Open Thread

Open Thread Update: Money Hacks!

Last time we asked readers to share their secrets and tips for saving cash in these inflationary times, and there were some great suggestions.

Food Money Hacks 

Readers Jeanette S., Janet,  Billie and Melinda all had good ideas, chief among them to cook at home, shop locally and ease up on the meat consumption  (plus a neat trick with canned tomato paste).  However, Suze in PA had the one that really resonated with me…

Leftover vegetables get put in assigned container in freezer. When full, it’s easily made into vegetable soup. (I sometimes add ground beef or chicken leftovers too.)

-Suze in PA

Partly because I do it too but also because it reflects the wisdom of my Sicilian peasant ancestors, who would say “Tutto fa brodo – Everything makes broth.”

Household Money Hacks

Readers Diane R., Kris and Geula S. are fans of Distilled White Vinegar in laundry, recycling bits of soap, and the value of baking soda.

Entertainment Money Hacks

Barb has been busy, renegotiating better rates for Sirius XM radio, and newspaper subscriptions, and offers this advice…

…call and cancel. They will come up with a price amazingly better – without haggling or negotiating.”

While reader Diana has an even better offer – free.

I use the library to check out books instead of buying them and check out DVDs instead of renting them or buying them.

-Diana L. 

When it comes to non-food shopping, Tom has the answer:

Goodwill….Came away with seven shirts for less than $50 dollars. Washed, ironed and worn several times.

But when it comes to thrifty habits, though, the winner is Irene M. – her comments are a world tour of ideas for the frugal. Check out her comments below and add your own!

Original Text below:

My favorite coffee doubled in price at my favorite discount store. OUCH.

I grew up poor. I know the drill. I can tell you the serial numbers of everything bigger than a five in my wallet. My low overhead lifestyle is probably the only reason I can still afford to live in NYC.  But with the cost of everything going up, practically by the week, desperate measures are required.

Money-saving Strategies

Photo by Dmitry Demidko on Unsplash

I’m the lady inspecting the ‘clearance items” in the dollar store. I recycle cans.  Sure, it’s good for the environment — but every five cans means a “free” six minutes on the dryers in the laundromat. Stale bread becomes breadcrumbs.  I pull plugs out of the wall until I’m ready to use an appliance. I bought six cotton handkerchiefs and stopped buying Kleenex.

There are some things I won’t skimp on, though.  I won’t skimp on a gym membership because running in the rain and snow is miserable, and I”ll never buy cheap running shoes again.

Of course, there are the economies that weren’t so…economic.  Like the time I tried to make pizza at home. Or when I tossed a wool sweater in the washing machine….and the dryer. Whoopsie!

Your turn  

What about you?  What are your money hacks? What will you not skimp on unless absolutely necessary? Let us know in the comments!

Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send  Open Thread suggestions to



19 responses to “Open Thread Update: Money Hacks!

  1. Years ago someone gifted me a spouting kit. Within two years I had 2 community garden plots! Those sprouts triggered the vegetable gardener I had no idea was living inside me! After 5 years of hit and miss experiments but loving growing my own food to save $$$, I started a balcony garden at home because the public garden was so much work with no help. Despite not getting any AM sun, I am still able to grow lots of my own bok choy, kale, beet/chard greens, lettuces, herbs, and even potatoes!

  2. Keep leftover tomato paste in a sandwich sized ziplock, flatten out score it in squares and place in the freezer. When you need a tbsp. or whatever just pull out a square and replace. Saves having to open those small cans for small amounts. The tubes are very expensive! Also take a small ice cube tray and place fresh herbs with some water or broth in them along with herbs and freeze. Cubes of herbs ready to go for a sauce or soup.

  3. I decided to stop paying for Sirius XM radio. It had gotten much more expensive. When I called, they offered a price at about 1/4 what it had been. I decided to change my newspaper subscription to one day a week delivery. I called and they offered a price – 6 day delivery (all that’s possible) – for 1/3 of what I had been paying. Advice: call and cancel. They will come up with a price amazingly better – without haggling or negotiating.

  4. American Express Prime Blue gives 5% on groceries up to $6000 in purchases per year so that is $300 if you buy the maximum allowed. They pay 3% on gas. They consider Walmart to be a warehouse not grocery so if you want Walmart groceries get Capitall One for 5% back on all Walmart purchases. Cut the cord and use You Tube for news, entertainment and information sources. With $30 one time purchase of Chomcast (could be old price) you can project to your TV screen. I save more than the $125 an

  5. Use very little toothpaste on toothbrush, not like the T.V. commercials. It does the same job. To whiten teeth, once a week dip you toothbrush in baking soda. Wash your face, then rinse your teeth. You teeth will be white and squeaky, and shiney.

  6. Use White Vinegar in your washer instead of fabric softener. It does not add more chemicals to clothes and helps remove more soap from the fabric. Also use wool dryer balls and pillow spray (like Lavender) instead of dryer sheets so as not to add more chemicals to clothes. These options are cost efficient. Wool dryer balls are a little expensive up front, but over the long run, it will save you a lot of money.

      1. I buy White Distilled Vinegar at Costco sold as a 2 pack (each bottle is 1 gallon) for $5.29. My front-loading washing machine has 3 sections labeled soap, liquid bleach and softener. I fill up the softener section every time I do a wash. I don’t measure it, I just fill it, as it is almost odorless, and my clothes never smell like vinegar. I measured it and it holds 1/4 cup. I guess for small loads you could use less. It also helps with the mold smell you can get with front-loading washers.

  7. Goodwill. Being retired I had left my supply of “good” shirts, the kind I would wear to a meeting or community gathering, get behind the times. Knowing that I don’t need custom tailoring and did not want to pay $25-35 for a dress shirt in the store, I looked at the local Goodwill stores (yes, plural, we are fortunate to have several) to see what might be available. Came away with seven shirts for less than $50 dollars. Washed, ironed and worn several times.

  8. I have always brought my lunch and coffee from home.
    I have always done my hair myself.
    I have always shopped in thrift stores and yard sales.
    I have differentiated between what I want vs. what I actually need.
    Every day, I write on a piece of paper on my table the amount I spent that day.
    I keep my house, furnace, roof, plumbing, wiring in good repair. I keep my car repaired. I do not drive on bad tires.
    I have internet but not cable TV, etc.

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