So what is a frugalista? It’s someone who routinely tries to save money and live by that. Not 10% off sale on a $100 pair a shoes, I mean a real bargain hunter. Where before I may have been called cheap, or even tacky. Now saving money is much more fashionable and in fact necessary for many of us.
I find more ways all the time to save money. I find it exciting and feel like I’m doing more for my family. I’ve laid out a few tips that you may want to try if you haven’t already.
1. After holiday—Love these. For instance: Bath and Body work and Victoria secret does their after holiday sales. They usually start the day after christmas but whoa hold on their…wait a few days more. I wait until about the 28th or 29th for these stores. You’ll find great mark downs. 30-75% depending on the item. I bought myself 5 bottles of bath and body works body wash last year at this sale for around $2 ea. I put them away and they lasted me most of the year. It’s hard to find a body wash even at Walmart for $2 and you got good stuff. Victoria’s Secret–Love their heavenly perfume but did not want to spend the money. Last year I got a small bottle of Heavenly perfume for $2.99 and a heavenly body spritz with gold flakes in it for $5.99.
2. End of Season sales—Great for your kids or even yourself. Around the time they are starting to put the spring clothes out head directly for the clearance section for winter clothes clearance. I got my son a camo winter jacket last year for $5. I bought it a size bigger so he was able to wear it this year. At the end of summer clearance I got him a pair of Levi’s shorts for $6. Originally $28 at JC Penney. Again a size bigger so he could wear them the next year.
3. Discount stores–Stores like Ross, Gabriel Bros., Ollies, Big Lots. Don’t under estimate these kinds of stores. Ross is one of my favorites. I once got a pair of paper denim jeans (usually around $98 look it up if you don’t believe me) for $20. I get Nike, Fisher Price, Disney, Adidas, Reebock, and other great name brand baby outfits for between $6-$10 at Ross and that’s their everyday price. And when they have clearances it’s even better. These stores are also great places to find houseware items like linens, bed sheets, glassware and more.
4. Are you’re hobbies helping your finances or hurting?
I love finding hobbies that can make me money. For instance, learning crafts. It doesn’t take much to be able to sell at craft shows if you enjoy crafting. In PA a seller’s permit is free. Choose events wisely though, look at table fees will it be worth it for you?
Try going for walks, playdates with your kids at the park, sled riding in the neighborhood, squirt gun battles with the kids, making home made crayons, baking, blogging, home exercise programs (as opposed to going to a gym), sewing, making home made play doh, play board games with your kids…etc…etc. these things take little or no money and will strengthen your family relationship and/or make you feel better.
There’s lots of opportunities online if you love the internet. I became a ChaCha guide. Check out www.chacha.com for more info. It’s free and I can make money in my free time online.
5. Figure out how much something will cost and compare it to the alternative. The do it yourself method may not always be cheapest. For example: My kids like to have a birthday party with their friends. I’ve found the Burger King and McDonald’s in my area will do a party for up to 10 kids for $45. Then $4 more for any additional kids. When you figure out the cost of a home birthday party–The cake, treat bags and fillers, party games and prizes, and paper products you would be spending just as much if not more than just letting somewhere like burger king handle it. Burger King provides a kid’s meal for each party guest (which comes with a toy) cup cakes, access to the play area, and at least the one by me also gives the option of a clown who does face painting at no extra cost. You save money and don’t have to do the clean up.
Home projects may be the same. Factor in the tools you’ll need, the time you’ll spend, the materials you need, etc. Most times it is the cheaper way to go but not always.
6. Free sample sites: Some of my favorites are— www.freestufftimes.com and www.mysavings.com You can find great coupons and good free samples on these sites. If you’re not sure if you want to spend the money on a product look for a free sample first.
7. Free sites that help you save and even earn money–
Christiania Crowns has a free invite only community. It is a vodka site so you have to be 21 or over. You can earn “crowns” by referring people to the site and doing other activities. Trade your crowns in for things like gift cards, free vodka (good gift), christiania merchandise and more: http://www.christianiacrowns.com/christianacrownscommunity
Mypoints.com—it’s free to join the site. When you shop online go through their site to get to the vendor for example if you shop through Target on line you use the Target link on their site. You get point for shopping through their site that you can trade in for free gift cards of your choice. I ended up at the end of the year with a $100 HSN gift card I used to buy my kids Nintendo DS games for xmas.
7. You may qualify for assistance. I’m not advocating for everyone to apply for every bit of assistance out there but if you are living paycheck to paycheck there may be help. Many of these places have websites with qualification info online. Places like WIC, state programs, holiday help and more can be found online and many have printable applications.
8. Determine what is a want and what is a necessity. Having premium movie channels on your tv are probably not a need but a cell phone because you travel a lot for business probably is. What can you afford and what can’t you afford. Check out the deals and specials too. Are you really saving more money with this cable provider than that one? Is it worth it for you to have a landline phone when you have a cell phone?
9. Home cooked meals—I know what you’re thinking. I don’t have time McD’s is so much easier and this may be true BUT…it’s possible. I worked full-time and have 3 boys. My hubby works 2nd shift. So dinner was on me. And yes, for a while I did stop at Mcd’s 2 times a week. I figured out my spending in an average month on fast food and it was at least $100 considering it was about $15 a trip. I’m not saying I made chicken cordon bleu and steaks every night. There are quick items for busy families. Some examples: Cresent roll hotdogs, hamburger helper, Wanchai Ferry meals, Mac and cheese, Home made hamburges, etc. A package of hamburger helper is less than $2 at walmart and a lb of hamburger is about $2.50. So there..dinner for 4 for $4.50.
10. Gas— oh boy isn’t that something we all complain about. I mean gasoline for the car. While they don’t have coupons for gasoline, or bargain days we can watch how we run our gas and do things to improve our gas mileage. Oil changes, fuel injection cleaners, and filters are small things that can help out. Can you combine trips in a week? For example: Can you drop of your prescription, go grocery shopping, pick up your prescription all in one trip rather than making two. Do you have to go and get wrapping paper today or can it way until tomorrow when you drop little johnny off for practice? Is there a closer store you can walk to (when the weather cooperates) to get milk and eggs rather than driving 10 miles?
These are just a few of many ideas. I’m sure some of you even have ones I’ve not thought of. Hope this helps with an New Year’s resolutions this year!
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