April 16, 2014

Daily Frugal Tip: Homemade Mosquito Repellent

Apr 3, 2014

Homemade mosquito repellent that actually works!

Check out how to make Homemade Mosquito Repellent over at Real Food Enthusiast! I know I’m going to need this here in N. Texas this summer!

Do you have a Frugal Tip you’d like to share? Please send me an email!

FREE Grocery Spending and Coupon Savings Spreadsheet

Jan 4, 2014

FREE spreadsheet to track coupon savings and grocery spending! So easy to use and it's exactly what I've been looking for!

One very important part of couponing is tracking how much you are spending and saving. Hopefully you have a general idea of how much you spent on groceries pre-couponing, but even if you don’t, tracking your spending can be extremely beneficial. Right now is always the best time to start keeping track!

I have created this awesome and SIMPLE spreadsheet to use to track your grocery spending and savings! All you have to enter is how much you spend and save each week (most stores will calculate your savings for you at the bottom of the receipt!) and the spreadsheet will calculate the percentages for you!

How to use the Grocery Savings Spreadsheet:

First of all, in order to be able to use the spreadsheet, you need to download it to your computer or save to your Google Docs account.

Save to your computer:

1.  Open the spreadsheet in Google Docs

2.  Click on “File”

3.  Go to “Download As”

4.  Choose the program you would like to download it to.

Save to your Google Docs (Google Drive) account: (I personally like Google Docs because I don’t have to worry about losing my data if my computer crashes.)

1.  Sign in to Google Docs (it is very easy to register)

2.  Open the spreadsheet in Google Docs

3.  Click on “File”

4.  Click on “Make a Copy” (this is a VERY important step)

5.  Name and Save it

FREE spreadsheet to track coupon savings and grocery spending! So easy to use and it's exactly what I've been looking for!

Now that you have your copy of the spreadsheet, here is how you use it.

You need to save your receipts every time you buy groceries. Either input them in the spreadsheet as soon as you get home, or put them somewhere you will remember and input them at the end of the week.

The only fields you need to fill out are the light green shaded boxes. That’s it!! Everything else is automatically calculated for you. At the top in the yellow fields you can see your average weekly spending as well as your year to date (YTD) totals. This spreadsheet is made for 2014, but it is easy to update it for next year. Just create a new copy and update the week ending dates. I also hope to have a new version prepared every year.

Week Ending - Each row should include the totals for all purchases prior to and including the date entered. So, for the week ending 1/4, include all totals from 12/29 through 1/4 (Sunday – Saturday).

Spending – Input the total spent on groceries. You need to define this for yourself. For me, that includes all food, toiletries, paper goods, pet food, diapers, etc.

Savings - Input how much you saved. You need to define this for yourself as well. Will it include all savings or just coupon savings? I include all savings: coupons, sales, and clearance. Most stores calculate your savings for you and include it at the bottom of the receipt.

Stores – Input the stores you visited. This field is not necessary to fill out, but it can be helpful. I like to include this to see which stores I tend to spend more at or get the most savings from.

This spreadsheet is very simple.  You really only have to fill in the spending and savings fields and everything else is done for you!  Now you can have visual evidence of how much you are truly spending and saving.

I truly hope some of you will be able to benefit from this spreadsheet!  I know spreadsheets can seem daunting to some, but don’t be afraid! Inputting your totals will become habit after a while. I’ve been using this spreadsheet for years and I love looking back and seeing all my savings.

Do you track your grocery spending and savings?

How to Save Money When You Don’t Feel Like Couponing

Dec 16, 2013

3 easy tips for saving money on groceries when you don't feel like using coupons.

While couponing is certainly a lot of fun, there are some days where it just feels like an awful lot of work. There are definitely some days where it takes all my energy and mental focus to just get to the store, forget about using coupons!

I definitely think it’s okay to take breaks from couponing sometimes, but I do realize that for many, paying full price is just not an option. So, I’ve compiled a few tips for saving money on your groceries, even when you don’t feel like it!

Shop at Aldi

I love, love, love Aldi. They have everyday low prices so you don’t have to worry about paying for the huge markups at the grocery store. Sure, you could probably get a better deal on some things with coupons at another store, but overall they have some of the lowest prices on staples like produce, milk, and eggs.

Best of all, you can get those low prices without even having to think about it. No coupons to bother with or “buy x, save y” promotions to figure out.

Go Mobile

Another way to save on your groceries is by using your smart phone! Yes, you might still technically be using coupons, but this way doesn’t feel like it!

One of my favorite coupon apps is Target Cartwheel. When I’m shopping at Target, I keep this app open on my phone. As I add things to my cart, I look on the app to see if there is a coupon for that item. If there is, I can save anywhere from 5% – 25% on the spot! Good deal and super easy!

Another awesome app for saving money is Favado. You can browse the sales from up to 10 different stores, making it easy to find the best store to shop at each week. It will also alert you to any potential coupons you can use….you know, if you’re up for it. ;)

The last app I recommend is actually not for coupons at all! Ibotta is an app that will give you actual money back for your purchases for doing simple things like taking a one-question poll or sending a tweet. It’s really easy to use and there’s no extra work for you to do while you’re at the store juggling a shopping cart and two kids. Just upload your receipts to the app when you get home to earn your cash rebates.

Pantry Challenge

My final tip for saving money without coupons is to have a pantry/freezer challenge! The challenge is to grocery shop as little as possible and only eat what’s already in the pantry/freezer. You can do the challenge for one week or one month, however long you think you can go without shopping!

I always enjoy doing these challenges and usually discover that I have way more food than I even realized! It’s surprisingly fun to get creative and come up with some dishes that we don’t normally eat. You can use websites like allrecipes.com or supercook.com where you can enter in the ingredients you have and it will find recipes for you.

I hope this gave you some ideas for saving money when you don’t feel like it!

What do you do when you experience couponing burnout?

New Budgeting Tool from Dave Ramsey: My Christmas Budget!

Nov 8, 2013

My Christmas Budget Tool by Dave Ramsey

Need help planning your finances this holiday shopping season? Dave Ramsey is offering a FREE new budgeting tool called My Christmas Budget!

More than a simple budgeting tool, My Christmas Budget will help you get and stay organized for this season’s Christmas shopping. My Christmas Budget is mobile-friendly, so you’ll always have your Christmas shopping budget at your fingertips.

To learn more, read 5 Ways Our Christmas Budgeting Tool Will Change Your Life from Dave Ramsey.

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Daily Frugal Tip: Read Your Bills to Save Money

Jul 8, 2013

I saved $35 by reading just ONE of my bills! See how reading your bills can save you money!

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve just read the total of my bills and paid them without reading anything else on the paper. Well, this week I read my bills and saved $35!

You see, last month I accidentally paid my water company with the amount I owed the electric company and the electric company with the amount I owed the water company. I pay my bills online so it was easy to enter the wrong amounts in the fields. Well, as you can imagine, our electric bill was much more than our water bill, so I was short on the payment.

I was quite surprised to receive a bill and disconnect notice in the mail later that month since I knew I’d paid the bill! After some investigating, I figured out what happened and called them to explain. I paid the remaining $35 I owed over the phone and all was rectified.

However, when I received my bill this month, I noticed it was a bit higher than usual. I looked over the charges and noticed an extra $35 charge that was being rolled over from my last bill!

I called the electric company again and asked them to verify the amount I owed. They confirmed the total showing on my bill so I explained that I paid the $35 charge already. They admitted that there was a note on my account showing I’d paid but that it hadn’t gone through to billing! Oops! They updated my account and I paid the correct total.

Had I not looked over my bill and noticed the extra charge, I would have just paid my bill as usual and it’s likely that I never would have received a credit for my overpayment.

Taking 30 seconds to look over the charges on my bill saved me $35 this month! That is an excellent return on my time! I will definitely be reading over all of my bills from now on!

Tell me, do you read your bills or do you just pay the total?

photo credit: kenteegardin via photopin cc

Daily Frugal Tip: Homemade Grape Nuts Cereal

Jun 24, 2013

Homemade Grape Nuts Cereal

Head over to Heavenly Homemakers to learn how to make Homemade Grape Nuts Cereal! This is pretty cool, and she even breaks down the price for you in comparison to the store-bought cereal.

Healthier and cheaper? Win/Win!

Do you have a Frugal Tip you’d like to share? Please send me an email!

Daily Frugal Tip: DIY Fruit Fly Trap

Jun 18, 2013

DIY Fruit Fly Trap

I sure love all the delicious fruit in season right now, but I don’t love the fruit flies that come with it! If you’re trying to get rid of fruit flies in your home, head over to My Blessed Life and check out this DIY Fruit Fly Trap! You can make it with supplies you probably already have on hand!

I made this exact trap about a month ago, when we were inundated with fruit flies in our kitchen. They kept coming in through my local produce co-op delivery. I did it exactly as this tutorial says, and it worked perfectly. Within a day, I had hundreds of fruit flies in the bottom of my jar.

The dish soap is key! Don’t skip that step. Also, I recommend maybe taping the outer edge of the trap to the jar, to prevent the flies from escaping out the side of the jar.

Good luck!

Do you have a Frugal Tip you’d like to share? Please send me an email!

LearnVest: FREE Personalized Budget Tool

Jun 8, 2013

Need a little help getting your finances on track and sticking to your budget?

Sign up for LearnVest and you’ll get access to a FREE personalized budget tool that helps you figure out a budget you can actually stick with. LearnVest makes it easy to get your financial life organized for FREE.

Daily Frugal Tip: DIY Fishing Lures (Father’s Day Gift Idea!)

May 28, 2013

Fishing Lures DIY

Want to give a homemade gift for Father’s Day? Here’s a cute idea! Head over to Creative Green Living to learn how to make your own fishing lures from Dollar Store materials!

Pretty nifty, if you ask me! :D

Do you have a Frugal Tip you’d like to share? Please send me an email!

Daily Frugal Tip: Make Your Own Sponge Ball Toss!

May 15, 2013

Sponge Ball Toss

Head over to Passion For Savings to learn how to make your own sponge ball toss! I think this is SUCH a cool frugal tip for the summer season! You could buy your sponges at the dollar store. I love frugal tips that also provide hours of cheap entertainment.

Do you have a Frugal Tip you’d like to share? Please send me an email!