Ryane tagged me on July 2, and I'm finally sitting down to write eight things about myself. I think I've written something along this line before, so I've been pondering what quirky things I should share. Since the stipend provided by my mission position, which begins on September 1, is only $400, I've decided to share eight ways I'm (already) cheap and/or like to save money. I encourage you to share any tips you might have since I'm going to have to get pretty creative to live on $400. Thank goodness this position also includes utilities and housing as well as health insurance. So the $400 "just" needs to cover food, gas, prescriptions, oil changes/tire rotations, etc. I figure it'll be easier and harder than I expect--all in one.
I get some of my thriftiness from my father--who has had the same mattress for at least three decades now, "saves" ice I've poured out in the sink, and refuses to order a cheeseburger because the half slice of cheese is too expensive at 25 cents (and you can get a whole slice at home for less than a dime). He also says that when you eat at Cracker Barrel "you're just paying for the name." Mind you that what I order there costs less than $5.
So here are my eight:
(1) I buy generic whenever practical. If you live where there are Kroger, you can try the Kroger brand risk free. For example, I tried the Kroger version of wheat things. Well they were gross, so I returned them; Kroger gave me both a refund and the national brand (normal Wheat Thins) for free. Score for me. Kroger brand white chocolate bark is great; Kroger brand cheese is just as good; generic sugar, flour, etc. always works fine for me too, and it's often saves me forty cents or more per item.
(2) Cosmetics: I no longer buy them at department stores and instead research them on this website. I discovered Paula Begoun when I wrote a research paper on the cosmetics industry in college. I personally think it's embarrassing how we (some women) let ourselves be tricked by these companies who promise the moon and never deliver. Imagine if women invested the money they spend on $45 bottles of foundation, $25 mascara, etc. Anyway, years ago a dermatologist told me that L'Oreal and Lancome (which I once wore) were made in the same factory but just poured into different bottles. That prompted me to look into this area more, and some research made it clear that I was just letting myself be swindled by some of these higher-end companies.
(3) Shampoo: See much of what I wrote above. I now use shampoo that costs less than $2 a bottle, and the end result is MUCH better than when I used Redken, Nexus, etc.
(4) Lotion: I am now hooked on lotion from Wal-mart. It's body butter and smells like ginger and is cheaper than even the Jergens stuff I used to use.
(5) The Library: I rarely buy books and either borrow them or check them out from the library. I've even been so cheap as to read an entire book at Barnes and Noble. That's awful, but I've only done it like once or twice. In case you've not visited the library in years, they now have DVDs and books on CDs, which is much better than giving stupid Blockbuster $5 for a video.
(6) Not going shopping/to the mall: This seems like a no-brainer, but it really isn't because a lot of us go shopping just to shop and then find things we want/need. Now that I rarely go to the mall and places like Target, I buy a lot less.
(7) Children's Vitamins: Not only do chewable children's vitamins have a nice taste, but a careful analysis of their labels sometimes reveal that they have the exact same vitamins and minerals as the more expensive adult vitamins. I like Active Kids, which is a generic sort of brand at Wal-mart.
(8) I pretty much put all of my purchases on my Air Tran Visa or Delta Skymiles card and pay them off each month. My most recent trip to Europe was with a free round-trip ticket, and I only had to pay one way for my NYC trip. I even made the "down payment" on my car with my credit card and will be paying for my Lasik enhancement-type surgery this Wednesday with a credit card (please say a prayer for me Wednesday morning!). Another good deal is a Banana Republic Luxe card as you earn $25 gift cards with your purchases at BR, Old Navy, and Gap. Plus I get free shipping.
p.s. I am thankful for the new Buckhead Church building. I attended the 11:00 service there this morning and did not have to arrive 35 minutes early to claim a seat.