A friend asked for frugal advice for a friend of hers who wants to be able to quit work and be a stay-home mom. I wrote some things for her and decided to share it here.
~My strategy on groceries is to stockpile when on sale, preferably with coupons (however, oftentimes store brands are just as good and are cheaper even without a coupon). I keep up with the prices and when there is a good sale, I stock up on those items, then the next time there is a sale, I stock up on the sale items that week (for stuff I know weuse all the time). Using this method, eventually I don't have to buy much of anything unless it's on sales, because stores generally put about the same items on sale in a predictable cycle.
~Cut down on eating out. When you do eat out, use coupons or even go to www.restaurant.com and buy gift certificates cheap (they put them on sale for 80% off), so you can have a $35 meal and pay $10 for it. If you are married, or have kids, share meals. Always get a to-go box and take leftovers to eat for another meal.
~If you take over -the-counter meds regularly, check out www.cvs.com to sign up for their online ordering sale emails. I take Prilosec every day and the generic is just as good. Sometimes at cvs.com they put all their CVS brand items on sale for 50% off. If you order $50, you get free shipping, so I stock up on that and allergy meds. Great deals!
~Look around your house and see what you can sell. If you don't love it and haven't used it in a year, get rid of it. Craigslist.com is great for that. I have sold tons of stuff there, mostly BK's clothes and shoes she has outgrown. Better than eBay because you don't have to worry about shipping. Also, when you get ready to buy something, check out Craigslist first.
~Take advantage of the library. You can search your local library system online to see if they have a book (or DVD) you want. If you see it listed at another library, they can order if for you and call when it arrives. If you want to buy books, check out www.amazon.com. They sell used books cheap.
~Look for free or cheap community activities for kids. In Rankin Co. you can go to www.rankinledger.com and click on Plan Ahead to see what's going on.
~Don't be too proud to shop garage sales and thrift stores. I went in the local Goodwill a few weeks ago and found my husband 5 name-brand dress shirts and a pair of dress pants that looked brand new...in fact one still had the original tags on it. The total was going to be about $20, but when I got to the register, she said that adult clothes were 50% off that day...so I walked out paying $11 and change for all that. I was a happy camper. I have found BK lots of cute clothes there too.
~Plan your menus ahead...a week...two weeks...or even all month. Make a list of meals that your family likes. Print out a blank calendar and fill in the meals. Plan to use leftovers creatively too. Have breakfast one night a week...even if you use a whole dozen eggs, that's usually under $1.50. Plan a meatless night too. There are great recipes out there.
~Cooking ahead and freezing helps for busy days...you know, those days when you would normally go thru the drive-thru because you don't have time to cook. The easiest way is to double or even triple your fav recipes and freeze the extras. Label them and make a list of what you have in your freezer so you won't forget. Plan your menus around what is on sale. You can even make a game of it...see if you can make dinner for under $5. Yes, it can be done. Check out www.5dollardinners.com for recipes and great ideas.