Is clipping coupons my only way to save money?

With gas and many daily necessities costing more and more everyday, I heard people talking about various ways to save money. Cut down on driving, quit drinking pop and eating candies everyday, cut down trips to Starbucks, etc. But for me, I don’t have much to cut down to save money. I get an annual bus pass from work so I take the bus regularly. I don’t drink coffee. I don’t smoke. I don’t have a sweet tooth. I don’t wear makeup. I haven’t bought any new clothes for a while. My shoes are starting to worn out and I have bought new pairs many months ago. I even collect paper that has been printed on one side at work and take home only a small amount when the pile of paper is getting too much because I have to make special efforts to use the paper on a printer that is shared by about 15 people. The only money-saving idea that comes to me is clipping coupons but we don’t even have a subscription of the local newspaper. We have basic cable at home which means there are only the local TV stations of the big networks plus 3-5 other channels, no HBO, no ESPN, no CNN, no HGTV which I would love to have since I am a big fan of This Old House on PBS.

My husband said I should quit eating sushi for lunch on Fridays. The sushi I get from the deli/cafe located on the ground floor of my work building costs somewhere between $5 to $7. I eat it once a week to make sure I get fish in my diet. On the other days of the week, I bring to work leftover dinners that have been frozen (I call them “homemade” frozen dinners). I let them stay in my insulated lunch bag to thaw so I don’t even have to use the often overstuffed fridge in the lunch room. I was watching something random on the Discovery channel a few weeks ago and I heard that an average Japanese eats the equivalent of his/her body weight of fish each year. The Japanese is known for living long and well. I bet sushi has something to do with it. I can’t give up something that can keep me healthy, right?

Looking around the house, we use compact fluorescent light bulbs, the thermostat is programmed to heat up to certain temperatures (at or below 68 degrees) at different times of day, and we replaced the old single pane double hung windows with new double pane vinyl windows this past winter. The hot water heater (always set at 120 degrees) stopped working over the Memorial Day weekend and we spent under $50 at Home Depot for a diagnostic tool and replaced parts (this was a rather interesting experience which I will write another post). I insulated sections of the water pipes closest to the hot water heater as far as I could until there is no space between the pipes and the ceiling joists of the basement. We use two separate power strips for the entertainment system so only the TV and DVR are constantly connected to power while the other power strip hooked up with the stereo, CD player, and the Wii stays off. In the upcoming summer, we might not water the lawn that was regraded and newly planted last spring.

Perhaps I should take shorter shower. But it would be like taking away my only refuge since I don’t go to spa, nail salons or get massages. I guess coupons will be my only way to save…..


One thought on “Is clipping coupons my only way to save money?

  1. I found the best way to save money, for us, is to grow a lot of our own food. Of course we have free water, so that helps. Not so easy in the city, but since you are in Ptown, you could rain barrel, right? Another thing is to trade for food items. We traded 4 live chickens we grew for picking certain kinds of cherries our orchard doesn’t grow. We traded a 35 gallon bucket of those cherries for a whole leg of a hog, already smoked. When we finished eating the pork, we gave the leftovers to our chickens. Those chickens pooped and they poop helped to fertilize our garden, to grow more veggies, to feed us, thus feed the chickens. Those same chickens also laid eggs that we incubated and hatched, and now we have new live chickens. Full circle many times over! Sounds like a weird, round about way to do things, but it never costs us anything but a little chicken feed, since our chickens eat most of our scraps. We do have to take care of the chickens (10 minutes a day, tops), pick the cherries & veggies, plant & water, that sort of thing, but that is just exercise, not really work. Since I know you like eggs, have you ever thought of getting 1-3 egg laying chickens? It is perfectly legal in Portland. You give them your leftover food and they give you eggs. Good trade off, right?

    Just some ideas…..

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