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My family has done a lot to help limit the amount of money leaving my dad’s wallet, and keeping more in his wallet for more important and special occasions.
This is why we have been doing menu plans and grocery shopping for a two week time period, for a good long time. It seems to help out on money, seeing that we didn’t have to overbuy or purchase items we already had at home…
We have learned some new things to help save money, and we are still trying to learn more ways to lower the costs of necessary and not-so-necessary items.
How to stop overspending:
- Don’t pay full price for clothes – My family hates paying retail prices of clothes. We’d rather wait to find what we need at a reasonable price than to buy it full price, immediately. Whenever we are in need of clothing we usually do one of two things: go shopping at Goodwill or buy at a yard sale.
- Search the internet for coupon codes to recreational areas – For my birthday, I wanted to go to Busch Gardens. We live about 45 minutes away and had never been and I LOVE roller coasters. When I checked out the ticket prices I was blown away…and immediately started searching for coupon codes. I found one that’d take $20 off ALL tickets, saving us $120. With further digging, my mom found a preschooler pass that’d allow my brother access for FREE all summer long. Turns out we saved $210 in the end…even after we purchased three full price tickets to return all summer long! (FYI the code was BGWwendys)
- Wholefood stores – By wholefood I mean Costco’s, Sam’s Club, BJ’s, etc. It is impressive how much we could get for the ticket price. Not only that, BJ’s allows you to use any coupons, not just theirs, for extra savings. We do a lot of shopping there.
- Look on Craigslist or EBay for cheaper costs on big ticket items – These sites don’t always have the best prices on specific items, but you could still find a great deal!
- Shop out of season clearances – We do this a lot…you can say this is how we retail shop. Kohl’s, especially, is our go to store, when shopping out of season clearances. It is really exciting to see your savings at the end or your shopping. In times past, we’d save more money then we spent! And they even offer Kohl’s Cash Back, which means for every $50 spent (I believe that’s what it is…), you’ll receive $10 to spend on your next Kohl’s purchase.
- Go to yard sales/garage sales – My family LOVES yard sales. We dwell on them. My mom even wrote a book on it! There are particular yard sales in our area that we seriously put on our calendars, because they are that good. We get up early Saturday morning, pack some snacks and water bottles, and spend the whole time out looking for yard sales from the time they begin to the time they end. I cannot tell you how many great deals are out there. If you came to our house, we could give you a house tour and point out so many big items we found for bargain prices…such as: Chandelier, foyer light, eat-in kitchen light (all were brand new), two elegant chairs that cost a ton more than we spent, my desk, a train table, and the list goes on and on…
The clothes we buy at yard sales are mostly for my brothers. Can I tell you how excited my mom gets when each article of clothing are marked $.25. She’s like a kid-in-a-candy-store excited. You can say we are pretty serious yard salers. We should get the bumper sticker that says, “I brake for yard sales.”
- Coupons – There are some insanely good couponers out there…we’re not one of them, but when we see a coupon of an item we buy often, we add it to our pile. It’s nice to see all the deductions on the cash register when the cashier starts swiping those coupons. Another bonus to BJ’s is that they send you a booklet and journal that has some pretty amazing coupons of their store products, and they have even more when you walk in…
- Get on company’s email list – We mostly do this for restaurants and Kohl’s, but I’m sure almost any product you use has a mailing list you can join. The mailing lists I’m on continually send me coupons, such as: ‘Free appetizer,’ ‘Additional 20% off purchase,’ ‘Storewide clearance,’ etc. This would help a lot, especially if we used it…we try not to go out to eat often, or shop at retail stores.
- Discounted meat – My mom just introduced me to this. (I love learning money-saving tips from her…) She showed me the trick to finding those orange stickered packages of meat. She said that most stores (Wal-Mart, Martins, etc.) discount their meats in the morning, but each store is different, so keep an eye out or ask someone who works at the store. Note: the meat is usually marked down the day before the ‘sell by’ date. Once purchased, we usually throw it in the freezer for extended keep, or use it that night or the next for dinner.
- Buy in Bulk – Growing up with my mom doing food coops, I’ve learned a thing or two about buying in bulk. We use grains and mill our own flour, so we learned how we save money buying 50 pounds of soft white wheat versus buying it in the health foods stores. This is a great way of reducing your healthy food bill…
- Limit going out to eat – I love going out to eat, but it doesn’t do the best thing for your health or your wallet…especially if you do it often. We do go out though, on occasions, such as, out of town for my dad’s business or out late buying for our menu plans, but we have money saving guidelines of what we can order when we go out to eat. For one, we only order water. It saves us a whole bunch and we are all water-drinkers, so we don’t mind. Besides, we usually get three refills… Another thing we don’t order is dessert. We just think it’d be more worth-while to go to the store and buy a lot more sweets for about the same cost as it would be for a one-time only dessert.
I am glad I can learn these things now, in preparation of one day being a wife and mother. I want to be able to be like my mom who works hard to find the best deals so she could honor my dad and his money.
What are some other ideas to help save your family’s money?