Pooling our knowledge to cut living costs ?
I vote for the no paper towels; they are horrible for the environment and the cost adds up quickly! I use the microfiber cloths myself and they are wonderful! I got about 20+ of them at Sam's for less that $10 and I use them for nearly everything. Now, if we have something on the gross end of the scale (kitty barf), then I use paper towels but for wiping up anything, these cloths do a great job! I even use one for my dish cloth!
Freecycle is another great idea! I have scored some good things on our local Freecycle network and gotten rid of somethings that we didn't want anymore like old electronics, scrap metal, outgrown but nearly new boots, clothes.
I cook or bake nearly everything from scratch. I buy my flour in bulk at Sams's, same for sugar. I buy anything that we use on sale; canned goods, meat, chicken, pasta, you name it. I either freeze or put it in the pantry for future use. When I have a roast chicken, I put the carcass in the freezer. When I get a couple of them, I make chicken stock. When I make soups or tomato sauce, I make a big batch and freeze some for future use. Same with meatballs. I put the ends of a loaf of bread in the freezer and either make bread crumbs or stuffing from those.
Use coupons but only for things that you would normally buy or for things that you know your family will eat/use.
Have breakfast foods for supper 1 night a week. Pancakes (made from scratch) and eggs are a favorite around here.
Turn off what you're not using - lights, TV, computers, printers, chargers. Set the heat back a couple of degrees or invest in a programmable thermostat to set the heat back at night or when you're not home.
Open the drapes on a sunny day in the winter to get that solar gain on the side of the house that gets the sun. On the other hand, close the drapes at night to keep the heat in. And in the summer, use light colored or light reflecting drapes to prevent the sun from coming in and adding to your cooling bill. Open the house early in the morning to let in the cool air and shut it up before it gets hot outside.
Compost your kitchen waste such as veggie scraps and make your own organic fertilizer for your garden.
Cut down on the number of cleaning products you buy. I bought a steamer and use that to clean with. I use it on my floors, counters, appliances, bathroom fixtures. About the only cleaning products (other than laundry stuff) I buy is some Simple Green and some furniture polish. Use baking soda and or white vinegar for a lot of your cleaning. But truthfully, most messes are dealt with easily with some hot soapy water and a microfiber cloth.
Need plants for your flower bed; swap plants or starts with a friend or a group of friends. Most of us have "babies" each spring that need homes. Use newspaper under your mulch for weed barrier. It's easy to fit around the plants, you're recycling and it makes that expensive wood mulch go farther. Instead of a 6" layer, you can get away with 1/2 of that with the newspapers.
Plan your car trips; do as much as you can in one trip. I usually start at the far point of my route and work back towards home. We're in a rural area and nothing is within walking distance.
Keep your car well maintained! An efficiently running, well maintanced car not only lasts longer, it runs better.
Do you really need the expense of that brand new car? A good used car is less expensive to buy, to insure. Check the inflation of your tires monthly! Keeping them properly inflated not only increases gas mileage but is safer and can spot a problem before a flat tire happens.
Recycle everthing you can! It not only keeps it out of the landfills but it keeps you from having to pay for so much garbage each week.