Money Saving Ideas - Ballwin,MO

Updated on June 19, 2015
J.S. asks from Gulf Shores, AL
21 answers

OK, moms, I'm looking for some of your best money-saving ideas. My hubbie's business isn't going well, so our income is less than half than it was last year, so I'm looking for ways to save money on anything and everything! I have 3 young boys and have started babysitting to earn some extra money, but things are still really tight. Also, how do you talk to your kids about why they can't have all the things their friends are getting. Not to mention, why we don't eat out anymore, no more McDonald's runs, movie rentals, chuckie cheese trips, etc. We've always been tight with our money, but recently, the kids have started noticing things getting even tighter. Thanks for any advice you have.

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H.E.

answers from Wichita on

Hi J.!

I have been couponing for about a year now and you wouldn't belive the savings!!

I signed up at thegrocerygame.com and I get a list for Walgreen and Dillons and then I sit down with my coupons to find the best deals. Just last week I went to dillons and bought $250 worth of groceries for $140. I saved $110!!

I have also started stockpiling when there is a really really good deal. I haven't bought shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, or deorderant for a year now!

I love clipping coupons and goign to the store to see how much I can save! I think it is something worth looking into and if you sign up at www.thegrocerygame.com it is only $1 to try it out and see if you like it!!

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M.I.

answers from St. Louis on

We live on about $2,000 a month. Basically we just don't buy anything. We use coupons for just about everything we buy, we shop on Coupon Thursday at Shop N Save and our almost 3 year old daughter knows the word NO.

When we go to the grocery store/Target/Toys R Us, she gets to play with the toys there and remembers to leave it at the store so that it will be there when she goes back.....she's still really young so ask me in 2 years how this approach works.

We drink tap water, we don't have cable and the cell is an extention on my parents plan...they live far away and it's cheaper to call them cell to cell. On the Internet service we were just picking up the AOL 'free' CD and just canceling the service every 3 months and then getting a new CD with more free service. We now have ATT DSL....but we figured out the 'secret' $10 a month deal. If you're not already a subscriber, I'll try to talk you though it.

We live in a house that is only 800 square feet and keep the thermostat set at a chilly temp during the winter and a almost too warm temp during the summer. It saves money. I only go to the salon 3 times a year, and sometimes I don't go at all. The clothing I wear is either clothing I bought in high school or they were gifts for birthdays and Christmas (HS was 15 years ago) I don't wear or buy jewlery, I hardly ever buy make up and rarely wear it.

All of the little purchases really add up.

Good luck, I hope I've helped at least a little.

To earn a little extra money look up Peters Marketing and Deleve Marketing, and there is another one at the Mills Mall C&C Marketing??. They pay you to take surveys and test products. Peters paid me about $100 and gave me about a month supply of diapers. I had to fill out forms and save the diapers, they wanted them back...dirty.

1 mom found this helpful
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N.S.

answers from St. Louis on

J.,
Due to the fact that you have a a pretty good sized family to feed, I have a suggestion for you. There is a direct selling company called Homemade Gourmet that helps people plan their meals. The meals are kid friendly, quick and delicious. Planning your meals saves money at the grocery store as well as significant savings from eating out. You can save 20% as a customer or you can become a distributor, make money working from home and save 40% on your own meals. Let me know if you would like more information.
N.
www.homemadegourmet.com/nanci2287
[email protected]____.com

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M.L.

answers from St. Louis on

I would sit down as a family and explain to them as a family we need to cut back and we as a family need to make some sacrifices for now. explain the situation be honest kids understand more than we know. Tell them it is a temporary situation and as things improve you will give back the things given up. They realy dont have a choice but this gives them the opportunity to be involved. I would not give them too much since it is not their burden to carry, But enough so they understand things will get better soon. They should be told at the end that things will be okay and they are not to worry mom and dad are taking care of it. God bless and comfort you. Pray for a finacial healing....

A.R.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi J.!
I do not know if this truly helps you, but it has worked for me. We do not go out for dinner or lunch too much. I don't buy what I do not need. I use a shopping list made in my computer where I write everything down, whatever I buy even school supplies (I saw this list at Target ..almost $9 !!!!!!!!! crazy!!. I stick to my shopping list.The menu for the week prepared on Fridays works very well because that way you will know indeed what you will need. Snacks??? yes, but not too many of those, and I don't buy those little bags in the package, they are expensive, so I get the bigger boxes of goldfish or crackers etc and put them in snack bags when the kids want them. I try to purchase the store brand, most of the time are just good as the popular brands.
Before you buy anything, you look at the top of the shelves or at the bottom ( depends on the store, you will find out!) and you will find cheaper products.
I do not buy 10 kinds of cereals, I just buy a couple and I do not get another one until they are all finished; my kids know that. I also teach my older kid that whatever he sees on TV about a specific brand of cereal or snack is mostly an exaggeration, and he will not win easily whatever surprise is in the box (..sometimes a pair of 3D lens).
I get the fabric softener and soap in big quantity (I do laundry every day), the same with hand soap, bar soap, dishwasher, things like this. We are not going as I used to do it to Chucke Chesse's, or Mc Donalds, etc..There are some free places to go and you know it. Now that good weather will come (hopefully!!) my kids are going to the park!
Organization takes time but it helps a lot in saving. I use the dishwasher very late at night .
One of the things that we agreed with my husband is to set a budget for only groceries and we pay in cash, we do not use the credit card for that, just for miscellaneous or clothing or anything else (budget too). That way you know that you have a specific amount of money to buy certain things and you will not spend more than that. Another thing is cooking from the scratch,I used to buy many prepared meals, and they are expensive, but they are good when you don't have too much time; however, I decreased the amount of those, and I cook mostly from the scratch. I get the groceries, and I clean, cook or slice, or smash the vegetables in advance one or twice a week to have everything ready.
I hope this helps a little bit...It is not easy, but all of us moms, are trying to have the most and the better for less.
Good Luck J.

Alejandra

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P.A.

answers from Santa Barbara on

check out http://blog.greensherpa.com... they always have tips on how to save and how to manage your money.

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W.B.

answers from Kansas City on

Hi J.,

I have 4 children myself and I'm a home child care provider.

So here are the things we have started doing.

Get a sams membership. we buy paper towel, toilet paper, ALL, oxi clean, downy, lysol spray, dish soap, diapers, wipes (some of these might not be for you), only the things you know you use and compare where you would normally shop. When you look at the over all price you pay less and it lasts longer. Our laundry detergent lasts us 1 month and I do 9 or more loads a week.

Next I printed of a sheet that has boxes with the days of the week and a box for breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks. When I go to the store I fill these boxes in with what meals I'm going to make. I only buy what I know we are going to make a meal with and the exact amount I need. Our grocery bill is $150.00 a week and that is feeding 10 8 kids ages 16 yrs - 1yr, and 2 adults.

We don't go to the movies or rent them. When we eat out it is for a special occasion and it is planned with the meal planning and nothing is bought for that night. We only go out for dinner if it a birthday or we have something planned for that night.

If you do eat out look for places where kids eat free or eat off the dollar menu. For us with 6 of us and 3 of us order adult meals some places are cheaper for us to go then others. For instance it is cheaper for us to go to Fuddruckers then it is to go to McDonalds.

Take a look at your grocery store adds see where things are cheaper and try to have a coupon for it. Don't buy what you don't need.

The other thing I do is a cothing swap: For example My niece has 2 daughters ages 11 and 13 these clothes are way to big for my 2 girls ages 16 months and 4 yrs but, I took them washed them and then asked one of my daycare moms if her SIL would like to swap them for clothes that my oldest daughter could wear (she has an 8 yr old and a 14 year old). My daughter is in size 5/6/6x and thats the size of clothes her daughter is out of. The mom I aksed also has a daughter that is 3 yrs old so I send her what my oldest daughter has grown out of, she then send me what her daughter has grown out of and I give it to my youngest daughter. So out of the 4 kids I have I only have to buy a few nice outfits for the girls and then clothes for my oldest ones. And shop on the off season. I also have clothes for 2 things 1 are school clothes/nice clothes and 1 are play clothes. I will get enough summer clothes for my 2 girls that I will not have to buy anything this spring/summer. And I gave the other mom enough that she will not have to buy spring/summer clothes for her daughter.

Now I have one mom who is pregnant and if she has a boy she will be set because the same daycare mom has just had a boy and I have saved everything I had from my youngest daughter and the same mom with her daughter.
We do a clothing swap every season. It really helps, with my kids being at home I can't see spending alot of money on clothes for them to play in.

There is only one thing we spent money on and that is shoes. But we recycle those to. The kids old shoes become play shoes and the new ones are nice/school shoes. Every season they get new shoes. They haven't grown out of both pairs only one from the previous season.
At the begining of each school year and and then in spring they get a new pair.

Hope this helps and gives you some ideas, W.

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C.M.

answers from St. Louis on

You can check out movies for free at the Library. You could also get with friends and borrow movies. The zoo is free. Pack a lunch. sell things on craigslist for a few extra dollars. evryone has things they dont want anymore. Hope that helps. C.

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H.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Try turning all that stuff they've outgrown into money at stores you always shop at, like Target and Walmart. Check out www.Zearly.com. You can have them come get your hand-me-downs and they'll give you points for anything that is still in good condition. You can use your points to buy other cloths or save them to get gift certificates to other great stores!

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S.P.

answers from St. Louis on

Well J. my kids will tell you I am the biggest penny pincher out there. Always check the clearence isle first. The main products that you use, go to their website and print out coupons. You can usually get on their coupon mailing list while you are there. Clip coupons from the Sunday paper. Buy the kids clothes off season. Right now all the winter clothes are on clearence. Buy them now for winter it's only a few months away. I store it it containers in the basement. We buy a lot of stuff off season. Summer toys, toys for birthdays etc. We price match stuff at Walmart. It is a lot of fun actually to see just how cheap you can get one item. Don't forget SAMS. Sometimes it's cheaper to buy in bulk. Good Luck and have fun

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K.B.

answers from St. Louis on

J.,
I think it is great to be looking for money saving idea and some that I agree with is the library for movies or the $1 Red Box just be sure to get them back by 9 pm the next day to avoid late fee, Aldi's and Shop-n-save for groceries.
Also this may or may not be for you but take a look at a friend of mines story www.valerieedwards.myarbonne.com and if you have an interest in learning more, let me know at ###-###-#### or [email protected]____.com pray for Financial peace.
K. B.

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A.S.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi J.,
I can relate. I am in the same boat right now and I feel like it is sinking. My husband lost his job 6 weeks ago and the savings is running pretty low and I only work part time so I can be home with the kids when they get home from school. I too am looking into babysiting after school and this summer if things don't get any better soon. I have learned to grocery shop cheaply lately. I think I cried the whole way through Aldi's and put many things in the cart and then took them back out for fear of not having enough money to purchase the items with. I don't have much advise for you about saving money but I can tell you this has been a changing time for my 6 and 8 year old girls. They didn't hear the word no very often when we went out to eat or shopping. They now have a greater respect for what we have and what it takes to get the things we need and want through alot of talking. We were very open with them and they are now saving money they have gotten from easter, valentines and coins from the grandparents. In 6 weeks they have both saved $25 each.

Things will get better and a positive attitude will help. I know that is hard to maintain sometimes. I often find myself falling into the self pity and woe is me attitude. Good luck to you.

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S.P.

answers from Kansas City on

This isn't a money saving idea, but it's a good work-from-home idea, since you've got three little ones and you're SAHM.

My cousin was in the same boat when her husband left his salaried job to try to start a business. Their income plummetted, but she did not want to leave her two little girls and go off to work. She began working for a company that trains customer service reps who work from home, by phone and/or computer. She has been at it a long time, and brings in about $3000 a month, working about 25 hours a week while the kids are in school.

In case you're interested, here's the info she sent me about it:

There are two reputable companies, Alpine Access and Live Ops. You can find out about working for them by going to their websites:

http://www.alpineaccess.com/external/careers/

http://www.liveops.com

Here's what my cousin said about working for LiveOps: "Thing is, you have to work your way up. Money isn't instantaneous. I work 5-6 hrs daily, and I'm, after 4 yrs., in one of the top groups. We pay our own taxes, etc. I make on avg $3k/ Mo, which is pretax dollars.

I have a couple of friends working Alpine. They just work for a single client, like GE, or AAA or an airline. This is much easier for most people, cause you don't have to sell and be very familiar with a host of different products."

I don't know if this is for you, but from the sound of it, even if you can only work 15 hours a week or so, and start out earning slowly, having an extra $1000 a month could be really helpful. Good luck.

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K.S.

answers from St. Louis on

One thing that helps us is planning ahead of time what we'll need. You can find some really good sales and clearance prices on children's clothes at the end of the season, so I buy almost all of my kids clothes a year in advance. This may not work as well with older children but works great for the younger ones. For grocery shopping create menu ahead of time and then when you go shopping stick to your grocery list, this helps limit impulse buying. We just tell our daughter that those extra things are for special occations. The library is a great source for movies, they are usually free to check out and most kids don't mind watching movies more than once.
Good Luck!

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R.H.

answers from St. Louis on

Try the library for free movie rentals, they have a special storytime once a week also & sometimes guest speakers. We would go to the parks, the recreation center, museums are often free. At home we still have game night where we all play some kind of game - we have a blast. Have a block party where everyone brings a snack. Garage sales are often an inexpensive place to get toys. Check out the Family Fun magazine at the library - we got great ideas out of there. (They have stuff online also I believe.) Hang in there!

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J.S.

answers from St. Louis on

I have recently become an ALDI grocery shopper and am saving at least $100 to $125 a week on our groceries. I have been very pleased with everything I have tried. What about $1 movie rentals and the REDBOX, only place we ever get movies anymore. Also, if you have a Lion's Choice they have 10 cent ice cream cones and 25 cent chocolate dipped cones. I can take the kids out for a little treat for 30-75 cents. That makes everyone happy. Good Luck!

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M.G.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi J.,

Not sure this will help but I have always cut the hair of the men in our house, that includes my husband(which quite honestly he doesn't have much hair left) and my son who is now almost 23. I"m not sure over their lifetime how much money this has freed up in the budget but at just $5.00 a haircut which good luck finding someone to do a haircut for anything less than $10.00 these days for a guy and you're doing well, I'd say this has saved us a considerable amount. Also - no cable tv or cell phones, hardly any prepackaged pre-prepared foods - make most everything from scratch - drive less - avoid the stores - I know I always spent(d) more when I shop, buying things we don't really need,make a list before shopping and stick to it, shop the sales, we have sevearl gorcery store chains within a 5 mile radius of our house so I do it in one trip, in my younger years of family life I know I spent way too much money on the lastest and greatest cleaning products - go to a website for environmently friendly cleaning supplies you make yourself with simple ingredients. They work great and cost pennies to make and use.

One splurge - that new shower cleaner that you push a button and it sprays the entire shower area after you take a shower, keeping it clean from day one if you start with a clean shower or it'll clean up a dirty shower in a matter of about a week. It is a splurge though but free times up for other things.

I can't imagine our income being cut in half however with my husbands retirement coming in just a few short years I can see that happenings to us.

We don't eat out much but I do splurge on foods items we would order out at a restaurant from time to time, like steak, shrimp (but only when it's on sale) - things that cost plenty out but you can feed a whole family of 4 for what one person's dinner would cost at a restaurant when doing it at home. Have family dining out night at home, set the table fancy, turn off the tv, put some light background music on, make a special dinner maybe a choose of whoever's birthday it is. I took cake decorating classes and make all my kids birthday cakes from the time my daughter turned 2 - I know this saved us and they always had fun picking out how they wanted their cake to look like from the wilton cake books available at Michaels so it's not like you have to come up with ideas but that can work if you're the creative type too.

Good luck I've rambles on here but I feel for you, when we were a young family we moved into a house with a mortgage twice as much as what our previous home was - wow we didn't know what we were doing but we survived taking inexpensive fun family vacations, there's always a way to figure out something and my kids aren't picky eaters and have eaten healthly, they didn't have the latest and greatest as most other kids did but they have turned out well, both in graduate school working on their PH.D. and my husband and I are basically blue collar workers. Love them, tell them why you can't afford something, you can even show them how the money is spent, keep explanations simple but truthful. Keep it matter of factly, hope this helps. Have them save for something special and give them an allowance or encourage them to get little jobs around the neighborhood. Even your youngest can be helpful and earn some pennies for something he's wanting. Good luck.

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L.D.

answers from St. Louis on

You mentioned movie rentals, which reminded me... I keep meaning to go to the library. It's free, and one of the things you can borrow is movies. Also, they have lots of free events. The Parks department also has lots of free events. And with summer coming up, there will be lots of churches offering free (or at least cheap) Vacation Bible School.
also try these:
websites:
www.tightwad.com - Tightwad Central
www.stretcher.com - The Dollar Stretcher
www.doughroller.net - The Dough Roller
www.allthingsfrugal.com - All Things Frugal
www.mommysavers.com - Mommy Savers
books:
The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn
The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less by Jeff Yeager
America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams by Steve Economides
Dining on a Dime Cook Book: 1000 Money Saving Recipes and Tips by Tawra Jean Kellam
Miserly Moms,: Living on One Income in a Two-Income Economy by Jonni McCoy
Frugal Living for Dummies by Deborah Taylor-Hough
Good luck!

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J.K.

answers from Rapid City on

I belong to a site called thredup. They have EVERYTHING there, brand name clothing, costumes, and school uniforms for consignor prices. It is a consign web site of sorts, you are able to send clothing into the site with a bag provided by them, and recieve money from them for either clothes on the site, or through paypal. The clothing is inspected very closely and is always in new or almost new condition when I receive it. The shipping is also very fast on these items, I usually have my order within a week, and shipping right now is free for any order over 40.00. Also new members can use this code (TU10) on their first orders and receive ten percent off of their entire order. Lastly if you use my code when you sign up, you get a free 5$ right away off your first order. http://www.thredup.com/77545 you can also refer friends and get the same deal.

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B.S.

answers from Kansas City on

www.angelfoodministries.com

They have a certain menu each month. Granted it's food that will only last you a week or so, it's still only $30, and for all the food you do get, it's a good bargain. Check it out and find a church near you.

M.C.

answers from Lancaster on

It's great to save money and there are many ways to do that. But sometimes it's a good idea to ADD some money too.
Here are two ways to earn some extra cash. Check it out for yourself. Both together take about 10 - 15 minutes a day I'm just starting and it adds up fairly quickly. It certainly isn't a huge income, but in my case, I plan for it to be my "fun money"! :) Just a thought!
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