Thursday, October 23, 2008

Money saving tip swap

Gas is $2.33/gal today! I am liking this extra money that we're saving on gas.

So everyone is talking about how to save a buck here or there... be it because of the financial crisis that is upsetting so many or the simple nature of life at this juncture for some of us. We might as well share what's working, I figure. So do tell! What's REALLY working, or at least what are you really trying to do?

What are you doing that's different than your "norm" to save money right now? Eating out less, shopping more frugally, selling a car, or selling a kidney (ha!)?

What are some ways your holiday will be different this year than last due to the financial stuff? Not traveling, buying less gifts, going for the generic turkey over the Butterball?

For us, it's been about the income-cut-in-half thing over the last few months since I'm not working anymore. I grant you this, we've made some major changes that many might not have chosen, but it's been great all around so far. Different yes, but we're not suffering at all, thank goodness. We've definitely learned that we don't HAVE to have everything we thought we did before.
~We moved to a new state to be close to family and hospitals/doctors, to avoid the long and frequent trips in the car.
~We sold our house to buy a smaller, older, and much cheaper one. It's an adjustment, but it's working pretty well, and the much lower payment is SO nice!
~We're eating out much less overall, although we still do here and there. There's no Toro here, so we're not tempted to visit 3 or 4 times a week.
~I'm shopping at Aldi, which I've resisted for so long, as I can't stand going to more than one place for groceries. I'm a one-stop shopper. LOVE the Wal-Mart Supercenter!! Unfortunately, we went from having 3 within 5 miles of our house in C-U to having the closest one be 20 miles away, so that's out. Since I was making a change anyway, I took the time to figure out how to utilize Aldi for whatever I can get there. And it's alot, I'm surprised! We're saving almost 60% a month on groceries with Aldi in the mix, and buying what's on sale at the other store when I must go. Maybe this seems obvious to you guys, but I never knew what milk or a pound of hamburger cost. I didn't care, just went and got what we wanted... then I paid the bill. Now I have taken a little time to check out what's better where, and it's making a BIG difference.
~We're driving M's car more when it's all of us. It gets better gas mileage, and since our trips are less than an hour now, it's totally doable in the space. (It's smaller than mine and a little less comfy...but newer, and spunky!)
~Movies are a big deal to M, and we used to watch alot of them. They're so expensive lately that we haven't been going as much. Now we live 3 very small blocks from a $1 theater! How handy is that! So we have just been waiting to see stuff till it comes there, unless we REALLY want to see something right away, like Fireproof last month.

Please don't take this as expert advice! I'm not saying these are gonna change the world for anyone but us, but they have sure helped us to get by on a whole bunch less than we thought was possible. This is NOT a "pat me on the back" kind of thing. But I'm a big proponent of dealing with what life hands you without complaints, even when it means making uncomfortable changes. So I'm just trying to walk the talk, I guess.

So share....what are YOU doing??


  1. I didn't know you weren't working anymore. That must be a huge change!

    I began couponing like crazy this summer. It's kind of a game for me, I see how low I can make our grocery spending every month & still get our favorite meals.

    And with Karly being sick, we definite ate out a LOT less. Now, I really can't bring myself to spend too much money on a meal.

    I'm cheap, but I'm loving this frugality!

  2. We shop at Aldi too for most of our groceries and stock up so we only go there about once every 4-6 weeks. Eggs, milk, bread and many other staples are so much cheaper there! Then we go to Wal-mart or Schnucks the other Fridays depending on what we need. I don't like produce at Wal-mart and most of the time at Aldi either and since we don't have a good produce stand in town (like the many you have in the spring and summer), we go to Schnucks.

    We have also worked harder on making lists of errands so we do things all at once rather than when we think about it. Also, we try to pick 1-2 outings (the zoo, Grant's Farm, baseball games, etc.) a month and go when we won't be out at meal time (we keep trail mix and water in the van to eat on the way home).

    We have hardly ever ate out and try to keep it to one sit down place and one fast food place per month max. The hardest thing for Jason is not going out for icecream, but honestly we still spend too much on drinks at QT, Sonic and McDonalds. Of course the 20 oz. drinks for $.25 at Mobil on the Run when the Cardinals scored six runs this summer didn't help either!

    Even though I don't have an older sister, I have two older girl cousins and I wore their hand me downs. So our boys rarely get anything new, including shoes if we can help it. Most people would never guess based on what the boys wear.

    We took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University this winter and pay for gas, groceries and such with cash. It helps to stick to the budget and cuts down on the "wants" when shopping.

  3. The cash thing for groceries is so true. We started shopping with cash a month ago and nearly cut the monthly cost in half. You just don't buy a to n of extra stuff and you are a lot more consciuos of the prices when you are paying with cash. I'm not sure why that is, someone told me once that it has to do with an emotional connection that we all feel to sad is that:-} Oh and ALdi all the way baby, although I usually get most of our produce somewhere else.

  4. I don't think our budget crunching has as much to do withthe economy as it does just because we increased our family size this year. We have had a huge increase in medical expenses due to my pg and the birth, so we've had to cut back in other areas. No more Netflix or video rentals or going to the theatre. A lot less eating at sit-down resturants. Fewer trips for haircuts.

    The hardest for me is trying to use a cheaper shampoo. I love my $15 a bottle stuff from the beauty shop and grocery store stuff just does not like my hair.

  5. So...I have always shopped at Aldi...they are fast at check out and the prices are awesome!! I go there at least once a month to stock up on everything I can get there.
    I use for diapers, or sam's club...but I do not buy generic diapers...they are not worth the savings...I buy generic formula at Sam's club. I go once a month and buy 5 at a time. I have found the less I go to a store, the less I buy. If I don't go in...I am not tempted.
    We have been eating out lots less...maybe due to the fact that we have 3 little kids...and it is no longer enjoyable.
    I got a gas "perks" card from our local grocery store. If you buy items that have the little credit sign on them, it deducts it from your gas. Last week, I got gas for 98 cents a gallon...filling up for under $15!! That was awesome!!
    Also, I have been using coupons lately...I watch the adds, then go and use my coupons for double savings. This week I got 100 pampers diapers for $16...that was awesome!!
    We also have been using the library for videos and such because it is FREE!! Free is good!!
    Oh, yeah...Christmas...we will be set. I use whatever money we got from our summer garage sales, put them in an envelope, and that is our budget...we spend what we have and that is that. Sometimes our budget for Christmas is only $50 each, sometimes more...
    Good topic!

  6. We're cancelling recurring things like the newspaper and monthly movie rental charges that we don't necessarily need. We do really enjoy movies, but during the winter months we can watch shows on tv and find that summer is when we utilize the funds better with all the shows being reruns. Like you, we're eating out less often and trying to really watch what we spend at the grocery store, trying to shop less frequently so we don't get sucked in to buying on a whim.

    Also, I'm switching to a less expensive place to get my hair cut and colored.

    These things are minimal, but in the end, every little thing counts.

  7. When you said: "...I'm a big proponent of dealing with what life hands you without complaints, even when it means making uncomfortable changes. So I'm just trying to walk the talk, I guess..."

    ...this old daddy felt very proud of his girl and her family.

    Great advice.

    I read somewhere that "...a person's life does consist in the abundance of his possessions."

    Of course that is in Luke 12:15...

  8. Oh yeah, haircuts...I forgot to mention that we followed the lead of a wise family member and give haircuts at home. Jason's parents gave him a clipper a few years ago and I use it to give the oldest four boys haircuts. Dillon and I still go to a chain salon every eight weeks for haircuts ($30 with tips). I don't know how to cut long hair and his looks so cute when its not shorn. :) I only need my hair colored in the winter when I don't get enough sun to lighten it and Jason uses a box from Wal-mart to die my hair at home.

  9. Our supermarket(GIANT) does double and triple coupons. I also shop at Walmart, Sam's and Aldi. I'm lucky because all of the stores are near each other, so I can do all my shopping at once without wasting gas. Also, I never pay full price. I look for good deals on clothes. Last night I was at Burlington coat factory, they were having such a great sale. I got (for myself), a pair of jeans, 2 shirts, a pair of boots, a pair of sneakers and a a sweat outfit for $70.00.

    A lot of people always give me namebrand hand me downs for my girls. And the grandparents like to buy the girls clothes. So, I usually just have to buy my girls clothes for special occasions and holidays.

    I started to be frugal ten years ago when I decided to be a sahm(hairstylist on the side), so I haven't really changed because of the economy. I hear so much on the news about the economy being bad, but I just haven't seen it around here. We don't have any foreclosures in our neighborhood. Everytime I go shopping, the stores are so crowded. We went to the movies a few weeks ago, and couldn't even find a parking spot. It looks to me like people are still out spending money.

  10. We continue to do what we've done for years: buy used clothes, use coupons when possible, eat out rarely, don't go to the doctor unless we're dying (just kidding, sort of...) and only buy cars with cash -- meaning we buy older cars. We are trying to combine trips to town more now and consume less meat. I had a good garden this summer for more fresh veggies. I try not to walk thru the clearance isle at Walmart, too. I'm doing more of my own repairs at home. I just refinished my bathtub instead of replacing it.
    And Dad left out the "not" in the scripture; he got in a hurry and forgot to edit :o)
    Love you!!

  11. Save money? I could try. I have a weird chip in my brain that makes this incredibly difficult. None of my kids got birthday presents this year and I hate that.

    We had a family move in with us and it seems to be saving them money, but our grocery bill is getting larger. I don't think I understand economics.

    My sister has called me twice asking me to come to Alaska for Larae's wedding in Dec and I have had to tell her no twice becasue we don't have the money. It breaks my heart.

    I hate money...or at least it seems like I do. I have thought of stopping my land line and internet but then my kids won't come over to visit. Certain people who shall remain nameless say I shouldn't buy gifts for my grandchildren on their birthdays. That is out of the question.

    Also didn't go on a 30th anniversary trip or buy gifts for each other.


    I guess I'll try Aldi's


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