1. Check out the produce, meat, and dairy departments of your grocery store for marked down items. If you have a freezer or can your own foods, and there's a lot of something you could store, stock up. And don't forget the saints - if it's a really good deal or free, why not get some for someone you know could use it? Acts 20:35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
2. The sewing article that was here previously has been moved to the Sewing page.
3. Make bar soap go farther. When you can get bar soap cheap, buy a large quantity. Take them out of the wrappers and either store them in your linen closet (where they also do duty as a "sachet") or put them in a warm dry place. Being out the wrappers will give them a chance to dry out more so that they last longer. Just don't store them too long or they may shrivel. :-)
4. Keep a record of your spending for two or three months, make note of everything, then review it to see where you can cut back. If you can do without this money then add it to your giving to the needs of the saints, or save it for that big item that you are going to be needing to buy or replace soon.
5. Check out some mail order places to see if you can get your checks for less than your bank charges. You probably can. What's more, there are places that actually offer checks with KJV scripture on them. This a small way to get the Word of God out.
6. If something breaks or stops working just shortly after the warranty runs out, call the manufacturer anyway and see if they are still willing to help you. They may offer a discount and some companies will even still honor the warranty.
7. Ask for discounts when appropriate. If the date is expired on something that will still be edible (or usable); if there is a spot or flaw in a garment or fabric ask for a reduced price. Just be sure to find someone that has the authority to give a discount. With fruits or produce, when they have a large amount of something that's getting over ripe offer them what you think is a fair price if you take the whole lot. If they know it's headed for the garbage anyway, they may be willing to make a sale instead. (My dad has done this with Bing Cherries, avocados and other things. We've been able to make jam, guacamole, and other goodies because of this.) NOTE: Do not beg for discounts in the name of Christ! There is no reference in scriptures of Jesus or any of the apostles ever asking for a break in price because it was "for a church." This is taking unfair advantage of people in the Lord's name and is a very poor testimony! It harks back to Rome, not the Bible.
8. Check the clearance racks in stores where you normally wouldn't buy. Sometimes the stores that have more expensive clothing will mark them way down to get rid of inventory. Also, check the clearance racks in your local Wal-Mart, Target and such. Whichever one seems to drop the clearance prices the lowest is the one you should check regularly for needed items (provided they tend to have what you want).
9. Always ask if you can get a generic of a drug you need, whether it's over-the-counter or prescription. Also, call the pharmacies before you buy and ask what their price is on both the item you need and the generic. (Some people claim generic drugs are dangerous or not effective. Knowing how the big pharmaceutical companies work, I have a strong suspicion as to where those notions come from. We use the generics.)
10. Figure out how long it will take you to pay for "want to have" items. Is it going to take 3 days, a week, or a month, of your husband's wages? Do you really "need" it that much after all? (If your husband makes $95 dollars a day, then a $95 dollar item will cost him a day's wages. Is it worth a day of his time?)
11. Buying the cheapest is not always best. For example, the cheapest carpet, linoleum, out door paint, furniture, musical instruments, and even clothing, may wear out so fast that you will need to replace them much sooner. For things like furniture, musical instruments, and clothing that should last for several yeas (suits, coats, dresses, etc.) try to buy good, solid used items if you can. For carpeting and such, try something a little better than the cheapest. (When buying used furniture, look for things that don't need too much work to "fix up" or you'll end up putting too much into "saving money". Also, items that do double duty-- a table with a drawer, a desk with bookshelves--save you even more.)
12. If you have a mortgage, try to pay something on the principle every month, over and above the normal payment. In the long run, you will save a lot of money on the interest even just paying $25-50 dollars toward the principle each month. If you work at it you can get the mortgage paid off sooner too. In some cases it's impossible to pay extra on the interest, but try to make extra payments when you can. Remember - Proverbs 22:7 ...the borrower is servant to the lender.
13. Always try to figure out if there is a less expensive way to do or get something or a place where you might get it cheaper. Call around if necessary. And, if you can't think of such things yourself, ask someone whom you know is good at getting bargains and saving money.
14. If you have a good trustworthy person that is an avid "yardsaler" and/or famous for finding great prices (used or otherwise), ask them to look for a particular item you need. Write down the particulars if needed and give them some money (the price you're willing to pay) for the item. If you find the item somewhere else, be sure to let them know promptly!
15. Check your ad sheets before you shop. It will save you time to have an ordered plan of where you're going. Also, if one store has only one sale item that you need, skip that store and buy it where you're going for more of your stuff. It will usually save you money to pay a little more on one or two items than to drive to another store to save a few cents.
16. Also, it will save you money if you plan your menu according to what's on sale, rather than on what you want to make. If you get marked down items, plan them into your menu, or freeze them for future use. If you have space to freeze it saves money to buy meat and some other things in quantity when they are on sale or marked down for quick sale.
17. As much as possible, get a second opinion on everything from medical procedures to a paint job or a plumbing job. Don't think the so-called "experts" know everything. Very few, if any people, have time to keep up entirely on their field. You could save a lot of money by consulting several different "experts" and even sources (such as the Internet). [NOTE: We do not recommend trying out so-called "health cures" for any serious medical problems without the approval of a doctor. The time wasted trying "better" plans may mean a serious setback in the doctors' effectively treating the problem, and in some cases, it may actually lead to a preventable death.]
18. Develop a small side business from home. Giving a few music lessons, pet-sitting, decorating cakes, baking, selling an occasional quilt could all be worked up into a regular business if things got tight or your husband was temporarily out of work. Proverbs 31:24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
19. Collect economical decorating ideas in a notebook or a folder on your computer. When you're ready to "dress" something up, you can refer to this for ideas and save a bundle. [Pinterest can be useful for this, but it can also be a big time waster and so defeat its own usefulness.]
20. Put junk to work. A no-longer-needed baby gate (for doorways and stairs) can serve as a trellis in the garden. Old copper piping can be used for the same purpose, as can curtain rods. Many stiff long items can to used for stakes in the garden. Even the branches you prune off a tree or bush (as long as they're not diseased) can be used to support drooping flowers. Old panty hose make great "ties" for things, especially for staking plants and trees. Since they have give, they don't rub and bite into the plant stocks and tree bark. The possibilities are tremendous. Use your imagination.
21. Get the last bit of honey or shampoo out of a bottle by holding the end of the bottle where the stuff is in warm water. It will soften and flow out easier.
22. Keep a list in your purse of things that you really need with the measurements of the space they are to go in. Refer to this when you stop at a yard sale or second hand store to avoid making money-wasting purchases. (You can also do this with clothing items so that you know you're husband need black shoes, not brown; and your daughter needs a white blouse, not ivory. Little mistakes like this can add up!)
23. If you have a stain or scar on the wall and can't afford to paint or paper (maybe already did and the stain bled through) consider what collection of things you have that you might be able to hang and display in a way to cover the stain. For example: several trays or baskets, some old prints (in or out of frames), a platter collection, or a pretty quilt might be used to hide a blemish on a wall.
24. Let your friends and family know when you're trying to find a certain item to buy. Word of mouth can save you money.
25. When you're traveling take a cooler and eat simple picnic lunches. Stop and shop at a grocery store and buy more ice when you run low. (The drinks alone in a restaurant can really add up for a family.) (Also, look for free places to visit and events in the area you're visiting. Check bulletin boards and local newspapers. Ask the local visitor's center.)
26. If you like to have company and can't afford it because of the cost of food, plan a meal together with your friends asking them to bring some things too. This is a great idea if you want to have a large family over, but don't know how you can feed them all. (The chances are pretty good that the wife/mother will understand your hesitancy too. She has to feed them all the time.) :-)
27. Many purchases are based on impulse. Before you buy, ask yourself if you really need it. And NEVER shop for groceries when you are hungry if you can help it! You will almost certainly make at least one unnecessary purchase based on your stomach rather than you needs.
28. If you can, try to buy what you need after the season. Summer clothes in late summer, winter clothes in mid to late winter and so on. You will find more marked down stuff this way.
29. Use water from your fish tank to water your house plants. Be sure there aren't any fish still in it. :-)
30. When the sides of your mattress pads is worn beyond repair but the pad itself is still useful try this: Put an old sheet that is worn in the middle on the mattress, then, after cutting off the tired sides, lay the mattress pad on the sheet. Pin it in place. Remove it and sew the pad to the old sheet. You can get more wear out of both the old sheet and the mattress pad!
31. Sharpen your scissors without a pricey sharpener. Simply cut through several layers of aluminum foil until they are sharp enough. If you wear you scissors down quickly, though, it might be more cost effective to buy an inexpensive sharpener. Check the fabric department for one.
Save your wax, floor, and ears by cutting small pieces of carpet and glue them
to the bottom of your chair legs. Be sure to clip off the excess around the edges
so that the rough backing does not rub on the floor.
& graphics by Mary Stephens