The Top 10 Ways Homemakers Can Save Money

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There are millions ways for homemakers to save money but today I am going to concentrate on the top tip to save money in 10 different areas of your household expenses.

The Top 10 Ways Homemakers Can Save Money

If you are new at saving money just doing one thing in each area of your household budget to save money will have a snowball effect that will dramatically lower your bills for month to month. To get you started in your saving money efforts I thought long and hard about what one thing saves me money in 10 different areas of our home finances.

10 Ways Homemakers Can Save Money In 10 Areas Of Their Household Budget

1. Groceries

My number one tip for saving money on groceries is create a method for comparing prices, so that you know the lowest prices of the top 20 items you buy over and over. This will dramatically lower your grocery budget. You can do this by making a price book, or a spread sheet or save it in your notes app on you smartphone.

2. Clothing

Want to know about all the upcoming sales at your families favorite clothing stores? Sign up for their emails. Yes you do end up deleting email but I find it worth those few seconds as I am first to find out when our families favorite clothing stores are having their big end of season clearance sales and often receive a promo code to use online to further reduce cost or a printable coupon to use in store.

3. Cell Phone Bills

I currently pay just $17.46 a month for my iPhone, and that includes all taxes and fees. My son and husband pay $10 a month for older android based smartphones.  That is $37.46 total for all  3 phones. How do we keep our bills so low? Pay as you go plans. If you like newer smartphones like I do, then sign up for Ting. You can have pretty much any phone you want through Ting as long as it can work in the CDMA or GSM network (see the Ting website for full information). If  you are fine with an older phone and don’t use much data or text that often then Tracfone might be even cheaper for you.

4. Eating Out

It is true that avoiding eating out all together is going to save you the most money in this area but I don’t think that is realistic for all families. Instead what has worked best for us is to set a weekly budget for eating out and put it in the form of cash in our cash envelopes each week.  When the money in the envelope is gone we don’t eat out.

Our budget covers one fast food  meal for the entire family each week. If we want to eat at a sit down and be served style restaurant then we save up and don’t eat out for a week or two.

5.  Heating & Cooling Costs

Find the lowest temperature your family is happy with in winter and the highest they can stand it in summer.

The rule around our home in winter is  “if we are all not wearing sweaters inside in winter, then the thermostat is set too high” and in summer it is “if you feel the need to put a sweater on indoors the air conditioning is set too high”.

For us that looks like 68 in the winter and 70 to 75 in the summer (depending on how bad the humidity is). We like to sleep cool so at night in the winter we turn down the heat to 63.

Experiment in your own home. At what temperature do people start complaining (and not just that one hot body or cold body) ? Also are they dressed appropriately for the weather? I don’t see anything wrong with wearing a sweater in the house in winter but if people are dressed in down parkas and long johns you might have the heat set a bit too low.
Follow Victoria @Snail Pace Transformations’s board Homemade Cleaning Products on Pinterest.

6. Household cleaners

Making your own cleaners is the best way to save money in this area of your household finances. Check out My Homemade Cleaning Products board on Pinterest for ideas.

7. Transportation costs

To save money on gas combine your errands with your weekly activities. For instance if your daughter has gymnastics every Monday afternoon then try and do one errand before class and perhaps pick up groceries right after.  Simply look at your list of “need to do” errands and see which ones best fit in the route to and from the activity of the day. This will significantly cut down on your gas usage.

8. Cable

Cut cable completely. You can use Bing Rewards to pay for Hulu and steam your favorite shows when you want to watch them (here is a tutorial on how to earn enough Bing Reward points to do this each month) . If you like News and daily talk shows invest in a high quality antenna. Our family spent $150 an antenna so we could watch the last Winter Olympics and we have loved it . The channels it brings in are crystal clear. (our current antenna looks a lot like this one and is set up in our attic)

9. Use point programs to pay for your vice

Love Starbucks coffee? Keep it in the budget but use InstaGC  to earn gift cards to pay for it. (see how to use InstaGC here)

Love Kindle books but the titles you like are rarely on the freebie lists? Enjoy a few each month by doing a few simple things on Swagbucks each month to earn  Amazon gift cards. (see how to earn a $25 gift card to Amazon each month through Swagbucks here)

There are so many different point programs available that you are bound to find one where you can earn gift card without too much monthly effort.

10. Never stop learning

This point will save you money in all areas of your budget. If there is one thing I have learned in my 20 years as a homemaker it is this “there is always room for improvement; and improvement comes through learning”. My favorite way to learn is through reading. I can pick up a book and read a chapter here and there and find out about a new way to save money in an area of our finances then apply it and reap the savings.

This week you can get 10 thrifty eBooks, eCourses and audio courses  as part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle including….

  1. Coffee Filters To Cheese Graters: Creative Ways To Use Just About Everything
  2. Costco Slow Cooker Freezer Meal Plan: 20 meals for under $150
  3. Frugal Real Food Meal Plans
  4. 50 Frugal Dates
  5. 21 Day Savings Challenge (eCourse)
  6. Becoming A Frugalista: Money Saving Secrets For The Frugal Family Manager
  7. Build a Budget That Works
  8. Hope: Thriving While Unemployed
  9. How To Save Money: A 21 Day Challenge To Save $500
  10. Grocery University (an audio course covering how to slash your grocery budget)

These books are full of thrifty wisdom and have a retail value of $71.91 but right now you can get them for just $29.97  as part of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle. Plus you will get another 89 eBooks , eCourses and Printable packs to help you with all areas of your homemaking and over $300 in bonuses (bonuses includes some amazing treats for you as well as items to help make homemaking easier)


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10 Ways To Save A Dollar A Week

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A dollar might not seem like much all on its own but when you start stacking one on top of the other, they can have a huge impact on your budget and your savings.

10 ways to save a dollar this weekFor instance, lets say you find 10 ways to save $1 each  week, that is $10 a week saved. Ten dollars might not seem like much, but if you save $10 each week for a month you will have $40 and that is enough to start impacting your finances. Keep saving $1 ten times a week and in a year you will have $520 to pay off debt, take the family on a few memory building day trips, or invest for your future.

Finding a few ways to save just $1 on your every day purchases or expenses ten times isn’t hard. To get your brain storming going I am going to help you by list 10 ways our family often saves a $1 each week.

10 Ways To Save A Dollar This Week

1. Use a coupon app to get cash back on your groceries

Grocery apps are getting easier and easier to use and some are no longer store dependent meaning you can use them to get cash back on your grocery items no matter where you get your groceries.

  • ibotta: store dependent but offers cash backs for more than groceries, including movies, clothing and more.
  • Snap: not store dependent and offers cash backs for bread, milk, eggs as well as national brands.
  • Checkout51: not store dependent and offers cash backs for bread, milk eggs as well as national brands.
  • Saving Star: store dependent and savings can be done by linking it to your store card or submitting receipt.
  • Berrycart: store dependent. Excellent app for gluten free, organic and non GMO food savings.

2. Order water when eating out

Sure not eating out all together would save you a lot more money than just getting water instead of pop, but we are looking for small tweaks to your spending habits with this article. Some of us (myself included) are not ready to give up our eating out entirely to save money.

Best part about this tip, this is a per person savings so the more of you in the family that do this the more you save.

3. Remove one item from your grocery cart

I learned this tip from Queen of Free in her book Slaying The Debt Dragon. Even when you have stuck to a grocery list chances are you can find at least one item you put on your list and in your cart that you can really live without; remove that item before heading up to the checkout .

4. Combine your errands and lump them with appointments

To save gas, I grocery shop  and do other errands only on days I have to leave my house anyways. For instance if I know I have to take my daughter to gymnastics I might swing by the post office and mail bills (the few that can’t be paid online) on the way there and then swing by the grocery store on our way home.

I figure this saves me at least a half a gallon of gas a week which is more than $1 .

5. Sign up for free Redbox codes or go to the library for movies

You might not host an at home movie night each and every week, but you can substitute your own way to save a buck on those weeks you don’t. On the weeks you do make those $1 Redbox rentals cost zero by using a free code that you can get by signing up for their emails, and texts as well as joining their Redbox Playbook Pass. The site Money Saving Mom also lists free redbox codes frequently.

Another great free movie source our family loves is our local library that lets us take out up to 7 DVDs at once for a full week. Which brings me to my next point…

6. Set a reminder on your cell phone for library due dates

When you have a family that loves the library like ours does overdue fines can add up in a hurry. By taking just a few seconds to add the date into my cell phone for a reminder to appear when the books are due I save the cost of library fines.

7. Switch from name brand to store brand on one to two products

Whenever I see a new store brand product on the market that is similar to a name brand we love I always give it a try. I think it is safe to say 80% of the time I end up switching to the store brand since it works or tastes just as good and is less expensive.

Word of thrifty wisdom: Always test out new store brand products in the smallest amount available. You don’t save money if you try out a 32 oz bottle of shampoo because it was cheaper per ounce than the 16 oz bottle, only to discover 3 hair washes in that it leaves your hair greasy and you can’t bear to go on and finish the bottle.

8. Start a price book and find cheaper sources for products each week

Just recently I found a cheaper source of natural peanut butter that will save my family a few dollars each month (my kids eat a lot of peanut butter sandwiches as snacks). I wouldn’t have noticed the price difference if I didn’t keep track of what I pay for peanut butter and an easy way to keep track of prices like peanut butter is by keeping a price book.

9. Sign up for samples of your favorite brands

Freebies4Mom and Money Saving Mom both list free samples that you can sign up for. The samples themselves save you money but what will save you $1 a week is the high value coupons worth $1 or more that generally come with these samples.

10.  Use your bread machine

I uses our bread machines every week to make hamburger buns, bread rolls, pizza dough or cinnamon rolls. These freshly baked items not only taste better than their store counterparts they are also cheaper. And yes those of you that prefer to make dough with your own two hands can save even more as you are not using electricity to run a bread machine.

Bonus Tip: Make A Dollar Or More Each Week With Swagbucks

If you spend any time at all online during the day chances are you could earn $1 week with Swagbucks without doing one extra thing except for signing up for Swagbucks and downloading their toolbar or making the Swagbucks homepage your page.

I read recently that the average Swagbucks earner earns 300 points a month just from internet searching done through using Swagbucks as your search engine. That is $3 a month right there. The other 100 points could easily be earned through shop and earn programs or more. Check out my post that explains how to use Swagbucks  as well as the post where I go over all the ways to earn.

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The One Reason Why I Think Survey Companies Are Worth It

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Survey taking is time consuming, and it seems like you earn just pennies for your effort. True most survey companies seem to create very long surveys however here is the one reason why I think Survey taking isn’t a complete waste of time.How to find survey companies that are worth your time and why filling out surveys is worth it.

Filling out Surveys is a Flexible At Home Job

The flexibility of survey taking is what makes the whole time consuming thing worth while. You can choose if you have time today to fill out a survey, or this week or this month.

I do recommend setting up a separate email just for the survey companies you join because some do send quite a bit of email and if you don’t have time seeing them mixed in with your other emails can get aggravating.

Sure you are not going to earn $1000’s of dollars each month, in fact many don’t make $100’s  of dollars, but I have read reports of people making $50 to $100 from combining Survey filling with point programs (more on those below), and  that can make wiggle room in a tight budget. Best part, you make it in downtime that was earning you nothing before.

Two Prefect Daily Down Times For Survey Filling

TV Watching time in the evening. I know a woman who fills out surveys every night while cuddling up beside her hubby who like to watch sports.

Afternoon nap time for the kids when you want to just relax but feel like you should at least do something (this is when I use to do a lot of surveys).

Brainstorm about your daily life, when during the day are you just kind of sitting there but you could do something  that would add to your families income.

A Great Resource For Scouting Out The Best Survey Companies

When cashing out at my current favorite survey site Paid Viewpoint I noticed a note saying “please leave a review at Survey Police”. I went over and checked out the site. I was very impressed. Survey Police has reviews on 100’s of different survey sites. You just type in the name of the survey company you are interested in joining and it will give you a review that contains general information such as what you can cash out for and where the company is based. Below the description you can read reviews from actually users both positive and negative.

If you can’t find an official review from Survey Police chances are you can find out something about the company by entering their forum .

A Survey Company I Currently Use

Paid Viewpoint is the only survey company I currently use. I like them because their surveys are fast and you get paid for each one, which means your time is never wasted. You won’t earn a lot month per month when you first get started but once you reach a trait score of 1000 Paid Viewpoint will start sending you higher earning surveys. These are first come first serve and you are notified by email about them.

A Survey Company I Used For Years And Really Liked


I used MySurvey for years when the children were little and I had only smaller windows of time here and there to do a work at home gig in. I was usually able to earn 1 to 2 $10 gift cards each month through MySurvey.

A Few Survey Companies Worth Checking Out

I spent sometime reading on Survey Police as well as a few other sites that often talk about surveys and found a few sites mentioned over and over again as being worth peoples time. Of course as with many things in life there were people who didn’t like these companies but with these companies there seemed to be more who liked them then didn’t like them.

Opinion Post: Offers both online and mobile surveys. Amazon gift cards and payment via Paypal are both listed as cash out options as well as a few other options.

Survey Spot: You have the option of cashing out for Amazon gift cards or Paypal as well as a few other choices. It was reported on Survey Police that on average the surveys from Survey Spot take 10 to 15 minutes to complete.

Toluna: Toluna offers gift cards for cash out and currently has 35 different ones available, including Amazon and Paypal. Not only can you fill out surveys but Toluna also offers chances to test out free products for purpose of filling out a survey about how you felt about the product.

Sites That Offer Both Surveys & Other Point Earning Options

Want a bit more bang for your survey buck? Consider doing surveys that are offered as part of point programs. These programs often have several different ways to earn (with Swagbucks offering more than 20 ways to earn). By doing surveys within point programs you can get to cash out minimum higher by doing a few other activities besides surveys . Sometimes these activities are things you are already doing online anyways.

Here are a list of point rewards program I have reviewed and like.

1. Swagbucks: Read how simple it is to earn though Swagbucks here.

2. InstaGC: Read some of my favorite ways to earn with InstGC here.

3. MyPoints: Read all the different ways you can earn Mypoints here.

4. Superpoints: Read my review here.

5. Inbox Dollars: Read my review here.

Have you tried and like a survey company not on my list?

18+ point programs to help you earn $50 or more in gift cards each month (small)Make sure to check out even more point programs that can help you earn money from home.

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10 Ways Thrifty Bloggers Save Money On Blogging

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I blog on a very tight budget. Currently I invest just 10 percent of my earnings back into my blog and right now that money is being saved to help create an ebook.

10 Ways Thrifty People Blog Blogging on a shoestring budget

One of the reason I keep the percentage I put back into the blog at such a low level is right now our family budget needs most of my after tax earnings. My husband quit his second job  and the goal is to have the blog completely replace that lost income.

Here are 10 ways I Save Money On Blogging Expenses

1. I set a blog budget

You will notice I said that this year I am investing 10% of my gross earnings.  Having a percentage limit for reinvestment  gives me a budget for my blog to work with. With so many tools out there to help bloggers that are just $5 or $10 a month setting a spending limit helps me not nickel and dime my  earnings away.

You will also notice I   have a goal set for the amount of money I want to add to the families monthly budget. Once I meet it I plan to start investing a greater percentage of my earnings.

2. I use free photo editing software

I use the free version of Pic Monkey almost daily for my images. I have also used Canava from time to time and Be Funky.

3. I rarely use stock photos but when I do they are free ones.

Currently over 90 percent of the photos on this site are once I took myself. I have just recently found some great sources of free stock photos but am just really starting to dive into using them.

The rest of the blog photos I have taken myself. Some turn out great others need work but I really do like taking photos. My favorite way to come up with blog photo ideas is to look at the list of what I want to write about this week and then  head out for a run. While I run I think about what images pop into my head when I think about a topic and how I can recreate that image.

4. I don’t pay for scheduling tools

I pin all my pins to group boards on Pinterest live and with my own hands. I use the free Facebook scheduling available right on my blogs Facebook page. I am not actively tweeting on twitter much but when I do it is live.

I have thought of scheduling Pinterest several times and as income grows I might.

5. I take advantage of free exposure

I link my blog posts up weekly to a handful of popular blog link ups.  When I can find the time (which isn’t as often as I would like) I will pitch and write a guest post for a blog that is larger than mine. I comment on other blogs and on other blogs social media sites, and I of course am active on most social media platforms.

6. I take part in free networking opportunities

I have only ever gone to one blog conference but I do talk with other bloggers online on an almost daily basis. I have joined several blogging groups on Facebook and add to the conversations there when I feel I have something to offer. I email bloggers not to just promote but with just because messages that share friendship building conversations.

I also attend local free blogging events when I can find them.

My favorite social media platform for free networking is Instagram. The pictures give me something to relate to and comment on and it lets me peek at the life of the person beyond the blog like no other social media platform does.

7. I use free help sources but I am not against paying for help

I often tell my children mom is in car school, as I listen to several podcasts a week on how to blog better while driving to do errands or take children here or there. I also listen to these podcasts as I cook, clean or go for a walk.

When I am stuck on something that has to do with the technical side of blogging   I  go to You Tube for help first, or one of the bloggers Facebook groups I am in.

If I think the fix is beyond me then I hire it out. It is cheaper to fix the problem right the first time than mess it up and have to pay someone hours of labor costs to fix it.

8. I enter blog contests for blogging conferences and products

I have not won yet but whenever I see a blogger offering a contest for a free blogging conference ticket or a free blog design I enter. You never know.

9.  I use windfalls from sources beyond my blog wisely to boost my blog

About a year into blogging I received an inheritance from one of my grandmothers. I used a portion to buy a good quality DSL camera, and a Macbook pro. These two tools have made all the difference in the word for how efficiently I can blog.

I also invested a portion of the money to go to a blogging conference where I met bloggers who I still chat online with today.

10. I prioritize the money I do have for reinvestment 

Even though I am only investing 10 percent of my gross earnings right now I think long and hard about every penny I spend.

For right now I decided the best use was to save up for someone to edit my ebook, as well as someone to do a cover for it and someone to get it on Kindle for me.

I don’t currently have a product of my own and my car schooling research as well as the blog review I invested in last year both tell me that a product of your own is a great way to build readership, community and revenue for your blog.

As you can see I am not against investing in my blog, I just believe it has to balance what I bring in. I started my blog to help my family financially. The family needs my income now, not further down the road when the blog is bigger and earning more.

I know some of these things above only cost a few dollars a month but a few dollars a month here and there adds up quickly.

How do you balance spending money on your blog verse earning an income from it?

ways to monetize your blog from day one (button)Learn how I monetized my blog from day one using sources of income some bloggers overlook.

Linked to Thrifty Thursday,

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If A Thrifty Person Had To Pick Just One Rewards Program

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Recently a reader left the following comment

Sometimes all these different cash savings/rebates websites overwhelm me, and although I would like to. Where would you recommend that I start in order to get the most bang for my buck on gift cards?

I agree figuring out how to use all the different point programs out there can be overwhelming, and I certainly did not start out using 18+ different programs. I started out with just one. If I had to pick a one stop best bang for time spent point rewards company now I would pick Swagbucks.

If you are overwhelmed by all the different point earning programs available, look no further. This program can help you earn anywhere from $5 a month to $100 a month with dozens of simple ways to earn

 Swagbucks is a one stop rewards/rebates  program

Swagbucks offers so many ways to earn that no matter what you are doing online it just might be possible to earn some Swagbucks while doing it.

swabucks homepage image

This is what the Swagbucks homepage looks like. I make it my homepage so I always remember to enter my searches through it to earn points.

If you search the web…

Download the Swagbucks toolbar or make their homepage your homepage, or both so that you enter all your daily web searches through Swagbucks and have the chance to earn Swagbucks each and every time you do.

I recently read on the Swagbucks website that members on average earn 10 points a day doing this which works out to 300 points a month just with this one point earning action. Considering a $5 gift card is just 500 Swag Bucks this action alone puts you well over 1/2 way to earning a gift card each month and you will earn it doing something you have to do anyways.

shop and earn areaIf you buy items online…

Make sure to check and see if Swagbucks offers points per dollar spent.

You can do this by clicking the shop tab at the top of the Swagbucks home page, or you can simply enter the store that you want to shop into the Swagbucks toolbar and if the store you want to shop at offers a cash back through Swagbucks you will get a screen that looks like this….

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 5.29.44 PM

Just click on this information and it will take you to the store and track your purchase for cash back in Swag Bucks.

There is a wide variety of stores you can shop at and earn Swag Bucks back on your purchase including thredUp a great place to find deals on gently used or new with tags clothing for almost the entire family (sign up through my referral link and start your account at thredUP with a $10 credit)

Once you click on the square with the qualifying store on it a screen will pop up that says “Congratulations……you are on your way to earning….. Swag Bucks per dollar at……..”.

swabucks homepage image 2

Once you hit the Special Offers tab you will see another row of tabs across your screen at the end of these you will see Radio Loyalty

If you like listening to music…

Use the Radio Loyality program available through Swagbucks. For every 30 minutes of listening you are rewarded with a CHAPTCHA code that when you enter it will give you 5 Swag Bucks.

radio loyalty on swagbucksRadio Loyalty is a bit hard to find basically hit the Special Offers tab found under the Discover tab on the Swagbucks homepage. When you do you will see a page that looks like image above the Radio Loyalty tab is at the end.

radio loyality choicesThere are plenty of station choices for everyone. My favorite station is the Classical one, I often turn it on and put my headphones in while I write so that I am not disturbed by sounds around me. I set my cell phone for 30 minutes so that I remember to look for my CAPTCHA code to enter when it pops up. Points are not added instantly and can take up to 1 hour to appear.

daily deals at Swagbucks

 If you buy daily deal vouchers…

Buy them through Swagbucks. Simply enter the name of the daily deal site you want to purchase through into the Swagbucks homepage and if it qualifies for Swag Bucks per dollar back on purchases it will show up in a square at the top of the screen just like the stores that qualify for the shop and earn program do. Two daily deal sites that often offer Swag Bucks back on purchases are Living Social and Groupon.  (psst… if you are not already a member of Living Social you can start your account with a $10 credit towards a purchase of $20 or more using my referral link)

 game section on swagbucksIf you like playing online games….

Check out the game area of Swagbucks. If you click all games and then click free play games you will find free games that you can play for points. I have not used this area of Swagbucks all that often but here is what one reader shared with me about how to earn points playing games

You can get 10 points a day playing games. You get 2 points for every other game you play for free (I’ve never done the tournaments). Swag Jump and Swagasaurus Run can be played in a matter of seconds. My kids like to play them, so a lot of days I have them do the games for me. :)

That mean you earn up to 300 Swagbucks a month just by playing games.

swagbucks tv

My favorite Swagbucks TV channels are the Home & Garden and the Health. When my kids were smaller they really likes watching the Animal channel.

If you like watching video shorts…

Check out Swagbucks TV on your laptop or desktop computer. You earn 3 Swag Bucks for ever 10 video clips watched up to 150 Swag Bucks per day.  You can also leave them open in another tab of your laptop as you work in another tab and earn points as you work.

If you have a smartphone or a tablet check out the 5 video watching apps that Swagbucks offers to earn Swag Bucks in.

  • Swagbuck TV App 36 daily Swag Bucks
  • EntertainNow App 18 daily Swag Bucks
  • Sportly.TV App 18 daily Swagbucks
  • Lifestylz App 18 daily Swagbucks

If you are a video watcher these options can keep you in videos all day long. Of course you can also get the app running and let it earn points for you as you do other things.

swagbucks couponIf you print printable coupons…

Check out the Swagbucks coupon area and earn points when you redeem them. You will receive 10 Swag Bucks for every coupon you redeem. Please not it takes a while for coupon points to show up in fact it could take up to 12 weeks.

sharing swagbucksIf you love sharing great deals with your friends…

Once you are hooked you are going to want to tell your friends and Swagbucks rewards you for that too. You get 10% of what your Friend earns through Swagbucks (for certain point actions only) for life.

How it is possible to earn $100 in gift cards from Swagbucks each monthIf you want to spend just a bit more time online earning more gift cards….

Swagbucks has several options for people wanting to earn more points than just those they earn from every day online actions. For instance you can

  • do the daily poll
  • do the daily NOSO
  • do the daily encrave
  • fill out surveys
  • do online tasks
  • search out offers to complete

Truly Swagbucks is so flexible any person who uses a computer can use it and earn at least one $5 gift card each month  and many will easily earn enough for the  one reduced point 2200 Swag Bucks $25 gift card per month each member is allowed, without taking any extra time out of their day to do extra point earning actions over at Swagbucks. However you could earn much more than $5 to $25 in gift cards; I have readers reporting earnings of $100 a month.

Here are 2 testimonials I have received or readers earning $50 or higher each month with Swagbucks

“I’ve gotten $100 in Swagbucks for a few months straight. Before that, I’ve gotten $50 a month.” (left on my post about how it is possible to earn $100 a month with Swagbucks)

 

“Hi and thanks for a good post. I started Swagbucks Nov. 30th, I didn’t set the world on fire but did manage $75 in earnings. “(comment was left January 3rd 2015 meaning in just over 1 month she earned $75 in Swag Bucks)

 

So if you too are overwhelmed by all the point programs out there and it is stopping you from even trying, I suggest you first start with Swagbucks. I truly believe it to be one of  the best one stop rewards program out there.

Sign Up For Swagbucks here

18+ point programs to help you earn $50 or more in gift cards each month (small)

Already earning gift cards through Swagbucks? Increase your monthly gift card earnings with this list of 18+ point programs.

 Linked to Frugal Friday,

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10 Tools Thrifty People Use To Save Money On Groceries

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While finishing off writing 10 tools to help you get & stay debt free I began thinking of other areas of my life where I use tools to save money. The first area that popped into my mind was the tools I use at the grocery store to help me save money on groceries.

10 tools thrifty people use to save money on groceries Do you know what they are

My toolbox for grocery savings has changed a bit over my 20 years as a homemaker but a lot of it has stayed the same.

10 Tools Thrifty People Use To Save Money On Groceries

1. A budget

The best way to save money is to set a limit on how much you can spend. Without a price limit it is extremely hard to stay serious about trying to save money.

If you haven’t yet set a grocery budget and are wondering where to even begin, see if you can find out what you are currently spending on groceries. Dig through your receipts and bank statements.

Start with that as your starting point and then challenge yourself to lower it by $5 a week. Keep it at that level again and then reduce it by another $5 a week. Repeat until you have gotten to the point where you simple can’t keep that budget even with shopping like a thrifty ninja. At that point bump it up $5 and keep it there. (changing it when either prices go up or families needs change; as in your children become teenagers with stomachs that pack away food at an alarming rate :) )

If you are new to the budget thing I suggest also shopping with cash envelopes in hand. It is impossible to go over budget with cash.

2. A List

If you want to stick to a thrifty grocery budget never set foot in a grocery store without a list. Not only will you come out of the store with things you don’t need but you will also walk out forgetting things you did need which will mean another trip to the grocery store. Multiple trips to the grocery store each week reap havoc on a grocery budget, not to mention the waste of time and gas.

3. Wisdom

Those who get their groceries for rock bottom prices were not born with the knowledge they learned it. Go to your local library and find the section on finances and you will find a section of books filled with tips on how save money on groceries. Blogs are also great sources of thrifty grocery shopping knowledge as well as Pinterest.

4. A Price Book

More important than coupons is a price book. In a price book you keep track of the price you pay for the items you buy. Then you compare the prices you have been paying for one item to what that item is selling for at another store, or website. You want to note sale prices too.

You can also note in your price book the price of  store brands compared to the name brand you have been buying,   to see if they have a cheaper price on the product (tip: when trying out a new brand for a product you love in another brand, get the smallest size, that way you are not going to waste that much money if you hate it. Should you love it, then go back and purchase the most economic size).

5. A Calculator

The calculator can be the one on our phone although I prefer a simple handheld  inexpensive calculator that fits in my purse.

The calculator can be used to total groceries as you shop so you don’t go over budget. I also use mine to compare prices while in store to make sure I am getting the best price per ounce.

6. A Quarter

Thrifty people shop in no frill grocery stores like Aldi and Ruler Foods. These grocery stores don’t hirer a person to clean up their carts for them, instead they make sure the job gets done by their customers by charging a quarter for a cart. I keep one in my car at all times (pity the poor child who takes mom’s car quarter :) )

7. Reusable Grocery Bags

No frill grocery stores also charge for bags and there is no way thrifty people are going to pay for those each and every week when they don’t have too. Instead I use various cloth bags that I make sure to wipe out and dry each week.

Honestly though many times I forget them and when I do I either search for boxes as I shop (no frill grocery stores keep the product in the big box it came in) or I place the items in the back of my SUV without bags and when I get home I take bags out to the car to make it easier to transport the food into the house.

8. Store cards or  Store Apps

I shop the sales at my local Meijer and often save even more with their Mperks program where I load up coupons to my cellphone number on my laptop before leaving the house. It takes me just a few minutes and each trip it saves me $1 to $2. That really adds up over the course of a year.

Check the stores in your area to see which ones have cards or apps you can use to cut costs.

 9.  Paper & Digital Coupons

There are so many different places to find coupons beyond the Sunday paper nowadays.

There are printable coupons found at sites like…

You can also get access to printable coupons by signing up for email newsletter for companies like Betty Crocker, and General Mills.

There are coupon apps offering cash backs such as …

  • ibotta: good not just for groceries but for many different household expenses.
  • Checkout 51: Love Checkout 51 because it can be used no matter where you shop and has whole food items.
  • BerryCart: Gluten free, Non-GMO, Organic and natural food cash backs are available at BerryCart.
  • Snap: Can claim the cash backs no matter where you shop and often have cash backs on basic food items like bread.
  • Saving Star: Can either claim the cash backs with a receipt or link it to your store loyalty card.

And then there is  Favado  “a mobile savings app that helps shoppers save time and money by discovering the best deals in more than 65,000 grocery and drugstores nationwide. The Favado app uses real-time couponing data to provide access to exclusive matching deals (coupons plus in-store promotions) for ultimate savings. Other features include planning tools for weekly shopping trips and insider access to unlisted deals.” (website description)

I haven’t finished trying out  Favado yet but it is on my thrifty to do list.

10. Discounted gift cards & point earned gift cards

If you shop at stores like Walmart or Target you can grab a gift card using  Swagbucks to do thinks that you already do online anyway like searching the web, or shopping online. There are lots of other similar programs so make sure you check out my list of 18+ point programs for earning gift cards.

Another way to increase your savings is to buy discounted gift cards from places like Carpool. Cardpool has gift cards to natural food stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes as well as grocery chains like Albertsons and Kroger.

step by step grocery shopping with a thrifty person (button)Now that you are armed with the tools you need to save money at the grocery store make sure you check out my step by step post on how a thrifty person grocery shops.

Linked to Frugal Fridays, Thrifty Thursdays,

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Tips To Help You With Your Spring Break Planning

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(post contains affiliate links: see disclosure)

If you live in some states you might have already had your spring break but here in Indiana spring break season starts next week. Which means it is time to finalize your spring break plans.

Spring Break Planning Help: Packing, Hotels, Snack Food, Staycation & Vacation

 

Today I am here to help you by providing links to help you with whatever your spring break vacation destination might be.

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How To Save Money On Spring Break Vacations

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Vacations

10 Ways Thrifty People Camp

A Simple Way To Stay On Budget During Vacation

2 Big Ways & 5 Little Ways We Saved Money On Our Disney World Vacation

10 tips for a successful staycation vaction How to fill your week with fun instead of chores (med)

How To Make Spring Break At Home Fun & Affordable

10 Tips For Staycation Vacation Success

20 Ways Thrifty Ways to Spend Quality Time With Your Child

5 Family Outings For $5 or Less

How to maximize your carry on luggage space I can't believe what fit in this bag! (med)

How To Make The Most Use Of Your Luggage Space Whether Road Tripping It Or Flying

How To Maximize The Space Of Your Carry On Luggage

How To Make The Best Room Of Your Trunk For Road Trips

Handy Website To Plan Your Trip

Trivago’s hotel search allows users to compare hotel prices with just a few clicks from over 200 booking sites for more than 700,000 hotels worldwide.

Once on the trivago website simply enter the name of the city you want to book your hotel in, when you want to stay and what type of room you want and let tivago do the comparison shopping for you.

 

Daily Deal Sites For Finding Discounts On Vacations & Staycations

Our family isn’t planning  a spring break getaway this year but we are planning a honeymoon (I won’t say second even though we have been married almost 20 years because we never really had a first) . My hubby and I have been amazed by the great all inclusive vacation deals available at daily deal sites like Groupon.

We have been asking around and found several friends who have booked these packages all who have had great experiences so far. It just might be worth looking into if you are planning a spring break getaway. The great deals book up fast so this might be one to pin and remember for next year.

If you are staying close to home daily deal sites can help make the week a bit more fun. Our family often grabs deals for our favorite restaurants off sites like Living Social & Groupon.

(psst…If your not currently a member of Living Social you can start your account with a $10 credit off an voucher of $20 or more which is good for 30 days when you use my referral link)

caramel crunch (small)

Road Trip Snacks

What road trip could be complete without a few snacks.

Here are two recipes that make great road trip snacks

Here are some of our families favorite ready made road trip treats

Vacation Photo Book For Less

When you get back from vacation don’t forget to gather all those great shots you took with your camera and cell phone and put them into a photo album you can look at together for years to come.

A great way to create photo books of vacation for less is by using Bing Rewards to receive free Shutterfly  photo book codes,(a $29.99 value) that leave you having to pay just for shipping costs (currently around $9).

Where are you going this spring break?

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41 Websites & Apps Thrifty People Use & Love

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I know some of you are looking at  the number and going why 41 websites and apps? Why not shoot for an even 50?

Well yesterday was this thrifty gals 41st birthday! Each year since I have started blogging I like doing a post that is a bit more personal in nature around the time of  my birthday. This year I decided to share 41 websites & apps I a thrifty person use and love.

41 websites and Apps thrifty people use and love websites guaranteed to save you money

Honestly though there are a few sites on here I have not used but instead just researched or found thrifty people I trust who said “yes I used that site and loved it” because my “personally used” list ran out in the 30s and I am not in that decade anymore.

41 Websites & Apps Thrifty People Use & Love

This list in not in any rating order. I love all these sites equally for how they help my family and other families save money. I tried to put them into categories but there is of course some websites or apps  that could go in more than one category so I just put them in the one I thought they served best.

Websites For Finding Sales, Discounts & Cash Back

1. Cardpool

I love stacking discount upon discount and Cardpool lets me do that. It makes me my thrifty heart swoon when I can purchase an item on sale with a coupon and pay for it with a discounted gift card. That is a win, win….WIN.

2. Brad’s Deals

I love opening my Brad’s Deal emails and checking out the top deals of the day on name brand clothing, electronics and more all around the web.

3. Ebates

Thrifty people love using cash back sites to earn back a bit of money with their purchases. Ebates is a great cash back site offering 1000’s of stores.

4. Lucky Vitamin

Lucky Vitamin is I think a gold mine of great deals for health conscious thrifty people. When I compare their prices to Amazon Lucky Vitamin  is often cheaper. Shipping is free with an order of $50 or more so I try think ahead and bulk buy my orders.

5. Money Saving Mom

I have been reading Crystal Paine’s blog Money Saving Mom since the very early beginnings when a neighbor told me about it. It is a great site for finding out information on all things thrifty and frugal. Coupon deals, free samples, and much more.

6. My Points

My points is the main point program I use for earning cash backs on online purchases. They often run  great high cash back value promotions. In fact they are how I earned $75 for staying home on Black Friday.

7. 6pm.com

A friend of mine kept going on and on for months about how I had to check out 6pm.com. I finally did and saved quite a bit on new sweatshirts for my son.

Apps That Will Save You Money Or Earn You Gift Cards

8. Ibotta

Ibotta is an app that gives you cash back on groceries, movie tickets, clothing, pet supplies, craft supplies and more. Cash out to Paypal or for an e-gift card to Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart and more. I have cashed out numerous times without issues.

9. Checkout 51

If you think coupon apps are only for highly processed food think again. Checkout 51 has at least a few offers each and every week for basic grocery items like milk, vegetables, eggs, and fruit. Plus it is not store specific so you can use this app to earn money back on your groceries regardless of where your buy them . You can request  check when your account reaches $20. Mine account hasn’t yet reached a pay out but I haven’t had problems submitting cash backs so far.

10. SNAP by Groupon

SNAP in another handy cash back app for groceries. Just like Checkout 51 you can use Snap by Groupon where ever you shop. They do offer cash backs on basic food items like vegetables, bread and eggs but their deals seem to run out fast. You can request a check when your account reaches $20. Mine  account hasn’t yet reached a payout but I haven’t had problems submitting  cash backs so far.

11. BerryCart

If your family has members with Gluten allergies or you love to eat healthy on a budget you need to check out BerryCart. This app is store dependent but does list a variety of not just health food stores but major grocery chains. Cash out starts at $6 for Paypal or various gift cards. I have cashed out twice without issue.

12. Shopkick

If your going to be at the store you might as well earn some gift cards by scanning the various items you pass in the aisle with Shopkick.  In some stores you earn Shopkick points just for walking in the door. You are paid in gift cards or merchandise. I have cashed out for Starbucks gift cards without any problems.

13. Gas Buddy

Thrifty people generally know the cheapest gas station in their own hometown. Now with  the Gas Buddy app they can quickly look up the best price for gas in any town they visit.

14. The Kindle App

The Kindle App is a Thrifty bookworms dream. A free app that you can use on whatever device you own and fill with free or low cost kindle book titles. (more on where to find those free books later)

15. The Favado Savings App

This is one of those apps that I  have yet to use but read great reviews about it from bloggers I trust.

Here is the description for The Favado Savings App….

“Favado is a mobile savings app that helps shoppers save time and money by discovering the best deals in more than 65,000 grocery and drugstores nationwide. The Favado app uses real-time couponing data to provide access to exclusive matching deals (coupons plus in-store promotions) for ultimate savings. Other features include planning tools for weekly shopping trips and insider access to unlisted deals.”

Sounds pretty cool to me and I plan to try it out really soon.

Daily Deal Sites

16. Zulily

Although they don’t always have the cheapest prices Zulily is handy to have in your thrifty tool bag. The site offers daily deals on name brand items. They often feature the running shoes I wear at 50% off and the sandals I like for cheaper than I can get them in store.

17. Groupon

Our family has used Groupon mostly for deals on family entertainment like discounted admission to the local ice skating rink. My husband and I also like to grab deals to our favorite date night restaurant through Groupon.

18. Living Social

I have used Living Social deals to save money on my favorite restaurant as well as my favorite shampoo and at the Luck Vitamin website I mentioned earlier. (if you haven’t used Living Social before you get a $10 credit towards a purchase of $20 or more  when you sign up through my referral link )

19. Educents

If you are a thrifty educator you are going to want to sign up for Educents. Educents offers great daily deals on educational materials and often offers 100% free downloadable printables as well. Currently when you sign up for Educents you get a $10 credit that is good for 6 months.

Survey And Point Programs That Are Worth Your Time

20. Paid Viewpoint

I am not a fan of many survey sites, finding them too lengthy for little return however, I really like Paid Viewpoint. Sure their surveys don’t pay much but the don’t take long either. Most surveys are under 2 minutes and you can have your earnings paid to Paypal once your account reaches $15.

21. Swagbucks

What thrifty person wouldn’t like earning gift cards from normal every day actions they do online, and that is just what Swagbucks does.

22. InstaGC

Hidden in its name is the reason why I love InstaGC. You receive the gift cards you earn instantly. Most of their ways to earn can be easily done while multi tasking. For instance you can listen to music and earn points while working on your laptop through the Radio loyalty section.

23. My Survey

My Survey is one of the only longer survey sites I stuck with for several years in a row. I don’t use My Survey anymore due to a change in life stages that mean I don’t have the same down time in my day. When I did use it I generally earned $10 to $20 a month in gift cards. What I liked most about My Survey was their screening process didn’t take long, so I wasn’t wasting too much time figuring out if I even qualified for the survey.

24. Bing Rewards

Bing rewards is a very simple program where by spending 2 to 5 minutes a day you can earn enough points for various cash outs including Shutterfly Photo Books, a 500 Swagbucks code, Amazon gift cards, Hulu gift cards and more.

Websites For Learning DIY Skills

25. YouTube

My husband and I have learned numerous skills through Youtube. Me mainly for blogging purposes. My husband for household repairs.

26. Craftsy

Cratsy currently offers 40 free mini video classes. These are high quality videos with professional instructors on the topics on photography, gardening, jewelery making, sewing, cake decorating and more.

Websites For Finding Quality Gently Used Clothing

I am talking about these websites from the perspective of a clothes buyer, but you should also know ThredUp and Twice will buy your clothes from you all you need to do is request a bag, postage is free. Schoola also offers a free send in bag but instead of receiving payment for your clothes the money earn is donated to the school of your choice.

27. ThredUp

ThredUp was the first consignment clothing website I tried. I have ordered from ThredUp several more times since and have been happy with all my orders. The have clothing for boys and girls from infancy through the childhood years. Teenage clothes for girls. Maternity clothes and women’s clothes. You also  start your account with a $10 credit when you sign up through my referral link.

28. Twice

Twice just started consigning clothing for men. They have up to recently just sold women’s clothing. Their clothing is generally more higher end name brands. So far I have order clothing that would be perfect for church, job interviews or conference wear. If you are not already a member of Twice you can start your account off with a $10 credit when you sign up through my referral link.

29. Schoola

Schoola is a fairly new consignment clothing website where 40% of the proceeds fund schools (you can even pick the school you want the proceeds from your sale to go to) . They sell clothing for both boys and girls starting from 1 years old to 13+ years old ( the teenage section has both men’s and women’s sizes so adults could shop there too). I haven’t personally used Schoola yet but I do have an account and am hoping to soon place an order for summer shorts for my daughter (waiting for her size to come up). I have read several great reviews about Schoola, and seen several bloggers I trust use and give the site a positive review. You can get $15 towards your first order when you sign up through my referral link.

Websites for Thrifty bookworms

30. Tyndale Rewards

Earn free hold in your hand books from Tyndale Rewards. I recently cashed out some Tyndale points for an Adventures In Odyssey CD set.

31. Paperback Swap

Paperback Swap is a great site for finding those books on your want to read list. I often find books that we use in our homeschooling. You start your account by listing 10 books which then gets you one free book credit. After that you get get swap credits every time some one orders and receives one of your books. There are some cost involved (see the site for all the details) but it is still a  thrifty way to find books on your want to read it list.

32. Recycle Bank

Recycle Bank is a program that pays you to learn about thrifty actions. Most of their actions don’t take long. I like trading my Recycle Bank points for magazines like Runner’s World. What magazines they offer changes from time to time. Also make sure that you read what format the magazine comes in; it could be digital or a traditional held in your hand and mailed to your door. Recycle Bank also offer gift cards that you can cash your points out for from time to time.

33. Spirit Filled Kindle

My current favorite source for either free or low cost kindle books is Spirit Filled Kindle. I liked their Facebook page and clicked “get notifications” so that I don’t miss out on their daily listing of free, .99 cents and $1.99 titles.

Websites Where You Can Find Printable Coupons

Printable coupon sites are a great way to save money on groceries, toys and more. Here are few coupon sites I have used..

34. My Savings

35. Coupons.com

36. Red Plum

37. Smart Source

Websites Where You Can Buy Stuff You Need & Sell Stuff You Don’t

38. Craigslist

Our family has had more luck selling on Craiglist than buying. But I know others that have gotten amazing deals through Craiglist on cars, furniture, appliances and more.

39. Facebook

Facebook is for so much more than socializing. I don’t know how many times I have said “our family needs….” only to have offers in seconds of items for either low cost or no cost. I am also a member of several Facebook buy and sell groups  and the few times I have used them to sell my items I have been very happy with my success.

40. eBay

eBay and I go way back. I started as a part time seller selling things to raise enough money for my kids activities like swimming lessons. I then branched out into  helping my children buy items such as lightly used iPods at a fraction of the cost of new.

41. Amazon

Amazon is a great site for finding items that are often lower than in store. You can also sell there and not just your old books. Last year I listened to a podcast on Smart Passive Income about a couple making an amazing income selling items the find on clearance on Amazon.

Thanks for letting me share my favorite thrifty sites with you for my 41st birthday! Now tell me about a thrifty website I missed in the comments below.

Linked to Thrifty Thursday,

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15 Ways Thrifty Knitters Save Money On Yarn

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This post won’t show just knitters how to save money on yarn but of course those who crochet too. I couldn’t fit both in the title and since I love to knit and can barely crochet, I decided to go with thrifty knitters.

15 ways thrifty knitters save money on yarn

My addiction to knitting started with the pregnancy of my second child. I developed a condition that caused me to need to have my feet elevated most of the day ( I will spare you the details as to the condition).

I don’t like siting for long periods of time and it was driving me a bit crazy. My mom was visiting and decided to teach me to knit. We started with a dishcloth, and let me tell you it was a long, long road before I knitted one that was at all square.

Once I got the hang of it though, I was hooked. Knitting gives my fidgeting hands something to do. I knit while my husband drives. I knit while waiting for events to start. I knit while watching TV. I have even been known to knit while waiting in line at the drive thru window.

10 Ways Thrifty Knitters Save Money On Yarn

1. Freecycle

A friend of mine once got a huge tote full of yarn for zero money spent off of  the website Freecycle. Granted some of the yarn wasn’t usable due to it being tangled or not of great quality but some of it was, and the usable yarn was well worth the drive to pick it up.

If you live in a big center where Freecycle is active you might want to keep an eye out for yarn.

2.  eBay

You can find yarn in lots on eBay for great deals.

3. Craigslist

I did a search of my local Craigslist and was surprise at how much yarn was listed for sale. These are mostly “lot” deals meaning the seller has a bunch of different types of yarn they are selling for a take it all for …….price.

4. Facebook Buy & Sell Groups

I couldn’t see any yarn currently listed for sale on my local Facebook buy & sell groups but, my guess is if I am seeing yarn available to buy on Craigslist and eBay people will also list it for sale on Facebook.

5. Estate Sales & Yard Sales

When a loved one who was a knitter passes away often there is no one who wants the yarn stash and so it ends up at an estate sale.

Other times someone gets ambitious and decides they are going to learn to knit this year and so they buy half a dozen balls of yarn thinking they will make a blanket as their first project only to get several rows in and decide knitting isn’t for them. When this happens they sell it for .50 cents a ball at their next yard sale and those who knit treasure the find.

6. Purchase It On Sale

Yarn goes on sale frequently at craft store like Micheals, Hobby Lobby and Joann . Sign up to receive their emails and mailedflyers so that you are notified of current sales. Also don’t forget to look for sales at department stores that are not craft exclusive but do sell yarn and do put it on sale from time to time like Meijer.

7. Use A Coupon

When you join the email clubs of all the stores mentioned above you will start receiving coupons that you can use on yarn. This is how I buy a lot of the yarn I use for my dishcloths.

8. Take Apart Sweaters

Here is a good article that explains how to take apart an old sweater so that you can reuse the yarn in a new project.

9. Make Your Own Yarn By Repurposing Items You No Longer Use

I have knitted dishcloths from t-shirt yarn before. Although I didn’t find that they made very good dishcloths I did find that they made excellent floor cleaning cloths. I have seen others knit t-shirt yarn into floor mats .

You can also make yarn out of plastic bags (it is called plarn)  that you can crochet into an easily cleanable beach bag or shopping bag.

Fabric can be made into yarn and then  knitted or crocheted  into various different items too. If you have sheets you don’t use that are like new, fabric yarn would be a great way to put them to use.

10. Clearance

Non knitters might have a hard time believing this but yarn is actually seasonal. There are spring colors, fall colors and winter colors. I often find yarn marked down to as much as 75% off and sometimes even 90% off. Search end caps and clearance aisle.

11. Search For Yarn In Discount & Dollar Stores

I have found name brand yarn for $1 a skein at my local dollar store before. Big Lots gets in yarn from time to time. I have seen yarn in close out stores as well. Keep your eye out where ever you shop.

12.  Use A Discount Gift Card

If you purchase your yarn at a retail store like Joann or Michaels you might want to check out cardpool for a discounted gift card before you shop. This can save you an additional 5 to 10 percent or more on your purchases.

13. Sell Enough Of Your Work To Pay For Your Habit

I have done this for years. Each year I set up an album on Facebook and sell my dishcloths to my friends. I don’t sell them for high prices, just enough to keep me in yarn for the next year, no profit made as I give away more than I sell.

This means I can knit all year long and not have it effect our family budget.

14. Find Small Projects To Use Up Your Odds & Ends

I love using the ends of my cotton yarn to make little round scrubbies. Search Pinterest for projects like mug cozies, ear warmers, boot cuffs, cell phone holders, and you will get lots of ideas for small projects that can make sure you get every penny possible out of your ball of yarn. I pin the ones I find to my All Things Yarn Pinterest Board.

15. Join Point Programs & Cash Out For Amazon Cards To Buy Yarn

Amazon often has great deals on yarn and  yarn supplies.  You can earn gift cards to spend on your purchases at Amazon through various point programs. Here are a few of my favorites

Bonus tip: Not often but every once and a while Zulily a daily deal site will run discounted deals on yarn from unique yarn companies.

Thrifty Knitters and those of you who crotchet have I left out any ways to save on yarn?

Ways to save money on craft supplies as well as craft lessons (button)Check out my posts on how to save money on all types of  crafts supplies and lessons.

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The Thrifty Persons Guide To Cash Envelopes.

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Our family has used cash envelopes for years. In fact I can’t remember a time in our almost 20 years of marriage where we haven’t used cash envelopes to pay for at least a few day to day expenses.

The why how and what of using cash envelopes to save money

 2 Major Reasons People Use For Not Using Cash Envelopes & Why I Don’t Agree With Them

1.Carrying cash is  a safety issue

I hear this excuse a lot; “I don’t carry cash because I know this person who does and it got stolen out of their purse”. True cash can be stolen but so can your bank card number. Trust me I have personally had my bank card replaced twice now due to  leaked banked information both from in store purchase and online purchases.

2. Carrying cash is inconvenient

If people don’t mention the fear of getting their cash stolen to me then they usually bring up “I don’t want to make a trip to the ATM for cash it is inconvenient.  Yes it does take time to run to the bank for cash but, I think it takes less time than trying to add up all I spent at the end of the day to make sure  I didn’t go over budget.

2  Major Benefits Of Cash Envelopes

1.Cash Envelopes Save Money

We have a cash envelope for gas money. I know some would argue that gas is one of those expenses that you can use a debit card to pay with because you are not going to buy more gas than need, however we save 5 cents per gallon by paying cash at our local gas station and that savings adds up.

2.Cash Envelopes Make It Easier To Stick To A Budget

Cash is something physical you see in your hand. When it is gone it is gone. No fancy calculations and spreadsheets needed to keep track of how much you spent and how much you have left.

How To Decide What Expenses To Use Cash Envelopes For

Our family uses cash envelopes for date night, eating out, gas and misc (this usually goes for postage stamps, library fines, the odd thing we need here and there during the week).

You will notice that I don’t use cash for groceries. I did at one time but stopped; here is why, I love eating out, but I am naturally thrifty at the grocery store and won’t buy what isn’t on the list and my list total is always under our grocery budget.

What does that mean? It means that if I take out cash for groceries but don’t spend all the money on groceries I spend the extra in the envelope on take-out (yes I know this is a huge cash envelope no no). If I instead leave the grocery money in the bank and use what I call an in account envelope, I save up the extra to buy food in bulk at Sam’s club, or to take advantage of a rock bottom price deal and increase my savings. When my savings pool up to a significant amount we might consider transferring some out to help us meet a financial goal.

The trick is knowing what areas you naturally overspend in and what areas you are a natural thrifty person in. For those categories you overspend in use cash envelopes to keep you in line. For those areas you are generally thrifty in keep a running tab in your account instead.

Essentially cash envelopes are great for those areas of your budget that  are your weakest link. If clothes make you scream “charge it” making clothing a cash envelope.  If you are a foodie and have problem resisting gourmet food make groceries a cash envelope. You know what your weaknesses are.

Deciding On The Perfect Cash Envelope System For Your Needs

We started out with paper envelopes and had them for years. Then a few years back I got the idea to take a a TJMaxx bag apart and using colored duct tape made a set of sturdy and durable cash envelopes that are still going strong (that is a picture of  them above)

If you don’t want to make your own cash envelopes but still want something more long lasting than paper A Time For Everything is an Etsy Store  sells amazing cash envelopes in awesome patterns made out of a very durable fabric. (I am not an affiliate, I just happen to have seen reviews about these from people I trust, and heard the owner talk on the podcast Brilliant Business Moms and loved her story. This is truly a family business).

Another  option is to use a coupon size expanding file case. I have a friend who uses one of these for her cash. She keeps a small Vera Bradley change purse in the back of the file case for change. She really likes this system because she says it allows her plenty of room to keep receipts which she finds handy to refer to  when the money is gone and she wonders where it went.

Does your family use cash envelopes? Why or why not?

money saving tips a growing list (small)

Want to make the money in those envelopes go further? Check out all my money saving tips.

Linked to Frugal Friday,

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