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Ways we Save Money

Ways we Save Money

Obviously, I don’t need to tell anyone that the economy hasn’t been the best this year.  David and I have especially been struggling the last couple of months, and with Christmas around the corner it’s even more important for us to budget and save money in any way possible.  Over the past full year, I have implemented many money-saving strategies which I am gladly sharing with all of you.

–          We buy generic brands.

There are a few things which we will only use name brands for (Splenda, Skippy peanut butter, Smuckers jelly, Heinz ketchup, and a few others), but for everything else we resort to store brand or generic brand items.  It’s a great way to save a good chunk of money off of your bill in the end.  We also shop at a store called Aldi which is like a discounted grocery store.  Many times, we can’t tell the difference between store brand and name brand, and if we discover a product we don’t like, then we go back to getting the name brand for that particular item.  We aren’t limiting ourselves this way, and we’re still happily enjoying our food!

–          I clip coupons.

No, I am not an extreme couponer.  I will never be one, but I do clip coupons on name brand products that we do use.  I do NOT clip coupons for things we do not need or like just to use the coupon – this just causes one to spend more money than they originally would.  I am known for saving coupons for chocolates and candles which in turn become gifts for other people.  Also, we don’t just clip “food coupons.”  In fact, David and I are both big advocates of sites such as retailmenot.com and couponcabin.com which offer big savings coupons for many online retailers.  I have saved approximately $50 on Christmas gifts by using codes from these two sites.

–          We take full advantage of our public library system

This will not work for everyone as this is quite dependent upon which state you live in, but our public library system is fantastic.  I have always visited the library for books (I’m a bookworm), but recently we have completely stopped renting videos from the video stores.  Instead, we put holds on DVDs we want to see, and then in a week or two they come in and we pick them up.  We get to keep the DVD for a week (much longer than a rental store or Redbox), and they offer this service for FREE.  We have cut a good $10 a month off of our budget by doing this (we are movie fantatics), and we’ve seen movies we never would have paid money for but ended up being a great film!  Check out your library system and see if they offer this great service!

–          We cut down to one car.

Again, this one will not work for everyone (in fact it won’t work for most people), but we have managed to cut back to one car.  Both of our cars were giving out at around the same time, and we didn’t have the money to buy two new cars.  Instead, we purchased one new car, and cut out $400 a year in car insurance costs by dropping the second car.  I drive David to work, and then I do my errands throughout the day and pick him up in the evening.  It can cause issues when I have doctor’s appointments, but we make it work and it makes us rely on each other more which has only strengthened our marriage.

–          I make to sure to always do rebates and look for freebies.

I use a site called allyou.com which offers a daily freebie for internet users to take advantage of.  There are many deals that I have no interest in, but there are some which are really nice.  I ended up recently getting a free sample of Nescafe coffee packets (including peppermint mocha)! They are usually little items and don’t add up to much savings, but they are nice treats that I would not otherwise pay for.  In addition, I always fill out mail-in rebates.  A lot of times, people buy items with a rebate, and the rebate collects dust on a cluttered desk.  I refuse to let this happen.  Free money is free money and I’m willing to cut out UPCs and make a copy of my papers prior to sending in these rebates! It’s definitely saved us some serious money!

–          I use deal apps.

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or smartphone of any kind look for deal apps.  I have an iPhone (which I know is NOT a money-saver) and I have downloaded apps such as WootWatch (also woot.com), Black Friday, DealNews, and iSlick which provide great discounts and deals on unnecessary items or gifts. We’ve used to sites a few times for Christmas already this year, and have gotten some GREAT items for discounted prices!

Although they’re not all HUGE money savers, they have definitely helped us to maintain our budget during the past year.  I hope you’ll be able to use one or two of these suggestions to save your family money as well! I’m also open to any money-saving suggestions that you may have to share with me.

Any good ones out there that I’m missing (I’m SURE there are)?