I have been stretching every penny for years out of necessity and have grown to love the challenge of getting a lot and doing a lot with very little.
**Please vote for this guide at the end if you found it helpful!**
USE COUPONS FOR THINGS THAT ARE ON SALE!!
Please see my other guide for tips on using coupons to save lots of $$ and also get some things FREE!!
Used items are a great way to get what you want cheap!
Always try to find what you want used unless new is cheaper. I look for used items first before I even consider buying them brand new (with the exception of underwear of course, I am not that frugal!). There are so many people that buy something and use it a couple times, upgrade to something fancier or never use it and are looking to get rid of it at a fraction of the cost it was to purchase it brand new. There have been a few times that I have purchased something used on ebay and found it in a store or on ebay new for the same price or cheaper : ( Research prices when shopping for used items by looking at the websites for stores that carry that item to see if you will be overpaying by getting it used.
We recently bought our first minivan fully loaded with a dvd player (kids love it!) for the same price as our last vehicle which was a year older and a basic model that we leased brand new.
I very rarely by new clothing for our family. We always look fabulous, LOL, and no one would ever know we buy almost all our clothing and shoes used. The kids always look fashionable and can get dirty and have fun being kids without me hovering over them and restricting their activities because I don't want them to ruin their clothes. Most of the time the clothing is still in good enough shape that I can sell them and make more money to by them new stuff.
Shop with reuse and recycle in mind!
Disclaimer-I am not encouraging hoarding!!
Example-When I need more plastic storage containers, the canister kind with a screw top lid, I buy these really big containers of pretzels, which my son loves, and my husbands favorite chocolate covered raisins that come in nice plastic canisters at B*'s. If you love organization as much as I do, you know these kind of storage containers, especially large ones are very expensive! When the containers are empty I use a blow dryer on high to soften the glue that holds on the labels and I peel them off!
Always store dry goods and non-perishables in a plastic or glass canister once opened!
Whenever I open a new package of cereal, pasta, crackers, chips, yogurt covered raisins or any other dry good or non-perishable I always put them in a plastic or glass canister with a screw top lid and they stay fresh for weeks or months depending on the product. I like how they look in the canisters and no more stale chips or cereal : ) Dried fruit will stay fresh longer (2 years for raisins!) when they are stored in the refrigerator. Nuts and wheat flour will also stay fresh longer when stored in the refrigerator in an air tight canister.
Always store bread, muffins, bagels, etc. in the refrigerator. They will last for weeks not days! These items can also be frozen for longer storage : )
Example-When I buy pants and jeans for my daughter I get some nice ones that fit her very well and some cheap ones (knee fade or stains) that are a little big in the waist and are adjustable to play in. The play pants and jeans will still fit her next year and can be turned into capris or bermuda length shorts by just cutting them. The frayed cut off look is always in style. Or if you have some sewing skills you can give them a nice finished look by hemming them after you cut them.
Store dairy and meat in the bottom of the refrigerator!
Cold sinks and heat rises. The bottom of your refrigerator is the coldest and therefor, the best place to store your dairy and meat. Put produce on the top shelves so they don't accidentally freeze and spoil.
Use green bags!
I was skeptical of this product until my Grandmother gave me some for Christmas and started using them. They work : ) My husband bought strawberries and blueberries on Saturday and it is Thursday and they are still fresh! I went to the store yesterday to pick up some more blueberries and the one in the store were rotting! I stopped buying berries because of the price and the fact that they rot 2 days after you buy them. They are so good for you and the kids love them and now I can take advantage of the sales!
Stop buying plastic baggies! I have found a brand of reusable cheap but sturdy and easy to clean food containers by Rubbermaid that my kids use everyday for snacks and lunch at school and my husband uses for lunches. They have small ones which are great for snacks when you go out for the day with the kids.
Reuse paper towels! When we wash and dry our hands in the kitchen we shake out the paper towels that we use and put them under the sink with the cleaning stuff and I use them when I clean. They are dry by the time I need them. Why throw away something clean and perfectly useable?
Redecorate by moving around or repurposing what you already have! We spend a lot of time at home as a family and get bored with how it is decorated or the layout of the furniture all the time. We have moved things from room to room multiple times and it makes things feel brand new and doesn't cost anything!
Make framed art and wall decor with old calenders, movie inserts, packaging and books!
The Olivia the Pig pictures were from my daughter's old calender (frames from the $ store!) The Hello Kitty picture was made from her Valentine's Day cards box.
These were cut from my son's and daughter's damaged Disney books and I used repositionable adhesive to put them up.
These are from 2 Disney movie inserts that came with the videos and dvds. The pics are fuzzy but one is from Hercules and the other is from The Jungle Book.
I have also used bithday decorations. My pics wouldn't load, I will try to add them later.
Sell what you don't want or use to buy what you need! I'm probably singing to the choir with this tip : ) When we need something, we find things we no longer want or need and sell them on ebay to come up with the money.
Multipurpose and bulk shopping saves lots of money!
I use 2 cleaning sprays to clean my entire house. One is a multipurpose spray that I use everywhere. The other is more heavy duty and I use it to clean the entire bathroom including the floor ( I pour it into my mop bucket).
I used to buy T*de at $20.00 for the 300 fl. oz. container with the spicket and remembered I had read some where that any good stain fighting laundry detergent has enzymes in the content list. I found E*a, contains enzymes, which smells and works great for $10.00 for the same 300 fl oz. size container with the spicket dispenser. I used to only use half of the 1st line in measuring cup of the expensive stuff because I was trying to stretch it out and now I can afford to use the recommended amount. I feel spoiled : )
We buy a big container of generic mild hand soap, not antibacterial, for a little over $3.00 at W*lmart and refill our hand soap pumps and body wash container. This lasts two months and we are a family of 4 and I compulsively wash my hands, lol : )
We all use the same soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, hair styling products, facial moisturizer, face soap, flushable wipes and body lotion. This may not work for you if someone has special medical or grooming needs.
I buy men's razors in bulk and my husband and I use them to shave.
My husband and I use hair conditioner to shave. Works great!
Buy non-perishable items in bulk when they are on sale and you have coupons!
This saves you money and time. I love being stocked up, which gives me more time to do other things because I am not running around every time something runs out and saves gas which is ridiculously expensive right now ( I have a large minivan which loves to guzzle gas).
Example-I recently bought my favorite name brand toothpaste that retails for almost $4.00 a box for $1.00 a piece. They were on sale for $1.99 and I had $1.00 off coupons for each of them. I bought 4 boxes and won't need to buy toothpaste for the next year!
Example-I also just bought 6 14 oz. boxes of Ch**rios, still my son's favorite at 10 years old, they were 3 for $6 and I had 3 $1.00 off 2 coupons. My total was $9.00 and I save $10.74!
Unplug everything when it is not in use!
When an appliances and electronics are plugged in they still use electricity even when they are not "on" or being used. I have all of our computers plugged into power strips and unplug the power strip when they are not being used. When I am done doing laundry, I unplug the washer and dryer. Once the kids are asleep I unplug their power strip which their music player is plugged into. In the morning I make sure I unplug the nightlights. I even unplug lamps at night or when it is daylight out. This can really save you a lot of money on your electric bill. Try it for a month and see the difference!
Buy gas as early in the morning as possible!
Gas tanks at the gas station are buried in the ground and get cold at night even in the summer. Gas evaporates when the air and ground are warm, which means, while you are pumping your gas and it is hot out, you are paying for fumes!! We always buy gas before the sun comes up.
Shop at a store that gives you gas points or rewards towards money off per gallon of gas you buy!!
I shop at Stop and Shop where you can accumulate points based on how much you spend to get money off per gallon of gas that you buy at their gas pumps. The gas is already cheap for card holders and then when you add on the savings from the points, you can get gas for .10,.20,.30,.40 + off per gallon!
Check back as I will be adding to my tips as I think of things. Hope I gave you some good ideas for saving money!