Penny Pinching

Penny-pinching ... Don't think of it has a burden. Think of it as a challenge! Some people are natural budgeters others of us find it a major stretch. Stretching the value of a dollar is important in this day and age. After all President Obama hasn't included *MY* household in his stimulus package. Although, I sure could use a few thousand dollars if he finds any extra in his pocket-book.

All this money-talk though has me thinking about ways that we can save money, a nickle at a time, even.
  1. I can't be the Joneses (or the Wendts, for that matter). I have wonderful neighbors all around me. One of my closest friends in the neighborhood is a doctor's wife and she has a pretty well-paying job herself. It is hard to try not to keep up with her; but her priorities are different then mine. She can afford the bi-weekly house-cleaners, the seasonal carpet-cleaning, the vacations to 'The Hamptons', the sleek looking Volvo. I can't. I can still be wonderful friends with them. I can sit in their backyard and enjoy a glass of wine with her. But I can't compare myself to her or her family.
  2. Coupon Clipping. This one is *Hubby's* job. (Yes, it is a huge blessing.) However, since he has been deployed for over a year the job has fallen on me. I'm not nearly as good as he is in the 'savings department'; but I am getting better at it. A couple of hints for coupon cutting: Don't clip a coupon for something you wouldn't normally buy. If you are using coupons for something you wouldn't have bought anyway you aren't saving any money. But if you need hand-soap & there is a coupon ... by all means clip away and think of how 50 cents here and 50 cents there can add up.
  3. Just because you have a coupon doesn't mean you have to use it. Compare prices. Say you have 35 cents off of a jar of pickles from one brand. The other brand might be 50-cents cheaper on the shelf. It seems like common sense, but when I go to the hassle of clipping a coupon I want to use it. It just doesn't always make economical sense to do so.
  4. Do you need that cart? A friend of mine told me recently that if she is only going into the store for one or two things she doesn't grab a cart. This keeps her from picking up a 'few extra things'. Those few extra things, otherwise known as impulse buys, make it hard to stay on budget.
  5. Line-dry your clothes in nice weather. I had a little fold-up clothes rack from my college days that was collecting dust in the laundry room. A few Springs ago I was forced to pull it out when our dryer went on the fritz. I set the rack on our deck and would dry the laundry one washer-load at a time. The dryer has since been fixed and now I own two clothes-racks. During the warm months I covertly set the racks on the deck, up against the house but in the sun. They aren't obtrusive like a lawn clothes-line but they save a few pennies in the electric-bill department. I still dry towels and undies in the dryer but most everything else is Spring-fresh in a matter of hours.
  6. Nothing says "I love you" like a homemade card. Very rarely do I buy a $3 or $4 card. I usually go right for the 99-cent rack. If the card is for a grandpa, grandma, aunt or uncle I even let my boys make them a homemade painting or card. When shopping for cards this Mother's Day season (or any other time of year) remember the card may be beautiful but is it worth $4?! Wouldn't Grandma cherish a painting from the grandkids, or a handwritten note from you, even more?
Those are some of my penny-pinching ideas. I know you have some more great ones out there! Does anyone drink water when eating at a restaurant instead of buying the $3 glass of soda? or perhaps slowed their speed down by 5 mph to better their miles-per-gallon? Give me your hints... share them with your military family!
USAA has several great articles about saving your hard earned money. "Painless Ways To Save" can get you thinking about your thermostat, your phone bill, your favorite book-store. We can find ways to "pinch-pennies" in so many ways. Get creative. Think of saving money as a challenge instead of a crutch!
Interested in more? Sign-up for our April Military Family Newsletter. Our topic of conversation? "Penny Pinching" :)
- Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com


  1. Great post!
    Colleen Mullins
    Aurora, Colorado

  2. One thing I do is wash my laundry in cold water, unless someone is sick. I wash towels, sheets & sick-kids clothes in warm but everything else cold. It cuts down on the hot water bill.

  3. Another thought: Most cities have reduced rates for electricity at night. Consider running your dishwasher, fish tank filters, etc at night. We only run our pool pump at night and it has a great impact. I also have my tool chargers on a timer that runs at night.

  4. Plan your shopping and cooking menus for your shopping trips and Stick to them! I find it helpful to shop alone, don't take other family members as they add to the cart!
    Also look into your community and see if they have grocery programs like Angel Food Ministries or Share look online for areas these are available. These are greatly reduced high quality groceries at a great savings. No restictions to purchase.

  5. I thought of another idea! Plan out a week's worth of dinners. Write them down, make sure you have the necessary ingredients. This way when dinner time rolls around you aren't tempted to 'eat out' from lack of preperation. Instead you will know exactly what is for dinner.

  6. Take your own and kids clothes to consignment shops for store credit so you can get new, and let go of old! lots more ideas!

  7. Volunteer at the on installation thrift shop. They allow you to consign a set number of items without a fee. So there is good and bad here... I did that and found that I found some great bargains, but not necessities!

  8. I know this is a big dahh but I go right to sales rack now days the stores are hurting and you can stock up for less!!

  9. I recommend Angelfood ministeries to every family to help with their food budget. Angel Food has hundreds of locations. It is not a free food bank, but more like a cooperative buying center where families pay $30 for $60 worth of food.Log in to www.angelfoodministeries.com, enter your zip code, view the menu and order from the closest location. You will be very pleased with the value you receive. Debbie@Pizzaking.org

  10. Great article, Leanne! I have a clothes line in my basement that I use year round. It is great for hanging lingerie, blankets, etc. I rarely dry my clothes in the dryer.
    Joan B

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