2.3.09 - Oprah's Money-Saving Show

"the problem we have now: too many Americans borrowed more than we could afford to pay and we created a system on Wall Street to support that culture and now we're all dealing with the circumstances"
-Dylan Ratigan, CNBC Headquarters

Today's Oprah was all about saving money; a fantastic segment for all American's, not just those who do the grocery shopping, on how to be more thrifty not just because your family needs to spend less but because there's no reason to consciously throw money away!
All around America, people are doing more to save money and a few of my favorites during the first part of this segment were:

1. Trade furniture with a friend/family member when you can't afford to redecorate
2. Unplug everything from the wall, even when turned off as it still draws power when plugged in
3. Set up a campground in your back yard for a FREE vacation
4. Use the envelope method of spending your monthly income - when the cash in the envelope marked "groceries" is gone, you can't purchase any more groceries until you get paid again!
5. Bike instead of drive
6. Pack a lunch and make coffee at home
7. Volunteer at a gym in exchange for a FREE membership!
8. Barter your services for others
9. Use things you already have (like a fruit tree!) to make Christmas gifts (like Plum Jam)

The second part of this segment I was fascinated by about America's Thriftiest Family, The Hines Family, and how they save money!

Some interesting things about the Hines Family:
They only make $58,000 a year combined (the wife is a SAHM to four children) and say it's more than enough to live a happy, fulfilled lifestyle.

1. They have over $70,000 in savings
2. Brett carpools to work
3. Sue cuts the kids hair at home
4. Their cell phone costs only $5 per month - Sue went online and got a pre-paid plan that has rollover minutes and costs $5 per month... their cell is ONLY used in an Emergency!!!
5. Brett does all their home repairs
6. Sue sets a goal to spend less than $4 per meal to feed her family of 6 - she bases all her meals on what is on sale and planning her meals carefully... she never pays full price for groceries!
7. They pay 3x the minimum balance on all their credit card debt

The Hines Family reached out with Oprah's help to help the Sandburg Family save more money. Vicky was laid off and that slashed their income by over 40% and at a minimum they had to freeze their child's college fund contributions, retirement contributions and couldn't afford the minimum payments on their credit card debt. When The Hines Family took a look at their monthly budget, they were actually spending more than what they were making each month because they were still using their credit cards!

Some things Sue Hines suggested (and did) to help Vicky and Brett included:

1. Start slashing things that aren't essential: video games, clothing for the kids, restaurants, entertainment, unused cell phone plans, magazine subscriptions, etc.
2. Save the days receipts and evaluate all those purchases - dividing them between needs vs. wants and slash the wants!
3. Cut up ALL but 1 emergency credit card - no more spending!!!
4. Cut coupons, read sales fliers and then, plan your meal and go shopping. Also, eat the leftovers for lunch the next day instead of eating out at work. Also, search online for "kid's eat free" restaurants in your area.
5. Research deals on home phone, internet and cable and see if you can't disconnect your home phone all together!

After just 1 day, the Sandburg's had nearly $2,000 extra money each month after doing the things listed above and they were able to pay off one of their credit cards in full!

The third part of this segment was all about being thrifty when grocery shopping and for me and a lot of other SAHMs, this is a hot topic!

The suggestions made repeatedly include:
1. Cut coupons but only for the things you normally buy - you can find coupons online to print out and in your Sunday paper and be sure you ask your grocery store about "double" or "triple" coupon matching!
2. Read the sales fliers in your Sunday paper to 1) find out where things are cheapest or on sale and to 2) base that week's meals around the items on sale
3. Make your list for the week and stick to it when shopping; however, stock up on "Buy 1 Get 1 Free" items you normally consume
4. Buy in bulk at Sam's Club or Costco should that be available to you and freeze proper portions for your family so there's less waste
5. Learn to eat left overs!!!

I loved this episode and recommend everyone go to Oprah.com to watch it online if you missed it!

"it it looks too good to be true, it IS too good to be true!"
-Dylan Ratigan, CNBC Headquarters


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