N.R. asks from Uxbridge, MA on March 23, 2011
What Do You Do to save Money?
I have seen a lot of folks talking about the economy and saving money. What do you guys do? I shop on my own web portal of course to earn cash back and commissions on all my purchases but I also like the grocerygame.com. I did that transforming debt into wealth and they wanted me to track what goes on sale when at the super market. Are you kidding me. I don't have the time or patience for that. However, that is exactly what the grocery game does. She will tell you when to use the coupons to get the best deals and when things are on sales. She figured out the cycles so you don't have to. I love it.
What other sites do you guys use?
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So What Happened?™
All great answers. Thanks for sharing everyone.
N.S. answers from Austin on March 23, 2011
I actually have never heard of the things you are talking about, but here's some things we do.
-I stay home full time and though we have two automobiles, one is an older gas guzzler. So most of the week, hubby drives the new car to work and we stay in-still get out to the park and walks, etc, but don't go out. I plan playdates and errands like shopping for certain days so we essentially only use one automobile and save on gas, maintenance, and the temptation to just go out and shop.
-Coupons, meal deals, stock the freezer, use leftovers, husband takes lunch at least 3 days a week, sometimes everyday.
-Keep lots of drinks at home in a second fridge, make coffee at home, keep lots of snack stuff in freezer for lazy nights and weekend game snacks. Keep eating out to date nights and the occasional pizza order in.
-Family babysits so we never have to pay a sitter
-Only clothing shop when we have coupons, major sales, or tax free weekends (something they do twice a year in Texas)
-Buy in bulk
I guess those are the main things we do...probably lots of others I don't even think about. Since we stopped eating out for lunch and dinners, we've saved probably $400 a month!
S.J. answers from St. Louis on March 23, 2011
-Slickdeals.net - LOVE IT!
-Amazon and Amazon mom - great deals!
-Mappingyourfuture.org - helps me budget
-Use my bank card for points with each purchase and use those points to redeem something for fun - like a Target or Starbucks gift card.
-Only buy things when they are on sale - my hubby sometimes takes this to the extreme! The other day he was at Target, knew we needed baby wipes, but couldn't bring himself to buy them since they weren't on sale! So, I had to use washclothes like I did when our little guy was a newborn - didn't bother me!
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M.P. answers from Provo on March 23, 2011
I'm currently taking a personal finance class and we are reading The Richest Man in Babylon. I would highly suggest this to anyone!! It has such common sense information in it that most people don't know, but need to get their face slapped with it.
It says "Every gold piece you save is a slave to work for you. Every copper it earns is it's child that also can earn for you." (this book is kind of written in bible wording but they do make a modern version) Basically it's saying put that 10% in the bank and let the interest grow and grow.
I search for sales on everything so that I spend less and can put more into the bank, I also keep track of what I spend so that I know next month I should spend less or if I can keep on the same track.
I also love freecycle. I have gotten practically new things for nothing. Things like that is awesome!!
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M.!. answers from Columbus on March 23, 2011
We pay ourselves first - That way it never hits checking acct and money goes straight to savings.
This is my husbands savings system - Every week he takes $100 cash out. (He works out of town so he doesn't get the opportunity to brown bag it). Any $20 bills left goes in his "Secret Stash" in his wallet and all remaining bills go into a blue bucket at the house. When he reaches $100 in his secret stash he uses that instead of pulling his $100 out for the week out of the checking acct. Sometimes he uses that as splurge money too. Like if we want to go out to eat or bowling or something nice for himself.
Other then that we coupon, use the sales at the markeys, cook from scratch, buy 1/4 of a cow and 1/2 a pig every year, grow some of our own veggies in the warm seasons (as you can see we try to save as much as we can on food). We also have 2 memberships that me and the kids can use. Plus I find "free" entertainment for us like story time at the library, the mall play area, we have water fountains during summer time kids are allowed to play in, etc. We don't do a lot of vacations but when we do we make them thrifty.
I do not use coupon websites b/c too many of them have spyware.
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A.C. answers from Salt Lake City on March 23, 2011
I tried the Grocery Game as well. I did not like it. I was spending almost all of my Sundays checking out the deals, clipping coupons, meal planning, making a shopping list, making sure the list didn't exceed our budget, shopping, putting the food away. However, we have been doing pretty well just by doing the following:
1- Cash Only (envelope system). We have a grocery budget of $150 per week (this includes all toiletries, cleaners, etc.); $50.00 each (husband and I) per week spending cash (for gas and whatever else we want to spend it on- haircuts, clothes,eating out, dates etc) and $50.00 a week for the kids' incidentals (clothes, fun, birthdays, books, etc). We only use the checking account to pay bills online. By doing this, we do not go over our budget. We have been able to put $1000 a month into savings by doing this.
2- Meal planning & cooking from scratch. I purchase our produce through Bountiful Baskets which is similar to a CSA. We get a big laundry basket full of produce each week for just $15. After I get my basket I make a menu for the week based on what fruits and veggies we received and what is in our cupboards and fridge. We rarely throw out food as I am careful to find ways to use it all. We also bought a freezer and now I can stock up on stuff when it is on sale and freeze it. I stick to my grocery list unless there is a huge deal on something, then I will spend 10-20 extra stocking up (but that means next week I have to spend 10-20 less on grocery).
We are also cutting down on meat, looking for good deals and using coupons, stocking up when food is on sale.
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A.C. answers from Columbus on March 23, 2011
Cutting back to regular TV (no cable)
Cooking from scratch as much as possible
Eating out maybe once per every 3 months
Finding free entertainment/activities for the family instead of paying to do stuff
Watching the sale flyers and buying meat on sale, especially (meat is probably the most expensive thing in our food supply, personally)
Cooking meatless meals at least 1x per week.
Shopping at the thrift store for clothes; occasionally going to consigment sales for kids clothes. (If you're a fashionista, try places like Plato's Closet or higher end 2nd-hand clothing shops, rather than Good Will/Salv. Army---though I've picked up name brand, really nice stuff at GW & SA)
Probably the biggest one, though is:
Not buying things--I don't go to the store unless I really need something, and I make sure to have a list and stick to it (I do occasionally go "off list" but try to keep myself to small items, and only do that once every couple of months).
This last one I struggled with a lot at first, but I've found that if I don't go in the stores, and I don't look at the sales flyers, I'm just so much happier and I can not feel "deprived."
T.S. answers from Boston on March 24, 2011
Coupons encourage me to buy things I normally wouldn't. With very little exceptions of products that we've tried the generic of and don't like we almost ALWAYS buy whole foods and generic products. That in itself saves a whole lot of money. Lately I've altered my habits of how I use what I buy to save some money. For example, I would in the past buy a package of chicken breast for $4, some chicken thighs for $3, and 2 cans of chicken broth (generic) for 50 cents each. Now I buy a whole chicken for $6 (at 79-99 cents a pound), cut it up myself and make my own stock. Out of one chicken I get enough (for my family right now, me, my DH, and our 5 year old) breast for one meal, enough leg quarters for one meal, chicken chunks for one meal (all the little hidden chicken bits), I save the livers (gonna make pate once I get enough of them), boil down the carcass for stock, take the rest of the meat bits off for soup or chicken salad, and then cool the stock for a few days, skim off the fat and fry a mess of onions in it, drain the fat back off (of course use the onions, they are awesome on home made pizza) and get schmaltz. I consider it a major challenge to get whatever I can out of my weekly chicken.
But really some basic advice given to me was, buy more whole foods, cook with dried beans (making a pot of beans every week is healthful, and cheap) and look at your portion sizes also. If you eat at dinner a piece of steak that in actuality is really 2-3 times the recommended portion size, those are leftovers you could be having the next day and extra pounds on your backside. Also, try to make what you can yourself. The less convenience food you buy the more you save. I could buy 5 bags of pre-made pre packaged popcorn for my son's lunch for around 2 bucks... or I could spend the 2 bucks on a big bag and package it myself and get 2 weeks of lunches out of it, or I could buy popcorn kernels (2 lbs of them) for 99 cents and get a month's or more worth of lunch snacks. Thank goodness my son loves popcorn.
Also, someone mentioned angel food, it is very helpful, so I thought I'd clarify it. Angel food is a co-op program run through a christian ministry. You do not need to be a member of any church or religion to purchase from them. You buy a "box" and then pick it up on the specified date. There is a monthly menu to give you an idea of what comes in each package box, but those are not always exactly what you get. I've been using them for almost 2 years now, and it's great. Check out if they have it in your area by googling angel food ministries.
A.M. answers from Eau Claire on March 23, 2011
One of the things that we do that saves us A Lot is buying a quarter cow from my uncle every year. It's a mix of steaks, roasts and hamburger, this will last all year for us and we usually have some left over when its time to butcher again. I also learned how to make my own baby wipes, easy recipe on the internet, just google it.
I clip coupons some, but don't get to into it. Also we keep the heat down and just dress warm to save on the utility bill. And during the summer most of the things I get myself come from garage sales :) I also have a few garage sales to clear the clutter in the house and make a little extra cash.
N.M. answers from Los Angeles on March 23, 2011
No cabel TV.
The simplest of phones and no extras in our phone service.
I pack my lunch for work.
Reuse zip lock bags.
Use hand me downs for the baby's and my 3 year old's clothing (they could careless if their clothes are new)
Rarely go out to dinner.
Make my own coffee instead of going to Starbucks. (I save a ton)
I don't really worry about saving when I go grocery shopping. We usually go to the cheaper store for dried or canned foods and the basics like milk and bread. But I go to the more pricey stores if I want a certain fresh produce. The quaility is better.