Friday, March 25, 2011

How I Save Money

This is a repost. I am giving this speech again at a mother's group this morning. I have made some changes and put them in bold.

Here is an outline and more of the speech I did this evening for my local moms group. I was honored to be asked and hope that I was able to help at least one person.

My name is Lisa. I have 3 children, ages 10, 8 and 5. I have been a stay-at-home mom for over 8 years now. With careful planning and a background in Finance, I have been able to stay home this long and make it work.

Most importantly make sure that you get involved and know where your money is going. Start by keeping track of your spending for 1 month to see where your money is going (or not going). Then, make a keep a monthly budget.

I am currently doing the The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. We have completed step #1 (save $1,000) and step #2 (pay off all debt except your mortgage), and step #3 (saving a 6 month emergency fund).

As you move along the process of saving money, you will save time. It does take time, but it can be well worth it.


1. Use your budget to assess where to cut back

2. Use coupons from the newspaper and online (sign up for companies e-mails. Many times they send the coupons to your inbox)

3. Use coupons sites, such as and SmartSource

4. Create a menu (weekly, monthly) to know what to purchase

5. Base your menu around store ads

6. Use store ads to match sales with your coupons (STLMommy, Clippin with Carie and Coupon St. Louis are 3 of many sites that do this for you)

7. Use the previously listed sites for freebies (also use My Savings. I get their free e-mails)

8. Go shopping with your budget and a calculator (this has been a lifesaver to me)

9. Keep a price book of items by size, price and location purchased. I no longer need to do this, but it was very helpful when I was starting out.

10. Learn to make items from scratch and get the kids involved. Some sites for recipe ideas are: $5 Dinners (The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook: 200 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, and Nourishing Meals That Are Easy on the Budget and a Snap to Prepare) and Comfy In The Kitchen.

11. Take advantage of Walgreens Register Rewards. Match the deals with coupons. Roll Register Rewards by purchasing other items that have Register Rewards. CVS offers a similar (in my opinion better) program with ECB's (extra care bucks)

12. Take advantage of Catalina coupon deals at local grocery stores. Ex: spend $30 on these items and get $10 to use on your next visit. Match these deals with coupons for better savings.

13. Save receipts for use on rebates. Look online, on products and store displays for rebates. I have received up to $80 in rebates in one month.

14. Find a friend to share savings tips with. Start a No Spend Challenge (don't spend unnecessary money for a specific length of time) or Eat Out of Your Pantry Challenge with some friends.

15. Clothes and other shopping. Get to know your stores clearance sale times. I buy almost all of our clothes on clearance by being aware of when they are on sale. I also get many e-mails from companies that I regularly shop with.

16. See if you store offers a customer card or other incentive. Our local hardware store has a customer program where you give your phone number. After you spend so much, you get a gift card.

Other ways to save money in your home

1. Do work around your house yourself. If you don't know how, you can learn from books, workshops at local stores, U-tube and friends.

2. Look for free family activities in your area. Here in St. Louis, we are lucky to have many free family activities year-round.

3. Go to restaurants that have kids eat free

4. Do blog giveaways. I have won ALOT of wonderful items this year by participating in these. One favorite is: Fabulous Fun Finds (she has a great one next week!)

5. Watch your medical bills. Schnucks offers many antibiotics for free.

6. Mortgage- we found that we save alot of money by not having an escrow. The company we were using had us pay so much above and beyond what we needed every month. They were holding our money for free.

7. Utilities- watch your usage. Get the kids involved and make it fun. Believe me, it can pay off big.

8. Cars- buy used and do as much work as you can by yourself.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Please leave comments or emails with questions. I will post new items as I think of them or answering questions.

Thanks and be sure to visit some of the wonderful blogs that I mentioned (be sure to tell them that I sent you).

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  1. Great post! Couponing has helped me save a ton of money. A good trick is to go to the store's website and do a search. For example, I have to take my son to work today (he works at my main supermarket), and sales start today. So I took out my coupons and went through them, searching the website for sales. I found a few things that I can match to coupons.
    Another thing I like to do is a 'use it or lose it' destashing towards the end of the month. I doesn't necessarily mean I'll buy the items, but I keep the about-to-expire coupons in my wallet in case I come across something.
    PS--love the Register Rewards at Walgreen's!

  2. Thanks for this post. I'm working on becoming debt free (yeah for Dave Ramsey!) and I'm researching and learning all sorts of different ways to become debt free and save money on everyday things as well.


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