Once in a while I come across another author’s post that is so good that I have to share it with you. This is just that occasion.
Recently featured on MSN’s MoneyBlog, Frugal Dad presents 75 Tips to Survive a Down Economy. These are absolutely outstanding tips and tricks to get your spending down in a down economy.
Try just a few of these at first; you’ll soon be addicted to saving money. Don’t go nuts though. Using the same towel for 3 months in a row is really gross. I did that in high school and wondered why I never got a date.
It probably wasn’t the towel, but I can believe that.
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Last week we learned how to save money on phone calls. This week, we’ll learn two methods for saving money on groceries and other regular goods like shampoo and soap.
In a previous post, I joked about how my family of four eats on $1,000 a month because I had read a number of stories about how families larger than mine ate on as little as $60 a month (and here’s one on a family of five eating on $250 per month). It’s astounding to me how these folks do it. In short, it takes a methodology that I’m quite sure nobody in my family will ever master. But the families profiled in these stories have a plan, they stick to it, and they’re extremely serious about their shopping. They use coupons and store “bonus bucks.”
I strongly suggest you read both of the stories above. They offer numerous tips on how to save money on groceries and other necessities. One of the stories even goes into detail about Tip #2: The Drugstore Game.
The Drugstore Game. It sounds like something a meth addict might do, but it’s not. It is a serious use of in-store incentives, manufacturer’s coupons, and shopping skills. I’m not even going to try to explain it, but I think I might try it.
Here’s one example from a shopping outing at CVS:
Adidas deodorant was $4.99 and if you bought it, you’d get back $4.99 in Extra Bucks. They also had some toothbrushes that were $3.99 and you would receive $3.99 back in Extra Bucks. “By splitting it up into several transactions, I can take the extra care bucks I get and use it to pay for the next (items).”
Don’t forget, Crissy also had coupons for most of these products. “That’s the best when they have anything that’s free after the Extra Care Bucks because when you have a coupon you’re basically getting paid to buy the product.”
She rolls the savings of one transaction to the next, to the next, and so on. Amazing. This is ingenuity at its best.
Here are a few posts on how the “game” is played.
Creative strategies for coping with rising costs – Part Two: The Drugstore Game
New to The Drugstore Game? You’re in luck!
Super Savings Saturday at MSM
Play “The Drugstore Game” to Cut Monthly Bills (read the commnets)
So, try your hand at the Drugstore Game. It looks very promising, if not fun.
That’s it until next week. I hope your shopping improves after you implement some or all of these tools.
Last week in Two For Tuesdays: Summertime Prep Edition we talked about saving money on home energy use, particularly by keeping out the heat from the summer sun. This week, we’re going to show you some novel ways to save money on your phone bill.
Everybody knows by now that I like free better than I like pay-for, especially if the service is equal. Well, in the case I’m about to bring up, you get FREE and BETTER service. The telephone companies make a ton of money on “Directory Assistance” or 411 calls; they’re pure profit for the telcos.
Google, in their quest for world domination, has come up with a free version of 411 that involves no human interaction. Hence, better service than the drones at the phone companies can deliver. I’ve used GOOG-411 for a year or so now and I love it. It’s saved me countless dollars in fees (compared to the telco’s charge of $1.50 to $2 or more a pop), time, and frustration (“I said, ‘Sweet and Savory'”). Something that will always boggle my mind is how Google’s voice recognition technology is better than a human at understanding me.
Sure, there are other free directory service companies, but I don’t have any experience with them. I’ve found something that works, that’s free, and that’s super-easy to use. What more could I want?
I’ve grown sick and tired of paying $100 a month for a family cell phone plan. My wife, her mother, and I rarely (okay, have never) use the full complement of minutes we get with our Verizon Wireless plan; there isn’t even a plan that would suit our minimal cell phone usage. None of the main players in the cell phone arena (Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint) offer plans that suit us.
For those of you who use only about 200 minutes a month, a pay-as-you-go, or prepaid, plan is the way to go. There are a few players in this area (all the major cell phone companies listed above have their own prepaid plans), but the one that is most intriguing is Virgin Mobile.
First of all, 200 minutes costs $20. Yes, that’s 10 cents a minute, which sounds kind of high. But when you compare that to the 200 minutes a month I use and pay $40 to get (that’s 20 cents used minute), it seems downright cheap.
Often, Virgin Mobile has promos or coupon codes that you can use to get minutes at a lower unit cost. You can also “top up” (is that a British term?) at any time, and if you don’t use your minutes in a given month, they roll over to the next month (of course, there are limits and stipulations to this, buyer beware.
The one shortcoming is the lack of choices for phones (and, unlike the non-prepaid plans, these phones are rarely free). But I use a phone for calling people. I don’t need a camera (I have one) and I don’t need an mp3 player (I have one of those, too). Bluetooth is mandatory (I live in Moscow, I mean, California, where hands-free calling is the law). But what else is necessary?
Call quality, ease of use, battery life, and price, in that order. You will find a phone that meets those requirements.
There’s a few really good posts by The Happy Rock about how he ditched Verizon in favor of Virgin Mobile, where he talks about the great deals he’s found. Here are two of his posts:
That’s it for now. Until next week…