Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Saving Money on the Web

Most folks who write about saving money treat it as if they're teaching a new skill. Hah! My parents grew up during the depression. They raised me to save and find bargains. One of my mother's extravagances was giving each of us children a penny when she took us to the grocery store. The penny was for the candy machines. It kept us busy deciding which candy we wanted while she shopped. But I didn't want the candy. I wanted the orange soda in the big machine next to the round glass candy machines on sticks. But I knew the drill. I went with my brother and sister to the candy machines and stayed out of my mom's way while she shopped. But, I saved my pennies for 10 weeks and swapped the pennies with a cashier for the dime to put in the soda machine.

Then I learned about bottle refunds. I scoured under bushes on the way too and from school to find those bottles that I could trade for 3 cents.

Eventually I learned about discount stores. My grandfather worried that the off-brand items might not be as good as the expensive brands. He was surprised to learn that discount stores carry the same brands as more expensive shops. I also learned about store label products, as an additional way to save money.

But none of this compares to shopping the web. With for electronics and other high end items, and for used books and eBay for selling my old stuff as well as buying other people's cast-offs, saving money has become easier than ever. Netflix lets me see movies for far less than going to the theater. It even lets me see the shows I miss by not having cable TV. If you buy the $8.99 a month plan of one-movie-at-a-time, you also get all the instant play shows you can watch. I just finished Utawarerumono, a charming Japanese Anime series dubbed in English. Now I'm watching a BritDram called Wives and Daughters.

Add this to which is a free website with recipes and exercise videos and all the other free recipe websites, and the web pays for itself as a money saving tool.

Where I live, stores don't give money for returned bottles. But they do give 5 cents when I bring my own bags. Eventually those saddle bags I bought for my bike may pay for themselves.

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