Without giving our financial specifics, let me say that I have spent years perfecting the fine art of living on the cheap. I am fortunate because spending as little money as possible is more thrilling to me than a big shopping spree is for most. But even if that were not the case, I would have learned the art of cheap out of necessity. Regardless of how the lessons have been learned, I will share some tips for how we get the most bang for our bucks.
This is key! If I take a look around my house I will have a hard time locating something that was purchased new. Buying second hand is frugal, better for the environment (reuse!) and easy to do.
Craigslist: My favorite way to find stuff for cheap. Pretty much all of our furniture and decorations have been purchased using Craigslist. We have used it to buys toys, bikes, kids clothes, our aquarium and our car. It is an amazing resource.
Reuse sites: Join Freecycle. Search Yahoo and Facebook groups for any local reuse sites. A great way to recycle things you no longer need and receive things you do. We have gotten a number of things through sites like these.
Buy the store brand:
Groceries: Buy store brand. We have been buying Wegman’s store brand for years and every time I try to beat their prices somewhere else or use coupons for the brand name stuff I find the Wegman’s brand stuff is cheaper and of better quality.
Amazon: Ideally I would love to buy anything that I can’t find used from a local store and made in the U.S.A. however my energy for deal shopping is small so I often end up buying from Amazon. I always save up enough purchases to hit the $25 to qualify for free Super Saving shipping though. Amazon just changed their free shipping minimum to $35 though to try to get more people to pay for Amazon Prime ($80 a year) so I will have to reevaluate my Amazon shopping.
Daily deals:There are tons of daily deal sites out there for pretty much everything you could possibly want. Just make sure you really want to be getting emails from the site each day before you sign up. And be sure not to get sucked in to buying things you do not need because it’s a great price. Some sites I use are Living Social, Zulily, Groupon, Educents.
Cash back: I recently joined ebates where you get cash back for all of the online purchases you make at participating sites (like Amazon, Toys-R-Us, Target, etc.) when you start your shopping from links on the ebates site. Ebates gets money from the sites where you shop for referring you and give you cash back from that.
Savings and Freebie sites:. There are lots of sites that list savings and freebies you can get online. Just take a look on Facebook or Google it and you will find a ton.
- Don’t Get sucked in to buying deals you don’t need.
- Don’t clip and use coupons for products you don’t regularly buy.
- Don’t buy something cheap thinking you can resell it for a profit (it hardly works and the hassle is not worth it).
- Don’t forget to factor in shipping costs when looking for deals online.
There are many, many more was to save but these are a few of my favorite ways we live on the cheap.