Sick of Advertising

Elizabeth - posted on 12/29/2009 ( 41 moms have responded )

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Am I the only mom who is sick of viewing this forum and thinking it's all about people targetting us for the next get-rich-quick and stay-at-home pyramid scam?

My tips for saving cash:

- buy raw, unprocessed foods, like a kilo of potatoes and a bag of carrots. Then, cook a big pot of something once a week, dividing your food up into tupperware containers to be frozen. Over a period of weeks, you'll build up a stock of various healthy, pre-portioned, frozen dishes that can be put in the microwave like those microwave meals you can purchase at 5 dollars a pop.

- get a piggy bank and put spare change in it. If you can't afford one or aren't interested, get a jar, paint it opaquely so you cannot see the contents, and dump the change in. Swear not to open it or touch it except once a year/when it gets full, etc.

- Set up an automatic draw from whatever account you get paid into of (at minimum) 10% of your pay to go into a savings account before you purchase anything, pay any bills, etc. Hide that account from your sight.

- Cut up the credit card. Seriously. Cut it up. If you can't pay for it without one, then you can't afford it. If you can afford it and you use a credit card to buy it, then you're making a mistake... I actually had a credit card with a $500 limit that I'd pay off before interest hit because I thought it was next to free - and I thought the points I got on it were therefore free - until I realized I was paying that darn thing off three times a month to avoid interest, and it was the primary place I didn't have my finances under control. So it's not that I couldn't afford the credit card per se, it was more that I couldn't afford to have one because of how it skewed my spending habits. There's no use for credit other than emergencies, and in that case, better to have it in a savings account than credit (which my previous tip suggests).

- Have a garage sale.

- Buy things second hand. Especially baby clothes. They hardly last because kids grow too fast.

- Get health insurance sooner rather than later. It may cost you, but one fact of life is that we're gonna die sometime. And that happens because of disease or an accident, and it is 100% guaranteed. So, unlike other insurance, get it young, before you need it, and keep paying it. It'll save you in the long run... ESPECIALLY if you're a new mom!

Anyone else have any serious tips and tricks to share?

Please - no 2nd level references to other web sites, third party employers, etc, just up and up tips to help each other get by in hard times.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Tonya - posted on 12/30/2009

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I also have been very disappointed with many posts in the forum- if you're really trying to HELP people, not sell to them, why can't you post the info IN THE POST? Here are some things I do in no particular order…

I use coupons a lot- my mom gave me a subscription to the local paper as a birthday gift, and I get emails from the local grocery stores each week with their specials. (Some stores even have specials they reserve for their online customers.) This lets me sort through my coupons and see what will match up best- and compare that to what my family will use. Some things can be stockpiled a bit (dish soap, cleaners, shampoo, toiletries...) but some things will only keep so long. Just don't get stuck in the "Look how much I SAVED!" trap- only use coupons for things you'd buy without the coupon, and remember that sometimes the generic is still going to be the better buy. If the paper does have coupons that you KNOW you’d use lots of, you can sometimes find them on eBay for a reasonable amount. I sometimes buy coupons for a particular type of food that I love but is expensive- but with coupon comes into my budget. Example: item is $3.00 normally, but there’s a $.75 coupon that my local store will double to $1.50. I spend $2.50 to buy 10 coupons online with a $1.00 shipping fee for a total cost of $3.50. Using these 10 coupons, I buy 10 items with a value of $30.00 but get $15.00 off because of the coupons. Subtract the $3.50 cost of buying coupons online and my final cost for $30 of items that my family and I love is only $18.50. So at this point I’ve paid $1.85 per item instead of $3.00… and if the item goes on sale it’s even less.

My sisters-in-law and friends also swap coupons- once I look through my paper, I pass the ones I don’t want to others and they do the same. We usually have at least somewhat different tastes so this can help a lot. Also, there are people at work that get the paper but don’t use coupons, and they bring theirs to me which also helps.

We went one step further than turning down the heat on our hot water heater- we replaced our with a tankless hot water heater for about $200. It is FABULOUS! Never run out of water, but since it heats as needed you don't pay to reheat standing water like the normal tanks that keep running electricity to keep the temp to where it needs to be for when you need it.

We barter for services a lot. My husband is really handy at many things, so we can trade labor for other labor with friends and family. Baby sitting comes to mind a lot- a night out without worrying about the sitter's bill is great!

We have a membership to a wholesale club. I know, it’s a cost of $35 a year… but when I look at the savings I get on my meats (yes, fresh meats!) it is WELL worth it- even at sales prices, the grocery stores are usually higher that my club’s normal every day price. At the club I can get boneless, skinless chicken breasts regularly for $1.89 to $2.09 a pound- at my local supermarkets, the price is closer to $2.98! At $1 per pound savings, it doesn’t take long for just that one item to return my membership fee to me- but, depending on your family’s individual preferences, it may not make sense for you. I’d suggest finding a friend that has a membership, and seeing if they’ll let you tag along with them one day to check it out. I never mind taking a friend in with me, and letting them buy stuff.

Anyone else have a garden in the summer? Seeds are really inexpensive and you can freeze veggies to use later in the year- and that reminds me- GET A STANDING FREEZER to take advantage of when meats are on sale. The freezer will let you store the home made meals mentioned earlier too, as well as stuff from your garden. Even a small apartment can have an herb garden- think not only of how much less expensive fresh rosemary is, but also how pretty all the greenery is and how wonderful it smells! Some herbs and spices grow easier than others, but I think many people would be surprised how easy this is- and how much better it makes your food taste. (Also looks impressive when friends come over and watch you cook… wink-wink.)

Hope others will continue to post actual tips and helpful ideas, I could really use some. Thanks!

Tonja - posted on 12/30/2009

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There are places on line to sign up to print coupons from your computer. Some grocery stores take them so don't so you need to check with the store. I have a big three ring binder that zips, the pages are the card holder filler pages (they hold baseball cards,etc) that I put between tabbed dividers. The divders are marked A, B, C etc so I can put my coupon is ABC order by manufacturer and expiration date. Check with on your local grocery website because some offer the option of loading coupons to your rewards card. My coupon way may seem like work but I have used more coupons since I started this way then when I used catagories. Hope this helps.

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southernsavers.com and couponmom.com are great websites for coupons. Some foodlion stores triple coupons 0.99 cents and less once a month. I don't know when they triple them but keep an eye out for the ads. Some items you can get free OR get overage for. The store doesn't pay you but say you buy an item for 0.50 cents and you have a coupon for 0.75 cents so it takes the 0.25 off your order so buy some meat! Stock up on items you use all the time, like cake mixes, when they are cheap/free.

Beth - posted on 01/10/2010

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We have just taken a 4x5 section of our living room and put in a wood stove. We gathered the stone from our own property, bought morter for $6 a bag and read some books on stone laying. Put in a woodstove and wood from our property is free, plus keep and eye on craigslist.com for free wood. Tired of the $200 electric bills all winter. Haven't turned on the electric heat for a month now- can't wait to see the bill this month!

Leanne - posted on 01/10/2010

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i go grocery shopping once a month and that seems to help out tons. great tips though girls i will def be using some of them

Sherri - posted on 01/09/2010

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I dont know that this is really a money saving idea but I work rotating shift so it varies a lot on my schedule this week im on 12 hour days next week i will be on 12 hour nights etc. so making things from scratch sometimes is rough and coming home from work you dont always want to cook. I found a series of books (if you need the detailed info like me, some folks can do with out them I know :D) called 30 meals in 1 day. So one day we go to a warehouse store and get things needed for the meals I spend the next day cooking a lot (i do mean a lot) and put 30 meals in the freezer. they are easy to reheat in the oven or on the stove and my husband can do a home cooked meal and im not stuck trying to find dinner at a late hour of the evening.

on a side note I generally put some in a disposbale pan so no cleaning pans. And if someone has a new baby or something i can give them a meal thats easy for them to throw in oven to help out

Roseanne - posted on 01/07/2010

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Here what I have been doing to cut costs.
I make my own laundry soap. Recipe is on the internet. Use vinegar instead of rinse agent in dish washer.
Only go food shopping every other week.Use coupons and get stores to price match.Try to go alone not with kids or husband.
I try to use the cash only system. If I don't have the cash or cards in my purse then I don't need it.
Where I live the Goodwill has 1/2 off the last weekend of the month. If I need any clothes that is when I shop.

Britney - posted on 01/07/2010

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Some companies for stay at home moms are legit. The one I am involved in is about saving money by having all your household products shipped to your house, saving money and time from gas and grocery store shopping. we also have concentrated formulas in all our products so they last longer, therefore you buy detergent or soap or toothpaste less often: another way to save money. There are many scams though so I totally understand your frustration but for detailed info on how to save money on everyday household items feel free to contact me :)

Christel - posted on 01/07/2010

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I see that a lot of people have already posted many of my tips, but one I didn't see (maybe I missed it) was if you don't need to own it, borrow it! My friends lent me tons of maternity clothes while I was pregnant and they are currently lending me a lot of baby items. I also borrow other things like a pasta press from my mother-in-law. She owns one and uses it maybe once a year (for cake decorating), the rest of the time it just sits in her cupboard. So I asked if I could borrow it while she's not using it and the next time she wants to make a cake, I'll just take it back to her! Trade DVDs and books with your friends etc. You have to lend to others also to make it really work.

Plan ahead. I bought my wedding dress for an August wedding in January. The bridal store was clearing out their previous year dresses and I found "the" dress for $99 not the $800 original price tag.

I know someone else already mentioned buying coupons on EBay, but I just wanted to support that suggestion. I got $120 in coupons for the formula my daughter drinks for $3.50 (including postage)!

We use tp for our noses instead of tissues. No it's not as nice, but it is definitely cheaper.

Cloth diapering. I know, I swore I couldn't do it either but it's not so bad. It doesn't actually save as much money as you hope because of all the extra hot water and soap etc for washing. However, if you are going to use them for multiple children, once you get past the initial investment it will save you a lot of money. Try GDiapers and use cloth inserts. It's less to wash (save on laundry) because you can use the pants multiple times before they have to be washed. You just pop out the liner and put a clean one in. Easy!

Krissi - posted on 01/04/2010

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Great ideas ladies. Just FYI for all of the "Green Mamas" out there...

Tide Detergent: Can cause temporary respiratory tract irritation. Symptoms include stinging, swelling, or redness.
Sodium Silicate: Can be corrosive. Can cause burns to the eyes and tissue damage to the skin, as well as cause burns to the mouth, throat, and stomach if swallowed. Sodium Sulfate: Corrosive, Severe eye, skin, and respiratory irritant. Can cause asthma attacks.
Trisodium Nitrilotriacetate: Carcinogen

Sodium Silicate and Sodium Sulfate have little environmental impact (but is unhealthy to have around your family). But the carcinogen above is not only toxic to humans but aquatic organisms as well.

On an environmental level, the plastic you could keep out of landfills by switching to concentrated formulas is tremendous! Tide or any other store brand does not make a 6 times concentrated detergent that can do almost 200 loads of laundry out of one single bottle minus the toxic chemicals- only a two times concentrated formula- full of all of the toxic chemicals listed above.

This is the prime reason others on this group refer people to third party sites- 200 loads of laundry with an environmental friendly formula, concentration and one plastic bottle for only $29.99 or 6 full size bottles of Tide for over $60.00 clogging our landfills with plastic and poisoning our families with toxic chemicals. And that is just one example. I would certainly call that a money saving tip and you can't get that at Wal-Mart!

Keep the great ideas comin'!

Krissi

Marsha - posted on 01/03/2010

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Quoting rachel:

Washing laundry is one of the biggest uses of hot water. Tide and maybe others have the new cold water formula that cleans just as well and uses no hot water.
Also get a space heater and put it on a timer in the bathroom for when you get up and warm the hole house up later. We also have a large space heater in the living room where we spend most of our time so we can turn down the house heat a few degrees.
We have a garden, and freeze and can the extra it is cheaper and not difficult.
Thanks for all the great tips.


Do you have to have the cold water formula for detergent to work good?  The only laundry I use hot or warm water on is my jeans and towels.

Noelle - posted on 01/03/2010

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Quoting Marsha:

The only tip I have that I didn't see anyone post was price match if your store will do it. I go through the ads every week and see if anything is on sale that I need to get then I just price match it at my store which saves having to go to 2 or 3 different stores.



Awesome idea! The only place this WON'T work is at the Commissary (yes, I've tried it, lol). But my local Giant and Safeway do it!

Marsha - posted on 01/03/2010

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The only tip I have that I didn't see anyone post was price match if your store will do it. I go through the ads every week and see if anything is on sale that I need to get then I just price match it at my store which saves having to go to 2 or 3 different stores.

Rachel - posted on 01/01/2010

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Washing laundry is one of the biggest uses of hot water. Tide and maybe others have the new cold water formula that cleans just as well and uses no hot water.
Also get a space heater and put it on a timer in the bathroom for when you get up and warm the hole house up later. We also have a large space heater in the living room where we spend most of our time so we can turn down the house heat a few degrees.
We have a garden, and freeze and can the extra it is cheaper and not difficult.
Thanks for all the great tips.

Stephanie - posted on 01/01/2010

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Quoting Elizabeth:

Awesome post, Stephanie, thanks.

I'll do the towel substitution thing. Also trying to think of other things that are disposable that I spend a lot of $$ on (besides nappies... I cannot live without disposable nappies...)

We use a lot of tissues, but I'm not keen on handkerchiefs. Still, that would make sense from a financial perspective, at least.

Oh! Here's a good series of tips - there was a story on the ABC news a few months ago about natural skincare alternatives - things like rubbing grape skins on your face instead of purchasing toner, olive oil and avocado for good moisturising, etc. Maybe look some of those up online if you spend a lot of money on self maintenance. The news story indicated that the results were like for like.



I agree Elizabeth, I cant give up my tissue just yet.  lol  I cant handle blowing my noise into a hankie!! lol



We did stop buying water bottles..got one of those filters on our faucet and started using our reuseable sports water bottles.

Elizabeth - posted on 01/01/2010

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Wow, Candice. Well, if you're sure it works for you, all I can say is that it just goes to show that people are different all over. I'd get into trouble really quickly, but you have discipline I don't. :)

Candice - posted on 01/01/2010

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i started taking out cash for 4 weeks at once to reduce debit costs. unlike you, i use my credit card because it gets me double points at the store across the street (where i buy nearly everything i need for the house including groceries and baby clothes), but if i use it i take the same amount of cash out of my weekly spending envelope and put that cash into a future week's envelope, so i'm never spending over my budget, but i'm still getting the benefits of the card. then i pay the card in full monthly. I've managed to get 40bucks plus in extra points since i started this a few months ago and reduced my debit costs to zero.

Elizabeth - posted on 12/31/2009

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Yeah, I definitely agree with the onsie extender idea - actually, I just bought pants for my little girl and leave the bottoms of the onsies open. It looks kinda dashing, actually.

Everything for kids should be second hand if you're looking to save cash. I doubt they'd know the difference until age 2. I still buy new for special occasions though.

I found grocery delivery cheaper as well because it avoided impulse buying. However, I think it's probably cheaper to go to several stores and do your own hunting... but in my eyes, the delivery thing is well worth the price if you put $$ against your time.

Shel-leanne - posted on 12/31/2009

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Hi all,



Another point id like to add to Noelle's sewing macine point is making clothes. My daughter has lots of dresses and things that my mum and I have made for her.

Also knitting if you can do it ! (I'm hopeless at it - cue mother ! ). I have not had to buy a cardigan or jumper for her since she was born as both my mother and Granmother.

We also add other bits of material or lace on to tops, skirts and dresses to make them longer - ive found that if she is involved as much as possible with the process she is more likely to wear it.

This is going to sound maybe as though ive gone a bit far but my daughter who is 3 1/2 is still wearing a dress that is supposed to be for a year and a half. It is in perfect condition and fits her perfectly apart from the length. So she wears it as a t-shirt.



I pass all her decent clothes that she has grown out of on to others.

Same with her toys that are still decent enough for other kids to play with.



If you check charity shops and stuff especially before Christmas a lot of people clear out toys there kids dont play with anymore and there still in pretty good nick.

I picked a few things up at bargin prices for my wee one and believe it or not they are the things she is playing with most !!!



I also use freecycle a lot ive got things from furniture to toys.



Have a good new year everyone !



Shel :-)

Tonja - posted on 12/31/2009

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Noelle home delivery is a great idea to look into. I just go back from BJ wholesale w/ my one of my teenager sons and my cart looked more like a single man's cart instead of my normal shopping cart. Maybe I was in a good mood ringing in the new year (lol).

Noelle - posted on 12/31/2009

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OH! and if your local grocery store has a home delivery service, check it out! Giant does and because I'm not "impulse"buying the $6.95 it costs to deliver is worth it. Plus less gas, traffic, crazy crowds and screaming kids (yours or others) saying, "I want, I want"!

Noelle - posted on 12/31/2009

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Awesome post...what I do requires marketing but I would NEVER post it to a blog like this! How intrusive!!!! Another way to save, get thee a sewing machine!!! Hem, repair and darn! Also, for the babies, get the "onesies extenders" generally babies grow longer before the grow chunkier!

Christie - posted on 12/31/2009

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Like some of the pp said, make a meal list for the week ahead, make a grocery list of the items that you need, clip coupons (or print them online) and don't deviate from your list. If it isn't on the list and not truly something that you forgot to put on the list, don't buy it. I also check the advertisments that the grocery chains put out each Tuesday here (I'm in Texas). Many of them have overlapping deals, so I just check to see who has the best stuff that I need for that week on sale. I don't shop at only one store, I take my business where their sales work for me. If you become complacant about staying at one particular store, you really do miss out on some awesome deals elsewhere. One week Kroger had the majority of items I needed on sale, except for meat, which Albertson's had everything buy 1 get 1. I purchased from Kroger what I needed for our pantry, then later in the week went to Albertson's for the meat. I got $325 worth of steaks, chicken breasts, ground beef, roasts, ribs, luncheon meat, pork chops for $153. I was on a shopping high because I saved so much for what I got!! I don't usually spend like that, but we had some extra money and these were awesome deals, and my freezer was bare. When I got home, I broke down the large packets of meat i.e. (5 lb ground beef to 1 - 1.5 lb portions) wrapped them in wax paper, popped them into freezer bags and into the freezer. Same with the steaks, pork chops, etc. I make sure to write on the bag what it is, how much approx, what date I froze and then when dinner time happens, I don't have to thaw 6 steaks to get 2 or 3 out. Also, I try to only purchase groceries from the grocery store. Soap, shampoo, paper products, trash bags, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, everything else that is consumable, but not edible, I try to purchase from the dollar stores, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, etc. They usually have the name brands of items that I want for toothpaste, shampoo, cleaning supplies, and I just load up there. Hope any of that helps you! I know it has saves me money. Have a great day!

Elizabeth - posted on 12/31/2009

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Totally awesome, Sandy! I'm taking that breaker-switch on the hot water idea straight home!

My husband's kicking me to get off the computer (2:30am here...) Will check in again for more tips.

Thanks again, everyone, for contributing.

Sandy - posted on 12/31/2009

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Quoting Stephanie:

I just posted something similar to this in another group...Adopting an eco friendly lifestyle..but I love saving money while going green!! Many of the corporate companies make it really exspensive to go green so it is nice to see others saving money while doing it!!
We have gotten rid of paper any thing...we use towels and things we can reuse and wash by hand. Well acept toilet paper lol
We also shop for produce by local farmer, at the farmers market and only buy what we need.
Just about any thing we can get our hands on as far as second hand, clothes, furniture...etc.
Sometimes I even reuse ziploc baggies if nessisary.
I too agree that there are many scams out there about making money or saving money but I earn an income from home that pays for my household products as well. :O) We put the money we saved into our savings account!!

Hope this helps.

Stephanie
woot4green@gmail.com


Hi all,



I also shop and save the eco-friendly way. For myself, it was a matter of health and safety for my kids. I came home with them from the hospital and two days later, had a nebulizer delivered to my door. Son had wheezing so had to give treatments to him 3 times a day. Also had rashes develop that pediatrician said was allergies to maybe laundry soaps, lotions or something i was using in the home. One yr later, came home with my twins who were born 5 wks premature. Yup, a second nebulizer. They are now 7 and 8. The nebulizers are stashed in a closet now because I chose to adapt an eco-friendly lifestyle for us all. The savings are awesome and it's nothing that I am going to buy that I don't use.



I also shop at meat markets to purchase my meats and they also have a produce section which is soooo awesome. At today's prices and a family of 5, (3 picky eaters) it was usually hard to get fruits and vegs for us all. So this helps out. I just buy ziplock bags and clean, season and pack meats in them for individual meals. (saves time) I reuse the baggies. It makes no sense throwing good baggies away. When I can't get fresh veggies, I buy the frozen bags from Walmart and they are inexpensive. Usually about 20 bags of different kinds last for 20 meals and it cost just under 20 bucks. Canned vegs are not appealing to me. Something about vegs packed in water for I don't know how long:(



A good idea like one post said is to cook one day in large batches, I do this with pasta and put in ziplocks also. When I need them I just empty into strainer and run hot water over. Also with chicken breast, either baked or grilled. And grill a lot--it saves from not having to use your stove.



Where I used to cook large quanties of food for meals and have leftovers that no one eats, I now cook just enough to feed everyone.



As for the hot water, we usually turn it off at the breaker. It's turned on 15 minutes before we have to shower in the morning and everyone takes their bath. After that, its turned back off.  I also wash in cold water. Laundry is done on any given day as long as it is after 9pm. Rates are cheaper. Check with your power company and find out the off peak hours. For us, it is 9pm until noon the next day. And on the weekend, from 9pm Fri until Noon on Sunday.



We switched to energy efficient light bulbs and use night lights in all the rooms, evn the bathroom until its bathtime.



All in all, we have reduced our power bill from around $290 to just last month's bill of $185. Savings of $105 dollars.



The last saving tip I do want to mention is medical or prescriptions. I just picked up 3 prescriptions from Cosco's last night that cost me $26 and some change. Normally, I would have paid $125 dollars. And you don't have to be a member of the club in order to get your meds there. yippie, because as I walked out past the membership desk, the membership cost $50. WOW.



Many blessings to you all and thanks to all of you for so many ways to save!

Elizabeth - posted on 12/30/2009

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Yeah, me too. :)

I'm going to start coupon hunting. Can't believe I don't do that already, and here I think of myself as thrifty!

Lori - posted on 12/30/2009

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Great ideas! Thank you Elizabeth for starting this post. I am getting some really good ideas. My only advice with coupon shopping is to start small. It can be very overwhelming at first to suddenly try to organize all of the coupons and remember the deals too. My first time, I went to the store for three items...one of them I got for free due to the two coupon per item idea I mentioned earlier. I get my coupons through the Sunday paper, coupons.com, hotcouponworld.com, and hip2save.com.

Tonya - posted on 12/30/2009

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Quoting Tonja:

There are places on line to sign up to print coupons from your computer. Some grocery stores take them so don't so you need to check with the store. I have a big three ring binder that zips, the pages are the card holder filler pages (they hold baseball cards,etc) that I put between tabbed dividers. The divders are marked A, B, C etc so I can put my coupon is ABC order by manufacturer and expiration date. Check with on your local grocery website because some offer the option of loading coupons to your rewards card. My coupon way may seem like work but I have used more coupons since I started this way then when I used catagories. Hope this helps.



When I go to the store and get only the items on sale that I have coupons for, I usually save between 50- 75%. I think my average savings is about 66%... yes, by matching coupons with sales you can save up to 2/3 of the cost on those items! But, it does take time- and patience. 



 



There are coupons that I end up never using because even with a sale the generic is still less, and others that I won't buy even if they are only pennies because my family won't eat them. Even with that, I still think the savings is worth the time. In my area, I am lucky enough to have two stores that regularly double coupons up to $.99 face value- so a $.50 coupon is actually worth $1.00 to me. I look forward to the weeks when there are triple coupons (3 x face value) and Super Doubles (double up to $1.98 face value) as well.



 



I keep mine in a sorter (ok, actually TWO sorters!) and have them in order by isle at the store I use most. I go through them weekly to see what's about to expire when I look at the new sales items for the stores. This lets me refresh my memory of what coupons I have that aren't about to expire, too... and there are some sites that will even math things up for you- this one is for people  here in the South: 



 



 http://www.southernsavers.com/ 

Tonya - posted on 12/30/2009

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Quoting Tonja:

There are places on line to sign up to print coupons from your computer. Some grocery stores take them so don't so you need to check with the store. I have a big three ring binder that zips, the pages are the card holder filler pages (they hold baseball cards,etc) that I put between tabbed dividers. The divders are marked A, B, C etc so I can put my coupon is ABC order by manufacturer and expiration date. Check with on your local grocery website because some offer the option of loading coupons to your rewards card. My coupon way may seem like work but I have used more coupons since I started this way then when I used catagories. Hope this helps.



When I go to the store and get only the items on sale that I have coupons for, I usually save between 50- 75%. I think my average savings is about 66%... yes, by matching coupons with sales you can save up to 2/3 of the cost on those items! But, it does take time- and patience. 



 



There are coupons that I end up never using because even with a sale the generic is still less, and others that I won't buy even if they are only pennies because my family won't eat them. Even with that, I still think the savings is worth the time. In my area, I am lucky enough to have two stores that regularly double coupons up to $.99 face value- so a $.50 coupon is actually worth $1.00 to me. I look forward to the weeks when there are triple coupons (3 x face value) and Super Doubles (double up to $1.98 face value) as well.



 



I keep mine in a sorter (ok, actually TWO sorters!) and have them in order by isle at the store I use most. I go through them weekly to see what's about to expire when I look at the new sales items for the stores. This lets me refresh my memory of what coupons I have that aren't about to expire, too... and there are some sites that will even math things up for you- this one is for people  here in the South: 



 



 http://www.southernsavers.com/ 

Elizabeth - posted on 12/30/2009

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Great suggestions... I'm about to go shopping, so will try the menu thing before we go. I also love the coupon tip. Need to think about how to incorporate it... Shockingly, I don't use coupons at all... how do you get started? Where do you find them?

Thanks!

Michaela - posted on 12/30/2009

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Make a menu for your family and stick to it. You will save so much money. You will only be buying what you need for each meal. I only spend $350 a month in groceries for a family of 6. I make everything from scratch. I don't buy premade meals.



Also if you have any talents like knitting, crochet, jewelery making or the likes sell your items or do custom orders. I crochet. so that is how I am making some extra money.

Lori - posted on 12/30/2009

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I agree! I thought that this community would be more about money saving tips than signing up on a website. Is there some Circle of Moms rule that prohibits putting the website directly on the post? It seems like the info has to be directly emailed which makes me wonder how reliable it is.



My favorite tip is that many stores...Target, CVS, and Walgreens for example...will accept both a manufacturers coupon and a store coupon for the same item. Right now Target has a coupon for deli meat on their website plus there was a coupon for the same brand in the newspaper. You can use both of those coupons on the same package so twice the savings. Many times it makes the item free. I LOVE the website www.hip2save.com. She points out lots of deals like this.

Elizabeth - posted on 12/29/2009

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Awesome post, Stephanie, thanks.

I'll do the towel substitution thing. Also trying to think of other things that are disposable that I spend a lot of $$ on (besides nappies... I cannot live without disposable nappies...)

We use a lot of tissues, but I'm not keen on handkerchiefs. Still, that would make sense from a financial perspective, at least.

Oh! Here's a good series of tips - there was a story on the ABC news a few months ago about natural skincare alternatives - things like rubbing grape skins on your face instead of purchasing toner, olive oil and avocado for good moisturising, etc. Maybe look some of those up online if you spend a lot of money on self maintenance. The news story indicated that the results were like for like.

Elizabeth - posted on 12/29/2009

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I'm sure some of the sites that pop up in this forum are legitimate. Unfortunately, I think a good many of them aren't, which is why I posted as I did.

Regardless, I really would like to see some activities that people do themselves in their own homes. Anyone have any of that to share?

Lawanna - posted on 12/29/2009

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I'm with girl. with one exception there is one website I dearly love and it's freecycle.com
This is totally free to sign up and people post things that are good but they just don't need anymore and you get it free. I have used this site now in two different states. Plus if you need to get rid of something that is still good you can give it to someone who needs it. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Elizabeth - posted on 12/29/2009

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Oh, on recycling and saving money...

There's a few great greenie web sites that talk about things you can do to save energy. I'll explain them here, but search online for specifics...

- Turn down your hot water heater to (some specific degree). Typically our hot water heaters are set far higher by default than they need to be temperature wise to kill algae. Heating water is a terribly expensive procedure, so if you can do with hot instead of scalding water, you can save a lot of money.

- Again, heating is another primary household expense. Some ways to cut it down - put blinds on your windows and two layers of curtains. Each curtain layer is a change in density that heat must pass through, so it'll prevent heat entering or leaving the house. Also, you can plant some trees outside your windows to provide shade (again, research needed for the best types in your area) or get shutters (I'm a big fan of roller shutters for security bonuses too...) and, finally, double glazing helps. You can even self-glaze instead of buying really expensive replacement windows if you're on a budget with a sheet of plastic. If you're a mom and have muslin wraps, on a hot day, wet a wrap and hang it over a fan to push the air through... It'll feel like it's blasting ice.

- As with the hot water heater, you can also save some cash by fiddling with the temperature of your refridgerator or freezer... again, check the web for appropriate temperatures. Default factory settings are often colder than strictly necessary.

Can't believe I remembered all that. :) Thanks for reminding me with the recycling comment!

Stephanie - posted on 12/29/2009

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WOW!

So I completely agree with you. I dont care about pyramid schemes or working from home deals. I do care about what other people do to save money, any ingenious ideas about recycling in a useful way or bouncing ideas.



For me I think you covered alot of the big points, its just a matter of actually doing it!

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