Ways to save money – GREAT for one income families

September 3rd, 2007

Who doesn’t want to save money nowadays? With gasoline, insurance rates, and the cost of living rising ever higher…why not spend your pennies wisely? Here are some ways that my husband and I have saved money:

  • Shop around for no interest rate credit cards. Transfer the balance(s) of your high cards to the 0% card. Then, pay like crazy. This way, your payments go to the principal and NOT the interest. Credit card companies don’t like you doing this. Know that once you pay off your credit card, many companies will increase your credit limit in hopes that you will CHARGE, CHARGE, CHARGE.
  • Get in the habit of only buying what you need. Seriously. Do you REALLY need that new pair of shoes, DVD, or package of cookies? Start to really think about what is in your shopping basket BEFORE you get to the register.
  • Buy your meat in the early hours of the morning at your local grocery store. I used to work for a grocery store that marked down meat each morning. I would purchase tons of steaks and good cuts of meat that were still good for a fraction of what they were marked. As long as you freeze these or eat them within 2 days, they are just fine.
  • Find out if there is a discount bakery in your area. You can purchase many of your baked goods this way.
  • Need bedding, bath, or decorator items for your home? Go to Ross. I recently bought a set of Wamsutta deep pocket King sized sheets for $24. These would easily be $75 at Linens and Things, etc. They also have great prices on Cuisanart, Kitchen Aid, etc. for your kitchen. I also found bath-sized egyptian cotton towels for $3.99 each.
  • Looking for books? Try Half Price books bargain carts, garage sales, annual library sales, and thrift stores.
  • Have too many books and want to trade them? Try www.bookmooch.com or www.paperbackswap.com These are both wonderful places to trade/receive books.
  • To save on the basics (i.e. milk, cheese, butter, whole wheat breads, cereals, laundry soap, dishwasher soap, dog food, etc.) – get a membership to either Costco or Sam’s Club. Make sure to read your local grocery ads too. Sometimes, your grocery store might have cheaper prices.
  • Use coupons! When I lived in California, our local store let us triple our coupons. Sadly, we can’t do that here in Texas. Using coupons is a FANTASTIC way to save money. You can also use coupons for Michael’s (crafts & framing), Linens & Things & Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I have gotten several of my Calphalon pots by using coupons. Make sure to read your sale ads to know how far to stretch your dollar.
  • Buy items at your local thrift stores. I have an eye for labels. When I lived in California, I would shop at a thrift store called Savers. They have them here in Texas too. This is a wonderful thrift store. Each day, they pick 2 color tags to be half off. I would buy suits for $3 and a pair of matching shoes for $2. I would go into the office and people would ask if I bought that at Macy’s. Ha! I didn’t share my secret, but how cool is that? Also check Salvation Army. Many of them offer 1/2 clothing days. I buy nothing but name-brand clothing now at a FRACTION of what it costs from the original store (i.e. Liz Claiborne, Abercrombie, Nautica, Express, etc.) I have even found Born and Clark shoes for a few bucks. As long as the item is in great condition, why not pay just a few bucks for it?
  • Know when big department stores have the big clearance sales. Dillard’s here in Texas has their big 75% off clearance sale in October and February. They don’t announce the sale at all. You just have to keep checking at the store. They then mark clearance at 1/2 off the 75%. We bought my husband a $400 leather jacket a few years back for $45!!
  • As for your car, learn repair. Keep your oil changed, tires rotated, etc. Just with simple maintenance, you can keep your car running far longer. If you need car repair, check with the Better Business Bureau on a mechanic you are thinking of. You can also go to: www.yelp.com for a recommendation.
  • Find a $1 store in your area. This is a great place to buy batteries, cleaning supplies, candles, greeting cards, gift bags, and throw away plasticware. I heard on the Clark Howard show that many rich people shop at $1 stores. Why? They know how to be thrifty with their money. Makes cents (I mean, sense)!
  • Look for furniture, home repair/upgrade items, and a multitude of other things on Craig’s List (www.craigslist.com). We have found camping gear, a sink, some pictures for our home, and much more here. It is a great place to find things that people don’t want any longer for a fraction of the original cost.
  • Join your Yahoo chapter of Freecycle. This is a board where local folks post things they want to give away for free (or you can request an item). This is a national phenomenon that encourages folks to recycle what they have instead of throwing it away. When our 13 yr. old dog died, I donated her medicated shampoo and medication to another family. They couldn’t afford the expensive items (I couldn’t use them) and really appreciated my donation.
  • Check into your local food bank. We have volunteered with our local food bank for a few years. Although most clients are on allowed to have food through the government program, many times they have “free” things that anyone can take. Our local food bank always has bread and starchy foods (i.e. mac & cheese) that are free to anyone. They also have a clothing bank. Many churches have a monthly food box that usually runs about $20-$25 where you get enough food to feed a family of 4 for a week. Ask your church. This really comes in handy when things get “really rough”.
  • Barter. Let folks in your neighborhood, church, etc. know that you have a service that you can provide (i.e. ironing, mowing grass, washing a dog, etc.) that you would like to exchange for something you need (i.e. watching our house while we are out of town, etc.) I truly believe that we depend too much on the mighty dollar. Bartering can be a fantastic way to not spend money and still get services that you need.
  • Need to make extra income? Think about selling on Ebay or Yahoo groups. I sell books that I have gotten at garage sales, thrift stores, etc. to make extra income. All you need is a digital camera and a computer. It is a great way to make a little extra and still be able to stay at home with your family.
  • Keep a gift box. When you find an incredible deal on a toy, picture frame, great book, etc., purchase it and save it for when you need a gift. That way, when you need an anniversary or birthday gift, you have some on hand and don’t need to spend a fortune for them.
  • Instead of buying a gift, can you make a “coupon book”? Some of the best gifts are those that come from your heart. Offer to wash the windows for a friend. Offer to give a manicure to your mother-in-law. Clean an oven and refrigerator for a neighbor.
  • Shop the clearance area! My family makes fun of me, but I am a clearance goddess. One of the first things I look at in a store is the clearance area. These are items that were once full price. Why not spend far less for them now? I have gotten some amazing deals on stationary, picture frames, clothing, shoes, and housewares just by hunting in the clearance area. Many folks turn their nose up to clearance. I say: “Thanks for letting me have it all!”
  • Need prescription glasses? Try www.zennioptical.comĀ  I heard about this on the Clark Howard radio show (my hero for saving money). You can get prescription glasses for as inexpensive as $8/pair + shipping. They have LOTS of styles too!

4 Responses to “Ways to save money – GREAT for one income families”

  1. Alex Henderson Says:

    Hi Shan,

    I am a home school mom as well. Would you consider selling my books? You’d take a portion of the profit of course. Let me know.

    Thanks,

    Alex Henderson
    PS- I am trying to lose weight as well. How is the flipping calories working for ya?

  2. Alisha Says:

    thaks, I adore what you wrote! i have gained alot.

  3. Clint Hittle Says:

    hey i really enjoy your blog. this is teriffic knowledge.

  4. Shan Says:

    So glad you can use the information!

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