This week’s focus of my Thrifty Tuesday series is all about the fun stuff. My goal is to help you find ways to make that discretionary income last, once all of your bills are paid and you have put a little money away into savings.
Fun & Entertainment & Shopping (tips #41-63)
41. State parks! Look into getting a state park pass that will last for a year, and then get out and explore! Many are beautiful day trips, too.
42. If you want to go out to eat, use www.restaurant.com to get good gift certificate deals. Of course, NOT going out to eat will save you tons more. Or, if friends and family are asking you for birthday/holiday gift ideas, you could suggest gift cards to your favorite restaurant(s)! That way you can still indulge once in a while but it doesn’t have to come out of your pocket.
43. Cancel cable and go to less movies in the theater, but try Netflix (especially streaming!) instead. I promise life without cable isn’t that bad. ;-)
44. Use the library instead of buying books. There are often great movies and TV series available to check out, as well!
45. Find out if your employer offers discounts on any products or services around town.
46. Unsubscribe from weekly store ads to reduce shopping temptation.
47. But, if you must shop, always scour the sale racks and just don’t even let yourself look at the full-price items. One of our favorite things to do is something we like to call “thirfting at Old Navy!” I don’t know why they have such great deals all the time, but if you wait for their sales and stick to the clearance racks, you can make out with several new pieces of clothing for just a couple of bucks each!
48. Also, if you want to shop at a store that you know your size in like Old Navy or Gymboree, you can go to the website and see ALL the sale items from their main inventory instead of just your local store. Sometimes you can find stuff for about 50% that way.
49. Did you know that you can link your debit card to a Target REDcard account and it still works just the same as your regular debit card drawing from your checking account, but you also get 5% back on every purchase!? And don’t forget to scour their Cartwheel app for even more coupons!
50. Keep an eye on websites for deals on things you’re already looking to spend money on (don’t use these as an excuse to spend money on things you don’t need!) like Groupon, LivingSocial, BabySteals, Totsy, Kidsteals, BabyHalfOff, GreenBabyBargains, etc.
51. Never be afraid to ask for a discount! I learned this from my dad. He asks everywhere he goes (for military and/or senior status!)! And I’d say 7/10 times, he’s successful!
52. And, did you know that stores like REI and Crate & Barrel have Outlet sections on their websites? Great deals there, too!
53. Amazon is LOADED with ways to save money. One is with their program called Amazon Basics, where you can get inexpensive electronics accessories (I know I could always use more rechargeable batteries!). Another is with Subscribe & Save (15% off with a subscription of 5 or more items– easy to change and update each month (seriously, we get our awesome dog food for half of what it costs at Whole Foods!). And you can save even more with Subscribe & Save if you’re signed up for Amazon Mom (think: baby wipes!!). I’ve saved tons on diapers, wipes, vitamins, dog food, batteries, cleaning supplies and laundry detergent, canned goods, bath and body products, etc.! If you’re a student, you can get an Amazon Prime membership at a discount via Amazon Student, plus a free 6-month trial period!
54. Another note with Amazon: You can go through Amazon Smile to shop, which allows you to pick a charity you want a portion of your purchase to automatically be donated to! We personally chose the Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America. :-) What better way to grab that Halloween candy and support a great cause!
55. Some people feel like they get as good of a deal on bulk items at their local warehouse store like Sam’s or Costco. Check it out for yourself and see what suits you, especially if you live really close to one! Buying certain items in bulk can certainly save you lots of money. I even heard that Amazon has started offering a bulk pantry items program!
56. Get creative with your coupons! Look for double coupon days at grocery stores, and see if you can combine certain coupons. Sometimes you can combine store advertised coupons with manufacturers’ coupons (and sometimes there are certain rules like the discounted amount has to be different on each coupon).
57. Group your errands to make for shorter and less car rides and gas usage.
58. Make sure your car has good tire pressure and a recent tune up. Inflating to maximum recommended pressure can improve gas mileage by 3% and regular wheel alignments also boost fuel economy.
59. Sign up for points on sites like Pampers and get some really good coupon books from them every so often, which also include coupons on everyday items as well, like paper towels and toilet paper.
60. Hand-me-downs from friends and family are fabulous. Furniture, adult clothing, kids clothing, baby items, whatever.
61. Or search secondhand via thrift stores, Craigslist, Freecycle, and garage sales!
62. Also, try resale shops like Kid2Kid or Once Upon a Child for secondhand toys and baby gear, for about a third of the cost of buying them new.
63. Finally, if you have a certain skill set, try to use that to barter with someone else for a service or item you might need/want.
Thanks for tagging along for this money saving journey! Next week will be the last post in the series, and then I’ll do a recap post as well. As always, feel free to comment below and let me know what has worked for you and/or what you would add to this list!