Monday, December 5, 2011

Ways we Save Money

Obviously, I don’t need to tell anyone that the economy hasn’t been the best this year.  David and I have especially been struggling the last couple of months, and with Christmas around the corner it’s even more important for us to budget and save money in any way possible.  Over the past full year, I have implemented many money-saving strategies which I am gladly sharing with all of you.
1. We buy generic brands

There are a few things which we will only use name brands for (Splenda, Skippy peanut butter, Smuckers jelly, Heinz ketchup, and a few others), but for everything else we resort to store brand or generic brand items.  It’s a great way to save a good chunk of money off of your bill in the end.  We also shop at a store called Aldi which is like a discounted grocery store.  Many times, we can’t tell the difference between store brand and name brand, and if we discover a product we don’t like then we go back to getting the name brand for that particular item.  We aren’t limiting ourselves this way, and we’re still happily enjoying our food. 

2. I clip coupons.

No, I am not an extreme couponer.  I will never be one, but I do clip coupons on name brand products that we use.  I do NOT clip coupons for things we do not need or like just to use the coupon – this just causes one to spend more money than they originally would.  I am known for saving coupons for chocolates and candles which in turn become gifts for other people.  Also, we don’t just clip “food coupons.”  In fact, David and I are both big advocates of sites such as and which offer big savings coupons for many online retailers, such as JCPenny, Kohls, Sears, Macys, and more.  I have saved approximately $50 on Christmas gifts by using codes from these two sites.

3. We take full advantage of our public library system

This will not work for everyone as this is quite dependent upon which state you live in, but our public library system is fantastic.  I have always visited the library for books (I’m a bookworm), but recently we have completely stopped renting videos from the video stores.  Instead, we put holds on (brand new) DVDs we want to see, and then in a week or two they come in and we pick them up.  We get to keep the DVD for a week (much longer than a rental store or Redbox), and they offer this service for FREE.  We have cut a good $10 a month off of our budget by doing this (we are movie fantatics), and we’ve seen movies we never would have paid money for but ended up being a great film!  Check out your library system and see if they offer this great service!

4. We cut down to one car. 

Again, this one will not work for everyone (in fact it won’t work for most people), but we have managed to cut back to one car.  Both of our cars were giving out at around the same time, and we didn’t have the money to buy two new cars.  Instead, we purchased one new car, and cut out $600 a year in car insurance costs by dropping the second car.  I drive David to work, and then I do my errands throughout the day and pick him up in the evening.  It can cause issues when I have doctor’s appointments but we make it work, and it makes us rely on each other more which has only strengthened our marriage.
5. I make to sure to always do rebates and look for freebies.

I use a site called which offers a daily freebie for internet users to take advantage of.  There are many deals that I have no interest in, but there are some which are really nice.  I ended up recently getting a free sample of Nescafe coffee packets (including peppermint mocha)! They are usually little items and don’t add up to much savings, but they are nice treats that I would not otherwise pay for.  In addition, I always fill out mail-in rebates.  A lot of times, people buy items with a rebate, and the rebate collects dust on a cluttered desk.  I refuse to let this happen.  Free money is free money and I’m willing to cut out UPCs and make a copy of my papers prior to sending in these rebates! It’s definitely saved us some decent cash!

 6. I use deal apps.

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or smartphone of any kind look for deal apps.  I have an iPhone (which I know is NOT a money-saver) and I have downloaded apps such as WootWatch (also, Black Friday, DealNews, and iSlick which provide great discounts and deals on unnecessary items or gifts. We’ve used the sites a few times for Christmas already this year and have gotten some GREAT items for discounted prices!
Although they’re not all HUGE money savers, they have definitely helped us to maintain our budget during the past year.  I hope you’ll be able to use one or two of these suggestions to save your family money as well! I’m also open to any money-saving suggestions that you may have to share with me.  Any good ones out there that I’m missing (I’m SURE there are)?


  1. Great tips! The hubbs and I are trying to save as I won't be working next year which is so scary!! We have been saving for this since we got married, but it is still a very scary thought. One thing we do to save money is we don't have a tv. We stream online for free. Saves a good chunk of change, but I know a lot of people aren't willing to part with their tv.

  2. We did a similar thing to Inhaling Hope, we skipped the cable and went with netflix. When netflix upped their price we dropped the DVD rental and just went with streaming.

    Something most people don't think about is electricity. We keep our Tv, speakers, computers, etc. on power cords and when we're done using them the whole power cord gets turned off. When we first got our tv our electric bill doubled! We didn't even watch it all that much, but just from phantom loading it sucked up about 500 kwh a month!! (anything that instantly turns on -think tvs, computers, electronics, etc. usually have a phantom load and continually use electricity even though they are "off" )

    As soon as we started switching off the power cord our bill went back down.

    I try to plan my meals each week. If we don't know what we're having for dinner we haphazardly throw things in the cart. We end up spending more money and going out to eat more because we 'don't know what's for dinner'.

    We also turn our heat down at night(and get cozy with comforters!) and when we leave the house. We don't have a timer thermostat, or zones (so we have to heat the whole house!) so just turning it down to 60 at night or when we leave saves quite a bit.

    It sounds like you're doing an awesome job saving already. I really wanted to be a 1 car family, but it just didn't work out for us. =\. We're looking into replacing one of our cars with a hybrid, since we're city dwellers and all our trips include about 100 redlights. lol But in order to do that we need to save, so this post was awesome!

  3. This sounds backwards, but sometimes I save more money buying name brand than store brand. The name brands will go on sale for buy-one-get-one-free plus I have coupons... it sometimes comes out cheaper. I often have to use my phone calculator in the store to determine the best brand and size to buy and if the coupon is worth it or not.

    Thanks for the extra tips :)

  4. What WONDERFUL ideas ladies! Thank you so much. I can't implement the TV one as we just renewed a 2 year contract...sadly...BUT in two years I shall take you up on that advice! :)

    Kristin, Great idea with the calculator! I have noticed that if I can find great coupons the name brand items are cheaper as well. Wonderful advice!!

  5. OK,I just posted my own blog post with some of my tips! We also go the no-TV route, though we've never paid for TV anyway so that isn't necessarily a money-saving thing... just a personal lack of love for TV in general! (We hardly ever watch, and what we do watch is usually on hulu for free.)


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Please check back as I sincerely try to write back on any comments given.