Thursday, April 30, 2009

Am I Saving Money or Spending Money? You Be The Judge

In this economic climate, most of us are looking for ways to save money, although I will admit that I’ve always tried to save money. Maybe it’s because I’m cheap. My husband would say that I spend a lot, but what I buy I buy mostly on sale or on clearance when I see it and then put it away for birthdays or Christmas. Our basement is chock-full of sale and clearance buys that I’ve stocked away for when I need it.

The down side of that is that sometimes I can’t find what I know I’ve bought. Or I forget what I’ve bought and instead of looking at my stash go out and buy something else that is not on sale.

But most of the time it does work well. I’m still reaping the rewards of buying cheap several years ago and storing toys for years. My oldest daughter just got her bigger bike that we’ve stored in our basement for years. It was a steal at $15, brand new. Although not as great a bike buy as the bike my son currently rides. I got it at Toys ‘R Us several years ago when they were going to be consolidating their stores with their Babies ‘R Us stores. They had a lot of stuff 90 % off. I spent many hours scouring the shelves for deals. K’s bike was fully assembled and I bought it for $5.99. Seriously! A $60 bike for $6! Those were the days my friends. I still have heavenly dreams about the deals I found there.

I’ve also tried to clip coupons. I will admit I’m pretty successful at finding the coupons and clipping them out. The part I really need to work on is the redeeming of those coupons! They sit in my purse until I clean out all the papers some months later and I find approximately 14 expired coupons. Sigh.

I attempt to plan menus at least one week in advance…sometimes up to three weeks in advance. This usually cuts down on the amount of groceries I buy since I’m not just randomly buying things in hopes that we’ll be able to make a meal of it.

We eat a lot of generic or store brand foods. In most cases we’ve found they taste just as good if not better than the national brands. Of course there are exceptions in which case I know to never buy that again and stick with the national brand!

We get take-out once a week if that. I can’t tell you the last time we actually ate at a restaurant as a family. It may have been when the baby was baptized. The truth is it’s not healthy to eat out in most cases and I’m the first to admit when I go out to eat I’ll choose probably the highest calorie item on the menu because I’m splurging. Eating out is expensive too. I look at menu prices and think I could buy a whole roast for our entire family for that money! I’m a total buzz-kill.

We rarely use stamps anymore; instead we use the Internet bill pay offered by our bank. Before the price of stamps goes up each time, I buy a bunch of those forever stamps at the lower price and they hold us for quite a while. I love it when stores offer online rebate redemption. I hate it when they don’t because the stamp cuts into my rebate.

I watch the gas prices and if I can wait a day or two to see if the price lowers I do. I try to fill my tank in the morning when the air temperature is cooler because I read somewhere that when the air temperature is warmer you don’t get as much gas for your money because the gas expands or something like that. Don’t ask me to explain science-sounding things! It seemed to be a valid argument to me at the time.

I have very, very rarely bought any item of clothing when it was not on sale. I prefer to buy things on clearance. I have bought items for my kids several sizes larger than they are currently. But how could I pass up $5 Levis just because my daughter isn’t a size 10 yet?

So tell me, am I sick or do other people do this type of thing? How are you saving money these days?


Madeline said...

I do lots of the same things. I definitely buy in advance when I find something on super sale that I know will be used. I've got Christmas and Birthdays covered for a couple of years.

Linda said...

No, you're not crazy. I do the same things.

Something else I do is to look at the amount I saved (now often convienently printed on the bottom of my receipt) with coupons or sale items, and I put that money in savings as a reminder of how much more I would have spent if I hadn't gotten things on sale.

chelle said...

Since buying the house I haven't bought a lot in advance. In fact I just do not go shopping and if I HAVE to for something absolutely necessary I take the kids with me. It reduces the time I spend looking and therefore spending. I am determined not to be in debt ever again. Well except the big stuff like a house and car. Beyond that cash.

Heather T said...

Oh, you are so not cheap. I am exactly the same way. We get a 10 cent refund for all bottles and cans in Michigan. You bet, if I see one sitting around or a trash can, I grab that thing and add it to my stash at home. I'm sure it doesn't add up to more than $5 in a year, but five dollars!

I fear, however, that my frugality and tightwad nature on these kinds of things makes me believe I can justify other expenses.

Mandy said...

I do try to find things (if I have the extra money) for other things down the road. Not to far down the road, cause I have no where to store things.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

I relate! To some of it, anyway. If I see a good deal and I know it's something we'll use (eventually), I grab it. I really don't need to buy my kid any clothes for probably another two years! (unless he stains something beyond what's treatable)