This money question can be taken two different ways, if you ask me. So I’m going to answer it both ways.
First, there’s the need to make the money we get go as far as it can. Since my biggest expense is food, I try to stock up on stuff when it’s at its lowest prices. I get help from The Grocery Game. Unfortunately the cheapest supermarket they support isn’t the cheapest in the area, so I also keep a price book so I know when I can get something at a better price at this other store. In addition to following sales at the local supermarket, I also pop into BJ’s once or twice a month to pick up things I really need but rarely go on sale, or I’m running out of. Usually I avoid their meats unless I need something specific and BJ’s price is the least expensive, as I can stock up on On Sale meats for less at the supermarket.
My second biggest expense(s) is (are) utilities and other services. I closely monitor them, looking for ways to save money. I recently switched to Verizon because they offer better service than Comcast, but for $30 a month less. With oil at nearly $4 a gallon here I’ve been using space heaters to heat my bottom floor, where the thermostat is located. I’ve removed unnecessary bells and whistles from services such as Netflix and may get rid of them all together if they don’t stop their crap. Such a shame. I had planned on cutting back on my cable service because I watch Netflix more than I watch cable.
In the past I had to rely on my apartment complex’s washing machines to do my laundry. Then I learned how to do bucket and plunger laundry. I highly recommend it, if you can do it. Sadly, earlier this year I began having regular issues with bursitis in my back and hips so I had to revert back to the machine, which sucked since we had moved and the nearest laundromat cost twice as much to do a load as it did at our old apartment. Thankfully our new apartment has room for a machine. After some quick math I figured out a new top-of-the-line HE washer would pay for itself in a year. During warmer months I do two loads – one hangs on the line outside, the other on an Amish made rack, inside. Obviously in the winter I am limited to just the rack, but I’m still able to stay on top of my dirty clothes. Another thing – I know I have soft water so I use less detergent, saving money there, too.
I walk or take public transportation (hahahahaha!) whenever I can. If I must use the car, I do the driving. It’s obvious my husband doesn’t know how to drive efficiently when both my son and I can make a tank of gas go twice as far as he can.
There are also a number of little bitty things I do, that add up. I highly recommend Amy Dacyczyn’s “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” for inspiration.
Now for the second way one could take the question: Setting aside money for rainy days and big purchases. This one is simple. At the end of each day I take all my loose change (and singles when we aren’t living from paycheck to paycheck), and place it in “Pig”. At the end of the month Pig gets taken to the change sorter at the bank and the receipt from the machine taken to a teller for deposit.
So that’s how I make pennies cry. How about you?