Friday, March 20, 2009

Another mom weighs in on saving a few bucks!

My friend, B, sent me this after reading my post on grocery secrets. It was too good not to post here and share!
I’m big on freezing food, too. We bought a freezer a long time ago and it is always packed, except during hurricane season. That way, you have a place to freeze meals when you make a double batch, meat that is on sale, ice cream on sale, etc.

There are certain foods that I ONLY buy when on sale (cuz why pay full price when they go on sale every few weeks) : crackers, cookies, ice cream, chicken, cereal, pizza, any kind of frozen dinner…and I’m sure much more, but can’t remember. Come to think of it, I buy almost every staple on sale only. Or at least shop at Walmart.

My husband says I’m really good at not wasting food. I get this from my mom and grandma (who lived during the Depression.) I plan my meals out for the week (usually I make 4 recipes) and I always make sure to go thru my fridge often to make sure we are using items. I keep an excel spreadsheet that lists all of my food in the freezer by date, so I always know what needs using up. I actually started this after the hurricane, so I can make sure I clear out most of my food before hurricane season and then build it back afterwards.

Speaking of spreadsheets, my grocery list is on a spreadsheet, and is organized by store aisle. I have all our staples on it, so it makes it super easy to make my weekly list. Plus, it makes it super easy if my husband has to shop for me, because he doesn’t have to guess which foods are on which aisle (and neither do I, come to think of it.)

I keep Bed Bath & Beyond coupons- did you know you can stockpile them and use (I think) up to 7 per shopping trip? (One coupon applied to one item, so if you have 2 items, bring 2 coupons.) Also, my Discover credit card offers reward points, so I redeem points for Bed Bath and Beyond, so in effect, I don’t pay anything at this store.

I also redeem Discover points for Borders books. I also have become a huge fan of the library. It’s so cool to read books for free now!!

I agree with Amy- watch the clearance racks. One time at Whole Foods, after Valentine’s Day, they had premium chocolates (I’m talking they were around $10-15 a box) for $1 a box!!! I’m not kidding. I bought every last box and was giddy for a week. Kind of on the same note, I buy a lot of my favorite chocolate (Dove promises) after holidays. I can get them for about $1 a bag, when normally they sell for $3.50 or even $4.00. I buy 5 or 6 bags, enough to last til the next holiday. Who cares if they are heart shaped or egg shaped.

I saw this guy on the Today Show that said most cars today need oil changes every 5-7,000 miles, not the 3000 we’re used to. Check this with your mechanic, but I’m going with it. The downside is that you need to check your tire pressure more often and at least check your oil dipstick to make sure your oil is full/okay.

If I’ve got the itch for a new/different piece of clothing, I go to Granny’s Attic (Samaritan Center). Not only do they have cheap clothes, but they are usually name brands because they are pretty choosy about what they put out. And, all proceeds go to help the women’s shelter. Also, they give all kids a free toy, and my kids think that is the Cat’s Meow.

I only use about ½ - 2/3 of the quantities recommended for laundry and dishwasher soap. Everything gets just as clean, it’s cheaper and it’s better for the environment. (But I’ve got a long way to go to be green, because I’m still using paper napkins and plastic bags- shame on me! )

I could go on and on, cuz I really am Queen of Cheap. Sometimes, it’s not even about necessarily saving the money because I have to, but why pay more when you don’t have to? And honestly, I get a (cheap) thrill from finding a fantastic bargain. That is FUN of it, I think!


My notes: I also used less than recommended for laundry and dishwasher soap because a repairman of such appliances told me that secret about a year ago. Also, my mechanic also told me going 5,000 miles between oil changes is fine - especially for newer cars. I have started doing that since I bought my car 4 years ago. Doing fine!


WPMomOf2 (jen) said... you I get my oil changed every 5000 and I only use "half" of the dishwasher soap then required.

Sara said...

Thanks for all the tips. I've loved reading them.