Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Saving Money in Creative Ways

My husband and I have been working hard to save money.  We are budgeting with one income right now so we have to get a little creative to get the best deals.  He's a superstar deal finder and I am always impressed at the ways he comes up with to save money.  We thought we'd share some of our creative deal saving ways with you today.  They've all added up to some great savings for us so it's fun to pass them on to you.

// 1 //
CRAIGSLIST
Kevin has found some amazing deals on really surprising things thanks to Craigslist over the years.

He found a really high quality router for $30 instead of paying $200 for the same model brand new.  He also bought our play set from a man on Craigslist.  I was super skeptical, but I turned over the buying to him.  It was brand new and still on the pallet it had been delivered on for hundreds less than it would have cost in the store.  Score!  So be sure to search for any new purchases here first to see what your options are.  

This goes without saying, but... Be smart with your on-line deal hunting.  If a person sounds suspicious back out of the deal or if they are really pushy just say no.  We have had good luck with Craigslist, but I'd say that we are always careful, cautious and do our research.  Kevin does 100% of our Craiglist shopping because he loves it and I save us money in other areas.

// 2 //
Buy in BULK
My kids love dry cereal and Cheerios seem to be their very favorite right now.  I usually use a coupon, buy during a cereal sale on the HUGE box of cereal and then divide the box up into quart sized bags.  It takes the kids a while to eat a whole box so the smaller ziplocs help keep everything fresh.

// 3 //
MARK DOWNS
Check your grocery store for mark downs and stock up on your favorites.  Wal-Mart doesn't do this nearly as often as Kroger and Meijer in my area.  Look for the mark down tags, check expiration dates and stock up.  Meijer often marks down product and leaves it in the same spot as the newer products.  My friend Whitney from Come Home for Comfort taught me about all of the mark down options that are out there!  I love to buy lettuce, produce, meats, yogurts, cheeses, sauces and produce on mark downs.
I found this yogurt on super sale just because the expiration date was nearing.  It still had almost a week left of being fresh so I grabbed it.  I also stock up on meat when they mark it down and freeze it for future meals.  Ground Round and steaks are my favorite thing to look for on major mark downs.  You can freeze the raw meat or cook it and freeze it.  Both are super helpful when you're meal planning.

// 4 //
FREEZE
If you're headed out of town, not going to be able to finish something or are just tired of eating the same thing - chop it up and freeze it.  I have been trying really hard not to waste food so I'll chop up extra veggies and any leftover meat to have later.  This ham will make a great quiche and these veggies will be perfect for tacos or chili.  I just use a Sharpie to add the date and lay them flat in my freezer to freeze.


// 5 //
IS THIS REALLY A GOOD DEAL?
I've started asking myself that question about things I buy at Sams and the club packs of things at Meijer.  Sometimes the "deals" at Sams aren't great deals and other times they are.  So I'll snap a picture of the item and price at Sams and then do my research later or compare the price vs Amazon Prime in store to make sure I'm not wasting money.  Meijer was recently running a big sale on their Club Packs, but not their regular sized boxes of Ziplocs.  The club packs and the regular packs were about the same price and the club packs were about double the amount of baggies.  So I stocked up on club packs.


// 6 //
DUAL PURPOSE
I have been wanting some succulents for my kitchen window, but didn't want to splurge on them right now.  So I decided to pick them up as decorations for Fletcher's dinosaur birthday party and then repurpose them as kitchen succulents once the festivities were over.

// 7 //
MAKE MY OWN FOOD
I've been making sure to pack our lunches or eat lunch at home because it's so much cheaper than eating out for lunch.  I pack Kevin's lunch most days and then we eat at home or pack a picnic lunch.  We're home for lunch many days during the week which makes it really easy to reheat leftovers.

Another food prep idea:  I always make our birthday cupcakes.  Store bought cupcakes are easily $20 and gourmet cupcakes are over $30 a dozen.  Picking up a box of Funfetti is under $2, making homemade buttercream is just a couple of dollars and I think this combo tastes way better than the pricey store options.  I love to bake so this is a really easy way for me to save.



 // 8 //
FREE FUN
My kids tend to love the free activities we do just as much as the ones that cost money.  I try to plan out our days to include more free things that expensive ones.  We have been trying out new parks near us and they've been great free fun.  We still pay to do things like the Duplo class, the Children's Museum, but I'm always on the hunt for free fun.

// 9 //
TAKE INVENTORY OF WHAT YOU HAVE
Keep close tabs on what is in your pantry, fridge and bathroom to make sure you are using what you have and not wasting things.  I add things to my grocery list as I run out and then make sure to look in the fridge and pantry before heading to the store.  I have also been doing this with make up, toiletries and such.  It is easy to want to buy all new things when the seasons change, but I have to remind myself that I have a good stash of things at home.  It's really saved me from overbuying and wasting.

// 10 //
DON'T STROLL THROUGH THE STORE
I've started sticking pretty close to my grocery list because wandering through the aisles of cute things gets me in trouble.  I try to only buy what is on my list unless I come across a staple item that I forgot to include.  So I'll grab that extra cheese we need, but not go wandering through the holiday section and throw in some home decor.  Another example: I go to the make-up section for the dry shampoo that I need, but I don't scope out the fingernail polish because I know I don't need to be tempted by the pretty Spring colors.


How do you SAVE MONEY for your family??
I'm always excited to learn new ways.


It's time to link up with my favorite Tuesday Talk ladies.
Be sure to join us with your best post of the week.

Crystal at Hall Around Texas | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram  
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Lindsay at Lindsay's Sweet World | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Sarah at Sarah E. Frazer | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram


14 comments:

  1. These are such great tips. I have started trying to freeze unused food for later meals. The cupcakes are a great idea. The homemade icing definitely tastes better. However, when I have to get cupcakes for a crowd, I find the Sam's Club pack of 36 for $15 to be a great deal! Have a terrific Tuesday!

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  2. Great tips! I try my best to not wander through the store either because I always find things I don't need. Ha ha!

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  3. Great tips!! I really need to buy in bulk and then divide into smaller containers especially with summer break coming up and trying to feed a 12 year old boy! HA.

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  4. LOVE these tips friend. I actually get a little sad when I got to the store and don't find any mark downs. I also am really cautious about buying at Sams. The only time I go for it is if it is a big savings. If I am just breaking even, I don't bother storing the large amounts. I am SO happy you scored that deal on your play set. I drove to a neighboring town to get ours and bought it factory direct due to a "damaged box" saving us a hundreds of dollars. So we were able to buy a much larger one than we would have.

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  5. Great finds! I can't believe Kevin found your playset on CL!! If he is really into craigslist he might enjoy OfferUp and Let Go. I also use Varage Sale, which is nice because it's by neighborhood, so you don't have to drive all the way across the city to meet someone. I need to be better about putting an eaten food in the freezer. Right now we have a huge pot of chili in the refrigerator that we are tired of eating, so I will put it in the freezer today!

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  6. Sticking to a list is key for me at the store - although there are those days where things sneak in!

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  7. Such great tips Whitney!! We LOVE getting items off of Craigslist- as well as selling things we no longer want and need! Aaron is the Craigslist guru of our family and I really appreciate it :) I try to do almost all of our shopping online which really helps me stick to my list and not get tempted by all of the fun and cute things that are in the stores. Also- we NEVER eat out. It just does not make sense financially for us to spend $60-$70 on dinner for the 7 of us when I can make a yummy meal at home that feeds all of us for $5! Hope you have a great day friend!

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  8. Wonderful tips! We got our playset second hand. We don't go out to eat a ton, and I try to do homemade cupcakes, too!

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  9. Keeping a grocery list helps me. And always having an extra one on hand (a mayo in the fridge and an unopened one in the cupboard) so I am not running to the store for one thing that turns into 22 things.

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  10. These are great tips! I love the idea of dividing up the huge box of cereal into smaller baggies!

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  11. Thanks for all the tips. I really do need to start freezing some of my meat. I don't buy a lot at once, but if there's a good deal, it might be a good idea to stock up a bit and then freeze it.

    -Lauren

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  12. I love this. I've been working on going to the store less, which allows me to cut back on impulse purchases. I go once a week, usually Wednesday after WW, which means I only have about an 90 minutes till I have to pick up Connor. I have to shop quickly so I can get back home and put away my haul and head back out.

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  13. SO many good tips here!! I am going to start dividing big boxes of cereal into ziploc bags - that's such a great idea. I buy the cereal Paul likes in those giant boxes too, but he usually doesn't finish it before it goes stale. It kills me when things go to waste like that, so I can't wait to try the ziploc method. Thanks!!

    Whitney @ Come Home For Comfort

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  14. I like buying more expensive meat on sale, like stuff that is already marinated or pricier cuts. It's definitely a good way to save a few dollars and try some new stuff!

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Smiles, Whitney