I’m going to diverge from my usual format to address something we’re all trying to do in this economy: how to save money. I’ve had the blessing of being a stay-at-home mom for the past six years and my husband’s income has been able to support us (give or take a little from my freelance writing). Not that we haven’t messed up. For the first few years we spent like we still had two incomes, which means that we accrued debt. In the past two years we’ve worked hard to pay down that debt while feeding our family at the same time. Here is what I’ve learned:
1. Stock up on sale items if you already use them regularly. If you won’t use it, then don’t buy 20 of them just because it’s a great sale. But if your brand of toothpaste is 70% reduced, then you might as well buy a few. It saves money in the long run. Stockpiling works best with storable groceries (like rice, cereal, meat that you can freeze, etc.) and imperishables like paper towels, shampoo, soap, razors, etc.
2. Combine store sales with coupons. Today I went to the grocery store and spent $113. I saved $20 in coupons, $3 in “bonus” coupons from store doubling, and $57 in store sales — for a total savings of about $80. My total savings vary between $40- $80.
3. Don’t buy it, if you don’t need it. This is a hard one for us, because we love a good deal. When Circuit City closed down and everything had to go, it was a big temptation to run over there and check out their TV’s. Not that we need another TV, or even really want one right now. But what a deal! And that is how we have, in the past, sent ourselves into more debt. Will your children starve if we don’t buy that TV? Of course not. We don’t need it. And if we can resist buying things we don’t need then our bank account will thank us.
4. Only look at sales ads for retail stores if you need something specific. If my kids need new underwear (which I wouldn’t want to buy consignment!) then, and only then, do I look in the Target circular from the Sunday paper. Otherwise these circulars tempt me to spend money I don’t have on things I don’t need, when I could be clipping out coupons instead.
5. Finally, shop consignment when possible, and when it makes sense.
There’s much more, but I’ll stop there. Happy saving!