So, I'm not what you would call an extreme couponer. I could be if I wanted to, I just don't want to put in the effort right now. I do feel like I do a decent job of finding ways to stretch our money. I thought I'd share some things that we have done:
I love the dollar store! Everything is $1 or less and they take coupons now! Most things you get what you pay for, but there are some good deals.
My favorite thing to get from the dollar store is bread. We only buy 100% whole wheat and try to avoid high fructose corn syrup. The walmart brand 100% whole wheat is $1.40 something. The dollar store sells name brand 100% whole wheat bread w/ no high fructose corn syrup for guess what...one dollar! Now, it's still probably cheaper to make my own bread, and sometimes I do, but until I can get this whole parenting thing down and managing my time better....I'm sticking to my dollar bread. Now as a caution, they get leftover bread that lets say walmart over stocked on so it is probably closer to expiring than bread you might buy at walmart. I am always sure to check the expiration date when I am buying it and find the ones with the latest date on it which usually is still quite a few days left.
Next, if you're a good couponer, you can usually get toothpaste for free. We sadly burned through our one-year supply of free toothpaste recently and since I took a break from couponing and didn't want to pay the "expensive" prices, I've found that the toothpaste at the dollar store is ADA approved. That's all that I need to satisfy me....at least while I remain a stay-at-home mom and live off my husband's little grad school salary.
Any thing you love from the dollar store?
Here are some little things I do that help me stretch out products further. I don't like washing my face with face wash, so I've started to buy the more expensive face wipes. I love them and they work great for my skin, however they are more expensive. I started cutting them in half and making them go farther. Now it's double for the price of one. On days where I wear lots of make-up, I might end up using the whole wipe, but most days I don't wear hardly any make-up anyway. Another thing you ladies might use a lot are eye make up remover pads. Maybe this might gross some of you out, but I reuse mine. I have very thin eyelashes, and don't wear much liner, so if you wear LOTS of eye make-up then perhaps you wouldn't be able to reuse them, but I just use one part and then use a different part until it's all dirty.
Oh and recently a friend blogged about putting oatmeal in ground beef to stretch it further. We did it and LOVED it! We couldn't even tell! Read about it here. We really only eat ground beef as a way to get protein and guess what, Oatmeal has PROTEIN and other great things for you!
Any thing you've learned to stretch out?
FreeCycle and Dumpster Dive. (Be careful for bed bugs, but other than those worries, both are great.) Just so you know we don't really dumpster dive. Most people leave their "nice" trash right next to the dumpster. We recently got an awesome trash can from the dumpster. We've gotten a chair, a few other finds and something we even sold. Freecycle is amazing. Here's a list of things we've gotten for free from people: lots of nice clothes for Evelyn, and some not so nice that we disposed of, a piano, a play kitchen, two beta fish w/ cute aquariums and food, herbs, toys, and more. Sign up on freecycle.org.
Do your own services. Make your own food. No brainer, but it has to be said. Also, learn to cut hair. I cut Will's hair for him. We only pay for the clippers and they last for years. I get to know him better and cut his hair the way I like it. He might get to put a suggestion in too.
This one may be controversial. I love Dave Ramsey, but one thing he'd murder me for is credit cards. (We don't have any credit card debt and pay them off each month.) We love the rewards the credit cards offer to lure you in. Now, stop reading if you are one to struggle keeping up with credit cards. I know it can be hard. We make money off it though. Lots of money! My favorite is Old Navy. Throughout the year they send me special promotions where if I use my card 4 times in a month at the grocery store I get $10 in rewards and at a later month it might be 4 times at a gas station....on and on. Anyway, I've racked up 40 or 50 in rewards and then every quarter they have a sale where everything in the store is 40% off including clearance. A few months ago, I got a some clothes for Evelyn and some christmas presents for our extended family and only spent $1.16. I recently went again and the total was $90, but with 40% off and other other deals and my rewards money the total came to $11. The receipt showed a savings of over $100!
Well, I could go on and on, but if you have any questions or any tips, pass them on! I'm always up for hearing ways to save!