Buying local. There is this great produce stand on West Union and 185th in Hillsboro Oregon that has great local produce for super cheap. We just love going there and looking at all the great beautiful fruits and veggies. We buy what is in abundance because its usually cheaper. Mango's are 3/$1 so were eating those.
Farmers Markets. Sauvie Island has a great place that's called The Pumpkin Patch http://www.thepumpkinpatch.com/ . If you need a few hours to get away, you need to go there. From their free animal barn that your children can see, to the fantastic market to get all your produce, or their amazing U Pick selection and prices. Its a great place to go. During the fall they have a corn maze for day or night, everyday their cafe is open to get a great cup of coffee, or pick up a gift at their gift shop. Buy candles, figurines, toys or old school small size candies like chicostick or nicco's. We just picked raspberries and blueberries to bring home and freeze for later use. Worth the gas money to go.
Winco bulk section. About once every two weeks I go stock up on my baking goods in their great low priced bulk section. From nuts, dried fruit, to flour or sugar. Its super cheap. Plus if I use my own bags, they pay me 6 cents per bag I use. What a deal! I just go through my pantry before I leave and make a list of what I need and how much. I also pick up their 5 dozen eggs for $3.88 and milk for $1.99. Such a deal.
Meat. We really do not eat much meat but the meat we do eat is markdowns or from family. Our local Safeway has an amazing markdown section. They are marked down 30% or 50%. Depending on what it is, I will pick up anything for less than $1 per lb. Yes you can find meat for less than one dollar per pound. Chicken, Pork and even Beef. I usually find whole chickens or small packs of pork but occasionally will find beef. Also my brother in law hunts so when I go visit my sister, she usually sends me home with interesting things. My recent visit brought home fish and ground deer meat. Free for me! I will bring any meat I get home and put it right in the freezer for later use. Luckily my two older daughters are vegetarians so our meat budget has shrunk 50%.
Backyard Garden. I have a garden in my back yard that is just starting to give us plenty of food. Green beans, lettuce, chives, and soon much more. So this will save us a ton of money. I planted everything I could get my hands on.My garden is about 100 sq ft and in a triangle size. Not really big but I make the most of my space. In this little space Ive planted the following:
Broccoli Tomato's (5 types)
Beans(5 kinds) Yellow Crook Neck Squash
Cucumber (3 types) Onions
Herbs (to many to list) Potato's
Blueberry Bush Huckleberry Bush
We've had really nice weather so I'm able to hang dry all our clothes in the warm sun saving on energy cost.
If we need anything non food, its bought at garage sales or thrift shops. Just today I found a few pairs of shoes for my middle daughter, a great desk chair for my oldest, a pair of amazing Nine West heels, and a few clothing items for only $15.
Recently we've given away our gas lawn mower and purchased a push mower. This is a $100 investment in our eyes. Never again will we have to buy gas for it and will no longer put toxic fumes into the air we breathe. We do not actively water our lawn but do when it looks like it needs it. When my girls want to play in the pool, we keep it up for 2 days. When its ready to empty, I use my watering can and use the water to water all our plants in the backyard including my garden. I try to do it in the evenings and early mornings so the water will not evaporate and my plants dont get burned by the sun.
To entertain the family we will get free Redbox movies on Mondays, or watch them off the computer from sites like http://www.hulu.com/ or http://www.youtube.com/. From old school cartoons to recent tv shows, they have it all. I just pop popcorn in my old school popcorn popper I bought for $1.50 a couple of years ago. Way cheap! Soccer takes up 3 days a week so we also enjoy watching our daughters practice or play games. We walk whenever possible or ride bikes to save on gas. Boring but needed, we also help each other clean rooms. Kids do not like this one but they have no choice. lol. The girls like to do crafts at their craft area, recycle items and incorporate them into the crafts, or just go color in their color books. There is plenty to do that doesn't cost a cent.
To save on energy cost, we open up our windows in the early morning to get cool air in. Then during the day we close everything up. Sometimes we do have to use our air conditioner but I try to avoid it. During the day I try to keep curtians open to let in natural light and we do not turn on any light switches.
I go to the store maybe once a week to get groceries. This way it cuts back on gas money. I make our own snacks, or treats so that saves us money. We do not eat out and if we do its usually a grocery store and consist of fresh fruit, yogurt and a roll or bread item. Most the time I pack our own food and water. We try to live a sustainable lifestyle and keep it simple.