Tuesday, November 11, 2008

5 Tips to Help You Be In Fashion (By Being Frugal)

I've been reading a lot lately about how saving money is now "in fashion." Beyond the fact that you can't think about that sentence too much or your head might fall off, I think it's true! People are way more into finding ways to be frugal in their lives lately.

My frugality first took hold when we were planning our wedding. I didn't want to be cheap, but I wanted to be frugal and get the best possible [fill in the blank] for the best price. I really enjoyed the challenge and ended up being very pleased with the results.

So we've been continuing on that frugal path throughout the first year of our marriage. When we buy things, we do a lot of research to get the best product for the best price. I thought it might be fun to share some tips with all of you about ways we save money:

1. Buy online. Dan found our TV online at amazon.com for much cheaper than any retailer was selling it (the exact same model) in town - and it came with free shipping and no sales tax. We also both just got new running shoes online for 20-30 dollars cheaper than they are sold in stores. Seriously, you will be amazed at how much money you can save on so many things by purchasing them online.

2. Sign up for free samples. When I get bored, I will do a Google blog search on "free samples" or "freebies," and then sign up for the ones that we will use. I have gotten samples of dog food and treats, coffee, granola bars, you name it.... Walmart always has at least a few different ones on their website. The best part is that they frequently come with coupons, so if you like the product, you can then get it for a discount!

3. That brings me to my third point - we use coupons! I've talked in previous posts about the CVS and Walgreens games people play. Those are awesome and I still want to begin doing that someday in the future. But for now, I take an easier approach. I still read a lot of those blogs that detail CVS couponing, and I still print out the coupons that I might use. After all, most of the printable coupons are good anywhere, not just at CVS! There are also specific blogs for almost every grocery store that detail out their sales and match coupons with them each week. I use the ones for Walmart but to find ones for your local grocery store, just look here.

You can be as serious or casual about this as you want. For example, last week I just brought three coupons for 1.00 off Starkist tuna (which was priced at 86 cents), 75 cents off Idahoan mashed potatoes (which were priced at 75 cents), and 2.00 off hair ties, which were 2.12. So I was able to get all those items for free, basically! It's really a great idea just to scroll through the websites as you're planning out your shopping trip and print off coupons for items you will use.

4. Use Dry Cleaner's Secret. You can buy it at the grocery store in the laundry aisle, and it dry cleans your clothes in the dryer. I was nervous that it might not actually get my clothes clean, but so far it has and we've saved a ton on dry cleaning bills!

5. Go meatless. Both of us were a little wary about this at first, but we now regularly go meatless at least twice a week. Here are some ideas that we regularly use: omelets or some type of eggs, rice and beans, pizza, soup and cheese sandwiches, quesadillas, or pancakes. Most of these still have plenty of protein - but they are all delicious and save you quite a bit of money!

I hope I can now be considered cool and "in fashion" for sharing these with you all! I'd love to hear your ideas because I'm still constantly searching for ways to get the most out of what we have!


KandAMorgs said...

A few weeks ago, I got my hair cut and colored for free at a really cool salon in chicago! I looked at their prices, and it would have cost over $150 for both!

I went to http://www.salonapprentice.com/ which has listings for chicago and new york, but there may be similar websites for other cities. You can also look on Craigslist under services by searching "free hair".

Also, what's great about the place I went to is that the stylists were going through that salon's traning program, but had been doing hair for years. So it wasn't someone new to cutting or coloring who was going to mess up my hair :) That's probably my most exciting frugal story :)

heloise said...

Here's a real cost-cutter - use the styrofoam liners from hamburger packaging. Rinse them off, they make great insole liners for your shoes. Flies can be a problem, though.