Bits of Sweetness: Money saving tips

Money saving tips

Money and saving? I am all over that, especially this time of year!! Dude, when did Christmas get so stinking expensive??! I mean, I know December 25th comes every year but wow. All the baking, all the gift-giving, all the special things to make all those sweet memories... I don't think I have to tell you that it adds up! Everyone who knows me knows that I love a good deal and am really really good at finding the lowest price.  Some of my favorite ways to save-

Shopping off season & clearance racks- you can save big bucks here if you think ahead a little. I've scored big with end-of-the-season clearance sales at places like Children's Place (winter coat for $9.99, originally $40!!), Old Navy (ladies shirt for $3 originally $20!), Target, and Oshkosh (kids clothes for $1-$2 and baby socks for $2, originally $22!) Also- a lot of places have things like double stamp days and exclusive coupons for cardholders. If you can pay off the card every statement, you can get some good deals! You can score great deals from the clearance section too. Target has many things at the end of aisles. I found great nail polish for $1-$2 on clearance!

Birthday deals- Like a place? Sign up for their emails to get birthday deals! Kohls sent me a $10 off (no purchase required!) coupon for my birthday and many places gives free entrees or a buy one get one coupon.

Amazon- I do a lot of shopping on Amazon. This is a fantastic time of year to sign up for a free Prime trial and get FREE 2-day shipping!! I love that they have Super Saver shipping for free normally where if you get $25 of qualifying items you get free shipping on everything. It's also a great place to read reviews, comparison shop, and get great lightning deals. (Best one lately for us? Assassins Creed III for almost half off!!) They often run fantastic deals on toys.

Deal sites- I can't be everywhere all at once, and don't have the time to go looking for all the good deals, so I'm signed up for several great deal sites. One of my favorites is one my friend Shaina has- Shaina's Deals. She finds awesome deals on many great things from videos to toys to clothes to you name it! A current featured deal is the Lord of the Rings Triology Extended Edition on Blu Ray for $39.99 shipped !!  Other favorite sites- Acadiana's Thrifty Mom, the Krazy Coupon Lady, and a local favorite Thrifty Northwest Mom.

Groupon & LivingSocial- these are fantastic ways to score deals on just about anything- movie tickets (we got 2 for $10 once!), spa treatments, oil changes, photo canvas wraps and even vacations.These sites also run daily deals, which are a great way to save money if you're out the town, or going out for date night. They'll have deals for 1/2 off an entree or dessert or a $5 off coupon to name a few things. Last year, I discovered that these sites also have a section where you can get deeply discounted things like tablets! (You save money but don't sacrifice quality!) On Groupon it's under the "goods" section. Josh was pretty excited to get a tablet for his birthday from me last year. I was pretty stoked that I saved 60% on it. Yes, really!

Pinterest- Dude, have you been there lately? There are a kazillion and one great ideas to save money- recipes for laundry soap, homemade spices, inexpensive Christmas gift ideas- I am officially in love! This year, most of my Christmas present ideas are homemade and from the site. Sorry- can't share yet! I will be sharing some of them after the holidays though!

Now, confession: I don't coupon much. I wish I did, but with having two busy little ones and working some and doing my photography business on the side, I am just not left with much time. Someday though...!! Not to say I don't coupon at all because I definitely do some! Just not all extreme couponing or anything. Probably my best deal recently using coupons- We needed a baby playmat for Adrian. Have you seen the prices of those things though?! When Andrew was a baby they were about $30-$40. Now, they run from $50+ for the nice ones! (We're talking a piece of fabric with a bar of toys over here people. I mean really now...) Oh.. that didn't stop me though. I was going to find a good deal! We were given a $25 Babies R Us gift card from a friend. Then, I found a coupon for $10 off any Fisher Price purchase of $50 or more. Then, I found a Toys R Us coupon for $15 off $60 or more. They took all the coupons! And, that $60 playmat ended up being just a little over $20 after tax!

Organization & planning ahead- One thing I am trying to do is organize our place. Organization is definitely not my forte but I don't want that to be an excuse for not doing it either. Today I decided to organize my spice cupboard. It was a mess and things from the sweet baking shelf were all mixed in with the salty. I am glad I took the time to do it because you know what I found? Three things of cinnamon, three things of steak seasoning & doubles of lots of stuff (not to mention a bit of expired stuff! {Yes, spices expire too!}). If I hadn't organized all of it, I know I would be wasting more money because I wouldn't have any idea that I already had another one of something. Planning ahead can save a bit of money too. We are going on a trip in January and I want to bring a bit of our own snacks so we don't have to drop tons of money on pricey airport food. Also bringing empty water bottles and packets of dry drink mix so we have our own drinks handy. Planning ahead also comes into play with trips into town. We aren't really that far from town but it seems like if we are not planning ahead, we can end up going into town a couple times a day (all the good stores are there and the pricey ones are nearby). The gas sure adds up fast! Planning ahead eliminates the extra trips!

What are your favorite ways to save money? Are there any things you make at home and find worth it?

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