Wednesday, July 18, 2012

5 Money Saving Tips of the Week

As a stay at home parent, I'm always looking for ways to save money.  As an attempt to help others save, check back each Wednesday for my 5 Money Saving Tips of the Week! 

                                          1. Make your own iced coffee
Summer is here, and with that usually comes with the overwhelming need for an amazing iced coffee.  For my husband and I, this need follows us around all year round.  This summer particularly, with the oppressing heat, we've been drinking a ton of it.  In an attempt to both save money, and keep up with our addiction, we have been making our own, and I have to say, its great, if not better than coffee shops.  Have I convinced you yet?  Good.  So now go grab a pitcher (you can buy one for about the cost of an iced coffee at Starbucks...) and each morning, instead of tossing the unused coffee down the drain put it in the pitcher and then in the fridge.  I do this every morning, and occasionally brew an extra pot for adding to my pitcher.  By doing this, you save twice, by not buying one and by not wasting the bottom of the pot morning coffee. 

                                                    2. Use the library
Every time I hear someone say they purchased a movie they haven't even seen, I cringe thinking of other ways that money could have been spent.  We almost never buy movies, and instead use the library for borrowing them.  As long as you don't rack up a ton of late fees (which lets face it, if you do, they go to a better cause than Wal Mart) it's free to borrow!  We only buy (on Amazon, used) if it's a movie we know we will use over an over.  Something I only recently discovered, is that if your library doesn't own the item you're looking for, just ask them to purchase it.  Most of the time they'll be thankful for the tip, and you'll be put at the front of the line when it is added to the shelf.  Of course it should go without saying that you can also use the library's other free resources, too, especially in the summer.  Many libraries do a Summer Reading Program which can not only get your family reading, but can earn you prizes like free kid's meals at restaurants like Applebees, gift cards, and sometimes even bigger prizes like Nooks or Kindles. 

                                           3. Hit up garage sales and Craigslist
When it comes to kids and baby items, furniture and things like this, there is no reason not to check out yard sales and consignment shops before buying new.  People get rid of awesome stuff all the time!  Recently, we wanted to find a desk for my son, so I jumped on Craigslist and within minutes found a great one. 
We got this one for $10 because the owners were moving and didn't want to take it with them.  I know you are probably thinking that you don't have the time or energy to go searching for deals, but I found this one literally in minutes and we picked it up that night.  It was quick, easy and cheap!  *and no, that is not coffee on his desk.  My husband and his family are obsessed with re-using these containters, and he came up with the great idea of storing the crayons in it.  Keeps them safe from the dog, and as my hubs pointed out, it creates a really interesting smell every time you open the lid. 

4. Cook in Bulk
When I'm cooking certain meals, I like to make double so I can freeze it for a later date.  This helps save money and time (two things I wish I had more of).  I usually use Ziplock Freezer bags for freezing my meals, if I'm doing a spaghetti sauce, marinated chicken, soup, etc.  On most things, I go generic brand, but learn from my mistakes and use Ziplock.  If you cheap out on this, you'll need to double up on the bags, and are you really saving if you do this?  Cooking like this can reduce the number of impromptu trips to the grocery store (which always cost way more than they should) and can save you from cooking and cleaning up the mess from said meal preparation.  We also freeze some leftovers, even if its not enough for full meal, but instead a serving or two, because it makes great lunches.  If I have a couple servings of soup leftover, I freeze it, and when the times comes, defrost and you have a yummy small meal, plus you reduce waste.  Don't forget to go through your freezer every few weeks and use some things up to make room for more.  You don't want anything going bad!

5.Rotate your kid's toys
Something I've noticed about kids is that they may "love" that toy, but they'll forget about it in about five minutes if they don't see it.  My son has a million toys and we, frankly, get sick of tripping over and putting them away.  Last summer, at the peak of the toy frenzy, we decided to rotate his toys, and every few months we put a box of them in the garage, and take out the ones he hasn't played with in awhile.  My guy is too young for this, but you can also use the backup toys as "prizes" for good behavior. When they aren't looking, put a box of their toys in the garage, and reward them every once and a while with one of them.  Most likely they'll be just as excited as getting a brand new toy!

1 comment

  1. SUCH great ideas! I like the one about rotating toys. I need to try that.


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