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Real Tips, from Real People

"Two years ago my ex-boyfriend convinced me to give up using a dryer. I haven't missed it since. I have a clothesline in my spare bedroom and a drying rack. My clothes and towels are much softer. I use liquid fabric softener and the apartment smells wonderful when I do laundry. In the winter, it puts moisture in the air. I do not own a dryer now. Some people who do hang clothes will dry towels and jeans for about 5 to 10 minutes first to get the wrinkles out. Not using a dryer saves both electricity and wear on your clothing."

"I have learned that if you go to a bagel store after 3PM, they will give you as many bagels as you want for free ... depending on where you go. Put on a smile, and you can [possibly] get them for free. Bring them home, freeze them and defrost one each morning for breakfast."

"As a college student with a tight budget, I refuse to buy or sell back any of my books to the store. Most places will buy your practically new books back for a third of the price -- if you're lucky -- and sell them for 4 times as much. I buy from and Now I pay about $200 a semester on six classes worth of books instead of close to $800."

"You can pay the same dollar amount per month on your loan, but by splitting the amount up to weekly payments, you'll knock more interest off your loan and pay it off sooner without even paying any higher monthly payments. Set up an automatic payment for each week and watch your loan go away more quickly."

"My biggest savings? eBAY. That's right. You can buy coupons for ANYTHING and if your grocery store doubles or triples coupons, you are already saving money. You can purchase coupons, rebates, and more. Just type it in! Not only do you save money, but TIME. Why buy 10 newspapers for that $1 off coupon on Charmin ($10) when you can get them so much cheaper?"

"I haven't paid OOP (out of pocket) money for many items including milk, toilet paper, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, band-aids, cleaners, and many more items since last October 2008. I achieve this by keeping a very organized coupon box, and utilizing the extra care program at CVS and Walgreens with the coupons. I have even been able to take hundreds of dollars of items to a low income family in need. I treat this like a job and it pays me very well and helps me to save thousands each year off my grocery food bill. Cha-Chang!"

"Instead of expensive eye cream (to get rid of wrinkles), I use 100% aloe vera oil (Jason Natural Aloe Vera, 1 oz. bottle). It costs less than $5, it lasts forever, and I always get compliments on my skin (& very few wrinkles!)"

"I buy windshield wiper fluid and use it on windows, mirrors and glass around the house. It is the same liquid, but oh boy do you get more bang for your money!"

"We started three things a few years ago.
1. Estate Sales -- I now have every Craftsman tool and I only paid pennies on the dollar. A .10 cent screwdriver here and there, a $5.00 electric sander, etc. and in the end, I have a complete workshop of quality tools.

2. Yard Sales -- My daughters (both 14) found that they can buy all the name brand clothes they want for quarters and dimes. My wife still wears a .50 cent Eddie Bauer Down Jacket that we found a few years ago. We found a similar jacket and it was over $150. So this type of shopping is how we start our back to school shopping. Its a lot of fun too, get to spend the day out doors with the whole family.

3. Discount Stores -- Just one example of many is that I purchased 10 Fila new- with- tags winter jackets at a local discount store. The price tag still said $189.99. After the discount store marked them down, and after the end-of-year discount of 97% off (red or navy were the only colors and only in size large) -- I wound up paying only about $5 for each of the jackets. I sell these items on eBat and keep some for myself or to give away as gifts at Christmas.

I have everything I want or need for pennies on the dollar."

"I keep my worn dress shirts to wear under sweaters in the winter. Only the collars show and they still look good. This saves lots of wear on my good shirts and they last longer."

"I save all my birthday, Christmas and any other cards I get [during the year] and use them for postcards. Most of the cards do not have anything written on the right-hand inside flap. That leaves you a place to write your own personal note to someone. Postage is cheaper for a postcard and you didn't even buy the card to start with, but pass it on with a smile."

"Remember it all ends up in the same place! Save those little bits of food. In a few days you will have enough to add to a new dish, therefore increasing the amount of food you have at a time. Make large pot meals (ie. Goulash) and freeze part of it. Ground beef, macaroni, onion, crushed tomatoes. Find old cook books in your family or borrow one. We all need to stop eating out so much, as it costs more for less. It is hard though, with the pace our lives are set at these days. Maybe it would be a good idea if we could all just slow down a bit."

"When you think that tube of toothpaste or bottle of lotion is empty, cut the tube or plastic bottle in half with sturdy household shears. You'll be amazed at how much of the product remains in the packaging that we usually throw away. I started doing this in college and never stopped. Get your money's worth!"

"I hated tossing those fabric softener sheets in the landfill, so I make my own with an old washcloth. Mix one part liquid softener to four parts water and place in an old spray bottle. Spray some on a dedicated washcloth and toss in the dryer along with the clothes. One bottle of liquid fabric softener lasts a very long time."

"If I know I am going to be out and about and needing a fast food lunch, I think one of the best bargains around is the Wendy's Value Menu. I get the Double Stack [burger] and a Value fries each at $0.99 for a total of $2.12 including tax. I bring a little ice chest with me for the day with a can of Coke. It is a satifying fast food lunch."