Auntie Mary’s moneysaving advice


So. You’re trying to make your money go further… and you have already read all those helpful magazine tips.  “Give up that $5 a day designer coffee habit… negotiate with Visa to lower those interest rates… buy your designer fashions at consignment shops and get that $8000.00 gown for a mere $1,500.00… ”

Yeah. All well and good as far as it goes. But what if the last time you went to Starbucks was 6 months ago, your credit is poor or non existent, and forget designer fashions; Goodwill seems a tad pricey these days.  Buying in bulk would be awesome, but you only have $12 in checking…

One of the first things to do is squirrel away a few bucks. Just a few to start. How?

Drop your change in a jar, get $2 cashback when you slide your debit card at the grocery store, when a friend pays you back that $5 from last month, drop that in there too. Treat any little windfall that you don’t need for survival as an opportunity to save. It can add up pretty fast, even on a microscopic budget.  In a few weeks, you’ll have a little- or not so little- stash of cash.

Now that you have a little wiggle room and feel more empowered, you can start having fun.

1. Think ahead.  If your kid is heading for ANOTHER growth spurt any day now, you can watch yard sales, thrift stores, and clearance racks. Don’t wait till what they have is already too small and you have to pay full price because you have a jeans crisis. 

2. If you don’t know how to cook, LEARN.  You’ll save a small fortune if you aren’t buying convenience foods. The library has hundreds of books just waiting to show you how.

3. Buy quality stuff. It lasts longer, looks better, works better… Let’s talk examples.  Say your  child has an upcoming birthday.  Do you go for a handful of dollar store stuff? Buy ANOTHER flimsy electronic  gizmo that is supposed to entertain the kid with clicky noises and lights, and is fun for 5 minutes and then gets forgotten?

Nah- odds are the grandparents or the party guests have that one covered anyway.

If you buy a nice  toy-  a  good  quality one, with lasting play value,  your money will go a LOT further in the long run. Sometimes even in the short run.  Again, watch for sales, or better yet, buy from an independant artisan like me. (Yep, that’s a shameless plug.)  Seriously, though, look around. If you can support an indie artist or a small business, it’s good for everyone.

But let’s look at some other examples. The kids fed the dog and for some reason known only to 7 year olds they used your last mixing bowl instead of the dog dish. And the dog loved the food- and the plastic bowl- and now you have little yellow shreds everywhere.

After you get done yelling, you can go buy another $2 plastic mixing bowl.  This  will make the dog happy.  OR- you can mix the cookie dough in the soup pot for a while, save the $2, and keep checking for deals on a stainless steel bowl. You can find them for less than $1 at yard sales, around $3-$6 in stores like Marshalls, or $10 to $30 at those wonderful drool worthy gourmet cooking shops. And the stainless steel one is darn near indestructible.

Sneakers-  you can get the $10 ones at Wal-mart. They are vinyl, cheaply sewn, and not all that comfy. They fall apart, often before your son outgrows them.  OR- you can pay $20 for much better sneakers from the clearance rack at a department store or closeout place.  The better ones will last 4 times as long- maybe even be a passdown to a little brother if outgrown quickly.  And overall, you spent LESS. 

(See, this is why you were stashing away a few bucks, so you’d have that wiggle room and could comparrison shop!)

4. Trade, barter, share. Need meat? Ask around. Maybe there is a friend of a friend who hunts, and would swap you a few pounds of venison in exchange for you mending a torn jacket. 

 Maybe you can’t carpool to work- but what about carpooling to the grocery store? Every little bit helps.

You make lovely jewelry- and your daughter wants a new dress for that special doll. You can see who’s good at sewing and wants a new necklace.

Have friends over for a potluck supper.  Good company, cheap food, everyone wins.

5.  Re-use, recycle, repurpose… whatever you want to call it, it’s good for your budget- and for the enviorenment. Save money AND bask in the glow of virtue.  Make a torn skirt into a pillow or a tote bag or a doll dress. Turn an odd sock into a toy for the dog. Take those chewed up mixing bowl bits and use them as confetti…  well, maybe not.  But you get the idea.

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  1. #1 by Genevieve Lavander on November 24, 2010 - 3:40 pm

    you can always buy cheap foods on any supermarket these days because food production is mechanized already .;`

  2. #2 by Lingerie sets on January 25, 2011 - 9:54 am

    ::` I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives up to date information ‘,”

  3. #3 by blueditty on February 2, 2011 - 7:03 pm

    Good post, Acorn..Sensible & realistic.

  4. #4 by Geraldo Sub on August 25, 2011 - 1:48 am

    What blog sites would be good for a small business in floral and gifts?

  5. #5 by Feral Boy on December 8, 2011 - 9:57 pm

    Don’t forget wild foods, greens, berries, and mushrooms. Do your research first so you don’t get in trouble (especially with the mushrooms), and be amazed at how much great food you find that would have just gone “back to nature.”

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