Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Williams Money Saving Tips

Here are a few of the money saving tips I've learned from others or by trial & error:
  • Own a deep freezer, it allows you to buy in bulk with things are on sale!
  • Formula is a major expense with little ones, I signed up with Similac, Nestle's, & Enfamil when the boys were first born. I put on the survery that I was breadtfeeding (they'll send you more checks because they haven't got you hooked yet). I collected the checks and when formula went on sale or the packaging was discontinued I'd use all my checks to buy the large fulmula containers. Tom Thumb will let you use multiple checks on one item, Target and WalMart won't. I collected tons of formula before Gabe was even born! Then when the boys hit 8 or so months and were in need of formula I didn't have to spend 25+ dollars a week on cans of formula. Drew actually just stopped drinking formula at 3 years old, I had such an abundance for so long I would give him formula instead of milk.
  • Don't be a brand loyalist, buy whatever is on sale and that you have coupons for.
  • Shop Tom Thumb/Safeway for their "managers" specials or mark down meat.This is where the freezer is huge! I probably have 6+ months of meat in my freezer. When I find it marked down then I buy it. The best days for meat is Thursday's, though everyday the meat is marked down I've found marked down meat in abundance on Thursday's at Tom Thumb. Possible they want their meat counter cleaned out for the "weekend" buyers. Tom Thumb has a "Clearance" meat section that I frequent often. When ground beef is marked down and then has a 50% off lowest price (when meat is expiring the next day they put a 50% sticker to get it out the door) I get it for next to nothing. We probably have 6+ months of ground beef/ground turkey in our freezer alone.I also check the deli section for hot dogs, lunch meat, etc. I also shop there the day after major holiday's. The day after Easter I bought two 40.00 hams for 5.00 each!
  • We buy off brand pull-up for Drew to sleep in at night. They are 50% less than the name brand and I normally have a coupon so I can get a 1 month supply for 8.00 (mom2mom is the generic brand at Tom Thumb and they are always 50% off).
  • Frequent the day old bread store. They put 30% off coupons and free bread coupons in the papers. I go to the bread store every other month and buy 10+ loaves of bread and freeze them. 10 loaves probably costs me 7-10 dollars, maybe less. Plus every 3+ loaves of bread you get one free. The closest bread store to us is Mrs. Bairds . I also buy buns, Texas toast, and other bread type items there at a fraction of the market price.
  • Find a local Farmers Market to buy fresh produce. We were able to drop 10.00 a week by purchasing produce & bulk items at Sprouts. They have super cheap produce but sell other organic items which is where they make their profit. I spend between 10-12 dollars every other week on fresh produce. I've compared prices and Tom Thumb is 2-3 times more expensive on their produce, Target is twice as expensive, and I don't really like Walmart produce so I didn't compare theirs.
  • Frequent http://www.moneysavingmom.com/ and http://www.afullcup.com/, both point you to on-line coupons. Up until a few weeks ago I didn't even know online coupons existed. Both website will do all the research and tell you what's out there for free or next to free. This week I bought free wipes, diapers, shampoo, photo books, toothpaste, & other supplies with the help of these sites. They are similar to the grocery game but are free!
  • Drink water - it is free. We rarely buy soda or juice because its so expensive. I sometimes get juice for .99 which I consider a good deal. The boys (John & Drew) do go through tons of milk, 2 gallons a week, so I'm stuck paying 6.00 at Tom Thumb for two gallons. Sometimes Tom Thumb marks down their expired organic milk and I'll stock up and freeze the remaining milk we won't drink before the expiration. We can't taste a difference. We eat a lot of eggs and the cheapest place is normally Costco. I get 3 dozen or so a month (.99 cents for 12 on sale at TT or 1.79 at Costco for 18) and we keep eggs well past their expiration date. So far no one has gotten sick!
  • Buy bisquick and make homemade rolls. Our family, or Drew and I, are in love with biscuits or bread type items with dinner. I use to buy the rolls found in the frozen or cheese sections but they are up to 3.00-4.00, that totally throws off my daily cost per meal. So we started making biscuits from scratch - all you add is water or milk and an egg. They are way cheaper, a little messier, and taste better. Drew is in love with putting honey on things (Sprouts fresh clover honey, costs 4.00 and it should last about 6 months).
  • We love cereal (hot & cold) for breakfast, we buy the bulk kind at Sprouts of with coupons and sales spend no more than 2.00 per box of cereal. We don't buy the cheap sugary cereal so its sometimes hard to find it on sale, but I've learned to stock up when I can.
  • It sounds like a lot of running around, but with a freezer I can stock up and only go to Costco & Mrs. Baird's every 2-3 months. I manage to go to Costco more often but that is more for pleasure or to use their coupons on an item that is only on sale that week.I go to Tom Thumb on Thursday's and if I'm around that area the rest of the week will stop in and check their clearance meat's. Our grocery budget can be 150-200 a month if I don't stock up on anything. I add about 50.00 a month for stocking up on meat & bread when I can. I'd say right now we could last 6-9 months without buying any meat. Oh, we love chicken and the cheapest frozen, skinless, boneless chicken breasts are at Costco, this week they're is a coupon so I can get 3.00 off 6.5 pounds which ends up coming to .65 cents a pound for chicken - unless chicken prices have gone up since two months ago?
  • Lastly, use a meal plan. Only buy what you need for the week unless its freezable. I only plan 5 dinners & lunches a week because we leave room for leftovers. When I started cooking smaller amounts of food and freezing the rest it cut out a lot of waste that was being thrown away. I'm not a huge leftover fan so I'd rather only cook what we'll eat for dinner and maybe lunch the next day, the rest goes into the freezer. I have a cookbook I put together that has all my favorite foods listed, so when I'm at a loss for meals to prepare I just look at my list and see what we haven't had for a while. The list was helpful because I never could think of dinner ideas.

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