Friday, April 30, 2010

Cost Saving Tips

I follow a blog called Kelly's Korner which I have become very fond of. Every Friday she does a special post called "Show us your life". Today's was money saving tips and I have already written down quite a few useful ones such as the envelope system. It's where you have envelopes for groceries, gas, and other various expenses and you put how much money you want to spend in each envelope. Once it's empty your done and can't spend anymore money on that category. Below I have posted a few money saving tips that I already use...hopefully you will find them useful.

Let the money saving begin...

1.) We spend a ridiculous amount of money at the grocery when we don't stick to my grocery list. For example last week we spent $112 at the grocery which included the $26 bag of dog food. If I wouldn't have created a grocery list we could easily have gone over $200 and the worst part of the number is the fact it wouldn't have lasted but a week. Prior to having Addison my grocery lists were usually color coded excel spreadsheets. I would make a menu of every meal I intended to make for that time period and then I would sort the list based on where the item would be located in the grocery that I needed to make in order to create the dish. The list would start with all of our produce/deli items since those items are the first stop at the grocery and they would receive their own color. I did this for every group of items which makes collecting them and crossing them off the list so much easier. Instead of jumping around on your list and then having to back track aisles because you forgot an item everything was right there color coded and ready to be marked off. I don't do the spreadsheets anymore but I still stick to my lists and create menus for the week.


2.) When making my menus I always try to accommodate any coupons that I may have on hand and always try to make items that can be stretched out over the course of one meal. My biggest cost saving measure is making my own spaghetti sauce. I normally make a double batch and freeze it down to four separate containers. One container can be used for meatball subs one night and then spaghetti and meatballs the next. We essentially get at least two meals out of each container of sauce and the cost of making a double batch of the sauce would probably cost what two jars of sauce would cost us if we bought them that way.


3.) Another grocery saver for us is we DO NOT buy pop. We drink mainly water, juice, and milk at our house and juice is not very often. When and if we buy pop it's because we have come into a little extra money and want to treat ourselves. Juice is bought in bulk at Sams Club!


4.) I do not buy sweets of any kind at the grocery. This is something I started doing a few months ago and you wouldn't believe how much money you save. Instead of spending 3 or more bucks on Oreos that would only last three to four days out our house I buy a bag of chocolate chips and make cookies that last a week if we try really hard. I buy sugar, flour, and oil in bulk when they are on sale and not very often will you find my pantry without at least one bag/bottle of each. Last winter my MIL stocked me up on vanilla extract as well as butter so I have enough of both of those items for the next year...no joke. She bought them when her local grocery store was having a huge sale and I think she paid a dollar for each bottle of vanilla and for each box of butter. Huge cost saver for us!


5.) Toilet paper and paper towels are bought in bulk at our house. Instead of spending a fortune on name brand toilet paper I normally buy the Wal-Mart brand White Cloud. It's the cheapest I have found that is most comparable to Angel Soft which I only buy when I have a coupon.


6.) Hand soap...Daniel and I are both pretty freakish when it comes to hand washing, me more so than him. When I am in the kitchen cooking I swear to you I wash my hands a zillion times. I despise dirty hands! Instead of spending close to two dollars for a bottle of soap, I spend closer to five for the big ol' gallon size hand soap and it lasts for close to a year. Also, I don't buy the name brand stuff, I buy the generic version from Wal-Mart and it works just as well as Dial or other leading brands.


7.) Formula...my arch nemesis right now. Can you believe that a container of formula for Addison costs $25.00 and it lasts exactly one week? Yeah neither could I at first but guess what? There are so many sources that you can sign up for coupons it isn't even funny. Prior to her birth I joined a few websites and I was bombarded with samples and coupons. I have not yet bought a container of formula without using a $5.00 off coupon. One would think formula would be more expensive at Babies R Us but it isn't. Her Enfamil formula at Babies R Us is $23.99 and comes with an additional 20% more than the containers at Wal-Mart where they charge closer to $26.00, subtract my lovely $5 off coupon and we pay....drum roll please... $18.99. They also run promotions where you buy two containers and you get a five dollar gift card or like right now you buy three and you get a ten dollar gift card. Right now they are pretty much giving me money just for saving money by shopping with them!

8.) Another I found today is swagbucks.com. It appears to be a search engine where you earn points that can be redeemed for other products. I enrolled today after seeing so many people suggest it on Kelly's Korner so wish me luck. If you are interested in checking it out click here! One of the ladies who suggested it said she doesn't plan on spending a single dollar on Christmas this year. So far she has already racked up $300 worth of Amazon gift cards just for using this site. Definitely worth a shot since Christmas is always tight for us.

Do you have any cost saving ideas that you could share with me? Money is really tight for us right now and we would love to be able to put a privacy fence up around the entire back yard...a dollar saved is a dollar that can go towards that big project!

1 comment:

Grumpy and HoneyB said...

I really like this post - and I did not know about the swag bucks...am on my way to check that one out!

I have been trying to meal plan also to keep costs down. Although it is just two of us I still can spend money on things that we really don't need!