Budget Buddies II

Luke 16:11 (AMP): Therefore if you have not been faithful in the [case of] unrighteous mammon ([a]deceitful riches, money, possessions), who will entrust to you the true riches?

Proverbs 10:22 (NKJV): The blessing of the LORD makes one rich,

      And He adds no sorrow with it.

 

Genesis 12:2 (NKJV): I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.

 

In my first Budget Buddies post, I shared some money-saving tips that I’ve learned from others and through experience. Since writing that post a year ago, I have gained even more money-saving tips that I would like to share with you. As the verses above tells us, the Lord gives us means to gain wealth and He expects us to wisely steward it and be a blessing to others with it.

Enjoy and please comment with any additional tips that you have that are not in this or the previous post! 🙂

  1. Points and survey websites: In Budget Buddies, I mentioned the various points and survey websites that I am a member of and which I use the points gained for gifts cards and even presents. Since that post, I used several of the points to get cash that we used as spending money on our anniversary trip as well as purchased by way of gift cards a nice, much-needed multi-handset cordless phone for our home. All at the cost of a few minutes of my time and a click of the mouse! Not too shabby!
  2. Coupons: I encouraged the use of these in my previous post but since that time I learned just how much more in savings can be obtained by using them. I even attended a Coupon Class where I learned that some stores even double or allow the stacking (i.e. using their and a manufacturer’s coupon for a product). I recently had a friend that shared that she purchased over $100.00 worth of groceries for only $45.00 after coupons! Let the clipping begin! Also, note I learned that buying more than one Sunday paper for coupons can add even more value to your shopping experience especially when a store is having a BOGO (buy one get one) or get a certain quantity of products for a certain amount (e.g. 10 juices for $10.00). Be sure to check that the coupons are in the paper(s) before leaving the store or closing the newspaper box door!
  3. Gas: This is something that we are all mindful of with gas prices being as high as they currently are. One way that I conserve gas it to plan my errand route so that the furthest errand location is first and the closest location is last. This helps me to drive full circle instead of backtracking. Also, Gas Buddy is a great site to find out where the most affordable gas is available.
  4. Bottom shelf shopping: Ever notice that cheaper items tend to be on the bottom shelf? If not, check it out sometime and you will find that the quality of the products there are just as good as those items on the upper shelves.
  5. You do your ‘do and nails: I’m one that just could not justify spending $20 every week on hair care or even more than that per week on nail care. Why pay another so much to do something that you can do yourself, cheaper and in the comfort of your own home? With the weekly hair care, I spend $20.00 every two or three months for the products that I use at home. I may spend $20.00 per year, if that, on nail care products and I have so much fun doing it myself. I’m not saying anything against being treated for very special occasions but if your budget doesn’t allow it, don’t do it. Your pocket will be happier for it! I don’t include touchups in this, I budget for those. There are some things that should be left to the professionals!
  6. Anti-bacterial Softsoap: This stuff is amazing! Not only is it great at getting tough stains, even blood, out but it’s a wonderful jewelry cleaner. For stain removal, wet the stained area with slightly warm (more on the hot side) water, squirt the Softsoap on the stain and work the soap in the stain the old-fashioned knuckles way for a few minutes and rinse. In most cases, the stains come right out; however, there are rare occasions when letting the item soak in the water for a few minutes may be required. NOTE: I don’t recommend the use of this on delicate materials like silk. For jewelry cleaning, use a soft-bristle toothbrush, wet it with warm water, squirt the soap on the toothbrush bristles, thoroughly clean your jewelry with it and rinse the toothbrush and the jewelry. It makes my engagement and wedding rings shine like new! Please note that I use the regular antibacterial Softsoap with light moisturizer for this. I’m wary of using those with extra scents or ingredients.
  7. Get your hands dirty: I’m sure you’ve noticed the rising costs of produce and fresh herbs! Why not grow your own? Even if you live in an apartment or where there’s little or no acreage, there are creative ways to have your own garden by using large planters, cut barrels, etc. Look into it. Think how much better things will taste knowing that you grew them yourself!
  8. Buy in bulk: I’m sure you’re aware of places like Sam’s, Costco and BJ’s. Maybe the thought of walking into one of them is intimidating but let me tell you they can be great friends to your budget! I tend to buy things that would run out quickly at Sam’s like toilet paper and end up having to buy it every 3-4 months. Not a bad deal at all! You get the cost of membership in savings in no time so check one or all of them out and join one and use it.
  9. Dry Clean Only: I’ll never forget the time I tested the validity of the tag that said this on an item of clothing. Times were very tight and it was an outfit that needed to be cleaned so I washed it in the Delicate cycle, with regular detergent and dried it briefly in the dryer before letting it hang to dry completely. The clothing item remained intact and I didn’t spend money at a dry cleaner! With this, use great discernment because there are clothing and even bedding items that genuinely have to be dry cleaned so this is not a one-size-fits-all suggestion but definitely one to consider if you have items with which you can do this.
  10. Clearance and Sale Racks: The next time you have to shop in a department, discount, book or any other store, hit the clearance and sales racks first. There tend to be great, cheaper treasures there that may just need you to be persistent and dig for them.
  11.  Thrift Stores: Goodwill, Miracle Mart and the Salvation Army are great places to find deals on gently used, even designer items. Had a close friend share how she found a designer shirt at one of these stores for ¼ the price it’d be at the mall! Here also, you may have to be persistent and dig but what treasures don’t require some elbow grease to obtain them?
  12. Deal Mart: I’ve become a fan of this store! It offers greatly discounted groceries and miscellaneous other items at prices hard for others to beat. It’s a great place to purchase breads and buns as well as condiments. Recently, I also found that they sell the Cover Girl makeup that I use at prices much cheaper than even Wal-mart. In fact, I purchased two compacts of the liquid foundation that I use for way  less than what one bottle costs at Wal-mart. Nothing like great bargains!

That’s it for this round. However, unlike BB, I will end this one with a couple of books that I think you’ll find beneficial and very informative. Check them out (from the library of course or buy them cheap at www.half.com).

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

15-Minutes House and Budget Manager by Emile Barnes – grabbed this off a clearance table years ago and started reading it again recently. Great household organization and money managing tips. I will say that I agree with what Dave Ramsey says about credit cards over what Emile Barnes says.

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