Tuesday, August 4, 2009

She works haaard for the money!

I must confess... I LOOOOVE to save money and find good deals. I think it's important to steward money well, silly to waste it on dumb things and I want to make my momma proud. Sandy Lynch is the QUEEN of money savers, and I like to think I've learned a thing or two from her. Plus, much more than makin' momma proud, I want to make my Heavenly Father proud. What he blesses us with, actually belongs to him, and if I want to strive for every aspect of my life to glorify him, this must go along with it.

None of the things I/ we do to save money make us go very far out of our way. We have busy lives, so saving money can't be our full time job. And, I don't say no to things very often, just because they're a dollar or two more than I wanted to spend. I just try to be careful with the little things that can add up.

I got so excited the other day thinking about all of the bargains I found when doing stuff around our house this summer that I decided to make a list of some of my favorite ways to save money. I would love love love to hear your tips too, so send them my way!

1. I heart Costco... a lot. Yes, some of their items have to be bought in large quantities (I may or may not have enough Ziploc bags to get between 3 and 4 children through elementary school with a sack lunch every day) but not all of their items are bulk. They have great prices and great quality meat, frozen food, bread, cakes, cookies, glasses, contacts, medicine, etc. etc.

2. Costco has awesome coupon specials that they send you in the mail. I have saved $29 in one trip before and, yes, it made my day.

3. I found out the other day that Mr. Car Wash will give you 5 bucks off your wash if you have a competitors coupon. I paid about 6 bucks to get my car washed- inside and out, which is cheaper than you'd even pay at a gas station. Thank you sir, may I have another? I will be asking more often about competitor's coupons. We also saved this way when we bought our refrigerator because we found it cheaper at one store, so Lowes gave us that price and 5% or 10% off... I can't remember now.

4. Red Box. I love it! We are sporadic in renting movies, so having a Netflix-type thing isn't our best option. We rarely even pay to rent movies at Red Box because you can google search for promo codes and get tons of free rentals. Free movie at Red Box or 4 bucks at Blockbuster... hmmmm, let me think about it.

5. As mentioned in number 4, I aaaaalways google for coupons. When we went on our Decade of Friendship Trip to Mexico, we saved 50 bucks off of each room, just for having a silly promo code. It doesn't get much easier than that!

6. This one is a no-brainer. I never... EVER... buy anything at Bed Bath and Beyond without a 20% off coupon. They never expire and the manager told me last week that they could be used for anything, even the stuff that they say they can't be used for on the coupon.

7. Ryan and I put EVERYTHING on our credit cards and, obviously, pay them off at the end of every month. Then, we save up our reward points for travel. In the past two and a half years we've gotten 6 round trip plane tickets and a four night hotel stay in San Francisco without spending a dime. I almost feel bad because we've never paid the credit card company even a penny.

8. We rarely eat lunch out. For me it's easy because I'm at school, but Ryan is good about it too. We eat leftovers for lunch or make something at home. If we do go out, we split a Subway sandwich or something like that. If I go to lunch with you and spend more than 4 dollars, you're special.

9. I try to wait for sales. This is a toughy. But, it's so hard for me to buy clothes at a store like the GAP when I know if I wait a couple weeks I'll get it cheaper. It depends on the price, but I'm trying to get better at this. I also love shopping at outlets. We have one within about 20 minutes so it's pretty convenient. The J. Crew outlet, to me, is like entering the motherland.

10. Consumer Reports is my go-to. We've used it to help us find the best value on our camera, tv, car, ipod, smart phone, vacuum, etc. etc. It's really helpful in finding which product is what you need. Without it I might have bought the Dyson vacuum and any of the other items listed above with many more gadgets than what I would use.

11. I ask about discounts for being a teacher (you can use this for lots of jobs). For example, who knew that Verizon would give you a 20% discount on your portion of the wireless bill just for being a state employee? Not me, but I asked and now I save every month.

This is a lot of text, so if you made it this far, way to go! Yes, it bothers me that I could only think of 11 items, which is not a round number, but I'm going to get over it. I'd love to know about any other little tricks out there, so send your tips my way!


Jamie Lapeyrolerie said...

Excellent ideas! I need to get more creative like you - if I come across something, then I will for sure pass it along.

kristin fulghum said...

woo hoo for deals! i got in free to the tampa zoo the other day for being a teacher...gotta love that! my favorite way to save money on jewelry is to buy it at forever 21...so cheap that i can't even buy jewelry at target anymore bc that seems too expensive.

malita said...

did you know that you can use those BB&B coupons on more than one thing - alot of times if you pull one out they'll even ask if you have anymore that you want to use - and of course they never expire.

CASEY said...

Yea for the long awaited money saving post! I'm impressed with your money saving skillz!

allison said...

Malita, you're so right! I should have mentioned that. At last check you could use up to 6 20% off coupons at one time at good ol' BBB. I keep them in my car.

KD said...

12. At HEB if you get lucky and see a red sticker on the meat (or maybe it's orange) that says reduced for quick sale...buy it! The sell by date is usually that day or the next and they are trying to move it out of the store. Then, cook it that night or freeze it for later!

Kim said...

LOVE your tips!! I'm gonna hit up consumer reports right now! Ok- tell me more about googling coupons... did you just google the name of the hotel you were staying in and find a random promo code?

Donna said...

Wonderful ideas! j.crew outlet is also my motherland-i love to go, just call me! also you get a teacher discount there of 15% when you show your id. i've got ideas too, so if I can gather them together I will send them your way.

allison said...

These are great ideas! I forgot about the 15% off at JCrew, and I literally just bought stuff there a couple days ago. Dang.

Kim, when we found the promo code for our Mexico trip, we googled the company where we were buying the package. We found cheapcarribean.com online, and their deals were crazy cheap, but we also got the 50 bucks off per room.

My advice if you do one of these deals is to save a little moola and then upgrade your room when you arrive at the resort. Our original room wasn't so nice, but it was VERY cheap to upgrade when we got there.

The Jaspers said...

I loved this post! Such great info.. and so helpful! I have been looking for a cc that saves me points like y'alls. Which company do y'all use for that? Hope you guys are doing wonderfullY! Thanks for the tips.