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The Best Way to Save Money

Amy (who is my real-life friend and who also helps set up all the private advertising and giveaways here on MoneySavingMom.com) has an excellent post up today on the best way to save money:

Clipping coupons is great, but not if you spend 2 hours clipping and sorting to save $5 on items your family doesn’t like to eat.

Purchasing that cute shirt at a discount seems rational, until you get it home and realize it doesn’t fit… and then you never bother to return it.

Dining out with a free meal deal is fabulous, unless you have to spend outside your budget for the rest of the meals to get one “free.”

Read her full post.

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  1. says

    LOL about the Groupon comment. My friend just purchased an $8 gift card worth $100 of pizza, but realized she has to buy a minimum of $200. That’s a lot of pizza!!

  2. says

    That’s the same thing the restaurant.com gift certificates get you with. I use them but I take everything into account. You can end up spending way more if you are not careful about reading the conditions attached.

    • Lisa says

      I agree also, but I found an exception. Disneyland! They have a couple of restaurant.com for around and in downtown disneyland. If you are thinking about going defiantly check it out My favorite is the house of blues.

  3. Jen says

    I had this “aha-moment” myself this week. That “cheap” Redbox movie is not so cheap when we pick it up at 6:00 p.m. and realize we have to eat out to have enough time to watch it; therefore spending MUCH MORE!! Not a wise choice. That movie will still be there another day when it was “in the plans”! (By the way, we BOTH fell asleep in it!)

  4. Jodi Mayes says

    You definitely have to read the fine print and do the research. I purchased a $40 voucher for $20 for FTD. Then found out that the shipping was another $15. I ended up with a cooler (something we could at least keep and use) and some cookies and brownies, for a total of $35, which I never would’ve spent otherwise. Usually my budget for flowers or something is about the $20 I spent in the first place. :o)

  5. says

    thanks for sharing, but do you have some tips to save on cable tv, internet and phone, right now we are paying almost 200 dollars for this bundle, im planning to change my provider but right now im thinking which offer tbe best (in terms of money-saving). hope someone can help me..thanks.

    • Ashlee says

      I’d look into getting a lite internet (our time warner charges $20 for the lite internet) and cutting back on what cable you have. You can also look into getting your phone from another company that offers internet phone service. I know friends are pretty happy with their magic jack. You might also consider settling on a budget for all three, say $120 and calling your cable company and ask them what they can give you for your budget, a lot of times they are willing to work with you.

      • says

        I would look for another provider that does seem really high. We dropped our home phone line and just use cell phones we also stopped using cable companies and went to at&t for internet. They have bundles with DirecTV and their internet alone runs between 15-40 dollars a month. Also if you are willing to drop your cable you can pick up netflix for as little as 8 dollars a month. Or you can spend a little more a month with Netflix and have Dvd’s and free streaming available to you. Alot of these things would be cheaper than what you are paying now. Also just by switching providers you can usually get an introductory rate that will save you money for the time being.

        • Kristine says

          We got rid of our land-line phone and use just cell phones, too, and we subscribe to Netflix instead of cable. It’s so much cheaper than those package deals that the cable companies are always promoting, and we don’t miss having a bunch of channels that we would rarely watch anyway.

    • says

      We cut out our cable TV entirely and just have a cable internet package, which is 50 dollars a month. For 7 dollars more we got streaming Netflix, which gives us all the educational TV and children’s programming we could ask for, plus lots of shows and movies as well, with no commercials! (This works best if you have a Wii or some other way to stream internet on your TV.) We do not miss cable television. For our phone service, we decided not to use a landline at all, and got a minimal cell phone package. I think when our contract runs out, we’ll go to prepaid phones for even less money. Hope that helps!

      • says

        We added Netflix a few months ago and LOVE it! It is worth looking in to.

        Last month I read in the newspaper that our cable company was raising rates. When I called to cancel (we only have very basic cable and it is not worth the new price!), they offered me a deal to lock in my lower rate for 2 years AND they’d send me a $100 check for doing so! It is definitely worth a call!

    • Erin says

      When we moved into our house, we only signed up for internet (about $60/month for Fios). We only use our cell phones and for $8, we get one DVD at a time and unlimited streaming from Netflix. You can watch a lot of TV online and we borrow TV shows on DVD from the library. We definitely don’t miss cable!

      • Meghan says

        We also cut out cable years ago……if we have it, I watch all this junk TV, but if we don’t have it, I don’t miss it. We did get an HD antenna (looks nothing like the old “rabbit ears”….it’s just a small rectangular box that hides next to our DVD player). The antenna only cost us about $20, and we get 3 channels of PBS, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and a couple of random stations (Ion, Living Channel, etc)…..all in HD. If you live in an area that broadcasts over the air in HD, like we do, I’d highly recommend the antenna over cable!

    • Lindsey says

      we forgo cable completely and in place pay 8.99 to stream through netflix. There is a great selection of Tv shows and movies. plus there are no commercials. we still have and antenna for network channels that works great where we live. so we pay for internet that is 40.00/month and 8.99 for netflix.

  6. Ashlee says

    I am finding just not going to the stores saves me money. I only go to CVS for deals I need. Even when I can get things free I still find I spend more money than I otherwise would need to, so I skip them. Usually a extra care bucks is going to expire and I buy things I don’t truly need.

    The less trips I make the more I save.

    • Lisa H says

      So true! I’ve been skipping the CVS deals lately because I just don’t need them… plus, since you have to pay tax, I figure that if it’s a “spend $20 get 10 ECB deal,” there goes $2 I didn’t need to spend. :)

      Great article altogether and something I’m learning myself too.

    • Angie says

      I’m learning to get my prescriptions at the drive-thru at CVS so I’m not tempted to browse the store while I wait, or while I walk through. Its saving me time and money!

      • lalalalala says

        You might want to look into whether or not your insurance offers prescription mail order (mine is through CVS Caremark). I order them from their mail order website – I get three months worth of meds for 20 bucks shipped to my door! Sure beats going to the retail pharmacy and paying a 15 copay each month… or like you said, going into the store and being tempted to browse. lol

    • says

      i totally agree. and let’s not forget that with current gas prices, we save even more by staying home. i love the deals but i’m working on staying home and enjoying the blessings i already have. i’m also trying to find ways to use what i have to make more money…instead of spending my time out…SPENDING more money.

  7. says

    That is a great food for thought! I admit that I get sucked in on occasion and need to start remembering to ask myself if we really need it or if I just have an impulse want. We use netflix so I never have a late fee. I also have magicjack as a home phone.

  8. Autumn says

    Yes, I used to get so excited not wanting to miss any deals but I became so exhausted from driving around and now with the gas prices sky high I really try to limit my trips to once a week and grab rainchecks. It’s so hard not racing to the store when you see all this FREE FREE stuff or super cheap but I’m more relaxed and have enough stockpile to save myself money and still donate here and there. I’m cooking new recipes from Crystal’s shared recipes and enjoying some reading and baking instead of all the driving. Don’t get me wrong, I’m addicted to Free and great deals and MSM just nice to know when you can take a breather and that the deals are still piling in.

    • says

      Yay for baking and reading! I am trying to shift my focus too. I will still snag a few deals and freebies, but I’m staying home more to:

      save gas
      keep our written budget 100% in check
      do activities with the kids
      handcraft as a hobby
      work on my stamping & scrapbooking business
      exercise and workout
      research healthier eating for our allergy family
      stay on top of my Bible study
      and I even allow myself a daytime show now, Nate Berkus. :)

  9. Grace says

    Great GREAT points she brings up…
    All those couponing-freebie women need to read this.

    Sadly many of them have turned “saving” into an OBSESSION: I saw on TV a woman who coupons her way into many freebies everyday, and ends up hoarding everything in the garage. Can’t even consume all those things in a month.

    This freebie and coupon-ing attitude very easily converts to shopaholicism–even if you are using savings is still a VICE and a problem comparable to chronic gambling.


    *Virtues: Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance, Justice*

    *Generosity. Modesty. Self-Control. Love. Joy. Peace. Goodness. Chastity. Patience. Fidelity. Kindness. Gentleness. *

    • Wendy says

      I agree that if, in fact, you are hoarding it is a problem; I also agree the “saving” can become your addiction/vice with all the baggage that comes with an addiction, including overspending. However, I do have some issues with the “You can’t even consume all those things in a month (or 6 weeks, or 8 weeks…)” attitude that I’m encountering on many blogs.

      When I have the money and the opportunity I intentionally stockpile more than I can consume in a month or two. I am very aware that my husband’s job situation is somewhat precarious at the moment. He is the main breadwinner, and right now his job is good. However, his paychecks vary from week to week, we are coming off several very difficult years (from which we’re still trying to recover financially) and I know that things can change in an instant.

      Yes, the great deal may come back around in 6 to 8 weeks, but I may not have the extra $5 or $10 to stock-up then. So, if when I have the money and storage space I am going to stockpile enough for more than 6 to 8 weeks. I currently have many cleaning, personal care, and even some food items stockpiled to last from several months up to about 1 year for some products. I do not consider this hoarding, as we will use everything I have before it expires. My stockpile has also allowed us to donate to needy families in our church when we had no money to give.

      I’m not saying all this in an attempt to justify my stockpile; I see no need for justification. I’m just offering an explanation in an attempt to help others understand that not all “large” stockpiles are hoarding. Neither do they show a lack of faith in God’s provision; I actually view my stockpile as proof of God’s provision. At this time, He has given us the resources to provide for our family’s future needs and we’re attempting to manage those resources to the best of our ability. :)

      • Kenny says

        I would like to say I agree with you on the explanation you have given. I do not have a stock pile per say but do have enough for the family and anyone that may be in need. Also to comment on the other things about movies and the tv/internet: Have any of your readers thought about their local library to check out movies? In my house we only use the internet with a very good antivirus software for about $51.00 a month. We use pre-paid cell. We do not miss the TV at all, because we can get just about everything on the internet.

      • Debbie Briner says

        Totally Agree with you, having been thru a divorce and unemployment at the same time with 3 preteens. I have been shown a way to provide for my family. I also donate surpluses to churches and food banks. I have had a few co-workers go thru major illness and injury this past year and was able to help bless them. They got household, health and beauty and food items for free., It save them money but time to go and make those purchases and allowed them to use their monies for gas and other items that they might not have been able to provide to their families. I feel so blessed by my stockpile but also the frugal life I’m now living. I made the comment to my Mother yesterday “I no longer live in fear of not having money for milk or gas to get to work the rest of the week. It’s the most freeing, wonderful feeling in the world.”

  10. Jessica says

    I have stopped doing Walgreens since returning back to work and even though I am missing out on some “hot deals” I find I am really saving money. I have decided to just coupon and ad match while grocery shopping once a week instead. Time is money and mine is limited- never mind my “deals” were costing more than I though.

  11. says

    The deals can be addicting. I am transitioning out of a full time job and have a 4yo and 9mo. I love getting me some good deals, but time is a huge factor for me, as well as gas and the out of pocket cost of something “free”.

    I am lucky in that I live in a large city and am close to many stores. Today I shopped with my baby at Walgreens, Kroger and Meijer. We used coupons, did multiple transactions and even recycled and rescued some coupon inserts from the paper recycling dumpster. We did this in 2.5 hours. He fell asleep and I’m wiped out and nursing him now- we haven’t had lunch and it’s 2pm!

    I try to combine multiple errands into a single trip and it actually helps me to take at least one of the kids, because it makes me move along faster. I have my list on an envelope, have the coupons paperclipped together for each store inside that envelope.

    I was tempted by some clearance items that I did not need and was also tempted to go into the thrift store’s 50% off sale, but it is always crowded and we were already running past lunch time. And we don’t need any thrift right now! :)

    Bringing my own water bottle, snack and a snack for the baby also saved me some money.

    • lalalalala says

      I need to remember that snack trick. Me and the little man always are tempted to quick pick up something because we’re easily prone to crankiness when our bellies are empty lol.

      And dannnnngggg, girl! You are efficient!

  12. says

    I stopped going through Target’s “Dollar Section”. I’ve found most everything is junk or has ended up on my garage sale pile. $1 items add up. And my kids ended up begging for stuff in addition to the stuff I was finding. Adios, Dollar Section!

    • Heather Harman says

      Same here! They put it by the front door for a reason – it’s a big money-maker for them.
      I stopped going to Dollar Tree for the same reason, unless there is really something specific that I need, like party plates. And that’s rare.

  13. Koree says

    I live directly across the road from Target and catacorner (spelling?) to Kroger. I have taken to walking to the store. This means I can’t buy way too much and I don’t have to drive there! I also switched from 40 to 20/month internet service through Insight (Louisville KY internet provider). I don’t have any cable, but did splurge on Netflix. And luckily, my mom still pays my cell phone bill : )

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