4/25/11

How's your piggy bank looking? (Part 2)

I thought I'd share some more of my money saving tips. It may not save a lot, but it will add up over a period of time. 
 For over a year now, I've been getting All You magazine monthly. It is full of savings ideas and coupons. As with anything that offers coupons, it is not always something I will use. But there are always enough that I can use to make it worth the monthly cost of the magazine. At Walmart, it is under $2.50 per issue. If you subscribe it is under $2.00 per issue. The May issue has $85.32 worth of coupons. After I read the magazine, I went through each page and cut out my coupons for items I use. I ended up with $31.80 worth of savings. Not to mention, if I need any new clothes this summer I have a coupon for 30% off at Fashion Bug.

 Check your local stores for any cash back, coupons or special offers. If you register to receive Kohl's ads by email, they will send you a $5.00 off coupon that is good on any item, even sale items. I waited until flip flops were on sale. I found a pair for $22.00 on sale for $9.99 that I loved. I used my $5.00 off and got the $22.00 shoes for only $4.99. If you get on JC Penny's mailing list, about 4 or 5 times a year, they will send you a $10.00 off coupon on anything in the store that costs $10 or more. Again, I wait until sale time and use it. I have bought several pieces of clothing there that were on sale for $10.00 so all I had to pay was the tax.


One thing we have been doing that not only saves money, but saves time in meal preparation. Hamburger meat has so many uses and it freezes very well. If you will watch your local meat section, it is one item that usually comes in a family pack at a less expensive per pound cost. It doesn't have to be ground beef...you can get ground turkey, ground round, ground chuck, whatever your preference. There are just the two of us so we will buy the family size and make about 4 hamburger patties and freeze them so we can have two meals there. Then we take enough of it to make a small meatloaf and freeze it. Then we make spaghetti sauce with the rest and it usually makes enough sauce to split into 2 containers for two meals. So out of one package of hamburger, we can get get 5 or 6 meals. We have also found with just the 2 of us, we eat our hamburgers on toast. It is delicious and saves almost $3.00 for buns. Buns will only keep for about 4 days so with 8 in the package, we end up with 6 going to waste. If we really want the hamburgers on buns, we will buy buns then have four nights of sandwiches using the buns....hamburger one night, BLT's one night, hot ham & cheese one night, and Bar-B-Que one night (which we make in bulk in the pressure cooker and freeze it in small containers for future meals.) We have found that the following items freeze very well and stay good long enough that you can usually get 3-4 meals out of them:  chili, spaghetti, homemade hot dog sauce, Bar-B-Que, hamburgers, meatloaf, meatballs. We like most of our meals with homemade items. Store bought just doesn't compare.

Of course, coupons are a wonderful way to save money. Just don't fall into the trap of buying two of something to be able to use the coupon, if the item is something that will go bad or out of date, before you use the second one. Same goes for bulk items. If you are living on a weekly budget, spending $15.00 for laundry detergent that will last 6 months may not be a big help if you can buy it for $4 and it will last 3 or 4 weeks. Always be careful when looking at sale items. Tomato Sauce and Pork-n-Beans are notorious for being on sale for the 32 oz can, when two 16 oz cans would cost a little less. We get all caught up in the "ON SALE" sign, that we forget to see if it is really a good deal.  Coupons.com is a wonderful resource for those of you clip coupons. I do have a word of advice on coupon clipping. It is wise to look at your weekly store ads. Sometimes, Walgreen's has personal care and cleaning products on sale when they know there will be a coupon in the paper (they receive advance notice from suppliers.) Many times, if you will make the trip to Walgreen's you can use your coupon on sale items and get them for next to nothing or in some cases the coupon is exactly for the price of the item so you only need to pay tax.

My last tip for savings involves actually saving your cash for those little extra special somethings on down the road. I love decorative tins and have several scattered around the house. Every week, I receive and allowance to be used for whatever I want. I take that to go shopping on Saturday. However, if I dont' spend it all, I put what is leftover in one of my tins and let it accumulate until there is something special I want or I save it up and then go on a big shopping spree without feeling any guilt since it was already allotted in our budget weeks earlier. Another thing we do is change. My husband refuses to carry change in his pocket. He says he doesn't want to "jingle like an old man." So he hands me his change when we go to the store, out to eat or shopping. I just drop it in my purse. When I come home I put it in one of my tins and start a collection. About once a month, I roll it and cash it in and put the dollars in my our Vacation Fund Savings Account. He is also one of those people who doesn't ever pay in exact change so he ends up with a lot of ones in his billfold. Any time he has more than five $1's, he puts anything over five in a little zipper pouch. At the end of the week, if we have not had to use what was in the pouch, we deposit it in our Vacation Fund Savings Account. We are very careful to budget and do very well with sticking to it. A lot of times, we have a little left over at the end of the week in our grocery money (thanks to coupons). We take that and put it in the Vacation Fund (do you see a plan here). As a result, come September, we usually have enough in our Vacation Fund to cover gas and the hotel for one week. Which was a blessing or we would not have been able to afford a vacation.

I hope these tips have helped. Some may not work for you and some you may need to modify to fit your own particular budget and needs. I hope everyone has a wonderful week.


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