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Friday, October 31, 2014

Elizabeth Street

10 MONEY-SAVING TIPS FROM THE WOMAN WHO TAUGHT US TO CUT OUR BILLS IN HALF

Mar 21, 2014

10 Money-Saving Tips from the Woman Who Taught Us to Cut Our Bills in Half

We were all blown away by Tiffany Zezula's post on cutting her grocery bill in half. As parents working to feed our families, we know all too well how those grocery bills add up. So when she shared couponing strategies that actually had her walking out of the store with more money than when she entered, well, our jaws dropped. 

Naturally, we had to find out what else the lawyer and mother of two had up her sleeve. 

1. Buy clothes off-season. "You can guess more or less what size your kids will be the next season, so I buy all the winter clearance items in the next size up during the spring, including winter coats and boots. I then buy swimsuits, flip-flops, tanks and more at the end of the summer as the fall stuff arrives. And I don’t just buy a couple of items--I buy their whole winter/summer wardrobe at that moment. I shop all the different stores and their sales and stock up on long sleeve T-shirts, leggings and socks so that I don’t have to buy anything when the season does change. I pretty much get all my clothes for up to 75 percent off (and that’s before matching a store coupon with it!)."

2. Stock up on nonperishable items when they are on sale. "I always grab two of any of these items--toilet paper, paper towels, pasta sauce, pasta, chips, cereal, canned tomatoes--when I see that they are on sale (and even more if I have a manufacturer’s coupon, making it even less expensive). I keep one shelf in my laundry room that serves as my “store.” This means that I never buy these items for full price or when a recipe might call for it."

3. Prepare a weekly shopping list. "I only go food shopping once a week (it’s all I have time for, honestly). I also write down which meals I’m planning on making/eating each night, so I don’t second guess myself or forget what the heck I was planning on making."

4. Go cheap when you can. "I buy cheap laundry detergent and use it on my cleaning rags when I wash them. Why use the good stuff on them?"

5. Plan ahead. "If I know that I’m having a party that will involve significant food and drink, I plan the menu and keep the list of the items I will need in my purse so that when I see items on sale at the grocery store, I can buy them then, instead of at full price (excluding fruit and vegetables)."

6. Utilize your freezer! "If I see organic produce on sale, I grab an extra bag and freeze it for later use in smoothies or soups."

7. Meatless Mondays are a money-saver. "My family eats vegetarian at least one night a week. Cutting out meat for just one night cuts way down on bills (not to mention the good you're doing for the environment)."

8. Buy in bulk. "I buy all meat in the family/bulk size and portion it out myself and freeze for use later."

9. Shop smart. "I never buy individually wrapped snack foods for my kids' lunches for two reasons: it’s bad for the environment, and I save by buying in bulk. Seriously, how hard is it to in a small reusable snack container?"

10. Store-brand = big savings. "I buy drugstore-brand mascara. They go on sale all the time (and you can match up a manufacturer’s coupon for even more savings). I just don’t think department store mascara is anything special."

Want more money-saving tips? Check out our slideshow above!

By Tiffany Zezula

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