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Money Monday – February 6, 2012 (Part 2)

I got enough tips and ideas I decided to split this into a two-part series, the first part if you missed it can be found by clicking here

Hope you enjoy the tips and ideas, I have my Facebook friends to thank for all of them.

  • Rachel Offered this idea
    • “I guess I would just remind people who the library is a great place to save money. Ours offers computers, free classes, clubs, movies and a discount book store. You can also borrow DVDs, CDs, books, tapes or MP3s of books. In our county we have access to every library in the county with one card; a catalog of hundreds of thousands of items at our fingertips. Any thing you order is delivered to your home library. You can get a movie queue going like with Netflix, but it’s all free.”
    • “Borrowing a good basic cook book and cooking from scratch saves so much over prepared food. “
    • “Also, when I leave the library with a big pile of books I feel RICH even though I didn’t spend a dime.”
  • Denny offered this tip
    • “Read your utility bills line by line, if you don’t know what a line means CALL and ask. If something changes CALL and ask. And each time you call ASK if there are any DEALS that might help you save money. Often they have deals that are NOT publicized, and the PHONE company is the VERY WORST for making mistakes and adding fees for what ever that they WILL take off if you question them. I have gotten anywhere from as little as $0.50 taken off my bill up to over $50.00 one time by asking why is it there what does it mean, why am I paying it.”

Money Monday – February 6, 2012 (Part 1)

For this Money Monday post, I decided to do something a little different, and recruited the help of my Facebook friends who’s brains I picked to see what they do to save money and stretch their dollars a little further, I present to you a 2 part post compiling tips and ideas they gave me to share with my readers.  Special thanks to each contributor for this little project, I truly appreciate it!

  • Jen H-C said she does a couple of things ….
    • “I buy generic/store brand when I buy food…there is minimal difference (if any) in quality. That allows me to splurge on items that are worth it, such as toilet paper, tissues, paper plates, makeup, etc. If you buy generic of those items, you often use twice as much! And who wants a ripped tissue?”
    • “Sometimes generic is not a bargain! I will take the time to figure out how much a certain item (more expensive stuff like soap, cat litter, detergent, etc.) is per pound or per ounce…sometimes a sale on a brand name does make it cheaper than generic!”
    • “A change jar! I keep them everywhere…the ashtray of my car is one, there’s one on my dresser, in my office at work too. Anytime I break a bill, I save the change in a jar (sometimes I keep quarters for vending machine, meters, etc…but you get the idea). Then when they get full, I take them to the bank and use the money for spending money on vacation. I can end up saving a few hundred dollars that way within a year…!”
  • An anonymous friend, gave me the following list of things she does to help stretch her dollars further
    •   Shop at thrift shops, household sales and antique shops
    • darn socks
    • hang cloths to dry
    • take short showers
    • “But I’m not willing to compromise on things that involve my health and happiness as I do value myself more than my $.
    • I use a credit card that earns points for almost all purchases, even groceries, insurance, medical, etc. I pay it off in total every month and still earn points. Each Christmas I can buy over a hundred dollars in gifts and use my points–the gifts and shipping are free.”
    • “I also make gifts such as scarves, embroidered towels and pillow cases.”
    • “Some of my friends barter for both products and services.”
  • Marissa offered the following list
    • Buy off-brand items
    • Recycle cans/bottles
    • Buy cheap food choices: rice, potatoes, pasta, bananas, etc
    • Buy uncooked, unpackaged food and cook at home
    • Pack lunches
    • Use sunlight during the day and sparingly at night. Try candles, and always turn off lights when leaving a room.
    • Turn down refrigerator temperature to conserve  energy
    • Turn washing machine to highest spin to conserve energy
    • Bike or walk instead of driving when possible
    • Use Netflix and other online sites instead of cable
    • Use a water filter instead of buying water jugs
    • Unplug appliances while not in use, otherwise they consume energy even when turned off
    • Hang laundry to dry
    • Keep appliances as clean as possible to extend their life: pull off the bottom-front piece on your refrigerator and clean thoroughly every year, change air filter at least every 2 months
    • Use coupons
    • Buy second-hand
    • Buy at garage sales
    • Turn down thermostat as low as is bearable (you can always put on more clothes for warmth); also open windows for temperature control, during the day for heat or during night to cool
    • Eat well and exercise to avoid medical bills
    • Drink water instead of juice or soda
    • Plant a garden
    • Make sure you get frequent oil changes and keep your tires well-inflated for better mileage. Try not to break hard or start-up fast; the smoother your transitions the better your mileage gets.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post to be posted on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 …..

Money Monday

Various Federal Reserve Notes, c.1995. Only th...

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101 ways to save money – offers tons of down to earth ways to save money and stretch your dollar just a little further

10 unusual ways to save money – This is a short list on the US News website, but as I read this, I realized that I already do some of them, but could maybe improve on.  While others, were things I remember seeing my Mom or Grandma doing when I was a kid and never understood why they did it ….. now it suddenly makes sense and my Mom and Grandma truly became wiser in my eyes 🙂

The theme of the sites I included links to, in many ways seems to be one of encouraging folks to get as much use out of what they have, rather than assume that a “disposable” item is strictly a single use item, if possible give it another purpose after its initial use.  Or, even look at how much use you will get from something at the time of your purchase, if you will only use it once, and it’s something that is somewhat pricey to buy, maybe consider borrowing the item from someone else.  Bartering can be helpful, as can bulk shopping.

Be realistic though, if you see an item on sale and know its a good price, ask yourself if it is something you really have a use for.  In my opinion, it’s ok to have extra of things you actually use, but if you are getting stuff just because its on sale despite not having an actual use or need for the item, you may be defeating the purpose of saving money.

I’m all for the use of coupons, store discount cards, and doing what you can to combine these to increase your savings, I do it myself.  I tend to have some concern though as I watched a show called “Extreme Couponing” on TLC.  I was in awe of how much they managed to get and how little they paid for it, but then when the extreme coupon shoppers began showing off their “stockpile” of stuff they had accumulated, and one person in particular bragged about having 100 packs of diapers, but in the same breath pointed out she didn’t have any kids, and was “preparing” for when she does have kids.  I found my mind turning in a direction of thinking that the next show we’ll see come out on TV will be something about stockpiling unnecessarily.

While yes, I do encourage people to stretch their dollars, and strive to get the most bang for their buck, I would also like to stress that there needs to be a balance between saving money and extreme stockpiling.  Buy what you need or can reasonably use and if you don’t need it, don’t buy it.

In closing, here is a link to a page on Wikipedia that talks about the history of coupons and even talks about their purpose.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coupons

Money Monday

Here’s some links to sites that may help stretch your dollars just a little bit further

  • ThredUP.com
    • offers free membership, and allow Moms (I assume they would welcome Dads as well) to pick boxes of kids clothes for $5 a box + $10.95 for shipping.  You can also offer boxes of kids clothes for other people to pick so it allows you a way to swap kid clothing without having to transport it to another location.  It’s all handled by mail.
  • FreeCycle.org
    • Freecycle offers localized groups across the US where folks post items they want to get rid of  in an email group, then others in the group who are interested in the item can arrange to pick up the item.  The person posting pays nothing to post and the person acquiring the items pays nothing to get the item … everything must be completely free of charge to both parties.  Great way to eliminate clutter or find some cool item you have been looking for.
  • BetterWorldBooks.com
    • Great place to find used books at a low cost, they offer free standard shipping, and have a huge bargain bin area.  I got a hardcover book through them and paid $4.02 for it from the bargain bin.  In addition to buying and selling used books, it’s also possible to buy and sell textbooks through them as well.  They also give a portion of their earnings to help promote and encourage kids to learn to read around the world in addition to being an environmentally conscious business so everyone wins with this one.
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