Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.
That wise maxim,spoken by many a parent and grandparent in years past, has perhaps never been more relevant or easier to put into application than it is today. Lately, it seems that more and more people in the River Region are participating in seasonal consignment sales, buying offers on local daily deal websites and bidding on items in online yard sales to save money. If you’re a penny-watcher, you might find some inspiration with this list of ten things you can do to make your money stretch.
1. Online Yard Sales
This is number one on the list of ways to make your money stretch, and for good reason. River Region penny watchers have seen a tremendous surge in local online yard sales popping up in the form of Facebook groups. A few of these include: “Prattville and Millbrook Online Yard Sale,” “Wetumpka Online Yard Sale,” “East Alabama Yard Sale,” and “Montgomery County Yard Sale.” If you are a Facebook user, you can request to join one or more of these groups. Then you will be able to bid on items users post and post your own items for sale. When a buyer and seller agree on a price, they generally set up a place to meet and make the exchange. It is very important to exercise a few common sense safety practices when buying from someone you don’t know. For example, choose a crowded place to meet, and always meet during the daytime. Bring a friend with you and let someone else know where you are going, the name and phone number of the person you are meeting, and when you will be back.
Couponing is probably the oldest money saving technique in the book, but today’s savvy shoppers have taken it to a new level, stacking coupons and discounts to save more money on food and household products than ever before. If you are interested in learning techniques to get the most out of your couponing efforts, consider attending MAX’s member education seminar, The Basics of Couponing, on June 7 at 6:30 p.m. in the Eastdale Community Room. In this seminar, MAX’s community relations coordinator and self-proclaimed “coupon mom,” Donna Jackson, teaches members and their guests about the different types of coupons, where to find them and how to keep them organized, and how to combine coupons with store sales to maximize savings. Register for free online at myMAX.com, or call 334.394.2150.
3. Re-quote Your Insurance
While insurance is a necessity of life, paying too much for your insurance isn’t. If you set up your home, car, and life insurance policies years ago with several different providers, it would be well worth your time to call MAX Insurance Services to request a new quote. Bundling your policies will probably save you money, and chances are good that the rates are more competitive now than when you set them up years ago. Call MAX’s Insurance Services Operations Manager Jerry Tweeten at 334.215.4960, or tollfree at 855.207.9127, to get a no cost, no obligation insurance quote, or request a quote online at myMAX.com.
4. Consignment Sales
Consignment sales are another way to save money on home decor items and clothing for the whole family. A popular series of consignment sales was started by MAX member Lynda Jackson-Taylor, owner of The Shoppes of My Kids Attic in the Eastbrook Shopping Center at 401 Coliseum Boulevard in Montgomery. Linda started the sales more than a decade ago, inspired by the desire to clothe her own six children in name brands on a budget. She now offers children’s sales in February and September, a women’s sale with furniture and home decor items in April, and a school uniform, sports & exercise equipment sale in July. Consignors and volunteers receive early shopping passes, and everyone enjoys the excitement of finding unique items at great prices. Items that are not sold or picked up by consignors are donated to various local and international charities. The next sale for women’s clothing and home decor items is April 25-28, 2012 at My Kids Attic. Learn more about My Kids Attic online at www.mykidsattic.biz.
5. Flea Markets
Flea markets are a great way to get out of the house, have some fun and save money in the process. A popular River Region market is Santuck Flea Market in Wetumpka, open the first Saturday of the month from March through December, from daylight until 2:00 p.m. For a list of flea markets across the state, visit http://americanfleas.com/alabama.
Make no mistake about it, gas prices are on the rise. If driving less to save money is not an option, consider carpooling to work or school. This is a great way to save time, money and build friendships along the way. Ask around the office if there are others that travel from your area to work every day. Who knows? They might have the same thing in mind, but were hesitant to ask!
7. Entertainment at Home
Family Date Night can be a great time to catch up with the people you love and make memories that will last a lifetime. You could play classic games like Pictionary or Trivial Pursuit, watch a Netflix or Red Box movie, or get creative and go camping in the back yard with s’mores and scary stories. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination, and a quick Google search can provide even more ideas for family fun on the cheap.
8. Daily Deal Websites
Groupon may have started the trend, but that was just the beginning. Daily deal sites are everywhere now, offering tremendous savings (up to 90% off) on everything from restaurant meals to haircuts to beach vacations. A few daily deal sites with local advertisers include www.DealChicken.com, www.SweetJack.com, and, of course, www.Groupon.com.
9. Finding the Best Time (and Place) to Buy
Any budget-conscious shopper knows that waiting until the end of the season to buy clothes pays off in spades because that’s when stores offer the best deals. Whether you’re looking for children’s clothes, ladies handbags, or anything in between, clearance sales can offer savings up to 75% or more! The downside is that you may only get a couple of uses out of your great find until you have to put it away for next year. That’s not all bad, though: next year it will feel like a shopping trip when you pull out the new clothes you saved money on the year before!
Of course, this principle doesn’t just apply to clothing. It also pays to seek out the best time to buy other things, like gas, for example. There are now apps for your smartphone to help you uncover the best gas prices in your area. Gas Buddy, a free mobile app available for Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Windows phones, has an average four-star customer satisfaction rating. Before you download, you can try out the desktop version at www.GasBuddy.com.
We’ve long heard it said that Tuesdays are the best days to buy plane tickets, and that may well be true. While airline prices constantly fluctuate, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the days that airlines generally offer the cheapest prices, and weekends are almost always the priciest.
10. Subscribe and Save
Online retailer, Amazon.com, now offers a subscription service that allows users to set up automatic recurring orders for products at a discount off Amazon’s regular price. The products are shipped for free on a schedule set by the subscriber. Products available through Subscribe and Save include household items, baby and childcare products, beauty supplies, and even grocery items.
Do you have more creative ideas on how to stretch a household budget? If so, we’d love to hear them! Send them by email to
, or mail them to: MAX Credit Union, Attn: more Magazine, 400 Eastdale Circle, Montgomery, Alabama, 36117.
SAVE more WITH MAX
MAX helps you save money, too! Check out these convenient, money-saving opportunities available at MAX.
ATM Receipt Coupons
Get great coupons on your receipt every time you use a MAX ATM. Current coupons include offers from: Harbor Freight, Hobby Lobby, and Little Caesar’s.
MAX Insurance Services allows you to customize your coverage, focusing on a premium plan that fits your budget and saves you money. Check out the menu of insurance products available and get a free, no-obligation quote at myMAX.com.
Mobile Banking Apps
Time is money. MAX Mobile Banking apps for iPhone and Android give you quick and easy access to your account so you can spend less time managing your money and more time doing the things you love.
Come to a FREE class to learn a variety of money-saving tips and tricks. Classes on couponing and smart spending are coming up soon! See the schedule on myMAX.com .