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Tag Archive: Reader Tips

Reader Tip: We save over $840 per year by doing our own hair-cutting & coloring

Kikka emailed in the following tip:

We have found that if I cut my husband’s hair and he colors my hair, we are saving a minimum of $840 a year.

To get started you can watch free how-to videos on, look for a sale at your local beauty supply store (like Sally’s) to purchase what you need, do your research, and then give it a try! Just remember that practice makes perfect, or close to it. Also, the good thing about hair is that it does grow back! 🙂 -Kikka

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Reader Tip: We save $200/year by packing school lunches

Amber emailed in with the following tip:

We save $200+ a year by packing my son’s lunch for school.  The daily lunch at our school costs $2.15, so for the 180-day school year, the cost of buying lunch is $387.00!

I have found that I am easily able to pack my son’s lunch including a healthy entree, salty side, fruit and “treat” for no more than $1 a day. I’m blessed that he prefers his filled water bottle to a more expensive drink, however, even adding a drink would still have significant savings over the purchase price.

This year we will save about $200 (I’m figuring there will probably be 10 lunches that will end up being purchased over the course of the year). Yahoo! Given the potential savings, I decided I would purchase a thermal entree container to send his favorite leftovers. It will be a $3.99 well spent.

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Reader Tip: How I saved $200 per year on textbooks

Lana emailed in the following tip:

One of the ways that I survived the high costs of textbooks through my five years as an undergraduate was by using CampusBooks. The website was suggested to me by my dorm floor’s Resident Assistants in their “welcome” sheet, and saved me at least $200 each year.

CampusBooks allows you to enter the title, author, or ISBN of any book. It then compares the cost of the book between all online sources who stock the title. This makes it really easy to know where the best deal is.

Also, the breakdown shows previous editions, which are often much less expensive than the most current version of the book a professor requires. Many instructors are fine with students using older editions, but it’s always best to ask first.

On top of the initial savings that CampusBooks provides, the same database that shows how much you’d pay for the book is also available when you want to sell your textbooks back. Simply click “sell,” rather than “buy,” and enter the ISBN, title, or author. All of the online sources who I’ve sold books to have provided postage free labels for shipping, and paid at least 50% more than the campus locations.

One semester, I made back $90 of the $140 I’d spent on textbooks, simply by using this single website’s database! It certainly beats
paying $400 every four months for texts that the campus bookstores then pay $35 during buy-back season.

Plus, the money paid for books is already “gone” from my budget, so the money that I get from selling the books back gives some unexpected funds when things are always tightest. Having an extra $50-$120 at the end of the Fall term has made Christmas much more relaxed, and the extra money at the end of May has made a considerable difference in my Summer budget. -Lana

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Reader Tip: We save $100 a year by simplifying our children’s wardrobes

Ashley emailed in the following tip:

One of the ways our family saves $100 per year is by simplifying our children’s wardrobes. Each of our four children have 4-5 play outfits, 2 “nice” or church outfits, a nice pair of shoes, a play pair of shoes, a package of underwear and a package of socks.

I have found that maintaining a simple wardrobe for our children compared to having a closet full of clothes, many which are hardly worn, saves me at least $30 per child per season. In a year, it saves $90-$120 per child!

An added benefit of fewer clothes is that you can’t get very far behind on your laundry, so you’ll never again have mountains of dirty laundry sitting around! -Ashley

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Reader Tip: “Stockpiling” clothing saves us money and effort

Kristin emailed in the following tip:

With six children (and another on the way!) the cost of new clothing and shoes can really add up! I think ahead to what sizes/seasons of clothing and shoes will be needed within the next year, then scour yard sales and thrift stores for what we need. Out of season/size clothing is stored in labeled totes until they are needed.

I normally pay about $1-3 per pair of shoes, $2-3 for a pair of brand name jeans, $1-2 for dresses and $1 or less per pair of pajamas.

Recently our oldest son had a growth spurt and needed new pants. Instead of having to run out and purchase a new pair, I simply pulled
out a tote and unpacked his pants in the next size up. -Kristin

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Reader Tip: Misspell Your Searches to Save on Ebay Purchases

Annie at The Bargain Junkie emailed in the following tip:

When I shop for things on eBay, I often deliberately misspell the item I’m searching for. There is always a seller who has inadvertently posted a typo. I wanted a Mexican silver bracelet, so I searched for “Mexican SLIVER bracelet.” I was the only bidder, so I got a $200 Taxco bracelet for 7 bucks.