Your Money Saving Tips

Bethanie - posted on 03/02/2010 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I wanted to continue Kristen's original thread since this forum doesn't really have anything besides ads for lame "work at home" and such discussion topics.

What do you and your family do to save money? What tips can you share with other Moms? I believe these should include all aspects of your life, not just groceries, but that's where I will start!



For me and my family, we shop at Costco, our local bulk foods store. This is where we purchase all of our paper products (paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, kleenex), wipes for my son, laundry detergent, dish detergent, dishwasher detergent, diapers, olive oil, gallon and pint size ziploc bags, some cleaning products that come with a spray bottle and refill jug and a few other misc. items. Even better when I get a coupon for one of these items in the mail! I used to also clip coupons from online websites and shop our local grocery store ad online to see what was on sale before we went to the store. I have also participated in a local kids consignment sale called "Mommy Time" where you can sell your child gently used toys, clothes and misc. baby items and get 70% of the profit.

The best thing that my husband and I EVER did was to cut up our credit cards! We started putting money into savings and have been blessed with being able to have two paid for vehicles and no debt but our home! We never purchase anything unless we have the funds to do so.

I'm open to more helpful ways to cut corners!

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Jenifer - posted on 03/04/2010

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Sounds like you have it figured out. Credit cards are evil ;-). My family buys what we can at Aldi's, then everything else except meat at Walmart (I personally don't like their meat with it's 20% solution added). I buy my meat at Kroger when they have those BuyONeGetOneFree sales, and Saving $5 on the Family packs. I posted in another thread about GoodWill and Salvation Army, and don't forget yard sales, for clothes, and even furniture necessities. Planning out meals is a must for us. We are a family of 5 and we've been able to cut our grocery bill down to $400 or less per month, including toilet paper and toothpaste, and other continuous needs things. If anyone is interested in a sample "Menu" for a week or two of meals, I'd be happy to post it. Just ask, I'll check back. I even make Chicken Noodle soup on Sundays for the nieghbor kids to come over and enjoy. They love it! And it's fairly cheap. Plus I'm alwasy looking for more ways to SAVE!!

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Sharon - posted on 03/13/2010

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savings is one of things must moms known how keep earning while you need it everyday!!

Rebecca - posted on 03/12/2010

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Lets see. Menu planning. Cloth diapering, breastfeeding. I hang out laundry, use dishtowels and paper napkins (by the way if you're trying to avoid paper towels and have to drain something greasy, put a colander in a pie plate) My husband and I share a car to avoid a payment, though we're probably going to buy a second car for cash this fall. Coupons, though I try to make sure I only cut the ones for things we're likely to use- or I'll end up spending on stuff we wouldn't have bought. Meatless meals 1-2 times per week. Stocking up when there's a good sale. Pack lunches. Turned off the heat dry cycle of the dishwasher- I open it up and let everything air dry. I put my teenager on a timer in the shower, or he'll stay in forever. Kids clothes bought in lots on ebay- especially baby clothes! Cut cable- we didn't use it much, and what we did use it for is available on hulu. Vinegar for much of the housecleaning. veggie and herb gardening. having friends over instead of going out to eat.

Shannon - posted on 03/11/2010

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hi bethanie! i work for cvs and if u have one near you you should check it out if u havent already. you can sign up for an extra care card(for free) get coupons by mail, get coupons printed when u shop too. if you buy certain items you can get "extra bucks" to use on just about anything in the store. i have had customers who use multiple coupons(manufacter and store) and paid .40 cents for their entire sale! So its definately something to look into :)

Jenifer - posted on 03/10/2010

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I buy most of my stuff at Walmart, my meat at Kroger, and anything I can at Aldi's to save (Aldi's does not always have lower prices)

Jenifer - posted on 03/10/2010

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Okay, I recieved a few PMs from moms about my meal menu ideas, so here goes.

So my favorite places to find recipes is allrecipes.com. You don't have to join to get awesome recipes. You can search for recipes by name, or ingredient (I love this feature because sometimes you have certain things in your cupboards that you need to make a meal out of, right?) And even if you do join, it's FREE (I love that word :-) ) plus you get a "recipe box" so when you find a recipe that you like, or have tried and your family likes, you can put it in your recipe box, and save it for another time.

On to the menu: The thing you have to remember is the kids, now I have a 9yr,10yr, and 16mo. old, and obviously not everything we make the baby can eat, so I make sure to have things on hand for him (he loves "pot-pies" and the banquet meals that are like $1 or less in the freezer section at walmart like salsbury steak, etc.. and of course some baby food, either store bought, or you could "make your own" with a blender/food processor and washed out baby food jars (these only keep a few days in the fridge) We buy the Great Value (Walmart) brand of the Motts flavored applesauce $1.89 for 6 cups. My baby loves these.
As I was saying.... I ask my 2 oldest what they would like for dinner, then my husband and I decide what we would like (we do try to make things that everyone likes, but sometimes it's not possible, so we try to have "hotdogs" or "ravioli" or something like that if someone absolutely doesn't like the main course. Another great thing to do is have two meals that could use some of the same ingredients, so there is no waste.
For instance, I made Italian meatballs with hamburger, bread crumbs (I made myself by taking the left over squished or end pieces that we inevitably have from our bread, and I broke them up on a cookie sheet, sprinkled them with Italian seasoning, and let them sit for 2 days (or you could bake them though I'm not sure the degrees or amount of time) You can add any other spices you like, we love garlic. So, I made approximately 70 meatballs and baked them as directed. That same day, we had spaghetti using about half of the meatballs. Then two days later (we didn't want 2 italian meals right in a row, but you can only leave left over meatballs in the fridge for a day or two. I had the meatballs in a glass bowl with plastic wrap over it.) so, two days later we had meatball subs. I used the left over sauce (my family of 5 uses more than one jar of sauce, but not all 2 jars) and meatballs along with hogie buns, and mozzarella cheese (we had left over from another meal), and viola two meals.

Here is my menu for these last two weeks, these are not in order:
1. Apple cider Pork chops w/mashed potatoes and corn
2. Italian Chicken w/scallped potatoes
3. Ravioli and French Fries (This is from a can, we are very active, and on days that we don't have time to cook, instead of eating out, I jsut make these quick meals)
4. Deer Steak (my dad hunts every year) with Eggs and hash browns (peel and slice potatoes and boil until tender but not breaking apart, then add a little oil to a skillet, and brown potatoes (we buy bagged potatoes and make baked potatoes, potatoe skins, and things it is cheaper that way)
5. Easy Awesome Chicken (bake salt and peppered chicken thighs with a litte bit of water in a glass dish, then add brown sugar about 10-15 minutes before it's done be careful not to burn sugar. The kids love this) Corn bread bake (corn bread mix with can of cream of corn chicken, add your own spices) and applesauce.
6. Orange glaze Pork (not as hard as it sounds) w/green beans and bread.
7. Spaghetti w/garlic bread
8. Breakfast for dinner (this is classic the kids really think this is a treat, since they usually just eat cereal in the mornings) which consists of eggs, pancakes, and sometimes left over steak cut into strips (if available)
9. Steak w/grilled shrimp (shrimp is a splurge, but I love it so much!) and mashed potatoes (from a box) * I made this when my parents came over once, as an alternative to going out to dinner, and they loved it. You can make the shrimp just like the restaurants by cooking them in butter in a skillet, and adding paprika. Delicious!!)
10. Chicken Noodle soup w/saltines and Peanut Butter sandwiches (so cheap and easy)
11. BarBQ ribs (this was not originally on our menu, but we found ribs on clearance when we went to buy our meat at Kroger) honey glazed carrots (I just add honey and butter to canned carrots and cook on stovetop)
12. Pork (loins or chops depending on the best deal) w/Potatoe skins (time consuming, but well worth it. My husband gets these when we go out to eat, so we decided to try them ourselves.)
13. Turkey Loaf (my husband just recently found this, and we eat it every second week. It's Jennie-0 brand. We need 2 for our family, but you may be able to use just one ) mashed potatoes (made out of the insides of the potatoes I used to make the potatoe skins.
14. Hamburgers and French Fries

Now, some of these meals may not be what you like, you just need to figure out meals for your family, then put them together into a menu, then when you get groceries, you will know what you need for each meal, and it will help save money on "impulse buying"
Also, I know that I don't have a lot of fruits included in my meals, but we almost always have grapes, apples and oranges available for our kids to snack on. Making your own snacks is also a big money saver. I mean 98 cents for brownie mix that will make enough brownies to last your for 3-4 days, or 2.98 for a package of oreos that may last you 2 tops, for us that is a no brainer. Hope this helps, and if there are any meals you like that you can't find a recipe for, don't hesitate to ask. There probably is a recipe community here too. Good Luck, and God Bless!

Bethanie - posted on 03/06/2010

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Jamie: Google certain brands of the Organics that you buy (I, too, buy mostly organic products) and if they have a website, a lot of times they will have printable coupons on there. Usually, you just have to fill out a survey or sign up for an e-mailer newsletter. Also, shopping at bulk stores will save you BIG time on your most consumed products (detergent, paper products). I only have to buy paper towels like once every 3 weeks (and we use them ALL the time), toilet paper only once a month (if that) and detergent, you can get for about $20 or less and it's a 1.32 gallon jug. I get the store brand, free and clear kind. I only have to buy that like once every month and a half (it's supposed to do up to 170 loads. We do a lot of laundry). Also, have been buying my sons diapers and wipes there, too. Have you tried shopping in "meals"? If you buy ingredients with certain recipes in mind or that can be used in multiple dishes, this will cut back on waste for fresh fruits and veggies and will save you money. I do keep my freezer well stocked with frozen veggies but mostly use fresh and have the frozen as back up in case I'm out of fresh.

Jamie - posted on 03/06/2010

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I am trying to find a way to cut my gorcery bill down; I have just started cutting coupons, but for the most part they don't do coupons for the organic/natural stuff. Grr.....Last time I went to the store I spent about $225 for about two weeks worth of food, including paper towels, diapers, wipes. I buy mostly frozen veggies now, and have all but abandoned canned veggies. Frozen is cheaper than fresh and it still has most of its nutrients.

Jamie - posted on 03/06/2010

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These are the things I am trying to do to help our budget;



I wash in cold water only; and hang clothes to dry.



Switched to baking soda and vinegar for cleaning carpets, counters (unless I've cooked chicken),and most everything else.



Just made my own powdered laundry soap ($12 for at least 3 months worth, as opposed to the $9 a month for the organic free/clear stuff)



This may seem gross to some people; but if I use the restroom and its only urine, I only flush it every couple of uses. It helps keep the water bill down. I also try not to leave the water running while I do dishes or brush my teeth.



I have tried to use dishtowels more, and paper towels less. I rarely use paper plates or plastic silverware. Creates less waste, and I don't have to buy these items repeatedly.



During the day, I leave the blinds open to let light in rather than turning on the overheads. Uses less electricity, and lightbulbs last longer. I don't use the new eco bulbs because while they use less energy, the chemicals inside of them are toxic (workers in stores wear masks when they clean up accidental breakages).



If the weather is nice, I try to open the doors/windows and let mother nature do the air conditioners work. :)

Roseanne - posted on 03/04/2010

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I have a family of 5 and these are some of the stuff we do to save money.
I make and use the Homemade laundry soap. I also make dish soap and use vinager as my rinse agent.
I plan a menu for every 2 weeks. I only spend around 150 every 2 weeks to feed my family. I plan a meatless meal like every 3-4 nights during that time.
We unplug everything when not in use. I limit the amount the TV is on for the kids.
I visit a lot of discussion board to find coupons and other ideals on how to save money. My biggest weakness is finding a great deal on kids clothing. If I find a shirt for the kids that is 1.00 I end up buying it even though they have 6 other shirts at home.

Erin - posted on 03/04/2010

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I plan our meals around the deals at the stores that week. I know its backwards from what the experts say but I think its easier than paying full price for something just because thats what we're scheduled to eat on Tues. I only shop at one store for the most part to cut out driving and buying something just because its on sale. Switching my menu planning to match the ads and only shopping at one store allows me to feed a family of 10 for under $90 a week. That includes diapers and other non food items. I also cook all of our meals from scratch. Going out is a once every month or two luxury.

We also combine errands and after school activities into one trip out to conserve gas. Do birthday and Christmas shopping during the after Christmas sales and the beginning of summer sales. I search online for free family activities in the area. Some places actually have a free day once a month. We support 10 people on a trucker's income.

We also make our own cards for friends and families birthdays. We also reuse just about everything that is reusable. It saves a great deal on storage containers.

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