for a $4 latte a couple times a week. Now I bring my own cup and order a plain cup of coffee for just $1.

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Guest

I used to think I knew a lot about saving money, but now I read Wisebread everyday to save money. It's a great source of tips, thanks!

- JersyGl

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kimberly

I used to buy a lot of junk on eBay without really even paying attention, but now I have a limit (whatever is the available credit balance in my paypal account, usually like $20) and I have bought 2 things in 6 months, both gifts.

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GT0163C

I used to buy cheap things and shop more based on price, now I buy less and buy quality items that will last longer. I spend a bit more up front, but I save in the long term.

I used to buy books new, now I buy them at the used book store, get them from the library or borrow from friends.

I used to rent movies from Blockbuster, but now I borrow them from friends or buy them off the clearance rack at the used book store, watch them and sell them back, occasionally turning a profit.

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Kate

I enjoy fashion. I used to shop for fun, but now I shop only for necessity WITH A LIST to save money. I am learning how to knit and sew so I hope soon the last part will read "but now I make my own clothes!"

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Luke

I used to spend money on VHS tapes to record TV, or schedule life around my favorite show, But now I use Hulu.

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Amber

I used to have no idea where my money went every month but now I write down *every* expense. At first it seemed like a pain in the ass and now it's standard procedure. I put everything in Google Docs so I have access everywhere and because it's Excel-like, I can make charts, perform calculations and all other manner of "life-hacks". I know exactly what my dining-out to groceries ratio is, how much I'm saving, how much it costs to keep my car. I can't emphasize how much control this gives me over my spending and how motivating it is to see where every penny has been. Plus, I get to make cool charts that show money going up, debts going down.

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Guest

I used to call up the babysitter whenever I felt like having a night out with my husband or friends. Now I've gotten together with a group of friends and we've started a "Kidswap." Every other Friday night, the kids all go to one family's home for pizza and a movie, while the "free" parents go out together in a group or alone as a couple. Since there are 5 parents participating, I get four free babysitting-covered Friday nights for the price of one! and it's great to enjoy a night out with my husband without feeling guilty about having spent $$ on a babysitter. The kids look forward to these nights out as well!

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Kris

I used to drive everywhere, now I walk or take my bike when I can!

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noetic

I used to buy expensive wines, but now I make my own to save money.

Their cost: $15+/bottle
My cost: less than $1/bottle

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penny_saved

I used to buy convenience foods, and now I taught my children how to cook so that they share the work load! They actually don't mind baking a pie crust or slicing olives as much as I do.

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Nicki

I used to shop at only one grocery store, but now I now I compare the ads and the standard prices at multiple stores to save money.

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PS

I used to buy expensive wines, now I make my own to save money.

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Guest

I used to buy bread but now I bake it to save money.

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Kathryn

I used to pick up take-out dinners on those nights when we were tired and hadn't been to the store, but now I find a way to eat at home, even if it means pancakes, scrambled eggs, or cereal for dinner....and it really saves money!

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Cate

I used to not use coupons... now I do - and put the money saved in a box & then in the savings account.

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Mike Levy

I used to buy umpteen bottles of water that polluted the environment, all to pathetically and cluelessly satisfy my ravaging thirst, but now I use a refillable 2-gallon jug that costs only $0.80 to refill, and of course a reusable water bottle, and I save scads of money and harm the planet much less.

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tegan

I used to go out to the bar, but now I hang out at friends houses and save hundreds of dollars every month.

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Leslie

I used to drive to the grocery store, but now I ride my bike with an Xtracycle attached.

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Mike Levy

I used to buy every book I ever wanted to read at Barnes & Noble and then give them away or keep them, thereby causing whole forests to come to their demise and spending vast amounts of money, but now I check out all the books I ever want from the local library or national lending library, to save money and to save all of those beautiful trees.

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Mike Levy

I used to spend so much money on food at so-called mainstream grocery stores and supermarkets, but now I shop at Aldi's to save tons of money and spend a fraction of the amount I used to, and still get and eat high quality victuals.

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Nancy

I'm recycling 2-liter soda bottles as (1) water storage and (2) little greenhouses for my garden, also a first-time effort.

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Guest

I used to rely on my credit cards to get me by on those months that I spent more than I made BUT now I put my credit cards in hiding and rely on my monthly budget to make sure they are never needed again.

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Olivia

I used to rent movies at the local video store every weekend but now we subscribe to Netflix and get more movies per month for less money AND save in late fees!

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Kate

I used to go out for lunch periodically, but now I mostly bring lunches from home to save money.

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ladydi

I used to live in the Chicago area but I moved to SW Missouri to save money. Amazing how much more you can get for your rent money down here. I have also really stepped up my use of coupons and subscribe to a lot of blogs to keep up with all of the freebie offers and best ways to make the most of the food coupons that are available etc. It is fun for me to get things for the lowest price possible.

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hippykidz

Turn my nose up at the dented can store. Now I go every week to save money.

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ryan

i used to rent movies, but now i use the library to get films. requires a little foresight, but no biggie.

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Guest

I used to buy cookies at the grocery store's bakery but now I just bake them with my Kitchenaid stand mixer that I bought refurbished on ebay 3 years ago.

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Susan

I used to clip one or two coupons (at most) each weekend and toss the rest of the inserts, but now I save each insert and use coupons for items I wouldn't normally have purchased to save money.

This may not make sense to people who don't use coupons, but there are often promotions, such as a grocery store promotion - buy 10 items, get $5 off instantly - where I might use coupons for five items I won't use but they end up being free after coupons, and then I get five items that I will use and the $5 comes off those items, bringing the overall cost way down. I donate whatever I won't use to the local food bank and other charities.

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debbie

I used to buy shampoo, toiletries, cosmetics, laundry detergents, household cleaners and all kinds of stuff, but now I make my own to save money. I just made some simple insecticide to get rid of some spider mites on my houseplants!

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Molly

I used to not have a budget, but now I keep track of most of my pennies.

I used to not have a Molly Fun category, but now I do, and I stay in my budget, and I enjoy it a lot (the planning and the spending).

I used to have a Netflix account, but now I have a TV antenna and watch PBS for free.

I used to buy shaving cream in a can, but now I use soap.

I used to run the AC at night in our entire apartment, but now I just run the fan at the foot of the bed.

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Trang

I used to leave all of my electronics on the power strip, but now I turn off the strip to save money.

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Guest

I used to rent movies but now I check out movies at the library

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Amy K.

I used to have a 4 disk at a time NetFlix subscription, that I hardly used. Now the subscription is on hold and I get movies from the library.

I haven't canceled NetFlix, because I did use it quite a bit for TV series (canceled cable years ago to watch things on DVD on my schedule, with no commercial interruptions). I'm just not sure when I'll go back. No new series has really caught my eye, and if one does I can probably watch it on Hulu.

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SavingSouthern

I used to buy fresh, expensive produce at the grocery store, and now I am hoping the garden we planted will feed us!

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Sheila

I used to eat out a lot, but now I can really appreciate home-cooking, cheaper and much better for me.

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Lynda

I used to go to the movies, but now I have Netflix.

I used to watch a lot of TV, but now I am starting to work out (and actually make use of my gym membership!).

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Guest

i used to know nothing about finance and money, but now im learning via wise bread, suze orman and mary hunt

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Jessica

I used to buy books and dvd's, but now I borrow them from the library to save money. I also was alert to cheap groceries but now I pay even more attention and add coupons to my club card and combine these with paper coupons this saves me a great deal of money.

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Judy N

I used to buy dog sweaters for the winter, but now I learned to knit and make my own sweaters to save money. (I have a single coat Maltese that needs clothing in the winter)

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Lisa Harkema

I used to make my menu plan, then look at sales flyers, now I look at sales flyers and what I have on hand, then plan my meals for the week.

Guest's picture

I used to buy all name brand clothes just for the name but now I dropped the name brands for better fit.

I look for clothes that actually fit well and compliment me as opposed to being concerned with having a polo horse on my chest or a certain name brand stitching on my jeans. I go to places like Target and Kohls and try on the clothes to make sure they fit and compliment my body. I also get simple styles and colors to make sure they go with everything almost all year round.

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I used to buy books but now I get them for free from www.bookmooch.com

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MJ

I used to play World of Warcraft but now I buy one video game and play it for a couple of months. I didn't have enough time to be "l33t" anyways and this way I enjoy my gaming in chunks instead of long extended playing sessions.

My husband used to buy new video games, but now he is using Goozex (a game trading website) to save money.

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Karen

I used to buy food depending on what I wanted to eat, but now I buy food depending on what's on sale.

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Jern

I used to flush every time, but now I let yellow mellow and flush down the brown to save money.

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Emily

and then I moved to the city where things got expensive!

Now I bring my own tumbler of coffee/tea, use the library more, and don't eat out much. And in reference to your post, I just bought a crock pot! =)

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Gayle

I used to wash my clothes in warm water with a cold rinse, now I wash them in cold, too. Saves me $$ on the gas bill.

I used to deny myself new clothes and then go on a spree at the end of every season. Now I allow myself to purchase what I need, when I need it (hopefully on sale) and avoid overspending on "end of season bargains".

I used to ignore the pain in my body, leading to doctor visits and painkillers. Now I listen to my body and get a 30-minute massage when my neck and shoulders start to hurt.

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Shari

I used to head straight to the mall to shop for clothes. Now I head straight to Goodwill first.

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Jeff

Having worked with (as a Minister) and for (as an Advocate) the homeless over the years I have learned a few tricks. Here is one that saves me a lot of money.

I used to Shop at one of the big grocery stores every week, but now I just go around the back to the dumpsters and dive in, you never know whats for dinner, but its free, to save money.

Just kidding, although it has crossed my mind a few times.

Pastor Jeff

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I used to buy import beer but now I buy domestic to save money.

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I used to eat out for lunch every day, but now I pack my own lunch or bring a cheap alternative to save money.

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I used to buy watch missed TV episodes on iTunes, but now I wait a few days and watch them on Hulu to save money.

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Nancy C.

I used to:
1) buy yogurt in quart sized containers that I had to throw away;
2) buy granola in bulk;
3) keep most appliance plugged in;
4) buy all products new;

but now I:
1) make my own yogurt and keep it in a glass jar that I can reuse;
2) make my own granola at home;
3) unplug all appliances that I am not using;
4) buy as much as I can at the thrift store and dumpster dive other things (shampoo, lotion, body wash, etc.)

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Jeana

I used to buy fruits and vegetables at the closest grocery store, but now I have several garden beds and get most of my veggies and some of my fruits from my own pesticide-free garden

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Lindsey

I used to go shopping out of boredom but now I organize and clean up my apartment. It's free and I realize how much crap I already have and I don't need anything else!

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bobthebunny

I used to go out to eat several times a week (at sit-down restaurants), but now I have learned to cook to save money!

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I used to have a job, but then I quit to go gallivanting around the world for a year... oh wait. OK, here goes again...

I used to use Microsoft Money, but now I use Mint.com to save money!

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Chase Saunders

I used to buy a little ground coffee at a time. Now I bought a nice grinder and store bulk beans from Sam's in the freezer.

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martha in mobile

I used to buy books because I took so long to read them that I didn't want to check them out at the library. Now I get audiobooks from the library and listen to them quickly while I do all the things that made me too busy to read.

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rbee

I used to get three newspapers delivered, now I read them online.

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Kristin

I used to watch TLC's "What Not to Wear" for clothing inspiration (fueling a desire to buy more clothes). Now I stare at what I already have in my closet until inspiration hits.

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arvin

I used to print google map directions on clean sheets of paper, but now I just write it down on scrap paper to save money on paper and ink.

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Jimmy

I used to buy boatloads of DVDs every month, and now I subscibe to Netflix.

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Connie

enjoy all of the previous retail therapy goods...like the bread maker I used to never use.

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Corinne

I used to get pedicures at a salon every 6 weeks; now I do my own pedicures at home. [If you pay attention to what the pro's use, it's easy enough to buy your own supplies and get those tootsies looking lovely while watching TV or listening to good music.]

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I used to throw coins in a fountain, but now I get them out.

I used to wash cloths once a week , but now I just turn them inside out.

I used to buy the things I need ,but now I go to wisebread.com to earn freebies.

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Marl23

I used to eat out a lot more, but now I have fun cooking at home. I save money by using coupons and watching for sales. I buy twice as much stuff now for half the money. I also recycle a lot.

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Maureen

I used to ----

--- Buy Tide HE, but now I make my own detergent.
--- Get my hair colored at a salon, but now I use lemon juice and sunlight.
--- Buy organic eggs at the grocery store, but now we are raising chickens in the city.

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Brian

I used to buy a crap load of books but now I use the library.

I used to rent a crap load of movies but now I use Joost, Hulu, the Library and the free rentals at Redbox!

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Jon

I used to go out for pizza often, now I bake my own at home from scratch.

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Jon

I used to buy music and movies, now I use Pirate Bay.

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Heather

I used to buy magazines, but now I pick up used ones at the library to save money.

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Nicole

I used to buy coffee at my favorite convenience store but now I buy creamer at that convenience store instead and make my own coffee at work.

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Therese

I used to go out to eat when I was too tired to cook, but now I make more large meals in my rice cooker that I can recook for leftovers

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I used to pay for vonage, but then I bought ooma to lose my home phone bill.

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I used to buy sprouts and bagged greens, but now I grow my own sprouts and gather wild greens (aka "weeds") to save money -- as well as eat healthier and be greener!

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Amber

I used to spend aimlessly, but now I spend with consciousness and planning.

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Ian

I used to buy 2-3 bottles of fruit juice every 2 weeks (for $3.99 each(!) unless on sale...) until I read about BPA (in plastics #5 & #6) and how plastics can impersonate estrogen in the human body. So I bought a glass bottle of pineapple coconut juice at Ralphs, emptied it with gusto (the best part this tip) and bought a box of Tang at Costco for $5.99. Now I mix Tang and water in the glass container, and we have "juice" for about a month or two for the cost of a week of apple or grape juice. Everybody likes the Tang, and the glass container is doesn't affect the taste or harbor mold.

(My experience with plastic bottles is that even refrigerated they grow black mildew spots on the inside or a pink slime that's also found in swimming pools. We've even grown a new civilization inside our plastic Brita water filtration pitcher...)

Now we keep glass bottles of lemonade (cheaper than Tang), iced tea (cheaper than lemonade), and ice water (about as cheap as it gets) in the fridge. Since they're in glass, the taste stays pure, and they never spoil or grow mold. There's always something cold to drink. We never run out anymore, saving me from having to make a run to the store... The only one you can mess up is the ice tea: pouring hot tea into a cold glass bottle can crack/shatter the glass. Even if the glass bottle is just resting in the sink, the temperature difference can be enough to cause a crack, so let the tea cool way down first! Also, glass bottles with a wide mouth can be hard to find; everything is packaged in plastic these days. Even if I don't win the contest, I hope this tip saves you guys some money (and a few trips to the grocery store)!