Friday, February 27, 2009
Mom's trying to save money....just like us....may be worth a look to some.
Money Saving Mom - Her post yesterday is titled "100 ways to save $100.00 this year".
Here is her list of links to useful money saving resources....
I also have a link of recipes I have been collecting to try here on my Kaboodle list....if anyone is interested or can't figure out how to view the recipes just let me know. :-D
My Mom and I shop at thrift stores as well. I know some people look down on that - not me - I am ALL about saving money where I can and - hey - children are TOUGH on clothes - So I buy him jeans and t-shirts that he can wear to the sitter or preschool and be rough and tough - and for the price - who cares right? We also find A LOT of great books here - behavioral and developmental that have been in libraries, or classrooms. These are REALLY expensive online...so another great steal.
Another one is being CRAFTY and doing it yourself. I have YET to learn how to sew, but have been collecting craft tutorials and sewing patterns and have a link here if anyone is interested in that as well.
Crafts - http://www.kaboodle.com/grmnvixen/cool-crafts.html
Patterns - http://www.kaboodle.com/grmnvixen/cute-patterns.html
I can't wait to hear more GREAT money saving ideas....
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The website lets you search by store to find sales and even provides coupon match up to sale items, making them even cheaper, but I think more than anything the key is to check ads, use coupons and stockpile.
I buy 6-7 coupon inserts a week. I cut, sort and staple like coupons before organizing them in my coupon folder. (I have a 2 wipe containers that I keep them filed in and the wipe containers have there own purse, and my coupons go everywhere with me) Granted I coupon at a high level and I think most family’s just shopping for them could do 2-3 inserts a week. I ALWAYS stock up when an item is on sale. The key is to never pay full price for items that you can get on sale!
A good site for the new couponer is “THE GROCERY GAME” it’s like 5 bucks a month, but you and a friend could split it and just use the same log in. The site lets you select specific stores and shows when an item is on sale, if there is a coupon for it and also color codes the items. Black items are on sale, but this is not the lowest sale price they offer. Green items are called stockpiling items. That means this is probably the lowest price you will see this item matched with a coupon. The perfect time to buy as many of the item as you think you will need before the next sale. You can also order coupons online if you want to buy more of that item. And green items are free. Who doesn’t want free stuff? It’s free after coupon of course!!!
People will laugh when they come to my house. I always have things on hand like, a mayo in the fridge and 2 in the pantry. (Any type of condiment/rice/bean/cracker, etc or toiletry I have at least 3 on hand, sometimes more? My mom will say why do you have so much. Because it was on sale, I paid 1.60 a piece, well most of us know a name brand mayo can cost upwards of 4-5 dollars. I bought 3 for the price of one. Do things go bad sometimes before I get a chance to use it? I guess this could be a problem but I always find a way to use something if it’s going bad. Example if my mayo was expiring next week, we will be having tuna sandwiches for lunch, making egg salad and potato salad. I will find a way to use it or give it away before I have to throw away money!!!
I also use my crock-pot a LOT. If I don’t plan then we eat out and we all know a family of 5 eating out now is a minimum of $40-50 and this is even take out sometimes!!! EKK
Also stocking up on meat in your freezer. I think this is a big one, because its one of the most expensive things in meals. Buy on sale. Example ground beef usually is on sale for 1.99 and a great sale is .99 I always stock up and have the butchers package them in sizes I would use. I have about 30lbs of ground beef in my freezer all in 1lb packages. (you can freeze meat for a year, says my dad, who use to be a butcher) Do I have a lot, yes, but when there are no good sales I don’t have to go out and pay 3.79 a lb.
People laugh at my addiction, but it works out better in the long run. When my son had to go to the emergency room last month and have CAT scan that was big unexpected expense. Since I have such a big stockpile at home I probably spent 20 bucks on groceries the whole month because we were low on funds and this was just stuff that you have to buy regularly like milk, veggies and fruit. Thank goodness I had a stockpile because didn’t have to touch savings to pay for the unexpected expense or charge my groceries on a Credit card!
My fav deal blogs:
http://www.iheartcvs.com/ ( get all my stuff from CVS for FREE, I am not lying, Stephanie Bonomo can attest to it!)
And my number one Favorite!!!! It’s a group of moms who talk about deals and family. I really feel like we are big bunch of friends. Please join us.
I hope this helps someone!!!
Here’s my two cents, so to speak...
Health care: The biggest money-saver I’ve discovered lately is for health insurance. What you do is switch your health insurance to a cheaper plan with a high deductible (at least $3,000 or so) and then open a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA). You put money in the HSA and then use it to pay all out-of-pocket healthcare expenses—anything your health insurance doesn’t cover such as copays, immunizations, and even over-the-counter medicines at the drugstore. The cool part is that you don’t pay income taxes on any of the money you put into the HSA, so you basically get 30% off all your health care expenses (or whatever percentage your tax bracket is). I have an insurance agent that set all this up for me for free.
Tax deductions: Aside from your house or apartment, taxes are probably the biggest expense. Since tax time is coming up, be sure to take ALL of the deductions to which you are entitled. If you do your own taxes, don’t forget about some of these:
--deduct all DMV fees
--deduct property taxes and mortgage interest (if you own your house)
--deduct all contributions to your church or other nonprofits, including clothes donated to thrift stores
--deduct miles you drive for charitable purposes (14 cents per mile)
--deduct miles you drive for medical purposes (27 cents per mile)
My husband owns a business, so we are able to take tons of deductions that employed people can’t take. The benefits are absolutely amazing. For example, his company buys the pricey ink cartridges for my home photo printer because Mark uses it to print out things for work. If we take a weekend trip to San Diego, we stop by one of the stores that carries Mark’s products and chat with the owner for a bit—abracadabra, a deductible trip. However, the “security” of a reliable paycheck is also a big positive, so there are good and bad points to owning a business.
Drugs: Buy generic. As long as the active ingredient is the same, it’s the exact same medicine for less than half the cost. Costco generics are especially cheap. My husband takes a lot of Benadryl for his allergies, so I buy big bottles of generic Benadryl at Costco for about $3.50.
Retirement plans: Move your retirement plan (IRA or 401-K) investments into stable money-market type funds because the stock market is still going down and probably will continue to do so for a while. The news is full of government predictions that the recession will be over by the end of this year, but I don’t believe that one bit.
Groceries: Big Lots and the 99 Cents store are awesome! Vons and Ralphs are the only local grocery chains that double your coupons. Sprouts (in Claremont) has REALLY good deals on produce in their ads, but it’s not cheap for anything else. Costco is great for many things, but don’t assume that Costco has the best price just because it’s Costco. Know the prices of the products you buy. Also, I recently read that the biggest waste of money on groceries is when we don’t use something and let it spoil—especially true for produce. That’s a big argument for planning out the week’s meals in advance, which I’ve always intended to do but it’s never actually happened. Several others have already talked about Couponmom.com, but I want to put in my vote for it, too.
Other coupons: Someone mentioned this already, but I’ve found it very helpful to go to the websites of products I buy frequently and sign up for their email newsletters which often include coupons.
Clothes: Shop the end-of-season clearance sales. A few weeks ago, Kohl’s had racks and racks of clothes at 80% off. JC Penney’s had stuff 70% off. I get a big charge out of showing my husband what I bought and then asking him to guess how little I spent for it. I rarely buy clothes for my boys because my sister-in-law (who has a 6-year-old boy) hands down all her son’s clothes to me. See if you can make an arrangement like that with a friend or family member.
Books: I love books, but I rarely buy them new. There are tons of used book sales—each public library has one or two a year plus random other ones such as the Pilgrim Place Festival in November. Also, each county has a great system where you can request books from other libraries if your local library doesn’t have a certain book that you want to read. You just put the book on hold, the library that has it sends it over to your local library, and they let you know when you can come pick it up. To access the catalog for L.A. County, go to www.colapublib.org.
Activities for kids: Parks are tons of fun and free! I read about great idea. The mom put a map of her city on the wall and marked all the parks. Every week she took her kids to a different park. The kids got to rate the park on different things, and the mom kept track of the scores. They went back to the “favorite” parks on special days. This mom had older kids and did this during summer break, but it sounds fun. Do things close to home to save gas. Hiking in the mountains is a great family activity (but I don’t go without my husband for safety reasons).
There’s a Circuit City in Montclair and a Chick’s Sporting Goods in Upland that are going out of business and have everything discounted. Also, Second Story Books in the Claremont Village.
Keep a wish list of things you’d like to have but don’t really need. Then consult the list when people ask what you want for your birthday.
Keep the great tips coming! Also, let’s not forget to praise God for the blessings he gives each of us in the midst of these hard times and keep an eye out for others who could use some help.
I have two pages on my shopping lists for depending on what I have spent. one list is stuff I have to get right now: tp, allergy meds, milk, dog food things like that. the second list is stuff I'd like to get now, but I can wait til next payday-mostly stock up stuff: a can of furniture polish because the one at home is very low, I am going to need conditioner soon, those frozen dinners are a bargain but I don't have a coupon.
Then what you do is plan your meals based on whatever you got through The Grocery Game that week. For example, this week I got a huge pork loin. Never have cooked a pork loin before, but I'm going to learn. My second biggest hint is www.allrecipes.com - this is the best recipe site, because you enter in the ingredient you have and all the recipes come up that have that ingredient. The cool thing, though, is that not only is the recipe itself rated out of five stars, you can flag reviews that are really helpful and they move up in the list. So all you have to do is read the top 5 or 6 reviews of the recipe and people will tell you the alterations that are necessary to make it really good! It means that you make the recipe the first time as if it were your 5th time with alterations included. =) Anyway, the combination of these two sites have transformed groceries and meal planning in our household.
A note about cancelling the home phone - if you do that, be sure to program your LOCAL police into your cell phone and use that instead of 911. My friend who is a police officer told me this. The cell phone 911 is not local, it goes to a regional call center and you end up having to wait in line after all the 911 calls in your region - he says it is ridiculous how long people have to wait for cell phone 911. You'll get a faster response on your cell phone if you dial your local police.
Double check your cell phone plan and make sure you're using all of the minutes, and that there aren't any services on there that you don't need. Reduce your plan down to what you actually use based on your historical call volume. Also, a lot of times they'll add "free for the first month" type services at the beginning and then you end up paying monthly for internet or some other service that you don't use. We saved around $50 a month when I reviewed our cell phone charges carefully and changed our plan.
If you have different internet and phone providers, check to see if Verizon's bundled plan is cheaper. We were paying $70 for DSL, and then once our contract was up we researched it and have switched to the Verizon bundled plan - essentially now we get our internet for $5 a month!
If you are good about paying your credit card bills be sure to call them up and ask them for a reduced interest rate.
My hubby started driving a scooter to work instead of the car. He gets approx 70 mpg. That has made a HUGE difference in our gas bill. Also, we have a Vons with a gas station here in La Verne- you automatically get 3 cents/gallon off when you use your Vons card. Also, when you shop at Vons (which I do exclusively because they double my coupons), you earn huge gas rewards. Yesterday the checker told me I'm going to save 70 cents per gallon on my next fill-up.
Double check your insurance policies to make sure the coverage is exactly what you need and no more. I use Farmers and I just told my agent I wanted to try to decrease our payment, and she worked with me to eliminate the fluff from our policy - it turned out there was some stuff on there that we didn't need to pay for (like, we were paying a few bucks per month to have the option of a free rental car while our car was in the shop - well, our Carmax car warranty provides that already, so we were paying for coverage we already had).
We got a water cooler and get water refills from our local water store. WAY cheaper than having water delivered or buying water bottles at the store, plus now we have hot and cold drinking water on demand, and always have several large containers of emergency water on hand just in case.
We do Blockbuster Online instead of renting movies. The cool thing about it is that we always have movies on hand to watch, plus you can exchange them in the store for a rental, so you can be spontaneous on a Friday night too.
For any other ladies out there who play games or have husbands who do, my husband has subscribed to a program called Gamefly.com. It's just like Blockbuster or Netflix except for videogames, so for $25 a month he always has a game to play. This is amazing to us because Playstation Games cost $60 each, and he goes through several of them per month. The awesome thing about it is that it means he tries out all of these games before committing any money to them, and it has brought his gaming hobby down to an affordable level. (They have games for all of the different platforms, Playstation, Wii, Xbox, the handheld ones, etc.) And then, to top it all off, if he likes a game and wants to buy it, he just buys the one they sent him and they sell it at a MUCH cheaper price than retail. I can't even say how much $$ this service has saved us.
If you have to buy anything at all, look on Craigslist.org and Freecycle.org FIRST. Don't go out an buy a new baby gate or bookcase, whatever, look and see if someone else is getting rid of one. Also, try to sell your stuff on Craigslist before giving it to Goodwill. You better bet that someone out there wants it for a bit of $$.
Use a bread machine to make yummy white and french bread for much cheaper than the store.
For an easy, cheap meal, I put pork, chicken, or beef in the crockpot with our favorite BBQ sauce and once it is really soft just shred it and serve it on rolls.
Well, that's it for now! Keep them coming ladies, this is super helpful.
register online for diapers, formula etc for babies/toddlers. most companies will send you coupons (some start great and fade to ok, but they still save some cash). I know enfamil started with $10 off and went to $2 but it was something! some stores will not accept internet coupons-have them sent to your home via snail mail
some restaurants offer kids eat free. I know Chevy's offers it on tuesdays and in the paper last week there was a coupon for a meal $3.99 when purchased with one regular meal. Chick-fil-A has family night on tuesday. That means when you buy one meal, you get a childs for free. There is a secret too; if you keep your toy and trade it in unopened, they will give you a free ice cream.
Don't forget Children's Orchard clothing exchange. They send emails that when you bring in clothes, they will give you a percentage off your next purchase. I've been a few times, but not bought anything, so I don't really know what the discount is.
Check your long distance too. we never use our house phone for long distance. We have the minutes on our cell phones and it is actually free for us to call Texas and Boston.
get rid of your water bottles! they are not good for our planet or our wallets. We save $35 a month not getting our Arrowhead delivered. We don't buy plastic water bottles (except for the earthquake kit) we use refillable aluminum bottles (they are eco friendly). for great tasting water we get a filter for our fridge water approx $80 for 6-8 months.
watch for target offers. sometimes they offer a $5 gift card when you purchase certain items. Last time I got breakfast bars they offered $5 if you got 3. With the coupons for the 3 boxes, they paid me to take the bars!
we started composting our organic waste-it is good for my garden and good for the earth too-(kind of fun).-oh and plant a garden. nothing tastes better than fresh tomatoes!
So be on the lookout as I get them in - I will post some of my favorites.....
Here are some great tips from Liz
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
How your baby's growing:Fingerprints have formed on your baby's tiny fingertips, her veins and organs are clearly visible through her still-thin skin, and her body is starting to catch up with her head — which makes up just a third of her body size now. If you're having a girl, she now has more than 2 million eggs in her ovaries. Your baby is almost 3 inches long (the size of a medium shrimp) and weighs nearly an ounce.
How your life's changing:This is the last week of your first trimester, and your risk of miscarriage is now much lower than earlier in pregnancy. Next week marks the beginning of your second trimester, a time of relative comfort for many women who see early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness and fatigue subside. More good news: Many couples also notice a distinct libido lift around this time. Birth is still months away, but your breasts may have already started making colostrum, the nutrient-rich fluid that feeds your baby for the first few days after birth, before your milk starts to flow.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and in your baby's brain, synapses are forming furiously. His face looks unquestionably human: His eyes have moved from the sides to the front of his head, and his ears are right where they should be. From crown to rump, your baby-to-be is just over 2 inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce.
How your life's changing:Your uterus has grown to the point where your healthcare provider can now feel the top of it (the fundus) low in your abdomen, just above your pubic bone. You may already be into maternity clothes, especially if this isn't your first pregnancy. If you're still fairly small and not yet ready for maternity clothes, you've no doubt noticed that your waist is thickening and that you're more comfortable in loose, less restrictive clothing.
You may begin to feel heartburn (also called acid indigestion), a burning sensation that often extends from the bottom of your breastbone to your lower throat. Many women get heartburn for the first time during pregnancy, and those who've previously had bouts of heartburn may find that it gets worse. During pregnancy, the placenta produces a lot of the hormone progesterone, which relaxes the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. Particularly when you're lying down, gastric acid can seep back up the pipe, which causes the uncomfortable burning sensation. For many women the problem doesn't begin (or get worse) until later in pregnancy, when your growing uterus starts to push up on your stomach. The discomfort may range from mildly annoying to intense and distracting.
Monday, February 2, 2009
How your baby's growing:Your baby, just over 1 1/2 inches long and about the size of a fig, is now almost fully formed. Her hands will soon open and close into fists, tiny tooth buds are beginning to appear under her gums, and some of her bones are beginning to harden.
She's already busy kicking and stretching, and her tiny movements are so effortless they look like water ballet. These movements will become more frequent as her body grows and becomes more developed and functional. You won't feel your baby's acrobatics for another month or two — nor will you notice the hiccupping that may be happening now that her diaphragm is forming.
How your life's changing:If you're like most women, you're feeling a bit more energetic now and your nausea may be starting to wane. Unfortunately, you may also be suffering from constipation (caused by hormonal changes, which can slow digestion) and heartburn (hormones again, relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus). Just remember, all this discomfort is for a good cause.
Don't worry if nausea has made it impossible for you to eat a wide variety of healthy foods or if you haven't put on much weight yet (most women gain just 2 to 5 pounds during the first trimester). Your appetite will likely return soon, and you'll start to gain about a pound a week.
Courtesy of Babycenter.com