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39 Painless Ways to Save Money

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I hate couponing. There. I said it. In a world obsessed with extreme couponing and gigantic shopping trips that cost $3 and saved 97% of the bill, I know I’m the odd man out. Some of it comes from laziness– I don’t really feel like cutting stacks of coupons every week. Some of it comes from my terrible math skills– I can’t figure out how to stack and double stack and triple stack coupons so that toothpaste costs a cent a tube. Some of it comes from time– I just don’t have what it takes to really make couponing work.

I know that a lot of people do it successfully. (Maybe you’re one of those lucky people!) But I’m not. In case you’re not either (or even if you are) here are some ways to save a pile of cash with no coupon cutting (and hardly any work) involved!

Entertainment

  1. Evaluate all of the media services you’re buying and get rid of or consolidate some of them. We ended up ditching our Netflix subscription because we rarely use it and we have streaming from Amazon Prime anyway.
  2. Downgrade your cable service if you’re not ready to cut the cord entirely.
  3. Use your local library like crazy! Borrow DVDs, CDs, and books.
  4. The library again! Many libraries now have online downloadable libraries where you can access magazines and ebooks on your digital devices.
  5. Use a trading service like Paperback Swap to get rid of books and movies you don’t need in your home anymore and get gently used books on your list. (You’ll pay just the price of media mail.)
  6. Harness the power of your social media and get free stuff from companies like Klout and Influenster. (One time Influenster sent me a Keurig 2.0. It pays off.)
  7. Follow your local parks and recreation department, newspaper, and other non-profit organizations on Facebook so you know what’s happening!
  8. If you’re affiliated with the military, use Blue Star Museums during the summer! (No, seriously. We saved over $150 in admission fees this year!)

Shopping

  1. The easiest way? Plan what you’re going to get instead of window shopping (although that’s so much fun!) When you know exactly what you want to buy, you’ll be less tempted to splurge.
  2. Save on shipping and have them ship your items to the store for pick up.
  3. Sign up for and use Ebates to get a percentage back on your purchases (without codes or coupons). Ebates pays out four times a year as a check or directly to your PayPal account. I love that there are no points involved– just cold, hard cash. Ebates also often has referral bonuses that add up quickly. (If you’re interested, would you mind using my referral link to sign up? Thanks!)
  4. Find coupons and codes with sites like Retail Me Not.
  5. Some online stores will send you a coupon code if you leave merchandise in your cart for a few hours or for a day. (Amazon doesn’t do that, sorry!)
  6. Follow your favorite stores on social media. Many have exclusive offers for
  7. Stack Ebates savings with coupons and sales. (Here’s how we did it for our Save the Dates.)
  8. Ask for a raincheck if sale items are sold out.
  9. Check store endcaps for markdowns.
  10. Ask for discounts that pertain to your affiliations. (Teacher? Nurse? Military? Student?) Don’t be embarrassed asking about it– many times it’s store policy that customers have to ask.

Food

  1. Buy produce on sale. Wash, cut, and freeze it. We do this especially with cherries in the summer and green peppers in the fall. (Here’s a list of foods that can be frozen  and how to prepare them for freezing.)
  2. If your family doesn’t like broccoli stems, don’t throw them away! Chop them, freeze them, and bring them out for soups, stews, and stir-fries. (Trust me, they won’t know.)
  3. Shop at Aldis. ‘Nuff said.
  4. Know what’s in your fridge and eat it. (Easier said than done, I know.)
  5. Buy shredded cheese on sale and freeze it. (Perfect for mozzarella and making homemade pizza!)
  6. Make homemade pizza instead of buying it or calling out.
  7. Instead of buying tomato sauce, buy tomato paste, add water to change the consistency, and add Italian herbs to taste.
  8. Check out the clearance section of the grocery store. Many times, you can find non-perishables that are perfect for your pantry at a serious discount.
  9. Buy apples on sale and make and freeze applesauce. (Try this super easy slow-cooker recipe!)
  10. If you have a farmer’s market close by, use these tips to save there, too!
  11. Make extra for dinner, portion and refrigerate servings, and use them for lunch instead of going out.
  12. Invest in an awesome reusable bottle (I’m in love with my Contigo) and use that instead of buying bottled water.
  13. Make orange juice from canned concentrate instead of buying the premixed stuff.
  14. Buy baking supplies on sale (usually you’ll see great sales in November and December) and freeze them for later. Chocolate chips and butter are both products that can save you a lot in the long haul.
  15. Keep your pantry well stocked by staying on the look-out for sales on canned goods and non-perishables for your pantry. If you keep your pantry stocked with items you pick up on sale, you’ll never have to worry about buying full-price because you have to.
  16. Keep your pantry organized so that you understand it. These nifty organizers rotate cans so that they don’t get sucked into the black hole in the back of the cupboard.

Miscellaneous

  1. Paper towels and toilet paper can be expensive. Keep a stockpile of them in a closet that you replenish with products you pick up on sale.
  2. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
  3. And on that note, avoid using plastic-ware, paper plates, and paper cups when you can use reusable tableware.
  4. Unplug chargers and electronics when they’re not being used.
  5. When you can, cook with your crockpot instead of your stove (it’ll use less energy).

What are your easy money-saving moves?

photo credit: sunshinecity via photopin cc


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