Budget stretchers!

Reply Sat 21 May, 2005 09:08 am
No, Boomer, I was contrasting Roger's careful accounting methods versus my own dimwitted ones.

But it's true, you for example are not very involved in clothes shopping, and some on the board love clothes and are keen shoppers, and I actually have too many clothes since I love the thrift store hunt and am damn good at it, thank you, but shun department stores.
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Reply Sat 21 May, 2005 11:13 am
Thrifty shopping puts you in a direct line of descent from the best Hunter/Gatherers of the Stone Age.

I loathe clothes shopping, but having lost considerable weight (and spent only $170 in the last 5 years on clothing) May was the month where I had to Do Something.

I enlisted a talented friend (with store charge cards which offer automatic 15% discounts) and scoured the Sunday papers for sales. For $199 I bought three bras, three casual outfits, three night gowns, a bathrobe. Full price here would have been $425.

I'll pick up some "distressed" jeans at the flea market, paying between $2.50 and $5 a pair.

On line I found some dashikis for one-third off and bought six. I also found some tie-dye tee-shirts and bought six--saving nearly $70. I won't have to worry about casual tops for another five years--priceless.

Every Sunday I study the supermarket ads and clip coupons. Using coupons, faithful customer discounts and sales, I save between $100 and $120 every month. I have a freezer so I can buy in bulk. These days a single cauliflower serves ten--too much for two people--so I serve two portions and freeze eight.

CVS has started a Faithful Customer discount--$3 on purchases of $15 or more, so I'm keeping separate "need" lists for toiletries, cosmetics and personal items.

Have you ever noticed that money saved is always "perfectly good money"--that no one ever saves substandard money?
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Reply Sat 21 May, 2005 11:37 am
Once you've got the hang of it, being able to save big bucks on almost anything you buy shouldn't take that much time.

Obviously - one shouldn't buy stuff one has no need for just to save $ (exception to that rule: Using the following strategies, I'll buy items I don't use if they end up costing me nothing - Then donate it to the local Hospice (toothpaste, toothbrushes, body wash, shampoo, etc - they really need these items ALL the time) or to other organizations like Any Baby Can, for teen mothers (makeup, hair coloring, diapers, etc)

Coupons are good start - but start to combine that with rebating!
For example, is there a Walgreens where you live?
Each month they have a rebate book put out in the store.
I concentrate on the items that will end up being free.
Example - A bottle of body wash will be on sale for $3.99, the rebate will be $3.99, PLUS I have a $1.00 off coupon, PLUS Walgreens will give you an extra 10% for taking your rebate back in the form of Walgreens gift card. Taking 8.25% tax into consideration, I actually end up earning 75 cents - and get free soap to boot.
You submit it all in one submission at the end of the month, and a few weeks later you get your gift card. And who doesn't buy stuff at the drug store all the time?
I submit anywhere from $5.00 to $35.00 + worth from Walgreens alone each month.
Plus - I submit one from my house in my husbands name, and one from work in my name - Double!
Oh - and you can use a coupon found in there walgreen book - let's say $1.50 on Excedrin and ALSO use a manufacturers coupon from the Sunday paper and double your savings.
Once you get a system - the whole deal will take about 15-20 minutes a month.
The stuff I buy I keep in the bags and toss in a corner, until I sit down one evening and fill out the form. That it!

Look at it this way - People stress and make themselves crazy over the stock market changing one point.
If you used a $20 off $100 coupon - you just made a 20% return - TAX FREE.
When I do the above - I am making 110% on my money. Take THAT coupon/rebate scoffers.
Rebates are everywhere - appliances like refriderators to Q-tips.

Personally I don't like thrift store clothes - just a personal preference against hand-me-downs.
I hate clothes shopping - so when I do go - I avoid trendy stuff - stick with the classics (good taste never goes out of style) and buy the best quality I can justify.
Side note - invest in the best - yourself - Don't buy foods that are cheap, unless they're nutritious as well.
Someone commented to me that they don't want to spend the extra money on the leansest cuts of meat. My response: "It's much cheaper than angioplasty". Very Happy
When a check for $10 or $5 or $19.99 comes in, my husband used to joke, "Well, our money problems are over!"- He still says that, but we both smile because he's seen few hundred on these check that have come in. You do the math.

There is just SO MUCH money out there, why shouldn't I get some of it?

If you make it a game, it's pretty fun.
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Reply Sat 21 May, 2005 03:41 pm
I just checked Amazon.com for prices on fantasy paperbacks--both new and second hand. Second hand is a lot cheaper and Amazon takes care of the billing so your credit card number is available to unknown retail sites.
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Reply Sat 21 May, 2005 05:19 pm
Hey Noddy and Chai Tea! You two have this stuff figured out.

I am so glad to know that I'm not the only woman who does not enjoy clothes shopping. What a horror!

I don't mind used clothes at all. But Goodwill here is just about as expensive as department store stuff on sale. When I find stuff on sale - underwear, bras, socks - I buy enough to last at least a year.

Not so many years ago I had a job that required me to "dress". I donated most of that stuff to Dress For Success a few years back but I kept a few things for occassions where jeans and converse wouldn't work. I always bought very simple, classic clothes so it's all still in style. Luckily, whether I gorge myself or strave myself, my weight doesn't change much so clothes fit me for generations.

I'm going to jump all over this coupon thing and see what I can save. It will be an interesting experiment and I'll bet I can figure it out in a short while. I'll have to use this thread to document my journey!

I wish we had a Walgreen's around here - that's amazing stuff, Chai Tea! I'll have to figure out who does good deals like that around here.

Like I said, this paying attention thing seems like a pretty good idea.

I'm so glad you mentioned rebates! We had to replace our dishwasher this month and there was a $50 rebate. I filled out all of the paper work and left it on Mr. B's desk with a note that I needed a copy of the sales slip. Sure enough, when I checked, everything was sitting on his desk exactly as I had left it! Since he couldn't find the receipt, I called Home Depot and asked that they track me down a copy. "No problem" say they.

That $50 is MINE.

Noddy, you stuck me truly and deeply in the heart with that book buying thing. That half hour, maybe even a full hour, of uninterrupted browsing is my most cherished hour of the week. Powell's shelves new and used together but their used selection isn't always up to snuff. Perhaps I need to delve into the classics.


Here's my plan for June: get the dog's shot for free.

My dog has to have a shot every month and last month the shot went up to $120.00.

I'm going to try to save $120 using coupons, etc and see if I can pay for the dog's shot.
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Reply Sat 21 May, 2005 08:37 pm
My problem was, has been, and I assume still is, that I am not interested in very many of the products deals are made on.

Oh, ok, I know I'm odd...
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Reply Sat 21 May, 2005 09:11 pm
No, you're not odd, at least on account of that. Good deals usually are made for a reason. Tjmaxx, for example, is hardly buying the latest fashions from Calvin Klein and Liz Claiborne. They live on overruns and models that didn't quite sell at full price.

Amazon can be good Noddy, but if you're ever in Farmington, drop into Amy's Bookcase (used book store) and tell them Roger needs something to read. They'll grab you a couple of selections right quickly.
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Reply Sat 21 May, 2005 11:59 pm
My alter ego runs that great bookstore in Texas, run by whatshisname. His used bookstore has taken over the town...
There, I remembered. Larry McMurtry. I can only toss him accolades, sounds good to me.
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Reply Sun 22 May, 2005 10:14 am

You're right about the limited field of coupons. Junk food is discounted (although it was overpriced to begin with). There are few coupons for fresh fruit and vegetables.


If your nerves are good and time is not pressing, grocery coupons can be turned into all sorts of Reading Readiness Exercises:

Hand/eye coordination is improved by cutting the damn things out.

Number recognition.

Match the coupon and the product--just which tomato sauce is discounted?

Heavily advertised junk food is always too expensive unless it is on sale and you have a coupon.

Of my two sons, one was a natural born competitive hunter/gatherer and the other was deeply uninterested in commercial trivia.
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Reply Sun 22 May, 2005 02:39 pm
I noticed that there were a lot of coupons for snack food and junk food in the paper today - egads. I thought the upcoming holiday might have had something to do with it but perhaps it is more normal than I suspected.

The grocery store that sent me the bonus bucks included a coupon to save $2 on produce and $3 on meat in addition to the $10.50 for anything.

Maybe my garden will be productive enough to feed us a few things this summer. The farmer's markets are starting up too - they're always pretty cheap.

Instead of going to the bookstore for my "hour off" today I went to the neighborhood library branch's book sale. What luck!

Instead of spending $25 on one new book, I spent $15 on a pile of books, including some I'd been meaning to read and one biography of Dianne Arbus which I didn't even know existed.

I'll calculate my savings this way --

I usualy buy a new book every Sunday, sometimes hardback, sometimes paperback so we'll say $20 each week.

Today I bought 7 books and a couple of things for Mo for $15 so we'll say an average of $2 per book

For a four week period I would normally spend $80.

For this four week period I spent $8.

Saving $72!

I'm thinking I can use this $72 since it will span through the month of June, my trial period, if I don't relapse. Perhaps I will have to spend my hour off at the park reading instead.

That sounds pretty nice.
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Reply Sun 22 May, 2005 02:46 pm
Noddy, I love the idea of getting Mo in on the couponing thing!

When he was very little we used the Tuesay food section to learn new words and things like how to tell an apple from a pear.

He like to have jobs and this would be a good job for him.
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Reply Sun 22 May, 2005 03:04 pm
He'll entertain his kindergarten class with thoughts on thrifty shopping and nourishing eating.
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Reply Sun 22 May, 2005 04:17 pm
That would be pretty funny.

I remember reading somewhere about a group that promoted living very inexpensively. I wish I could remember their name. I'll bet they have a million tips to low-cost living.

One of the books I bought at the sale today is by Terry Pratchett, Noddy. If I recall correctly, you are the one who recommended him to me. When I went to the check-out the librarians commented among themselves "Terry Pratchett! How did we miss that?"
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Reply Mon 23 May, 2005 01:19 pm


Unfortunately, several other budget sites that I'd bookmarked had gone out of business.

I know there is a site that keeps track of all the major store specials and the special codes that you need to enter to qualify for the discount, but I've lost the address.
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Reply Mon 23 May, 2005 01:49 pm
Just found this great thread. Thanks for starting it, boomer, you all have great idea. And you might like to know that I also hate clothes shopping -- I really like to do Old Navy online and buy several pairs of one model that's on sale. Add several t-shirts (usually two-fers) and I have my work wardrobe.

I don't do much coupon clipping because, as others have noticed, it's mostly for crap I wouldn't buy anyway. I do like that the stores give me those checkout coupons based on the things I buy, even if it makes me nervous that they track my purchases.

I've taken to buying lean cuisine frozen meals for my work lunch. They are 4 for $10 at my local grocer, and that comes to 2.50 per day -- which beats the minimum $5.00 I'd spend if I went out to lunch.

I signed up with UPromise to start paying off my student loans -- they often let me know when there are deals to be had too. I signed up to pay my credit card bills on line (with reminders) so that I can be sure to avoid late fees.

Paying attention to the money flow is not something that's fun, but the payoff is pretty huge. I will be hanging around on this thread for more tips.
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Reply Tue 24 May, 2005 02:16 pm
Manufacturers put out coupons when the competition is close. Sugar coated cereal savings can be ignored, but coupons for dish detergent, laundry soap, toilet paper, toothpaste, over-the-counter med and such like can be very profitable.
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Reply Tue 24 May, 2005 03:28 pm
Oh, and for gosh sakes, watch the sizes in the super markets, speaking of competition. Often, the smaller sizes cost less per ounce (ketchup, esp.) than the larger. The 14 & 16 oz sizes are under a lot of competitive pressure. 32 and 64 oz sizes are not, so don't just assume the large size is the economical size.
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Reply Tue 24 May, 2005 03:58 pm
Hey there Free Duck. I'm finding that paying attention is kind of fun, actually. I even put away my debit card and am carrying cash for a change. I've found that it's a lot harder to part with cash than it is to whip out the plastic.

I usually go to Costco for all the cleaning type things since they do seem to have good prices on that stuff. They send out some pretty good coupons once in a while. I use tons of CDs for work - once they sent out a buy one get one coupon for 100 stacks of CDs. I bought 500 and got 500 - almost $200 worth - free.

Another place I like to shop for that kind of stuff is Big Lots.

That's a good point, roger, it is easy to assume that larger is cheaper. I'll have to start looking at the unit price a bit closer.

You can get most nonperishables at Big Lots too. Since their inventory is erratic, I watch for things I use and then stock up. I went shopping there for the USPS food drive this month and got bags and bags of food for next to nothing.
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Reply Wed 1 Jun, 2005 06:44 pm

I relapsed on the book buying thing so -$27.00, only $45.00 in savings there (and a notice to myself to avoid book reviews during the duration).

Mo's mom picked him up for a few hours the other day and I took the opportunity for a long avoided task - bra shopping. I found decent bras on sale for 50% off, with a buy two get one free (by mail, shipping and handling $5.75) offer. Average price per bra - $26.00. I spent 31.75 for three bras, saving $46.25.

Tuesday Safeway had another $20 off coupon in the paper plus a sale of 20% off all meat, poultry and fish. I stocked up about 2 weeks worth of meats, saving $14.59. Add $12.38 in "club card" savings. Add my $20 off coupon for a total savings of $46.97.

So far 45 + 46.25 + 46.97 = $138.22
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Reply Wed 1 Jun, 2005 07:46 pm
The Vet is going to charge $120? $170?

Your piggy bank is getting chubby.
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