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EP Frugal Forum

Welcome to the EP Frugal Forum. Here you'll find tips, suggestions, ideas and shared experiences from other EPs to help you save time and money. Click here to share your tip, or email us at . We appreciate your support!
 
Many of the tips listed below were submitted in response to our February-March EP Gift Basket Contest. For details on this month's contest, click here.

   Frugal Forum | Articles | What's It Worth? | Frugal Links

 
EP Question: What's your favorite way to save time or money
in your business or personal life?
(Click here to share your tip, or email us at )
 

Date

Contributor

Business/Lifestyle Frugal Living Tip

 3-27-00
Fillmore Spangler Recycle toner cartridges.

 3-26-00
Joyce McAulay Use a magic slate to save paper.

 3-25-00
Rosa Holcombe Always leave things in their place. Never throw away a piece of paper; instead use the opposite side from the writing to brainstorm ideas or create grocery and to-do lists.

 3-25-00
Anne Ramstetter Wenzel I had a logo designed that looks beautiful when printed out in black and white. I'm going have a "mini-flyer" printed up on 4.5" by 6" postcards. 200 post cards will cost about $40 to have printed, and then postage for mailing will be just 20 cents instead of 33 cents. When I received an estimate for 2-color postcards before, it was well over $100!

 3-24-00
Cheryl Hotard Know what a good price is for a certain product and work down from there.

 3-23-00
Karyn Todd I buy my personalized office supply products online (at www.iprint.com). I find this saves me time (they are open 24 hrs a day) and money (as a member of bizrate, I generally receive a 25% discount, not like I really need it there), plus I have peace of mind that they will be delivered on time and exactly to my specifications. No driving to the store to place/pick up an order.

 3-23-00
Anonymous I spend time every morning getting organized and returning papers and items to where they belong -- it saves lots of time in the long run.

 3-23-00
Desiree Scales The best thing I did was buy a headset phone for my business. I am a web designer and 95% of my time is spent on the computer. The headset allows me to talk on the phone and type away, thereby saving a lot of time!

 3-22-00
Krysti Bland While talking on the phone I will either be stuffing envelopes or folding clothes or some other mindless activity that I need to get done throughout the day.

 3-22-00
Anonymous I save time by immediately tossing away unnecesary "little" notes I write while on the telephone.

 3-21-00
Anonymous We organize, organize, organize - we save money and time by paying attention to detail - large and small.

 3-21-00
Jeanine Birckbichler I try to combine tasks whenever I can, for example if I am waiting on hold while on the phone, then I am also writing part of a review or story. I keep a notebook and a pen with me at all times for when I find myself waiting in line.

 3-21-00
Angela Stone

Number #1: Use a FREE Internet Service! This will save you tons of $$$ each year.

Number #2: Instead of taking children to daycare, have them get involved with your home business. Save $$$ on daycare. Plus, spending more time with your children is the very reason why you became self-employed!! :)

 3-20-00
Anonymous Many stores will now double or even triple coupons. I will read the sales flyers and arrange my coupons before heading to the grocery store. This helps to save time and lots of money.

 3-19-00
Anonymous Try to be as organized as possible. I use color coding for eveything -- from file folders to post-it notes.

 3-18-00
Anonymous When the weather is bad, I save time and money by telecommuting from my home office. This saves up to 4 HOURS a day, during bad weather, and up to 2 hours a day the rest of the time. I do this as often as I can get away with it.

 3-18-00
Tracey Carter Cut up old printouts or blank pieces of printer paper and use them as small sheets of notepaper to jot notes on. I keep a stack of unused pieces of printer paper in a corner and once in a while, I'll cut them into squares for note pads.

 3-15-00
Larry Axtell In my business I use hand tools. I purchase all my hand tools from Sears because of the free lifetime replacement guarantee. This means I only have to purchase tools once, thus keeping overhead low.

 3-14-00
Marc Alan Reichbart I like to do all my buying or inquires with the mindset that it is not for the business, but for me, and that I do not have a lot of discretionary money to use at will. This attitude helps me purchase in a non-compulsive way, and in a pressure-less manner I go shopping. It works like a charm!

 3-14-00
Lee A. Caglioti With Internet Marketing! It would cost us thousands of dollars to hire sales reps to cover the national territory that we are able to canvas using the Internet.
 3-14-00 Linda Moore My Dad and I have a small business that involves a lot of hauling objects around. We both had vans to carry these objects but because of the escalating cost of gas we have both traded for small trucks with long beds. We have one van, (that is parked), just in case... But the trucks save us many dollars a week.

 3-14-00
Janie Kautzer Earning points to get free pre-paid long distance phone cards.

 3-13-00
Evelyn Fisher I take paperwork with me to do while I wait at school for the kids. And I stop at the store either on my way to drop them off or pick them up. I have my list ready and zip through the store. Plus it saves time and gas (with gas being so high lately), to do it on the way and not make a special trip.

 3-13-00
Anonymous Make plans for everything and then carry them out. Likewise, since I have always been a planner I find it works best if one plans and thinks ahead of time.

 3-13-00
Anonymous I attended a free business expo where I collected as many pens, pencils, pads and cofffee cups as possible. I'm still working on a box full of them that I've had for over 3 years now, and I have not been to any expos since for lack of time seeing to my twins. That's what you call planning ahead. ;-)

 3-11-00
Anonymous By figuring out different ways to shortcut everyday tasks and freeing up my time for more productive work.

 3-3-00
Anonymous Combine things I need to do! Print my address labels from the computer!

 3-2-00
Ray Hopkins I ask all employees to turn off lights and equipment when they leave their office for extended periods of time.

 2-27-00
Eileen Kelley One of the best ways I've found is to invest the time in training my "helpers" to do some of the tasks that don't REALLY need MY attention. It takes some time up front, but saves a lot in the long run. The thing I like best about doing this is that it empowers others to identify and better develop their skills and talents. It helps them to become more self-directed and more "entrepreneurial" too.

 2-27-00
Anonymous My favorite way of saving time for the business is not very original, but it is effective. I am one of a network of five home-based contractors; we communicate via the web and voicemail. We also have specific times that we call one another/reply via phone. Having this time set aside allows me to be more efficient both in my business duties and at-home duties.

 2-25-00
Susan S. Swingholm I've traded and saved money. I am an artist and traded a picture for legal advice and another picture for a haircut (or two).

 2-25-00
Kathy E. Putnam Always look for a quicker way to accomplish a task, I have learned to lump the things I do not like to do in the mornings, when I am most energetic. TIME is as valuable as money.
 2-24-00 Karen Murray, January EP of the Month Organizational Tips for Smart Shopping

 2-23-00
Elizabeth Lafferty One of my favorite ways is by bartering with talented friends who have skills/services I need. I had one friend do my online order form for me in return for a pair of unique earrings for his mum!

 2-23-00
Melanie Bowden My husband and I trade off taking the kids out for an outing. We each get a few hours to ourselves and the kids love it!

 2-23-00
Robyn Carozza When I get a fax that I don't need, including cover sheets, I flip them over and drop them into my older inkjet printer, which takes the same type of paper. I print rough drafts and in-house memos on the other side of the fax!

 2-23-00
Monique Medford For the business, I am in the service of providing off-site secretarial services. Often, our biggest expense is paper! To combat this, I utilize scrap defined as all printed papers which have been spoiled for some reason. Also, if I need to send a fax for a client, it is sent on "scrap" paper - they wouldn't know the difference anyway unless a hard copy is required.

 2-22-00
Sandi Hodges To save time make sure that everything is organized. Saving money comes from not having to purchase extra supplies because you know exactly what you have in stock.

 2-21-00
Richard J. Turpin Buy only what's on sale.

 2-19-00
Anonymous I like to advertise from the Internet because you can use free website pages.. and some websites post your ads or banners for free.

 2-19-00
Audrey Claire Lawrence Return phone calls after 6 pm for discounted savings. Call the East Coast early before 8 am & West Coast late in the day. Attend conferences & pick up any giveavays. Stock up so you never have to buy pen or telephone message pads.

 2-17-00
Anonymous Upgrading to a cable modem has saved us time downloading information and money because we don't need a second phone line.

 2-15-00
Anonymous I make my own gylcerine soaps. It is healthier and there is no allergic reactions for my family. It takes about 10 mintes to make.

 2-15-00
 Anonymous Make up a budget every month and stick to it. Make up all bills a couple of days before payday, after depositing checks....you can only spend what is left. That way you don't end up short or have unpaid bills.

 2-14-00
Aliena Anderson I mix my own "pre-wash" for clothing. Mix about 1 1/2 cups of a good liquid soap (my preference is Tide w/ bleach), 1 cup of plain (not suddsy) amonia and 1/2 cup of water. DO NOT add extra bleach, you'll forget and spray it on color clothes and ruin them. It works well on everything (colors and whites), shirt collars and cuffs, underarm stains, grass stains on jeans, dried on food, etc. I use it on all my clothing, right before putting them in the wash and it works great. It has saved me a great deal of money over the years.

 2-11-00
 Laurie After having my second child & quitting my job I had to learn to want what I already have. My other favorite way to save money is thrift shopping.

 2-11-00
 Anonymous Put away $5.00 a day.....everyday....and don't sneak it....

 2-11-00
Brandi Reynolds I always take those free 3.5 disks that ISP's send, delete them, remove their labels, and reuse them. I AM SO CHEAP, but my customers don't seem to mind.

 2-11-00
 Anonymous I use a courier whenever possible. Why 'waste' my precious time running around delivering files, when I can hire someone at 1/5 the cost. Saves me money, and saves my clients money.

 2-10-00
Anonymous I like to search through the thrift stores and for about .50 cents I have gotten many nice baskets that I can refinish and they look brand new.

 2-10-99
 Hilary Kunes I usually only work on the computer when my child is sleeping. That way I get the time to play and work in my schedule.

 2-9-00
Kathy Iwasaka I like to use all those free (or almost free) phone cards given away online to make my long distance telephone calls.

 2-9-00
 Lara Fabans I reuse paper. Often, I'll print out some code I'm working on and make notes on the paper. Then I make the changes. When I get stuck, I print out the code on the other side of the paper. Also, I keep the stack of reusable paper near my business phone with these new gel pens. When the phone rings and my toddler comes running, I've got paper and gel pens to keep her quiet while I'm on the phone. For other parents, the gel pens wash off much more easily then standard pens do, and they come in such bright and pretty colors that my child thinks she's got something really special.

 2-9-00

EP Gift Basket Winner!

Rebecca Davenport

Being an online business saves a lot of time and money. First of all, no more thousands of dollars a month for a physical location. Also it saves A LOT of time because you can get orders while you are sleeping or spending time with family. No more hassles with employees (my husband works for me.)

 2-9-00
Robyn Carozza As much junk mail as my business gets, when I get a plain envelope with no cellophane window, I carefully turn it inside out and re-use it! I don't use this when mailing to customers, only when replying to vendors or paying bills that did not include an envelope.

 2-8-00
Anonymous I use a data system to organize my grocery coupons by name, date, and type of food. Then I print them and take the copy with me shopping to save time. I know what coupons I have and where they are found in the file. It also tells me what is ready to expire.

 2-8-00
Anonymous I love making my own furniture from miscellaneous pieces.

 2-8-00
Kathryn E Loew Save time by making all working conditions run efficiently. Do this by having meetings and allotting time slots for various tasks.

 2-8-00
Sandy E Ashmore I shop at garage sales and auctions. I have found wonderful furniture and misc. items.

 2-8-00
Sandra Ruth Bon I like to save money but reusing plastic ziplock bags. I have been washing them in hot water and hanging them on the clothesline for years and have reused them many times without any consequences.

 2-8-00
Leanarda Snider Saving money is easy. Using coupons offered on the Internet, I save time, money and energy!

 2-8-00
Mary Kilgore I use the Internet to search for FREEBIES!

 2-8-00
 Doris Miller I try to use scrap paper at all times.

 2-7-00
 Anonymous Organize grocery shopping on the computer and print out coupons from the computer.

 2-7-00
 Rene` Bruner I shop online. I find it saves time and money. No more wasted trips to the store and the bargains online are great.

 2-7-00
 Anonymous I use coupons for almost all of my grocery purchases.

 2-7-00
Tonda Lynn Oakes I pay my bills while (web) pages load (write the checks and address the envelopes) plus I also get caught up on looking through all those magazine subcriptions I pay for.

 2-6-00
 Anonymous I like to bargain shop and also use coupons. I keep an inventory list of all that is needed or wanted and if a great sale comes along, I am ready to buy.

 2-6-00
Krista Deighton I save money by using coupons or 2 for 1 offers

 2-6-00
 Anonymous My favorite way to save money is to stay home on the weekends with my husband and child instead of going out and spending money on food and drinks.

 2-4-00
 Tami Kimmel Ordering drugstore items online with free delivery.

 2-4-00
 Yvonne Mielke Starting dinner in the crock pot first, then sitting down to my computer and looking for that perfect stay-at-home job.

 2-3-00
Cynthia Thompson Do it right the first time!!!!

 2-1-00
Anonymous My favorite time to save time and money for our family business is to buy our supplies from an express company that will deliver.

 2-1-00
 Deb Housel My favorite way to save time at home is to always be working on a project (cutting & sorting coupons, doing hand mending, folding laundry, etc) whenever I'm watching T.V. This way I don't feel guilty about watching T.V. because I'm still being productive.

 1-26-00

Sylvia Sedillo,

Office Works

In addition to my home biz, I work full time away from home, so time is at a premium. My favorite time saver is to toss a load of laundry into the washer as I'm rushing my 4 year old off to school. When I get home, I switch it to the dryer, jump on my treadmill for 30 minutes. After that, I can fold the 1st load, have breakfast, then fold the 2nd load. Another great time and money saver is to get a load going right before bed time. Utilities are cheaper after peak hours. You can dry or fold while kids are eating breakfast. Besides, you get to do important things like exercise and SLEEP!

 1-25-00

Kathy Lindberg,

Gift Basket Gallery

I use a crock pot to cook my meals. I can start it early in the morning and it is ready when we are ready to eat. No more having to stop working to fix dinner.

  1-25-00

Anne R. Wenzel,

Econosystems Research

I do my grocery shopping on-line. Not ALL of my grocery shopping - I still buy my milk at the store and of course buy other things while I'm there. But I find I spend less when I grocery shop on-line. It's really hard to fill up your cart since you can't "roam" the isles and make impulse buys. As a result, I only buy what I need. Grocery shopping on-line also helps keep the family stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. I live by the "Eat five to stay alive" rule, and when you have a family of 4 eating that many serving of fruits and vegetables (or close to it, anyway), you can run out of the fresh stuff fast.Our local on-line grocery store has prepared "heat-and-serve" dishes that I schedule to be delivered between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. on the days I order. That saves time, because that evening I just heat and serve!
 
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