Do you have some favorite things that you use or do to save money? I always love to hear how others save money - whether it's on clothing, food, bills, or eating out, so I thought I would share with you some things I do to help save money at the Hardwick Home.
1. Years ago, when Oldest and Only were little, I needed a coupon system that was very portable (stick in purse, diaper bag, or in console of vehicle) wouldn't fall to pieces or coupons fall out if little hands grabbed it, and easy to use. I tried the expandable pouches, the notebooks with clear baseball card type holders, and even ziplock bags. But what works for me is Price Planner from Coupon Organizer.com
I've had mine now for a little short of 10 yrs and the only part wearing is the snap on the outside. Before each shopping trip, I put the coupons I'm using in the middle pocket and the coupons I don't use during that trip I slip to the back front pocket.
- Compact size, yet can securely store 300+ coupons.
- Storage pockets for your receipts, discount cards, etc.
- Exterior pocket keeps coupons handy for check-out.
- 21 dual-sided clear pockets for organizing coupons
- Calendar for meal planning, tracking sales events, etc.
- Bargain Reminder pad & 27 Price Comparison pages.
- 21 category tabs with blank labels for customizing.
3. If it's not on THE LIST, it doesn't go in the cart. Now, my teens have gotten silly with me before and will take their part of the list and write it down when they're at the store. The first time this happened, I almost laughed my head off! I keep a magnetic note pad on my fridge (the Dreaded List) where the family knows they need to write needs or things we've run out of down. If they don't write it down, my ESP doesn't kick in!
4. This last summer I got an iPhone and I LOVE IT! I found this great application that I can manage online with my computer and it syncs with my phone automatically when using a USB cable. It is called Grocery Gadget.
- On it:
- I have a list of the stores that I frequent,
- what items (grocery and non-grocery items)
- a rough home inventory list (products we use in our home and what is their normal cost)
- my shopping list for multiple stores. This is great when there are special deals, coupons, or items are found only at those stores.
- lets me know when I have a coupon for a certain item
- size and packaging, how many items you need
- what category/aisle it is found (baking, produce, paper, snacks, cleaning, etc)
- tells me when you have put an item in your grocery cart and what you still need to get. When you put an item in your cart, tap the box next to the item for a green check, and it moves it to the bottom of the list.
- It keeps track of the cost of the items I've put in cart
- How much my estimated on list cost is
- Lets me view my items by ABC order or by category and I can have multiple stores, which helps me in price comparison.
- allows me to email my list to a family member (no more "I didn't have the LIST with me")
- allows you to print out your list if you don't have an iPhone and still use it online.
It takes a little time to set it up and enter prices in, but it has saved us tremendously when comparing "Sunday Ad prices" and even "in-store specials" to know if it is REALLY on sale or not. It has been wonderful for eliminating those annoying scraps and list on paper. Another plus, if you happen to use Big Oven, you can import your shopping list from your recipes as well.
I really don't have enough room here to tell you all the great features on it! They It cost me $4.99 and it has been worth every penny as I use it almost daily! They have a video on their website that shows the many wonderful features.
5. We make our own dry laundry detergent. There are many ways and formulas (liquid or dry), but this link tells you how we do it. I make a gallon of detergent at a time and make it only FOUR times a year and less than $12 for each batch!
6. Homemade baby wipes. When my kids were little, they tender bottoms broke out when I used store bought wipes, so I made my own using water, baby oil, baby bath, and Bounty Paper Towels. Now that I am keeping The Princess, I've began making and using them again. I've even given them as baby gifts to moms that love this sort of thing. If you want to know more, head on over here.
7. The internet is a huge source of online ads and printable coupons. I found that if you take your re-usable bags into Target, they will take $.05 off for each reusable bag (not the plastic kind). I keep about 5 fabric bags in my car. You can even make bags if you have a sewing machine at Morsbags. Every penny counts! Target will also allow you to use their printable store coupons with a manufacturer coupon for even more savings! Places like CVs has online ads and coupons that you can shop their sale adds, add items to your list and print them off. Some stores offer reward cards as well. You do have to be careful because some stores will not take printed coupons.
8. Blogs: There are bloggers out there that specifically help you save money by posting great bargins and sales! Here are a few:
This is really getting long, so I'll stop for now. If you have a great way you save your family some $$$, leave me a note and tell me how! Works for me!
** I really like the way that Jamie at Chattanooga CheapSkate divides the specific printable coupons for specific stores: Target, CVs, Big Lots, Walgreens, etc. Great Idea! She has shared great storage system ideas that work for her and says "manage to save 50%-90% per shopping trip."