Money Saving Tips - Plainfield,IL

Updated on February 20, 2011
A.S. asks from Plainfield, IL
11 answers

Hello Moms,
I know many of us have been trying to save money/spend less in the economy the last few years. I am just getting through a health scare. So far the results sound like they will be good for me. But, since this is early in the year, I have not met my deductible with the health insurance so there will definitely be medical bills for us that were unexpected. We also had a home repair and a car repair in January, another home repair this month & some dental work for my daughter that we were initially told would be covered by insurance & then turned out that it wasn't. We weren't having financial problems before but now with all of these unexpected bills so close together, we are starting to stress a little about money. What things do you and your family do to save/cut back that have worked? Any ideas, big or small, will be appreciated. Thanks!!

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answers from Phoenix on

We spent so much money on food--so I tried (and LOVE) For $5 a MONTH--they will give you recipes/meals and grocery lists each week. If you choose a certain store meal plan (like Kroger or Wal-mart) they also will coordinate the sales for that week to the meals! It's awesome! We used to spend SO much money on food---and then couldn't think of what to make. All the thinking and planning are done for you!! Hope it helps! It has helped us tremendously!!

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answers from Victoria on

My biggest savings has been in cleaners. i do not buy anything but laundry, dishwasher cleaner, and toilet bowl. I clean my counters with hydrogen peroxide, it is cheap and a very good cleaner. i clean my windows with vinegar. i clean my showers with lemon juice. You can mix baking soda, vinegar & lemon juice and make a cleaner for just about anything. For my fake wood floors, I use diluted peroxide. To make it all smell good, i buy a bottle of scented oil and i add one drop to the my made up cleaners.

I put back $20 a paycheck to savings for medical expenses and i just let it accumulate so when things happen, there is a little pot to draw out of.

For meat, my husband hunts. We process about 2 deer a year and we have them make sausage and hamburger....We mix the deer meat with brisket to make the best hamburger meat...even better than the real thing since it is so much leaner and yet still has a great flavor. the sausage is about $2.00 a link and we usually get about 100 links, that is about two links a week for a year. and the hamburger costs us roughly 80 cents a pound and this year we got about 160 pounds, that is enough for us to use 3 pounds a week for a year!! Saves us loads!!

For my other meals, I make large meals such as chili, roast, beans which are cheap but cover several meals. My husbadn will grill a whole chicken and that covers at least 2 meals for 4 and the that is 8 meals which is .50 each per meal for meat.

For snacks, I buy pretzels, chex mix, cheese nips, popcorn. I then seperate and put a serving into a zip lock snack bag then store in cabinets. This stops us from over eating on the snacks and going through them too quickly. I do not buy chips, but when I do, I do the same and they definately last much longer!!

I stopped buying things for my kids and started giving them an allowance so that they can learn to managge their own money. I give them 2.50 a week and I keep track of it on my phone. then when they are asking for things, they get only what they can afford and this has cut back on my spending too since I really didn't see how much it all adds up.

I have friends and we coordinate movies, so if i rent a redbox and I watch, the next day I take it to a friend and they watch it & return. Then they do the same for us. We also borrow each others DVD's that way it expands our libraries.

i do not buy books either, I go to the library. you can even check out kid movies at the library.

for laundry, we wear our denim like 3 times before washing. Same with towels. this saves water soap and labor.

i buy large juices and put in my kids thermoses to use instead of juice boxes and the thermos keeps the juice cold so that it lasts longer and less wasted. Less garbage in landfill also.

This is all I can think of right now.

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answers from Eugene on

Last year we took a chunk of our tax return and put it in a savings for a rainy day. It has helped us out tremendously. I also put $5.00 away every week for my son's savings. You can start out small and then work your way up to whatever you want to start saving. Eventually you will just discipline yourself into saving the money like it's a bill or something. I usually like to have a buffer in my checking account too like $300 to $500 - if I reach a certain limit I start holding the reigns on spending. You just never know if you have to use that money. And it has happened and it has saved us.

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm working PT now so I know how you feel.

Little things help - buying the DVD vs taking the whole family out. Not buying so many prepackaged goods (cut those carrots yourselves). Bagging lunch for the office from leftovers. Not dining out so much (we cut out fast food while running errands and it helped.) Deciding if you really need a new whatever or can make do with what you have. I bought new shoes but wore a skirt and blouse I already had to a wedding. I get a lot of my little kid stuff from friends, freecycle and thrift stores. If I don't need to buy my growing child (who isn't old enough to care much) shirts and pants, I can buy her new shoes instead. We do outings that are low-cost or free, like community events, library events, parks and playgrounds. Even the older kids like nature hikes.

I also use more coupons and read the price per ounce/gallon/etc. much more carefully. I'll pay more to save more down the road. Or I'll stock up on a sale on items we will always use that will keep, like shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper...

I'm sure if you looked around you could cut back without feeling like you were giving up everything.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

If you follow Dave Ramsay's Total Money Makeover Baby Steps, it will bring you pace of mind every day!

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answers from Salt Lake City on

my husband has unemployed for a year so I have learned a thing or two recently-
buy shampoo, laundry detergent, household cleaners and such at the dollar store rather than the grocer store.
Actually buy everything you can at the dollar store- or markdown stores
Buy the large bag of pretzles and some mustard or cheese rather than commercial chips.
Buy meat when it is on sale it always freezes and learn to use your crock pot
Run all errands at once
Red Box and popcorn at home rather than a movie out
cut your cable, internet, phone, cell phone plans as much as you can and still live
leave your heat at a constant temp instead of turning up and down even if you have to wear sweats in the house
if you have to have soda buy the liter bottles instead of cans or bottles
anything you have in your house that is worth maybe selling SELL it Craigslist is fantastic for a little extra cash every now and then, If you are not using it put in on craigslist someone might want it.

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answers from Chicago on

you got tons of great ideas.....i will add going to for any purchases such as clothing, household items, etc........also you can go to a couponing class by jill cataldo, just google it & there are tons near your husband & I attend a dave ramsey class near your area too, it's very informative



answers from Clarksville on

I recently switched insurance companies and that saved me $50 a month. I also shop for food for two weeks at a time, help to keep me from spending so much on unnessary snacks and drinks. I have an older toilet that waste water so I put a 2 liter soda bottle filled with water in the tank to save on the water bill. I also turned down the hot water heater. I make my own laundry soap you can find a many different types of recipes online.



answers from Chicago on

When my husband and I first got married, he could not believe how much I was spending on car insurance. I was carrying liability and collision. My car was older and if it ever got in a reck it wouldn't have made sense to repair it, we would have just had to get a new one. So we dropped the collision and saved $200 per MONTH. Yikes. I can't believe I did that. Anyway, check to see if you can save money there - if your car is old enough to be needing repairs you may be able to cut back on this too.

We spend a lot of our money at the grocery store, so I buy generic when it makes sense and that helps.

I'm always shopping for good deals on clothes too. I'm buying winter school clothes now for next year because they are on clearance. I just got a 2-piece heavy winter flannel pajamas at Wal-Mart for $1.

If you give stores your email address, get on their mailing list and fill out their surveys you will often get coupons. Today, in fact, I'm bringing my daughter to JCPenny to get her swim suit because I have a $10 off a purchase of $10 or more and a 15% off coupon for doing their customer satisfaction survey. Plus I have a coupon for $10 off a purchase of $25 for womens clothes so I'm going to get myself some summer shirts. Kohl's does something very similar.

Those kind of coupons are good, but I don't often use grocery coupons unless it's for something I would have bought anyway. I've found if I'm buying things just because I have a coupon, I end up spending more that I would have and the coupons are always for processed or packaged things.

I also live in IL, and I shop at Meijer for my groceries. Jewel is WAY over priced, as is Dominicks. I went to Whole Foods once and realized why it's called "Whole Paycheck." We eat healthy and find everything we need at Meijer - for MUCH better prices.

Also, just really be conscious when taking out your credit card or buying anything. Do you really need to eat out or even go through a drive through? It adds up real quick. After Christmas I committed to my husband that I would watch my spending to make up for some holiday purchases, and just leaving the card home or really asking myself if I needed it helped.

We do on-line banking and use the credit card from our bank. It SO easy to log on and check your card balance anytime so you can see where you are at any given time. It feels good to be on track, and you can see right away if you are spending more than you would like for the month.

You may want to consider a Health Care Savings Account through your husbands or your work. You have money taken out of your paycheck PRE TAX and it just sits in the account for your medical expenses - routine dental/doctor appointments, unexpected expenses like you had, or even prescriptions and other over-the-counter medications. You get a debit card so it's so easy to pay when you have the expense (no forms to submit or receipts to keep).

p,s. - I'm always leary of anything where you have to pay to save money. There are lots of ways to save money without having to pay to do so (counter productive, IMHO).

Good luck. *sorry so lengthy*



answers from Chicago on

If you're looking for free things to do with your kids, go to; you'll see a link on the homepage for free museum days, and if you subscribe to their email list (free), each Monday morning you'll receive their weekly Family Activities Guide, which includes links to free events for the weekdays and weekends, as well as the free museum days.



answers from Chicago on

Shop and cook from what you have on hand for 2 weeks. During this time make ahead a menu and plan your shopping trips based on the menus, go for cheaper cuts of meat that may need to cook longer, beans to extend the meat. Use more frozen or canned veggies and get all on sale only and preferrably with coupons.
Check your phone, internet, TV cable/dish/direct bills too see what you can live without.
Don't buy any books or magazines, cut newspaper subscription if you get one. Use your public library for your entertainment from movies, game rentals, books, magazines, and newspapers.
Do errands in planned trips to avoid wasted gas and spontaneous purchases or eating out.
Use washable towels instead of paper towels for cleanups.
Use half of the soap in washer that you normally use as your clothese ususally aren't that dirty. Use cold water to do laundry. For kids activities see if you can find a cheap or free alternative, whether through the park district, doing library free entertainment(reading groups, crafts), forest preserves have alot of free activities as well as various stores.
Call insurance companies to determine if you are getting the best for your dollar or could cut down(make sure they have a good insurance rating). Negotiate the dollars left you are required to pay on your bills. Ask if you pay in full now can you pay this much or ask for a payment plan.
Walk, if you are in walking distance to things rather than hop in the car walk or ride your bike.
Drop any healthclub memberships, exercise is free, all the parks are open, library loans out DVD's and you can do free trials at various clubs every once in a while to mix it up.
Check to make sure you are recycling to the best of your ability.
Shop at clothing resales at schools, rummage sales, or resale shops. Instead of paying to get rid of what could still be a useful household item or clothing post it on freecycle, while it won't get you any cash it will help someone out and you won't be paying to throw it out. Keep the thermostat at 62, yes it's cool, yes you own Jackets. Use vinegar, baking soda and bleach for your cleaners. They are cheaper and have many more multi purposes.
Live on only 75% of what one person brings home. This way when an emergency comes up you have it. And if an adult gets sick you know you can "make it".
One rough month can be stressful but it shouldn't be more than a we used a little more money than we should have and have to pay ourselves back. Not are we gonna be able to stay in our home, keep our car or eat. Good luck.

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