Ways to stretch your dollar in a tight economy: In places you may overlook; Craigslist, Thrift Stores, Discount Stores and Bargain Bins!
Pay less for your coffee!
In today’s tough and ever-changing economy only one thing is certain that we don’t know what is going to happen. Most of us have already cut back but there are always other ways you can cut back or save money. A commonly used example is the person who drinks Starbucks coffee daily to satisfy their caffeine addiction. What if you were to lessen the times per week you were drinking that $5.00 cup of coffee? How about instead of everyday, every other day instead, or better yet how about only once a week for that indulgence?
For that real frugal person you could buy a bag of Starbucks coffee, invest in a thermos or insulated cup and treat yourself to a much more affordable cup of coffee. Compare the price of Starbucks coffee at $9.00 to $10.00 per week or however long the bag will last you compared to the $24.00 to $30.00 habit per week. By merely changing the way in which you get your coffee fix you can save a chunk of change. This example can also be used for people who eat out for breakfast or any other meal more than once a week.
Becoming a gasoline saver!
Since the price of gas has gone up drastically, only easing up as of lately, many of us have been forced to change our driving habits. I know that for myself I changed jobs and no longer spend $500.00 a month on gas to and from work. I looked into public transportation but it would take me 2 or 3 hours each way which was not an option for me with young children at home. However even though I now work from home, I do still need to drive. I have found that running all of my errands at one time is the most efficient use of fuel. I also do not drive just to drive. I used to get bored and just take a drive and wander all over or even waste gas driving across town to the same store I have two blocks from home. I realize that many people don’t have the choice or luxury to drive as little as I do but there are ways you can make cut backs. If possible how about public transportation, or walking or even riding a bike? These are also earth friendly solutions to saving money and gasoline.
Purchase children’s items for significantly less!
Some people have the misconception or belief that when you have children you must purchase everything brand new. I can assure you that this is not always the case. There are of course some things I would never consider purchasing used, but there are so many other things you can buy second hand to save you money.
Many of these options for purchasing secondhand or gently used items may or may not be obvious. I have always been very frugal but over the past few years I have become extremely frugal. I love to shop but I don’t like to spend a lot of money. So in order to fulfill my shopping desires I found ways to save money. Now keep in mind I try not to shop just to shop, I try to budget and set money aside to purchase the necessary items.
Some of the best places to find bargains, especially on children’s stuff are Craig’s List, E-bay. Recently when I opened my daycare, I needed play items at a low price. I found unbelievable deals on Craig’s list. I found a Little Tykes Castle for $50.00! These castles retail for almost $500.00 with the shipping costs! In total I purchased 5 new pieces of playground equipment for under $200.00. This is practically unheard of. If you are in need of these types of items I strongly suggest that you check Craig’s List out in a city near you!
Clip those coupons!
Groceries can be the most expensive thing you buy right next to housing. Why not take a few minutes to clip coupons or use your store savings card? This can lead to substantial savings; especially with the stores they have the gas promotions like King Soopers and Safeway. If you don’t have the time to clip coupons, wait for the sales and if possible stock up, especially on the 10 for $10.00 sales. These can be a great way to buy several items for less. You can also look online for coupons for purchases for online sites.
Personally my family grocery shops at Sam’s Club. I know this isn’t for everyone, but the savings can be tremendous. If you are thinking what I will do with a gallon of mayonnaise, fear not! You don’t have to only buy huge items such as that. However, there are some things that will benefit you especially if you have a large family. For instance, you can buy a 6 or 8 pack of vegetables for $5.00 to $6.00 on average; this is cheaper than the grocery store for the brand name of vegetables. More times than not, the deals are better than if you needed to buy a significant amount of food at the store. I can spend $250.00 and stock up for a month of staples for baking and cooking. This may vary from family to family, but we do a lot of cooking. The most important thing to remember is to take a list, and stick to it. No matter which store you shop at, stick to your list and your budget.
Other ways to save on products, groceries or personal items is by shopping at discount retailers. Some of these discount retailers are places such as Dollar Tree, and Big Lots! These are great stores to buy hygiene products that are still viable, but were an overstock at the larger retailer. They also buy products from companies that are going out of business, passing the savings onto us, the consumer.
Fun things to do for free or cheap!
One of the best ways to locate fun things to do is to look at the Parent Magazine here in Colorado which is available at most grocers in the free newspaper stands. This has a substantial amount of ideas and happenings for families. Another way to find free or cheap things to do is check out the city websites, look at the museums and zoo web sites. Most museums and zoo’s here in Colorado have a few free days every year. These are great but go early because the crowds will be huge in some cases.
Don’t forget the library!
Many people tend to over look the public library. While you don’t have to be an avid reader to enjoy the benefits of using the library there are many other things besides books. In select libraries there are movies, and even music CD’s, for those of us who do not want to spend the money to see if a CD is worth buying. While they don’t have every CD you may want to listen to, or every new release DVD, there are also magazines, and computers to use during your visit. The kids get a real kick out of going to the library and picking out their own books and even movies. Best of all, the library is free unless you lose or destroy something.
If you love movies but can’t afford the hefty price tag, go to the matinee showing. The AMC theatres have the $5.00 matinee on most shows before noon on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. This is great because you can also save money by taking your own snacks. With the price of concessions, you may need to take out a small loan to feed the family, but if you bring your own treats you can save a bundle. However, for those of us who on occasion like to eat at the movies, my husband and I will buy a large combination and share popcorn and a drink. The AMC locations will actually give you refills on your popcorn and drink! So if you must indulge, share with someone you love!
Eat in more, and out less!
This was a bad habit for us to break. We like to eat out but it is not cheap for four people to eat out more than once a month. We made a pact that if we get the desire to eat out we should try to make it at home if possible. So instead of buying chicken wings, we make them at home saving a lot of money. I also use allrecipies.com to help me find new and creative recipes to keep eating at home interesting. There are many more websites but this is just one that I prefer.
These are just a few ideas of ways to save money and make those necessary cut backs! Once you get started you will find many other opportunities to save your family money.