Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Guest Post: The Lazy Girl's Guide to Saving Money

Hello, my name is Autumn and I’m lazy.

I should clarify: I’m naturally lazy. Over the years I’ve been able to refine my skills, yes, skills, of being lazy into what others might call “efficiency." Hopefully, I can share some of the wisdom I’ve acquired through my aversion to hard work onto you.

I told Katie that I was looking for a lazy girl’s guide to organization but came up short. That’s when I thought, ‘Hey, maybe I could write something like that.’ Well, if you’re looking for organizational skills, I’m not the one to ask. Yet. So to tide you over until I become efficient in that area, here are some things I’ve learned about saving money.

I don’t use coupons. That would fall under the title of “Hard Work,” which I, of course, avoid. Instead, I sign up for the “club cards” the grocery stores I go to offer. Easy. Then while I’m shopping and trying to decide between different brands of the same item I look at their price per unit. This could also be per pound or per ounce, depending on what you’re buying. This is a much more accurate comparison than just looking at the price alone. Plus, you don’t have to do the math; the store has already done it for you. And at the end of that productive shopping trip you could get a nice little coupon that you didn’t have to clip.

Two words: free stuff. You can find free stuff ALL OVER, especially with the internet. First, craigslist.com has a whole section devoted to free stuff. As a mom some of my favorite sites with giveaways are Seeryus Mama and Now What Baby. Sign up for their feeds and they’ll send you info on giveaways and reviews. I’ve gotten some great stuff including baby shoes, lotion and gift cards.

Your local library is an amazing resource for free stuff. They have an in on what’s going on in your community. Plus, you get to borrow books and movies without paying a cent (unless you have a sweet little baby that likes to chew corners off of board books, but I digress). Speaking of books, goodreads.com is not only a great resource for reviews but they also have their own giveaway system. It’s call first reads and publishers give out a certain number of either pre- or post-release books for ordinary people like you and me to review. I’ve gotten two so I can vouch that it’s the real deal.

While we’re discussing public services let’s talk about transportation and parks. Usually when people think about public transportation their first thought is “gross” and a close second is “crazy people”. Well, that’s hit or miss depending on your city, where you live and where you want to go. Try it, though, at least once. You might be able to get a bus pass or some kind of discounted fare if you find it’s cost effective for you. And if you do decide it really is too disgusting or risky because of their clientele try walking. Exercise + free transportation = happiness.

Parks are a great alternative to other kid-friendly/wallet-busting activities. Heck, even if you don’t have kids it’s wonderful to sit outside reading your free book that you got from the library or won from first reads. Check out your local museums, too. They’ll often offer discounted days or rates depending on your situation.

My in-laws are notorious for their amazing finds at thrift stores and estate sales. Admittedly, this does require some leg work which is probably why I haven’t caught the shopping bug yet. See if there’s a Goodwill Outlet near you. They sell stuff by the pound. Take a moment to imagine all the things you could get…

“Never say ‘no’ to gifts” has become one of my mantras. This may take some getting used to if you value your pride like I did. Look at it this way: you’re getting what you need/want while the person giving it to you is able to de-clutter their home. It’s a win-win. Like they say, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” I know that doesn’t quite apply here in the traditional sense. Just replace “gift horse” with “gift-giving friend”. Imagine how that could affect your relationship.

And, finally, don’t buy something you can make yourself. There is a website devoted to the myriad of uses for vinegar. Amazing. This list is by no means extensive as I trust you all know how to use Google.
Baking Soda – taking out ring-around-the-collar
Olive oil – eye make-up remover
Dish soap – removing make-up from clothing or bedding
Seriously, just Google “how to make ___” and BAM! You’re practically done already.

Thanks, Autumn! We'd love to hear from you again any time!

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1 comment:

Geevz said...

Great ideas! I'm totally going to do that goodreads business.