Tag Archives for " save money "

3 Lessons to be Debt Free For Life

To live frugally is not something that I do naturally. It is something that I continue to learn how to do so that our family can afford for me to be at home with our 3 year old. It is not easy and there is some work to be done to save money and be debt free. The key for me has been to learn to spend less and save more without that becoming the focus of our family’s life. I certainly want our children to understand the value of a dollar and to make good financial decisions. However, I don’t ever want them to feel that the expenses of having them are a burden to us as parents. In our house, it has turned into more of a we save money on x, y and z so that we can do a, b or c. Our children know that we focus on keeping our monthly expenses low and they know that Mama is very serious about her coupons.

Debt Free comes easily when you use our 3 Lessons to be Debt Free For Life! Great tips for learning how to rid yourself of debt on any income!

This has been a difficult balance to achieve. We began to focus on our expenses out of sheer necessity. The details aren’t important. I’ll simply say that the economy affected us as it has so many others and we had to make changes. As we faced the task of cutting expenses and living within our means, I realized that our stress was obvious to our kids and it bothered me. It changed how I dealt with the worry and the strain because I didn’t want them to worry. I don’t want them oblivious to the world, but they will face their own financial worries later in life; now is their time to be children. In the course of all of this change, I learned some important lessons about saving money and be on the way to be debt free for life.

Debt Free comes easily when you use our 3 Lessons to be Debt Free For Life! Great tips for learning how to rid yourself of debt on any income!

Living More Frugally is the Key to Be Debt Free For Life

1. Make Saving Money Educational: When my children do go to the grocery store with me, I use coupons as math lessons. I pick up the item, tell the child the price, the value of the coupon and if it will be doubled. It’s his or her job to tell me the price. When we are shopping for clothes and there is a 20% Off Sale, I ask them to figure out the reduced price of the piece of clothing. They have to figure out the answer or Mama’s not buying! I am certain that my children do not always appreciate the math lesson, but I realized recently that my mother did this with me. Because of this, I can figure out sale prices in seconds and make decisions about deals. It is a gift my mother gave to me and one that I am passing on to my kids.

2. Buy What You Need Before You Need It: I do not have a stockpile. I don’t have room for one and I’m not totally in favor of large stockpiles. I do have a few back-ups for the non-perishable items that I know we will use. For example, ketchup is like liquid gold in our house. When it goes on sale and I have coupons, I buy a few bottles. It saves me later. By doing this, I usually save on all of these items. When I do not, I end up in a pinch and have to pay full price. Mama would rather but it as a discount.

3. Plan, Plan and Then Plan Some More: If there is anything I underestimated about living frugally, it is the planning required. It is not enough to cut some coupons, sign up for the store rewards card and head on down the aisle. That will lead to a much bigger spend than you intended. Ask me, I know. I have the receipts to prove it. Saving money is a process. It involves planning meals, sourcing coupons, reviewing the sales, possibly visiting multiple stores and sticking to your plan. My approach has changed and is becoming more like a ritual each week. I have changed from a small coupon holder to a large binder so that I can find my coupons more quickly. I read all of the flyers, identify the best sales at different stores and match coupons where possible. I have changed my approach to cooking and meal planning. The more we eat in, the less we spend and the more I plan, the less we eat out. For each trip to the store, I have a list in spreadsheet form with the prices of sale items, my coupons and more. It keeps me in check and I’ve learned that makes a big difference to our bottom line.

We’ve been focused on living more frugally for about six month now and we have seen results. By cutting our expenses and saving on food, we have been able to take our kids on mini-vacations and day trips that we would not have been able to afford. We’ve refocused our attention so when possible, extra money is spent showing them the world around them. A museum trip, a weekend at the beach and a few afternoon Texas drives were made possible by this frugality. The best part is that saving the dollars has given us back so much more than money.

Thanks to Cyndy Lay for these tips!

Do you have tips on how to be Debt Free for Life? Share it with us below.

Read more of our Frugal Ways to Save Money tips:

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How to Save Up Money: Tips for Living on $30000 or Less

 

April 12, 2014

Save On Organic Foods

Save On Organic Foods

Save On Organic Foods

It is true. I am buying more organic food. I have also seen a huge increase in my bill until I realized that I could get my grocery bill down easily by following these tips to save on organic foods  .

veggies

The first tip is buy local. I mean it go to the farmer’s market. I grab my cloth bag and $20 and see what I can challenge the kids to buy. I find that if my children pick the veggies they will try new things. This local farmer’s market in West Virginia is a great example of a place to buy more for your money.

Save On Organic Foods

  • You aren’t going to believe this but your wholesale club has a great selection of Organic Foods. You can read my Bj Wholesale Club Review.
  • You can also go to stores like Aldi. I was amazed by their ability to provide Organic food. These are my five tips for shopping at Aldi’s.
  • Buy cattle ahead of time to cut down on your beef cost. You can read more meat for your money.
  • Good news you can save on organic food by using coupons. There are actually coupons for organic foods.
  • I think figuring out the best way to use your organic food is important to not be wasteful. I would suggest   crockpot freezer meals . The further you can stretch the ingredients the bigger your savings.
  • Buy into farm shares they can offer a big bang for your buck. They can also be split with friends.
  • The easy way to save on Organic food is to grow what you need. Seed and topsoil are inexpensive. It is also the best way to make sure you know where your food came from.
  1. Use coupons-  Often people believe there are no coupons available for organic foods.  Here are some great sources for organic coupons. Some brands such as Cascadian Farms, Muir Glen and Amy’s frequently have coupons in their packaging.  Some great sites for coupons.
    Organic Valley
    Delicious
    Earthsbest
    Horizon Organic
    Morning star farms
    Mambo sprouts
    Apple gate farms
    EBFarms
    Back to Nature Foods
    Kashi
    Brown cow farm
    Stoneyfield farms
  2. Check out your local Farmers Market- Often local farmers markets grow their produce right in the town the farmers market is in.  They don’t have the traditional overhead of a grocery store and can offer better pricing. If you don’t see a sign that says organic, ask the farmer.  I tend to find if you talk to a local farmer and ask about their process, you may find even though there is no sign, they grow organic. Also, ask at the stand if they sell the produce at the end of the farmers market for a discount. Some farmers only sell their produce on the weekends at these markets and some payment is better than putting them in the trash.
  3. Join a CSA – This is a community supported agricultural group. You pay a portion of the farmer’s expenses and each week you get a box full of fresh produce. It doesn’t get better than this.  Many farmers will allow you to come to the farm and see the produce as it is growing. You can make sure you are truly getting organic produce. The growing season is usually about 20-30 weeks, depending on what part of the country you are in.
  4. Buy at surplus, discount scratch and dent grocery stores – Stores that get surplus of stock often carry organic cereal and snacks.  Many stores will send their surplus organic items to these stores. They can be bought at a fraction of the retail cost. The selection changes frequently at these stores, so what you buy one week will not necessarily be available the next week.
  5. Grow your own produce – You don’t have to grow everything! Pick a few items that grow well in your climate.  You can find great tips on organic growing at organickitchen.com
  6. Shop outside of your grocery stores- Your grocery store isle may be the most expensive place to buy organic.  There are many options available. Try your local health food store,  shop online – check the Organic Kitchen for a list of online merchants,
  7. Consider Antibiotic or Hormone Free Meats – Organic meat can be very expensive.  The organic feed for the animals is more costly, thus increasing the cost of the meat. Buy antibiotic and hormone free meats instead. These animals were fed regular food, but meet the other organic requirements.
  8. Buy store brand generics – Many stores are now offering generic organic foods that are comparable to brand name regular food.  Check your supermarkets for these brands.  Often they will offer coupons for these brands as well.

Do you have tips on How to Save On Organic Foods?, Share it with us below.

January 19, 2014

Tips on How to Save on Home Repairs

Save on Home Repairs

Pic-HomeRepairProgram

As a tenant paying rent to a landlord, I never really thought about how much it costs to maintain a home.  You pay the rent, the electric, water, gas, and trash bills but if something goes wrong, you call the landlord.  Hopefully, the landlord cares about the property and sends a repairman out to fix the problem.

On the other hand, as a homeowner, you not only have to pay the mortgage and utilities, you have to budget and pay for various things which can go wrong.  There’s the faucet or toilet which starts to leak, the garage door or doorbell which mysteriously stops working, the washer which decides it’s not going to make it through the spin cycle without stopping dead in its tracks.  Welcome to home ownership and the repairs associated with it!

These are all things which have happened to our family.  These are things which seem to happen at the most inopportune times.  The trick to save on home repairs is to have a budget for these eventualities.  Each month, we set aside money which is solely dedicated to fixing things around the house.  Sometimes there is enough to fix the problem and sometimes there isn’t.

My husband will admit to anyone that he is not a “fix-it” kind of guy.  As a landlord with multiple properties, he called in the professionals who fixed the problem and sent him a bill.  I’ve teased him over the years about his philosophy of home repairs:  “Who do I write the check to?”

Things like a leaky faucet or toilet are generally a quick fix.  YouTube is a great resource for these basic items.  When our washer stopped mid-cycle, we looked up the problem on the internet by searching the problem along with the model of the machine.  Fortunately, we discovered it was a simple problem which was quickly remedied by following simple instructions given on a website.

The big question is how do you save on home repairs?

First and foremost, determine if it is something you can competently fix.  If it isn’t, then it’s time to call in the professionals.  Be sure the contractor you hire is not only licensed to do the work you require but also bonded and insured.  You want a contractor who will stand behind his work.  You do not want a “fly by night” contractor that is liable to do more harm than good.

Ask friends to recommend professionals they have used.  Once you’ve identified two or three contractors, get written estimates and ask to see their licenses and proof of insurance.  If they are truly professionals, they will have no issue producing this documentation.  In the end, you won’t be sorry and will most assuredly save on repairs because you won’t have to fix what the fly by nighter made a bigger mess of.

Read more tips:

Tell us about ways you save on home repairs.  We’d love to pass your tips on to our readers.

January 1, 2013

Budget Saving Tip #1 – How to Save on Shampoo

This 2013 our goal is to save more money! MadameDeals is all about Making Dollar$ Out of Change, so everyday we will be sharing some useful and simple tips that we can easily do. Saving a few buck$ may not be a lot, but if you will combine all the savings that you can get within a year, I’m sure you’ll all be surprised with the result.

Our budget saving tip for today is on how you can save on shampoo!

When bathing, instead of pouring large amount of shampoo at once, our tip is to pour small amount first and repeat the process.

First use about a quarter sized amount of shampoo. Yes, it won’t lather much, but you will get the surface dirt off. Next rinse.

Then repeat the process with the same quarter sized amount of shampoo. This time the shampoo lathers really well! Rinse and use conditioner if needed.

You may doubt it at first, but try it and it will work. By using two smaller amounts, you save about 50% on shampoo!

Save money this 2013, check out our other Saving Tips!

Also, read our other Useful Tips posts!

Instead of buying expensive hair care products,  you can also try to make and use these natural and homemade hair products:

November 2, 2012

Grey cowboy boots with sparkle

Amee

I know some girls dream of princes I dream of Frye cowboy boots for women. I know that Frye boots promotion hardly ever come up. I am honestly not sure where this boot problem came from since I lived most of my life in Florida and we didn’t wear boots. I can tell you I fell in love with these boots. The problem was they are expensive. They were so much money that after turning over to look at the price I put them down like they were on fire. Then I picked them up and asked to try them on. I tried them on. I fell in love and I gave them back to the clerk. The reason was simple I could throw on my credit card but I could pay off my credit card with them on there.

   I left the store over a year ago. I went online and tried to find them. I spent the next year saving for them. Then I didn’t realize how hard it was to find them. I had a game I played with myself for a year. The do you need that or do you want those Frye cowboy boots for women more. There were time the answer was yes and times the answers were no. I would come home and put the money I saved in the safe. It was sometimes $3.00 and sometimes $30.00. It was birthday money and wow, I saved using coupons money. It was hard earned money. I knew one thing those boots were made for walking and I was going to have them.

   I guess I fell in love with the pearls and the fact that I had never seen Grey Frye Cowboy boots before. Well, I am pleased to announce that I bought my Frye boots. It took over one year but I did it. I even caught my Frye boots on sale I got 15% off. I love how they fit. The leather is subtle and not stiff. The boots hit on my mid calf. They are not heavy and they are very comfy.  They are remarkable You can see what I paid minus 15% by clicking on the pink text below. I am proud of myself for sticking to my goal. It is easy to use a credit card it is harder to actually not buy stuff so you can buy what you really want. What am I saving for next. Well, I am saving for a Rolex. I assume it will take me several years but if you want something you have to work to buy it. You have to give up things to get what you really want. I know one thing I love my boots and I love knowing I paid cash. I should not prior to buying them I paid the extra money the 15% I saved into my children’s college fund.

deborah frye boots

Deborah Frye Boots <— click to find out how much I had to save

Now you can see how much I had to save! Wahoo! I love my new grey boots. They are adorable!

BUY FRYE BOOTS HERE!

October 12, 2012

Like Twice Review

Amee

      I must admit I love to get stuff in the mail. I know gasp. I also am addicted to shopping.  I am addicted to frugal fashion finds. Thus having a deal site makes sense. I know that I can get better deals on the internet than in the stores. I also know what brands look good on me and how to score them for 50% or more off their retail price. I recently went to lunch with another blogger and she shared this awesome site Like Twice. I thought oh she looks cute I am positive this is something I should check out for you.

I went to their site and I signed up for a free $10 credit. You can see my jcrew jacket that I got for $10 off was a real deal. I got my jacket quickly and it looked just like the picture. It fit perfectly and I love it. I am going to shop there all the time. Twice consignment is my new favorite store. I am even going to consign my own clothes on there. It is so much easier to find nearly new clothing on their site then searching the racks of goodwill. I also know they are in great condition and will arrive nicely packaged. This site is the real deal. I suggest you sign up while they give you $10 off your first purchase. I am sure you can find something cute!

$10 off <—

What is your best fashion score?