I would like to whine and bellyache about how school is just around the corner and I'm not ready. I could also whine about the price of gas. Add to that this crazy busy week and it is definitely a whinery. But I am not going to. Instead, I am going to review some things that I have tried lately to save money. That way I get to do something you might find helpful instead of just ranting (which really gets old even if you love me)!!
- Making my own laundry detergent was a good thing that I tried. It is definitely something I will do again-but not right away. I do not enjoy the consistency of the homemade stuff-but it worked well. Smell is up to you and which type of soap you buy. When I do it again I will probably try the felsnaptha (I think) laundry soap. Kroger has that soap and the washing soda but it is hidden in the laundry aisle-on the opposite side of the aisle from the detergents. The homemade batch lasts a really long time and costs hardly nothing per batch. However-making my own dishwasher detergent was not something I will do again-I've never been more embarrassed than the day I pulled my dishes out for care group and they had been washed with my homemade detergent. They were speckled and filmy and gross looking-I explained they were clean and my experiment but I was mortified by how bad they looked. Since I have clear dishes it was VERY noticeable!!
- Freecycle-Today I dropped off an unwanted piece of furniture to someone glad to get it and aquired another piece of furniture from someone glad to get rid of it. This is a perfect tool to get rid of some things you no longer need and also acquire some things you might need. The one in our area has had things like furniture, household items, and recently a Wii was offered. Sometimes it is just junk and it is always reliant on being one of the first to respond but worth the extra mail in your inbox.
- CVS-oh my goodness. They have started a customer loyalty program that is top-notch. Extra Value Bucks are earned on certain products and then used just like money towards your next visit. For example-one week I got one dollar on 2 cans of pringles. Since pringles were on sale for $1, I bought 4 cans and got 2 dollars for my next visit. $1 per can of pringles is a good price-but getting $2 off my next visit made it even better! If I had a coupon it would have sweetened the deal even more. Go online-shop and see if you can use anything and then cash in on the loyalty program. I hardly ever need to step foot in Walmart between shopping at Kroger, CVS and Walgreens. CLARIFICATION: I am not one of those people who boycotts Walmart-I just can't seem to go there without buying tons of stuff I don't need.
- Avoiding Walmart. Kroger has great sales and gives me double and triple coupons. I go online and shop their flyer, plan my menu and shop accordingly. Walmart has such clever marketing, I always get sucked into buying things for a price different than what I THOUGHT the sticker said, name brands because I can't find the offbrand, or unbelievable bargains placed on end caps that are things I positively don't need. All of this usually adds about $20-50 to an already high grocery bill. Convenience has a price.
- Taking advantage of clearance aisles. If you can't resist a bargain-don't even look. There are always wonderful bargains on clearance. Meet your NEEDS with the clearance aisle. Example: A purse you might use as a birthday gift is not worth it-but half-price shampoo absolutely is. I used to keep a gift closet. I would find things at incredible prices and store them in my closet for showers, birthday parties, Christmas, etc. I ended up buying stuff all of the time, keeping it well stocked and then not really liking what was in there. Most of it ended up being donated when I decluttered my closet. Now I just budget what I would like to spend on gifts and stick to it. I'm saving money by spending less and I'm pretty sure people are happier with a gift they could return if they needed/wanted to. On the flipside though, I am pretty stoked to have 8 bottles of shampoo that I purchased for 50 cents each-a bargain we will definitely use and it will save us money.
- Buying fruits and vegetables wholesale. I join with three other ladies at church to make this happen. Otherwise it would not be do-able because the quantities are so large. It works out great. My kids get to eat all the fruits and veggies they want and we can even be generous to their friends and my mom with plenty to spare. Check the yellow pages for a wholesaler in your area to see if they will allow the general public to place an order.
- The farmers market. Last week, I took $10 and went to the farmer's market. I purchased June apples (forgot to save the seeds, DOH!), 6 cucumbers, 6 winter sqashes, a gorgeous tomato, 3 green peppers and a little basket of small plums. I spent $8. 3 peppers would have cost that at the grocery plus I helped a farmer support his family which makes me feel really good about my purchases.
- Paperbackswap . Love it, love it love it. Especially when I got a workbook I needed that saved me about $5. Be careful though-don't swap your big hardback books on here or you will not be a happy camper!!
Please leave a comment to let me know your favorite ways to save money. Jason would be mad at me at me if I did not at least mention The Grocery Game. IT is a great thing-it just was a re-run of things I was already doing!! If you need help, sign up for the 4 week trial-it really does only cost $1!!