Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Lean with Green is now an old lady - we're officially at Post 100! Thanks for reading, for commenting and for telling your friends! We know you lead busy lives and we're glad you take a few minutes out of your day to read our little blog!

So in honor of Post 100, we're going to be doing 100 ways to save money! Since it'd probably take forever to read (and write), we'll start with 1-50!


1. Clip coupons for things you regularly buy, but not for things you don't. It's not saving you any money if you buy those fruit snacks for 75 cents cheaper when you don't normally buy them.

2. Build your weekly menu around grocery store circulars and who has the best deals.

3. Compare unit pricing to see what is really the best deal. Is the bigger package the better bargain? Check the unit pricing.

4. Seasonal produce is cheaper - what's in season right now? Here's a list.

5. Buy seasonal produce at the farmers market if you can.

6. BYOB - bring your own bag. Some grocery stores still deduct a few cents for every bag you bring.

7. See if your grocery store has any specials on items creeping up on their "sell by" date. I spent $2 on 8 Yoplait yogurts (normally would have spent around $6) because they were supposed to be sold in three days. I also saved $3 on a premade salad - that's $7 saved in one trip!

8. Save more money on produce by buying some things canned or frozen.

9. Make a list and don't buy things that aren't on it.

10. If you are a compulsive grocery shopper (or shop when you're hungry), look into getting your groceries delivered. For a small fee, you save time and won't end up with a cupboard full of chocolate-covered pretzels (drooling...) or Easy Mac.

11. Think about joining a wholesale club. There are lots of deals to be had, but the yearly membership fee may not be worth your potential savings. I weighed the pros and cons about shopping wholesale in this post.

12. Don't fall for the pre-packaged snack packs. Buy a bigger bag and do it yourself.

13. Join your grocery store rewards club if you haven't yet. They're free and they save you money on food (and maybe gas!).

14. Buy generic, especially on staples like sugar, flour, and salt. I've never heard someone complain that the sugar tasted generic. Generic might even taste better, as our taste test proved.

15. Look for better bargains at the top and bottom of shelves. Most people want to buy things at eye level, so stores might place more expensive items where you're more likely to buy them.

16. Don't buy bottled water. Most likely, you have access to good, clean water and filling up your own water bottle is a lot better for the environment.

17. Check your pantry first. Try and use up what you have before you buy more. But...

18. Stock up when something is on sale. For instance, if you cook a lot of pasta and spaghetti is on sale, it will be nice to have on hand and you'll get a better deal on something you always buy.

19. Buy less expensive cuts of meat and make them delicious in a Crock-Pot!

20. Repurpose leftovers. Pack them for lunch or transform them in another dish - this will save you from buying more food to make more meals.

21. Get out quick! Studies have shown that for every minute over a half hour, customers spend 50 cents to $1 more!

22. Check your receipts - maybe the checker keyed in the apples that were $1.99/lb instead of the apples that were 88 cents/lb. Mistakes happen - don't pay extra for them though.

23. Check yourself - are you hungry? Tired? Mad? Your mood can play a role in what you buy and how much you spend.

24. Make sure your food won't go to waste quickly and check the expiration date. What's the point of getting a good deal on buying 2 gallons of milk if you're going to throw a half gallon away because it expired?

25. Beware of endcaps, the displays at the end of an aisle. You might think the items are on sale, but there are probably cheaper varieties elsewhere. Chips and salsa are frequently endcap items at my grocery store, but they are Tostitos brand. If I walked a few aisles down, I could pick up the grocery store salsa (which I prefer) and cheaper chips.

26. I cannot sing the praises of Groupon enough! If you haven't yet, check it out. It can save you beaucoup bucks on wine classes, pole dancing (yep, you read that right), restaurants, sports events, ballets...

27. Hit up happy hour at your favorite restaurant instead of a full-fledged dinner. Sure, it may be a little earlier or later than you'd normally go, but you can save lots of money in your dining budget!

28. Utilize your local library for free books, magazines, movies and internet access. Libraries also have book clubs and readings!

29. If you can't wait for movies, join Netflix or try RedBox.

30. Keep a lookout in your local papers for free concerts and events.

31. Matinees are great for movies and theater productions!

32. Check your local museums for discounts! Often, museums have days or times of day with free admission!

33. If your area has one, purchase an Entertainment book. The $20 you pay for the book more than pays for itself with coupons for restaurants, movie tickets, mini golf courses, ice skating and more.

34. Use your memberships! If you're a club member, a student, an alumni...these groups and more have special perks!

35. Host your own dinner party/Trivial Pursuit/"Mad Men" marathon night. Doing stuff at home is almost always cheaper than going out to a restaurant or bar. Invite some friends over and have a party. Better yet, have them come bearing food or drinks and you won't foot the bill yourself.

36. If you live to watch live sports, hit up minor league, college, or high school games. They're cheaper than professional games, and you may even be able to say you saw the next-big-thing when they were still an unknown.

37. Take another look at your cable bill. If you don't feel like you're getting your money's worth, get a cheaper plan. Or call your cable company to see if they can lower your bill.

38. Go to a state or national park for a day of hiking, seeing the sights and being out in nature.

39. Learn a new hobby, like snowshoeing or cross country skiing! I just found this great website (http://www.wintertrails.org/) that shows when FREE lessons and equipment rentals are available in your area. January is Winter Sports Month, so keep your eyes peeled for deals on snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding and more.

40. Check for last minute deals on ballets or theater productions. There are usually deep discounts to be had the closer to showtime it is.


41. Fill up on gas midweek - the price usually gets jacked up Friday-Monday to account for weekend travelers.

42. Make sure your tires are properly inflated (check the panel on the inside of your car door, not the manufacturer's suggestion on the tire). And remember, air contracts and expands, so you should check the pressure with changes in temperature.

43. Take unnecessary items out of your trunk - for every 250 lbs in your car, you lose 1 mile/gallon in fuel efficiency. Not that anyone is carrying around an anvil, but every little bit helps.

44. See if your employer offers any transit flex plans - use pre-tax money to pay for bus passes, possibly parking and get taxed on less at the end of the year.

45. Walk more - it'll cost you less and it's healthier for you!

46. Is it possible for you to work from home? Check with your boss about telecommuting once a week and save your money and the environment.

47. Carpool.

48. Evaluate your car insurance and talk to your provider about a plan that might be cheaper and better suited for you.

49. Remember to keep up your car maintenance - dealing with smaller, more routine things could help you avoid a costly repair.

50. If possible, look into getting your car repaired at a vocational school. Although the work is done by automotive students, they work closely with their teachers and it's far cheaper than a mechanic (usually only charging for parts and supplies).

WHEW! Come back tomorrow for the next 50!

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