Frugal RVingby Tom Jones
The following tips were compiled from suggestions by forum members.
Forum member Valleygeocacher shared these suggestions:
- We've reduced our monthly food/groceries bill by $100 by using Angelfood Ministries. Hundreds of churches throughout the country use this as a fund-raiser. It's not welfare! The churches have food donated to them by stores and manufacturers. They then sell packages of the food items for $25 per package. The packages generally are valued at about $75. The participating churches require that you pay the $25 for each package you want by a certain date each month (buy more than one if you wish -- they want you to do that). You are then given a date and time in the same month for pickup of the package. They have volunteers who will load it for you.
At the time of pickup, you can sign up for (and pay for) next month's if you wish. There are about eight participating churches in the RGV.
For a list of locations, go to http://angelfoodministries.com/states.php and look up your state. The phone number is given. Just call and ask for pertinent dates. The dates for pay/pickup change every month; they are revealed on the package-description sheet that you pick up along with the groceries.
- . Never, ever use coupons. They invariably specify name-brand merchandise. WalMart's GV brand is always cheaper than the coupon-reduced price.
- Shop price-leader items and don't be snookered into buying other things that are priced high to compensate for the reduced prices on the ads. Stay away from Kroger's and other "prestige" stores. HEB is okay on price leaders.
- Frequent flea markets and garage sales. In the Rio Grande Valley there's a weekly Ropa Usada (used clothing) sale. Most items there are not usada. Pick and choose.
- Keep the winter temp in the house down to about 60° and stay comfortable by wearing a sweater; summer temp at 82° with a couple of fans making it feel cooler.
Karl Kolbus and Ned Reiter offered these helpful web sites:
I have used the virtual coupons there a number of times when buying online with little fuss (I just cut and paste the coupon code). I just saved over $200 on a Dell laptop after working other deals for 2-3 days. In another recent purchase I saved 50% on some clothes I bought from Timberland. Most of the coupons are extremely time sensitive and maybe just good for that day, others might last for a month.
Steve Pally reminded us that credit card companies are aggressively competing for business and offered these suggestions:
- For people whose credit history is good, some credit card companies pay rewards in various forms for specific categories of purchases. Chase has a card that pays 5% on gasoline and fuel, grocery store purchases (including Walmart Super Center) and pharmacy purchases. The Chase card appears to be the most liberal in its interpretation of store categories and exclusions.
- Someone who pays off their credit card purchases each month, can save a considerable amount of money in receiving tax free cash rewards.
- A Google search for "Credit Card Rewards" will return various comparisons with http://www.cardratings.com comparing the best of the best.