I have two almost painless ways to save.
The Magic We Need List – I keep a list in my day planner of things we need or would really like. Not things like groceries, but things like “a new 24″ bike” or “A china cupboard” . This helps me keep from impulse buying and helps me plan major purchases. I also keep a list of the “specs” of items we need infrequently, like the children’s shoe sizes, the size of the light bulbs in the office, the printer cartridge numbers in my planner so I can pick them up when I see them on sale without having to wait to be sure I have the correct item.
Craig’s List– We have found so many great deals on Craig’s list. We got a cargo carrier for the van at a sixth of what it would have cost us. My brother got a new oven – my friend found a bunch of life-vests for her kids. It is just a great way to find items that we need (things on The Magic We Need List). It is like the never ending garage sale.