Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Latest Fixation

Lately I've become quite the frugal mogul. I find it fun and also challenging to get the best deals conceivable while not sacrificing on quality. This latest hobby of mine encompasses not just grocery shopping, but general shopping, utilities, and even gas (I know, I'm really a very exciting person to be around).

Stinky once posted on her ridiculously low electric bill after scrimping and saving all month, and as of the last 2 - 3 weeks I've taken up her cross. Not only are all lights and fans off while not in use, but I've switched from using a clothes dryer to using a newly installed backyard clothesline. I'm hoping to see big payoffs on this one as it has already created some *issues*. For starters, the dog initially thought the clothes were hung there as toys for him to play with. Once that issue was resolved, my son thought they made a great sort of doorway shield (think of the hippie era beads that people used to hang in order to create a really groovy ambiance) to run through. And just a couple days ago while hanging out some clothes as my daughter toddled around, a nest of wasps become infuriated at her curiosity upon her opening the door of the outdoor electrical outlet and opted to attack her (having been stung 4 times, I'm VERY happy to report she has no allergy to them). Despite the immediate setbacks, I'm sticking with it at least until I complete my first full month and see what I've saved on my electric bill. And hey, with a little bit of liquid fabric softener things come out pretty well - though not as soft as using a dryer (which is why towels are still dried electrically) but good enough.

All trips in a vehicle are weighed. I plan outings so that any and all excursions within a 10 mile vicinity happen together. I'd love to switch to biking, but unfortunately we're a bit too far removed for that and also there are no sidewalks out here. I'd even consider using public transportation, but again, there isn't any where we're at.

As far as clothing and odds and ends, you'd be really surprised at the awesome deals I've found at the local Goodwill store. Perfect condition Anne Taylor and Izod shirts for $3.50 each?! New dress shoes for Jimmy that presently sell at Target for $12 were a low $4! But beware lest you try to steal something (I know that's something my readers regularly consider), there is some pretty tight security. While my kids marveled over the small toy area, Kyla dropped her paci out of her mouth. Horrified at the obvious germ factor, I quickly snatched it up before she could grab it and shoved it into my purse. A moment later an employee startled me when he rushed over to the area with walkie-talkie in tow. He didn't say anything, but he tried to look like he'd suddenly developed a bizarre interest in children's toys whilst keeping a discreet eye on myself and my children. Clearly the man had assumed I'd swiped some little toy up and popped it in my purse. I tried to look normal, but you know how it is when your trying to look normal, but feel like you look abnormal? - well, you just end up looking weird and conspicuous. Eventually I opted to head for the checkout, and while paying for my goods made a specific point to brazenly display the guts of my purse clearly for all security cameras to see while chattering away about Kyla's dirty paci which had fallen on the floor. Still, for the amount I saved, it was totally worth it.

If your looking for something specific try Craigslist. Our lovely new Ashley microfiber couch with chaise that fits perfectly was purchased here at a savings of at least $800. A little steam cleaning and this puppy looks brand new!

Need to clean out some old junk but don't want to toss it or waste gas dropping it off someplace, use Freecycle. There's not a whole lot that someone doesn't want or need who'd be willing to pick it up from your doorstep.

Competitive grocery shopping can be lots of fun too. I try to get the absolute best prices known to mankind, and then revel in my savings while studying the receipt. Mommysavers posts stores with sales in your area and also has coupons which you select to print.

OK, so maybe I'm rather simple, but this whole business of saving is pretty exhilarating to me. Now you know my dark and rather drab little secret.


Anonymous said...

Well, I guess I'm not going to be calling you anytime soon!! You're to busy saving money!! What do you mean, dark and drab secret? Sounds like it's going to keep you hoping, if not physically, at least mentally! By the way, there are people who do this for a living: saving people money on their groceries and organizing their time and activities. Just think, when your kids are in school, you can do this for a living. :) By the way, I could use some help in the shopping area, want to do my shopping?? I could pay with a bottle of wine??

Danielle said...

I don't think those who could afford to hire someone to shop for them would necessary be looking for the best deal in the city ;) But for you, I'd call it a deal - shopping for a bottle of whine ;)

Anonymous said...

You and Brandy are in the same world. Your cousins won't enter this world...they experienced it during their childhood!
Brandy has baby chicks (for eggs), raising her own veggies, has eleminated her electrical appliances (except washer) and Wes thinks she has gone Amish!When you start grinding your own coffee, let me know!
Good for go girl and give the kids a big hug from A. Noel

Danielle said...

Oh wow! Now Brandy is a bit ahead of my game. We intend to get some chickens for the same purpose, and the veggie garden probably won't be started until next year - still, that's where I intend to go with all of this. OK - and truly, hand grinding coffee beans sounds novel, but in all reality, I'll probably never go that far ;)