My Journey out of Debt

Featured customers currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Relief Plan, share journey to become debt-free; hear how they juggle family, finances, and more.

How Far Would You go to Save Money?

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How Far Would You go to Save Money?I know we are all trying (in our own ways) to save what money we can. It seems to be getting more and more difficult to have any money left to, "Save for a rainy day."  My husband and I live on a fixed retirement income which means that it is even more challenging for us to save money. 

In past blogs, I have shared with you some of the unusual things we have tried to stretch our retirement dollars. To name a few:

  • Saving aluminum cans and cashing them in with a local recycler
  • Bartering
  • Banning grocery budget busters
  • Swapping
  • Foraging for free food

If you haven't read these blogs, please do. These ideas can and will save you money and stretch your dollars.

But even with all these ideas, the economy is really doing a number on what we can afford to do or buy. 

How far would you go to save money? I started thinking about this as I found myself checking milk prices at three grocery stores on the computer so I would only have to drive to the store with the best price. Unless the stores actually have milk on sale, the price does not appear in their sale bills. I was doing this in an effort to save gasoline. I don't know about you, but $3.89 a gallon for gas is a real budget buster and we are driving less and less. 

My cats had emptied their cat food canister so I needed to pick up cat food. I knew the cat food cost $3 more at the store with the cheapest milk price than it was at the Family Dollar Store. Unfortunately, the Family Dollar Store was not close to the cheap milk store. How far would you go to save money? Was it worth saving $3 to drive to the Family Dollar Store? 

I have a Kroger gas card which, when you have the appropriate number of points, allows you to buy gasoline at Shell stations for ten cents per gallon less than their advertised price. I usually spend around $100 at Kroger which adds 100 points to the card. Is saving ten cents per gallon worth spending the $100 to get the points? How far would you go to save money?  

I take advantage of the sales at CVS. They usually have some really good sales and you often get "cash back" coupons. My last visit to CVS netted me a $5 cash back bonus to be used on my next purchase. Lately, they have been running an offer that gives you a $10 card when you spend $30 or more on selected items. I don't buy things unless I need and use them. I would never spend $30 on items that I would not use just to get a $10 card in exchange. However, how far would you go to save money? I did spend $30 on items I use and need and got the $10 card.

Is this really a good deal?  Am I saving money? 

My Grandma always said, "Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves." Was she saying watch the little stuff and it will grow into big money? I always thought so. I guess I want to know if, today, saving pennies is really turning into a savings for you? Are the dollars taking care of themselves? How far would you go to save money?

Sam's Club offers taste testing on certain days. My husband and I have actually gone into Sam's just for the taste testing. They have so many things to sample that we actually fill up and don't eat lunch that day. Sure, we have to pay for a membership so is taste testing saving us money?  Is this going too far to save money? I don't know but I do know that I really enjoy the taste testing and most of the food is yummy.

Instead of trash bags for our smaller waste baskets in the house, I use the bags from places like Wal-Mart, Kroger, etc. How far would you go to save money? Is this really making a difference in our budget? 

Would you wash your clothes in cold water only? I do, ever since I found out that up to 90 percent of the cost of using your washing machine comes from heating the water, according to The Consumer Energy Center.  I don't even use hot water for the white clothes anymore and they look okay to me. How far would you go to save money? I have convinced myself that I'm saving money by not using hot water for the laundry but how do I prove this? 

Are any of you doing these things to save money? Am I just fooling myself into thinking I'm saving money by doing all of these things or am I really saving money? I don't know. I don't get real money back that I can hold and feel. Is actually holding real money in your hand the only way you know that you are saving money? 

Maybe not . . . maybe the small things do add up . . . maybe the savings are there but are just not tangible. 

I think I'll keep trying because I'm not sure just how far I would go to save money.  How about you? 

Kimberly Johns, CareOne Customer Blogger, My Journey Out of DebtKimberly Johns

Kimberly has been on the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP) for just under a year. Kimberly is very active in the Community Forums, some of you may recognize her Community user name; Tiquie. Recently retired, she is going to share how she and her husband manage the financial challenges of living on a fixed income. The John's have found some really creative and fun ways to offset the limitations of a retirement income, which Kimberly is generously planning to share in her My Journey out of Debt blog! Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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  • I ask myself that all the time.  Example, I refused to switch my prescriptions to mail order because I wanted the 50 points per prescription to add to my fuel points at Kroger.  I would save $2.00 if I go with mail order ($10 for a 90-day supply) or pay $4.00 a month for 50 points a month for fuel  x 3 prescriptions which is 150 points + grocery points.  Am I saving?  I feel like I am when I can save 10 cents or 20 cents at the pump.  I guess we just have to justify the savings in our own minds to have peace of mind.  Great Blog…it does give you something to think about.

  • Hi and thanks for reading the blog.  Sometimes, I think my mind is just going in circles with this issue.  Should I go for big savings only (not many of those these days) or keep letting the pennies add up?  But you know that feeling too.  I agree with you - we have to justify the savings in our own minds.

  • My mindset is " every little bit helps".  My family lives on one income.  My hobby as a "bargain hunter" arrived out of the need to help our budget out. On-line savings information is a bit overwhelming however.  My favorite free blog is http://morewithlesstoday.com  Check out the Grocery Coupon Database...locate any coupon you need in one place!

  • Imnfashion - Thanks for the tip on the website.  I love to find new websites that offer additional ways to save.  I agree that "every little bit helps" even if you can't actually see real money coming in.  I love to bargain hunt too and now that the weather is getting warmer, I can't wait to start going to rummage sales.  Thanks for your comments and for reading the blog.

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