• Learn and Save

    Date: 2011.02.11 | Category: Books, Home, Life, Me, Pets, Style | Tags:

    Several of my blog friends have reported over the past month or so on the ways they strive to save money . Thank goodness Mark and I both share the same “pay the least amount possible while still getting a good deal” philosophy, even if it means driving to North Little Rock or Baton Rouge to get a vehicle at the right price. Heck, we even did Disney World on a tight budget that you wouldn’t believe!

    We really focused on this when Mark started up his own business, and the need to save money is becoming even more important as we prepare ourselves for the gigantic added monthly expense of daycare (which is the one thing we refuse to cheap out on. Baby girl will be in the best care and close to my job). We also try to adhere to shopping organic as much as possible, which can get pricey.

    So here are a few of the things we’ve done to make life a little more affordable:

    1. Take in donated and second hand furniture.
    Goodness knows I don’t care if things match. In fact, I think our newly acquired, old peach couch has a lovely vintage feel and I just need the right throw pillows to tie it to the rest of the room. We’ve also acquired a donated rocking lounge chair and purchased our crib, baby dresser and changing table second hand. The dresser in our bedroom was given to us by my grandparents. We stripped it of white speckled paint, sanded it, stained and refinished it.

    2. Coupons!
    This is a recent obsession for me. Turns out that  Voices section of The Times they send in the mail each week is packed with all kinds of coupons, from groceries to power tools. And guess what else? Krogers has an iPhone app where you can electronically load coupons onto your Kroger card. When you buy the item, it automatically deducts from your total bill. And then of course there are the coupons on Swagbucks which are usually really good and have the bonus of giving you more Swagbucks for more free stuff. (Thanks Cassie!) I now save about $8-$12 on my grocery bill each time.

    3. Online coupons.
    You know those discount codes they ask for when you check out? You can find tons of them at www.retailmenot.com. During Christmas time that website was invaluable.

    4. Over the air HD + Netflix = No Dish/Cable bill
    I know this may be a deal breaker for some people, especially if you crave ESPN, but it works for us. We have an antenna that allows us to get all our local channels in HD for free! (About 15 total). The rest we watch online or on Netflix. This means we don’t shovel over $60/month in television bills.

    5. Clothes shopping on the cheap.
    Old Navy, Gap Outlet, Target and Ross have great prices, especially their clearance racks. I’ve gotten where I can hardly stand to pay full price for any clothes or shoes items any more. And right now I live in loaned and donated maternity clothes thanks to my fellow mommies!

    6. The Library.
    I know this should be a no-brainer, but I am kind of obsessed with books. I love to collect them and read them over and over. There are some books that I will just buy no matter what (but always on sale at Amazon). But now, instead of running to Amazon, I check out the library first. They don’t have everything I want to read, but they’ve surprised me with having new releases. They also have audiobooks and movies for free check out!

    7. DIY Home Repair
    I know this may not be an option for everyone, but I have been blessed  with a husband and father-in-law who can literally fix anything. Mark has repaired toilets, wired our house for surround sound and patched my car tires. He has installed wood floors, tile floors, fixed lawn mowers and installed new closet rails and shelves. What would I do without this man? Spend lots more money, that’s what.

    8. Price Matching at the Vet.
    After a little bit of asking I learned my vet will match online prices for pet medications, including heart worm pills and Bonnie’s bladder meds (another story for another day). This has saved us a bundle!

    So I’m curious, what do you do to save money? I’m always looking for tips!