Friday, January 1, 2010

year-End Reflections: Saving Money

Lessons I learned this year on saving money and still having the things we need.

  • Stock up when it's on sale.  Just yesterday we were at the Dollar Tree and there were 28 oz cans of whole tomatoes for 50 cents each.  How could we pass that up?  I bought six.
  • Make goals.  Exceed goals.
  • Be accountable where your money is going.
  • Shop sales.
  • Buy toys and books at thrift stores and garage sales.  I bought so many toys this year for under $3 that my daughter now has a good selection of toys to rotate each week.  And when you pay less than a $1 for a book you don't worry about it getting ripped.  Books are meant to be read and re-read and re-read again, but they are pricey new.
  • Rent movies from the library or find discount coupons for video stores.
  • Purchase a fundraising book for your area with discounts.  We got two for our area.  One was $15 and the other was free for joining our health club.  We got these at the end of October and have saved more than $40 already just from using the coupons from the books.
  • Watch TV shows online and ditch cable.  When it comes down to it decide how much you really watch and compare that to the price.  We also rent TV shows (currently watching the X-Files series and Curb Your Enthusiasm) from the library. 
  • Sometimes you have to spend a little more to save in the long run.  We concluded this with some items in our newly built home.  But we didn't upgrade much to start with -- there's always time for that down the road.
  • Learn the sales trends of your favorite stores.  JC Penny is my favorite place to by toddler T-Shirts and long-sleeve shirts.  Right now they are marked down to $3.19 and if you have a 15 percent off coupon from a survey, they are only $2.71.  I buy a bunch each time this sale comes around at the end of the season.  I go back a couple weeks from now to see if any are really discounted.  You do have to be careful not to wait to long initially because sizes will be picked over.
  • Have a price point in mind for certain items.  For example, I can get my husband's coffee on average for just under $6 at our regular grocery store.  However, I sometimes can find it really on sale somewhere else for around $4 with coupon.  It can go for more than $8 at another grocery store.   Be aware of prices, so you don't pay more than you have to.
  • A dollar savings here and there really can add up.  It's worth the time if you have it.
  • It's okay not to grab every sale.
  • Utilize double coupons on household items, such as detergent, toilet paper, etc.  Even though these are usually more expensive at a grocery store, if you double a dollar off coupon you end up saving more money.  You really have to look hard for these.
  • Buy less to save more money.  Yes, sometimes buying the larger pack with a coupon doesn't save more than buying a smaller pack.  Again have a price-point in mind for per ounce or item.
  • Don't abuse the system.  I hate when I see bloggers brag about the fifteen coupons they got through a product testing service and use for themselves getting items free or extra cheap.  Please spread coupons around like those companies intend. I also noticed that Target recently changed their coupons to have a limit.  It's because people were printing dozens to get free items instead of just using one or two coupons for a discount.  Don't ruin it for everyone.
  • Make if from scratch.  Whether it's cleaner or food.  It really does save money.
Read more of my money saving ideas and adventures here!

1 comment:

David said...

I know a way to save more on toilet paper than any coupon or special. This covers all the bases = saves you money, helps the environment, helps your health, makes you feel better, it's so easy to do and it costs less than $50.00; Save money and the Earth and be clean at the same time! Add Bathroom Bidet Sprayers to all your bathrooms. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off” Available at with these you won't even need toilet paper any more, just a towel to dry off! Don’t worry, you can still leave some out for guests and can even make it the soft stuff without feeling guilty. It's cheap and can be installed without a plumber; and runs off the same water line to your toilet. You'll probably pay for it in a few months of toilet paper savings. As for water use a drought is always a concern and must be dealt with prudently but remember the water use of industrial users far exceeds the water use of household users and in the case of toilet paper manufacture it is huge. The pollution and significant power use from that manufacturing process also contributes to global warming so switching to a hand bidet sprayer and lowering your toilet paper use is very green in multiple ways.


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