Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 7: Other Ways to Save $$ or Make $$


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Last day of the series :( Have you learned anything?

{Saving more Money}
Today I'm talking about something that is related to couponing, but isn't really couponing. I definitely save the most money by couponing, but here's a few other things I do to save money too.

{Use your freezer}
As I said on Day 1 - Stockpiling is your key to saving money. That's easy with pantry foods - cereal, canned goods, baking products, etc. because they are good for years. But what about foods that aren't shelf stable? That's where your handy, dandy freezer comes in! I'm not so fortunate to have room for a deep freezer, but if I had the room, I'd have one!

The main foods that I freeze & stockpile are meats. I have certain prices that I know are good for chicken, pork, beef, even hotdogs. And when I find them on sale, I stock up. It makes that grocery trip more expensive, but I don't have to buy chicken at $2.99/lb either. Lots of times you can save more when you buy the family packs too.

In addition to meat, you can freeze most anything. We've froze cheese, blueberries, & even fully prepared dinners.

{Meal Planning}
At the beginning of every week, I assess what's in my cabinets, fridge, & freezer and plan out what we will be making for dinner. With stockpiling & meal planning combined, I can go at least 2 weeks, often 3 or 4 weeks without big grocery trips. Yeah, I stop & pick up milk, bread, fruit, and whatever is on super duper sale that I need to stock up on, but my big trips have dramatically decreased. And so have my grocery bills!

Check out my Meal Plan Monday posts for our latest meal plans!

To start meal planning, I suggest making a list of all of the meals that you make & your family likes. For me, I wanted to list to have at least 14 different things so that we had variety. Our current list is around 15-20 meals (I'd have to check).

Not only is this a money saver, but it's a stress reliever and a time saver for me as well. Before meal planning, I would try to figure out what I could make with what I had at home. Then I'd have the conversation with my hubby. "What do you want for dinner?" "I don't care, whatever you want to make." "I'm making it, so you pick what to make." And so on. We'd both end up frustrated a lot.

Plus, it saves time too. It helps me plan ahead and get frozen food out of the freezer to thaw. Or if we are making grilled chicken on Monday & a pasta dish that uses chicken on Wednesday, I can just make a little extra chicken on Monday night & cut it up to use on Wednesday night. Make sense?

{More of my Frugal Ways}
There are a few more things that I've started doing to stretch my dollar. Some of you probably aready do these things. If not, here's a few tips!

- Use dish towels/cloth napkins instead of paper towels. It doesn't seem like a lot, but most paper towels cost upwards of $1.00 a roll, which really adds up. And you can just throw these towels/napkins in the wash with your other towels and it won't cost any extra.

- When you get to the bottom of your dish soap, hand soap, or shampoo {or even pasta sauce for that matter}, add a little bit of water and swirl around. You'll get another 2-3 {maybe 5} uses out of it. It seems silly, but if you do that every time, it'll really add up.

- We like butter in our house. on toast. on pancakes & waffles. on butter bread. and so on. AND, I really dislike stick butter because its so hard to spread. But sometimes, stick butter just gives you more for your money. One of my bloggy friends, http://natsprat.blogspot.com/, has a solution to that. Check out her Make Your Own Butter Spread post. Genius!

- Try making somethings from scratch instead of buying it. If you buy your ingredients for good prices, it's much cheaper to make your own cookies instead of buying your pack of Chips Ahoy. And it's cheaper to make your own pancakes & waffles instead of buying your Eggos. Just make big batches & freeze in bags. {I need to do this more!}

{Making some Money}
Also there are a few sites that I recommend for "making" money.

If you are an online shopper Ebates will be your friend. I shop online a lot, but probably only remember Ebates half the time. And since I've been a member, I've gotten $56.17 back on my purchases. They can cut you a check or deposit it in your Paypal account. LOVE Ebates!

Search & Win
Another one of my favorite money making sites is Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a Search & Win site where you acquire bucks. Then you can cash your bucks in for prizes, including gift cards. There are so many ways to get bucks, but the best way is to install the toolbar & use it to search instead of google. I have been using Swagbucks for 1 1/2 years and I've cashed in for $130 in Amazon.com gift cards so far. Plus you earn bucks when you refer people too. LOVE Swagbucks!

Do you have any money saving or money making tips?!? Please share below so others can benefit from your frugalness {Is that a word?}.

4 comments:

  1. The butter idea is great! I don't have a blender... Do you think a hand-held mixer would work??

    Do you know of any good books that focus on how long is ok to keep things frozen? I always "find" frozen meat in my freezer that I've forgotten about, but I'm too afraid to eat it! I'm just thinking there's gotta be some small book or something that had guidelines, etc. for protocol on this. I know some of my cookbooks have some stuff, but it'd be nice to have them all in one place. Does that make sense?? And even guidelines on leftovers, etc....

    I've been using swagbucks ever since you told me about it and I love it! Definitely a good deal :)

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  2. I've loved ALL these posts! I bought a binder and some baseball card sleeves to put all my coupons in! Let the good times begin! So far I have really loved the cereal deals! (Like when Safeway has the sales with store coupons AND you can use manufacturers coupons!?! AWESOME!)Getting boxes of cereal for $1.25 is a blast! :)

    I've just started using swag bucks, too. So far I'm at 403...slowly growing, though!

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  3. Give more information about ur freezers uses...
    I liked ur blogs very much.. so helpful for us…..


    Freezers

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  4. SwagBucks is the number 1 get-paid-to website.

    ReplyDelete

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