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Knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement from a Christian perspective is my goal. I post a weekly commentary, which could be about world events or the events of my week. Other days I might share stories, recipes, homemaking tips, book reviews, political talk, biblical truth, or other blogs and websites I like. This blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

Monday, February 4, 2008

THE HALF-PRICE LIFE

Saving money takes time, which is probably why many women don't bother. When I worked full-time outside the home and full-time inside, saving money was the last thing on my mind. But now I've made it my job to save money, and I want to share some of the things I discovered.

If you want to save, you have to know where the bargains are. Subscribing to the Sunday paper is a must, not only for the manufacturer's coupons, but also for the sale flyers. I always pull out the RiteAid, CVS, and Giant flyers to see what's on sale. Sometimes the overall best offer is from Weis Markets, so I'll shop there that week. But most of the time, I pick and choose bargains from two or three sources and then pick them up whem I'm in that area.

Scheduling your shopping trips in sync with your other errands saves gas. This, of course, takes planning. Writing everything on a calendar allows me to see where I'm going each week so I can plan my shopping trips around those errands. It sounds like common sense, but I didn't always do this.

Another thing I didn't do is check sale flyers. Although I was always a coupon clipper, I didn't realize until recently the importance of those flyers. Last week Rite Aid had a Buy One Get One free (BOGO) sale on snacks. Giant had the same item on sale at two for five dollars. I assumed the BOGO sale would be a good deal. It turned out that Giant had the better deal with a two dollar difference in savings. That would have paid for the Sunday newspaper, but because I didn't check the Giant flyer, I blew that bargain. Made me mad, too!

Another way to save money is to cut things in half. And I mean that literally. For example, I used to buy gallons of 1% milk until someone told me to buy whole milk and dilute it with half water. I've been doing this for months and no one has noticed or complained. That's two gallons of milk for the price of one and I'm told that it's healthier because whole milk goes through less processing. Some other things I cut in half are paper towels, dryer sheets, and the amount of detergent I use when the load is lightly soiled. Nine times out of ten a half paper towel does the job, so I keep them near the roll in a napkin holder.

Planning meals and making a grocery list is another money saver. I didn't always do this either. And I got frustrated when I didn't have the right ingredients for a recipe. Now I look over what's already in the pantry and freezer and work with that first to plan meals. Then I find the recipes I'm planning to make for the next two weeks and make sure I have the ingredients. My grocery list consists of the needed ingredients and the things I write down as items are consumed. That's another good habit to get into. When the laundry detergent is getting low, write it on the list. Simple habits can make life so much easier.

Another wasteful habit I once had was to throw bulk packs of meat in the freezer. Now I buy meat in bulk and wrap it in family servings of about four ounces per person. I also check the number of servings a recipe makes. Some recipes can be cut in half to avoid waste or you can plan to freeze half for another meal later.

To be continued...

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