Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thrifty Thursday!

Thrifty Tip #25:  It's the Silver Weekly Anniversary of Thrifty Thursdays!  Let's celebrate by saving in 25 different ways!

1.  Do not buy things from vending machines  It pays to be a mom with snacks in your purse at all times!

2.  Buy in bulk  This is usually best for grains and non-perishable items.  ALWAYS do the math though.  Diapers were usually not cheaper in bulk compared to stacking coupons at Target.

3. Use ceiling fans, floor fans, space heaters, or heating blankets  We use these things to assist with heating and cooling – depending on the season of course!  The electricity they use is less expensive than running the furnace or air conditioner.  Always be careful of space heaters and heating blankets around little ones.

4.  Use natural light  As much as we can, we leave the lights off in the house during the day.  It keeps the house cooler in the summer.  In winter, we let the sun aid in heating our house by opening the shades.

5.  Open the windows  Fresh air feels so nice--it's like a blast of oxygen!  Often we can cool the house down in the morning with open windows and it will stay cool enough to leave the air conditioning off in the afternoon.

6.  Order free samples online  Samples of shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant are perfect for summer travels!  Samples of food items are usually the perfect size to drop in your purse!

7.  Turn off or unplug unused appliances   I did not realize that unused appliances that are plugged in are still sucking electricity...and costing me money!   Leave them unplugged!  It only takes a second to plug them back in when you go to use them.

8.  Use a programmable thermostat. Programmable thermostats save you an estimated 10-20% on your heating and cooling bills. When we aren’t home, or we are sleeping, our house is quite a bit warmer or cooler, depending on the season. We save a substantial amount on our utilities compared to our neighbors! 

9. Use rewards credit cards   You can get cash back on every purchase, and if you pay the card off every month you don’t pay any interest fees. I recommend reward cards, but only if you have no current credit card debt, and can afford to pay the balance every month!  Often I use a store credit card where payments are taken in-store and can be done immediately.  It earns me great rewards and no interest in involved!

10.  Pay bills online  This is such an easy thing to do, takes less time than writing a checking and placing it in an envelope, and saves on the cost of postage.  If you're a tree hugger, it also saves a tree!

11.  Use cell phones – skip the landline  We do not use a regular telephone at our house. We have been doing this for several years and have never had a problem. I was worried about babysitters not having a land line, but I've yet to come across a teenager without a cell phone!

12.  Actively search out deals  It never hurts to try and find a better deal, or request a better deal from your service providers. I always politely ask at Children's Place and Gymboree if there is a coupon I should be remembering to use...they'll either remind me of a mailer I have or just give me the current promotion..

13.  Cook for multiple days  My brilliant friend One Girl Among Boys posts amazing freezer meal ideas weekly.

14.  Use coupons for everything that you can  It's amazing how many coupons float around for everything from oil changes, groceries, books, on-line purchases, to movie tickets and hotels.  There are many great websites that keep a running list of current coupons.

15.  Buy generic  You can save a lot of money on generic items for which the brand name product is essentially the same as the store brand. Food and medicines come to mind as items where generic products are good deals.

16. Don’t pay banking fees  Our bank provides free bill pay, automatic deposits, and free checks. We have to use their ATM's to avoid fees, but it's worth saving the $2.00!

17.  Use the library  Books are so ridiculously expensive if you buy them right off the shelf at Barnes and Noble.  I love going there to find interesting new books...then I head to the library to check them out! 

18.  Pick up pennies  This sounds silly, but having kids with eagle eyes for coins has earned our family crazy amounts of change (almost $3 on one trip!)!  Best places to find change:  near the gumball machines and under the counters.  I always have the kids ask the store employee if they can keep the change.  The answer has always been yes, but I don't ever want to cheat the store from change that is rightfully theirs.

19.  Re-use plastic shopping bags as trash bags or save them for your garage sale  I wish I could say I remembered to always take my nice reusable shopping bags along when I buy groceries, but often I forget and end up with a zillion plastic grocery bags.  They are super handy to use for trash bags--especially for stinky diapers!

20. Use parks  I would especially have to say use parks...for their sandboxes!  We don't have a sandbox and don't really want one, but it's nice for the boys to meet their need to dig at the park!  We're also on the hunt for some free wading pools at parks this summer!

21. Take care of things. I would have to agree with the following statement from CashMoneyLife:  I treat things I own with respect and take good care of them. This includes doing things such as cleaning our house, washing our cars, and polishing shoes. Things last much longer when you take good care of them. 

22.  No cable  We just took this plunge...again... Cody pays attention to the deals and sometimes it's cheaper to bundle cable with our internet and sometimes it's cheaper to just have internet.  It's really fine to live "attenna only".  So many shows are available on hulu or on the networks' websites.  Plus, I don't think we'd die with a little less tv watching!

23.  Make it automatic  It's a great idea to automatically set apart a good portion of each paycheck to be diverted to 401(k), savings, and tithing.  

24. Cancel subscriptions. We don’t get the newspaper or magazines--unless it's through a free subscription I've found online or a gift. Almost everything we want can be found online for free. 

25.  Make lists…and stick to them   There's nothing worse than going to Target for two things, planning to spend $5, and leaving with more things for $50.  It's hard to stay focused, but I find that unless it's just a killer deal, it's an impulse buy that I'll probably regret getting sucked into!

These ideas are a compilations from lists I found at How I Save Money and Cash Money Life.  I cannot endorse these sites for financial dealings as I really know nothing about the authors other than that their lists were quite helpful and insightful in saving money!


une autre mère said...

Great tips, and Happy 25th Thrifty Post!!
#3 - Yay for fellow ceiling fan and open-window families!! Do you know it was pretty chilly last night and we were the ONLY family on our street with the windows open?! I kept hearing our neighbors' ACs turning on and cringing thinking of all the money that was being pumped away. And I can't imagine having not having the windows open right now, the birds are singing, kids are playing and it all makes me smile. :)
#9 - I just got a check in the mail for over $100 for cash back earned on my MasterCard! Woo Hoo!!
#10 - Or, if you ask my husband... skip cell phones, use the landline. :) Although I'm sure Chad will hop on the bandwagon someday...
#22 - There are so few of us "no-cable" families left. We watch nearly everything on our laptop and hook it up to the TV so it seems the same, but even better with fewer commercials!

Sorry for the long comment, but I love fellow frugalistas!!!

Unknown said...

GULP - out of sheer blogger guilt, I just turned off the air and opened the windows. I know, I know, I know. I'm just SUCH a sissy when it comes to humidity. The slightest bit muggy = headache.
Love the list!!!!