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December 26, 2014

Saving Money in the New Year - How we do it!

Saving Money in the New Year - How we do it!
Tips for 2015

Are you looking for easy ways to save money in 2015? 
Today, I've included a list of practical tips for saving money on things you buy on a regular basis - grocery purchases, on-line shopping, eating out, it's all here!
Tips for 2015

Amazon - Do you shop on Amazon? As I need items that I know can easily be shipped to me, I always check the price on Amazon. If I don't like the price I see, I throw it in my cart, and I love that I will receive a notification when the price is reduced. I have scored some great deals by having a little bit of patience!
Sam's Club - As our family has grown, Sam's Club has become more and more of a must for us! On certain items that we purchase, we are able to find a better price on them at Sam's than if we couponed the items. This is definitely not true for everything, but Sam's is a stop we make periodically to stock up on various items. You may prefer Costco or BJ's - same idea...just do a little price comparison, and see what you can save on there!

Produce Delivery & Farmer's Markets - Unfortunately, you can not typically coupon meat, dairy, and produce - which makes up a large part of our grocery purchases. When the season is right, we love to use produce or grocery delivery services or shop at Farmer's Markets. When I pay more for better quality, I'm usually okay with that; but sometimes I have found that I'm actually getting better prices than at the supermarket.

Hello Fresh has also been a great option for us! Their regular prices are not great, but with a 50% off coupon code (that comes around every once and awhile) and an additional 25% off special that our credit card company runs every once in awhile, it works out to be a great deal!

Credit Cards - Speaking of credit cards, I have two basic credit card tips for you. Never, ever, ever carry a balance. If you currently have a balance, make it your number one priority to pay it quickly as possible! Tip #2: Make sure you are using a card that is working for you! We do not pay any of kind of annual fees, etc. for our card, and we earn cash back on every single purchase we make! *Some people know that they can not trust themselves to use credit. If you find yourself in that camp, let Dave Ramsey be your guy. He has a lot of wisdom on this topic!

Yard Sales/Thrift Stores - As always, yard sales and thrift stores are our number one way for saving money! The majority of our clothes, books, toys, homeschooling supplies, home decor, etc. are purchased this way! I love finding incredible items for literally pennies on the dollar! In my opinion - and I don't care how much money a person has - there is no other way to shop for quality goods!

Consignment Sales - I have a love/hate relationship with consignment sales. The honest truth is that oftentimes, people overspend on items that really aren't that great. However, I have also found some really great deals on high end clothing for my kids and specialty toys that are a little more difficult to find elsewhere.

Tax Donation - Sure there are lots of ways to sell your stuff and make cash, but unless you have a lot of larger items, high end clothing, etc. donating your stuff might be a better move. Clear out your clutter, and donate it (to a worthwhile organization, of course). Get a tax receipt. Easy as pie.

Coupon - At this stage in my life, I am not able to plan my week around attacking the weekly coupon deals at every single drug store and grocery store in my area. I am not an extreme couponer, but there are a few things I try to do! My favorite couponing spot is Harris Teeter. Each week, I receive an e-mail that tells me the E-vic specials for the week. (These prices are not marked on the shelf - They are somewhat "undercover".) The prices are usually amazing - especially the Saturday/Sunday deals -so I pop in and grab those items while also getting anything else that we need.

Each week I browse - only printing coupons for items we actually use, and I typically use those while I'm in Harris Teeter (sometimes on the Evic items that I'm already getting on great deal on but sometimes on other items). 

Southern Savers also gives great tips for shopping at Harris Teeter, and I also follow those coupon scenarios if a deal is being offered on something that we need. Harris Teeter is a great spot for scoring incredible deals on diapers & wipes! While there are great deals at drug stores, my favorite drugstore spot is CVS! Southern Savers and Hip2Save will tell you everything you need to know about shopping there as well! 

With weekly deals, coupons, and rewards, I can not even begin to tell you about the great deals I've found there - lots and lots of free stuff to be had there!

People will say, "Girl, teach me how to do that!" - "I don't get it...I wish I could figure out how to use coupons like that!" - "I don't have time to do that!" Here's my response....the coupon blogs have done all the work. All you have to do is get on there and do what they tell you. People typically spend their time the way they want to spend it, and if you want to save the money, you'll take the time to make it happen. 
Okay, I'll get down off my soap box now. Please forgive me for getting a little excited there.

For a more detailed look at my couponing strategy, check out: 
C'mon, get in the coupon game!
My Little Accordion Envelope
My Collection of Money-Saving Tips

Coupon Books - We have tried the Entertainment Book as well as the Attractions book. While they have both been great, I will say that for our area, the Attractions book seems to have more for us! We actually buy [at least] two every year! There are so many great coupons for restaurants, shops, attractions, and events, and while spending $20+ at the onset may seem like alot, we make that back over and over and over again by using coupons for things we would be doing anyway. Love, love, love my Attractions book. (We typically purchase these from individuals who are selling them to make money for a worthy cause, and that makes it an even better move!)

Gas Cards - A handful of our local stores have been running 20% off gas card specials where if you spend a certain amount (usually $50 in groceries), you can purchase a $50 gas card for $40. I have tried to remember to this every time I check out as this is a great savings for us! I have quite the stack of gas cards ready to use in the new year! Here's a handful of them:

Saving's Catcher - Have you used Walmart's Savings Catcher program? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear ya about Wal-mart! It can be a total nightmare to go in there, but lately, we've been saving even more money there by using the "Savings Catcher" app. After each visit, we scan our receipt; the app does a price comparison on every item you purchased, and you receive a return on the difference. So if CVS, Walgreens, Food Lion, Dollar General, etc. had your item(s) at a lower price, you get the item for the lowest price found. It's excellent - especially for those of us with little ones who are unable to make it to all of the different stores every week.

Cartwheel - As much as I am loving the Walmart's Saving Catcher program, Target still wins in my book because here's what happens....I use my Cartwheel app to save an additional percentage on some of the items that I purchase (You load deals on to the app - You can even scan your items in store to see if there is a deal on them that day.). I pay with my Target card to save an additional 5% on everything. On top of those two things, I also use lots of coupons. Target allows you to stack Target coupons with manufacture coupons. I do all of this at checkout and save loads this way! With the Target card, shipping is always free (no minimum purchase), so it's also nice to have things quickly shipped to the house. Like the time I ran out of baby q-tips...I purchased them for just over a $1.00, and Target had them at our doorstep the next afternoon. While Target does not get any praise from me for their customer service or their website functionality, I will say that I save lots of money there! Oh yeah, and their groceries? In my our local least on the items we buy...Walmart's prices really aren't any cheaper.

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