Tag Archives: saving money

The Ways We Save

Unfortunately, that penny was dropped from the roof of the Empire State Building
Unfortunately, that penny was dropped from the roof of the Empire State Building

Unless money truly is no object in your family, then you have cut back like the rest of us in the past 5 years. The things we do or buy and places we go are a little more modest.

It’s no surprise that in a thriving economy, consumers don’t watch their spending and budget as closely. They splurge on…getting their hair done frequently…vacations and redecorating their home. When the economy took a turn for the worst, consumers cut back on those extra expenses and became determined to save on daily expenses such as grocery shopping and gas. The JaneDough.com

So, how are we doing it?

  • Postponing (indefinitely!) that dream vacation, that elective surgical procedures (get used to the crow’s feet!) And, the oddest item: not getting divorced. (Staying together because it’s cheaper…yay?)
  • Investing in energy-efficient appliances and home upgrades, security systems and… get ready… pregnancy prevention products. (No comment – read the article.)

And last but not least:

  • Thievery. Ask my wife the commercial property manager about the relentless Copper Wars. On second thought, don’t get her started. Other popular items include feminine hygiene, toilet paper and dogs. (Again, read the piece.)

Of course, your mileage may vary. In our house, it’s not a matter of cutting OUT certain things; we seem to do the same NUMBER of things, but each thing is scaled back. Except for thieving. Don’t touch my thieving! Anyway…how are you getting by? Let us know over at the MindField Online Facebook page!

Fighting Food Waste


I usually avoid reading articles about food waste, as they are typically written to make Americans feel bad about the rich bounty of our lives. This one, however, puts it in dollars and cents – you PAID for that food! Why throw it away?

First, the depressing statistics:

  • About 40 percent of all food in the U.S. goes to waste.
  • The average American wastes about $28 to $43 in food each month, roughly 20 pounds of food.
  • Broken down, about 17 percent of dairy, 20 percent of vegetables, 15 percent of fruit, 18 percent of the grains, 25 percent of seafood, and 33 percent of the meat you buy goes to waste. Money Talks News

How to avoid throwing food (and money) away? There are several tips and tricks you can use – some a little nuttier than others.  The full list is at the original article, but here are some highlights.

1.     Store onions in pantyhose. (I assume you shouldn’t be wearing them at the time.)

2.     Add rice to your seasonings. (Absorbs moisture, and gives your spices that extra ricey flavor!)

3.     Invest in airtight plastic containers. (Keeps crackers, cereal, etc. fresh for two extra weeks!)

4.     Store bread in the fridge. (I don’t buy enough bread to know if this works or not, but my bagels last up to a month!)

5.     Prep salads in mason jars. (Apparently, you can keep salads for 10 days this way!)

6.     Give fruits and vegetables a vinegar bath. (Removes dirt, wax, and bacteria for longer shelf life.)

7.     Keep an eye out for bad apples. (Despite what the Osmond Brothers say, one bad apple CAN spoil the whole bunch, girl.)

8.     Make frozen buttermilk or cream cubes. (Yes, in an ice tray. Yes, people will think you are crazy.)

At our house, it’s usually bananas and salad fixin’s that seem to get wasted most. How about you? Are these tips useful? Bizarre? Usefully bizarre? Read the original article, and let us know!

Back to $chool $pending

Are we properly capturing the misery?

Are you feeling 15% richer now than last August? I hope so, because that’s how much more we are going to spend to send our kids back to school this fall.

This year, the average family with students from kindergarten to 12th grade is expected to spend $689 on back-to-school supplies, up from $604 last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Parents estimate they will spend an average of $246 on clothes, $218 on electronics, $129 on shoes and $95 on school supplies, such as notebooks, pencils and backpacks. Chicago Tribune

So, how do you avoid getting cleaned out at the register? Here are some tips…

Do your homework: make a list, plan your trip, and stick to it. Also, look around the house. Do you need to buy a pack of ten ink pens? Don’t you have 50 lying around the house? I know I do!

Save on supplies: Dollar store, baby! Of course, it’s not only dollars. Saving on headaches can be valuable too. Like, when the moms of XYZ Middle School prepare those grocery bags with precisely all  the supplies you kid will need? Costs more, but so easy!!

Clothing: This is going to depend on the kid, but what’s wrong with Good will? My sister had 2 boys, and bought ALL their clothes there because they just didn’t care. So, get some kids like that!

Wait on the season: By the time your kid needs each season’s wardrobe, those clothes will be on clearance. So, chill!

Online shopping: Online back to school shopping has increased 400% in the past few years, and now 40% of parents are doing it.

Compare prices: Prices for the exact same items are truly all over the place. Spend some time online and figure it out.

Computers and electronics: A good time to whip out that student ID, for extra savings.

So, that’s the 411 on back to school savings. There’s much more info at the original article, so check it out!  What do you think? Did we leave anything out? Got any tips to share?


Dining Out on the Cheap

Hmm...what should I title this one?

Times are tight, and we are all cutting back. But sometimes, for your mental health, you gotta go out! Let’s look at a few ways to dine on a dime, from an article called, appropriately enough, “Dining On a Dime,” courtesy of Today.com.

  • It’s Happy Hour somewhere! At many local bar & grille type places, or even at a big place like Chili’s, there are happy hour appetizer specials. Long ago I used to go to a Mexican chain at happy hour on Friday, where it was all you can eat chips, salsa and queso for the price of a couple of beers!
  • Go Online! Everybody has heard of Living Social and Groupon. There are others, as well, and they often have decent BOGO offers for their members. Just be careful that you don’t “impulse buy.” I have done that too often. Grabbing up a deal quickly – because they tell you to – and never getting around to using a coupon before it expires.
  • Support the Swim Team! Or the Girl Scouts, or your neighbor’s church, etc. by buying one of those local coupon books. You really can’t go wrong with these. They scream “a $1200 value for $25!!” Personally, I have never gotten more than $40 from my $25, but I still came out ahead.
  • Lunch is the New Dinner! Not really. But if you just want to go somewhere nice, sit in peace and be served – and you don’t care what time it is – do lunch! You’ll save money and you may like it enough to come back for dinner sometime.
  • Be Progressive! Why not grab a drink at one place, have an appetizer at another, and dessert at a third? You’re still saving over ordering two full meals, and you’re getting three times the “going out” experience!

These are just a few tips for dining on the cheap, while getting that all-important out of the house sensation. So get out there, have fun and save a dime this weekend!

Many more tips at the original article: Read it!

Clever Ways to Cut Back in 2012

Looking to cut back? Time Magazine has compiled a list of items and services “You Should Just Stop Buying.” Take a look!

  1. Homeopathic Flu Remedies: the CDC says they don’t work.
  2. Credit-Card Payment Insurance: expensive and with a bunch of restrictions and exclusions.
  3. Dirt-Cheap Paper Towels: they don’t work and you end up using more of them
  4. Bottled Water: expensive and often misleading, i.e., it’s NOT real spring water.
  5. Premium Gasoline: unless you drive a really high-performance car, it’s a waste of money.
  6. Super-High SPF Sunscreen: unless you are prone to skin cancer. SPF 30 blocks about 97% of UVB rays.
  7. Auto Service Warranties: Again, expensive and contain many restrictions and exclusions.
  8. 100-Calorie Packs of Snack Foods: Portion control is a great idea, but buy the big box and some baggies, and save a bunch of money!
  9. Lottery Tickets: you are 3 times more likely to be hit by a meteor than to win the lottery.
  10. Unlimited Cell Phone Minutes: these plans are one reason why our cell bills have gone up $20 in the past 5 years, even though we aren’t really talking any longer.
  11. Brand New College Textbooks: Grrr! I am still resentful about this one after 20 years!
  12. Extended Warranties: A lot of the time, these are redundant, and you can get similar coverage from your credit card for free.  Exception: your laptop. Every one I ever owned broke down after the warranty expired!

Much more info in the article…check it out!