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Thursday, February 9, 2012

How do you Pinch Pennies?

Penny pinch! I would say that all of us do it at some time or other. How do you pinch pennies?

My husband is retired now. I have never worked outside the home since we were married 33 years ago. So we are used to pinching pennies. Though we did not have as much coming in as some families, we watched what we spent - we had to. We also tried saving money when we could. We wanted our kids to be able to go to college and we wanted to save money for when my husband retired.

By me not working, we never had to pay for daycare or a baby sitter, we didn't eat out much and when we did we usually  bought off of the $1 menu (and still do), I shopped sales and used coupons, bought at yard sales and thrift stores.

Even though he is drawing Social Security and a pension, I was very surprised to see when looking at our W2 forms for 2011, that we lived on 52%  of what we lived on in 2010. That is a big difference! A big dent in our income is that over $800 is taken out of his pension check each month for health insurance. When I noticed this, I told my son that we must be pretty good  penny pinchers!

Do you use coupons?
Do you buy generic brands in food and medicine?
Do you have money direct deposited in your savings from your check?
Do you shop at thrift stores and yard sales?
Do you grow vegetable gardens and freeze or can your surplus food?
Do you have yard sales to get extra cash?
Are you driving less to save gas?
Do you cut your children's and husband's hair?
Did you drop your home phone when you got a cell phone?

Please leave comments and tell us how you pinch your pennies.

Let us help each other with our ideas.


  1. These are really good thoughts to ponder over. I never worked away from home; we have been contract poultry growers, now in our 40th year, so there's always been plenty for me to do at home, helping with the income. And there's no retirement in sight yet! I simply try not to buy things I don't need or have a place for and I don't use credit cards unless I can pay when the bill comes. So I don't guess we pinch pennies, yet. But, my children do, and they have good outside-the-home jobs. Sometimes I think a lot depends on how well a person takes care of what they have instead of buying and throwing out.

  2. $800 a month for health insurance? Wow. We find that frightening in the UK. Mind you, our health services frightens us too. :)

    I'm quite good at penny pinching - when I think about it. I tend to see some shiny gadget or new handbag and buy it without thinking. Then I realise I've been wasting money so have a few months pinching those pennies until the next spree.

  3. I am trying to buy mostly organic now, and that makes coupon shopping harder. I do go to Costco and buy some things in bulk, but I don't think I'm saving much's just nice to have the stored up supplies. I cut my husband's hair instead of taking him to the barber, and I wait till I can't stand mine a minute longer before I head to the shop for my own cut! But, in the past I have had to penny pinch a LOT and I know you have to be creative!

    Is your husband a vet? Even if the V.A. is a long drive for you, I think the trips to the V.A. would far outweigh the cost of that health insurance. They pro-rate your costs and give excellent care. If he is a vet, it is well-worth looking into! If that leaves you without care for yourself, then that is an issue, of course, but sometimes there are health clinics that also do pro-rated care, or perhaps you could pay for health ins. just for you. Just some thoughts.

  4. Just about all of the above.. The same thing with us..We've had to live on a tight buget for years..My husband is Semi- Retired, which means he still works some. What he can and still draw Social Security.. He draws a pension but we still need the extra income..I used to work and got a disabilty that has kept me from working.. I can't draw yet because I'm not old enough, so we really pinched pennies over the years..I do coupons and go where there's bargains.. A lot of our clothes come from thrift stores and I'm not ashamed to wear them..I love thrift stores and the many treasures you can find..This is an excellent post Janet..

  5. I agree with lil red hen, in that we take very good care of what we do have, and so reduce unnecessary expenses that way. I also have a vegetable garden in the summer, mostly tomatoes with a little of this and that thrown in. It's amazing how much $$ that saves all summer, and how delicious that fresh food is.

  6. I can answer yes to the 1st 5 questions. I live in too rural of an area for yard sales to be profitable. I'm not really driving less in that I go pretty much when I want to. I don't cut my family's hair & I don't have a cell phone.

    We've lived on my husband's income for 18 yrs now. I think we are penny pinchers because we gave up all the little things (2nd car, internet, cable, phones, vacations, ect) for yrs to be able to become debt-free by the time we were in our 30's.Then we loosened our purse strings a little & added a 2nd car, internet & an occasional vacation. We aren't interested in having cable or cell phones. All on 30 to 40k a yr. I know many people do much more on much less. We've been very content.

  7. Most young people don't understand these concepts. They spend what they don't have, think of today instead of tomorrow, and demand instant gratification. I noticed about ten years ago that we are a throw away society. If a toy breaks at school, I fix it, but the young teachers pitch it. They've never had to do without.

  8. Thought provoking post! I use coupons, but not religiously, I do buy generic and grow/can my own produce and we harvest deer and process it ourselves. I cut hubby and one of my kiddo's hair (the other is too picky) and we do not have a landline.

  9. I am retired with a golden retriever house mate. We both have developed ways to penny pinch. I no longer take my dog to get trimmed which is 75.00 around here. I cut him myself-- he doesn't complain that its not perfect. I don't buy processed dog treats for him either. I root around the fridge for either some raw veggies or fresh fruit and give him a small piece as a treat. I even buy his heart worm pills online rather from the vet. I save about 20.00 on six pills by buying on line -- and get free shipping.

    As for myself the biggest money saver is buying in bulk and cutting my own hair. Marie commented that she is trying to eat organic now. One can save for sure by eating this way. Number one it cuts out all processed food which are empty of nutrition. Indirectly you save on doctor bills. #2 one needs to shop around for the best bulk organics. Online has great prices on spices if one shops around online. Amazon surprisingly has some organic spices and tea and if you buy 25.00 or more you don't have to pay shipping.

    By buying bulk organics I actually have a lower grocery bill than my friends living alone and eating conventional.

    There are many other ways I have discovered to save -- you have some great ones listed.

  10. I try and penny pince all I can!

    I do buy generic brands
    I garden and put up food
    I buy at yard sales and thrift stores when I can
    I take our used items to a consignment shop
    My husband cuts his own hair
    I used coupons when I can

    Great post Janet!

  11. I love shopping at thrift stores for books, household items and clothing that I can recycle into useful items. It's amazing what good deals you can find! I also shop clearance sales the whole year round, stocking up on toys and clothes for my grandchildren. I bought two Christmas dresses (retail value-$50.00 each)for a total of $8.00 at Kohl's! My daughter is a big on coupons and saves a lot on her groceries. She also uses the internet, like Living Social, to get good deals.
    I still have a land line, not willing to give that up, yet.

    Good post, Janet.


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