Saving Money 101

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by WhatchaDoin?, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2010

    Just in case I'm headed for another year of subbing, I'm trying to get a money plan together. What are your favorite ways to pinch pennies? No matter how big or how small, it all adds up!

    We've almost completely avoided carry out foods. My favorite Friday night pizza is Crazy Crust Pizza from KraftFoods.com. It's biscuit dough as the crust, with spaghetti sauce and toppings. It saves a ton off the price of restaurant pizza, and the kids can help!

    I've always diluted my kids juice with water, for several reasons. Now, I've started measuring the amount of juice and diluting in one big jug, instead of cup by cup. It seems to make the juice go further.

    Any tips, not just food related, would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for sharing!
     
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  3. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Jul 17, 2010

    We butcher our own meat. I bought a half of a steer (over 400 lbs) for $842. That includes steaks, ground round, and roasts. We also butcher our own pork. That was less than a 1.50 a lb. Contact your local FFA or 4-H sponsor. They will know what child has a show animal for sale. These animals are taken better care of than my children.


    Also we pick wild berries and freeze for later. Same with vegetables and fruits in the area. My son picked apricots from an elderly lady's yard because they made mowing difficult for her. My mother and my daughter made jam out of them for about the price of two large jars of high quality jelly at the store. We have homemade jam with less sugar and better taste all winter.

    I haven't done it yet, but I found a recipe to make my own clothes washing soap. I am going to do it because I understand it kills odors better and I have a teenage boy who plays football. I will let you know how it turns out, but with the price of soap...that should save a bunch.
     
  4. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Jul 17, 2010

    I almost forgot...we installed digital thermostat that has a timer on it for our ac and heater. That has saved us a bundle. I am able to set it where it slowly reheats the house (or cools) at the end of the day. I also was able to fix it where it cuts on about 30 minutes before we get up, making the house warm for showers and then cuts off as we leave for school. I have seen a difference of about $10 a month during the winter and closer to $15 during the summer on our electric bill.
     
  5. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Jul 17, 2010

    I use an envelope system. (check out Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.) I have envelopes for food, entertainment,etc. I put cash in the envelope every paycheck and only use that money for what it is for. If I run out before the next pay period, then I don't put more money in. It helps to keep track of where my cash is going and prioritize.
     
  6. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    Jul 17, 2010

    This sound really neat! My DH and I argue about the thermostat. I turn it 4 degrees higher during the day. When he comes home, I slowly back it down. He thinks this doesn't save a lot of energy, because the AC has to play catch up.
     
  7. Newto3rd

    Newto3rd Companion

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    Jul 17, 2010

  8. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Jul 17, 2010

    Instead of heading to Albertson's or even Walmart for that matter, I go to my local discount grocery store. Last time I went, I spent less than $50 for 7 bags of name brand goods including cereal (1.25), canned goods (50cents to 75 cents), salad dressing (1.00), turkey meat for sandwiches (1.00), quaker rice cakes (1.00), etc.

    I also go to the 99 cent store were there is a grocery area. I buy vegis there such as romaine lettuce, 5lb bag of potatoes and grapes for 99 cents!
     
  9. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jul 17, 2010

    I rarely eat out, and I rarely eat meat when I cook. I don't eat meat because I don't like it very much, but it is expensive, too. I always check the sale papers, too. I use coupons and rebates. I stock up on things when possible. I haven't paid for toothpaste in a long time. Two weeks ago toothpaste was on sale and the rebate was for the entire sale price. I had a coupon for 75 cents off, so I actually made 75 cents. I also shop sales for clothes. I also know how to sew, so I can make clothing alterations and repairs, too. I take my lunch and breakfast to work. I don't buy from convenience stores or vending machines. I raise a garden in summer. My mom cans and freezes items and shares with me. I buy a lot of store brand items. I do my own yard work, clean my own house, and wash my own car. I don't buy clothes that need dry cleaning. I don't have a monthly cell phone bill because I use a prepaid phone. I do not need a fancy phone. I just need to call people and send a few text messages. I do have cable television (can't get antenna reception), but I don't have any premium channels. I never buy books or movies. I use the public library a lot.
     
  10. MissWull

    MissWull Cohort

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Try to cut out things we don't completely need. Try not to eat out as much. A while back I wrote out a list of everything I pay with each paycheck, what money goes to what. Then I budgeted our extra money to use for going out, and then we save or pay debt with the rest. I think as long as I had something figured out and written out, it made it a lot easier to do the saving that way. Good Luck! :)
     
  11. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Bubbly, can you cut juice out of your diet? To save money, I don't buy juice. It is expensive and high in sugar and calories. If you can't, try to buy it at a discount store--we have a Rainbow Canned Food Store here.

    Clothing--go shopping for clothes between seasons. My daughter works at a department store and bought my GS 20 pairs of jeans for $30. She got 4 sizes. She has picked up clearance work pants for her nephew for $2 each. These bargains were offered to get rid of winter clothes from last year. So, my advice, check the cleance rack first.

    Shop for bread at the bread outlet stores. If you have a freezer, you can stock up.

    If you need to mend your clothes, do so instead of tossing them.
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Don't bring the kids shopping with you!!!

    Whether I'm shopping for food or anything else, I spend more if the kids are along.

    Get creative with pasta. It can be cooked a million different ways, and it's the cheapest food out there.
     
  13. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I only shop at the farmer's market. HUGE difference.

    Also we have our hot water heater on a timer as well. It goes off at midnight until we get up, and during the school year, it goes off mid-morning until afternoon when I get home. If you also put a jacket on it, the water in it will stay pretty warm. Our electric co. gives us a lot of cool graphs on our online bill, and we always check to see how we compare to other similar homes in our area. We are always at the very low end of the spectrum.
     
  14. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Thanks for all the good ideas!!!

    Thanks for the Rachel Ray link - I'm going to check it right now!

    I do visit the dollar store, but our store doesn't have produce. :(

    Alice, agreed on leaving the kids home for shopping. Not only do they try to add too many things to the cart, it's hard to concentrate on prices, too.

    When we built our home five years ago, the contractor talked us into a tankless water heater. I think it has made a HUGE difference in our utility bills.
     
  15. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jul 18, 2010

    We pretty much only drink tea and water and milk here. (I will admit we did buy juice last night but that was a splurge). Tea bags are cheap and I just brew my own. Right now we have a pitcher of Four Red Fruits, plain decaf, and Chai, for variety. The fruity flavors don't need sugar, in my opinion.

    I got a cool shopping list from Target that has a little place for you to tick off every $2 you spend. You can circle up to your budget and then approximate and check off as you shop. Of course, you could do this yourself without the cute little list I have. Just make a tally of each $ you spend. BF and I would do this. We would get all the necessaries first. If we went over, we put something back, like maybe getting a cheaper cut of meat. If we were under, we would then go back and get the splurges, like ice cream, or we would just save the money. Even just doing a quick tally like that, I was usually within $3 of the actual total.
     
  16. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I am constantly on freecycle.org. You can not only get rid of things you can no longer use, but you can also find things you might need, especially as soon as possible. Check it out and see if there are any in your areas. I have started to shop for groceries at Walmart, which I have not done in the past. We like the Lean Cuisine brand, and compared to Shop Rite and regular food stores, Walmart's prices are half or even lower. Thrift stores, outlets such as Pepperidge Farm and Entemann's, are located throughout the country, so check them out. I also cut out meat from at least one meal per week and switched to a different protein, there is a lot you can do, especially with the summer veggies and fruits. I think many of us are in the same boat! Hope this helps.
     
  17. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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  18. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Here is a sample of a typical shopping trip for me.

    I checked the coupons and sale papers in today's newspaper. (I'm in a very small town, so there is really only one store to check, a Rite-Aid.)

    I purchased 14 items with a total of $54.92. I had a mixture of clearance items, coupons, and sale items. (no rebate items on today's trip) My final total was $34.04. And at the bottom of my receipt I have a coupon for $4.00 off any Revlon product.

    None of it was anything I needed right at this minute, but everything is something that I use (razor blades & eye shadow, for instance) and will need before much longer. The eye shadow was normally $9.99, and I got it for $2.49.
     
  19. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I just posted this on another thread....

     
  20. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    Jul 19, 2010

    Oooh, more great ideas!

    I'm waiting for our mortgage company to call back concerning refinancing. Our rate was pretty low, so I'm not sure how much lower they will take it. Anytime credit scores are involved, I panic. I'm such a worrywart ;) I can't wait to see how this goes.

    I plan on replacing light bulbs, too! I'll start with the bulbs upstairs - the lights that are left on, when I don't notice. Kitchen lighting will follow soon there after.

    I like the grocery price tally. At one time, I had created an all inclusive grocery list, with check boxes for the items we needed. I might go back to that, and include a tally along the side, as well. I used to try it with a calculator, but I would always hit clear by accident. :(

    I usually buy my kids' clothes a year ahead. I also have a Gymboree Visa. I don't use it for purchases, but have our phone (land and cell) and satellite bills automatically paid using the card. Then I have the card automatically deduct the visa payment each month from my account. I don't miss bills, and I get a $10 gift card after every $1000. I'll use it sometimes if there is a big purchase or repair, and then immediately pay it, just to get the points. The cards go a long way in the clearance bins and during major sales. For my daughter, anyway.

    Ima - Rite Aid just came out with a courtesy card. It earns points towards savings and discounts.



    Thanks again!!!
     
  21. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    Jul 19, 2010

    If we are at the store we look for the "sell fast" or even like those roaster chickens or the cold chicken pieces they have to sell if not sold within so much time. We use the chicken in other recipes or those like the cold fried chicken which is that fast sell and throw it in the crockpot with BBQ sauce... so yummy.

    We try to buy stuff from Sam's Club in bulk & freeze

    If we have a ham for a dinner we will freeze some of it to make other things like potato soup. We do this with a turkey to make turkey pot pie.

    I just got back from shopping & our regional store has 5% off on grocery items... so stock up on some stuff that way.

    We have changed most of the lights in our house.

    We buy some juice, but we usually buy the fruit (not cheaper some times) but we have a juicer & I know what's going in it.

    I have made quite a bit of freezer jam strawberry, raspberry,

    Try to find "treats" that don't cost much to make right now our fav is this jello, yogurt, whip cream pie.

    I generally use my dryer sheets in 2 loads instead of one.
     
  22. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jul 19, 2010

    My mom bought her car with her Discover card just to get the cash-back reward! When the bill came, she paid the balance in full so she paid no interest. She earned $420 in cashback rewards.
     
  23. dizzykates

    dizzykates Habitué

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    Jul 19, 2010

    We signed up for a CSA basket of produce (about $15/week) and we make do with the produce we get each week. Sometimes it's pretty strange, but it forces us to try new things and we know it's fresh and organic.

    I only buy meat at the "sell fast" price. At SuperTarget, they put $2-$3 off stickers on things that need to sell within 48 hours. Again, maybe not my first choice of cuts, but I can usually figure out how to use them. I don't generally pay more than $2/lb this way.

    We cook every night and I always plan to have leftovers so if that means adding extra pasta or rice to stretch something I do. Sometimes that means more veggies get added to a stir fry.

    We do not go out to movies, we watch what we have or go to the redbox and rent for just one night.

    We don't go out for drinks with friends, we go to each other's houses and play games with chips and drinks.

    We go to the library and read just to get out or check the books out and snuggle up at home with hot cocoa.

    We do not belong to a gym, we walk, bike and take turns challenging each other to different work out tasks.

    I make my own multipurpose cleaner and use lless than half the recommended amount of dishwahser and clothes washer detergent.

    I do not wash anything on hot or warm water in the clothes washer and I hang dry almost everything instead of running the dryer.

    I make muffins and pancakes from scratch, not a box mix.
     
  24. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Jul 19, 2010

    Do you have a Publix near by to do your grocery shopping? I've learned how to cut my grocery bill in HALF!!!!! It is just me, my hubby and a 4 yr old daughter. Our trip to Walmart monthly was $300. Now I spend around $100 or so depending on what I'm stocking up on. This website was my life saver... http://www.southernsavers.com/ The owner, Jenny, posts sales papers and where to find the coupons to go with the sale items. I went to her couponing 101 class and it was worth it!!! ($10).

    Other coupon and saving sites I love are...
    http://hip2save.com/
    http://thekrazycouponlady.com/
    http://www.iheartpublix.com/ (has links to TotallyTarget and Iheartsavingmoney)

    I blogged some of my savings on my site...
    http://mamasnapped.blogspot.com/

    I LOVE PUBLIX!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  25. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Jul 19, 2010

    I also earn money doing searches. If anyone wants, pm me and I will send you a link, cause I don't think I'm allowed to post something semi commercial here. In any event, you get points for searches that you convert to things you use or gift cards. Personally, I get Amazon cards. Right now I am saving for stuff for my class room, but you could get cards for stores that sell clothing, food etc. It has been a real help to get things that would normally chunk in to my budget.
     
  26. WhatchaDoin?

    WhatchaDoin? Comrade

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    Jul 24, 2010

    SpecialPreskoo - thanks for the links!

    About our mortgage....
    (Grrr, I hate starting something about which I feel totally ignorant.)
    We have a thirty year mortgage, started 5 years ago. We are paying an extra payment a year, as well as an extra $15 a week to pay it down.

    We could refinance on a 20 year mortgage for 1 percent less. This would lower our monthly payment $10. The refinance consultant (not sure if that's the title?) suggested not going ahead, because it would be more trouble than it was worth.

    Okay, I'm embarrassed to say, it took me about an hour to figure this out....
    It may only save us $10 a month for 20 years, but what about all the money we're saving by paying our mortgage off earlier?

    Grrr...this might be a long process.
     
  27. Unbeknownst

    Unbeknownst Cohort

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    Jul 24, 2010

    http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/mortgage-calculator/
    Check out this mortgage calculator. Just put in your information, and it will tell you exactly how much you'll save (it will be a LOT).

    Also, another money-saving tip:

    1. Try out MagicJack for your home phone line. It's 20 dollars a YEAR, and it works just as good as a regular home phone (it's what my wife and I use).
     
  28. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Jul 24, 2010

    Sarge's tips for saving money.

    1. Buy your house in mid '90s instead of the early '2000s. It will be much cheaper and won't lose as much of its value.

    2. Instead of having children, get cats. You save boatloads of money on daycare. We were gone for over two weeks, and only paid $100 for the kid next door to come over and feed them. 24 hour daycare for two children of the same age would probably run into tens of thousands of dollars for the same time period.

    3. Sit closer to your TV. That way you can get by with a much smaller one.

    4. Don't buy anything new unless it's to replace something that's worn out, broken, lost, or not functioning.
     

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