Simple Ways to Save Money

I’ve always been a bargain shopper. I like to call myself “frugal” not “cheap.” I’m that person who gets a compliment on a new shirt and instead of just saying thank you I say, “Thank you, I got it on the clearance rack for $4.99!”

Since becoming a stay-at-home mom after Ella was born, I’m as frugal as ever. You see, when I worked I had the money to spend at the mall, but not the time and now I have the time, but not the money. Funny how that works! I came up with a list of eight simple things I do to save a buck or two and wanted to share it with all of you.

1. Buy generic. Most of the time you cannot tell the difference between the name brand items and generic items. I have generic tater tots in the oven as I type and I bet you my kids won’t ask, “Are these Ore-Ida tater tots?”

2. Buy in bulk when it makes sense. You can save a lot of money if you buy the right things at wholesale stores like Costco. You can also end up spending a lot of money on things you don’t really need, but buy anyway because you think it’s a great deal. I have a few staples I buy in bulk, but am always looking if I can buy smaller quantities cheaper somewhere else.

3. Let someone else do the bargain hunting for you. I follow two different blogs - Queen Bee Coupons and Savings and Thrifty Northwest Mom. These blogs do all the research for you and post the best deals at several different stores throughout the week.

4. Buy used. I don’t do this often but I have started doing it more and more for items for the kids. My son just started flag football and rather than buy him new football cleats which he will outgrow by the end of the season, I bought them used at a local children’s consignment shop. They are in like-new condition and I paid $9 rather than $25.

5. Plan meals before you hit the grocery store. This way you don’t end up making several trips to the grocery store where you might be tempted to buy things not on your list each time.

6. Check out sites like Groupon and Living Social. I have grabbed some killer deals from these sites, especially for local restaurants and entertainment.

7. Grow your own produce. This summer we grew raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, rhubarb, green beans, pumpkins, onions, chives and parsley. It was so much fun and saved us from buying produce which can be super expensive.

8. Use coupons. I am far from an “extreme couponer” but I use coupons when I can. And not just for groceries, I also use them for fast food and entertainment. I just found out the place I take my kids for haircuts accepts competitor coupons, which saved me $10 the last time I took the boys in for cuts. The savings really does add up!

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