Money Savers for the Home

Many homeschooling families live off of one income, or income from a home business which at times may be seasonal.
Most of us have learned "savings tricks", so on this part of my blog I will pass those on to you. Feel free to add any that you would like to share My intent is that this part of my blog is always being updated with new ideas.
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Every time I shop, I have someone ask to look at my coupon book. I have shared it on here before a few years ago, but will again to kick off this new section of my blog on saving money.

First, understand I only use a coupon on an item IF that allows me to get it cheaper than the generic, or cheaper than at Aldi. Often, when combining coupons with sales, CVS bonus bucks, or Walgreen's rebates, I get items free--such as toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo... But, to take full advantage of this, you usually can not be brand loyal.

Also, remember that often stores such as Dollar Tree and Dollar General also take coupons and also have name brand items at much less. This allows me to get name brand cereal often for $1 a box or sometimes free.

My coupon book goes everywhere with me. (My kids and husband will attest to this-we can't leave the house without it!) You never know when you may come across an unadvertised special or discounted item that you have coupons for, and you want your coupons with you-not at home.

After having my coupons in folders, envelopes, boxes and coupon holders, I came across keeping them in a 3 ring notebook binder. Inside the binder I have clear plastic photo sheets (the type with pockets that hold pictures).

Each pocket is labeled with a different category, and they are arranged in alphabetical order. I don't like standing in a store searching, so I have lots of categories--so I can find a coupon quicker. I have around 50 pockets. Some of my pockets are labeled as followed--air fresheners, baby, baking goods, batteries, beverages, bread & crackers, candy & gum, canned goods, cereals and breakfast foods, chips,.... You will want to adjust your categories for your needs.

After my pocket section, I then have a section of my book that has the large plastic page protector sheets. I have around 7 of those. Inside those sheets, I keep the current weekly ad for a store. Each store has its own protector sheets. As I study the ad, I move coupons for the sale items to that pocket for the store I plan to use them in. As I enter the store, I can easily flip to that ad and see those coupons for that visit. So, I have a page for Dollar General, CVW, Walgreen, Price Chopper, HyKlas, HyVee and Office Depot.

For my area, most of these stores are just a couple blocks from each other, so I don't waste a lot of time or fuel going from one to another. Also, I generally do not hit all these stores in a week.

As my coupons expire, I pull them out and pass them on to a military family who can use them. (Most commissaries take expired coupons.)

I generally spend about 90 minutes a week clipping my coupons and organizing them with the sale ads. My time to do this is on Sunday night while the kids are in youth group. We live 30 minutes from church, so I take them and then go to an empty Sunday School classroom and do my coupons. Sometimes a couple other moms join me in doing the same.

If you see an item you can get for free or next to free that you don't use--get it anyway and then donate it. I have given several blood sugar testers to our local food pantry to pass on to someone who could not afford one. They were ones I got free at CVS after rebates and CVS bucks. When you donate them, be sure to ask for a receipt for your taxes for donation purposes.

Also, check your area and join the free frequent shopper programs, such as CVS bonus bucks, Price Chopper frequent shopper and Office Depot work rewards....and many more.

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Years ago, I spend about $200 and bought a dehydrator, canner and jars and canning supplies.  I have since added more jars and an additional dehydrator.  I not only freeze, can and dehydrate food we grow, but also take advantage of local orchards, pick your own places, and produce sales.

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How about a free coupon book worth $35? Go to the Home Made Simple website, fill out the form, and your book will be on its way to you. The book contains coupons for Dawn, cassade, swifter and more! Combine these coupons with sales at CVS and Walgreen! This is how I often get our Dawn dish soap for only 20 cents a bottle!

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  1. Before you replace a large appliance, check with your electric company or gas providor.  Many offer rebates on energy saving appliances, so get the list of what is approved before you shop.
  2. Keep your A/C up a few extra degrees and your heat down a few extra degrees.  
  3. Keep a brick in your toilet tank to save water.
  4. Replace shower heads with energy saver ones.
  5. Turn off lights when you are not in the room.
  6. Replace bulbs with CFL or LED lighting.
  7. Cook from scratch.
  8. Bake from scratch or close to it.  Instead of buying a cake, you can bake it from scratch for .59 or use a jiffy cake mix for $1.
  9. Don't want to bake your own bread?  Then get the packages of frozen bread dough--5 loaves in the package for the same price of one loaf of fresh bread.  You just let it thaw, rise and bake.
  10. Rent a machine to clean your own carpets instead of hiring a service.  Or, buy a carpet machine.  for the price of renting on 3 times, you can buy one at wal-mart.
  11. Garden
  12. Do your own car maintenance when possible.
  13. Order water to drink when eating out.
  14. Don't buy junk food and soda.
  15. Barter when possible--check out the bartering sites on facebook and craigslist.
  16. Buy in Bulk
  17. Use the library for many free services and videos
  18. Check out and read the Tightwad Gazette from the library.
  19. Declutter.  Then you can donate what you don't use and be sure to get a tax donation receipt and you will be more organized for it and won't keep shopping for items you already have but couldn't find.
  20. Build up an emergency fund so you don't have to charge emergencies, such as car repairs.
  21. At least once a year compare insurance rates on your autos and home.
  22. Change your furnace filters often to keep them working more efficiently.
  23. Drop magazine and newspaper subscriptions and read them for free at the library.
  24. Consider making your own home made cleaners for house and laundry.
  25. Avoid purchasing clothing that is dry clean only.
  26. Check out thrift store shopping.  You would be surprised at some of the items they carry.
  27. Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose
  28. Dust your light bulbs.  A clean light bulb gives off more light.
  29. Keep your windows clean to allow more natural light in.
  30. Make weekly or monthly menus.  Design your menus so that you have little leftovers.  For example, if you have tacos's on Monday, you can use the leftovers by having taco salad on Tuesday.
  31. Meat is much cheaper if you buy a whole beef or whole pig.  You can also buy it by the half or the quarter providing you have deep freeze to store it.
  32. Do your own mowing.  What you pay for a lawn service to mow would most likely buy you two mowers by the end of the season.
  33. Make a budget, don't cheat on it, and tweak it when needed.
  34. Always put some away each payday into savings--even if its only $5.
  35. Normally it is cheaper to eat out at lunch than at supper time.
  36. For inexpensive entertainment, stock up on board games and puzzles from thrift stores or Dollar Stores.
  37. Usually paper items, toothpaste, deodorants and such are cheaper at discount stores than at the grocery store.  Combine coupons and watch cvs and walgreens and usually you can get toothpaste and deodorant and shampoo for free.
  38. Combine your coupons with sale items and stock up when possible.
  39. Consider having one chicken for each member of the family for fresh eggs.
  40. Make fabric gift bags to reuse year after year instead of investing in wrapping paper over and over.
  41. Ripped or holey bath towels can be cut down into squares and made into wash clothes, dish rags or cleaning rags.
  42. Consider homemade gifts.  There are some great ideas on the homemade gift section of this blog as well as elsewhere on the Internet.
  43. Save fabric scraps for quilt making, as well as denim.
  44. Worn or ripped sheets can usually be re cut to make pillowcases.
  45. Sew your own clothing, or if you don't want to sew at least learn to do your own mending.
  46. Pay extra on your mortgage each month.  It can chop years off your mortgage.
  47. If you really don't need both your landline and cell phone, consider dropping your landline.
  48. Don't buy new cars.  Consider program or lightly used ones.
  49. Check online free cycle groups.  Also, check places such as craigslist to buy items used (and sometimes new as well).
  50. Join swagbucks and mypoints--earn points that turn into gift cards for free merchandise.  I actually earn several hundred a year thru swagbucks.  It is easy.  If I need to buy something, I buy it thru their links and earn points for it.  I trade the points into paypal cash.  If my order is more than $50, it ships to the house for free.  If not, I pick it up at the store.  Thru swagbucks, you can order from ebay, walmart, amazon--almost everywhere,  
  51. Have items you don't use or need?  Sell them on ebay or craigslist or on your local facebook swap shop.  I sell enough each month to pay for our internet usage. 
  52. We have dish network.  We got a coupon in the mail from Direct TV advertising a lower bill for the same channels.  My husband called dish and they price matched it for 1 year, saving us around $120 or $10 a month.
  53. Run your large appliances during non-peak hours (clothes washer, dryer and dishwasher).  Save more by line drying.
  54. When we started running our ceiling fans with the AC or heat, our bill dropped by 10%.
  55. Wash your car at home, and vacuum out your car at home instead of at the carwash.
  56. Pickle juice (normally thrown away when the jar is empty) is a great meat tenderizer for cheaper cuts of meat that might be a little tough.
  57. I don't buy cleaners (unless on sale and I coupon to get them free).  Instead, I use natural cleaners, which are cheaper--such as vinegar, lemon juice, salt, baking soda...  It is easy to make your own cleaners-here are a few.  You can google to find more.
  58. Pick out your appliances carefully.  I use a canister upright Dyson vacuum cleaner.  It saves me money two ways--one, it does not use bags, I just dump out the can.  And two, I find little treasures when I dump it out..I have found missing ear rings, coins, legos......items I can wash and put back where they should be.
  59. Try some natural healers before you invest in a doctors visit or buy otc for the drug stores.  I get rashes easily.  I can buy ointments and creams or I can for much less money put a drop or two of tea tree oil in my bath water that does a better job.