Monday, April 11, 2011

recessionista.

Let's face it: our country is still in recession mode, and we're all looking for a few ways to save a buck here and there. Below are a few things we do to save, and I hope they'll be helpful to you! Please know that we are by no means "super savers!" We have just learned a few things from our families, friends and of course, TV, and wanted to pass along.

First things first, if your local grocery store has a rewards card, sign up for one immediately! I shop weekly at Tom Thumb (which is a Safeway brand...so, for you Houstoners, it's basically Randall's).

The rewards card is free, and my local store always has great deals. I can honestly say that we save about $15-20 a week just by using the rewards card. And a bonus? The more you spend, the more you save -- for every $100 you spend at Tom Thumb, you get a $.10 per gallon discount at their gas station. Since I spend weekly, I always get a $.10 discount on my gas!

Same thing for CVS cards. I currently have a $10 off of $50 coupon in my wallet that I'll be using tonight!


Clip coupons.

I know it sounds crazy and time-consuming, but it really does work. I clip everything from a 40% off one item at Michael's, to $1 off trash bags at Tom Thumb, to a "Beauty Insider" from Sephora that gives me points to earn samples and other items.

Also, before shopping online for anything, I hit up RetailMeNot.com. It's a great site that gives you coupon codes for your online purchase! I've gotten things from free shipping, to a certain percentage off my order.


Make a weekly meal-planning menu.

This.works.

On Sunday evenings, I sit down and make our grocery list for the week. While I'm doing that, I write out what we're having that week on these little menus.

Some people call this anal-rettentive. I call it organization and money saving.

When I make my list, I only put on it what ingredients we'll need to make the menu items, as well as things we always run out of: toilet paper, milk, coffee, etc. It really helps when I go to the store because I only allow myself to purchase what's on the list.

And, while we're on the subject of food: buy off-brand for anything you can. I'm telling you, no one will notice that your chopped green chiles are Safeway brand instead of Old El Paso. For any canned ingredients or other ingredients I need to buy for our meals, I buy off-brand: cream of mushroom soup, onion soup mix, diced tomatoes, canned vegetables, spaghetti noodles, crescent rolls. You catch my drift.

Now, for things I won't skimp on? Organic milk, Jiffy peanut butter, orange juice, cereal.

Just be conscious and think before buying the brand-name items. I always ask myself, "Will I be able to tell this isn't brand-name when I eat it?" If the answer is no, then I buy off-brand.


Shop the sales!

I can honestly say that I don't remember the last time we paid full-price for any clothing. Call us cheap, but it saves money!

My mom always taught me to go to the back of the store first to look for the sales. Honestly, it works. Stores that have the best sales (and things on sale most often)?
Ann Taylor Loft, Gap, Banana Republic, Nordstrom and Anthropologie. We find great things here for a fraction of the price! It's so silly to me to pay full-price for something that will be on sale in just a few short weeks.

{Side note: It made me laugh the other day when Brandon went to J. Crew with me. He walked in first and made a bee-line for the sale rack at the back of the store. A man after my own heart. :)}


Turn it off and unplug.

When you leave for the day, turn your A/C up (or heater down). You're not there, and it makes no sense to cool or heat an empty home. You'll be shocked at how much lower your electricity bill will be. On the same note, turn off your water when you're brushing your teeth. It really saves.

Also, if you don't use it often, unplug it until you need to use it. We do this for our toaster, electric wine opener, coffee maker and laptop. While plugged in (even when off!) you're paying for that electricity. Of course, I'm not saying to keep your microwave or refrigerator unplugged! But anything that you don't use often, just take a moment and slip the plug out of the socket.  


Wash at night.

My parents gave me this tip when I first moved into my "big girl apartment." If you need to run the dishwasher or wash clothes, try to do it in the evening. Water rates are cheaper. Who knew!?

Do any of you have any money-savers? Please share!

1 comment:

  1. I swear by menu planning too! We save so much money when I plan out our meals. And lord knows I love me some sales :)

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