Change the way you think about money

Innovation and ideas are everywhere; you have to be ready to look–even in the most unexpected places.  I’m sharing some of my many innovative ideas you can use to save yourself money this year.  Try some of the ideas listed here or adjust them slightly to fit your needs.

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When you’re about to throw something in the trash, try to convert what you’re throwing away into its cost.

You’re more likely to find ways to save and reuse items when you think about throwing money away.  Ten chips or two apples don’t seem like much, but if you figure the cost ($1.30 total) and think about a year worth of trashing or saving it, you’re more likely to save these items.

Recognize the value of reuse. 

There are many simple ways to make the most of the items you use on a regular basis.  Our family saves our kids leftover applesauce and milk, freezing them both and then using the ingredients for cakes and breads.


Realize what you can live without. 

Recently in the grocery store, I looked at the cost of instant rice vs. slow-cooked rice.  It’s nearly 10x the cost to purchase instant! I can live without this.  Now I just plan to cook rice once a month and freeze the portions until we need them.

Personal Finance - The Big Picture - Handout #1

Only purchase what you’ll actually use.

Track this by checking expiration dates of items as you purchase them (and always buy the item with farthest expiration date).  Recently I purchased 10 jars of pasta sauce, 12 boxes of graham crackers and 3 boxes of cookies.  It may seem like a lot, but our family will use each of these items before the expiration date and they were on a half-price sale.  Win, Win!


It’s only a deal if you need it.

My mom texts me with great deals all of the time.  I take her up on about half of the items she texts me.  Why? Because many of the great deals are items that we won’t use.  And there is no sense in saving 75% on an item, if I’ll never use it.  That really works into paying 25% for nothing.  Better to wait for items you’ll actually use.

Remember the power of returns.

I worked in retail for 7 years and this is something valuable I’ve learned.  I promise, the worker doesn’t care if you need to return an item, they just want you to act like a polite, civilized person.  Shoes didn’t fit? Return them! Bought too many light bulbs? Return them! It’s called a store for a reason, so the store can store these items for you.

 It never hurts to ask for a better deal.

I found a great pair of shoes on sale recently, 40% off! The trouble was, I’d seen them for 60% off at another store.  I asked if there was any way to honor the price difference (we’re talking $10 here; and yes, I’ve done this for as little as 60 cents) and after calling the other store, the worker gave me the extra discount.  Remember, the worst they can say is no and then you have a choice to pay the price listed or to walk away from the item.


  1. […] You’ve spent time Preparing to Price Match, shopping & Price Match saving in the store and now you’re home.  What to do? Make sure your front-end hard work and savings are maintained as you’re storing and using the items in your home.  By using these simple strategies, you’ll make great use of your groceries, optimize food usage and find smart savings success. […]

  2. […] Creatively use current items in your life.  You may have to repurpose items to suit your needs or borrow things from friends and family.  It’s worth it – you don’t need so much stuff.  Sharing with others or changing your perspective can make a big difference to reduce your need for new stuff and it should give you more time, reduce your stress and save you money. […]

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