Nickel and Diming My Way to a New Kitchen

My refrigerator door is dotted with colorful magnets holding coupons, business cards, photos, appointment reminders, and my grandson's art work. Prominently displayed in the center of the collection is a quarter-sized chip from a cabinet door in my outdated, 1980's kitchen. My Frugal LifeThe beige Formica chip serves as an incentive for a much needed kitchen re-do. It is also a visual reminder that since I have no money for remodeling, the only way to have that new kitchen is to start saving up for it - by cutting expenses.

Inspired by my goal, I launched a savings plan. I started out in small steps, which I call "nickel and dime-ing." That first week, I clipped coupons for a savings of $8.75. Since I live alone and don't cook a lot, I was pleased. My bounty included one coupon for $1.00 off bagged salad, a $1.00 savings on the cat food I buy, two $1.00 coupons for the flavored coffees I prefer, and $1.00 off frozen pizza. The most valuable was a $3.00 coupon for the hair color product I use. Coupons for forty cents and thirty-five cents were applied to packaged deli-meat and sliced cheese. Instead of the expensive cookies I usually purchase, I bought the store brand. The cookies cost ninety-four cents and were as tasty as the pricey ones. Store brand potato chips went into my shopping cart for a hefty savings of over a buck. I am not yet ready to give up my sodas in favor of plain water or tea, but I did make a sacrifice by choosing the store brand ($.64 for two liters) instead of the "real" thing. The less-expensive cola wasn't bad at all, and each time I got ice for my drink, I lifted my glass in a toast to the ugly, dingy, cabinet door chip stuck to the fridge. I laid in a supply of plastic storage bags of various sizes to package crackers, cookies, chips, and salad croutons. Since these items frequently lose their freshness if not used up quickly enough, re-packaging became an important part of my nickel and dime-ing campaign. Often I've thrown away half a package of stale or moldy bread, but now I divide the loaf and freeze half until I'm ready for it.

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During Week two of my nickel and dime savings campaign, I began packing my own lunches. A container of yogurt, a piece of fruit, and cheese and crackers made a tasty, inexpensive meal. Other lunch favorites: salad, or a sandwich of lunch meat and cheese (both purchased with cents-off coupons) and zip-lock bags of my store-brand chips and cookies. At the dollar store, I stocked up on shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and shower gels. Many of these grooming staples were at least half the price of grocery store products, as were cleaning goods and supplies. My nickel-dime savings plan has extended to other areas, as well. A recent trip to a thrift shop yielded a pair of nearly-new jeans for $2.00 and a barely-worn Koret blouse for $3.00. For another three bucks, I splurged on a great looking Fossil purse, perfect for Spring. A set of four new place mats for the back porch table was half-price at just $2.00. Total expenditure - ten dollars!

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That extra money left in my checking account at the end of the month will be transferred into a special savings account earmarked for my new kitchen. I'll count on tax refunds, bonuses, and extra savings to beef up the account, but my small-steps efforts are paying off. A nickel here, a dime there - soon there'll a dollar or two, then five, maybe ten bucks - that's what I call "nickel and dime-ing" my way to a new kitchen!

Joyce from Lakeland, FL

May 11, 20070 found this helpful

Another nice way to save money is to never count the change in your checking account. What i do is when i write a check, when i put it in the check register, i round it up to the next dollar. When i deposit a check i round it down to the next dollar. In a few months youll be surprised how much you can save! Also its MUCH easier to balance your checkbook with only dollars to add and subtract! (smiles)

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May 11, 20070 found this helpful

I'm not sure about FL but in AL where my parents live you get a tax break when you remodel and make it more energy effecient. The new windows, doors..etc were all a tax break. I understand your only doing a kitchen but check it out and keep it in mind!

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May 15, 20070 found this helpful

Buy old fashioned popcorn and use it, saves big bucks over microwave kind. Don't waste money on other brands of bread besides Sunbeam. Catch it on sale and try it, Krogers sells it half off for a buck lots of times. After you've had it you won't go back to other brands! I buy it on sale and freeze it, love it. Be careful using coupons sometimes not really a savings. Also on the deli-meats, probably cheaper to get it at the deli counter, compare ounce weight to what you can get it for at the deli, also fresh!! Good luck on your ideas, you are off to a great start.

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June 15, 20070 found this helpful

You are very fortunate to be able to SAVE money from coupons. I MUST use coupons and any other specials just in order to be able to PURCHASE something, much less keep the "savings" somewhere for another use. I barely make it to the

third week of the month, but God is good and makes

certain that I have my needs met, regardless, and

the closer I stay to Him, the more of the "desires of

my heart" He surprises me with, even if curbside or

donated and sitting on my porch in the morning. Like

today I awoke to a huge 1 gallon new flower pot FULL of lovely large ripe cherry tomatoes, stems attached, from some precious neighbor whose heart was moved by God to share with us. Last week it was

several sacks of canned goods, which only God knew we were out of. When my grandson goes to see his mother in another state for two weeks, I hope to use much of the curbside "found" partial paint cans full of paint to freshen up our long overdue dingy/dirty/stained walls, after I try to patch many

cracks prior to the soon coming HISTORY MAKING DROUGHT HEADED FOR THE SOUTHWEST. My

yard is already showing signs of it, and I'm saving some of every rain that falls in preparation. Good luck and God bless you. : )

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September 26, 20070 found this helpful

We got a complete new kitchen, mostly by using freecycle. "New" (to us) cabinets in nice condition, complete set. New stainless steel sink with garbage disposal, faucet, soap dispenser, sprayer and built in water filter. Counter tops came from Habitat for Humanity thrift store. Beutiful solid pine dining table from Freecycle and new dining chairs from Craigslist from a Howard Johnson remodeling. Make sure to utilize your free resources!

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September 26, 20070 found this helpful

When I was wanting a new kitchen sink I just happened to find a beautiful brand new one at a garage sale for $15! The gal said they pulled it from their brand new house they were moving to because she wanted granite! I was really wanting to go back to stainless after having the cast iron kind for so many years. This came complete with a very good and decorative faucet and sprayer as well...15 bucks and alls I had to do was get my hubby to install which he did the next day. You never know what you might find at garage sales or through the free sources as another posted but I think you gave some very nice tips for saving for something that you really want! We all could learn from that and just learn to be more frugal and less wasteful!

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