Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cutting Corners!

In the midst of a bad economy, many of our blogging friends (including me) are having to find ways to cut back on the amount of money we spend. I thought it might be nice if we worked together to share the ways we are cutting back. What do you do differently to help save money?

Some examples:
  • Have you started using drug store make-up to help save money? If so, let us know what brands you like.
  • Have you found a coupon site that you love?
  • Do you have a tip or trick that helps you spend less money on things that aren't necessary?
  • Do you have a budgeting tool that you love to use?
Any tips, tricks, and tools are welcome! Share with us! I will host a give away for everyone who shares a tip. I'm not sure what I will give away yet, but I am sure it will be fabulous! :) Do you have more than one tip? Share multiple tips and be entered multiple times.

63 comments:

Lindsey said...

I love Cover Girl foundation and loose powder! It's cheap and I think it works great. I also adore Great Lash Mascara!

My hubs and I made a rule that we only eat out once a week. Sometimes we break this but we try not to!

If you have a Baja Fresh they have 2 for Tuesdays where when you purchase one burrito you get one free! Can't beat a $7 dinner for two, plus leftovers for the next day!

Kelly said...

I reuse toilet paper! haha just kidding. I couldn't resist little sis. My money saving strategy is to send my hubby to do the grocery shopping. E and her best friend B call him El Cheapo with his faithful sidekick The Coupon

Holly said...

If you have a Kroger near you, you can "download" coupons onto it from the web. Also CVS has a card like Kroger and you can earn money on it.

Cheap Makeup - Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Foundation. I love it!

Catholic Runner said...

I use only cash to buy things. Makes me think twice if I really need it or not.

Ruggy13 said...

My husband and I started cutting back on eating out also. If we do go out to grab a few drinks, we'll eat dinner before we go, so we don't end up buying 2 meals or food if we didn't need it. We also shop for groceries at super walmart instead of the grocery store. You'd be shocked at what i can get for 100 dollars as opposed to the grocery store. And also, using generic brands has helped out. Some stuff you really can't tell the difference on like coffee creamer, shake n bake, salad dressings, orange juice. Also, look for things you can stock up on if they are on sale.And... we make our lunches every day.

Gracie Beth said...

before I buy anything online I always google if there are any coupon codes for that site. I used on yesterday at snapfish that saved me $3.00!

Sarah said...

Along the lines of your sister, I refuse to let Hubby come with me to the grocery store or let him do the shopping, he's like a kid in a candy store, he just starts grabbing everything off the isles...the bill is always bigger when he tags along!

Also, get the saving cards, almost every grocery store, drugstore, and gas station have them and the pennies can add up...Also if you go to Kroger and use your Kroger card and spend $100 then you can get 10 cents off your next gas fill up at the Kroger gas station....

Amanda said...

We have cut back on eating out. We try to just eat out on Sunday. I am trying to find a coupon site that I like. Even though I shop at Super Wal-Mart coupons still help. My husband has been taking his lunch too.

LyndsAU said...

Hubs and I really cut back on eating out!! It's not good for US or our checking account :)

And I now use coupons which I never did before!!

I stopped buying things I wanted and really try to ask myself "Do I NEED that?"

A Belle and her Beau said...

oh girl I have been cutting back like nobodies biz. Luckily in my town we have a Kroger and Publix basically next door to each other ... well every Sunday and Wednesday I check each stores website for theor weekly ads and I go to 2 stores every saturday when I grocery shop. we basically eat whatever is on sale that week. it saved us over 100 dollars last month.

Prepster said...

I write down every penny I spend each month, and at the halfway point and at the end of the month I look back and find areas where I can trim. For example food budget. I'm guilty of going to the gas station to get milk b/c the grocery is 8 more blocks away. I always end up getting something else at the gas station and its usually something I don't need. By cutting out those quick gas station trips I saved $100 in November. Plus knowing that I have to write it down if I spend $80 on foundation really makes me think twice.

USCEmily said...

I started using the Maybelline Minerals line of makeup- I posted about this on my blog recently. I didn't do it to necessarily cut back on spending, but it has turned out to be wonderful...and cheap, compared to the Tarte makeup I used to use! I also always try to buy the store brand of something because 9 times out of 10 it's comparable. Things like mouthwash, moisturizer, pain relievers, etc. hae the same ingredients as the more expensive brand name. And, I use the Suave line that is made after the salon brands. I use the Vibrant Shine one that compares to Sebastian and it does wonders for my hair.
Someone mentioned the CVS Extra Care card, and I am a religious user of this. Every time I go to CVS I get coupons. The most recent one I got was $10 off a $50 purchase and they always give you coupons tailored to your past purchases.

As far as budgeting, today I started a spreadsheet of what I think I SHOULD be spending in a month and itemized each thing with a price. When I spend money I will go in and plug that expenditure in the appropriate place so, at the end of the month, I can compare what I wanted to spend with what I actually spent, and see which areas I need to work on the most.

WHEW, this was long, but I think this little endeavor you are doing will be SO helpful to a lot of people. Thanks!!!!

Pink Julep said...

I often buy the chicken that's cut for stir-fry (and the pork & steak) because it's cheaper and comes in a more reasonable portion size.

Mrs. Cup said...

We keep a notepad on our fridge so that anytime we go shopping we write down our total savings. It really keeps us motivated. We only buy clothes on sale (they ALWAYS go on sale), and we use coupons for the grocery store. We use all of the discount cards (CVS, Piggly Wiggly, Food Lion). We only eat out once per pay period which is every two weeks. It works for us because we're already out 4 nights a week anyway for work, Bible study, etc so that's really the only time we have to work out! This was a great idea for a post!

Jules said...

I have done a few things:

1. Never shop online without checking out sites like retailmenot.com first for coupons.

2. Cut down on eating out. We are also starting to share a meal at some places where the portions are super large.

3. I like Cover Girl Exact Eyelights Mascara. It's cheap and it looks nice with the different shades for different eye colors.

4. I always shop with a shopper club card for all stores. If you have an Acme you get coupons for cents of a gallon of gas at Exxon stations. We just got $.25/gallon last week.

Jen said...

I have been making a weekly menu and trying to use some of the same ingredients for multiple meals. This is the only way I can limit myself to going to the grocery store only once a week. It's the little trips to the store that add up for me.

I'm Just Beachy said...

The Beachy House has come under some tough times and we have a ton of tips! Strive for as many "zero dollar" days as possible. That means spending nothing. We do extensive meal planning every 2 weeks. We buy whole chickens, roast them one night (I have a great recipe on my blog) and use the leftovers in 1 or 2 other meals! I go home to eat lunch everyday. You could brown bag. I buy my make up from mark which I also sell to make extra money. You can't beat a great $5 lip gloss. We live in FL so we are lucky that we don't have to use the heater or run AC for months at a time. Instead of Happy Hour at the bar 1-2 nights a week, we have Happy Hour on our lanai and watch the sunset. We've cut out going to the movies which we used to do once a week. We use Netflix now and get unlimited movies for about $15/month (less that one movie for two at the theater and better popcorn).

Southern Belle said...

I'm the same as in LC and I eat out only once a week. We've also started having friends over for game night rather than going out which saves money. Also, I google coupon codes when shopping online. Another blog, I LOVE is http://printable-coupons.blogspot.com/
She saves me a bunch of money and she gives links to free samples.

Blissfully Enamored said...

for cheap and good make-up...i have started shopping for some things on www.elf.com most of their make-up is only $1! so even if you order it and don't like it...you aren't out much money at all! i love their mascara, bronzer, and eyeshadows!

d.a.r. said...

We use only cash, and only eat out once a week. It has helped SO much! Once you switch to cash, you are so much more accountable for your spending. We are putting at least $500 more into savings each month now!

Tara said...

I use mineral powder and it last a while. I use all walmart or drug store make-up, it has just gotten to expensive to buy the Clinique that I was buying!

Tara said...

Hubby and I have a budget that we have been using for years now. We have it in excel and have all the formulas already in it so all we have to do it plug in the numbers and whatever money we allow for ourselves that week, we take that out of the bank and use the cash so when it is out, we are out of money:)

We also go to bradsdeals.com to get some coupons!

Little Pink Magnolia said...

I buy clothes from eBay (If I know my size for that particular brand). I just got an awesome pair of Sevens for $33 - including shipping! They look new as well. I also shop out of the grocery store flier for weekly sales. A few weeks ago, they had whole roaster chickens on sale for around a buck each. We bought 8 - the freezer is now full of chickens.

Catholic Runner said...

In my quest to simplify I have started taking anything I don't absolutely love or use to a consignment shop. It's like getting free money.

The Fabulous Life of a Southern Belle said...

I make my own coffee at home instead of hitting up Starbucks everyday. I used to spend close to $40 a week there, but now I just make my own and add flavored creamer and put it in a cute travel mug. Also, Real Simple.com has a great budget form you can download to help you stay on track for the month. I also don't order soda or tea when I eat out- only water. Hope this helps! And I hope I win the giveaway! =)

Jeffry and Morgan said...

To cut back our spending, we are eating out less, and we are taking a break having someone clean our house. :( Which stinks. But...hopefully, it won't be too long before she can come back! Ha!

heather{dot}com said...

A few things we do:

Keep yourself busy at home so you're not as tempted to go out and spend (especially on clothes).

When you're up for a movie, don't go straight to the theater, movie store or pay-per-view. If you have tivo or on demand through your cable or satellite, check for slightly older FREE movies that you haven't seen (or wouldn't mind seeing again).

Be smart about your menus for the week. Try making several things that require similar ingredients. That way, you want waste things that you don't use.

And one more tip - we shop at a specialty organic/natural food store rather than a big grocery store. While the food may be a little pricier, we don't come home with all of the extras we would get at a big store because they don't have it (you know, the cookies, chips, crackers, sodas). We end up spending less and the food tastes better.

Texan Couture said...

I use couponmom.com It organizes by store & state!

Piper Jacquelyn said...

We don't go out as much as we used to! {sad} Rather than going to the bars all the time, there is a lot more "house party/get togethers" going on in our life. And I'm trying to force myself into the drugstore makeup thing which is SO HARD because I used to work for cosmetics companies!

Karah said...

i love all the tips. Thanks for doing this post!!

LISA PARSONS said...

I used to be the coupon queen. Now I am not as good as I used to be as far as cutting grocery coupons. But, I always have a coupon for RX's to get filled and won't get them filled until I have one that is going to give me back a gift card to use later. I use my passbook alot, and always have a coupon for Ulta, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, at the Lancome and Estee Lauder counter I will not buy anything unless I get a free gift!! I love free stuff and saving money on things that I mentioned.

Reeva said...

i stack coupons with sales and try to stock up on stuff that's shelf stable and only things i know i'll use.

Ginnbelle said...

Love some coupons and love some Revlon Color Stay makeup beats some of the longwearing dept. store brands. I worked for a major cosmetic company in college and I used it then.

Pearls and Bows said...

Never ever do food shopping when you are hungry. You end up buying tons of snacks. I only use bobbi brown makeup with isnt really pratical but I have secured myself a good relationship with one of the counter girls and she gives me sample size of all the products I use! Also one good tip is before you buy something ask yourself "Do I really need this/Can I live without this"

With Love from New Orleans said...

Coupons.com! Or I will go to the main website of my favorite products and if you sign up they will usually email you awesome coupons! I have saved SO much on my grocery bill with my email coupons.

micaela6955/Michele P. said...

I like to visit a couple of web sites to buy coupons and forms I can't readily get in my area, I still end up saving money and it works out great. Try www.refundnow.net and www.clairwood.com

micaela6955 at msn dot com

zentmrs said...

The one thing I use that saves me the most is thegrocerygame.com. It helps you figure out when the best time to use your grocery store coupons in conjunction with store sales. I have saved as much as 90% of my grocery bills using this site. Send me an email if you want more info - zentmrs AT gmail DOT com.

The Purvis Pendulum said...

I am not particular about my make-up, I usually use what I can get on sale or have stocked up on from past sales.

I coupon.. ALOT!! My favorite coupon site is a message board called...www.afullcup.com
This site has saved me countless amounts of money!! I also use www.shortcuts.com to add free coupons to my kroger card and then you can also use paper coupons on top of that... $$$!!! I shop at CVS and match their sales to coupons and earn extra care bucks back as well.

I second all those who say use cash... it does save you $$.

pocket full of pink said...

I asked my husband to hide my credit card! He hit in in the middle of January and I still have yet to find it. It has saved me from making some big purchases that I know we shouldn't make right now. Can't wait to get it back one day! Haha

suburban prep said...

Hubby and I scour the grocery ads and then shop only off of those. We use coupons as well.
We go to stores that we have their added incentive cards to as well.
We shop at Costco in conjunction with a few others and then we all split the goods because we have bought in bulk.

suburban prep said...

I sell my books that I no longer want back to cash4books.com or to the Half Price Book store.
When hubby is finished with a project around the house we will take it to the recycler and they will pay us for the items they fell are useful.


My sisters and I share magazines so that we do not all have to either purchase or subscribe to a magazine.

Shea said...

I have so many coupon websites. I have been clipping coupons like crazy.

Rewardsgold.com
Shortcuts.com
Replum.com
eversave.com
shopittome.com
coupons.com
couponsurfer.com
couponwinner.com
couponcabin.com

Those are just a few that I use. My husband and I also receive the valupak in the mail which have a lot of restaurant coupons. We only go out to where we have a coupon from.

If you are a J Crew fan this blogger has helped me know when they are having sales. http://jcrewaficionada.blogspot.com/

I meal plan with coupons and only buy what is on our list. We buy toilet tissue, paper towels, Tide and other staples like that at Sam's club!

I have found that Rimmel's stay matte powder has worked for me. I also like colorstay makeup from Revlon.

Hope all of this was helpful!

I'm Just Beachy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Purvis Pendulum said...

Also- I get FREE toilet paper. Yes FREE!!
Kroger sells Cotonelle 4pk for 0.99 and there are lots of .50 coupons out there (which kroger doubles) therefore making it FREE! I buy several packs a week and stock up! Who wants to pay for toilet paper?!

Nichola said...

I go to all of my favorite products websites and sign up for the newsletters/coupons. They frequently e-mail offers. Some, like Amy's will send an entire coupon booklet.

I trade coupons with the ladies I work with. I don't have pets or small children, so those coupons go to them and they give me the ones they don't use.

I try to get creative with my menus. Making a homemade version of my favorite "out to eat" items is usually cheaper and healthier. It is very satisying too.

La vie est belle! said...

1) Water instead of soda when eating out. :)

2) Clipping coupons out of the Sunday paper helps save in the grocery department! Buy one get one free coupons are great for stocking up.

3)Saving on gas. I usually use a Wal-Mart card to save the extra 3 cents per gallon, or go to Krogers and use our Kroger card.

4)Split one meal when eating out at nice Restaurants.

5)If you have to do the fast food thing, try to stick to the $1 menus! We've learn to eat for $6 at fast food restaurants like McDonald's and Taco Bell. So $6 for two people, rather than $6 bucks for just one meal deal.

6)Turn the AC way down. This is where most of my money was being sucked from. To compensate for the lower temp during cold months, try to wear long sleeves around the house. I like to throw my blankets in the dryer right before I go to bed, so it's warm and cozy.

7)Dollar general has saved me $$ when it comes to shaving creams and razors!

8)Dollar Trees are great for buying dish soaps, and cleaning supplies.

S. said...

my husband created a great little budget tracker on a "numbers" document. that is the Mac version of Excel. We saved a TON of money in Jan because of it. we just enter in anything that we spend into certain catagories and that way we don't spend more money than we should and we also know how much we can spend for each section. also, i buy cheese in bulk. we make a lot of pizza and a local store here has had cheese 10 for $10. i buy a bunch and then freez it! :)

Gracie said...

I cut all my juices with low sodium tonic! Private brand tonic is about 50 cents a bottle. I not only save on money on juice but also on carbs and calories. AND then I'm 2/3 of the way to another level of tasty beverage with the addition of an adult libation - which saves on going out-ness! =)

Gracie said...

not that this is a proven saver yet - but for Lent, I'm giving up buying HBA products unless I run out! (Health and Beauty) So that means no trips to Sephora, no splurges on shiny lipglosses. AND if I do run out of the needed such as shampoo or body wash - Suave all the way baby. I'm going to be tracking my non spending habits and also chronicalling (sp?) my withdrawls from shopping and Sephora!!!
Wish me LUCK!!! I think it will be a great exercise in self sacrifice!

Lis said...

What an swesome idea for the giveaway! I would love to enter, here are some things I have been doing recently to save money:

1. I have switched from Lancome to L'oreal - they are apparently made by the same parent company - I love the infallable foundation.

2. I have been doing book and DVD swaps with my girl friends at work

3. My bff and I are now hosting 2 "B*tch and Swap" parties a year. This is when you get all of your girlfriends together and bring all clothes, accesories, shoes, etc that you don't like, never wore, etc. (especially those with tags) and everyone goes home with new stuff and you donate the rest

4. I have signed up for Harris Teeter's emails and clip coupons - I saved $26 two weeks ago when they had triple coupons!

5. The hubby and I picked up an Entertainment book this year - it's full of buy one get one free restaurant coupons and we even got $10 off dog grooming at Petsmart too!

Ms. Attitude said...

Let's see:

I budget for everything! (even shopping)

I bring my lunch to work almost every day.

If I don't have the cash to pay for it, I don't need it.

Also, I try not to carry cash because I will then spend it on stupid stuff.

SAM'S CLUB! I buy in bulk.

Ms. Attitude said...

Oops, I also buy the "off" brands of the basics: mouthwash, aspirin, laundry detergent and fabric softener, etc...

~*Sweet Tea Diaries*~ said...

Let's see, I definitely use many techniques to save money as I live in Los Angeles, where the cost of living DOES NOT keep up with income!

1. I plan my menu for the week before I go grocery shopping. This way I won't buy a lot of unneccesary groceries.

2. I pack my breakfast and lunch every single day of the week. It makes me angry to think of how much money I used to spend just on lunch alone during the week.

3. I go to grad school one night a week and instead of parking in the garage where you have to get your ticket validated by buying something at the starbucks or quizno's, i park on the street. Saves me at least $3 each time. Plus I get some exercise!

4. I have subscribed to several coupon websites and print coupons off the internet.

5. My boyfriend and I plan for a couple of weeks beforehand any dining out we may want to do. Instead of ordering two meals, we usually split one and go home for a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich for dessert!

6. We don't drink cocktails out anymore. Instead we have friends over and everyone brings a mixer or drink to share.

7. I utilize the small gym at my apartment complex instead of subscribing to 24 hour fitness down the street.

8. I ALWAYS pick the generic brand at the grocery store or when getting shampoo or body wash. It's silly to pay the premium price for a "brand".

9. I've learned to love thrift stores for unique and cheaper finds. Buffalo Exchange is great! Plus LA is full of vintage-y stores.

10. If I ever shop online I stop by Ebates first to see if it's part of their cash rebate list. At Target you get 3% cash back for online purchases. There are thousands of stores that participate on Ebates.

We all need tips when it comes to budgeting! Hope this helps :)

Elizabeth said...

We've cut back eating out to once a week.
I've been bringing my lunch to work.
Checking out books from the library instead of buying them.
And hello generic products - who knew Great Value brand from Walmart tasted so good!!

Just Me said...

I have done a few things to cut corners, first I enrolled in Ebates.com so whenver i can purchase something online I get cash back. Then I also make sure to bring my lunch to work everyday (or really as often as I can), not only does it help the wallet, it helps the waistline.
Also I no longer go to the mall, it is my biggest money saving tip because I cant browse and end up with lots of stuff just becasue it was cute and on sale. I totally dont buy Coke anymore either, i have one or two at work (there free) and i get my fix without spending the money. Just found your blog.. Loving it~

Gwen said...

I could have sworn I commented on this already. I think I'm losing my mind. That's not a good way to cut corners.

We have almost completely quit eating out. We do on certain occasions but for a Saturday breakfast we're fine with cereal now instead of McDonalds. Speaking of cereal...since we go through so much of it in one week we started buying the big bags of generic cereal.

When I go shopping for me (not normally groceries) I browse the Internet for coupons. NY&Co. always has coupons and I use discount cards always!!! What is better than racking up free $.

{HUGS}

Amanda said...

I am trying to take my own lunch to work instead of buying overpriced undernutritious food from my hospital cafeteria. And I try to hit up CVS/Rite Aid etc. when they have Buy 1 Get 1 Free makeup.

NatalieDeltaGam said...

i want a lunch tote..so let's see...i use ihop coupons. i went on bedrest so i couldn't go to the store--haha (though seriously we saved sooo much money because i couldn't shop b/c of bedrest!).

LuLu said...

1) ebay is one of my best friends!
2) I get my textbooks or children's books for my students from amazon.com
3) I buy mostly store-brand products, even though I don't always like to.
4) I take my lunch to school everyday, as opposed to the $2.50 high-calorie lunchroom food:)

Doreen said...

Hi, oh my gosh I *heart* this giveaway!!! So excited. :) What I do is shop at Dollar Tree. They have tons of items for only $1! I get Softsoap, toothpaste(Aquafresh) big tube of it, shaving creme, razors,etc for only 1 buck each! I buy items that are on sale and that I have a coupon for which equals to huge savings!! Definitely clipping lots of Sunday's papers coupons helps tons. If I'm out at lunch w/my Mom we order water each and that saves us $5 from our order. :) We also love to order from the dollar menus like at McDonald's! It's inexpensive and taste good too! :) Can't go wrong for feeding a family on a budget!! :)

capperson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
capperson said...

I bargain shop. I buy cute clothes for usually less than 5 dollors and pair them together to make an outfit that looks like it should be an $100 outfit. Kohls is a great store to cut back at because they always have sales racks and they only keep stuff on shelfs for like 2 weeks so the stuff they put on the clearance racks is still not out of style.

Kelly B said...

I just found your blog and even if the contest isn't running I thought I'd share! I am a huge bargain shopper (stores like TJMaxx, Marshalls have serious name brands right now: JCrew, Ralph Lauren, Badgley Mischika (sp?)), but I had to limit myself from going into stores like that because I would buy something just because it was cheap and I would use it one day! Also, when gas was so expensive I would go to the "cheap" gas station, which saved a lot of money. But that backfired, so be careful - when it's cheap it could have water in it (10% ethanol brings the water up and can get into your tank). I ended up with over $500 in repairs to clean out my fuel lines. Live and learn! All of these are great tips on saving :)