Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cuttin' on back the Okie way

Ladies, this post is mostly for the menfolk but you're welcome to read and comment.

With the ever increasing prices of essentials such as ammo, gas, food, beer, and divorce lawyers we've all had to cut back and tighten our belts some. I'm gonna try to help y'all out some on things that I've done now and in the past to pinch a penny. Some of these things will involve an initial outlay of cash money, but it's pay off in a short time.

Ammunition - Learn to reload if you're not already into it. A good loading set-up will run you around $300, but if you shoot a lot, you'll make that back within a year.
Think about it - you'll save about 50% or better by loading your own and you'll gain an intimate understanding of your guns. I honestly don't understand why everybody that shoots doesn't reload.

Oil changes - Change your own fucking oil. And instead of the recommended 3000 miles, do it every 5000 miles. Who recommends every 3000 miles? The motherfuckers that make the oil. But use a good quality oil, regardless of regular or synthetic. My brand is Valvolene.

Use coupons - you can save big bucks if you shop sales AND use coupons in the same trip. Yeah, it may piss the fuckers off that are in line behind you, but so what? Are they paying your grocery bills? Do like I do - if they start bitching and moaning when you haul out a 2 inch thick stack of coupons, shoot them a glare and ask if they have a fucking problem.

Eat before shopping - cuts down on impulse buying. And be sober when you shop, that'll help you stick to your budget. And for God's sake, don't shop when you're stoned. You'll never get out of the candy aisle.

Buy frozen vegetables instead of canned. Fuck paying for the can and the juice, pay for the food. Seriously, compare the prices of canned food compared to frozen. You'll be amazed. Not only that, but your icebox will run much more efficiently when it's packed full of frozen vegetables. An added benefit - you can't buy canned okra.

Cancel your fucking newspaper subscription - if you're reading this, chances are you can read your hometown paper online too. Or you can read it at work if you've got friends that bring their paper in with them.

Errands - Plan your errands so that you can do them in one trip. And here's a tip: plan them between 9 AM and 12 noon and 1 PM and 4. Around traffic is lighter then and you spend less time and gas idling at stop lights. Avoid morning, lunchtime, and evening rush hours.

Clothing - Buy your work clothes at the local thrift store. There ain't no shame in wearing other folks' clothes. You can also shop at eBay. I've scored big on eBay, buying Wranglers and shirts for a dollar because nobody else has bid on them. Not only that but they were new, never been worn!

Hunt - If you're a hunter, try your hand at small game. Rabbits and squirrels can be found close to home, can be taken with a shotgun if it's close to houses where rifles aren't safe, and the cute li'l fuckers are downright tasty.

Fish - Fish. It's as simple as that. GO FISHING! And take one or more of your kids with you, because not only does it allow you to pass on something outrageous to you kids, but anything they catch adds to the larder.
I used to practice Catch and Release, but lately I've been practicing Catch and Cook. I won't keep anything during the spawn but anytime else....... Mmmmm.
And if you don't catch anything, big fucking deal. You were fishing.

Gardens - Grow your own food. It's fucking easy. Follow the directions on the seed packet, water every night and weed once a week and you've got free food.
It doesn't have to be a large garden either. You'd be surprised at how much food you can grow in a plot that measures 20 feet by 10 feet. So rip out your wife's roses and plant some grub.
If you live in an apartment, you can still grow herbs in windboxes. Not only will you have nearly free spices and herbs, but you'll have a wonderful smell in your living space.
But I'm going to give you another tip - instead of planting all your crop at once, space it out. Plant a few heads of lettuce (or okra, radishes, whatever) one week, more the next week, more the next week and so on. That way you won't have 97 heads of lettuce ready to pick all at once.
The only exception to this are plants that are already started at a nursery, like tomatoes. BUT....... the way to do tomatoes is to look at the tags that come with the tray of starters and see how long until harvest. Some tomatoes ripen earlier than others so you buy different types pf tomatoes that ripen at different times. That way you have fresh tomatoes stretched out over a longer period of time.

Canning - If you plant a large garden it may be worth your while to learn how to can. It's easy to do and you can put up all your vegetables to be enjoyed throughout the winter.

Drying - You can dehydrate most of your vegetables, not to mention fruits, and meat. A decent dehydrator will run you about 100 bucks, but it's worth it. You can dry a shitload of fruits in a weekend and then you've got healthy snacks for your lunch for the next month. And if you're into jerky, this is the way to go whether it's venison or beef.

Cook - Cook your fucking meals at home instead of going out for fast food every night. It doesn't take long and it's a lot healthier and cheaper. Myself, I've had one hamburger in the past 6 months and I damned near gagged when I ate that. It was fucking nasty!

Electricity - Turn off the fucking lights if you don't need 'em. When you leave a room, turn off the lights. If you're watching TV, turn off the lights. If you have a multi-bulb fixture like I do, take out half the bulbs. If you're security conscience, install a motion detector instead of leaving your porch light on all night. But above all, turn off the fucking lights.
Do all your laundry in cold water. Do your laundry only once a week and dry as many loads as possible at the same time to conserve energy. It's cheaper to dry 2 small loads together for 60 minutes than it is to dry the separately for 45 minutes each.

HVAC - Keep your heater at 65 degrees. If you get cold, put on a sweater. Keep your AC no lower than 82 degrees. If you get too warm, grow some balls. 82 degrees ain't hot.
If you live in a climate where it's cool at night and hot during the day, open your house up in the morning, turn on the fan until it's nice and cool, then shut the house up.
If you have south facing windows, go to your local parts store and get some window tint for them.
Put towels down at your outer doors to keep the warm (or cool, depending on the season) where it belongs.

And finally, beer - I was always a Bud man until a couple of months ago. I switched to Keystone for a while and then I bought some Busch. Not only do I like Busch better than Bud now but it's a couple of bucks cheaper for a 12 pack, saving me about 40 bucks a month.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good beer from a micro-brewery just like everybody else. But I can't afford it every night or every weekend for that matter. So don't be afraid to try lesser priced brands for your utility beer.

Okay, that's some of the basics of saving a buck. If I think of anything else, I'll post it. If you think of something that's helped you out, email me at and I'll pass it along.


MauserMedic said...

Started doing several of those within the last year. On the beer though; brewing kits can be bought for around $100 at the local Fleet Farm. Thinking about getting one and finding a mix I like, and saving a lot of money over the long run.

On reloading, if a person can find a source of cheap lead, casting bullets can provide a lot of cheap practice bullets. I took all the lead from a scrapped x-ray machine back in '97, and still have close to 800 lbs of lead to make into bullets yet.

Last, "scankwor" is the best word verification I've seen to date.

JeffH said...

Great list! I actually still get the San Jose Merky News delivered every day, but I justify it by all of the coupons I clip from the ads. I save several bucks a week at the grocery store, which more than pays for the paper. Oh and I actually read it at least once a week... Another tip with newspapers, subscribe on a 6 month or yearly basis. Call up the paper, tell them you are thinking about canceling and they will give you a better price. The last time I re-upped my subscription I got if for 1/2 price!

If you are cramped for space, live in an apartment or have lots of trees in your yard like I do, you can grow vegetables in Earth Boxes. I have 7 of them parked on the south side of my house. I got lazy last summer and invested in the automatic watering kit, which is a bunch of tubing that hooks up to the hose bib. They now water themselves and I don't have to run around with a hose every other day. So now I just plant and wait for the almost free veggies!

wirecutter said...

MM, try hitting yout local tire shops for wheel weights. They'll usually give them away for wree to save on hazardous weight fees.

JeffH - Thanks for the tips, I'l post them verbatum (Spelt rong, Im Shur) this weekend.

ibeam said...

Great post! I do most of the ones you listed, other than the "catch and cook." The pond I fish is fairly small, and I'd like to keep the bass population just where it is. At my place, we grow our own sprouts indoors to eat as snacks. We also make our own yogurt and bread, which is much cheaper than buying it at the food store and tastes even better. And we compost too, which we then add to our vegetable garden. (God do I sound like a hippy!)

I keep forgetting to mail you those tat cards - will try to do so tomorrow.

MM, your word verification is much cooler than mine. Mine today is "chill"

Anonymous said...

Pretty much do all of the above. No newspaper delivery. Thats what the TV and internet is for. Go to mom and pops on sundays and steal their coupons.
Only issue I have is with the a/c thing. You can call me a pussy all day long but 82 degrees is fucking hot inside the house.
Got a couple of good catfish holes that nobody disturbs so it fish at least 3 nights a week for supper.
Still have some elk and deer in the freezer from last season and dried a shitload of it for jerky. My kids eat the hell out of it and it keeps em from bitching too much about snacks.
Great list 'Cutter. More folks should live that way.

J'sWife said...

I couldn't survive, Ken. No way!! J would, but I'm the problem. Spoiled...thanks to my Dad!