Monday, October 6, 2008

Penny Pinchers

Another post courtesy of Sanctuary is in the Small Things. Part of today's challenge is to share money saving tips. So I thought I'd post a few of the things I do to stretch our budget. Most of this won't be new for those who've read my blog all along, but that's ok . . .

  • Cook from scratch, avoid prepared foods, they're not as healthy AND more expensive
  • Hang your clothes dry. The clothes dryer is a huge electricity drain, and clothesline fresh clothes smell SOOO good! (and I find hanging clothes up somehow meditative, but I might just be wierd).
  • Just plain don't buy stuff! Seriously. Before buying something stop and think if you REALLY need it. Do you have something else that will work for the same thing? Can you borrow it for someone if you only need it rarely? Can you find it at a yardsale for much less if you're patient . . .
  • Stay home more. Saves gas AND pretty much anywhere you go there's going to be SOMEONE trying to sell you something.
  • Consider if spending more up front will save money over time. A Diva Cup or Moon Cup may seem expensive up front, but think what you'd save over the next 5 years in not buying any tampons or pads! Same w/ cloth diapers, a basic cloth diapering system (IF you stick with it!) will save a bundle over disposable diapers.
  • Use your local library! We are doing a book-intense history curriculum this year, there's no way I could afford to buy all the books we will read over the course of this curriculum, even if I got them all off, but the vast majority are available through our county library system, it means planning ahead to reserve them so I can pick them up at my library at the time I need them, but it's saving us a bundle.
  • Know when things go on sale & stock up. I got glue sticks for next to nothing during the back-to-school sales. If I had to buy them now, I'd pay 2 or 3 times as much. Needless to say I stocked up when they were cheap. Ditto for notebooks, notebook paper . . . all the basic consumable school supplies. I generally watch for winter coats for the kids in the spring, I can get them for the next winter at 50% off or more.
  • If you use credit cards (for the convenience) pay them off EVERY MONTH, ON TIME, AND find a card that gives you something back. For the last few years we've had cards that give us points toward rooms at Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn, etc). This means for the second year in a row we're spending a week (actually closer to a week & a half this year, counting a stop in Williamsburg on the way down) in FL w/o having to pay for any lodging. If you can't stick to your budget while using credit cards, don't use them!
I'm sure I'm forgetting some obvious ones, but that's a good start LOL.

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