28 answers

Looking for Ways to save Money

Hi Moms,

In this crazy economic environment, what are some things you are doing to save money on groceries, clothes, gas, etc. Please share.

3 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Freecycle.org is a great way to get rid of items you no longer need, and you are also able to post WANTED ads for things you need. I've had a lot of luck with freecycle. Take care, C.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi everybody!!!

I don't have any new ideas that weren't already mentioned, but I just want to say: WAY TO GO LADIES!!!!! It is great to see people working together to help each other find new strategies!

It is just like loosing weight - if you track all of Money (Calories) you spend, you will easily be able to see where the extra's are hiding and decide what you need to eliminate.

Have a great day!

D. and Layla

More Answers

Freecycle.org is a great way to get rid of items you no longer need, and you are also able to post WANTED ads for things you need. I've had a lot of luck with freecycle. Take care, C.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi N.!

It sounds like you've already received some wonderful advice. I too, do many things some of the pp's have mention. I try to eat all organic and locally grown, in season produce. I shop at my local natural foods co-op and trader joes, as well as Costco. Carefully plan out your weekly menu of dishes. This is huge! I buy all my grains, spices and such in bulk at the co-op. Whatever I can buy in bulk, I do. For example, I recently found that my local co-op (in Sacramento) has Extra Virgin Olive Oil in bulk. I was buying it at Trader Joes because I thought it was the best price, but once I calculated the cost per ounce, I found out that the ORGANIC bulk olive oil at the co-op was 16 cents per ounce. That's cheaper than any of the olive oils at Trader Joes. I also buy my laundry detergent, dish soap and those sorts of things there, too. For a family of three, I spend $60/week on groceries and thats enough for all breakfasts, lunches and dinners. We use our previous nights dinners for lunch the next day.

Also, I use cloth diapers on my son. Most of them I purchased used from craigslist and ebay. You can get some wonderful deals from people who tried them once and didn't want to continue on with it. I also made my own cloth wipes from infant terry towel and receiving blankets I found at the thrift store.

I get my hair cut once a year and don't get my nails done at all. A friend gave me a gift that was a buffer board to shine your nails and it looks like you have a clear coat of polish on. Its great. I have also stopped using shampoo to wash my hair because I found I'm having excellent results using baking soda and vinegar. Both the baking soda and vinegar can be purchased at costco for a few dollars.

In addition to the great advice about garage sales, rummage sales, and thrift stores, join your local Freecycle group. Google freecycle and it will take you to the main pages where you set up a free account. This group is an online community that people use to give things they don't want. You can also posted wanted adds for something you are looking for.

Grow a garden and invest in a pressure canner. I have a summer garden and will be trying my hand at a winter garden this year. If you have extras you can give them away or can them.

Ride your bike to do as many errands as possible. I have a bike mount for my son and we do small grocery trips, trips to the park or whatever. We love riding together and we're saving money on gas.

I've seen some websites for making your own laundry soap using Fels Naptha or zote soaps. The cost per load equates to a few pennies and most people say that the results are as good as any store bought laundry detergent. Also, stop using fabric softener. You can put regular white vinegar in a downy ball and that will soften your clothes. Trust me, they won't smell like vinegar.

These techniques have allowed me to stay home with my son and we feel like we're living pretty well. Good luck to you!

2 moms found this helpful

You already have alot of great ideas posted but here is another. I get my clothes at Susies Deals in Roseville, eveything in the store is $5.99 or less. I get all my tank tops, jeans and shorts there and save big. I also get clothes from my sister in law to go thru before they go to goodwill. Susie's Deals has clothes for men, women and kids. Some of the stuff is bad but if you take the time to go thru the racks you find some really nice stuff. Also I go to Denio's farmers market and buy jeans there. For at home clothes you can look at the goodwill for jeans, shorts, and sweatshirts, again you have to take the time to go thru the stuff but it is worth it in the long run. Also try Grocery Outlet for food and the Dollar store for cleaning supplies and food. Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful

cutting back on things like zip lock bags... paper towels. we use cloth napkins, dish towels (no paper)... we use pyrex storage containers that I already own instead of buying plastic bags that just get tossed and are bad for the environment anyway. I am also using cloth diapers to cut back on needing to buy diapers all the time. we potty trained my toddler so no more buying his case of diapers (that was $40/case at costco!) we never even used pull ups because those things are so darn expensive and i've heard they do nothing to help potty train.

we eat in now a lot. we rarely dine out. i try to do meal planning so when i grocery shop, i only buy what i need to make the meals on my list - nothing else. no impulse buys or stuff i think i'm going to use and then it gets tossed out.

new clothes? yeah right! I just had a baby so i need new clothes but i'm just trying to lose weight to fit into the ones i already have!! i rarely buy new clothes anymore. we don't buy toys for the kids... that's what grandparents are for and they have plenty anyway. our adult school also has a toy lending library. we've never uesd it but if you're looking for ideas that's an idea on how to save money on toys.

GAS... DH uses a honda civic to commute for work. even though i have a van..... i just try to do errands when i'm already out and pick days during the week where i stay home all day and just don't drive anywhere.

homemade baby food saves lots of money. it is actually way cheaper than buying the stuff in the stores. breastfeeding is the big obvious money saver - no buying formula!

buying baby gear if needed used off craigslist.

1 mom found this helpful

Lots of good ideas here. I hope I'm able to add a few new ones.

*Don't buy prepackaged foods--buy bulk if you have room to store and separate at home.
*Only use costco for paper products and dog food, the other stuff really isn't priced that good.
*Pack your husband's lunch if he isn't already taking it.
*See flylady.com for the rubber chicken recipe--it shows you how to make a whole chicken stretch out over three days. I was already doing this before I knew about flylady. I can also do this with a large pork roast--day one roast w/potatoes, day 2 carnitas, day 3 southwestern pork stew (of course you freeze the meat after day one, so you don't have the meals consecutively).
*Check yard sales, thrift stores, and clearance racks before making purchases.
*Go to your local library for books, movies and stuff for the kids to do.
*Contact the local office of education for free activities for the kids.
*I stop at the Grocery Outlet before going to the other grocery store, and I make a trip out of town to shop at a Winco every other week--the $ spent on gas is more than made up in savings on groceries.
*Don't be fixed on buying name brand items, often you are just paying for the name brand (many manufacturing plants manufacture their product with the name brand and an alternative house brand they just change the label).
*Bundle your services, cut out anything you can.
*Shop your homeowners and auto insurance (the rates may vary between even the big reputable ones).
*Have a yard sale (I've had 4 this summer combining things at our home with friends' & family's things, and each time brought in over $100 per sale. I only sold small items like books, clothes, unwanted toys, etc.)

I hope some of my ideas have helped.

J.

1 mom found this helpful

We don't have satellite or cable tv--just an antenna, and we can pick up broadcast HD channels quite well with it. Yes, I do miss watching some of the shows I can see with my in-laws' satellite service, but I don't think the expense would be worth it for us. We get plenty to watch with the regular channels and borrowing dvds from the library. (No monthly fees for the library or antenna :). And who really wants to be sitting in front of the tv all the time, anyway? We also don't go to the movie theater, but instead wait in anticipation for the dvds to come out (it doesn't take very long these days).

We rarely eat out at sit-down restaurants, and when we do, Denny's is about the fanciest place we go, and that would be on their kids-eat-free day. We try to limit fast food meals to once a week. And when we do eat out, we just drink water (unless the soda comes with the meal, it will really add up to pay extra for soda or tea for everyone). And if you really want dessert, don't order it at the restaurant--pick it up at the grocery store on the way home instead.

I've stopped running around town trying to catch the sales at different stores and just do my grocery shopping at the one closest to us that has the best overall prices. Whatever cents we'd save getting the couple sale items at the other stores would just get eaten up by the time and gas to get there.

And for the energy bill, try turning down the water heater a little bit and being conservative with the AC or heater thermostat.

And by the way, if you can manage to pay your credit cards in full every month, you can actually get paid to use them. We don't use debit cards (don't want to pay any fees). Instead we charge everything to cards that give cash rebates and then pay in full when the bill comes, getting the cash rebates without paying the interest fees. Of course, you have to be careful about how much you spend on the cards because if it's not paid off monthly, you get hit with the interest charge. We've worked on our spending habits and treat the credit card kind of like a checking account.
(I see other moms say that using cash or debit helps them spend less. It's definitely true that thinking "charge it" feels like it's not real money and then you end up spending more. This method of earning money with credit cards ONLY works if you control your spending and pay in full every month. If you carry a balance at all, get rid of the credit cards--paying interest is like throwing money away, so I'd put every extra dollar to getting those balances down to zero.)

I'm sure you'll get a lot of good tips. I'm looking forward to reading them too. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Soemtimes it's easier to start with the little things, coffees, treats, shopping for entertainment, etc. Families often spedn HUGE amounts of money on eating out and even cutting that back by 25% can be a huge savings. My parents (so many many years ago) had me be in charge of 1 dinner each week at home and I had to plan and shop and do it all. It taught me to be a good cook, it taught me about how much things cost and how to organize and plan. All skills that have come in handy as an adult.
Another really good exercise I did with my pre-teen was to have her figure out what it costs to run our family. I gave her the main categories and she had to do the research to find out how we spend our money. After that I had her do some multiplication (minimum wage x 40 hours x 52 weeks/year) and compare the two. We don't serve or prepare our children very well if we shield them from everything.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi N.

Some of the more obvious things I do and you may already be doing are, ALWAYS bring my breakfast and lunch to wk.. ALWAYS make coffee at home.. NEVER buy coffee outside the home, unless a rare occasion... I have a reusable waterbottle...
I make EXTRA food at nite, for leftovers for my lunch...
I donate some of my son's clothes, but for the ones that are still in great shape and that he has outgrown rather quickly, I sell those to a children's consignment shop.
Lastly, I have a small patch in my yard, where I am now starting a garden. a garden needn't be hug or take up much room, you can actually grow some things in planters. BUT if you use a lot of leafy greens as we do, a garden could be a good idea.. As for groceries, your household is bigger than mine, but buying certain items in bulk could be helpful.

Good luck to you and your family.

1 mom found this helpful

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