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With gas prices going up, tuition prices going up, and the amount of time we spend doing homework and work-work going up, I'm starting to think about some budgeting ideas that also don't make me spend tons of time doing things. For instance, I want to cut down on eating out, but I don't have much time in the mornings to make lunches, and I don't want to spend an hour or two cooking dinner when I have class or homework to do.

What are your favorite cost-cutting tips?


( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 16th, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
I cook in batches and freeze stuff. homemade soups & chilis work really well this way, because you can get small individual serving sized containers. and then once/week cook up one batch of whatever, in order to get 8-10 servings.

simple stuff that can be used as ingredients works well... like chili can be in a bowl, or for tacos, or on a potato. you can thicken chicken soup and make pot pies. pasta sauce works well this way, and if you mix it with some water & uncooked pasta, then freeze it, when you microwave it the pasta will cook (because it will have already absorbed a lot of the water from teh sauce).

May. 17th, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
I've been thinking about cooking in batches - I've seen a few websites that have bulk recipes and such. I'll have to look into it further.
May. 17th, 2006 06:32 am (UTC)
When I make a salad, I take the whole head of lettuce and chop it up, with bell pepper, and carrots. Then I have salad for the week. I don't put in things like tomato or avocado until I use it. It can also be put into containers for lunch or quickly added to a wrap with some turkey in a tortilla or even pita. When I make rice, I make enough to freeze leftovers. Just put the leftover rice in a freezer bag, then when you need it microwave it on high for about 5 minutes. I always just add to whatever I make for dinner, so there's leftovers for lunch. An extra chicken breast can be sandwich fodder the next day. I make lunch for Ally and once you get used to it, it can be pretty quick to throw together.
May. 17th, 2006 06:40 am (UTC)
To keep things healthy and keep you from the vending machine, keep lots of cut up carrots, peppers, or quick to grab fruits and veg. Apples and radishes are quick to throw in a sack or baggie for later.
May. 16th, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC)
Yay! I want to see everyone's ideas.

Make lots of food on Sunday evening and use it for lunch during the week. If you don't have even time for that, then live on things like sandwiches, quick pasta with premade sauce and frozen veggies, etc. Basically I've started living like a college student again, except without most of the bad-for-me processed foods.

Ride your bike or walk to the store or other little errands if you can - it's a good mental break, anyway. I only drive a couple times a week, but I'm lucky enough to live right by where I work.

Instead of renting movies check them out at the library (same with buying books, magazines, etc.), and wait for movies to come out on DVD instead of seeing them at the theater.

Make coffee at home. I'm amazed at how much I spend on coffee drinks sometimes! (I need to do this one more.)

What had worked the best for me this year (one of my new year's resolutions) is to set an amount of money I can spend each week. Then once a week (Fridays for me) I take out that amount of cash and that's my spending money for the week. Once it's gone, it's gone and I don't get to spend anything until it's my withdrawal day again.

May. 17th, 2006 01:07 am (UTC)
I wish I could make sandwiches that taste as good as sandwich shops. :(
May. 17th, 2006 01:09 am (UTC)
Yeah, me too. I make some pretty good ones, though. Get some hummus, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Mmm! I'm also a big fan of PB & J. :)
May. 17th, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
Ooh, yum, I love avocado. But PB&J was kind of ruined when I ate it every day at school with soggy bread. So I only like toast with PB on it, and no jelly at all.
May. 17th, 2006 06:26 am (UTC)
brie and turkey on baguette, yum
May. 16th, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)
I get a one of those rotisserre chickens at Sam's for $4.88 and then I de-bone it and cut it up and use it in something we can eat for days, like chicken enchiladas. A batch of chicken enchilads usually provides 3 meals for us (when supplemented with rice and rice is cheap).

May. 17th, 2006 01:08 am (UTC)
I think casseroles and things like enchiladas and stuff are a good idea, and pretty easy to make - though I've never made my own enchiladas. I'll have to try that sometime.
May. 17th, 2006 01:34 am (UTC)
I use this recipe and it is great.

Also check out the Simple Living forums - they have some neat ideas there.
May. 16th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
have you examined the obvious options - do you have cable TV? Cellphone plans? long distance plans? whats the deductable on your car insurance?
More than any of the little things the best way to save money is recurring expenses. We also use a credit card that gives back 5 percent, plus the fred meyers card which pays too, and with some bills it pays to do online or direct deposit payments....
May. 17th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC)
Yeah, obvious options are pretty set. For instance, we just changed car insurance a year or two ago and are paying less than half of what we were paying before.
May. 17th, 2006 01:14 am (UTC)
Do you have a decent sized deductable? We, for example, made ours go up to something like 1k or 1500 I cant recall exactly.
Changing the deductable so that it was higher than the standard "500 bucks" or whatever they default you to made the monthly rate go waaaaay down because we changed the figure...enough that even if something happens, unless it happens more often than once a year, you still save that much in recurring costs!
May. 17th, 2006 03:37 am (UTC)
The Complete Tightwad Gazette. It's a huge book but it's crammed full of ideas. They won't all apply to you but it's great for ideas and motivation. At least I find it so every time I re-read it.
May. 17th, 2006 06:36 am (UTC)
If you have high speed internet, consider switching your phone to voice over internet. It's a flat fee, about $20-$30/month and you can call anywhere for as long as you want. We're with ATT CallVantage and pay $25/month.
If you own, consider refinancing.
Definitely make your own coffee.

Our biggest downfalls were eating out and convenience food buying.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )