Sam’s Club vs. Costo: Who Really Has the Best Savings?

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Laurie and Shannon from Passionate Penny Pincher compared prices on dozens of products at Sam’s Club and Costco to discover Who Really Has the Best Savings?

Here’s a snippet from her post:

This might just be both my friend Shannon’s and my favorite post ever here on PPP! Because we’re a couple of penny pinchin’ nerds, we love to see the low-down-nitty-gritty of a good price, and always (always!) do the math to know just how much we’re spending.

So, when I called Shannon on the way home from Costco the other day, we started discussing how fun it would be to price war Sam’s and Costco and see who actually won. I was very surprised with some of the results, but loved seeing them matched up evenly. This is just a small sample of the things we watched for this week, and if you all enjoy it, we may both make another trip back for more.

Click here to read the full post and see how each store compared to the other!

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What are your most creative income-earning ideas?

One of the parts of my next book that I’m especially excited about is that I’ll not just be sharing how to start earning some additional income, but will be giving you a plethora of ideas of businesses you could start or ways to earn additional income.

I have put together a long list of ideas that I’ll be sharing in the book, but I’m positively certain that you all have some great ideas I’ve not thought of or wouldn’t come up with on my own.

So, I’d love to hear: What are your most creative income-earning ideas? I’d love to hear your input of things you’ve done successfully, know others who have done successfully, or just think would be a brilliant idea for someone to do. I’m especially looking for ideas that don’t require a significant amount of money to start.

Share your ideas in the comments or email them to me (crystal @ moneysavingmom.com). Thanks so much!

Note: Comments left on this post or emailed in may be published in the book. If you’d prefer that we don’t publish your comment or email or that it’s anonymous, please mention this in your comment or email.

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We Paid Cash: A New-to-Us Car

We paid cash!

A testimony from Victoria

With 2 young boys, our growing family wanted a bigger vehicle. It was complicated trying to pack 2 boys, 2 carseats, a stroller, and all the bags that go with young children into the trunk of a car!

I wasn’t ready for a minivan, and neither was my husband, so we began searching for an SUV with a third row.

Finding something in our price range was extremely difficult, but after a few months of searching, we found a vehicle that we loved. It did have more miles on it than what we wanted, but the price was right!

outlook

We were able to pay cash for this vehicle, while still maintaining a healthy emergency fund because my husband sold his beloved four-wheeler, and we put our entire 2013 tax refund towards the vehicle. We also got a nice trade-in value for our car, which helped a lot.

Helpful Hint: I suggest trading-in over selling privately. When you trade in, the trade in value comes off the purchase price of the car, therefore you pay much less tax!

Because we saved so much by paying cash and because the vehicle did have over 100,000 miles on it, we were also able to pay cash for a 4-year, bumper to bumper warranty. We hope this will also save us money some day!

Victoria is a wife and mother to two busy boys! She also works full-time as a mission trip coordinator for a non-profit in Indiana (best job in the world!). In her spare time she enjoys running, camping, and attempting to re-decorate her home.

Have you saved up and paid cash for something — large or small? Submit your story for possible publication here.

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5 Ways to Save Money on Doing Laundry

Positive young woman doing the laundry at home

Guest post from Sarah of Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style

The laundry room may be one of the last places most people think of when it comes to saving money. The truth is though, it is one of the easiest places to pinch your pennies! Here are some tips for saving money in the laundry room:

1. Make your own detergent.

One of the easiest ways to save money in the laundry room is to make your own detergent. You can do this with just a few low-cost ingredients and it really gets your clothing clean very well! The cost of making your soap is just pennies per load and when you do it this way, you save yourself from needless chemicals as well.

When the weather is warm, you can also save money by giving up your dryer. Hanging clothes to dry not only saves you money off your energy bill, but might extend the life of your clothing as well because you won’t be using any high heat. Plus, taking a break from using your dryer also extends the dryer’s life!

If making your own detergent sounds like it won’t work for you, (although it really only takes about 15 minutes of your time!) make sure to stock up on sales and use coupons when you can. This last year, I have seen Tide on sale for $3.99 and with my dollar off coupon, it only ends up being $2.99 for a 32 ounce jug.

2. Use less.

This applies to soap, but it also applies to fabric softener. If you feel you need fabric softener, opt for dryer sheets instead of the bar and cut them in half. You still get the great scent and softening of clothes that you like, and this will make a box last twice as long.

Did you know you can make your own scented “dryer sheets”? While they may not have the same effect on clothes to soften them, most people like dryer sheets because of the scent.

To get the same effect, just have a couple rags or make your own wool balls and try this trick.  Drop a couple drops of essential oil onto your rag or wool ball and throw it in the dryer with your clothes. They will come out smelling amazing and each load costs you less than a cent!

3. Only do full loads.

You will be using the same amount of energy to wash and dry a half load as you will with a full load, so make sure each load that you do is full sized. That said, don’t over-stuff your machine as this damages it and could cost you more in repairs.

Doing a half-load doesn’t make much sense when you think about it in terms of saving money.

4. Have fewer clothes to wash in the first place.

Many of us have too many clothes! I know I was constantly doing the kids’ laundry and I wasn’t even sure how dirty it was.

One day, I just got sick of doing it every day. I thought to myself, “There’s no way they could possibly be wearing all these clothes.” Since then, I’ve scaled way back.

Each child is only allowed to have 20 outfits in their room at a time. That is almost 3 weeks of every day wear and more than plenty.

Believe it or not, I sold half of their clothes! I made money AND I don’t have to wash as many clothes!

5. Wear things more than once.

This is a money saver as well as a time saver. Some things can be worn or used multiple times before needing a good washing: jeans, bath towels, pajamas, etc. Even some things like what you wear to church for only one hour can sometimes be worn again before washing.

How do you like to save in the laundry room? Did I miss anything?

Sarah is a stay-at-home mom of two wonderful children. From homeless to well-off, this single debt-free mom is most known for her ability to live well on $18k/year. Sarah loves encouraging others that dreams do come true if they are willing to consistently work for it. Follow her blog: Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style.

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Gretchen’s $55 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan

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Aldi

2 Cucumbers – $0.59 each (I will get $0.25 back from Checkout 51.)

1 lb Butter – $2.69

1 Honey Bear – $2.99

1 loaf Bread – $0.99

1 Cantaloupe – $0.99

2 Strawberries – $1.25 each

2 Avocados – $0.33 each

1 bag Flour Tortillas – $1.19

1 pkg Kitchen Trash Bags – $4.99

1 can Refried Beans – $0.79

1 pkg Roma Tomatoes – $1.19 (I will get $0.25 back from Checkout 51.)

1 pkg Carrots – $0.99

Total with tax ($1.51): $22.66

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Dillons

2 half gallons Milk – $1.34 each

1 half gallon Buttermilk – Marked down to $0.10 (I couldn’t pass this up! I’m going to make buttermilk biscuits and pancakes to freeze. I don’t think I’ve ever bought buttermilk before since I always just make my own so I’m curious to see if it tastes any better with the real stuff.) :)

1 Kroger Cottage Cheese – $1.25

1 pkg Raspberries – $0.99

0.71 lb Broccoli @ $1.59/lb – $1.13

1 Lettuce – $0.99

1 Kroger Frozen Hashbrowns – $1.99

1 Kroger Dishwasher Detergent – $3.49

2 cans Green Beans – $0.44

1 Kentucky Legend Ham Steak – $2.99

1 lb Simple Truth Ground Beef – Marked down to $3.34

2 bags Kroger Shredded Cheese – $2 each

1 pkg Chicken Drumsticks – $5.59

1 bag Life Is Good Coffee – Marked down to $2.25 (I’ve never tried this coffee before. It is normally over $9 but they had all the Life Is Good coffee on clearance. I’m anxious to try it!)

Total with tax ($2.18): $32.72

Total for all grocery items: $55.38 (And I will also get $0.50 back from Checkout 51.)

Menu Plan for This Week

Breakfasts

Oatmeal, Scrambled Eggs/Fruit, Toast, Cereal, Smoothies

Lunches

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Macaroni & Cheese, Tossed Salad, Fruit/Veggies/Crackers, Leftovers

Dinners

Baked Chicken Drumsticks (this package will last us 2 meals so I will freeze half of it), Fruit

Beef & Cheese Noodle Bake, Tossed Salad, Peas (from freezer)

Hashbrown Casserole (I will be doubling this and putting one casserole in the freezer), Buttermilk Biscuits, Cantaloupe

Spaghetti with Garlic Chicken Gravy, Green Beans, Tossed Salad

Deer Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Blueberry Muffins

Brown Bag Burritos (I will make the full recipe and freeze half of them), Tossed Salad

Date Night (using a gift card I earned from MyPoints.com)

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The Cost of Raising a Child

How Much Does it Cost to Raise a Child?

I told you yesterday that I’d been asked to comment on a media story about the USDA’s prediction that it costs $245,000 to raise a child.

Your comments and thoughts on this topic were so interesting. There were lots of differing viewpoints and perspectives!

The article I was interviewed for was posted today on TheStir.com for those who are interested in reading it. Here’s a snippet:

Before even becoming a mom, one of the most common warnings you’ll hear from other parents is how expensive it can be to raise children. As it turns out, they’re right.

Families who had a baby in 2013 can expect to spend on average $245,340 until the child is 18, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s just-released annual report, Expenditures on Children by Families. That’s between $12,800 and $14,970 a year for a middle-income family with two parents, depending on the kids’ ages.

Angela Hawkins, 33, a mom of three in the suburbs of Houston, is living proof that the numbers don’t lie.

She shared her household budget with The Stir and estimated that she and her husband Shane will spend about $270,000 per child by the time they turn 18.

“The figures can be overwhelming,” Angela admits.

So where exactly does all that money go?

Read the full post here for the price breakdown details on how much this family is spending and some tips from other money-saving folks on how to cut costs (with one on cutting your food costs from yours truly!)

I found the figures she shared interesting and insightful. And, of course, my frugal brain came up with lots of suggestions and ideas for ways to possibly lower those costs. :)

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