One-Month Clutter Challenger: Update 1

Well, that was quick.

My family started the One-Month Clutter Challenge yesterday, on April 1st, and we have already failed! My wife only remembered after making a purchase that we were on that challenge. To be fair to her, we’ve never done anything like that before, not by choice anyways, so it’s a habit that we all need to take.

Moreover, the transgression is small and cute; our son, who is 7 years old, loves writing stories – I guess he takes after his old man! – and to motivate him, my wife bought him a novelty pen shaped like a dragon. It’s actually kind of cool and it doesn’t feel too cheap.

The Infamous Dragon Pen

The Infamous Dragon Pen, cause of our Downfall.

We are still doing really good on the One-Month Challenge Front; besides that pen, we have purchased exactly nothing this month so far; granted, we’re only the 2nd, but we take our victories where we can find them!

While this purchase was only $5.74, the idea behind the One-Month Clutter Challenge is two-fold: on the one hand, we avoid spending money while simultaneously selling items to boost cash flow, and on the other hand, we avoid bringing in more stuff, as we have enough. We all have enough.

On both fronts, this pen is a minor transgression; it’s not really clutter, because our son will be thrilled when he received it, and it’s a tiny expense and will not bust the budget.

We’re doing good, but we have to stay on task and not take our eyes off the prize!

If you’ve missed it, here is the previous post about the One-Month Clutter Challenge:

One-Month Clutter Challenge: Day One

4 Easy Ways to Save Like Crazy at Costco

Costco Wholesale store

At The Lively Dollar, we LOVE Costco! There’s everything we need, and the value is always incredible. Here are a few tips to help you save a little bit more. These are techniques that we use every week, and there is nothing sneaky about them, Costco actually WANTS you to take advantage of these. You’ll be happy, because you save more, and so will Costco, because you’ll be in the store more often!

Use your Executive Coupons

One of the easiest ways to save at Costco without racking your brains is to use your Executive coupons! Unlike the coupons you receive at the door from the friendly people in red vests that greet you, Executive coupons are received at home, and must be presented to the cashier in order to receive the savings. They are only for Executive Members! If you do not have the Executive level membership, just upgrade – it costs more, but you can save tons just on the coupons, way more that the actual cost of the membership.

Some coupon booklets are sponsored by Procter & Gamble. These guys make everything we use, so it’s real easy to save – think toothpaste, deodorant, laundry detergent, et cetera. Others are sponsored by Kirkland Signature (Costco’s house brand) so you can get everything from frozen beef patties to coffee and more.

Buy Costco Gas

Buying gas at Costco is an easy to pay for your membership, and more, even without setting foot in the warehouse! Let’s say you buy 50 liters of gas a week, at an average savings of 5 cents a liter; you would save $130 a year. Doesn’t look like much, but you’ve just paid for your Executive membership at Costco! If you have the regular Gold Star membership, you’ve put $70 in your pocket! Try to time your gas fill-ups with your Costco runs so that you don’t waste time or fuel.

Buy Weekly Specials in Bulk

Except under very special circumstances, there are no buying limits at Costco. There is no “Limit per Customer’. Feel free to buy the whole pallet if you want! That’s why you should always stock up on regular specials – the ones that they hand at the door when you walk in. If you plan and purchase judiciously, you can make it so that items on special are the only ones you buy! You could cut 10% to 25% off of your bill every time, and that’s nothing to sneeze at!

Shop for Discounted and Clearance Items

Did you ever notice items that are priced ending in .97? Those are clearance items. Assuming that it’s something you would have bought anyways, you can safely stock up on these. Costco is clearing them out to make room for something else, and they are priced to move. We’ve seen savings of up to 90% on those, so know your stock, and your prices, and you can really save big!

In Conclusion

These are four ways to save on each and every one of your Costco runs. Do you have a favorite way to save at Costco? Tell us in the comments below!