Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tough Times Savings Strategies

As some of you already know we have struggled financially since I lost my job, however, recently an unexpected loss of almost 900/month has put us struggling more than we ever have before.  Not knowing how we are going to pay upcoming bills is so very stressful but I try to find even more ways to save money.  It helps keep me occupied and my mind on a more positive note.

I also had a friend message me recently and tell me she loved some of the savings sites I had posted in the past and that she is without work for awhile and would love to have more sites and money savings ideas so here it goes.   This might end up being quite lengthy but I’m sure you’ll appreciate it. Smile

I am going to list links to other sites, some of my previous blog posts that you may have missed that can help your family same some money. 

One thing that saves me a major hunk of change is making my own laundry soap. (click link to go to how to page) Don’t knock it till you try it.  The stuff works great, takes less than 10 minutes to make and saves probably $30 bucks a month if you have a good sized family that does a lot of laundry.  I used to go through 3 containers of soap a month that could cost upwards of $15/container.  (I had a child that couldn’t use just any soap – but the home made stuff doesn’t bother her skin so win win)  My new laundry soap looks much different than the first few batches.  I now use Zote soap which you can buy at Save A Lot for a dollar or under.  (one bar makes two five gal buckets) – Zote is pink so I have pretty soap!   I also make a 5 gallon batch at a time in a large bucket I purchased for $3 @ Gander Mtn. This bucket will last us MONTHS and Months.  One box of borax and washing POWDER (not baking soda) will easily make enough soap for a year! With three – four bars of soap… how cheap is that!

If you have problems in your area finding washing powder or borax you can purchase online (sometimes cheaper than at your local store) from Alice.com   This site has great savings on many everyday household items, many times cheaper than walmart (and you don’t have to pay gas for the trip)  If you buy over 6 items shipping is absolutely FREE.  I try to check Alice @ least once a month for sales.  They also have coupons available on site.

Using coupons is a GREAT way to save.  Especially if you live in an area where they double or even on certain days triple coupons.  Some great links to learn couponing AND where they give you FREE match ups to save you time.  (the person posts the sale and links to where to find matching coupons).

One of my favorite sites is www.couponmom.com she also has a great Youtube channel with how to videos for couponing @ http://www.youtube.com/user/CouponMom

Great video on using cvs http://www.youtube.com/user/CouponMom#p/a/8008CBA64662E85E/2/7xdGVhnm-so

www.weusecoupons.com  forums where ppl post the deals they have found.

www.hotcouponworld.com  more forums with match ups

http://dealseekingmom.com/

http://www.couponing101.com/

http://proudtobecheap.blogspot.com/

http://www.centsible-sawyer.com/   great links for match ups also at the top you will see a link for cvs 101.  If you have a cvs in your area combining sales, coupons and extra bucks can get your shampoos and everyday items for super cheap or even free.

Couponing may seem like a lot of work but when you weigh out how much you save it’s well worth an hour or two of work.  Where I live in central FL I have not found any stores that double coupons.  So, many times I end up doing most of my shopping at Aldis or Save A Lot and save the most that way.  Taking the time to make a PRICE BOOK will also help you get the most for your money.  This book will let you know the best price you have paid for an item and where it is at.  Eventually you will get to where you can see a trend on sales for each store and can help plan that way.

One tip I learned after a few months… I don’t clip all the coupons at once.  I file them in a box with the date of the insert written in sharpie marker on the front of each insert.  Each type of insert has a folder.  I have one for RedPlum, One for P&G, One for Smartsource and so on.  I put the newest in the front of each folder.  As I go to the forums and websites to find weekly match ups they give you the source of the coupon either a link to a printable coupon or will say s/s 5/11 meaning it’s from the 5/11 paper.  So all I have to do is pull that one out and clip and put back.

http://jane4girls800dollarannualbudget.blogspot.com/   this mom went extreme.  She feeds her and her three daughters on $800 a year!!!!   Great tips.  Daily links to $ savings.

www.hillbillyhousewife.com has some great free money savings e-books and recipes/menus.

http://www.5dollardinners.com/   great meals to feed your whole family of 4 for $5 or under.  She has just added a great recipe tool that you can click on ingredients to add to a printable shopping list.

From the above sites you can also find the importance of menu planning to save money.  Menu planning is one of the top priorities when you are trying to save on groceries.  You plan your menu, make a list of what you do not have on hand, and go to the store and BUY WHAT IS ON THE LIST.  When you are really trying to save using the sales fliers for the stores weekly sales and what you have on hand to plan your menu will save you the greatest amount of moo-lah. Smile

Another great website/tool that I enjoy using is ZIP LIST it allows you to make grocery lists and save recipes and make lists from it.  It’s a quick and easy way to help you organize your shopping especially if you need to hit several stores in the same area to make the most of their sales.

http://mealplanningmommies.blogspot.com/

http://blog.plantoeat.com/  some great tips but also has a subscription service.  I stick with the free stuff. Smile

http://savingdinner.com/   great free tips she also has a service you can subscribe to to give you weekly menus/shopping lists.  This is great if you are working a lot and do not have time to do this on your own.

I’ll end my post now since you already have a ton to look at.  I will add more later on as I think of them.  Please feel free to comment me and leave any questions you might have.  Use google and YOUTUBE to learn more on couponing and saving.  They have both been an WONDERFUL resource to help me.

For many of the blog sites you can subscribe to the blogs daily RSS feed in order to have it sent to you in a feed reader or email so you don’t miss any posts about great savings!  I do this with most money savings blogs I belong to.

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