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Friday, October 24, 2008

Ways to Save Money

Since we're all trying to figure out how exactly we're going to make it in this horrible economy, I figured it might be a good time to write about some ways to save money. I hope you find these helpful!

  1. The very first thing I did when I decided I needed to slash some bills was join www.hotcouponworld.com. This is a free website that joins together money savers around the world to share money saving ideas. You can trade coupons, learn about sales, free samples, compare prices of different stores, etc.
  2. Rite Aid has a fabulous rebate program called Single Check Rebates. Each month, Rite Aid begins a new Single Check Rebate program. They include dozens of products that you can purchase and receive money back. Many of these items are free after the rebate. You enter each receipt into their website and can request 1 check per month. You get your check in a couple of weeks. To learn more about this program, go to https://riteaid.rebateplus.com
  3. At the grocery store, purchase everything combining sales and coupons. This maximizes my savings. I have been able to get my grocery bill down to $300 per month for a family of 4 (with 1 still in pull ups!).
  4. If your grocery store offers gas deals, make sure you take them! I take advantage of every gas deal I possibly can at Giant. When they have groups of products that will earn $0.20/gal for purchasing so many, I try to get that many of the cheapest item and use that many coupons. The last time I filled up my minivan, I only paid $0.91/gal ($13 total)!
  5. Use insulated curtains for all of our windows to keep the heat out in the summer and the cold out in the winter.
  6. Take your screens out of the windows in the winter. The metal in the screens will absorb the heat from the sun preventing it from coming in through the windows. Removing the screens maximizes the amount of heat that enters the home through the windows.
  7. Stockpile non-perishable items when you find a good deal. If something like shampoo goes on sale for $1 and you have a few $1/1 coupons, buy as many as you can! These will last forever and you don’t have to worry about running out. You can do this with all health and beauty products, cleaning products, canned goods, etc.
  8. Run all of your errands at one time. Travel to the farthest store first and then work your way back home. This saves on gas.
  9. Take advantage of the Flexible Spending Account offered through your employer. This allows money (you choose the amount) to be taken out of your paycheck before taxes and put into an account to be used for medical expenses (dr. appts., prescriptions, OTC medications) and/or daycare.
  10. Fill your freezer. The fuller your freezer, the more efficiently it will run.
  11. Shop for new insurance quotes (auto & homeowners) each year to ensure you are getting the best deal. Sometimes you may already be getting the best deal you can but sometimes you may not.
  12. Check to see if you can pay your mortgage bi-monthly instead of monthly. Pay half of the mortgage 2 times per month. You are still paying the same amount each month, but you’re saving yourself tons in interest and will pay off your home years earlier. (A similar effect will occur by paying 1 extra full payment per year).
  13. Call your credit card companies to see if they will lower your interest rates. They most often will. If they don’t, transfer your balance to a credit card that is offering 0%. Just be careful with this one. You must be diligent about watching that promotion end date! You’ll want to pay it off or transfer the balance again before that date.
  14. Use a water heater blanket.
  15. Create a budget and stick to it. Use cash for the grocery store and spending money. This way, you are more likely to stay within the budgets for those areas.
  16. Use a gas credit card that offers cash back and only use it for gas purchases. Depending on how much gas you purchase, this can be a significant savings.
    Just be sure to pay it off each month so you are not paying interest!
  17. If you have PPL electric, check out their website http://www.pplelectric.com/. They offer an analysis tool to show where you can save on electric in your home.
  18. Pay your bills online! I pay all of our bills online through my bank. It is free and I haven’t bought checks or stamps in a long time. I still have to write the occasional check, but this definitely cuts costs.
  19. Check the clearance aisles of your favorite stores. I know at Giant, Rite Aid, CVS, and Walmart you can use coupons on clearance items. This means cheap or even free items!!!
  20. I have a price book where I keep regular prices of the things I buy on a regular basis of the 3 stores I shop (Giant, BJs, and Walmart). BJ’s takes manufacturer coupons and their own coupons. Many times, BJ’s is the cheapest place to get certain items. But one of the other stores may have a sale that makes it cheaper there. I reference the price book to determine the cheapest place to purchase an item at any given time.
  21. Print coupons online. Sites like www.smartsource.com & www.redplum.com offer printable manufacturer coupons each month. I know Giant, Target, and Walmart take internet printed coupons.
  22. I joined My Points (www.mypoints.com) a few years ago. I earn points by clicking on emails they send me or purchasing things at my favorite online retailers through their website. You can then cash in your points for gift cards to many different restaurants and retailers. I normally use my points to purchase a restaurant gift card to use for a date night with my husband.
  23. Use The Caregivers Marketplace (www.caregiversmarketplace.com) to get rebates on my purchases of Pull Ups. This site offers rebates on brands caregivers use like Pull Ups, Huggies, Good Nites, Nature Made, Poise, Citrucel, Cottonelle, Gold Bond, Icy Hot, and Cortizone 10, to name a few. You don’t have to be a caregiver to receive the rebates, just purchase the items, print the form and fill it out, and send in the form with the original receipt(s). They will send the rebate a few weeks later.
  24. Sign up for free samples. I find out about different free sample offers through Hot Coupon World and sign up for any I am interested in. A lot of times you will also receive high value coupons with your free samples. These samples are great for traveling or even stocking stuffers.
  25. Sign up for Pssst (pssst.generalmills.com.) This is a program offered by General Mills to try their products for free. Then you fill out a survey about what you tried. I just signed up and received a Macaroni Grill boxed meal. When I opened the box, tons of $1.25/1 coupons fell out too.
  26. Also sign up for BzzAgent (www.bzzagent.com). This is a similar program, but in addition to a survey, they want you to tell people about the product and then report back about what you told them and their response.
  27. Sign up for e-newsletters from the manufacturers of the products you buy. They will often send coupons in those newsletters that you can print and use.
  28. Sign up for e-newsletters from the stores you shop. There are often coupons in those newsletters as well. I know that Giant always has a coupon in their monthly e-newsletter. This month, I received $2 off $5 produce purchase. And you can print and use these as many times as you want before the expiration date.
  29. Take the bus to work (if this is an option). I only spend $45/month on the bus pass and I save tons in gas money. While I only live about 5-10 miles from where I work, sitting in all that traffic really drained my gas tank. Now I am not only saving money, I am also helping the environment (and I can sneak in some alone time with a magazine).

Some Super Duper Giveaways!

I would like to let you know about a coupon bag giveaway at Dani Saves Money! Click the link to enter the drawing and win one of the beautiful coupon bags! Also, Polly at Perfectly Provident is giving away assorted makeup! You have until Sunday, October 26 to enter both. Good luck!

October Rite Aid Stash

It was a good month at Rite Aid!!! And since I had $40 in gift cards ($10 from the P&G rebate last month and $30 from a prescription transfer), they literally paid me over $40 to get the products!!! Everything I bought this month was Free After Rebate, plus I had a few coupons, plus some manufacturer rebates, plus the Pull Ups will be rebated ($1/package) from Caregivers Marketplace, plus I had the $40 in gift cards. Whew! And we'll never feel sick in this house again!!!