We are always looking for ways to stretch our dollars, so I like to share the things we do, in hopes we can all help one another. Here are some money savers from the past week:
It was (past!) time to empty the vacuum cleaner bag. I opened it up along the bottom and emptied it into a grocery store plastic bag. Once it was empty I took it outside and gave it a few gentle shakes to get the dust loose, then I rolled up the bottom and stapled it shut. I find I can do this once with each bag, but that doubles the use and cuts the cost in half.
I also gave the vacuum a mini tune-up - cleaning the filter for the motor, checking all the hoses to make sure the connections had tight seals and making sure there were no plugs or items snagged in the tubing. I made sure the belt was still in its little track too, and dusted all the parts as I re-assembled them. Everything seems to be in working order, so that's good.
I am reading the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I've had it from the library for quite a while, through several renewals. I decided it was time to buy my own copy...but before I did that, I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask on Freecycle. I received a reply in less than 24 hours, and picked up my own copy the same day.
We weeded our home library, mostly taking out children's books that our daughter has outgrown. We saved some for posterity, but took some to the used book store to trade for credit. They didn't want all of them, but they took some and increased our store credit there. With some of our store credit we got Daughter a horse book and The Daring Book for Girls. Husband got a paperback he was interested in and I got two books - a book of birdhouse plans and another of patterns for little quilts. Store credit covered all of that, and we still have more store credit to spare. The remaining books will be offered to anyone at church who wants them, and after that I'll donate the rest to the shelter or Goodwill.
Husband transferred a prescription to Kmart and got a free $25 gift card for the transfer. Nice!
I used a coupon at Staples to get a ream of copy paper - free after easy rebate. We don't need paper, so I'll take it to the church.
We combined all the errands on one trip to town. We also waited until a day that Husband could go with, and we enjoyed lunch out. We used a coupon for a free meal and a gift card and the meal was completely free.
I cut Husband's hair.
I made fruit punch to use the syrup from some canned fruit.
I made croutons from a loaf of white bread (24 oz) that I got for 88 cents. We like the homemade ones better, and they cost less. I also made homemade granola, this time with peach sauce (we make our own and can it) and pecans, for a different flavor. Made chex mix for Husband too, Yum!
I read books and watched a DVD from the library.
We used firewood to keep the house warm. It was ours for the taking, and very much a blessing.
I cut the button off some pants of daughter's that were beyond repair and headed to the rag bag.
I used $18 in coupons this week and price matched from various stores to save driving time and fuel cost.
Tallulah (our kitty) has been enjoying the 'cat grass' we grew her for Valentines Day. I simply put some wheat berries from the pantry into a pot (.49 at Goodwill) with dirt and water. It's growing really well!
Husband and I discussed some ways to cut our gasoline costs. He generally leaves me the car and takes the truck to work, because the car seat is in the car. Even though we have a mini pick up, the car still gets better mileage, so it would probably be best if he drove the car. He ran some numbers, and it would save us at least $25 a month. I honestly think it will save even more, because with the truck here, I think I will be less likely to make a 'quick run' to pick up something. I can't exactly explain why that is. I mean...I used to drive the truck all the time and I'm completely comfortable with it, but for whatever reason, I just have this sense that it will help me eliminate multiple trips to the little town that's just a couple miles away. We are going to give it a try and see what we think.
A month or two ago I got some stew beef from the markdown bin and put it in our freezer. I thawed 2 lb of it and cooked it well with onions, salt and pepper. Half was made into beef curry for supper one night, and the other half became 'steak chili' the next day. The chili was not on the menu - I'm trying to get a little freezer cooking in here and there. I also soaked and cooked pinto beans for the chili, which saves a lot compared to canned beans.
I made whole wheat hot roll mix, then made part of it into pan rolls, biscuits and hamburger buns.
My previous meal planning routine was to plan one meatless supper per week. I've upped that to two meatless suppers, and since we have any leftovers for lunch another day, we are eating even more meatless meals.
I accepted an open bag of whole wheat flour (they were not going to use it) from my neighbor.
I received a Lipton Tea sample in the mail - three tea bags. That's enough to make 3 quarts of sun tea.
What did you do to save your hard-earned money this week?