Thursday, November 05, 2009

How to Be Cheap Part 2

Yesterday, I shared way too much information about my grocery habits. Today I will tell you a few other things I do to save money.

First of all, I want to put it out there that when I talk about being cheap, I don’t mean on quality. I like for my kids and me to wear nice clothes and have nice things, I just prefer to get those things at the best possible price or using some creative methods. (Now I sound like a shoplifter.) Here are some somewhat random things that I do to save/earn money.

1. Eating out can be a big money suck, but it’s not something we’re willing to give up. I cook family dinners Sunday through Thursday, but I don’t cook on weekend nights. Obviously, you can save restaurant coupons that come in the mail, etc. If there are places your family loves to go, be sure to go to their website and sign up for their emails or clubs – this is the way I get many of my good coupons for eating out. Another favorite of mine is where you can buy a gift certificate for $10 off $20 or $25 off $50 for a fraction of the cost. Never, ever pay the regular price for these certificates, even though it’s not a terrible deal. Always check on first to see what codes you can use to get 50-90% off of the certificate. While we’re on that topic, check with before you buy anything online.

2. Speaking of buying online, let’s talk about gifts. I shop for Christmas and birthdays year round. For example, I’m not buying the boys anything for Christmas because I have such a stash for them in the gift closet downstairs that I’m all set for Santa. A site that I like a lot for gift ideas is, which trolls the internet for sales, deals, and discount codes, saving me the time of looking. I read it daily from my Google Reader and if it’s something that I could use, I check it out, otherwise, I’m not out much time. Another thing I like is the ebay Daily Deals, which are 4 items emailed to you every day that are 60-90% off. Most of the time, I just delete it, but occasionally it’s something that would make a great gift. And birthday parties kill me, so anytime I see a steal on a kid gift I buy it and stash it so that at birthday party time, I don’t have to go out and spend $15-20 because I have a stash of nice things that I got for $5.

3. Staying on the internet, my new favorite thing is Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a search engine that produces the same results as a Google search, but lets you win this fake money that can be redeemed for prizes and gift cards. Using it daily, I probably win $2-$5 a day and for $45 you can buy a $5 Amazon gift card. These add up fast and I save them to use for, what else? My gift closet stash. Free money! Sign up here.

4. If you’re a book buyer, try I go to the library for most things, but I also like to do PBS to get books that I want to keep or to get rid of books I don’t need which earn me credits for new books for me!

5. Haircuts kill me. I get my own hair cut, but the frequency that boys and men must get their hair cut makes me kind of insane. Especially when they charge $15 for a kids’ haircut. So, I learned how to cut hair. I can cut Mr. Pigs’ hair and Piglet’s every 2-3 weeks, but Pigpen’s is a challenge for me. He has this wispy bird feather fluff that is proving to be challenging. But the other two? Clipper, blend, cut. Easy.

6. This might be TMI, but as dirty as Pigpen is, I was going through a roll of papertowels every few days and they aren’t easy to get that cheap. I may not have paid for toilet paper in over a year, but I haven’t had that kind of luck with paper towels. So, one day I took all of Piglet’s old barf rags, any old t-shirts, old washcloths and I cut them all into rags and popped them into a drawer. Now, I go through a roll of papertowels in about a month. I reserve them exclusively for dog puke and other such related nastiness.

7. One last thing that I do for fun is try products for companies that are using word of mouth advertising. They will send you product to try and bunches of coupons to go with it. The more you participate, the more you get. My favorite is, where they “pay” you with MyPoints, which you can redeem for gift cards. Another one I like is Oh, and is another one that will send samples with lots of great coupons to share.

Whew. There. I’m done. I promise to stop for a while, but I hope some of you enjoy those ideas!

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