Tuesday, July 12, 2011

4 Things You Should NEVER Pay Full Price For (and 3 Things You Should)

In the course of my Mindfully Frugal Mom adventures, I’ve learned so much about how to save money in a thoughtful way.  There are certain things that it is absolutely worth paying full price for -- a handmade gift that someone you care about will love, fresh fruit at the farmer’s market, or a luxuriously rich morsel of dark chocolate. 
Conversely, there are a few other items that I would never dream of spending full price on -- ever. For any reason. Under any circumstances. Period.
They are:
    The American Frugal Housewife
  • Books. I just don’t understand why anyone would pay for a book.  And that is not because I dislike books, or don’t like to read. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. I majored in English Literature in college and taught high school English for 8 years.  I know what I’m talking about here: Go.To.The.Library. I haven’t bought a book in 3 years. Virtually any book I’m interested in can be reserved and “ordered” through the county library system for only $1.  I may have to wait a week or two, but I’m willing to do that to save upwards of $20 (for a hardcover). Plus, there are only a select few books that I read more than once, so by returning the book to the library, I can save space in my home.  And in case you have an eReader, yes, the library offers loans of eBooks. Amazon also has many eBooks available to download for free.  
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  • Magazine Subscriptions. Call me old-fashioned, but I love reading magazines. I currently subscribe to several lifestyle and recipe magazines, and I have never paid more for a year’s subscription than the cost of 1 issue -- under $5, without exceptions. Sites like Tanga, Best Deal Magazines, Discount Magazines, and RewardsGold are some of the resources I’ve used for magazine deals. In addition, daily deal sites like Mamasource and Dealpulp often have deals on magazines.  When I'm done reading my magazines, I recycle them or donate them to my local library's magazine swap.  Oh, that reminds me -- check out if your library has a magazine swap. I've found lots of current issue magazines there for absolutely free! This week I scored an issue of Bon Appetit with some amazing recipes inside. 
    A&h Baking Soda 16oz
  • Toothpaste. I know this is extremely random.  But there are new coupons for toothpaste -- all brands, including natural ones like Tom’s of Maine -- nearly every week. If you’re not a toothpaste connoisseur (who is?!) or picky about brands, you can get toothpaste for under $.50 every shopping trip. Even if you are all-natural and just use baking soda paste (yes, I do in fact know people who do this!), baking soda is often on sale at Walgreens for $.50.
  • Eating Out. With the preponderance of daily deals sites (including Groupon, LivingSocial, and MyDailyThread) offering discounts on restaurants from frugal to frou-frou, there is no reason to pay full price for a date or a girl’s night.  I admit that the Hubs and I haven’t gone out as much as we would like lately, but I will say that we have had a half-off voucher at every restaurant we have gone to-- and all were for places we know we love already. If you are dining with kids in tow, there are many restaurants with a "kids eat free" night -- usually Tuesday, but call your favorite family restaurant to inquire about their policy.
I'm always learning new ways to save money on the things my family uses every day. I love that in many cases, saving money also means conserving our natural resources -- as in the case of using eBooks and the library instead of purchasing new hard copies of reading material.  What do you refuse to pay full price for?

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