Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Some Tips on Saving Money

Saving money doesn't stop with groceries. I attempt to save money while buying clothes, household items, eating out, etc. Here are some tips I have for saving money that work for our family. They may not necessarily work for your situation. Take and leave what you may.

1. When shopping for clothes try to avoid retail. One of my favorite places to shop is Ross for discounted clothes, shoes, lingerie, picture frames, bedding, etc. Marshalls and T.J. Maxx are also good choices. Hopefully you have one these discount stores in your area. Just last week I used some early birthday money to get 4 spring shirts and a dress for a little over $50. I try to pay under $10 for all shirts and pants. My dress was $16.99, so that was a little more than I like to pay, but still much less than at department stores. My favorite part is seeing the brands that I'm getting for a fraction of the suggested retail price!

Good Will and Garage Sales are also good places for finding great deals. Do not be opposed to second hand clothing and household items! You can get steals this way. Some of my favorite items in my house were treasures I found at Good Will and another fave place-

2. When eating out use coupons whenever possible. Last Sunday we used our Taco Bueno coupons after church and spent $6.43 to feed 3 people! We were able to get 3 steak fajita tacos (my favorite!) for $.99 each using an unlimited coupon, 1 bowl of chicken tortilla soup for $.99 using an unlimited coupon, 1 mini-cheese quesadilla and 1 pack of cinnamon chips off the value menu for $.99 each, 1 pack of chips and queso and 1 cheesecake chimichanga for FREE using coupons. These coupons came free to our house in a mailing insert.

This is just one example of how it doesn't have to expensive to eat out. Of course, Taco Bueno isn't up there on "fine fare" per say, but we're not really frequenting those type places anyway on a strict budget and with 2 kiddos in tow! If you don't have a Taco Bueno nearby, don't fret. There is bound to be deals available at dining out places in your area.

If we dine at a restaurant we try to use Buy One Get One entree' coupons. These can be found in Entertainment Books if there is one available for your area. These are also found in the coupon inserts in the Sunday paper. Also, sign up for the mailing lists at local restaurant chains and you may receive periodic coupons and special deals on you and your spouse's birthdays!

3. Shop at CVS (or WalGreens, Rite Aid, etc.)! You may think these prices are more expensive than Walmart or Dollar Stores and generally they are. However, if you learn the system you can get toiletry items and some groceries for mostly or totally FREE!

For example, this week I was able to get 2 packages of Huggies Diapers, a 184 count Huggies refill wipes package, and Skintimate Shave Cream all for nothing. I actually made money on this transaction! This week CVS has a deal where if you buy $25 worth of Baby Care items you can get $10 back in Extra Care Bucks (ECBs). I happened to have several Huggies coupons and needed diapers, so this deal worked well for me. CVS also sent me a $5 off a $25 purchase in my email inbox along with $2 in ECBs for my Winter spending. The diapers were on sale for $10 a package and the wipes were on sale for $5. I had 2 $3 Huggies coupons and one $5 coupons. The Skintimate Shave Cream was FREE after ECBs. After all my coupons and ECBs spent and earned, I made about $3 by buying these items.

This may all sound so confusing, but with just a little effort you can save tons of money and get quality products in return! You can see deal matchups for CVS and other drug stores at You can click here for a tutorial on CVSing.

4. When grocery shopping only buy what's on sale or what you have coupons for. I've said this many times before, but I've seen it play out recently by following my own advice! I used way less money this week on grocery shopping by actually sticking to this plan. You'd be surprised at what you can do without when you're forced to stick to buying on sale items.

The main starting place in grocery budgeting is to make a Menu Plan. It's important to have a written summary of the meals and snacks you have planned for the week, rather than just buying lots of different items and trying to come up with meals ideas each day when you're tired and hungry. At the beginning of our marriage, I would go to the grocery store every couple of weeks, buy a ton of groceries, and then try to come up with stuff to cook each day based on a conglimeration of produce, meat, and pantry foods. Then I would have to run to the grocery store because I never seemed to have the right ingredients for the meals I wanted to cook. For the past 2 years I have been using a Menu Plan and this changed our grocery shopping in a huge way. Since then I've also added in sale shopping and coupon clipping. These steps can be slowly added in since they can be pretty overwhelming at first.

I hope this information can be helpful to you as you seek to save money for your family. If you have any questions, leave me a comment or you can email me at: I definitely do not have it all figured out, but I'd love to share with you what I've learned thus far in this frugal journey.

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