• A blog about a smidgen of time each day and the hope you spend it with me

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pinching Pennies

Times are tough.

and right now times are really really tough for people around here, there and everywhere. Budgets are squeezed tightly and living paycheck to paycheck now seems like a sweet memory. For many it's a game of Catch up with every month asking the question...

"What bills can we pay this month?"

So this week is dedicated to getting by...all the things we do to make it and stay afloat; and here is where you come in. I would like you to share with us your tips and tricks on how you save money.

Do you have some inside scoop on better couponing?


Do you have a cool recipe for home made dish detergent? How do you save on Kids clothes?



How do you save on Christmas gifts? Share anything! I will moderate the comments so that I can gather and publish your tips in another post with links to your own blogs

Now back when I was a teeny tiny girl ( Yeah OK, I heard someone snicker in the back ) my mom (from time to time) would have to fly back to her childhood home to be by my Grandma's bedside when Grandma fell ill.

Those trips became quite frequent as my grandma got older. My dad would become a mister mom and he quite frankly was great at it. He was an awesome cook though he didn't realize that we were not an army and we were instead three small kids. He would fill up our plates until we could eat no more.

Around that same time a brand new Pathmark Supermarket opened near us.

It was the first time I had ever seen a "No Frills Aisle"

Everything on the shelves had a plain white label. The prices were substantially lower than the fancier labeled products.

My Mom who was a slave to her favorite brands never ventured in that aisle to shop. She would merely use the aisle as short cut to other aisles. She was convinced that because they did not have the fancy labels they were not as good. So she bought less.

When Mom was away taking care of Grandma. My Dad assumed the daunting task of grocery shopping with no idea of where things were or what  brands mom usually brought home.

I got home from school, threw down my book bag and greeted my Dad who was unpacking and putting away groceries.

Before me was a sea of white labels. My dad smiled and said




 "Joanne, look at all this I bought on sale! There is an aisle where everything is really cheap!" He acted as if he had won the lottery

He was so happy at his find that I didn't have the heart to tell him that Mom would never approve.

Days later when Mom came home she laughed at the new labels that found their way home to us. She found out that some things like peanut butter and jams were not bad at all and that some actually tasted exactly like their brand name counter parts.

Detergents were another story, but from then on we didn't just take the short-cut through the "No Frills" aisle. We actually stopped a bit and looked for the items that Dad had bought on his turn. She even started using coupons. Its funny to think that walking and buying those things embarrassed me a bit then...

Now, I proudly flash my coupons.


  1. We shop at Aldis, a no frill store too...Christmas gifts? I dont know from year to year what I do but hide my head in the sand til??
    I do start looking at sales though

  2. We are seniors on a fixed income which will, over the years, purchase less and less. Consequently we are close with our money and tuck what we can away for future needs. Here are some of the things we do to cut back on expenses.
    We try to do most of our work that requires hydro output in the offpeak (cheaper) hours ie..laundry, dishwasher.
    We keep our heat at 68 degrees through the day and set it back to 64 at night.
    In the summer we use the AC only when absolutely necessary and we set it at 75 degrees. On hot, sunny days we keep the house closed up..windows/drapes/doors and try to avoid opening and closing the doors any more than necessary.
    Our car is driven only four times a week (unless there's an emergency) and we try to arrange all our errands and appointments in an efficient route that will save on gasoline.
    I have a monthly budget for food and if there is any left over at the end of the month I tuck it into my Christmas fund so that when the time comes I have a stash ready.....no bills after Christmas. Also we buy very little prepared/frozen/canned food or junk food like chips and pop.
    We had an undercounter filter installed and we no longer buy bottled water.
    We allow ourselves each a certain amount weekly for coffee and treats...when it's gone, we're done. Last year I saved up the money from the end of each week and bought my Kindle with it. Also we finance our grandsons Beaver dues with the change left over from the end of each week.
    In the summer we rarely use the AC in the car as it uses too much gas to run it.....
    I think the biggest thing we do though, is we keep a detailed budget of household expenses with ledger, account book...the works. I can tell you where every penny has gone. The less money you have the more important it is to keep that budget.
    Maybe a bunch of us should get together and run a blog together with money saving ideas, where to find the best deals, coupons, recipies, gift ideas, crafts etc.

  3. i always use coupons just wish there was a class around me to teach me how to do it better

  4. I think that with Christmas, it is possible to keep the spirit of giving without giving gifts that actually cost money. Like "coupons" that say you will do something nice for a person. I know it's harder with kids, but kids can be very altruistic - so maybe coming up with things the family can do together to help a worthy cause? I know it's really hard, sending you prayers for easier times.

  5. I use coupons. There are several on line places to get coupons. Coupons.com is the best I think

  6. I like the story of your dad and the white no frills labels. I do like to save a penny or two. Tonight we ate potatoes that I grew, now that is very inexpensive and organic too.

  7. One of the biggest ways we've saved money is by making our own bread. It's more wholesome than store bought (generally) and very versatile. I use wild yeast, so I don't even have the cost of the yeast to deal with.

    I make pizza once a week out of the same basic recipe, too, and I got the thumbs up from our neighbor kid, so it's pretty good:) I figure the pizzas (4 med-large) cost about half as much as take out.

    I have a page dedicated to my bread exploits so far on my blog.

    Thanks Joanne, I look forward to seeing more ideas!

  8. We are frugal. We save money by making meals from scratch and taking sandwiches and snacks when we travel or plan a day trip. We buy quality foods but not a lot of prepackaged foods. We're just not big spenders and never have been! I'll be anxious to see your comments! Great idea!

  9. I love a good sale...in fact I hate buying anything that's not on sale. We do alot of couponing...and go to free events. Life is good no matter what....thanks for this post...I love that t-shirt.

  10. It's funny I was mortified when my friends mom would whip out coupons.

    NOW I'm a proud coupon card holder :). For Christmas I do a lot of the daily deal sites and buy the deals threw out the year and then store them in my gift closet until the holiday. I also do Black Friday to get the most for my buck. This year my budget is crazy tight!

  11. I am so bad at this and have no tips...I need them so keep on posting! Happy weekend!

  12. Pinching pennies is something I need to do more of. I am not very good at it. I once was, but then I got careless. Now, I am focusing on not being frivolous again.

  13. We have been living the past four years in "survival mode". It hasn't been fun, but we are starting to come out of it. Not having a regular income, we cut everything back to the bare bone. No eating out. No cable t.v. (and believe it or not, we did survive!)Anytime we had extra money, we used it to buy bulk at Costco, or produce that could be canned. We started getting groceries at Aldis and Save-A-Lot. It gave us a new perspective on what we needed and what we could do without. We were never without chocolate! :)

  14. Sales can be addictive to me...I will buy too much on sale

  15. Dear Joanne,

    My prayers and thoughts keep going out to you all on the East Coast. It's very proactive of you to post this and make something good of a situation that's devastating. And while people are posting jolly pictures on facebook, etc. so much of the world is suffering. I appreciate folks like you who keep it real.

    Thank God (no pun intended), I don't celebrate Xmas, because I couldn't afford it. Still, I have a few gifts to buy and may even let them know they won't come until the new year.

    Food is a biggie. I've discovered a billion things to do (or just one, repeatedly) with pasta/rice, the wonders of things like Cup 'O Noodles, and that cereal's not just for breakfast. I've stopped picking up fast food as much. A friend of mine is having a book and clothing exchange, which is also a great idea.


  16. We usually check the computer before going to certain stores or restaurants to see if there are any on line coupons or deals. I hope things get better for you and the people of your area soon.

  17. My children always thought GoodWill was a major shopping chain. They never knew that Campbell's Chunky soup was meant to be 2 servings and wasn't supposed to be served on rice to feed the five of us.

    Oh, I've pinched the life out of many pennies!

  18. We coupon too. I stockpile too, so I never have to buy certain items at full price. For Xmas, I'm big on making things. I simplify every year. There are all kinds of craft blogs and sites online to find easy crafts. I just had to get past caring what other people are doing. :-) God tells us to live simply and not waste.

  19. Hey, I missed you! Gosh, one way we save is to go on the electric company's budget billing system. Some people don't know about this, but a lot of companies offer it. I also only turn my cell phone on when I am out. My friends can't stand this and want me to turn it on and leave it on. But why? We have a land line and don't need the cell except when we are out.

  20. Joanne,
    Are you okay? I'm thinking about you, especially because I'm going through my blog in search of the best comments of 2012. Your comments have always been tops. I found at least 3 of them I really like.
    More prayers your way.


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