Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tips to Saving Money in this Economy

  1. Create a shopping list - Whether you use the old fashioned pen and paper or the more modern and quicker way list through your grocer, having a list ready before you head out the door keeps you from buying more than you budgeted for. It also cuts down on the amount of time you spend at the store and gives your kids a job while shopping. Although I should say, you should avoid shopping with the little ones because they always find something they want outside the list.
  2. Clipping coupons - I do this the week prior to the sales. I get them in the mail, along with the following week's circular. That gives me a better perspective as to what will be on sale and I combine it with the coupons for even more savings. I am a member of My Points, and so I clip coupons online. Not only do I save on groceries, but I also earn points while doing so.
  3. Stick to the sales - I will try and buy only if things are on sale, even if I do not need them. Buying the things that you do not need will keep you from having to buy them at the full retail price when you do need them. However, if you must buy an item because you need it then going for the store brands can save you some, or using coupons as well.
  4. Plan your meals - if you plan your meals in advance you wil have less waste, thus less money thrown out the garbage.
  5. Less cleaning chemicals - I stick to your typical dish detergents. Add about a 1/4 cup of dish detergent to a spray bottle, water and a few drops of Purification Essential Oil blend, and Voila! A simple, healthy cleaning solution for all around the house. It also helps that there is less plastic in the landfills because I am reusing the spray bottles. I also water down my dish detergent for cleaning the dishes. 
  6. Grow your own vegetables - it doesn't have to be a full blown farm. Even if you just have a little corner by a window, there is nothing more rewarding than growing your own food.
  7. Make yourself a scarf - learn to knit or crochet. Not only will you have fun learning to do so, but you can use your creations as gifts, or keep them to yourself. You'll be feeling warm and accomplished!
  8. Use your loyalty cards - I can't stress this one enough. I use it religiously for a couple of reasons. I get the sales price, I get coupons especifically targeted to my shopping trends, and depending on the store I get points for programs such as baby points at ShopRite, or gas points at Price Chopper. The other day we paid ONLY 0.59c/gal on gas!!! Yep you heard me right!
  9. Shop around - and read reviews. There's nothing worse than buying something you are really excited about and then going home to be dissapointed. I love to read online reviews before I head to the store.
  10. Online shopping - Saves you on gas, and you can get really good deals! My Points gives you points for shopping online for the things you love.
  11. Make your own cup-o-joe - Something as simple as making your coffee can add quite a few bucks to your bank account. 
  12. Hair cuts - I cut my kids' hair, I have been doing it for years now and they are used to it. 
  13. Hand-me-downs - I have been getting quite a bit of these for my daughter. From clothes, to shoes, to coats, she always has a full closet. When I have to shop for her it is mostly pj's and undies. For my younger son, I hold onto my oldest used clothing. Bottom line is kids grow so fast that clothing truly is a waste of money.
  14. Teach your children young - My kids know that I will not buy something unless is on sale. They are learning the value of money and also that when hard times come around they can survive on basics. Birthdays and Christmas I make exceptions, but for the most part they know better!
  15. Barter & curb alerts - These are great options when money is tight. There are people willing to trade goods and services for goods or services. Craigslist is full of curb alerts everyday! 
  16. Don't be ashamed - There is absolutely nothing wrong with being frugal! It is a way of life where you are focused on your needs rather than luxuries and materialism. You learn the true value of life when you step back from all the fantasies and temptations that are out there. 
I was browsing the AARP magazine when I came across this article titled "The Leap to Cheap" by Jeff Yeager, and I was immediately drawn. Cheap is the new it! And it is true that less is more in many aspects. Spending less money creates more time; time that can be well spent with the family, time to relax and enjoy life. After all it is less time that you have to spend at the stores getting things that cannot fulfill your life. Frugal living is back and people are more careful about the money they spend. As I learn more about this way of living, I hope I can teach my kids to do the same. Besides, you can't take money to the grave and money can't buy you love or the true meaning of life. For it is the love of my family that holds me together.

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