Saving money was not always a hobby of mine. In 2008 I made the decision to quit my job and return to school. This was a big change for my family as it caused our income to be cut by 50%. I knew that despite this change I would still want to shop, enjoy life and do little things here and there without having to always just "say no". So, I began looking into ways to save money on the things that I had to purchase. This included groceries, clothing, utilities, etc. Anything that required me to use my debit card was under review for a cost slash.
One of the first things I had to do was to be more conscious about the money we put into the cost of utilities. I found that a few little things caused our bills to go down a great deal.
1. Wash dishes a few more times a week vs. running the dishwasher
2. Making sure that the kids turn off lights when they are not in the specific room.
3. Unplugging items which are not in use (stereo, radio, lamps, etc)
4. Knowing what you want out of the refrigerator / freezer before you open it (My kids have a bad habit of just standing there as if the food is going to start talking to them at some point)
1. Coupons, Coupons, and more Coupons : I usually just purchase the Sunday newspaper. I also check the local paper that is delivered to our subdivision for free.
2. Sign up for grocery store frequent shopper cards. (They can save you a ton of money, plus some stores will send you coupon books ever few months that are made specifically for you based upon the types of items that you normally purchase. Kroger is good for this)
3. Sing up for online coupon sites. ( I like to use cellfire.com and shortcuts.com. They both add additional coupons automatically to your frequent shopper card. These coupons can be used in conjunction with store sales and also with paper manufacturer coupons.)
1. Check your local paper for store coupons. (Macy's, Hobby Lobby and Belk have paper savings all the time)
2. Sign up for store mailing list online
3. Be sure to check your paper mail before just throwing advertisements away
* This is a biggie. I almost made the mistake of throwing away a few advertisements that I received from Kohl's. I normally don't shop at this store so when I saw the large postcard I headed towards my trash can to toss it. Well something told me to check it out, it was actually a coupon for $10 off of ANY purchase. So I was able to use it on a baby item that cost $9.99 which ended up being FREE. They sent me 3 of these same postcards over a period of 1 month. I used every single one of them.