50+ Secrets for Saving Money on Home and Family

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It’s amazing how many deals, coupons, and bargains there are out there that will save you tons of money if you know the right places to look.  Since August through January is such a spend-worthy season with back to school shopping and the holidays (decor, gifts, food, oh my!), I figured this was the time to share my best kept saving money secrets.  If you put them all together you can save literally thousands of dollars on groceries, clothes, books, home decor, gifts, and more.  Hope you enjoy this list compiled by my ‘Deal Ninja’ sister and I; it’s truly an exhaustive list of all our money saving secrets in one spot!

Now, there’s A LOT of information here from novice money-saver to expert extreme couponer.  It took months to compile all these tips and money saving secrets, actually!  Go ahead and pin this post so you’ll remember to come back as you master each money saving technique.  Try a few at a time, come back for more, and pretty soon you’ll be rolling in extra dough all the way to the bank.  Or to Lily Pulitzer for a splurge if you’re a certain lemonade loving-blogger. 😉

50+ Secret Ways for Saving Money

{Please note that some of these links are affiliates which offset the costs of running this site.  Thanks for your support!}

Save on Online Shopping

  • Use ebates when you buy items online for 4%-6% cash back on each purchase (my sister has even gotten 26% cash back!)  It really adds up, especially when you’re doing a lot of online shopping during the holidays.  It’s easy, too– simply register with ebates, find the store where you want to shop, click on that store through ebates, and start shopping/earning.  Ebates will send you a check every 4 months with your cash back, PLUS a $10 gift card after you register and make your first purchase.  Nothing to lose, except high prices!
  • ALWAYS search ‘promo code’ and the name of the store before you make an online purchase!  Many stores have at least one code out there to save you money, whether it’s a percentage off or free shipping.  I’ve saved hundreds of dollars this way.  Retail Me Not is a great place to check for promo codes as well.
  • You can usually get Super Saver Shipping when you purchase things on Amazon.com if you spend $25 or more.  I keep a wish list of things I like, so if I need something on Amazon but it doesn’t cost more than $25 I can add in a wish list item (something I want myself or a future gift).  Sometimes that means it’s free since it offsets the shipping costs I would have paid.  With the exception of some toys, I’ve found Amazon usually offers the best prices out there (and for better or for worse, they keep me updated when items I’ve been oogling go on sale.)
  • Swagbucks is a site that gives you points for shopping and searching online, as well as other opportunities to earn points by answering surveys or watching short videos. You can cash out the points for gift cards, including — my favorite — Amazon!  Hint: make sure you’ve installed the search bar and use it frequently.  Points WILL add up when you use it… who doesn’t search online anyways?
  • Check out if a store you want to purchase from is offering free shipping at FreeShipping.org.

Save Money on Groceries

The Coupon Mom's Guide to C...Shop on Amazon

  • Load coupons onto your store card.  Many stores like Whole Foods let you load their coupons right onto your card; nothing to clip!  Plus, you can usually stack a store coupon with a manufacturers coupons which means a great deal for you.  Pre-loading the store coupons means you have one less thing to keep track of when you’re shopping.  Check out your favorite grocery store’s website to see if they allow this.
  • Make it and Freeze it.  One of the BEST ways you can save money (and time!) is to buy groceries when they are on sale and meal prep ahead of time.  Don’t Panic, it’s In the Freezer is a highly rated book that shares exactly how to make healthy meals ahead of time for your family, perfect for when you hit a sale on meat and want to utilize it all.  Fix, Freeze, Feast is another fantastic book for quick freezer meals.

Don't Panic--Dinner's in th...Shop on AmazonFix, Freeze, Feast: The Del...Shop on Amazon

  • Plan your meals around meat and grocery deals that week.  See above for freezer cooking ideas.
  • 5 Grocery Store Myths Debunked: quick must-read for newer couponers.  Implementing even one of these strategies can save you major money at the grocery store.
  • Download Ibotta to your phone to score cash back on items. No need to give the cashier a coupon, but if you do, you can still redeem your Ibotta offer. Ibotta will deposit your cash back right into your Pay Pal account. Download the Ibotta app from this link and get get cash back– plus, they often offer incentives for joining so check it out!  😉
  • The Coupon Clippers: Buy coupons through a clipping service and get AMAZING deals in bulk.  If you find a coupon for something you love and can match it with a sale, buy a stack of coupons and save TONS of money!
  • Link SavingStar to your store loyalty cards and all you have to do is choose the coupons you would like to use. When you buy the item, your store automatically tells SavingStar to credit you the amount. It has taken 2-5 days for my credit to come through before. You can cash out your SavingStar savings in gift cards, including Amazon, as soon as you earn $5 in savings. Even better is that you can get SavingStar credit even after you use both a store coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon.

Brick and Mortar Stores: Deals on Clothes, Household Supplies, Home Decor, and more

  • Check your receipt for a survey that will give you bonuses or coupons for 15%-20% off your next purchase. Stores such as Old Navy, Gap, and Soma Intimates often have a quick survey at the bottom that gives you a coupon for up to 20% off your next purchase! Perfect if you fall in love with something and can’t justify buying it– come back the next day with your coupon and get it guilt-free. And way cheaper. 😉 I did this each time we went to Dunkin Donuts this winter and got a free donut with each coffee purchase! My son was a happy boy.
  • Target: sign up for a Red card and get 5% back on Target purchases, free shipping, and an extra 30 days for returns (with a few restrictions). Saving money on what you already buy? Bonus!
  • Homegoods. Need I say more? It’s is my absolute favorite place to get gorgeous and inexpensive items for my home, as well as TJ Maxx and Marshalls (they are all owned by the same company). I have a credit card from Homegoods that gives me rewards for buying at any of those three stores.
  • Kohls is great for sheet sets, pillows, candles, and frames. Great place to also get workout clothes, small appliances, and kids clothing as well. They usually have 15%-30% off coupons, PLUS their items are usually 40% off on sale anyways, PLUS they often offer $10 in Kohls cash if you spend $50.  TOP SECRET TIP: here’s the secret for getting a 30% off coupon– if you have the credit card, you get coupons in the mail every few weeks.  WAIT a little while and DON’T use those coupons!  If you wait, you’ll probably get the 30% off coupon in a few weeks to entice you to come back.  My mother in law taught me that trick and it works.  Use the 20% off coupons in circulars that aren’t attached to your card and wait for the Grand Daddy Mack 30% coup to come across your doorstep.  😉
  • Bed, Bath and Beyond: Save all those Bed Bath & Beyond coupons because they allow you to use a coupon on each item when you check out. Another insider secret: even though they list an expiration date they don’t actually expire. This is HUGE. I save mine in a big ziploc bag in the car and carry it along when I’m ready for a shopping spree.
  • Price Matching: many stores price-match other local stores. Bring proof to Walmart that a store across town has a better price and they’ll match it!
  • Gymboree Children’s Clothing” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Gymboree Children’s Clothing : While the clothes at Gymboree have high retail price tags, the sales and Gymbucks they offer are amazing! I routinely pay about $2.99-5.99 for gorgeous new clothing that resells for just as much on consignment. Keep your eyes open for sizes and styles for the next season (buy shorts for next year at the end of summer) and remember that Gymboree sizes tend to run big. I’ve had pieces that have lasted for the same child for two+ years!

Gymboree Children's Clothing
Flash Deal Sites

If you’re looking to save on home decor items, furniture, rugs, kids items, travel gear, toys, local activities and more then you’ll love flash deal sites.  But be forewarned that if you’re not careful you could end up spending money on things you don’t need. I’ve gotten some fantastic deals thanks to flash deal sites though, and continue to browse the deals for things I really want.  Another bonus is if you share the link with friends, you may be able to earn credits toward future items.  SECRET TIP: Even if you can’t afford the items now, browse and use the photos as DIY inspiration.  😉

  • One Kings Lane: My go-to source for outdoor rugs (usually around $100), bags & totes, home decor items, art, and furniture.  I can personally attest to their fantastic customer service as well.  You’ll get a $15 bonus just for signing up.
  • Joss & Main: Another great site for home decor, rugs, furniture, and travel items.  They’ll often have sales curated by favorite home bloggers as well so you can shop your favorite blogger’s style.  I believe they give you a sign-up bonus as well, definitely there’s a bonus if a friend signs up and purchases something using your link.
  • Zulily: Daily deals for moms, babies, and kids.  Look here for steals on kids toys, clothing, accessories, maternity, storage, and WAY more.
  • Pick Your Plum:  I’ve had three friends now email me asking if I’ve signed up because they know I love both good deals AND craft supplies, baking supplies and home decor; all three of which are featured on Pick Your Plum.  Each day offers a new goodie.  Love chevron cupcake wrappers and fun accessories?  You’ll get it here!
  • Groupon:  Huge discounts on local events, restaurants, trips, activities, salon and spa services, and more.  MY ADVICE: once purchased, print immediately (or use the mobile app) and schedule a time to use it (add the expiration date on your calendar!)  The promotional value tends to expire quickly, but the paid value usually can be used for quite awhile so at the worst you’ll lose the deal but can still use the paid value of your voucher toward the item/service.  Also, you earn a $10 credit if someone new signs up (though, it’s hard to find people who’ve yet to sign up).
  • Living Social: Same as Groupon, but the referral/credit program works differently.  To earn a free voucher, 3 people need to buy the exact same deal using your referral code– which is tough to make happen.  In other words, don’t hold your breath that you’ll get free vouchers but rather buy the deal if it’s something you know you’ll use and want to save money on it.

Awesome Coupon and Deal Blogs You’ll Love

  • Hip2Save: blogs up-to-the-minute deals on a wide range of items, posts links to high-value coupons, and compiles matchups of coupons to sales at various stores.
  • Money Saving Mom: this is the very first deal blog I read.  Crystal is an inspiration the way she saved hard and gave generously, and created an amazing life for her family through dedication and hard work.  And lots of smarts.  You’ll find tons of deals and goodies on her site.
  • Living Rich With Coupons: also blogs up-to-the-minute deals on items, posts links to high-value coupons, and has dedicated store pages with matchups, coupon policies, and special tips for getting the best value at that store. You can compile a custom shopping list, to print or email, from the list of matchups.
  • Coupon Mom: after you register, you can access lists matching coupons to sales. The lists are sortable by percentage saved or price or alphabetical, you can choose which items you want to buy, and print or email yourself a customized list. Pay attention to which links are the CouponMom’s and which are advertisers, or you may find yourself at an advertiser’s website, instead of accessing the fabulous tools on the site.
  • Coupon Sites/Forums: My sister learned how to really maximizer her coupons with the Couponing 101 tutorial on Hot Coupon World.  If you’re new to couponing that’s a fantastic place to start.  My sister is now saving 40% on groceries and getting free toiletries. Hot Coupon World also has great deal and coupon forums, with enthusiastic couponers who share the hottest and most current deals. Go introduce yourself or just take a peek! You can also look up a product in their Coupon Database, which can tell you whether you can find a coupon online, in the paper, or in the store– that’s a BIG deal, and a huge timesaver when it comes to saving money with coupons.

School Supplies

‘Tis the Season!  My best tip is to get ’em while they’re hot.  I start scanning for back to school deals starting on July 1st, and often visit various stores to scoop up all the .1 cent folders, glue, glue sticks, pencils, printer paper, pens and notebooks I can find.  Supplies also seem to go on sale in January as well.  For wicked good deals on all kinds of school and office supplies, you’ll want to become a Staples stalker.  Here’s three posts from a brand new site that details the three steps to getting super deals on higher-end office supplies (printer paper, software, batteries, CASH, etc):

Where to Resell Items (get money for your old stuff)

You’ll find an awesome and detailed list of places to get rid of your old items in exchange for some moolah by reading Turn Your Spring Cleaning into Cash.  Here’s a few quick highlights of the less obvious ideas:

  • Household Items, Clothing, and Furniture: I made almost $1,000 at ONE yard sale this summer– and only sold one “big” thing but still raked in the dough! Follow my tips and tricks for making BIG BUCKS at yard sales and you can increase the amount you sell (and money you make!) too.
  • Books: look up how much they are worth on Bookscouter.  If they aren’t worth money, you might want to trade them on Paperback Swap.  Also, Amazon now offers a used book trade-in program for shopping credits!  Search for a used item you have, see if it offers a trade-in credit, and print out the free shipping slip.  You won’t make a million dollars, but you can weed out your old books and earn a bunch of Amazon credits for things you want in the future.
  • Technology: Sell your used tablet, phone, or Apple product for cash on Gazelle. Use this link to Gazelle and get an extra $10 on your trade-in valued at over $25.
  • Twice: Sell your clothes at Twice, and get a $10 credit on any purchases when you use this link to buy or sell clothes.  Great place to get high-end gently used kids clothes as well.

How to Save Money on Clothing

Follow the Calendar

Sales tend to go in cycles.  Grocery stores have their 6 week cycles, Michaels has their 2 week cycles, and for the rest of the world here’s when to get the best deal on your most needed (and wanted) items.

Best Deals by Month Calendar

Get an AWESOME free printable version of this calendar right here, and be sure to pin it for future reference (and share it on Facebook, Twitter or email so you’ll be the toast of the town for your appreciative friends.  And your appreciate blogger.)  😉

As you can see, saving money on home and family is a topic near and dear to me.  When I started Making Lemonade, I originally wanted it to be a place to share deals in certain areas so you can splurge on others, and ways to save money in order to afford the lifestyle you want to live– in other words, ‘living the lovely life, for less’.  You know, save tons of money on clothes for your family so you can afford a special vacation.  Yes, you CAN have it all!   And if you’re in a particularly tight money situation right now, knowing the secret ways to save money may not buy you a vacation but it can help put food on your table or build an emergency fund.  Whatever your reasons for saving money, you now have 50+ ways to do so, all in one spot– because I love you.  If you love me you’ll pin and share this post as well; let’s spread the word to help our friends and family save money on things they are buying anyways!

50+ Secret Ways for Saving Money

What are your favorite tips for saving money?  Any posts or secrets to share?  I’ll update this post with your suggestions, so leave them in the comments!

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