Saturday, June 5, 2010

Money-Saving Tips

A few posts back I wrote about how we strive to live frugally and to be wise with our money (Life Abundantly)  I wanted to make a list of some of the money-saving strategies that we use on a daily basis around here.  Not all of them will work for everyone, but maybe there is something on this list that you hadn't thought of before. 
  1. Clip coupons - These can be accumulated from so many different sources...the Sunday paper, magazines, coupon dispensers in the grocery store, and online...And even if you only have a couple every time you shop, you will at least be saving more than you were without them!  And when you combine a coupon with a sale, you save that much more!
  2. Stock up - When you find a good price on something you use often, buy a bunch of it!  We do this with a lot of things (cereal, chips, snack bars, canned goods, pasta, pasta sauce, frozen veggies, toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, wipes, cleaning products, etc.)  The one thing we buy this way that has saved us the most money is boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  We never pay more than $1.99 per pound and we freeze them.  We buy several packs at a time, trim off any fat, pound them thin, wrap them in saran wrap, and store them in gallon sized ziplocs.  Then I just take out how many I need and let them defrost in the fridge the night before I plan to use them.  Such an easy way to save a lot of money!
  3. Use cloth diapers - This doesn't apply if you don't have little ones at home, but I thought I would put it on this list anyway.  We use cloth diapers part-time (not at night or when we travel) and save a bunch of money.  Yes, there is the up-front cost of buying the diapers, but they pay for themselves in no time and can be used for multiple children.  The resale value of cloth diapers is amazing as well!!
  4. Breastfeed - Again, this doesn't apply if you don't have little ones at home.  I think it goes without saying that you save a TON of money breastfeeding instead of formula feeding.
  5. Make your own baby food - Also doesn't apply for those without children at home.  It really doesn't take that much more work and the benefits and cost savings are huge.  You know exactly what your child is eating and you can make large batches and freeze in smaller portions.
  6. Buy things used - You don't always have to have brand new items.  We have never purchased a "new" car and most likely never will....why would you?  Baby items are also great to buy used.  Other things that come to mind that are just as good second-hand are books, cds, and dvds, among other things.
  7. Shop online - You can save a ton of money by buying things online.  When you buy online you can take the time to find the best price available and there is less of a chance of impulse buying.  We use sites like to make sure we are getting the best price.  Also, be sure to look for coupon codes before you buy anything online.  Check out the website
  8. Sell unwanted items on Craigslist - I have actually made a good amount of money by selling our "junk" on Craigslist.  There was a time when I was making a couple hundred dollars a month from my sales and getting rid of unwanted stuff we had lying around.  
  9. Stay organized - When you are organized you know what you have.  That way you won't purchase something you already have but just forgot about. 
  10. Buy nice things - Yes, the initial cost is more, but you save money in the long run.  If you buy furniture that is well made, it will last longer.  If you buy cheap stuff, it will fall apart and you will have to replace it more often, therefore costing you more.
  11. Buy/Eat what is in season - We always eat the fruits and veggies that are in season, therefore on sale.  I plan our meals around what is in season.  This way we are eating the freshest fruits and veggies and saving a lot of money!
  12. Reuse plastic grocery bags - I try to use reusable grocery bags as much as I can, but when I do get a plastic grocery bag I always reuse it at home.  I use them in small trash cans so that I don't have to buy trash bags for those cans.  We also use them in Hannah's diaper bag for dirty diapers and for Brian's lunches.  Another good place to keep some is in the never know when you will need one!  I used them as barf bags on more than one occasion while pregnant. :-(

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