hmmmm... how many characters am I allowed per post?... we may find out..
First off, invest in a freezer, if you're not lucky enough to already be in possession of said Frugal Female's (or male's) Friend.
I hit the Mrs. Baird's Thrift Bread Store and store multiple loaves in the freezer. They also carry tortillas, various other bread products, and sweeties (think school lunches.. usually cheaper than I can make them myself). The one I frequent, also has a punch card that entitles you to one free sweetie and one free bread product of your choosing after it's been filled. The people at the one I frequent are nice enough to keep them in an index box by the register, if you'd like, so you don't forget them. One punch per dollar spent. It adds up.
Another boon to my FFF, is that when I find meat on clearance (near or on the sell by date) I can buy it up, repackage if necessary, date and describe on the packaging, and throw it in the freezer. It will stay good for quite awhile. I have a good variety of meats on hand at any given time (thus preventing boredom), I never have to pay full price for meat, and we're all set should a financial crisis occur.
I've always got a well stocked pantry as well. I don't have a "pantry" per say, but the same applies to any storage space you have available. I will stock up on sale items and grab up clearance items as well.
My rice cooker is my friend. (I have many friends
) I buy rice in 20 lb. bags (be sure and compare the per ounce price to the smaller bags as well.. the grocery stores sometimes get tricky) and store it in gallon glass pickle jars. I do this with other dry goods as well... flour (which I generally buy on sale), cornmeal, pastas, sugar, etc.. etc.. Rice is soooo easy to prepare with a rice cooker. Throw in the ingredients, push down the lever, and Voila! 20 min. later done. Easy, convenient, satisfying, cheap, filling, and nearly infinitely versatile. I've got a plain-jane 7 cup model, and it works great for my family of 5.
As for heating/cooling, I buy camping solar/ emergency blankets in the sporting goods section of Wal-mart and put them between my curtains and the window. Works great for any season.
We don't have central heat/air. During the winter we heat the boys' rooms at night with space heaters (taking all precautions) and, during the day, we heat their hang out room. We make good use of electric blankets (sandwiched betwixt various blankets to further retain the heat).
I tend to cook with the oven more often in the winter as well which helps to keep the kitchen nice and toasty (my kitchen is an eat-in and is separated off). I also tend to cook in huge batches, which makes for convenient zap-and-serve meals later, and saves on clean up, time, and cooking fuel/energy.
In the Summer we make good use of fans during the day and at night. When this isn't enough we'll wet, wring-out, and re-don our T-shirts, which when combined with the fans, works quite well. I'll also do this if having to run errands in 100 plus heat...no a/c in the vehicle. My shirt is generally dry by the time I reach the store, and I carry a water spray bottle to rewet between stores. It works wonders. People generally look at me funny when I 1st suggest these, but later laud me as a near genious after they've tried it. When the mercury wanders up above 98 we'll break down and kick on the a/c in the boys' hang-out room (along with the fans to keep the air circulating) and, when in use, the bedrooms.
I buy pet food in the 30 - 50 lb. bags. I buy the store brand (HEB.. Hill Country Fare). I've compared it with Wal-marts Ol' Roy and with what's available at the feed store, and it turns out that this is what comes out cheapest in my area. (9 dogs, 10 cats, 12 chickens, 1 rooster, and a turkey in a pear tree) Pet/anmial food is a significant part of my budget.
The chickens are enjoyable and make their own contribution to the food bill. Most of them are in a chicken tractor of my own design which I built out of scraps. ( a chicken tractor is basically a bottomless henhouse/cage with roosts, nest boxes, waterer, and feeder that you move periodically.. this keeps the chickens confined and protected, gives them access to grass and bugs, gives them something more to do, and makes up keep soooo EASY... move it one space and BAM! clean hen house ...if you're within the city limits either make a small one and keep just a few quiet chickens .. NOT ROOSTERS..lol... keep 'em clean and confined and make nice with the neighbors, or keep it all above board and check your city codes.. some will in fact allow a few chickens.. anyway.. I'm rambling.. lol )
Lots more, but I've got to tear myself away from this addicting device and get movin'..
Best to All!