I try my best to get the best deals on things, but sometimes even little changes make a BIG difference. Here’s a few tips I’ve tried along the way:
1. Compare prices to find the best price on meat without skimping on quality. Sometimes this means buying discounted meat and cooking it that day, sometimes it means buying a larger pack to save on the per lb. price.
2. Buy the big pack! I purchase two large boxes of granola bars every month at Wal-mart and pull out one box every two weeks.
3. Plan your monthly (or even bi-monthly) menu and add up multiple ingredients. Then buy the bigger jar or box to save.
4. The less “processed” the better. Applesauce comes in a large jar or in convenient serving size bowls. But with the convenience comes a price! Save by purchasing serving sized plastic or glassware and dishing up convenient bowls yourself. I do this with yogurt, applesauce, and sometimes canned or fresh fruit.
5. Look for even more ways to save on “processed” foods. A very small jar of pickles costs $2-3, however the gallon sized jar of whole pickles costs $4. I buy one every two to three months and slice them up. It fills the jar and you’re getting WAY more for your buck!
6. Little bottles of pump hand soap are $1-2, but a big bottle is $3 and lasts me a few months. Look at what you normally buy and find a better way of doing things.
7. Shampoo…that’s a doozy! I have very long hair but my husband and son use very little shampoo. So this expense is mostly me! I have a few options in this category, I use coupons if I find a sale and a good deal. I buy the big bottle if it’s on sale, which will last a few months. Or I buy a bottle of fancy shampoo and a bottle of $1 shampoo and I mix them, dividing them back into 2 bottles.
8. Shaving cream for me – I mix up one bottle of $1 conditioner, one bottle of $1 shampoo and about 1/2 cup of lotion. It all gets combined into a large pump bottle and you’re ready to go!
9. Here’s a confession, I’m one of THOSE moms…I make my own detergent!! I know everyone thinks it’s crazy, but even with a two month old, I’ve got plenty of time to do this because it takes a matter of minutes – promise! Dissolve 1 cup EACH of washing soda, baking soda, and good smelling dish detergent into 5 cups HOT water (but not boiling or you’ll end up with suds everywhere). Pour slowly into a large bottle or container (I use an old 150oz detergent bottle). Add more hot water to fill jug. Use a capful for each load. Works great on stains too, just pour a little over the spot and let sit or toss in with your laundry.
10. Household cleaner: equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Can be used on bathroom fixtures (wipe up immediately or it can discolor metals), countertops, floors, etc. You can add some citrus peels to the mix and let them soak a night or two (remove them or they’ll turn into a nasty mush!) to get rid of the vinegar smell.
12. My last tip: DON’T BUY GROCERIES. By that I mean, have willpower. Take cash and don’t overspend! Tell your family, “here’s what I’ve bought and when it’s gone, we won’t be buying more.” Obviously don’t starve them…but if you keep running back to the store because you’re out of the treats or extras, it can add up quickly. It may take a few months of running out of the good stuff right away before they believe you but it will work eventually!