Krissy suggested maybe we should have a thread to post things about saving money. I am ALWAYS willing to get any tips and tricks about that, as I live on about $300 a month (well...$200 after paying rent)
The thread that started it, was how to get cheap slipcovers for couches. Bed sheets...wonderful idea! I've been buying bed sheets at thrift stores for my medieval costumes I sew.
Groceries - I very rarely buy name brand, even with a coupon. Generics are just as good (usually the exact same!) and cheaper even after "coupon" price. I try to buy things on sale, with coupons, or some other way to not pay the usual full price. Having only $50 a month for groceries ($35 food stamps, about $20 of my own money), I scrimp a lot! Never buy pre-cut anything...sure it's a bit of work, but usually cheaper to buy whole veggies and cheese blocks.
Household - I already have all the furniture I want, but there's some pretty good stuff at thrift stores. If you insist on getting new (after all, you don't know what's been on that couch before it got donated!), Big Lots has some good prices on furniture. Scratch & Dent/"as is" sections at furniture stores are good... I got my fridge for $200, simply because it had one little dent in the side of the door and some scratches of the paint (which I have not bothered to paint over, because I really don't care how it looks...just as long as it keeps my food cold!)
Pet supplies - this has been talked about lots of times, anyway! More often than not, the kitties like "trash" than store-bought toys! The other day Nebbie passed up a dingle ball and 2 fuzzy mice to play with a milk bottle cap! At the cat sanctuary I volunteer at, we couldn't find any of their balls (usually they "lose" them behind the litter boxes against the wall, but they weren't there), so I just crumpled up some notebook paper... boy, you'd think it was Christmas for those kitties! They were all romping around and chasing/batting that paper like it was the best thing in the world!
Eating on the go - yes, it's convenient to grab a burger...but not only a bit expensive, not really healthy. I've been getting in the habit of "pre packing" snacks. If I know I won't eat something that needs to stay cold soon enough, I just get things like raisins, crackers, pretzels, granola bars, etc.. If I have a lunch on the go that I can eat relatively quickly, I'll put leftovers in a tupperware thing and just grab that out of the fridge (and stuff that I prefer warm, I just nuke for 1 minute in the tupperware, and it's still a quick thing!). I have sports bottles to put my own drinks in, rather than buying a 20 oz soda on the way to my destination. I usually drink fruit juice if I know it'll be more than 2 hours in the bottle... if I know I'll drink it relatively soon, I prefer milk - both much more healthier than soda anyway!
Entertainment - I have not been out to see a movie in a theatre in over a year. I watch "old" movies on cable (I guess cable bill counts as an entertainment expense, but I get my cable for free - dad pays the bill). There's also Hulu, and if you want to spend a little, Hulu has a premium thing for $8 a month (or Netflix, or something like that).
Libraries also have DVDs to borrow... granted, it's not a great selection, but at least it's free!
I go out to eat at a restaurant about twice a month. Usually as a "treat" if I've had a bad/hard day at the cat sanctuary and I'm just too tired to bother making my own stuff when I get home. I also try to limit my order to under $20 INCLUDING the tip...which yes, is sometimes difficult. However, this also gets me TWO meals - but that's because I never finish at the restaurant, and take stuff home in a box to eat the next day.
Gas - with prices so high ($3.50 here), this is a big thing for me. Coast as much as possible. When you're approaching a traffic light that is yellow, obviously you know you'll need to stop...apply the brakes at the last possible moment (don't slam!), but coast to the intersection for as long as you can. Also, when the light turns green, don't "jack rabbit" start... sure people behind you might be annoyed that you're gradually getting up to speed, but it's better than gunning it suddenly.
Use cruise control if possible, and keep highway speeds between 55-65. Anything over 68 really ruins fuel economy (5% or so, I think). Also, don't carry any extra weight in the back seat or trunk if possible. Keep tires properly inflated. A clean air filter helps your engine run better, and saves gas...I change my air filter with every oil change (I do mine about every 6 months... or rather, my dad does! LOL)
Try to drive as little as possible. Do errands all at once (I usually do Tuesdays, because that's "hospital day" (most of my appoints on Tuesday mornings, then I go do my other stuff) AND when the grocery store re-does their ads (so I can get discounts from the week before AND the current week... ain't I a cheat? LOL). Also, if possible, try to do your errands so that you drive to the farthest one first, then make each stop on the way home so you're not back-tracking all around town.
I fill my tank for about $35-40 and it lasts all month. People are amazed... "I spend that much in a week!" (granted I am not commuting for a job... but just think, it's only $30 or so to use for your personal driving!)
I can get an average/combined mpg of 25-28 in my car which is "rated" at only 19-21
um... that's all I can think of for now. Anybody else?