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Smarter Mom: Money-Saving Tricks

Posted by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM
  • 56 Replies
1 mom liked this

The economy is on the upswing, but every single one of us could probably use a little bit more money in our pockets. Making small changes can add up to big savings, if you know where to look. Here are some strategies that work well for me:

Watch where you buy things: I recently noticed that the frozen lunches my husband likes to take to work are almost a full dollar more expensive at our local neighborhood grocery store than they are at the big chains. Sure, packing a sandwich or leftovers would be cheaper still, but I couldn't believe how much more pricey they were. Some people recommend keeping a "price book" of what things cost at different stores in your regular repertoire, but I think simply being kind of aware is just fine.

Get your Sunday paper: I don't just mean that as a recovering newspaper reporter! They have sale fliers and coupons; If you spend just a few minutes on Sunday going over them you can save big bucks. No need to be a crazy extreme couponer either...just scan the ads and if you see something you use and like on sale, such a a certain brand of shampoo, look for a coupon as well. Store websites will often have printable coupons or ones you can load onto your shopper card or even your smartphone. You can save  a lot off the price of certain items if you can stack a store coupon, newspaper coupon and sale price.

Use loyalty cards. More and more retailers are launching loyalty programs that allow you to rack up points toward rewards certificates for every dollar you spend, get access to members-only deals, or get a stamp on your card for every visit. These are great for a few reasons: not only can you save money at stores you like to shop at, they will often send you special coupons just for being a loyal customer. I once got a coupon for free bacon from my grocery store for no reason!

What are your favorite simple strategies for saving money?

by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 12:00 AM
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by Silver Member on Mar. 21, 2013 at 2:13 AM

1) shop around or store brand

2) coupons stacked with sales

3) cutting out certain luxuries such as gym membership, satellite radio, premium cable channels, etc.

4) buying needs versus wants

by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 5:57 AM
1 mom liked this

Shop Smart.

I cringe whenever someone makes a blanket statement like "Shop in bulk, shop sales, use coupons!" Those ARE good ideas, some times. What you need to do is check what you're really paying. If the coupon is Buy 12 cans of pineapple get 2 free, Cool 2 free, but do you like pineapple? 14 cans worth of it? Probably not, bad coupon. Plus where will you put 14 cans of pineapple?

Buying in Bulk, sometimes a good idea. But check the price per pound,ounce, etc. Sometimes it's NOT a good deal, it's a bigger container and a big rip off.

Shop sales- but again, check those prices. "Fruit Snacks Buy One Get One Free" HOORAY!! but wait, is it? If the box you pay for is $3.99, it's a bad deal. You can get fruit snacks for $1.50 a box NOT on sale.  The store here recently had that, then I went to another store where the same brand of fruit snacks were on sale $1.19 a box, And had a shelf coupon for $1 off 2 boxes, now THAT is a deal ($0.69 per box).

Smart shopping, it takes more time, but it's worth it.

Otherwise, don't buy things you don't need. Invest money in quality things so you're not replacing them as often. A $100 vacuum that needs replacing every 6months to a year and doesn't suck well, is NOT a good deal. A Dyson may seem expensive at $400 (usually less than that though), but it sucks like no one's business and they LAST (plus they have a 5 yr warranty-which you won't get with the cheapos). Things like that.

Turn off lights & TV's if you're not in the room with them. That saves on your electric bill. Keep lights off during the day in general, there's this magical ball of free light in the sky, it's called the sun, use it.

Keep up with your car's routine maintenance. Doing your oil changes when you're supposed to, and other routine things will save you thousands in the long run.

Stuff like that. I also like (though haven't started...) the $5 savings plan. Every time you find yourself with a $5 bill, save it. After awhile the $5's will build up quite a bit. This is probably better for someone that carries cash on a regular basis, which I don't.

by CeeCee on Mar. 21, 2013 at 6:46 AM
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I stay stocked, so I only shop sales.

by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 6:50 AM
My money saving tip is to go to my mils house and raid her fridge. I hate going to the grocery store. I hate it even more being pregnant.

Sooo much easier to go to mils house, and just open her fridge. :)

Honestly, I shop for convenience. It is more convenient for me to go to my local store, even if it is going to cost a bit more.
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by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 7:47 AM
Sometimes is not cheaper to shop multiple stores. Consider how far you are going and the gas prices. I am lucky to have a fantastic store with huge variety and great prices that doubles coupons up to 99 cents right down the road. But my friend who lives 12 miles away drove all the way out here because said store has a bulk bin section and the Easter candy is $2.29 a pound. So instead of stacking a coupon and sale (which there are plenty of both available now), she drove 24 miles round trip to buy bulk candy. Oh, and she drives a mini van, so no economical gas usage there. I didn't actually do the math, but I'm going to assume she did not save money on that trip!
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by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 7:49 AM

I always make sure I do a once (or twice) over of my fridge and pantry to try to plan as many meals as I can with the stuff I already have in stock.

by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 7:52 AM

We buy only what we need.

by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 7:52 AM

I never buy coffee, mayonnaise or Crystal Light unless they are on sale for buy 1 get 1 free. They seem to go on sale at least every 4 to 6 weeks at Winn Dixie and Publix so I always get them then. I never run out and these are items we use a lot!

by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 8:09 AM

 I use coupons, but my grocery has an online site, where I just click on the coupons, then in the store , when I pay, I just put in my phone number, and the coupons are applied, no clipping, carrying them in my purse, etc.

by on Mar. 21, 2013 at 8:32 AM

I do most things listed above, though not coupons. We also belong to BJs, which is a bulk discount club. We buy things in bulk that won't go bad, like paper goods or foods we can freeze. Makes a huge difference in our expenses.

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