Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How Do You Do It?

Calling all moms, wives and women - I want to hear from you!

I've recently been thinking about how I can do my part in saving our family money. I've been reading up on 'couponing' (who knew it was a verb!?) and Charlie and I have decided to try out the envelope system for our major spending categories to see if it positively effects our spending (and it really has so far!). I've also been a committed breast-feeder, thus saving hundreds (if not thousands!) on formula, and I'm going to make as much baby food as I can - at least the foods that make sense to turn into baby food and we eat already. I want to start being more aware of what is on sale at the grocery store so I can create my weekly meal plan based on the deals of the week and I want to be more creative in utilizing what I already have on hand so a) it doesn't go bad and b) so we eat more creative meals.

So I'm wondering... how do you do it? Do you have websites with pointers? Do you clip coupons? Do you use cloth diapers? Do you buy in bulk and freeze the extras? Do you 'go meatless' a few times a week to cut your grocery bill? Do you budget or use some other spending/saving disciplines (like the envelope system)? Do you cut your own hair or avoid clothes stores altogether?

What have you tried and stuck with? What have you tried and decided wasn't for you? And I know you're reading... leave a comment so the rest of us can benefit too! This post is leading into an idea that I have... comment now, but stay tuned for more details!


mandy said...

A few things Eric and I do:

I, personally avoid window shopping (on line especially, cause it can turn into a monster wish list) unless I have a gift card. Thrift store shopping is great, but you can't always go with something specific in mind. Go for fun, to see what you can find. That way you're not let down from your lack of specific finds.
I can generally find "hang out at home" clothes, gobs of baby clothes and sometimes "going out" things too (like a Gap vest for $3!!!).

Grocery stores sell in cycles. About every four to five week they'll have similar things on sale. Like Cake/cookies mixes or pastas/spaghetti sauce or broccoli crowns/asparagus every four weeks. You just have to figure out what the pattern is (possibly using weekly store fliers) and buy accordingly.

Of course you can buy fruit and veggies seasonally too. And freezing fresh cooked produce is great if you've got the freezer space.

Eric also cuts my hair...granted not everyone is comfortable doing this, and honestly if my hair were straighter or had a little less body I might not let him. But it works for us. We found a "how to" book on Amazon several years ago and it's worked pretty good. Eric also buzzes his own hair. What a handy guy!

Okay people, let's hear some more ideas! We're all for using our God given resources wisely!

Hope you find a way to save a few dollars Beth! Kudos to you for giving it a go!

suzannah said...

my friend does the envelopes and loves it (she just finished the financial peace university course.)

for us, it's about cloth diapers, shopping the grocery circular sales with coupons, stocking up in the freezer (we have an extra one), buying produce in season, avoiding restaurants and take-out, and honestly, living in the boonies where i just don't go to the mall or target and impulse-spend.

i know lots of women do home-based businesses--but those fake parties just don't do it for me!

i'd like to do more meal planning--because even though i feel like i spend our grocery money well, sometime i let things go bad by forgetting about it in the fridge.

oh yeah, and having a hunter for a husband means we don't buy much meat at all, saving us a fortune. we sometimes do meatless meals around pasta, eggs, or couscous, quinoa or millet.

Sarah Windstein said...

hi beth, i just read your blog, btw the pictures of your kids are adorable.

anyways...about the saving money thing....i cut both brian's (my fiancee) and colby's (step-son to be) hair all of the time. I would say that it saves at least $30-40 month, which adds up over time.

i also buy most of colby's clothes at target on clearance. For example I picked up a winter coat there for him that was only $6.75 when it was 75% off. I also have found him hats there for less than a dollar, as well as shirts, shorts and pants for 2 dollars or less.

another thing that i found helpful was actually buying 2 sunday papers for the extra coupon circulars. sometimes i even ask at the store if they have extra inserts lying around. this can really help especially when they are having sales at the grocery store and the coupons are doubled. i would say that clipping coupons cuts my grocery bill by at least 1/3. we also try and steer clear of items like cookies and chips that are not necessary. i also go to a lot of the times you can use the coupons you print on their site in conjunction with the ones from circulars on the same item for extra savings. we have an extra freezer in the basement, so that really helps too.

we also do simple things like making sure that the only lights on in the house are in the room we are in, and we keep the thermostat on 67 all the time, a little on the cool side, but getting under blankets is cheaper than a huge gas bill!

one thing i can't live without tho is food from the chinese restaurant down the street !

good luck!