$ave a little dough

Living on one income and my unemployment (which will run out at some point) has taught us how to save some ching and even gain some.  Here are some normal and maybe abnormal tips...

1.  I sign up for product/rewards programs like Gerber, Enfamil, Similac, Huggies, Pampers, Luvs, Babies R Us, etc.  They do send really good hard copy coupons or even reward $$$ in the mail.

2.  Yes, I coupon.  While I don't proclaim to be a candidate for Extreme Couponing, I do use coupons and have a stockpile of STUFF WE USE.  I don't go to the store and buy 863 bottles of Frank's Red Hot because its free.  With my store card and coupons, I typically save over 50% on my bill every trip.  While I do not buy large quantities of products I will not use, I do sometimes use coupons as a means of trying new products that I wouldn't otherwise buy.  For example, I have never bought grapefruit in my life, however my local grocery store was running a deal in which I could get them for free - hey why not, they are healthy!

3.  I write to companies.  I have written to Splenda, Chobani, Huggies, Pampers, and a host of others, again, they are happy to hear from you and typically send coupons.  If you are sending a complaint, they typically refund you and send more coupons, just to keep your business.

4.  Laundry detergent: you don't need as much as you think you do.  I use 2 tablespoons for a regular sized load (Red works on a dairy farm and construction so he usually looks like Pig Pen from Peanuts when he comes home).  Our friend is a certified appliance repair tech and he informed us that as nice as washers are these days, manufacturers say that if you can see suds when washing your laundry, you are using too much.  All that soap doesn't even rinse out of clothes.  I got five months out of an '80 Load' box of Tide.

5.  Most utility companies offer a discount for automatic withdrawl.  It saves time, postage, and remembering to pay the bill.

6.  At the gas pump, gas companies charge you to use your credit card.  You typically pay a few cents less per gallon if you pay cash.

7.  If you have a smart phone, see if you can enable it as a Wi-Fi hotspot.  It is what we do (there is a data limit), but that way we don't pay for any internet.  PS obviously, we don't pay for a home phone and cell phones.

8.  Baby stuff - I offer all my used baby items to friends - if they don't want them they go in the donate bin.  I swap diapers with people who have diapers that their children have out grown.  I have an acquaintance whom I offered our baby swing to (that I only used 8 weeks), she said no, she is all set, she is registered for one.  She went out and bought the same exact $169.99 swing when she could have had mine for $40 that was in brand new condition.  Sorry people, but my pride does not bar me from accepting hand me downs.

9.  Savor the flavor - I do my absolute best not to throw any food away or any food by-products away.  I keep a jar in the fridge of stuff like the juice from canned fruit.  Or if there is a little jelly/jam left in a jar, pour in a few tablespoons of water, shake it up, and pour in the big jar in the fridge.  This makes a great marinade!  Left overs?  I keep a sealed container in the fridge - throw left over meat and veggies in there - it can be used to make stocks or stews.  Its amazing how quick that stuff adds up!

BTW this page is constantly a work in progress, when I remember something I do, I will add it to here.

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