Last we checked, money still hasn’t started growing on trees yet. Not in our yard, anyway. So we decided to experiment and see if we could find some new ways to save the same old money.
Our experiments were a success. We’ve saved on nearly every one, and I’m thrilled to show you how we did it.
1. Switching grocery stores. We used to shop at Walmart. Now we shop at a local ethnic market, buying all of our meat fresh from a butcher, along with our local produce. Ground beef is $2.99/lb compared to Walmart’s $3.99/lb. Their chicken is usually on sale at $0.99/lb and that’s boneless/skinless!
The best part is, my wife gets to have the chicken cut the way she wants and it’s ready to cook when she is! The produce is local and cheap, too. Overall, we’ve saved $550 in groceries in the last three months and our family is buying fresher, healthier foods.
For cleaning supplies, we switched to Aldi, a smaller store. Now, we simply avoid the spending trap of Walmart altogether.
Takeaway: Find a local ethnic market for your meats and produce to save significantly on your weekly grocery bill.
2. Using Ebates for cosmetic goods and other household supplies that we can’t find at Aldi. By shopping Ebates, we get a reward for every purchase.
We switched to Target for our shopping needs. By using Target’s online Ebates link, we get 3.0% cash back instead of 1.0% from Walmart’s online store. We’ve earned nearly $150 back in just two months.
Takeaway: Take advantage on online rebate sites, as every % counts.
3. Making kids’ sporting events a picnic. Rather than buying hot dogs and drinks at the park, for no less than $8 per person, my wife makes our afternoons special by packing our food and calling it the picnic that it is.
The kids don’t get caught up in buying stuff just because we’re out. It also forms a deeper family bond by turning it into a family event. Even if we splurge and buy the Angus beef hot dogs and gourmet buns and take our own family tea or water, we save over $20 at every event.
Takeaway: Prepare your own food for special events. Do it well and you can get everyone excited while saving money.
4. Use a PerkStreet Cash Back Debit Card. I’ve only recently signed up for this, so there are technically no savings to report yet. That being said, there are LOADS of great reviews on the site and the card offers up to 2% cash back on certain purchases, or 1% cash back on every purchase. They card also offers free checking and bill pay.
So far, we’ve been pleased by FDIC insurance, and the ample offered rewards on almost every purchase. We’re excited to see exactly how much we’re going to save with this one.
Takeaway: Keep your eyes open for new trends to help you consistently save.
5. Reselling the kids clothes to consignment. Considering how fast kids go through clothes, this has helped tremendously. Taking one load to our local store reaped a nice $150 return. And sure, that money goes right back into their next wardrobe, but that’s still $150 that doesn’t come from my pocket (at least not directly!).
Takeaway: Use what you already have to get more of what you are going to need.
6. Stripping cable to the bare minimum. We save $18/month by not keeping the movie channels we once neglected. Those channels never seemed to show anything we genuinely wanted to watch, so we cut it from our lives. Now we enjoy the movies we’ve collected over time, yet never played, while watching movies online at Hulu.
We watch what we want when we want, and don’t pay for something isn’t performing to our family needs.
Takeaway: See what packages you can downgrade, if not cut completely. Here are some more ideas to trim your cable TV costs.
7. Opt for free entertainment. We used to go to the mall (a trip that never cost less than $50), shopping for toys ($50), or to Chuck E Cheese ($25) when we had time off with the kids. Now, we hit the park, the library, nature trails or to the lake. We go for family walks. We play games. All saving a minimum $25 – $50 a pop.
Takeaway: Choosing free entertainment can be more fulfilling and rewarding than paid entertainment, almost every time.
What are your favorite ways to save? Which one offers you the greatest return?