mailbox freebies

Mailbox Freebies: How to Get Freebies in Your Mailbox!



freebies

Do you want freebies like k-cups, mouthwash, feminine products, body wash, cat food, coupons for FREE products and much more to arrive in your own mailbox at home? It’s simple! Just subscribe to my daily email and you’ll get a FREE daily email that will list several great freebies we found around the internet! All you have to do is click on the links in each freebie post, fill out the required forms, etc!

Check the freebie category on my website often, you never know what you’ll find! Keep in mind that whatever is posted on my website, I try to sign up for as well, so you’ll find us posting only freebies from sources we trust! Not all freebies do arrive, but most do.

How to Get Mailbox Freebies:

Follow me via social media to get updates when freebies are posted:

FREEBIES from the Past: 

Check out my mailbox freebies from the past I paid $0.00 for everything you see pictured. I simply signed up for the freebies as we posted them here and most of them did arrive!

Here’s what arrived in my mailbox recently:

mailbox freebies

1. Four Folger’s K-cups – Black Silk, Lively Colombian Decaffeinated, Caramel Drizzle, and Vanilla Biscotti + $1 off coupon

2. Listerine Cool Mint Antiseptic Mouthwash + $3 off coupon

3. Olay Sensitive Body Wash + P&G coupon book

4. Herbal Essences Body Burst Body Wash

5. Four U by Kotex Pads and two pantiliners + $1 off coupom

6. Coupon for FREE Full Size Suave Professionals Visible Glow Product (up to $8.99 value)

7. Purina Cat Chow Healthy Weight Cat Food (2 oz.) + $1 off coupon

8. Kate Somerville Skin Moisturizer, Face Serum, and Exfoliating Treatment packets + coupon

9. Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin, & Nails Gummies with Biotin (2 gummies) + $1 off coupon

10. Nivea Extended Moisture Body Lotion + $1 off coupon

11. Joyce Meyer Enjoying Everyday Life magazine

Tell me what you received in your mailbox! 

tips for beginner couponers

5 Tips for Beginner Couponers



tips for beginner couponers

Coupons can be a great money saving tool when used correctly. Other times, coupons can actually make you spend more money if you aren’t careful! Several years ago, I followed the “Extreme Couponing” trend. It was fun while it lasted, but it didn’t last too long. You can read my article The Dangers of Extreme Couponing to see why I stopped. I still have a passion for using coupons at the grocery store, but my passion has changed over time and the way I use coupons changed, too.

Grocery expenses are one of the biggest monthly expenses in many households. Depending on the size of the family, grocery budgets cost families hundreds of dollars a month. I’ve always heard that a good budget for a family of four is between $400-$600, but I know of larger families that are able to knock their food budgets down even lower than that! Coupons are one great way to knock down the total of your grocery bill. If you are new to couponing or if you are looking for ways to improve your couponing skills, here are a few great tips to follow.

1. Print coupons found online.

My top 3 favorite go-to place for printable coupons are Coupons.com, RedPlum, and SmartSource. If you aren’t a fan of ink costs, I suggest using refill ink if you are going to print a lot of coupons. Refill ink is very inexpensive. I also recommend setting your printer to “Black and White” and “Quick Print” to save money on ink.

Related: Best Places to Find Online Printable Coupons

2. Find coupons on brand websites.

You can often times find coupons to your favorite products on brand webpages. If you follow a certain brand on social media, you may get updates when new coupons are released.

3. Write to your favorite companies for coupons.

Some companies will send you an envelope full of coupons if you ask. There are companies that will reply that they do not send out coupons, but at least you’ll know after you try.

Related: How to Request Coupons from Companies

4. Ask family and friends to save coupons.

Ask your family and friends to save coupons for you when they come across any if they aren’t into using coupons. You could even have coupon swaps where you swap coupons you don’t need for ones that you do need.

5. Don’t Use Coupons Just Because You Have Them.

Coupons can actually cost you more money if you aren’t careful. By this, I mean that just because you have coupons for items doesn’t mean you have to purchase that item. My best advice is to use only coupons on products that you know you need and buy on a regular basis.

How to Organize Your Coupons

Now that you know where to find coupons, you’ll want to organize them.

I recommend a small accordion file that fits in your purse. These are easy to carry around and have on hand when you need it. However, the one drawback to these is that you find yourself searching and flipping through coupons at the store because they are in a big clump by categories. If you have 50 coupons in your frozen food section, you find yourself wasting time trying to find the coupon you know you have in that stack!

save money with coupons

You can see that I organized it like this: Personal Care/Medicine, Cleaning/Household Supplies/Pets, Meat/Dairy, Sauces/Dressings/Condiments, Canned Goods/Soups, Pasta/Rice/Seasonings/Crackers, Beverages, Flour/Baking/Oil, Cereal/Breakfast Foods, Frozen Food/Bread, Paper Goods/Baby/Containers, Desserts/Snacks. The front section was reserved for store coupons.

If the accordion style does not work for you, you can organize your coupons in a coupon binder with plastic baseball card protectors. You can see each coupon when you use a coupon binder. You flip right to the section, have a picture of what you are looking for, making it easier. However, the binder is bigger, cannot fit in your purse, and you do have to take it everywhere you go to get your maximum savings. You also have to be one that doesn’t care that people see you carrying a coupon binder around the store! You just have to ask yourself, “What is funny or embarrasing about saving money?!?” You should be questioning those that give you looks why they don’t use coupons!

save money with coupons

To create your coupons binder, all you need is a binder that zips, dividers, and plastic baseball card sheets. You can always buy more of the dividers and baseball card sheets if you need them. It took me two hours to organize my binder. Once it is organized, it is very easy to discard the expired coupons and add new coupons. In the outside pockets of the binder, keep a pen, pair of scissors, and a calculator. In the inside pockets, keep store circulars, large coupons, and rebate forms. Keep a price book in the front of all sections so you can compare prices on certain items.

Organizing Sections of Your Coupon Binder

The first section of the binder is specifically for FREE coupons.

The second section are for store coupons, including department store coupons and restaurant coupons.

The third section is the food section divided up into these categories: Meat/Dairy/Milk, Cereal/Granola Bars/Bread/Cold Breakfast, Frozen Food, Snacks/Chips/Candy, Condiments/Sauces/Dressings, Pasta/Rice/Seasonings/Crackers/Baking, Canned Goods/Fruit Cups, Beverages.

The fourth section is the Health and Beauty section divided into these categories. Toothpaste/Toothbrushes/Oral Care, Shampoo/Conditioner/Hair Color, Deodorant, Shaving Cream/Razors, Feminine Products, Body Wash/Soap, Make-up/Eye Care/Moisturizers/Face Wash, Sunscreen/Vitamins/Medicine.

The fifth section is for household items and is divided into these categories: Diapers/Baby Wipes, Pets, Toilet Paper/Paper Towels/Paper Products, Laundry Care, Dish Cleaners, Multipurpose Cleaners, and Air Fresheners.

I recommend taking a sharpie and labeling each page of coupons. For example, if you have a large Meat/Dairy/Milk file, write meat on a page and keep all of your meat coupons together, write dairy on a page and keep yogurt/butter coupons together, and milk on one page, keeping all milk coupons together.

Remember: Do not throw your coupons away just because you do not need them that week! The key is to save them until you need the item and it is on sale. You can then pair the coupons with a sale, getting it for a very low price, or even free.

Now that you have organized your coupons, it is time to put those coupons to use.

Do you save money with coupons? 

ways to save at the grocery store

10 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store



ways to save at the grocery store

Do you find yourself struggling to save money on groceries? Groceries make up a huge part of the monthly budget. We spend a lot of food, almost comparable to making a large car payment each month! You can significantly cut your food budget when you shop smart and plan ahead before your shopping trip. Here are 10 ways to save at the grocery store.

1. Create a monthly budget for groceries.

Decide on what you can spend on groceries each month and try to stick to your budget. A typical family food budget is anywhere from $400-$600 depending on the size of the family.

Related: How to Create a Budget that Really Works

2. Use the store circular to determine what’s on sale.

Sit down with the store circular and look for the items that you know you buy on a regular basis that are on sale. You’ll be able to use this to create your list in the next step.

3. Create a list before you go to the store and buy ONLY what’s on the list.

It’s easy to get to the store and think, “Oh! I need that, too!” It’s ok to buy these items, but remember that if you are on a budget, you may be going over your budget if you do not stick to what’s on the list.

4. Find coupons to match your list.

Create your shopping list first for the items that you need. Next, search for coupons to match. You’ll be less tempted to buy things you don’t need and avoid that impulse feeling of buying just because you have a coupon.

Related: The Best Places to Find Online Printable Coupons

5. Eat before you shop.

Have you ever gone to the grocery store on an empty stomach? When you go to the store hungry, you are much more tempted to pull items off the shelf that you don’t necessarily need. Your stomach is telling you what to buy!

6. Shop alone, if possible.

Toddlers can be great at keeping us distracted while shopping as they sit in the cart, get out of the cart, push the cart, ride on the front of the cart, and try to get away with whatever they want to do. We also know that they like to pull items off the shelf. (Does any of this sound familiar?) Try to leave the kids at home with the husband or a sitter if necessary. When you do this, you have more time to compare prices and read labels. Often times, shopping alone for moms can feel like a nice vacation!

7. Stock up on items that you regularly buy that are on sale.

If you find an item on sale that you buy on a regular basis, stock up. By doing this, you are saving money in the long-run and cutting your store trips down. *Note: This is a great method if you consider this in your budget.

Related: How to Create a Small Stockpile

8. Browse your cart before checkout.

Scan your cart before heading to the checkout line to make sure you have everything you need and want. Compare your list to the items in your cart and place items back if you don’t need them or if you feel you may go over your budget.

9. Use your coupons!

How many times have you taken coupons to the store only to realize you forgot to use them? Keep coupons organized in an envelope, small coupon file, or binder. Before checkout, have your coupons ready to go!

You can see my coupon binder in this post. I no longer use a binder, though. I went back to using an accordian style file since it fits into my purse. 

10. Double check your receipts.

Cashiers are human, and they make mistakes. At times, items are not scanned correctly, and are scanned twice. There are times when prices do not show up correctly. Check your receipts after you checkout to make sure everything was scanned correctly.

Do you have any tips for saving at the grocery store?

cut back on eating out

How to Cut Back on Eating Out (and Save Money, Too!)



cut back on eating out

For the last few years, my husband and I developed a bad habit of eating out at restaurants often. We were being foolish with our money, and I was ready to change. The first step towards changing was admitting that we were wasting money on eating out instead of being wise with our money and investing towards our kid’s college or our own retirement. The second step was finding out exactly how much we were wasting on eating out at restaurants. This step was the eye opener. I went through our statements and wrote down every restaurant expense. It was a shocker. We were blowing so much money on restaurants without even realizing it. Then, we added up our grocery expenses and added that to our overall total and it was at that moment that we knew we needed to make changes.

The last few months, my husband and I have been following Dave Ramsey’s baby steps towards a healthier financial life. This book is the book that motivated us to start. We do not carry debt, but just because we had the money to spend, did not mean we could blow it on anything we wanted. We wanted to be good stewards of our money and make sure it was going to the right things — our emergency fund, college, retirement, and giving.

On September 1, we made the commitment to stop eating out and to cut back on it. We didn’t give it up entirely, but we do limit it to only a few times a month. If and when we do eat out at restaurants now, it’s a treat for us because we don’t do it often.

How to Cut Back on Eating Out (and Save Money, too!) 

1. Add it up.

Go through your (and your husband’s) previous month’s statements and write down every restaurant expense on a piece of paper. Add the amounts up to come up with your total. This will give you an idea on how much you are spending monthly on restaurants. Do the same for groceries and then add the two together to get your total food expenses. Take some time with your significant other to discuss the total. Too high? It’s time to make some changes! This is time to get creative and come up with a plan to cut back on eating out.

2. Shop from your kitchen.

If you were to place all of the food items from your pantry, refrigerator, freezer, and cupboards onto a conveyor belt at the store and let the cashier ring it up, what do you think the total would be? You’ve already purchased the items in your kitchen, now it’s time to eat them up! Each week, I take a piece of paper and divide it into five categories: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks, Drinks. Then, I look through my kitchen to see how many items I have that I can place in each category. I try to come up with different meals to make with what we have and write those down in each category. When I see that our items are running low in each category, that means it’s time to shop for groceries.

3. Meal plan.

When there’s no plan for meals, it can be easy to opt for eating out at a restaurant instead. When we weren’t meal planning, we were buying a lot of random items at the grocery store. Many times, we couldn’t even come up with full meals from those items, so we either found ourselves eating out more, or making several trips to the grocery store for food. Now that we meal plan, we only get the items we need from the store to make simple meals for a week or two. Meal planning has been a huge factor in cutting back on eating at restaurants.

Related: 5 Reasons You Need to Start Meal Planning Today

4. Shop for groceries. 

Once you have a meal plan in place, then it’s time to shop for 1-2 weeks worth of meals. Shop from your list only. It may be tempting to pick up a few items here and there while shopping, but you’ll save money if you stick to the list. It’s a good idea to set a food budget every time you shop.  Use coupons to help you save more at the grocery store.

Related: 10 Ways to Save at the Grocery Store

5. Limit eating out at restaurants.

If you’ve been used to eating out at restaurants, it can be hard to cut back entirely. You don’t have to give up eating out altogether, but limit it to special occasions or even just once a week. We try to limit it to once per week, if that. When we do eat at a restaurant, we try to go the cheapest route possible to save more money.

6. Get creative if you do eat out at a restaurant.

If and when you do eat out at a restaurant, get creative to find how you can cut your bill down even more. Do you have kids that don’t eat everything on their plate? Order one meal and split it up so they can share it. Order water instead. Skip the value meal and order from the $1 menu. It has become a game that whenever we do eat out at a restaurant now, we try to find ways to shave the cost down.

Related: 5 Ways to Save Big When Dining Out

7. Have date nights at home.

The night my husband and I discussed cutting back on eating at restaurants was the same night we dropped $75 on our meal during date night. It was our anniversary dinner and we hadn’t discussed saving before then, but I’m glad we don’t spend foolishly like that anymore. For date nights, we decided to skip eating out and spend time at home cooking in our kitchen and on the grill for a delicious homemade dinner. My husband usually grills up a delicious steak and I cook the veggies inside. We love to cook, so for us, this is something we enjoy. You may not enjoy having to cook on a date night – totally understandable! But if you do, this is an option. We also watch a movie after dinner to avoid paying for a movie, drinks and popcorn at a theater.

8. Pack your lunch.

Prepare lunches at home and take them to work! When you have food available to eat, this helps you to avoid the temptation of wanting to go out to get something to eat from a restaurant.

9. Pack snacks and food for the kids. 

This has been a HUGE money saver for us. I keep a snack box filled up for the car with some juice boxes as well. When I pick my kids up from school, they choose a snack and drink from the box and that keeps them satisfied until I can get home to make dinner. If I know we are going to be out for a long period of time running errands, etc., then I’ll pack lunches for everyone and stop for a picnic or allow them to eat their food in the car.

10. Take advantage of free meals.

There will be times when you’ll find activities and things to do where food will be free. Take advantage of these free meal offers! There’s nothing wrong with enjoying free food if it’s being offered. Some restaurants offer free meals for kids. Plan ahead if you must eat at a restaurant and take advantage of the kids eat free feature.

11. Skip the coffee shops.

Coffee shop expenses can add up, too. Make your own coffee at home and you’ll save a lot! We used to go to the coffee shop to get doughnuts. Now, we purchase a big box of doughnuts at the store for under $5 and freeze them for those times my girls want to enjoy a doughnut! They haven’t asked to go back to the doughnut shop since switching to buying store-bought doughnuts.

12. Tell your family and friends about your plan.

If you are in the habit of going out to eat at restaurants with family or friends, they may not be as motivated as you to save on eating at restaurants. Kindly inform your family and friends of your plan and come up with ways to still enjoy each other’s company without having to spend a lot of money eating out. It may be a hard adjustment at first, but remember, this is YOUR money and you get to decide where your money goes.

You can do this!

At the end of each month, total up the amount spent on eating out at restaurants and the amount spent on groceries. Challenge yourself to keep these amounts as low as possible. Set time aside to talk to your significant other on your progress and come up with ways to improve, etc. Cutting out restaurant expenses can be difficult at first, but once you have a good plan in place and see how much money you are saving by not eating out motivates us to keep going! Try this for a month and see how you do! You may become hooked to this plan like we are. The money saved by not eating out will be added to college funds, retirement, and giving to others instead of wasted on restaurant expenses. That sounds like a winning plan to me!

Do you have any tips to help cut down on eating out at restaurants? 

cheap books for kids

10 Places to Find Cheap Books for Kids



cheap books for kids

Brand new kids books can be expensive. If you walk into any book store and pick a kids book from the shelf to buy, you can expect to pay a lot–sometimes up to $20+ (for one book!) Prices on books for kids are outrageous, so I take the time to find books for almost 75%-100% off at the following places:

1. Garage Sales/Yard Sales

You can find great books for about $0.25-$1.00 at garage/yard sales. I try not to pay more than that, unless the book is just that awesome. You can even try to talk the price down. If you wait until the very end of the sale, you may walk away with free books that the family just wants to get rid of!

2. Thrift Stores

Depending on the thrift store, you can find books that range anywhere from about $0.50-$1.50. Often times, hardback books are a little more pricey than the softback books. I have found several great books at thrift stores–in new to like-new condition!

3. Local Consignment Stores

You can find inexpensive books, depending on the store. The prices on books at a consignment store are usually higher than kids books at thrift stores, mainly because someone has consigned the books and are trying to make money off of a sale.

Related: Creating Extra Income Through Consignment

4. Amazon

Need a specific book and don’t have time to search garage sales of thrift stores? Browse through the children’s books at Amazon. You can find new to used books here, but you will be paying a shipping charge. You have to determine if the shipping charge is worth it or not.

5. Once Upon a Child

This children’s consignment store usually has a great selection of gently used kids books, for $0.50-$1.00 or more. If you have any gently used books you would like to sell, you can sell them to Once Upon a Child, getting cash or store credit (depending on their policy).

6. Ross Dress for Less/T.J. Maxx

If I need cheap kids’ books to give as gifts, this is the place to go. You can find great board books here along with titles from popular authors like Eric Carle or Dr. Seuss. Sometimes they put the books on sale, even when they are already at a low price.

7. Book Swaps with Family and Friends (hand me downs)

This is a good way to get books for free! Trade with family or friends. Some family or friends may even pass down their kids’ books to you

8. Freecycle

If you have a strong and active Freecycle community, you can score a ton of great items, especially kids’ books. I have used this site many of times and have received several great books. You request that you are looking for kids’ books and if someone has a few to offer, you can set up a way to get them, FREE!

9. Dollar Stores/Dollar Aisles

You can find a few books at Dollar Stores. You won’t find many classics or popular books here, but there are a few great ones for kids. I remember buying a few Sesame Street books from the dollar store. I also buy coloring books there. You can find cute books in dollar aisles (such as Target) also.

Related: Items Worth Buying at the Dollar Store

10. Book Store/Library Sales and Closeouts: Book stores and libraries usually hold book sales when they need to make room for new inventory. You can usually find some great deals on kids’ books at these sales and closeouts.

Related: More Than Just Books: 8 Library Freebies to Take Advantage of Now

Do you have any other places to add to this list? 

5 ways to save on wine

5 Ways to Save Money on Wine



5 ways to save on wine

Many casual drinkers will admit one thing: They don’t know much about wine. That’s okay, of course. After all, you don’t need to be a wine expert to appreciate a glass of your favorite whites and reds. But if there’s one thing you should know about wine, it’s that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy it.

Below are four tips to help you save a few dollars on your favorite pinot noir or white zinfandel. Cheers!

1. Drink Cheaper Wine

I’m assuming you’re not a wine snob (otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading a blog entry about how to save on wine), so you should be open to this tip. It’s a common misconception in wine circles that you have to spend a lot of money to get good wine. Truth is, for most casual wine drinkers, there’s not a big difference between a $10 wine and a $30 wine. So what’s that mean? In other words, buy the $10 bottle.

2. Buy Boxed Wine

Just like frozen pizza, boxed wine has made tremendous strides over the past decade with it comes to quality and reputation. The best part, of course, is the price. At $15 to $20 for a box – which can contain up to four bottles of wine – you’ll pay less than $5 per bottle! (Bonus: The tap system keeps air out of the bag inside the box, which helps the wine last a loooong time.)

3. Buy By the Box

This is a different kind of boxed wine. For this one, I’m talking about buying your favorite bottled win in bulk – usually still in the case. This method can result in savings of 10 to 20 percent per bottle.

4. Keep a Wine Journal

No, I’m talking about writing pages upon pages of your most personal thoughts and feelings about wine in a secret diary. A wine journal is nothing more than a few pages in a notebook which you can use to jot some basic notes about the wines you like and don’t like. How does this help you save money? A quick scan of your notes might save you from wasting $20 on a bottle of cabernet sauvignon that you don’t like.

5. Get to Know Your Local Wine Clerk

The best way to save money on wine without spending hundreds of hours studying it is to become friends with the clerk at your local wine store. They know more about wine than anyone and are more than happy to make a few recommendations in your price range.

How do you save on wine? 

5 Ways to Quit Smoking

5 Ways to Quit Smoking (and Start Saving!)



5 Ways to Quit Smoking

Think your five-cup-a-week Starbucks latte habit is expensive? It’ll run you about $20 a week, but that’s nothing compared to a pack-a-day smoking habit, which can cost in the neighborhood of $40-$45 a week. If saving more than $2,000 a year isn’t enough reason to quit, the positive effects on your health definitely should be.

If you’re quitting (or know someone who is), the following tips will help:

1. Have a Good Reason 

The first step is convincing yourself that you want to quit, but you need a good reason if you want to motivate yourself to give it up permanently. The more personal the reason, the better. Examples include saving money to help pay for your child’s college fund or preserving your health so you’ll be around long enough to watch him or her graduate from college!

2. Plan Your Quitting Strategy

Quitting smoking is hard, and like any challenging task, it helps to have a plan. And like any plan, it also helps to write it down. Your plan includes your reasons for quitting, your rewards, and what you’ll do to fight back when the urge to smoke hits.

3. Tell Everyone That You’re a Quitter

You might be tempted to keep your smoking cessation plans to yourself, but you’ll be more likely to succeed if you share your challenge with others. They’ll keep you motivated, ask for updates and encourage you along the way. And if you fail, they’ll also be there to help you get back on the right track.

4. Skip the Cold Turkey

Tossing our your cigarettes and quitting “cold turkey” – that is, without the help of nicotine replacement therapy – might seem like a good idea, but it’s not. Nicotine is a powerful drug, and using nicotine gum, lozenges, patches or prescription medication will dramatically increase your chances of kicking the habit permanently.

5. Join an Online Forum

Just as your friends and family members can help motivate you, fellow quitters online can also help. An online quitters’ forum is filled with people just like you – including former smokers who know exactly what you’re going through – who are there to help each other out and offer support during the good times and the not-so-good times.

Do you have any tips to help quit smoking? 

How to Request Coupons from Companies

How to Request Coupons from Companies



How to Request Coupons from Companies

Is one of your goals to save money this year? If so, here’s a great tip for you!

I have been writing to companies online asking them to send money saving coupons and/or free samples of my favorite products to me in the mail. So far, 6 out of 7 have sent me coupons. I received 4 letters in the mail from companies and 2 emails back with coupons. Only 1 company failed to send coupons. I have written to several other companies as well and plan to continue doing this so that I can save money this year!

Related: Best Places to Find Online Printable Coupons

The results:

  • Luna Clif Bars: 2 coupons/Free Luna Bars, 2 coupons/50 cents off
  • Haagan Dazs: 1/$1.00 off coupon, 2/50 cents off coupons
  • Meow Mix: Buy 2 get 1 free wet cat food, $1.00 off dry cat food
  • Lindsay Olives: 1/50 cents off coupon
  • Drano: coupon offer through their newsletter
  • Hain Celestial Group: 3/55 cents off coupons
  • Nabisco 100 Cal Packs: Nothing

Go here to see how many other coupons I scored from companies!

How to write your favorite companies for coupons:

1. Make a list of products you buy on a regular basis.
2. Find the company homepage online.
3. Find the “Contact Us” link on the homepage.
4. Fill out your information. In the comment section, tell them about the product you like and why you like it.
5. In that section, ask them if they could send money saving coupons and/or free samples for you and your friends. Submit.
6. Repeat this process for the other companies.
7. Check your mail box or email in the next few days and weeks to see what the company will send you.
8. Leave a comment here if you have any luck!

Don’t want to wait for coupons? Print coupons now!


Does this take a lot of time?

Not at all! It is easy and well worth the time. Start slowly, writing to about 2-3 a day. Then add more once you get used to it. It can be fun to because you never know what they will send you. Sometimes you will get free items–Luna sent coupons for 2 free bars!

Money Saving Tip:

These coupons usually have a long life and do not expire for a while. Save them in your coupon file and wait until they go on sale to maximize your savings. Pair with a store coupon to maximize even further.

What companies do you plan to write to for money saving coupons?

How to Save on Perfume and Cologne



It seems as though true bargain hunters are always thinking ahead, which is no wonder stores are already trying to appeal to our Valentine’s Day needs! Chocolates, candles, flowers, it seems store fronts are chock full of these novelties, hoping to catch the early birds looking to score a deal. This year shop smart. There are many ways to not only save money on the sweet scents you buy, but to make them last longer too. Use these simple tricks to snag your sweetheart a bottle of his or her favorite scent for less and get the most smell goods for your buck!

1. Online Shopping Can be an Oasis

A prime way to find some of the best perfume prices is to search online. Search through review sites and online retailers to compare prices and find the best deals! Some sites offer top name brands at wholesale prices allowing you to really cash in on your savings. Sites I have used in the past are Amazon, The Body Shop, Walmart, Walgreens and other retailers. Don’t forget to search for coupon codes for any site you are shopping at to maximize your savings!

2. Be Picky About Retail Outlets

There are a number of retail outlets such as Marshall’s and T.J. Maxx that are carry a great selection of cologne products marked way below retail! These bottles are still beautifully gift boxed and come with shower gels and lotions as well. Perfect for gift giving! There are also discount perfume stores that reside in outlet shopping centers. These are worth checking out as they often carry lightly scratched or dented boxes for a fraction of the retail cost!

3. Watch out for Department Store Freebies

I do not think a department store is the best place to find cologne for sale, BUT department stores DO often run promotions that allow you to get a special free gift with your purchase. Depending on the gift this may make the purchase worth it. Fragrance companies usually beef up these promos around Valentine’s Day, so why not swing in and see what the offerings are? I have seen duffle bags, ties, even cuff links offered with a purchase. Some may even offer free gift wrap!

4. Take Care After the Sale

There are several measures you can take once the cologne has been opened to help preserve it longer. Even though cologne bottles look pretty (and are convenient) when placed on top of a dresser or counter, the sunlight that gets through the glass can weaken them. Keep cologne bottles in a dark place like a drawer instead. This storage spot should also be room temp or slightly cooler, as heat and humidity can also cause the cologne to lose its scent. Remind your recipient that pulse points are key! Applying cologne to clothing is wasteful because it will not refresh itself throughout the day. Cologne should go on pulse points such as the underneath of the wrists and under the jaw. It will last much longer this way and he will require less.

Related: How to Save Money on Beauty Products

Like any great bargain hunter, be willing to shop around a bit and you may be surprised at what you find! With the money you save you can also treat your sweetheart to that pink and purple polka dot teddy bear he had his eye on, or at least to a box of his or her favorite candy!

How to Save on Home Heating Costs



I don’t know about you, but my least favorite bill is the heating bill. Don’t get me wrong, I love keeping a nice, warm home and making sure my family is comfortable, but there’s just something about heating costs that I don’t like. Maybe it’s because they remind me that I don’t live in Hawaii, or maybe I’m just a frugal gal who doesn’t like to spend a lot of money on things I can’t actually see.

Fed up with high heating costs (our home uses heating oil, but these tips work with any heating method), last winter I implemented a series of cost-cutting measures, and guess what? They worked! My heating bill was down nearly 25 percent, which made me hate my heating bill 25 percent less. Here’s how I did it:

1. Turn Down the Thermostat

This is a big one. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to keep your home at a toasty 76 degrees during the winter months. Set your thermostat for somewhere between 66 and 68 degrees and throw on a hoodie if you’re a little chilly. At night and when no one is home, turn it down even lower – around 64 degrees at night and 60 degrees when you’re not home. You’ll save A LOT of money just by taking this one simple step.

2. Reverse Your Fans and Shut the Vents

Okay, this is two tips in one, but I’m combining them because they’re easy. First, flip that little black switch on your ceiling fans to make them turn counter-clockwise. It’ll help circulate the warm air downward that lingers near the ceiling. Next, close off any heating vents in unused or rarely used rooms. Go ahead and do both of those things right now – it’ll only take about four minutes!

3. Get a Tune Up

Our home uses a furnace and our heating oil contract included a free annual tune-up. If you have the same option, take it! An inefficient heating system, like an out-of-tune car, will burn a lot more fuel than necessary. If you don’t have a free tune-up service, there are still things you can do on your own. Starting with the easiest thing: Changing your furnace filters. Do it at the beginning of winter and again in the middle.

Related: 7 Ways to Save on Home Heating this Winter

So there you have it, my three-step process for saving on your heating costs this winter. Like I said, it helped me cut my monthly bill by 25 percent. It may or may not have the same effect for you, but I guarantee it’ll save you at least some money, and that should make you feel all warm inside.

How do you save on heating costs in the winter?

how to save money on gas

How to Save Money on Gas For Your Car



how to save money on gas

Spring break is right around the corner, and summer will be here before you know it. Will you be traveling anywhere special? If so, you will definitely want to start looking into ways to save on gas. Thankfully, your search will be a short one because I compiled ten great ways to save on gas all right here! Use one or use them all–your wallet will thank you.

1. Combine Trips

It can be easy to find yourself making several trips all over town to pick up everything you need. Save yourself time and money by keeping a running list and then simply making one big trip or picking up items while you are out anyway.

2. Compare Prices

In my town, there are certain gas stations that are routinely less expensive than others or that always wait longer to raise their prices. I’m guessing the same thing happens where you live. Find out which stations do this and make those the ones you visit regularly. If you aren’t sure which stations have the best prices, there are apps that can help you.

3. Drive the Speed Limit

Driving fast may be fun and save time, but it will can cost you big in fuel savings. Stay around the speed limit on the highway for maximum fuel efficiency. (And you might just save yourself the cost of a speeding ticket as well!)

4. Brake Cautiously

Every time you brake, you waste the momentum your car already has and force it to use more gas to accelerate again. While you will definitely want to brake when needed to avoid a crash, giving the car in front of you plenty of room can help reduce the number of times you have to brake.

5. Keep Your Tires Inflated

Underinflated tires can really reduce your car’s fuel efficiency. Check your car’s tire pressure regularly, especially before you head out on long trip.

6. Use a Gas Rewards Card

Does your local grocery or convenience story offer a gas rewards card? If so, use it! You might as well save a little extra money by buying all of the items you use and love anyway.

7. Warm Your Car Just Enough

Getting in a toasty warm car in the morning may be nice, but warm your car for too long and all you’ll do is burn through your fuel. Warming your car for a minute or two is fine, but don’t leave it running for an extended period of time while you get ready.

8. Carpool

Do your friends, family members or co-workers live nearby? Instead of all driving separately to each event, consider going together. Not only can this be a lot of fun, but it can save you big in fuel costs as well.

9. Travel Light

If you will be spending several days away from home, if you’re traveling a long distance or if you’re traveling with children, it can be tempting to pack everything you own. Resist the urge. The heavier your car is, the more drag it will create and the more fuel it will take to keep it running.

10. Fill Up Early

Gas prices often spike right before holidays. Don’t get caught paying top dollar. Fill up in advance so you can get the same amount of gas for less money.

Related: How to Save Money When Traveling By Car

Do you plan on traveling for spring break or summer vacation? How will you keep your fuel and other travel expenses low?

4 Easy and Affordable Valentine’s Day Breakfast Ideas



Metal heart hanging on vintage wooden background as Valentines Day  symbol

Cereal or toast might make an easy and tasty breakfast on most mornings, but Valentine’s Day calls for a morning meal with a little more love. Luckily, there are plenty of options – for kids and adults alike – that are simple and affordable. Here are five breakfast ideas that will show your Valentine just how much he or she is loved.

1. Chocolate Waffles – When it comes to Valentine’s foods, chocolate is king (or queen). This affectionate breakfast combines chocolate with another delicious treat – waffles – to create a morning meal your loved one will never forget!

2. Almond French Toast Hearts – Paris is one of the most romantic cities in the world, so why not channel the power of that French city with some French toast? But this isn’t your ordinary French toast, it’s French toast cut into hearts (I recommend using this heart cutter set). Top it off with some sweet syrup and your sweetheart will definitely know that they are loved.

3. Blood-Orange Pomegranate Mimosas – These drinks combine two key parts of the most romantic day of the year – something sweet and something red. The sparkling wine cocktail is a mixture of blood orange juice and pomegranate juice and garnished with pomegranate seeds for an extra special touch.

4. Egg-in-the-Nest – This classic kid-friendly recipe featuring an egg cooked inside a piece of bread becomes the perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast when the hole in the bread is shaped like a heart and you throw in a few ketchup hearts.

gym-memberships-300x450

Four Ways to Save on Gym Memberships



save on gym memberships

Save on Gym Memberships

If you’re like me, one of your resolutions is to lose a little weight (again). Dieting is a big part of that plan, but regular exercise also helps.

When it comes to working up a sweat, you’ve got two options: Work out at home or get a gym membership. Yes, the gym membership will cost money, but when you consider that you’ll have access to state-of-the-art gym equipment and expert advice, it’s money well spent. And just like your shrinking waistline, it is possible to trim the cost of that investment by following a few basic rules:

1. Explore Your Options 

Like any sizable investment, you’ll want to shop around for the best deal. Remember: The gym closest to your house isn’t always the best one and the one with all the fancy equipment isn’t either. Find a gym that has all the equipment you need, without all the extra stuff you don’t, at a decent price.

2. Get Ready to Haggle 

The membership coordinator at your gym is usually willing to negotiate a bit. Ask for a lower initiation fee or, better yet, no fee at all. Also see if they can match a lower monthly rate at a competing gym or throw in some classes that normally might cost extra.

3. Think Short Term

Most gyms will require you to sign an agreement that locks you into monthly payments for anywhere from six months to a year. Thing is, there’s a good chance you’ll be over this New Year’s resolution and done with the “gym thing” in two months (hey, just being realistic). Ask for a short-term contract – either month-to-month or three-months. You might pay a little extra for the privilege, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

4. Wait Until March

If you sign up during the busy season (January), your chances of scoring some negotiated discounts and perks are pretty slim. You’ll also have to deal with going to the gym during one of the busiest months of the year. Instead, wait until March, when gyms are more eager to please potential new members. In the meantime, use that time to research your options … and practice your haggling skills.

5. Workout At Home

If you really want to save money, you can choose to workout at home and skip a gym membership. You can also try Daily Burn for FREE for 30 days. With Daily Burn, you can work out at home or on the go without having to pay for a gym membership!

Related: 10 Highly Rated DVD Workouts to do at Home

How do you save on gym memberships?

how-to-save-money-on-beauty-products

How to Save Money on Beauty Products



how to save money on beauty products

Have you ever noticed how expensive it can be to get pretty? Cosmetics are getting so pricey these days, as retailers cash in on women’s desire to look their best. A simple mascara or lipstick can cost you as much as $15 at a local drugstore, while department store cosmetic prices continue to soar into the hundreds of dollars. So what is the solution if you want to look your best for less? Below, you will find out exactly how to get pretty for pennies and how to save on cosmetics. Whether you love drugstore varieties or the department store brands, follow these tips and get a lovely look for less.

How to Save Money on Beauty Products:

1. Stack your savings.
When you shop at stores like Target and Walgreens, you can stack your manufacturer coupons (go to “Categories: Personal Care” to find beauty product coupons) with store coupons. When you do this, you are really stacking your savings. Use your coupons on top of a sale price, and you can often grab items like lip gloss and nail polish for less than a few bucks or even FREE!

2. Look for tied on freebies.
Many times when a company has a new product out, they will offer a full size sample along side one of their best sellers. For example, when Revlon had a new mascara out, they attached a full size sample to the packaging of their foundation. Look for attached freebies such as this and give a new product a try for free.

3. Join Toluna
When you become a member of Toluna, you will get the chance to sample and review many full size cosmetic products for free. Just go to “Explore” and “Test Products” to try to score free beauty products. There are pretty amazing products to try including Dove soap and beauty bars as well as toothpaste, wipes, and more!

4. Visit the companies website.
Visit the website of your favorite cosmetic companies and print whatever online coupons they may have available. Don’t see any? Email them! Tell them how much you adore their products and see what savings they may have available for you. They could very well send you samples, savings, and who knows what else!

5. “Like” your favorite cosmetic brands.
When you “like” your favorite cosmetic company on Facebook, you will be the first to know about special sales, contests, coupons, sample offerings and more. Be sure to “like” all of your favorite companies and see what sort of savings you can score.

6. Take advantage of department store perks.
Peruse your local department store cosmetics counter for generous sized samples of some of your favorite (and more expensive) products. You can also keep your eyes peeled for free mini makeovers that include sample giveaways at the conclusion. Also, look for free with purchase sales, where you can score a make up bag full of goodies for free when you buy $20 worth of products.

7. Scour for coupons high and low.
Check out the Sunday paper as well as in store fliers for cosmetic coupons. Check out packaging for peel off coupons that may be available as well. You may have some luck finding blinkie coupons in your grocery store, or even coupons from company reps as they stock the shelves. Don’t be afraid to ask for them! Keep your coupons on you at all times, that way when you find a clearance bin of cosmetics, you have your coupons to score an even sweeter deal! You can even find coupons for beauty products online at Amazon! Click below to find out what’s on sale at Amazon!

When you give these tips a try, you will be able to get pretty for pennies and really save. If you are tired of paying full price for all of your favorites, give these tips on how to save on cosmetics a try and get more of what you love for less.

suntrust

Setting Up for Financial Success



In August of 2015, my husband and I paid off our car. This was a time to celebrate! No more car payments, and the only debt we owed is money on a rental home in North Carolina. We were on our way to financial freedom because our income was freed up and we had an extra $450 a month to spend on other things. However, around that same time that we paid off our car, we decided that it was that time to put ourselves on a strict budget and find out where our money was going. My husband and I scheduled a time to sit down and go over our finances because we wanted to get back to aggressively saving for our future. We wanted to continue to put money away for our retirement, kid’s college funds, future cars and weddings, and other expenses that will come our way.

We decided to toss the attitude of “we can afford it, so let’s buy it.” My husband and I started our first strict budget in September and started watching our finances closely, slashing some bills, and stopping any impulse buying. We even went through our food expenses in one month and found out we were spending about $1,500 on groceries and fast food! In one month after being smart about our money, we cut that expense from $1,500 to $600! Out of habit, we were just swiping our debit cards here and there. While we still had the money to buy these items, the truth is, we weren’t saving aggressively for our future and we weren’t saving enough for our kids.

In 5 months, we were amazed at how much money we were able to save because we were watching our finances closely. We continue to live with zero debt (except for the rental home) and we are putting away money for college, retirement, and giving to others all at the same time! We refuse to live paycheck to paycheck and continue to stay motivated to save and set ourselves up for financial freedom in the future.

If you’d like to take control of your finances, NOW is the time! Don’t wait — start today! To help you with your financial goals, SunTrust is launching a national movement to help because:

  • Over 70% of Americans are financially stressed
  • 12% of Americans skip going to the doctor because of financial concerns
  • 80% of people admitted that their personal finances keep them awake at night
  • 21% of couples who rate their financial stress as at least “somewhat high” are arguing more
  • 32% of adults say their finances keep them from living a healthy lifestyle

The statistics above are scary! If you are stressed about money, it’s time to make changes. You deserve to live with financial confidence. Money should never cause a fight, cause you to neglect your health, or most importantly be the reason why you can’t be present, present in the moment or present to enjoy ALL the moments that matter most to you.

Join the onUp Movement and encourage others to join with you! Starting on 2/7, you can go to the website which will be unveiled on Super Bowl Sunday. Take the pledge to join the onUp Movement to take charge financially, and set a goal. Take a “Mental Wealth Quiz” on onup.com so they can outline specific actions, tools and tips tailored to your situations. You’ll have a chance to share your goals and actions and help others across social media channels.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.

The onUp movement was created to guide millions of people one step at a time towards a more financially confident life without ever losing sight of the moments that matter along the way.

Join the growing number of people transforming their stress into positive motivation to move onUp.

Join the movement

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.

how to spend less on fresh flowers

Valentine’s Day Blooms on a Budget: How to Spend Less on Fresh Flowers



how to spend less on fresh flowers

Valentine’s Day is coming, and you can’t go wrong with giving your sweetheart flowers! Fresh flowers are fragrant, beautiful, and make the recipient feel so very loved. And while fresh flowers can get pricey, very pricey, you don’t need to go broke buying your sweetie a nice bouquet.

To make sure you get the best deal on fresh flowers this Valentine’s Day, check out the tips below. You will be tickled pink at how simple it is to save on blooms. It just requires a little effort and legwork. But in the end, your budget will thank you! Take a peek!

1. Be Mindful of What is in Season

Spring time flowers are already starting to make their debut. This is a great time to look for tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. All three of these varieties are considered in season will be more budget friendly. Flowers that aren’t in season will cost a lot more, and roses naturally will cost you an arm and a leg because they are in demand this time of year!

2. Shop Grocers Instead of Florists

If you order an arrangement from a florist, you won’t see the flowers until they’re ready to be picked up or delivered.  Such a gamble. Florists also are more costly than a grocery or chain store. You can find flowers that are just as fresh at these grocery and chain stores at half of the cost. Plus,  at these stores you can see the flowers for yourself before you buy them to assure freshness.

3. Say YES to Potted Bulbs

Potted bulb varieties such as tulips can be saved and replanted. A pot of tulips I bought for my sister last year is blooming again this year! She simply saved the bulb after it was done blooming and transplanted it to her garden. It is a gift that keeps giving! Now that is value.

4. Say NO to Exotic Blooms

While flowers such as orchids are lovely, they are not grown locally in most areas. A great deal of shipping and transporting go into the delivery of lilies and orchids, and that cost is passed on to the buyer. Look for flowers that grow locally in your area and they will be way more budget friendly as well as easier to care for.

5. Buy Your Own Vase and Arrange Yourself

Buy your flowers fresh cut and then put them in your own vase. Dollar stores and thrift stores carry vases by the dozens for $1.00 or less. Buying premade arrangements is by far more costly than just buying a fresh cut bouquet and arranging it yourself.

6. Add Some Aspirin

Not because your flowers has body aches, but because it will make them last longer! By adding a crushed aspirin to the water of your bouquet, it will help them remain in bloom longer, giving you the most bang for your buck. Who knew?

7. Find out About Freebies

Does your local department offer free greeting cards and novelty picks with your purchase? Take advantage of these FREE perks to add a little more bang and personalization to your bouquet! Some will even wrap your bouquet in colorful tissue for free. You won’t know if you don’t ask, so ask!

8. Think Beyond the Blooming Flowers

Basic house plants can be a cheaper alternative to blooming flowers. Your sweetheart might like an aloe plant this year instead! It is functional and can be used to treat a sunburn even. Plants like these are a gift that keeps on giving!

9. And Please…Skip the Delivery!

If you do go through a florist, skip the delivery fees and deliver your flowers yourself. Some florists charge as much as $20.00 to deliver your blooms, and even then you don’t know if anyone will be home to receive them! If your sweetheart lives in town, take the flowers to him/her yourself. After all, they will be so much happier to see you than the delivery driver!

Order fresh flowers at Amazon!

By following these simple strategies, you will be able to give a fresh arrangement that you can be proud of, and still look like you spent a ton! It just requires a little work, but the pay off is a beautiful arrangement you won’t bust your budget for.

how to save on your super bowl party

How to Save on Your Super Bowl Party



how to save on your super bowl party

Super Bowl viewers (of which there were a record 113 million last year) can be divided into three categories: Those who watch for the game, those who watch for the commercials, and those who watch for the snacks. Of course, some people watch for all three reasons – they’re called husbands.

If you’re throwing a Super Bowl party, whether it’s for five or six close friends or 20 rabid football fans, you know that costs can escalate faster than the price of one of the big budget ads that air during the game. Unlike those ads, there are ways for you to save a few bucks on your super shindig.

1. BYOB

Next to food, beer and wine is one of the costliest items on any party budget. How do you reduce it? Simple – just ask your guests to bring their own beer. In almost every case, your guests will happily oblige. After all, you’re feeding them an assortment of delicious snacks, so it’s the least they can do, right?

2. Bring A Dish

If you’re willing to buy the beer, you might consider reducing your other major cost – the food – by asking guests to bring a snack or side dish for the group. Just make sure you know what your guests are bringing and agree on the decision or else you’ll wind up with 29 bags of Cool Ranch Doritos and 14 bowls of buffalo chicken dip.

3. Don’t Buy Pre-Made Food

Veggie trays, pre-made potato salad and six foot subs might seem tempting because they save you the hassle of having to make them yourself, but they’re also more expensive. It’s probably okay to buy one or two things that are pre-made (the things that are harder for you to make), but if you spend a little time making the other items yourself, you’ll save tons of money.

4. Don’t Over Decorate

A few Super Bowl decorations are definitely in order, but like we mentioned earlier, most of the attention will be on the game, the commercials and the food, so try to resist the urge to blow your party budget on décor. If you do decorate, do yourself a favor and check out the supplies at your local dollar store.

Check out Amazon’s selection of Super Bowl decorations!

taxes

3 Ways to Save on Tax Preparation and 3 Smart Ways to Spend Your Return



ways to save on tax preparation

The tax filing deadline is a few months away! If you haven’t already filed your taxes, the first half of this entry will offer three tips to save a few bucks when it comes to tax preparation. And if you’re among the 75 percent of Americans who will get a tax refund (congrats!), the second half of this entry will offer ideas for three smarts ways to spend that extra cash.

How to Save on Tax Preparation

1. Shop Around – There are plenty of options when it comes to filing your taxes. Call several places to compare rates, and choose the most affordable option. In most cases, the best rate will be found at small town privately-owned tax preparers – often half the cost of the chain preparers.

2. File Your Own Taxes – For simple returns, it might make sense for you to prepare your own tax return. When tax time rolls around, there’s many options around where you can file for free.

3. Be Prepared – Whether you’re paying someone to do your taxes or you’re doing them yourself, having your paperwork in order will help save time and money … and probably a few headaches.

Try *E-file.com:

  • Offers free federal tax returns for those who qualify for a 1040ez.
  • Free Error Correction – Their software will automatically check your tax return for common errors. If their software finds any errors, it will prompt you to correct them.
  • Get Your Refund Quick – Who doesn’t want their refund quickly? Filing online allows you to receive your refund quicker than off-line.
  • Helpful Software – Our software will walk you through common deductions and credits that you may be eligible for with its easy and quick question & answer format.

Three Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Return

1. Add to Your Emergency Fund – A good emergency fund includes enough savings to cover three month’s of mortgage, food and utility bills. If yours isn’t close to that, or even if it is, you might consider using part of your tax return to beef up the fund.

2. Pay Off a Credit Card – Credit card debt is a pain, especially if that debt carries a high interest rate. Pick your highest interest credit card and use your tax return to pay it off or at least make a nice dent in your debt.

3. Fix Something – If you’ve been putting off a car or home repair because of a lack of funds, now’s the perfect time to finally get it done. That includes that leaky roof, broken dishwasher or replacing those balding tires on your car.

Want to save money this year? Create a budget today!

Inside home temperature thermostat set  to seventy one degrees fahrenheit

7 Ways to Save on Home Heating This Winter



Inside home temperature thermostat set  to seventy one degrees fahrenheit

With October nearly over and November right on its heels, chances are high that your family will be turning on your heat soon if you haven’t already. While there’s nothing better than snuggling up in a warm house as the snow falls outside, keeping your home a warm and cozy temperature can become costly quickly. Don’t spend a fortune heating your home. Here are seven ways to save on your home heating this winter.

1. Open the Blinds

If you’ve ever opened your blinds wide to enjoy the sunshine, you know that letting the light in can really heat up your home. Wintertime is the perfect time to use this to your advantage. Open the blinds during the day, especially on the side of your house that faces the sun. You’ll feel warmer in no time, and it doesn’t cost a thing!

2. Dress Warmly

Just because you can crank your heat and wear shorts all day doesn’t mean that you should. Dress warmly, including socks and warm sweaters. Leave cozy throw blankets out where they’ll invite you to snuggle up. Put an extra blanket on your bed. You’ll be able to turn down the heat and still be comfortable.

3. Adjust Your Ceiling Fans

Did you know that you are supposed to switch the direction your ceiling fans turn seasonally? It’s true. In the winter, your ceiling fans should run clockwise in order to gently push the warm air that floats to the ceiling back down again.

4. Check for Leaks

According to HouseLogic.com, the average family wastes $350 every year due to air leaks alone. Common places for air leaks include around doors, windows, fireplaces and sockets. Go through your home looking for leaks, and fill them with insulation, spray foam or weather stripping. The process is pretty simple, and you can find everything you need at your local home improvement store.

5. Invest in More Insulation

In addition to small leaks, your home may have large areas that are not well-insulated as well. While the heat may not seep out as fast in these areas, if the areas are large, you could still be out a substantial amount of money. Insulation is relatively cheap, and putting it up isn’t too difficult. Even a roll or two added to the attic can help.

6. Use a Space Heater

If your family spends the vast majority of your time in one or two rooms, it doesn’t make much sense to heat the entire house. Instead, turn the heat on as low as you can and then use a space heater in the rooms you frequent. You’ll stay nice and warm at a fraction of the cost.

7. Get Regular HVAC Maintenance as Needed

For those of us trying to live frugally, putting off home maintenance and repairs can be very tempting. Yet, some amount of regular HVAC maintenance is necessary to keep your system clean and running well. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting a ton of energy because the system is too dirty and inefficient to heat your home properly.

Related: My Three Step Plan to Save 25% on Home Heating Costs

At the very least, you should change your furnace air filter every couple of months, or as often as every month if you have pets or allergies in your family. If your heat doesn’t seem to be keeping up, however, or if you are spending way more than you should, larger maintenance and repairs may be in order.

How painful are your home heating bills? Do you follow any of these steps to reduce your bills, or do you just crank the heat and not worry about it? What other tips work well for you?

Red christmas sock hung on the old wooden wall

50+ Stocking Stuffers for Under $3 Each!



Red christmas sock hung on the old wooden wall

Are you looking to save money on stocking stuffers this year? Here’s a list of stocking stuffers under $3 each! Thanks Midget Momma for compiling this great list! Prices can change any time!