Monday, May 16, 2011

10 Ways We Have Saved Money

Here are ten ways we have or are currently saving money!

1. We only had one car for 4 years.  One car to pay insurance on, one car to fill up with gas, one car for oil changes, tires, etc.  I drove the Hubs to work, went to work, and then picked him up.  While I know this isn't for everyone it saved us a ton of money and if you think about it the car just sits at work all day anyways so it's not like you will miss it that much!  (We don't currently do this as the Hubs has a 45 mile commute each way but hope to one day be back in this situation).

2. Cancelled Cable a few months after getting it!  We realized we didn't watch that much anyway and it forced us to spend quality time together - going on walks, playing games, hanging out with friends, trying new recipes, read, there are tons of things you can do instead of TV (and we still had DVDs and bought Television Series DVDs for each for birthdays and such). Almost six years later and still no cable!

3. Meal Plan - we have always scheduled our meals for at least one week if not an entire month and made sure to buy the ingredients at one time thus saving impulse buys from each trip to the store!  You also don't buy too much of anything this way which means less waste which really is money down the drain.

4. We only drink water unless there is a very special occasion!

5. Do things yourself.  I have always cut Justin's hair, we mow our own grass, clean our own windows, make your own baked goods, grow a garden, you know things like that.

6. Bargain Shop:  I clip tons of coupons out of the paper, I also search high and low for coupons for anything and everything - basically I NEVER pay full price.  Example:  I got a $250 double jogger for $70 total by waiting for a sale, using a giftcard I won online, and trading in an old bassinet for an additional 25% off. 

7. Plan Ahead:  By knowing that I will need an oil change in the next month or so or that we are going to need a water filter for our fridge, giving a gift to someone in the next few months, we want to go visit somewhere fun etc etc, planning ahead allows me to search for the best price and or coupons.  For example: For Big C's fourth birthday we wanted to take her to the movie theatres (something we never do) I found a Living Social Deal (or groupon) for Fandango 2 tickets for $9 and then told grandma our plan who gave Big C a movie ticket for her birthday.  $9 for three people to go see Rio on opening weekend was an awesome deal!

8. Vacation Savings: We typically vacation locally - this saves a ton and we search for tons of coupons on travel sites - who says just because we live locally we don't want to save.  If we are staying in a hotel we bring our breakfast foods and snacks plus plenty of water (ask for a fridge it's usually free), we always pack lunch for day trips and only buy snow globes as our souvenirs. 

9. Cheap Dates: We have always tried to be frugal for dates - looking for 2 for 1 coupons if we go out, otherwise it can be just as fun to make frozen lasagna with candlelight and watch a movie, we make a date night out of meal planning with lots of cookbooks and some great snack foods, go for a walk at the beach or local park, research local outdoor concerts, groupon deals etc.  For those with kids use family as babysitters!  Both our families feel like they never get to see the kids enough so we make sure to plan it around when they can watch the kids - nice thing is it usually means a whole night kid free not just a few hours! 

10. Keep things forever:  Okay that may be a bit of an exaggeration but we do keep things until they are no longer able to be used for their original purpose (at which point we try to find a new use for it) if we can't then and only then do we toss it and we think hard about replacing it!  We do this with clothes (buying much more neutral clothes than trendy), electronics (ours die before we replace them), old glass jars become storage or craft supplies.  The only time this isn't true is if we haven't used something in a year we sell it! We plan to drive our cars into the ground and have hopes to stay in our home for a very long time.  Our baby products were mostly neutral to be passed down and we try not to buy anything too personalized so that we can either sell or give it away later - no need filling the landfill!

The above ideas don't include things like using grocery bags for points at Ralphs, reusing ziploc bags for frozen items and such, buying used items, asking friends or family to borrow one time use type things, reusing bath towels for a few nights, altering/hemming our own clothes, working errands into the most fuel efficient route, not giving each other gifts for every hallmark holiday, moving out of the area for cheaper housing, using Swagbucks.com, Mypoints.com and the like! 

Hope this can help someone!

What ways do you save money?

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