As a family living on one income and a very tight budget I have had to find ways to be creative in our spending. Ways I can get the most out of our dollar. I have researched and tried different ways. I have tried the whole “couponing” phase. I have tried buying cheap, on sale, on sale with coupons, etc. Coupons are great, for some things. I found that a lot of the coupons available are for junk food! Crap that I won’t eat and I’m not feeding to my family! I don’t care if I could get several candy bars free, or what ever, its not worth it to me to live off junk. So, I use a limited amount of coupons. I do however enjoy using them for non food items. Such as shampoo, Condition, Hubbys razors, deoderant, etc. I only use them when I find them on sale and can use the coupon and pay the lowest amount possible.
Something else I have recently discovered is Sam’s Club. I love that place. I never thought I could afford to buy anything from there, cause most of it is in $10 amounts and I would wipe out my food budget way to quickly. But, I started comparing prices and found that buying in Bulk I can save a ton. Last week I bought a case of 8 Campbells Cream of Chicken Soup. The regular size cans. I only spend $5.01. The price for each can, individually, at Walmart was about $1.60. Do the math! $1.60×8=$12.80. $12.80-$5.01=$7.79! SAVINGS! OMG! Can’t beat that! It isn’t always that great. But there are a lot of items that I already purchase that I get for a lot cheaper. I only buy turkey bacon. I can get name brand turkey bacon, 3pack at Sam’s for the same price I would pay for 2 packs of the Walmart brand. Chicken breasts and tender I usually buy at Country Mart, due to the price,but I can’t a bag at Sam’s twice the size for nearly the same price and its the good kind. Tyson. I still have to be really careful. I can’t go in and just get everything I need at once. I have to plan it out where I can afford it. But with buying in bulk I can make the items 1 to 6 months. Depending on what it is. Our box of TP from Sams has lasted us about 5 months so far. I have to keep on top of my spending and what I get. I usually spend between $ 100 and $200 every 2 weeks at Sams. Alternating between bulk items that are needed. I buy a 5 lb bag of grated Mozarella Cheese for less than $12. A 3.5 lb bag is nearly $10 any where else. And cheese will freeze! I bag it in freezer zip lock bags and freeze it. Texture and everything come out fine. I buy Tomato Sauce and diced Tomatoes in big restuaraunt style cans for less thatn $2.50 a can, seperate it into freezer bags or bowls and get 4 or 5 meals out of the tomato sauce and 8 or more out of the tomatoes. Compare that to $1 per small can at Walmart. So, if I spend a little extra now, I don’t have to buy a specific items again for months usually. I have been able to get away from some of the “off brand” items I was purchasing and able to get the name brand. I have been able to buy more fresh fruits and veggies for my family too and stay within my food budget. I may not be cutting my food budget, but am buying better quality items for my family and I have a nice stock pile, (not over the top like on tv) freezer is usually full. I bake a lot. I make snack, breakfast and lunch items and freeze them. I can make hot pockets, burritos, mini pot pies, mini lasagnas,etc. All from scratch.
Another way I am frugal is by buying used. I shop at Goodwill for clothes (especially for the boys), we love the flea market and theres an online flea market type site for local sales. (Kind like craigslist, but local) I find that by buying used I can make our dollar stretch. Instead of spending all our money on item, if I can find it used (in good condition) for half the price I don’t have to spend all the money on one item. I can spread it out. Yesturday I bought a hardback book on the Presidents, about 5 little Pillsbury cookbooks, a big bag full of incense & burners and really cool dragon journal with a metal or hard wood cover (that would cost between $10 and $20 in a store) and only spent $6 on ALL of it!
I also reuse items, recycle them, etc. I have an old laundry detergent bottle I washed out, punched holes in the lid and now its a watering can. I took some celery I bought from the store, cut the top off and kept the bottom. Soaked it in some water over night and then planted it. Its now growing a new stalk of celery! I save the comics all year and use them for wrapping paper. I want to find some cute pillow cases and save those to wrap gifts, but I haven’t found any cute ones yet.
Thats just how I find ways to be frugal. Everyone is different. What works for my family might now work for others.
Check out the Tightwad Gazette. It is an awesome book with tons of great ways to save. I didn’t get all my ideas from the book, but some. I’m still reading it.