7 simple tips for ways to save money on food, clothing and other family expenses including yard sales, thrift stores, bartering and couponing.
If you’ve read my blog for very long or stayed around to look at our DIY projects or family recipes you probably know I like to save money wherever and whenever I can.
I learned how to be frugal from my mom. We didn’t have much money growing up, but I never really knew how hard it was. I just knew we didn’t go out too much or buy many new clothes. Sadly, this was way before the days of thrifting and yard sales!
(That’s me and my brother. He looks like he could get into trouble, doesn’t he?)
My mom and dad both worked and my grandmother lived with us. My MawMaw was the one who made sure I did my chores, practiced the piano and did my homework. Not a fun job.
As a stay at home mom of 25+ years I knew how important it was to stretch our funds and live on one income. Even though making our money last longer was the goal, I’ve also looked at saving money as a second job for me.
Now that my kids are grown, I have a job I love (this blog). But those lean years taught me there are many ways to stretch your family’s income.
If I can find a way to purchase something for less I will. The issue is not whether we have the money to afford to pay more but are we good stewards of the resources we’ve been given?
We have two choices concerning money. Earn more or spend less. Or both.
Many, many families are living pay check to pay check or borrowing money they may not know how to pay back. The tips I want to share today are ways to help you save money.
Ways to Save Money on Practically Everything
Tip 1. How to save money on food:
- Eat out less often. Period. When you do, use coupons or order daily specials when at all possible. If you have young children visit those restaurants that have free kids meals.
- Limit the use of convenience foods. Processed foods aren’t good for the diet or the pocketbook! Eat as fresh as you can afford!
- Read the grocery store circular before going shopping.
- Buy the loss leader (items that are priced low to get shoppers in the store) and stock up when items are on sale.
- Clip manufacturer and store coupons and combine them with double (or triple) coupon days. Make sure you know the rules for your store. (Read how I taught my kids math through couponing.)
- Don’t shop hungry.
- Make a list and stick to it, deviating only with extremely good buys.
- Investigate a big box store (Costco, Sam’s) and decide if the membership price is worth the deals on food and other items.
(No, we don’t eat like this now!)
Tip 2. How to save money on clothes
- Yard sales. The absolute best place to buy clothes that are barely used or even new, usually priced to sell. Examine each item to make sure zippers and buttons work and no stains are present. Prices are often negotiable. When you find a great deal, stock up! If you spend $1 on something that doesn’t fit and save yourself $50 by buying other used merchandise the money saved is worth it. (Here are my Top 10 things to buy at yard sales.)
- Thrift stores. Find the best stores in your area and stop by as often as you can. Make a list of items and sizes you will need in the future. Some thrift stores have special sale days or racks. These stores also usually have furniture, home decor, toys and videos for sale. (This hysterical story is typical for me!)
- Buying new. If you have to buy new, watch for sales and shop at stores that honor customer loyalty with rewards or discounts. Save gas and order online if you can easily judge sizes and fit.
Tip 3: Drugstore Rewards
There are many blogs devoted to playing the “drugstore game.” Customers are rewarded “dollars” for buying certain items, with the “dollars” to be used at a future purchase.
Many years ago on Thanksgiving morning (while the turkey was in the oven) I went to my CVS store and bought $120 worth of items and received $120 in Extracare Bucks, making my next purchases free! If you pair these sales with manufacturer and drugstore coupons it is possible to even make money!
Ask questions! One time I had $12 worth of Extracare Bucks that had expired a day earlier and I asked the cashier if I could still use them. She said yes. Most days I would have been too shy to ask. I tried this recently and was told they will honor up to a week late. (Mine were a month past the date. Shoot!)
Tip 4: Online Shopping
With our world crisis still playing out, online shopping has never been more necessary! You can buy anything from food to clothes to furniture and everything in between.
Follow influencers who link all the best deals and ask your friends on Facebook for ideas when you don’t know where to find inexpensive goods. People LOVE to share their knowledge and help others!
Today we are all blessed to have access to an over abundance of money saving resources through the internet. There are ways to save money in practically every area of our lives. And somewhere on the net is someone dying to tell you how to do it!
Read, research and invest some time in learning what works best for your family.
Again, knowing the “rules” from Amazon or your favorite store (free shipping, etc.) will help you decide to where to buy.
I also have an Amazon store with all my favorites in EVERY category (and you know they’re going to be money saving products if possible!)
Tip 5: Craigslist
Craigslist is a tremendous resource to help you buy and sell everything from furniture to cars to services. This includes help wanted listings, apartment and home listings, personals and more.
My husband bought us a practically new, still under warranty wii for $40. The key is checking often on those categories that you’re most interested in.
I’ve also sold homeschool curriculum and activities using Craigslist, as well as scrapbooking supplies.
Tip 6: Barter
In today’s economy more people are willing to barter in exchange for goods or services. We have bartered painting services for piano lessons, lawn care, vacation rental and therapy for our kids. You won’t know until you ask!
Tip 7: Just say no.
In our society we don’t often talk about discipline in terms of our financial health. But through taking the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course I’ve learned saying no is both godly and necessary!
My husband and I have a budget for the first time ever in our married lives! For almost three decades he was the primary bread winner and I was keeper of our home.
Now that we’re almost empty nesters I’ve taken over all the details related to money. By using the EveryDollar app we now know exactly where every single penny goes.
Tim and I have worked hard to become a team in terms of finances. Don’t be afraid to invite others to help you get your finances straight.
I’d love to know any tips I missed. Just leave a comment with all your favorite ways to save money!