Save Money in December!

Published by darlene on

Yes, I know it’s been awhile, since I  blogged.  Life got really busy for while and fall is my traveling time.  But I actually have said “no” to several things this December in an effort to slow down.  Thus a little time to write this post. I had the thought the other day to share some things we are trying to implement in our family as I was explaining to my children why we were having Chicken Pot Pie for the third day in a row.  We are using our resources.

Things get tight for people in December.   Each year about this time, I find myself  thinking of ways to save money.  I try to think of new ways and remember the old ones that worked.   Throughout the year I get lax about some of these things, as I’m sure most of us do.  But seems like a couple of times each year we really have to buckle down with these ideas, and Christmas is one of those times.

So without further adieu here’s some of my “titghten the financial belt” ideas.

1. Eat your leftovers.  You heard me.  We throw away too much food.  Pull up your “big girl” (boy) pants and know that you will not die or get sick from eating Chicken Pot Pie until it’s gone.  Eating your leftovers really does keep you from going through your groceries so fast.

2. Wait until it’s on DVD or at least Netflix.  Why go pay $10 to $12 for a movie ticket, when I can see five movies in a month through my Netflix account, which is actually less than a movie ticket.  Adding more to my savings, my popcorn and drinks aren’t as expensive as the theater’s and I can refill as often as I like.

3. Celebrating the Holidays “in.”  We’ve just stayed home this year.  My kids have helped me to bake and decorate, we’ve watched movies, and read Christmas stories together. I have loved it!  However, there are lots of resources out there to help you find the free things to do during the season if you get cabin fever.   It’s just staying in also saves on gas.  (smile)

4.  I don’t buy as much when I make a list. So I’m making myself take the time to make sure that my coupons and savings deals are in my purse.  Making a note on my list next to the items that I have coupons for is also helpful.  I’m not talking about grocery coupons. There are many different programs for organizing your grocery coupons, I’m speaking more specifically of non-grocery items that you get coupons for and forget that you have them.   Make it a goal not to pay full price for anything.

5. I did an online yard sale.  After cleaning out, I listed only the best of items, a description, and the price in a document, and emailed it out to friends.  I sold several toys and will enjoy a little extra cash as well as a little more space in the house.

6. Limit snacks and drinks.

  • My friend Jaina lets her kids choose three snacks every morning and those are their snacks for the day.  This keeps them from over eating and also keeps them from blowing through the stash in the pantry.
  • We have told our kids that for every drink they drink, like KoolAide, orange juice, or soda,  they must drink a full glass of water.  This has kept us from drinking the orange juice each morning until it’s gone. (cha-ching – not buying juice as often) Should be better for their teeth (cha ching – savings, no cavities) and help them to be more healthy. (cha-ching – more savings, no co-pays.)
  • My friend LA has gone to water all day except for meal time.  You go girl!
  • I’m also making my children take their vitamins each morning and echinechea!  Yep, I’m going for meanest mother of the year!   At least I haven’t made my kids starting counting the number of squares of toilet paper they can use each time they potty!  I mean there is a line, right?

7. Save those big shopping bags for garbage bags and use your dryer sheets twice. (OH yeah, meanest mom award is in the bag now!)

8. Instead of buying Christmas boxes I went to my recycle bins.  Lots of things fit in shoe boxes and when I ran out yesterday, I went and borrowed on from my neighbor.  (She wasn’t going to use it, I asked.)  Did you know that some books will fit in frozen pizza boxes?  And they are easier to wrap too!  OH yeah, I’m on a roll now!

9. And last but not least find ways to use food that is growing stale or is close to expiration date. This is another effort of mine to keep from wasting food.  Or find ways to stretch recipes.  Below are some examples.

  • Stale bread makes great french toast or toasted bread for sandwiches, or “seasoned your way” croutons.
  • Stale crackers make great toppings for casseroles.
  • Leftover sausage patties or hamburgers make great breakfast burritos with egg and cheese the next morning.  Both can also be crumbled up for pizza toppings.
  • 1 cup of elbow noodles and a one half cup of water will make a packet of Lipton Soup go 2 or 3 servings further.
  • Use dark or ripened bananas for banana bread.

Ok I know, some of these ideas are not new.  So now you can share your ideas with me.  I would love to know what you do with your leftovers or any of your great cutting back ideas.  Put them in the comments below or email them to me and I’ll repost them here.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Happy Savings and a Merry Christmas too!

Categories: CouponsFamily


Meredith MaGuirk · December 14, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Old t-shirts are cut into 12″ squares and that’s what we use for dusting cloths. Old towels get the same treatment and those are the rags we use for cleaning sinks/tubs/etc.

Old bread is FABULOUS for croutons. You can freeze it and thaw when you need croutons for your salad. The boys LOVE making croutons.

We let the boys eat only a percentage (their age) of their Halloween candy … the rest are saved for Gingerbread Houses at Christmas time. (and an occasional treat for daddy who has a sweet tooth!)

We save and fabric ribbon and all tissue from presents throughout the year … ALL tissue can be reused. If not as stuffing for a gift, for wrapping fragile items that are packed away (such as the creche or Christmas ornaments). Fabric ribbon is reused on gifts and to make hair bows for my 3 year old niece.

Papers are shredded and saved to use as padding for packages we are mailing (I love selling on eBay) … we save it all in large zippy bags that we recycle time and time again.

Plastic zip bags can be washed and used to sort craft project items (crayons, colored pencils, small cutouts, beads, etc.)

Plastic and glass jars are saved to use to sort bolts, screws, nails, etc for the workshop and it also is great to store wires and short cords from electronics that you only use on occasion).

All leftover veggies (steamed broccoli, peas, carrots, beans) and salad leftovers are saved and frozen and used as base for veggie soup – yum! Water and some bouillon cubes and you are good to go!

Kathie Hill · December 14, 2010 at 7:58 AM

After using dryer sheets twice, I either attach 2 to my Swifter or slip them into a rubber band until I have a big “pom pom” and use it like a duster.

Don’t throw away left over or limp lettuce or greens. Chop them, put into a freezer bag and add to soup or stew. It disintegrates when cooked but adds roughage, vitamins and color to your food.

My favorite liquid make up comes in a tube and favorite face cream in a jar. When the jar is empty, I wash and save it. When I can’t get any more make up from the tube, I cut it in half and scoop the left over make up into the clean jar. There’s at least a third of the tube still left! (Now I just wish I could salvage the left over lip gloss in the hard plastic containers!)

NES may throw out their used paper, but my husband brings it home so I can print all in-house documents on recycled paper.

Aldi’s coffee is as good as Starbucks at half the price. In summer, I freeze my hubby’s left-over morning coffee in ice cube trays, add milk and sweetner and enjoy cold coffee June – August.

We love artisan bread dipped in herbed olive oil. Walmart Neighborhood Market marks down their day-old bread, then displays it at the back of the store, away from the full-priced loaves. I buy all they have and keep it in the freezer. Once frozen, just cut off what you need and put the rest back in the (recycled!) freezer bags.

The CitiPass or City Saver coupon books are two for $25 in December. Using just one half price ticket to Tennessee Rep pays for your book – plus we save at least two-three hundred dollars a year with restaurant and store coupons. Buy one and give the other as a gift, or keep one in your car and the other in your husbands vehicle – plus we give coupons for Franklin restaurants to our Williamson County friends.

Buy and store Dollar General’s clearance of $1 mittens, scarves or any out of season clothes or toys in a bag to use for Operation Christmas Child boxes or Nashville Baptist Toy Store the following year.
It’s hard to spend that money after Christmas, but you’ll be so glad when you price the same items a year later!

Karen R · December 14, 2010 at 12:59 AM

Along the lines of your #7, since I have yet to make myself get and use the reusable shopping bags, I always ask for paper bags when I’m at the grocery store. Then I use the empty bags to collect my recyclables throughout the week and I can throw them, bag and all, into the big recycle bin that the city will collect from.

Also, we love chicken pot pie! Which reminded me that just this week I was making another chicken dish and had one leftover chicken breast (I cooked the whole package). I knew if I just put it in the fridge by itself it would most likely never get eaten and would eventually be thrown out, so instead I went ahead and diced it up and put in the freezer to use the next time we make chicken pot pie.

Love the idea about choosing the snacks for the day, as my child has developed a snacking habit that I’m trying to nip. I’ve told him not to get anything to eat or drink without asking me first, but this idea is so much better. It still lets him have some independence, but puts a limit on it!

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