By Devon Weaver, founder and blogger, Mama Cheaps
The first few days after we brought our daughter home from the hospital are, like with most new parents, just a blur now. Diaper, bottle, bath, sleep, bottle, repeat. I remember a sleepless haze covering our little house as we quickly learned how to take care of this precious little bundle. We figured that I would be taking at least a year off from my job (public school teacher), and had planned accordingly by padding our bank account as much as possible.
During those sleepy days and nights in September 2008, we watched as the economy took the biggest nosedive that our generation has ever experienced. Suddenly our nest egg didn’t seem so big. I remember calling my dad and asking him, “Should we be worried? Do we need to take our money out of the bank? What’s going to happen to our retirement funds?” He assured me that we would likely be just fine, but that it was never a bad thing to become a little more careful with our money; to really think before spending.
You could say that we took his advice and ran with it.
I never knew how many ways there are to save money. More importantly, I never knew how easy it is to save money. Let’s fast forward: It is now December 2009. My daughter is 15 months old. She walks, has teeth, and is adding more new words to her vocabulary every day. We sing the ABC song and I’m a Little Teapot daily (if not hourly!) and love to read books together. Last month, I officially hung up my teaching hat and resigned from my job to become a permanent stay-at-home-mom. Never in a million years did I ever imagine that we would be able to survive, let alone thrive, as a one-income family. The truth is, thanks our new money-conscious attitude, we have barely touched our savings.
One of the best ways to save money is by finding great deals online. Here are some of my favorite sites and resources to getting the very best prices, prizes and information. After a little practice, you’ll never pay retail again!
- Amazon.com: Seller of almost everything under the sun, from music and movies to appliances, this site promises the most bang for your buck. Check out their daily deals and lightning deals for a rotating stock of products with slashed price tags. Many items qualify for free shipping when you spend $25+ in one order.
- ShopAtHome.com: Shop At Home is a cash back and coupon code site. Get $5 just for signing up, plus earn cash back on purchases that you were going to make anyway. Get to your desired site from ShopAtHome. Shop as normal!
- AFullCup.com: Ever wonder how people go to the store with coupons and walk away with shopping bags full of merchandise for pennies? The forums at A Full Cup are full of savings gurus who live for a great coupon matchup. They share their savings scenarios for stores across the country. Simply log on, search for your store, and make your list!
- Rewards sites: Many sites offer points which can be redeemed for prizes such as gift cards. My two favorites are ExpoTV and Swagbucks. I have earned restaurant gift cards, airline ticket gift cards, and more!