My money saving habits – Part I (03.06.2017)

Good afternoon dear friends,


Today I thought I could make things interesting and talk about ways we save money. We all have certain things that we do, right? I’ll share mine and you’ll share yours.

  • We always buy store brand, unless we have tested the product and it’s really bad. Or we might buy some other brand if it’s on sale and it gets cheaper than the store brand (it happens). We never buy store brand: Dish soap (you end up spending more because it doesn’t work so well, I have tried and tested many and have always come back to one brand (Fairy – do you have it where you live?); laundry detergent (our machine is old and doesn’t do well if the detergent is not good quality. We always buy the biggest box we can find, when it’s 50% off. (We can usually find about 100 doses for 10€); cleaning products (except bleach); shampoo and conditioner (I always get either Syoss or Tresemmé because they are really good quality and come in big bottles, usually 750 ml which lasts both of us about 2 months, maybe more?); and I think that’s about it.
  • We pay attention to catalogs and sales. Both before and while at the store we check what’s on sale, according to what we need. We have been known to save up to 60€ on a purchase because we were lucky and everything we needed was on sale.
  • We don’t always shop at the same place. I know that frozen berries are much cheaper at Aldi than at other local supermarket or that my milk is cheaper elsewhere. I keep close attention to how much I spend on groceries and am always aware of price differences. For example, we sometimes buy fruit at Aldi, but it’s not the cheapest place or the one with more variety, we just buy it because we are already there. But we sometimes go to two different stores for our weekly shopping. I know that frozen veggies are better and that I can find different varieties for a better price at a certain place. I know a third supermarket which is the one with the biggest sales and variety. We just really shop around for things. I have recently discovered an app (I think it’s Portuguese, called Quoty) where we can check all of the updated catalogs for each shop (we have around 5 or 6 different shops about 10 minutes away, where very lucky in that department) and compare the prices. I check them regularly and it really helps.
  • We cook at home most of the times. It has been like this since I’ve been home and it saves us so much money. We used to eat out so frequently and now I would say we go out to eat about once or twice a month. We do sometimes buy pizza that we can do in our oven, which costs less than 3€ for one medium pizza, instead of 15€ for a medium one if you order it. Well, we don’t have the option to order now because we live in a small village and they don’t deliver here but it’s cheaper than if we left home to go get it. Add maybe a bottle of coke for 1€, some dessert for 3€ and you are paying 10€ for a meal for 2 instead of maybe 20-30€ you would pay by eating out. So, even when we are not cooking and “splurging” we really aren’t. Rui takes leftovers for lunch most days (we take that into account when we cook) and eats at cheap places when he goes somewhere where he can’t take lunch (maybe 10€ each time, maybe less). We do eat leftovers often. Sometimes we let some things spoil but we don’t throw food away just because it was made two days ago.
  • We have a vegetable garden. We don’t spend money on vegetables for a good part of the year. The water we use to water the garden comes from a well so we do not pay for it. We also freeze them when we don’t eat them or make tomato sauce, for example.
  • We freeze many things like leftovers or soup (not so often), vegetables we won’t be using before they spoil and mostly bread. We sometimes buy meat that is near its expiration date and freeze it for later use.
  • I don’t buy a lot of makeup or cosmetics. I only have what I’m using at the moment and only substitute a product if it doesn’t work for me, which doesn’t usually happen because I tend to buy the same things. I have one mascara, one foundation, an eyeshadow palette with the colors I know I wear, one blush, about 6/7 lipsticks I know I use regularly, etc. All in ones or twos.
  • I cut my own hair, take care of my own shaving and waxing, know how to do a perfect pedicure and manicure and have the tools for both. I  also take care of my eyebrows (my sister keeps saying that I do hers better than they do at the salon).
  • I shop at thrift stores. If I know winter is coming (not talking about Game of Thrones) and I know I need a bunch of sweaters or cardigans, I know the best place is a thrift store. On the last days of each month, they have everything at about 2 or 3 euros and I plan to go then. I usually come home with 5-10 pieces (usually from well-known brands, such as Zara, H&M, Mango) that have never been worn or even washed (I inspect the fabrics closely and only buy what looks brand new) for 20€ or a little more. I do the same in Summer for tops or blouses.
  • I don’t buy expensive clothes. I buy cheap Primark (6€) or H&M (9,99€) basic jeans and take good care of them. I also love H&M’s basic cardigans (9,99€) because they always come in a variety of colors, are very cheap and surprisingly good quality. I always shop sales and rarely buy full price. I take good care of clothes too. I have Primark dresses that are 6 or 7 years old and in impeccable condition. I have a pair of black Zara pumps that I bought in 2009. I need to replace the tip of the heels (what do you call that?) but they are otherwise new and still in style because they are basic. Rui has a few shirts that are about 10 years old and still impeccable. We don’t buy him expensive clothes either. Every season we buy him a few t-shirts and polo shirts and button-ups and jeans but most of the things he owns last for way over a year. We repurpose his old shirts for sports, sleeping, being around the house, vegetable garden. His old jeans are also repurposed for working on the car or around the house. I use his old shirts to sleep, to workout and to be around the house too. No expensive workout clothes or pj’s here. I have impecable primark sweatpants from 5 years ago that I still wear. Thank God they stretch and have elastic. I go to “Chinese Stores” for basics like leggings (4€ for one pair) or basic tops. They’re like a dollar store, they have everything really cheap and you can find one in every corner. We also go there for kitchen and office supplies, home decor, phone covers, etc.
  • I repurpose what I can. Tupperware containers that have lost their top become bowls, and we wash and save glass jars (the ones you buy with olives, beans, etc) to store things or to use for our homemade tomato sauce. I have 10-year-old folders. I finish a semester, throw away old notes and store the folders to be used again. I use old, unfinished notebooks to take notes.
  • We recharge our printer ink cartridges instead of buying a new one. We pay 8€ instead of 30 something.
  • We don’t dry clean anything, ever. Not even rugs. Most clothes can be washed at home if you are really careful. I wash suits, winter coats, blankets, everything. We wash our rugs in the Summer, outside, using soap and a brush and the hose and let them dry in the sun. Actually, all of our clothes dry outside. If it’s raining, we hung them in the garage. If we’re really desperate, then we go to the wash station to use a dryer.
  • My medicine is always generic or store brand, if there’s an option available.
  • I go to my university health center for my gynaecology appointments. 12,50€ instead of 60€ or more, elsewhere.
  • I go to a low-cost (really good, best I’ve ever had) psychologist. 25€ for each appointment instead of 60/80€.

And that’s it. This is what I can remember right now. I’m sure I will come up with many more things. Will you share your tips with me? What do you do in order to save money. What are some good saving habits you have? Let’s all learn from each other.




53 thoughts on “My money saving habits – Part I (03.06.2017)

  1. Gardens are the best. The food you grow tastes better and freezing is a huge savings. I freeze almost all leftovers. I try to only cook stuff that can freeze. I also take a gallon bag and all leftover cooked veggies, rice, pasta, and throw them in that gallon baggie and keep it in the freezer. When it’s full I make a beef, or chicken soup and use the items in the baggie. Everyone wants the recipe and when I give it to them they are amazed. I laughed because I use hubbys old shirts and shorts to work out in. They are roomy and already broken in LOL Great post for saving money Cheila :):)

    Liked by 4 people

    • That’s just an amazing idea. I just freeze everything separately. Then I go make a soup and pull out a bag of zucchini, a bag of turnips, whatever I have. But the way you do it is just amazing. Yes, someone’s trash can be someone else’s treasure. The t-shirts are big and comfy and still in good shape. Thank you, Margaret 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are most welcome. If you want to try the soup, when you get a bag full of veggies, pasta, rice, etc, just pop me a comment I’ll be happy to share it with you. It’s soooooo easy but soooo delicious. It was given to me by a lovely neighbour. I had to beg him for it and then pester him until he did. At his funeral his daughters said they didn’t even have it because he wouldn’t give it to anybody. So, I feel honoured and like he is with us when I make it. I always carry his wife a huge container full when I make it too.


  2. I really want to start my own vegetable and seasoning garden ! I bought nail stamping plates to do my own nails at home! These are good tips! My way of saving money usually involves depriving myself of wanted items lol

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great advice!!! I generally tend to have, um, not budget friendly hobbies. 😅 That means I do save where I can so I can spend on what I do want. Generally I take leftovers for lunch rather than ordering food and I don’t go to the mall when I’m bored, which sounds dumb but I would always end up buying something I don’t need!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. we also have our own garden. I shop the ads and constantly am using an app to see where I can get the best deal on groceries. we try to save gas by only putting about $20 in each car. we both work locally so this helps and try not to go to the next town over which is about 45 min drive and where my parents live :(. we wait until movies come out on dvd to rent instead of going to movie theater. I usually buy homemade laundry detergent, for $5 I can get 60 plus loads. I buy in bulk sometimes… ketchup, toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, lemon juice, canned goods. reuse plastic bags when you are going to the grocery store.
    I love your advice!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yes, I should have mentioned some of this. We reuse bags too, we buy in bulk, we actually download movies which is kind of piracy but whatever, and we have a lemon tree. For now, we only have one car. I don’t have a license. Thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lots of great tips Cheila! Rory and I often buy store brand too, except for our laundry machine. But that’s cause it’s possessed and only likes Earthwise, which is the brand we use. I also don’t buy a lot of makeup, as it takes ages to finish it, so I just wait it out. Also, my mum has a garden she loves, so she constantly gives us fruit and veggies when we come over which saves a trip to the store. We’ve been getting better at saving heaps these last few years. I haven’t been great lately though, I keep buying snacks, cause I need chocolate or sweets to keep my energy level up all day at work to keep up with the kids XD

    Liked by 3 people

    • hahaha poor you. Just don’t tell them you have snacks!! My laundry machine is probably enjoying its last few months of life. It sounds so sad sometimes. If I don’t use a good detergent it doesn’t wash at all. Even with a good brand, sometimes I have to do the same load twice!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Thrift stores are the best! ❤ I get so cranky about buying new clothes in the retail stores because I'm always thinking, "but I could get like five shirts for the price of this ONE!!" lol
    You have so many good money saving tricks! I do a lot of these too so I'm afraid I don't really have much I can contribute to your already well-rounded list 🙂 Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We buy store brand and watch for sales too. I’ve been trying to come up with more ways for us to save money. I’ll probably see how this Month goes and then write my own tips if I have any. Having your own garden sounds amazing and really helpful. Maybe I’ll start one when we have a house

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Freezing meals is my go-to option too which apart from wasting food also helps in saving time and energy when I am not in the mood to chop and mince. Right now I am trying my best to cook meals at the serviced apartment we are in but because every herb and spice I am used to is not at hand, I am a bit disoriented. Also everything has to be mostly cooked fresh because utensils are limited. Sigh. I cannot wait to set up our new home when we can do all of the above. Great tips, C. Intelligent shopping is the mantra xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I hate wasting food so I only buy enough for the meal. That way if there’s left overs we have for breakfast or lunch . I used to freeze meat. Now I buy as I need less wastage.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. We are trying to cut back on going out to eat! It’s really hard. But we are doing well. The hardest thing is to cut back on Dunkin’ Donuts. But we only do that on saturdays or sundays. Occasionally both days. But going out to eat is our biggest flaw. And I like to coupon. And we too get everything that’s almost on sale or store brand


  11. I like to make a list and order most household things that I need for a month at once. That way I usually get a discount and save up a lot. And I love Flea markets here, You get most things at a dollar or two. I am gonna start my masters studies so your tips are going to help a lot! Thanks! 😀


  12. These are awesome ways to save! I also try to put a percentage of my paycheck into my savings account either each time I get one (every two weeks) or every month at least. I’ve found when I do this, it adds up little by little instead of trying to put a lot in my savings and never having any money to spend on things I need.


  13. I’ve been rereading some of your posts this week. These are great tips for saving money. I only go out to eat whenever it’s an important occasion. I hope all is well on your end. 🙂


  14. You’re money-saving techniques are so common sense, but it’s amazing how many people don’t do them! I have an upgrade for you on the pizza, though: Make yours from scratch. You’ll save even more money, and they’re so tasty. They can be quick too: You can always make the dough in advance and have a ball in fridge for several days, ready to go, or freeze it. I do mine with sourdough:


  15. Great post, I also buy stuff at charity shops! Your right, people just chuck brand new stuff they don’t wear and you can get it for practically nothing! Why pay 35 quid for a tshirt you can get for 2.50!


  16. Keep up the good work! 1. SAVE 10% of your earnings! Put them in a safe place, a different bank account, cash etc. Do spend them only in critical times. 2. Calculate a fixed budget per month for your necessary expenses ( such listed above ) and be careful to stick to it. This budget will not interfere with your 10% monthly savings. Just try! It is worth it! For more practical advise – read this book : I guarantee is life changing : “The Richest Man in Babylon”by George Clason. Review here

    Liked by 1 person

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