Kathy’s Home & Garden Tips – Stretch Your Family Budget

Even if you are comfortable financially, why pay more than you need to? I know some people that make a game of finding bargains and then give their savings to charity. Have doubles from BOGO deals at the grocery store? Give to a food bank.

Everyone knows I love vegetable gardening. What I don’t always talk about is how much money you can save! Often in the summer, our dinners are a small piece of meat or fish and the remainder is from our garden. Not only does this save money, but you can grow more healthy and organic food. Even city dwellers can grow a few tomatoes, peppers, and lettuce in a balcony pot. You can also donate excess garden harvests. Freezing and canning are easy too and all the rage now. We will talk about different preserving methods at harvest time.

Plan all your family meals for the week. Use the flyer from your favorite store (most are available online) and plan according to sales that week.  So much can be done to save money online, especially with groceries. You can get printable coupons and many stores offer apps with coupons that you store on your phone. Another way to say is to not throw out food. Freeze leftovers. Have extra veggies? Make and freeze stock in ice cube trays for later. Always rotate and use freezer items in a timely manner.

Buy off season! This is an oldie, but a goody. You often think of buying off season for things like luggage, snow blowers, and lawn mowers. But there are many other items that can be cheaper depending on what month you buy in. Buy large appliances and TVs in April and May. Try dishes and household goods in June during wedding season. January is a great time for carpet and flooring after the busy holiday remodel season. September and October are perfect for summer items like patio furniture. October is also the best time to buy and plant trees.

Bargain hunt constantly. With today’s online access, there are a wealth of discounts available online. Sign up for email programs for special offers. Even smaller purchases are worth checking online. There are many companies that offer good prices and free shipping on items we use regularly, like pet food and supplies. With our busy lives these days, we can save money and time with auto delivery from places like Amazon

Many bargain hunters know the value of yard sales, thrift shops, and swap meets. If you have young children, these can be invaluable. Children grow so quickly and it’s silly to buy new, especially for play clothes. If you are furnishing your first apartment, thrift stores are fantastic for furniture, accessories, and appliances. If you are around my age (late 50s) and are starting to pare down, have your own yard sale. Always check with your village for rules and proper permits. You really can make quite a bit of money with stuff you’d otherwise throw out. Just make sure everything is clean and displayed nicely!