Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How Can I Do It Cheaper?

I ask myself this question whenever I need to buy something.

How Can I Do It Cheaper?

Our challenge is to do it cheaper - whether we are fixing the car, fixing the house, getting new shoes, getting something for homeschooling, buying Christmas presents, or traveling. It's very rare that we will pay full price for something. If you look hard enough and long enough, you'll find ways to do everything for less.

Lessons - I have never paid for lessons. (Actually, I haven't had the extra money even if I wanted to.) My child can always take Karate in college, if she really wants to. We've taught our children to swim. I've thought about taking guitar lessons and then teaching my children how to play. When my husband was little, his parents bartered for piano and swimming lessons. Our church provides music classes as a ministry and they are offered for a good price. We may do this in the future.

Groceries – To save on gas, we only do our grocery shopping on the way home from church or an appointment. I like to buy what's on sale and then figure out what I'm going to make with it. I buy only the cheapest chicken (usually thighs and legs). If a recipe calls for chicken breasts, I will use the dark meat instead. I've found that baking from scratch saves money. Recipes like cocoa brownies, blondies with cocoa drizzle, zucchini spice cake, oatmeal cookies, sugar cookies, and Snickerdoodles are usually cheaper than recipes that call for chocolate chips or peanut butter. When possible, I bake with oil instead of margarine or butter. In hamburger casseroles, I usually cut down the meat from 1 lb. to 3/4 lb. If we want a treat while we're out, we'll get a box of ice cream bars from the grocery store and eat them in the park.

Services - We've saved a lot of money by prolonging services. Putting off cell phone service, long distance service, Internet service, dental insurance, insurance on a second car, and cable TV. Even if you can prolong a service for only a few months, the amount of money will be significant.

School Supplies - I get school supplies only at the Back to School Sale in August and I get just what I really need. I don't let the kids talk me into a lot of cool looking items. At the August sales: I’ve found that buying lined paper in spiral notebooks is usually cheaper than buying packs of looseleaf lined paper.

A Homeschool Book
– I check the library, look for a used copy on the Internet, or find a similar book that costs less. If I have to buy it new – I check Christianbook.com and Amazon.com first.

Homeschool Activity or Fieldtrip
– I plan a Dr. appointment or other errand for the same day of a homeschool event. That way we save gas by taking less trips to town. We only do field trips that don't cost us any money. Paying an entry fee for 1 mom and 5 kids is out of the question for us.

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