Making Your Dollar Stretch
We’ve compiled a list of ways to make your money last – organized by type of activity.
FOOD AND GROCERY SHOPPING
- Buy Fresh Vegetables and Fruits instead of pre chopped or canned items
- Look for specials on specific items and plan your meals around those items. (For example: If broccoli goes on sale, consider purchasing the broccoli and making several types of broccoli enhanced dishes.)
- Purchase meat items in large quantity when they go on significant sales at the store – and freeze them in single or meal serving sizes. (For example: If you buy the larger hamburger quantity in the larger packs and break it down into meal sizes, freezing them in ziploc bags – you can save several dollars monthly on hamburger.)
- Use coupons regularly. Choose them out prior to going shopping.
- Always use a shopping list and stick to it. Purchasing non-needed items costs more – and you probably do not need them – you, like many others get suckered into impulse purchases and those costs add up.
- Remember to match your coupons ahead of time – placing them WITH your shopping list.
- Purchase the generic or store brand item when possible. You won’t find much of a difference most of the time.
- Do your own oil changes
- Fill your own fluids
- Shop your gas prices – know which stations have the lowest prices regularly – and plan your trips to include filling up at the gas station.
- Check your air pressure in your tires – surprisingly this can add or decrease your gas consumption.
- Carpool when you can.
- Consider buying a car that gets better gas mileage. Add up the costs of your current driving in the car that you have – and determine if you would save significantly if you had a car that got better gas mileage. This can really open your eyes. Considering the costs of fuel today, the differences can be phenomenal.
- If you have 2 cars, use the car that has better gas mileage.
- Pick inexpensive things to do. These days, a movie and popcorn can cost you over 20.00 for two people. So instead of just running off to the movies consider things like outdoor activities.
- Plan a pic-nic. Women will find a man who plans a pic-nic, complete with blanket and munchies to be romantic and much different than the average date. Beaches or city parks are excellent locations for dates.
- Arrange a walk in a state park.
- Candlelit dinner at your house – cook dinner to perfection from your budget conscious shopping and meal planning.
- Believe it or not women, family and friends appreciate hand made gifts much more than store bought ones. The only exception is perhaps jewelry, unless you’re a jeweler and hand make items. Still – women do love gifts that require using your time and thought into making them.
- Make a coupon book of things you will WILLINGLY do when the coupon is presented. (For example: Washing her car, Doing the Dishes, Half Hour Massage, Draw a bubble bath for her, Watch ONE full length Chick Flick with her, etc.)
CLOTHING and FURNITURE
Strange that we lumped these into one category – however once you see our answers – you’ll understand why.
- Garage Sales and SECONDHAND Stores – women have long known the secrets of shopping at garage sales and second hand stores for clothing and furniture. Sure it takes a little time and going through things, but there are treasures to be found. Believe it or not, we have found Armani suits at a local GoodWill – placed there because the owner purchased it, wore it once and decided the color was wrong for his complexion. Many great deals are found on clothing, dishes, books, games, furniture and more. Yes. You do have to weed through all the garbage, but you will find fabulous deals. The Armani suit was priced at $8.00. The original price? Way above that.
- Craig’s List - if you haven’t found Craig’s list yet, get on it. There are tons of deals all around, people selling things left and right. Be careful – some can be scams. But overall – it’s a neat find – and it can save you thousands of dollars when you are decorating your residence or other places. Deals are found by each city – so you will have to navigate to your area. Also found on Craigslist are jobs, dates and more.
- FREECycle – if you haven’t gotten on freecycle yet – this is the time to learn that people give away things that are absolutely free. It’s an amazing place. Each area has their own leader and it’s a way to make the world a little less full of trash that is not trash. For example – we were given 2 semi used filing cabinets in perfect condition and 45 legal note pads that an office gave away when they were moving. With FREECYCLE.ORG – you need to go pick up the items. Again, be careful – it is an online place – however we have never run into any problems with it yet.
There are countless ways to stretch your dollar and these are only a few suggestions, but the next time you are at the store, ask yourself: Do you REALLY need it?
If you can honestly say you really need it – then, by all means get it. But if you can see a way to get it at a cheaper price or you know that you can do without – then make that effort. You’ll find the rewards of having more money at your disposal rewarding.
Written by: Meki Cox
Twitter ID: @_lyricsexpress_