Currently I am looking into ways to save money. Lucky for me I have some pretty talented friends. My friend, Kyttra, is a money saving guru. She is an exemplary SAHM of three funny kids. I’ve known her for over 20 years and I am constantly in awe of her energy, talent and accomplishments. I
begged asked her to share some of her knowledge with me. Please make her feel welcome!
Money Saving 101 by Kyttra
Coupons: Coupons are the number one way that I save money for my family! I have dropped our monthly food/cleaning supply budget from $800 a month to $400 a month. We are a family of 5 and for $100 a week we eat, have vitamins, have all our cleaning supplies and paper goods, over the counter meds, band-aids, pet food and more. Not too shabby.
Coupons are fairly easy.
1. Be organized– I receive the Wednesday & Sunday newspaper. I clip all coupons and file them immediately. The more categories the better or you won’t find them later. (Don’t just file all frozen foods in one section. Divide it into Frozen Veggies, Frozen Meats, Frozen desserts, Frozen Snacks…Get it?)
2. Use the WEB– I am signed up for PCH coupons and Box Tops Coupons. I also search the web for coupons on ALL sale items or anything I have to have. I am constantly shocked how many coupons are out there.
3. Ask Friends– Lots of people HATE couponing. They just don’t want to bother. Do not hesitate to ask them if you can have their coupons.
4. Do it your way-I tried to join a local group of couponers, but they were way too specific and their methods were things I would never follow through with. So I quit. Tweak it the way you need to. None of our brains work the same way. Organize it your way and you are more likely to do it consistently.
5. Be prepared to stock up– I know it is hard to budget this way, but if a sale is taking your favorite toilet paper from $7.99 to $5.99 and there is a $1 coupon, buy several and stock-up.
6. MOST IMPORTANTLY, give up brand loyalty– I used to only use Crest toothpaste, but Colgate has great sales and consistent coupons. I now get all our toothpaste free. I love Quaker Oatmeal and Quaker Chewy Granola bars, but they are very stingy with their coupons. Now we eat Active Lifestyle oatmeal or generic and Nature Valley Granola Bars. Obviously there are things you won’t want to switch brands, everyone has that one thing that HAS to be what they love. I get it. But, do your best to be open-minded.
Groupons/Living Social/Entertainment Books.
1. Housecleaning– This is one of those things I love to buy on these sites. I get 3 to 4 hours of cleaning with 2 cleaners for $65. Then if 3 others buy from your link you get it free.
2. Hotels– We are lucky enough to travel a lot. We buy Groupons for Hotels all the time. Not only do you get a great room rate, they throw in crazy stuff like Champagne, chocolates, free parking, breakfast and at our last hotel, $20 restaurant credit and a beer tasting.
3. Kids activities– We have purchased trampoline, bounce house passes and ceramic painting and ice skating lessons. My son took swim lessons and gymnastics through these sites. I have even given these Groupons as gifts for my friends kiddos. I love being able to try something deeply discounted before enrolling my kids at full price and finding out they aren’t really into it.
4. Eating out– One of the biggest money wasters is eating out. Unfortunately it is one of the things my family loves to do. So, in order to work it into our budget we buy Groupons and Living Social deals all the time. You have to subscribe, because let’s face it we are all too busy to remember to check all these sites on our own.
1. Family Outing– No joke, every Saturday morning our family gets together, makes a list of what we are looking for and hits the sales. Teach your kids early that life is expensive and Garage Sales are a perfectly great way to buy things in good shape for pennies on the dollar. My kids love it. They look forward to it and even budget what they want to buy. We give each kiddo $2 and it keeps them busy all morning. We only take $40 with us each week and we rarely spend it all. We have purchased Soccer cleats and shin guards
2. Family Money Making venture– Twice a year we conduct a “Burge Purge”. We go through the house and garage and clean out anything that hasn’t been used in 1 year, is too small, doesn’t fit our needs anymore or we would like to update. We hold (at least) 2 garage sales a year. Buy your signs at Dollar Tree and keep them sale to sale. Have a regular pattern for setting up tables so it is streamlined and doesn’t feel like as much work. Have the kids help you price things. Seeing how little you get at a garage sale compared to the original price paid is another GREAT lesson. We also have the kids do a lemonade stand. It is a bit of nostalgia I love, and helps them see how long it takes to earn a few dollars. At the end of the sale, have the whole family help get the leftovers to a donation center. (The lessons are endless.)
This is our first lesson. Come back next time when I will write about gift giving and travel savings.
Did you learn something new? What are some of the tricks you use to save money? I’ll be honest and admit I am not a coupon guru like Kyttra. I did use two coupons last week and saved $9 on my grocery bill. However, she reminded of a few ways I save money in my hippy way. I’m working on a companion Money 101 Hippy Style version where I share information on co-ops and farms. I’m off to check out Kyttra’s Groupon tip for deals on kid’s activities. I love how there are so many ways to save money for every type of lifestyle.