Category Archives: Frugal Living

Tips that we have used to cut cost.


Truth About Rent -To-Own

In one of my Facebook groups the topic of Rent-To-Own always comes up.  The mom always asks what is your opinion on going that route to buy a home and I always comment  “NO”!!!  Although Rent-To-Own sounds good in theory and some landlords have good intentions, there are better ways that are much less risky.

So before I get into my reasons as to why you should not do this, lets break down the process of Rent-To Own.  Basically you are paying an agreed upon premium in your rent with obligation of purchasing the home at the end of your lease.  The premium that you are paying is suppose to be put in some type of savings account by your landlord so the funds can go to your down payment.  This process is also known as a lease-option or a lease-purchase.  Seems pretty straight forward right?  Well here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The bottom line is you do not own this property while you are in the leasing stage.  Anything could happen and you are in jeopardy of losing the house and the money you have put into it.
  • Just like any normal rental agreement, you are limited to what changes you can make to the property because again it is not yours.
  • Once the leasing period has ended, that does not mean you can still buy the house.  You are still required to get the necessary funding to secure the mortgage needed to make the purchase.  You can still be denied from getting a mortgage if your credit is not where it needs to be.  You take the chance of losing that extra money you have been paying if you can’t buy the house.
  • Just like any rental agreement, you are treated as a tenant so if you miss rental payments you can also lose the premium money you have been putting towards the house and be evicted.
  • If you are in a situation where you think you need to Rent- To -Own, you shouldn’t be buying a home anyway because you have no money.

My advice is to hold off until you are ready to make that purchase by taking out a mortgage or in straight cash.  Do the needful to fix your credit and save for your deposit.  There are so many programs out there to assist first time home buyers if you do your research.

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kids clothes

5 Ways to Save on Children’s Clothes

I only have one child at the moment and buying clothes and shoes for him adds up pretty quickly so I can only imagine what it is like when you have multiple kids.  I have learned that I can dress my little one very nicely and not have to spend thousands of dollars to do it and here are 5 tips that can help you do the same.

  1. Clothing Swap- If you have a group of friends or family with children around the same age do a clothing swap to help with cost. Children can quickly outgrow things and often times wear things once.  I can’t even tell you how many times I found a clothing item that I completely forgot about that he can no longer fit.
  2. Consignment/ Thrift Stores- Thrifting is the latest trend and with consignment shops and events popping up all over the place it makes it so much easier. I have been able to find great deals at these places for the little guy. Sometimes I can find items with the tags still on.
  3. Shopping Out of Season- Why wait till the next season starts to begin shopping for it. Right now it’s spring and retailers still have winter items at discounted prices they want to get rid of.  If your kid doesn’t have a massive growth spurt, it should be easy to estimate his or her size for next year.  I just got him a new winter coat for $5 and sweaters for $3 each at Primark.  Primark is one of my new favorite stores.
  4. Discount Stores- The discount stores that I am referring to are hidden treasures. Normally you find these places because you happen to stumble upon it or word of mouth. These discount stores carry items from last season or they bought a batch that has a slight defect like a messed up stitch or something. Because of this, the items are so cheap. You really have to check these items before buying because you don’t want to buy something with a hole unless you plan on sewing it yourself. One of the hidden treasures I go to is called Rugged Wearhouse. They have a few locations throughout the US with 2 being in Delaware.
  5. Make your own- I do not have the time nor the talent, but if you do more power to you.  I did get crafty and make his birthday shirt with items I found at AC Moore.

Let me know your ways of saving on children’s clothes. If you have any hidden treasure discount stores in your area or know of a great consignment shop please share.

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Ebates- Get Paid to Shop Online!

It is the holiday season and if you are anything like me, you prefer to do your shopping online. Amazon became my best friend about four years ago because I didn’t feel like taking a baby out and dealing with the crowds. Now my online shopping experience is even better with Ebates. With Ebates, I can do my normal shopping, save money and earn cash back. Who doesn’t want that? And guess what…Ebates is absolutely free to sign up for. All you have to do is visit your normal sites via to start earning cash back.

Here are some of the stores with double cash back rewards for the holiday shopping season; don’t let these deals slip by you. Earn while you are already shopping for things you were already going to buy online.

Ebates- Double Cash Back

And of course Ebates has the refer a friend cash bonus to put more money in your pocket.

Ebates- Refer a friendClick the hyperlink or the Ebates button on the sidebar to get started today for free: Ebates-Get Paid to Shop

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Rain Check Please!

Have you ever spotted a really good sale in the weekly circular only to get to the grocery store for it to be out of stock.  Well this happen to me yesterday.  GIANT currently has Butter Ball Turkey Bacon on sale 10/$10.  That is a pretty good deal and I’m obviously not the only person to think s0 since it was all gone when I got there.  After not being able to find anyone in the meat section to check in the back, I finally went to the customer service desk.  The woman at the counter was so kind to tell me about how the rain checks work at GIANT.  This is not the first time I have heard about a rain check, but it just never crossed my mind to take advantage of them.   With me trying to be more frugal, I will use this to my advantage every chance I get.

If you are not familiar with how a rain check works at the grocery store, it’s really simple.  If a sale item is out of stock, the retailer will give you a voucher to comeback at a later date to purchase the item at that sale price.  The voucher never expires so it doesn’t matter if the sale is over when you return.  I am now able to purchase up to 10 packs of turkey bacon at any given time with my rain check.  IMG_0767

The woman at the counter told me they were expected to get a shipment in the next day with more bacon so come back to stock up and save my rain check for a later date.  If the store happens to be out again when I return, just ask for another rain check.  Of course that means I have to go back before the sale is over so after posting this I will be getting dressed to head to the store.  I kinda hope they are still out of stock so I can get another rain check.  I need to travel in that direction anyway so it wont be a waste of gas if they are still out.


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Dish Soap as a Stain Remover for Clothes

The cleaning isle is full of different products for different things which can really add up.  I’m not sure where I learned this frugal living tip, but dish soap as a stain remover for clothes works wonders. Dish soap isn’t just for your dishes and it is much cheaper than buying products that are dedicated simply for just stain removal.   So far dish soap as a stain remover for clothes has been my go to product for about two years now and I don’t buy any other stain removing product. 

Dish soap is made to cut grease and get the gunch off your dishes so it can do the samething for your laundry.  Before I wash clothes, especially my little ones, I spread just a dab directly to any stain.  I normally do not pretreat stains unless I remember before putting items in the laundry basket.  I use it on food and grass stains and it comes right on out.  I have not needed to remove any blood stains as of yet so I can not tell you how well it works on those.  If you happen to try it let me know. 

So if you are looking for a way to cut down on the products you are buying, try using dish soap as a stain remover for clothes.  I bet you will not be dissapointed.      

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Layaway is a Scam!

LayawayThe holiday season is already here and if you are anything like me, you started your holiday shopping back in the summer.  LOL!!  If you shop at a major retailer that has a layaway program, you better believe they have already begun promoting it hardcore for the holiday season.  I am not an advocate of layaway simply because it makes me feel like I have another debt obligation, which I so do not want.  I have tried layaway three times and had regrets two out of the three.  Mentally it just does not work for me and to be honest I think layaway is a scam.  I know saying layaway is a scam is a bit over dramatic, but here are my thoughts.  Layaway encourages you to put items on hold, which you obviously don’t have the money to pay for at the moment, so you can pay for it in installments instead of all at once.  This is a ploy for you as a consumer to live beyond your means.  Why not save your money and when you have enough set aside go out and purchase your items.  It all comes down to planning so plan to save ahead of time for you holiday purchases.

Layaway is just not good for you period unless you got a really good deal on something like furniture and you have not moved into your new place yet like I did.  Then it is actually cheaper compared to paying for storage.  Hints my one layaway experience that I did not regret. Normally there is a fee associated with you putting your items on hold which causes you to spend more money.  The fee is normally somewhere around 5-20 dollars in addition to putting down a percentage of your balance.  If you get lucky, there might be a promotion going on and your fee is waived.  If you put your items on layaway and do not pick them up by the pickup date or decide you don’t want them, your items will be put back and you may be charged a cancellation fee.  Make sure you read the fine print of any layaway program before agreeing to it.

Like Warren Buffet says, “If you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it, and first get yourself in the position to pay for anything.”  Please share your thoughts on layaway if you use it.

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No Cable

Frugal Living: Living Without Cable.

No CableHave you ever considered living without cable, but just too afraid you would be missing out on something?  Well let me tell you it’s really not as bad as you would think, especially for a busy family like mine that barely has time to really watch television anyway.  Most of my family’s time is spent at work (daycare for the little one) or doing family activities.  I was told that successful people really don’t watch a lot of television anyway, just some food for thought.  When we do relax to watch television, it is normally dominated by kid friendly television shows or movies.  In an effort to cut cost to put more money towards my never ending student loans or at least that is how it feels, we decided living without cable would be easy.  So this is how we took the necessary steps to make the transition:

  • First to insure we were making the right decision, I hijacked my brother’s Netflix account for a week as an alternative. Quickly we realized all of our son’s favorite shows were on Netflix already anyway.  As I am writing this blog post, a Netflix account is 7.99/month and they normally give you the first month free as a trial.  We took advantage of the free trial before cancelling our cable. One feature that has been added since we became a Netflix member is the ability to add multiple profiles under one account and this makes things convenient.
  • Next we purchased an antenna so we can pick up all the basic channels like the news, PBS, sports, etc. Now when I say antenna, I do not mean your grandparents old school bunny ears on top of the black and white TV.  You can purchase a modern antenna box from your nearest electronics store like HH Gregg, Best Buy, Radio Shack, etc.
  • Our next purchase was a Roku Box for our son’s bedroom.  A Roku Box is a digital video player that streams the internet.  Certain apps automatically pop up on your television when you install the box like Netflix.  There is also a Netflix button right on the remote so our three year old can just press the button.  As a toddler I swear he is more tech savvy than I am as an adult.  He can easily navigate to watch whatever kid’s friendly show he wants to watch.  His Netflix profile is already set up for the “Just for Kids” section.

By taking these steps we have made the transition of living without cable very easy for our family in addition to cutting cost.  Since we didn’t watch much TV to begin with, we are no longer paying for a service we hardly use.  If you have not picked up on this yet, you still need the internet to make all of this work, so we didn’t completely get rid of Comcast.  Also, it is helpful to mention that we have an Xbox 360 in our living room to stream Netflix on the family TV.  If you do not have a gaming system, you can easily purchase an HDMI cord to connect your TV to your computer for the same purpose.

Now if you are so obsessed with watching a particular network, another option is to purchase a Hulu account or both.  We do not have a Hulu account because the only network I really watch is ABC so I can watch my shows the next day online at  I was already doing this anyway since I am normally doing stuff when my shows come on.  So as you can see, living without cable is not as difficult as you may have thought before reading this article.  Try it out and let me know how it works out for you.  If you are already living without cable, share your story in the comments section or email me.

This is not a sponsored post, just me sharing our frugal family tip.

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Example # 2: Unit Price $1.66 per 100 count

Frugal Living: Do You Shop by Unit Price?

Do you check the unit price before you purchase your items at the grocery store?  Knowing the value of your purchase will help you maximize your savings while shopping.  A few years ago, a read an article about how the sale price isn’t always the best deal, so make sure you are checking the unit price to compare items.  This came in handy a few days later when I almost got suckered into purchasing Christmas themed tissues because they were on sale a few days after Christmas.  Since it was a few years ago, I do not remember the exact price, but I do remember they were only a few cents off compared to some regular priced items I was comparing.  The unit price was actually more for the Christmas themed tissue boxes because the box had fewer tissues.  Till this day I shop by unit price for items that I am not so brand sensitive about.

If you are not sure what the unit price is, it is the price of an item divided by the unit of measurement.  There is no need to pull out your handy dandy calculator in the toilet paper aisle, because it is normally printed right next to the sales price; most people just never pay attention to it.  Here are a few examples with the unit price highlighted in orange:

Example # 1: Unit Price 79.6 cents per 100 count

Example # 2: Unit Price $1.66 per 100 count

Example # 2: Unit Price $1.66 per 100 count

Example # 3: Unit Price 82.9 cents per 100 count

Example # 3: Unit Price 82.9 cents per 100 count

As you can see the unit of measurement is per 100 tissues for each box.  So can you tell which is the best deal? If you said Example #1 you would be correct.  Not only does it have the cheapest unit price, it also has the most tissues.  In the long run you are paying less compared to buying the cheaper box in example #3.

So the next time you are in the store shopping, think about this article to help you maximize your savings potential for your household.  The cheapest deal is not always the best deal, so check the unit price.

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