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.
In this crazy economic environment, what are some things you are doing to save money on groceries, clothes, gas, etc. Please share.
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.
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
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!
Sorry if these are repeats but I didn't have time to read them all, but I LOVE to save and get a bargain.
1. If possible, shop Grocery Outlet and 99 cent stores. The 99 cent stores now have food and produce and that is really helpful. Also, if you drink wine, the Grocery Outlet has some great options for less than $5. They also have great pizza options that are much less than going out for pizza ($5 for a large pizza versus $17 at Roundtable).
2. Eat out only once or twice a month. It makes it more special, and you save tons of money. Even then we go to Chili's which is family friendly, and has options for everyone.
3. Pack breakfast and lunch for yourself and the kids, and never waste leftovers. I also gave up Starbucks last year and switched to Green Tea. Since I love my morning beverage, I splurge and buy Trader Joes Jasmine Pearls Green tea, and that's still only 25 cents for a really tasty cup of tea.
4. Never buy clothes or anything really at full price. Try Ross, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Tuesday Morning,etc. Designer shopping for less! Do I sound like an advertisement?? :)
5. Rent or buy DVDs instead of going to the movies. Make popcorn or other treats at home and still have a great time. And you can pause, and not miss anything for potty breaks!! And if you work with friends, you can share or swap the movies and save even more.
I hope these are helpful.
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.
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.
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!
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. :)
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.
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.
for me it would be shoping less often which saves greatly on gas, doing my shopping at a whole sale market and buying in bulk and breaking down the food and putting it in the freezer. Even milk can be kept frozen, which makes it nice to have bread and milk in the freezer and save on the extra stops.
minimise my traveling and doctors appointments or kids appointments and get them all scheduled according to distance and locations...
creating a weekly menu helps you to budget your expenses as well
There have been a lot of good ideas posted already in response to your question. Some other things I have done is sit down and evaluate our cell and home phone plans to make sure we are not paying too much, or paying for unnecessary services. We have also looked at our satellite TV service to see if we could scale back the package a bit. This has saved us $200 per mo. Someone else mentioned cooking meals at home - I know you work outside the home and sometimes this can be challenging a crock pot can be your savior! If you can prep the stuff the night before (chop veggies, etc.) and just do a
quick assembly in the morning before you leave for work, your family will come home to a delicious economical meal. Lastly, keeping an eye on PG&E usage can really help too. Unplugging small appliances, shutting down computers, turning off uncessary lights etc. can make a difference!
Children ride their bikes to school. Carpool with colleagues or telecommute 1-2 days per week. Buy infant clothes at used baby clothing store. Save my older boy's clothes for the younger one. Ask the grandmas for the clothes the kids need. Buy "name brand" clothing at TJ Maxx or Ross. Shop at Winco 2-3x month and go to Costco for laundry soap, dog food and brown bag lunch items. Shop grocery store sales for items I usually buy and try to limit "fill-in" shopping so we don't impulse buy. Make Chai Lattes and Mochas at home and only treat ourselves to a coffee shop drink 1x per week. Making dinners that stretch into 2 or 3 meals. Eating out very little. Stopped Netflix subscription and am looking for a new DSL provider.
Hope some of the idease are helpful and can be implemented into your life.
Even before this economic crazyness we practiced careful spending. I shop at goodwill and second hand stores for the kids and me. Not all things I buy are from there but I go there first. I go to a childrens resale trade store for children with the out grown nice cloths.We also get hand me downs and give hand me downs. We most always eat food from home. It's rare we eat out. I combine trips out. So no running around on a whim. We car pool as much as possible. No movies or video games. I record on dvr more then we ever have time to watch. My husband ride shares with his brother since they have a long commute. He takes left overs for dinner so he dosn't have to buy dinner at work(he works swing shift). We don't have the latest and greatest of material things. If it still works we keep using it and sometimes when it dosn't work well we still keep using it ( my toaster stopped working on one half so we could only toast 2 things at a time for several months,one of our tv's acts up and you can only see half the screen).We have chickens for eggs, we grow a garden ,this year I grew lettuce and don't know how we'll go back to store bought in the next month or so. I don't get my hair done or nails. I try to stay out of the grocery store. I only shop once a week to every other week. If I go thinking I just need one thing I'll end up buying 10 things and spending to much on grocerys. We use kleen kanteen's for our water, no plastic throw away. Living carefully like this has allowed us to travel and spend money on things that really matter. My kids are not materialistic and have appreciation for the simple things in life. They know the pleasure in waiting for what you want and the joy in getting it for a geat deal. We all love going to rummage sales. So often there's a certain toy they've been wanting and they'll find it. I always check the classified section in the paper. I got my childrens beautiful chest beds 2 for $250.00. Good luck finding the ways that work for your family to cut back. We love living like this and don't miss a thing.
Grocery coupons help a lot.
I also buy my son's clothes ahead of when he needs them if they are on sale. For example, last fall, I bought him his swim trunks for this past summer at the GAP for $2. I have bought shirts at our Old Navy Outlet for .99 cents each. If I find a good deal, I get his current size and his next size.
Here is what we do. We never pay full price for any clothing, unless it is necessary. I look a lot on Ebay and buy for the next season. Right now is a great time to start buying next summers clothing. Also, Old Navy has some great clearance sales throughout the year, so keep an eye out for that. Towards the end of each season, you will be able to find a ton of clothing for 75% off. Me, my husband and our 4 daughters go crazy and usually come out with 3 big bags and pay about 125-150, for our entire family. You can't beat that. Also, for things like PJ's I get them at either second hand stores or our local twins group garage sale. They are items that I just can't even imagine spending more than a few dollars on. Target is also a great place for clearance. They do the same at the end of each season. That is usually where we get alot of the kids shoes, at 50-75% off. I used to work in retail for many years, and learned to just wait for items to go on clearance, it really doesn't take that long for the inventory to change and they need to make new room for the incoming product. For groceries I tend to save more money at a pack your own groceries place. When I make it, the savings is usually 25-30 dollars a week. For the specialty items I will just head over to Safeway for. I have a daughter that is lactose intolerant,so I end up getting her stuff at Safeway. One other way to save money is to stop eatting out. You will be amazed at how much money you will save, even if it is just once a week. For a family our size, it will be a huge savings.
I have been doing everythingI can think of to save. I go to 99 cent only frist to find any deals (be careful sometimes it is not a deal) I shop at Win CO Foods a great savings over every other store in the Sacramento area. I buy things in bulk when they are on sale and keep my eyes open for any REAL deals elsewhere.
I have the kids trying to see who can turn off more lights during the day they count the times they turn off a light they find on and the one with the most gets a day off chores..silly but they are teens and its working!!
I also bought an energy tracker from SMUD for 39.99 and I can not wait to see what kind of savings I will have with that.
We do not eat out...its silly to waste that money...once or twice a month we get the special 5.99 pizza from Cesars I have to purchase 4 of these as there is 8 of us.
I have the kids eat breakfast and lunch at school and only prep dinners at home. I do not buy drinks at the store. My kids are now water experts...lol,... at my house its tea or water--- juice and sodas and koolaid even are just too darn expensive. I do not use the air or heat unless there is just no other option..I even have the kids get in the pool (hose works) I just had 2- $300.00 SMUD bills and I will not do that again so its roughin' it all the way until I get a new job. I know its hard, I keep thinking its going to candles and top ramen soon if things dont turn around!
Best of luck I hope you get some advice we all can use...
Hi N...couldn't read everything sorry if I repeat...here goes...
-Snacks: take snacks with you everywhere, don't buy any while out..and eat out as little as possible, cooking at home is healthier and most cost effective.
-Electric bill: only use electricity when needed..I only have lights on if I'm in the complete dark or need extra light for what I'm doing, do full loads of laundry, turn off the computer when not in use
-Recycle: me and my kids pick an area around town (that accomodates strollers) and pick up anything recyclable (glass, plastic, cans) last month we got $45 for our collections (every bit helps)
-Gas: walk as much as possible (I've kept off 40lbs)! Find the cheapest gas in town, also they do this thing where if you put advertising on your car they pay you
-Purchases: shop around, investigate the best deal--look online, ebay (also sell stuff on ebay to earn $$), craigslist, thrift stores (gotta love clorox wipes), garage sales, ask friends who have older kids if you can have first pick at their old clothes, coupons-I love when coupons come in the mail-- only keep coupons of stuff you already use or change to the cheaper knock off brand, consider what you're buying- are you really going to use it or will it collect dust. See what's a better deal at what store--Costco vs. Winco.. sometimes bulk can be a bad deal if you break it down! Hold off on buying stuff for yourself unless absolutely neccesary, get haircuts every couple of months instead of every month.
You can be really creative it's all about how much time and effort you want to put into it!! That's everything on the top of my head..good luck to all of us!!!
We eat meat once a week, and even then we have chicken or fish. It saves us a ton of money and has actually helped us lose weight and be more healthy. My kids don't mind at all. We eat lots of whole grains, beans, etc. that are all less expensive and better for you. I buy these things in bulk at WinCo.
We don't buy any drinks other than water and milk and tea and the occasional orange juice. I buy tea so I can have iced tea to break the monotony of water and I like hot tea in the winter. Better for you and better for the pocketbook. We are a family of 4 and I spend about $70 a week for our food.
We used to take a lot of weekend road trips, but because of gas prices we are doing more local things and saving up for special trips instead. We also moved closer to my husband's work and now he bikes to work.
Have you found the Second Hand stores in your area.Its a treasure
hunt and you
can find anything you'll ever need. Fun too.
First of all, I haven't had a chance to read all the responses, so if this is a repeat, I'm sorry! Secondly, I love this question, I always learn something new with these kinds of questions and with the prices of things these days I want a lot of new ideas =o)
What we started doing a couple of months ago is buying our gas with either our Discover card so we get cash back ($18 in one month, not bad) or on a Chevron Visa we got that had an offer of 10 cents off each gallon for the first month or so. Also, when I go to Starbucks (I'm working on this addiction) I use a "registered" gift card so I get the syrup free and they send me free drink coupons once in a blue moon.
Can't wait to read all your responses!
Make realistic budget and attempt to stick to it - and then write down what you actually spent. My husband and I have tried to make saving fun and rewarding vs a negative chore. Here are some of the things we have found to help us cut costs.
Plan meals around weekly shopping specials - Safeway has good specials, and typically we save 30% or more by creating healthy menus around specials. Go to local fruit stand for fruits and vegetables - the prices are 50% lower than store. Have at least 3 healthy meat-free dinners a week. Dine out for special occassions only - but have friends over for dinner alot.
Cut energy costs - use AC and heater sparingly, shut off any unneeded light, appliacne - this has allowed us to save at least $100 per month.
Don't shop anywhere unless absolutley necessary, this means clothes, food, housewares. I have found if I am not in a store the $$ stays in our account. I have embraced aminimalist material outlook while maximizing our interactions with friends and family for fun.
Bake instead of store buy when possible, know this can be tough, but it is healthier, taste better and allows me to spend fun time with daughter creating together in kitchen.
Arrange carpool with other parents for kids activities. This saves both time and money and is good for environment.
Find friends/cousins with older kids for gently used hand-me-downs. This has saved us alot of money and my daughter loves wearing clothes her older cousins/friends wore.
Trade babysitting hours with trusted friends...the kids have fun, parents get special time together and everyone is happy.
These tips have really worked for us.
Although it seems extreme, I got rid of all my credit cards, and ATM cards. Everytime I need gas, groceries, or ANYTHING, I have to go to the bank and get cash. the inconvenience of this has stopped me from any frivilous spending, and made me aware of my spending. Also, if I go to Food Max, or some discount store, I can get groceries for a week for my family of four for $100. Especially if that is all I bring ($100). There are great outlet stores in Tracy where I can get a dozen outfits fro each of my boys for under $100 and these are great places to buy any presents you may need to give. Dont forget about thrift stores. I dont get used clothes, but I do get used ammenities: drinking cups, books, toys etc.
*I've allotted a weekly allowance for groceries. I a make a menu, then go shopping with my menu to decide what I need for the week. (I'm usually the typical costco mom, who loads up on everything and way overspends on groceries). This approach is doing wonders for me! We don't drink soda, haven't for years, nor do we eat much in the way of processed foods with the exception of some organic rice mixes, tofu, etc.
Keeping an eye out for deals is great too-there was a sale on take and bake pizza's recently and I fed the whole family for $1.25 a piece that night! I've figured out that I'm feeding the family at $25 per person/per week, good wholesome food beside the occassional treat (like pizza). That's pretty darn good!
*I cut my own hair (it's short and you wouldn't believe me, but I do a good job and get many compliments on it)
*we save "eating out" for once a month, on payday (we only get paid once a month!!)
*we are choosing to stay home more often
*thrift shopping for deals-clothing is almost never found here for us, but books, movies, etc can be found here.
*I make a huge pot of chili or soup once a month and freeze the leftovers
*This one is huge__WE DON'T USE ANYTHING THAT YOU USE ONCE AND THROW AWAY! no ziploc bags, no papertowels (use your handtowels, they're washable), no napkins. The only cleanser we use is soap and hot water. Safe and cheap.
WOW MOMS, I AM SO IMPRESSED!!! Just read all the responses and there is really nothing to add. You guys do it all.
One mom mentioned making money on credit cards - I do this, I pay no interest on my cards but make over $1,000 a year in free money. The only problem is when using credit cards you usually end up spending more. The experts say when trying to save you should always use cash - people tend to view that as real money.
No one mentioned recycling, I believe - you can make quite a bit of cash on your plastic and cans at the local recycling center. My youngest son helps me with that and the money is his allowance.
there is a really good book called miserly moms by jonni mccoy that has all kinds of money saving hints and recipes for meals, home made playdough, make your own cleaning products, etc. we also shop at winco and that has saved us a fortune. also check rates on your car insurance, we switched from CSAA (AAA) to another company and saved alot with the same coverage. good luck!
1. I don't carry much cash and only use my debit card and the credit cards are kept at home for emergencies or for things I can only order with a credit card.
2. My kids are much older in their 20's but all of my friends with young children are sharing kids' clothes. The moms are handing off clothes their children have outgrown and keeping a specific size only in one box. My friend Krista just opened 3 boxes of size 4 from three different friends. These are organized through schools or churches. It is a great way to save money.
Shop grocery sales. Now I know that sounds way too basic but I shop at 3 different stores depending on what each has on sale. I got about $250 worth of groceries last time for about $120. It takes a little organization and time to go to 3 different stores but it was well worth it.
The cheapest gas in the Bay Area (I think) is at the corner of Dixon Landing Rd. and N. Milpitas Blvd. in Milpitas. I haven't paid over $3.71 for about a month. I also organize my errands based on where else I need to go so I am not making extra trips for one thing. I have cut my gas consumption by about 10-12% just by doing that.
Good Luck - we are all in the same boat and I can't wait to read what other suggestions the moms have.
Grind your own meat cuts to make hamburger.