5 Strategies for Saving Year-Round

I'd been waiting for a biggish freelance check for a while and making lists of things my family needed when the money came it. So when I got it, I had some shopping to do: new organic bath towels; a new mattress and (very important given my kids' ages and self control) a top-notch protective mattress cover; a birthday-boy bike for my youngest son; and a service provider to refinish my tub.

All this purchasing makes me queasy after months of frugality, so I had to think long and hard about spending strategies to make the most of my money and the least of my ticket shock.

So when I saw this piece from CNNMoney on ways to save on everyday expenses, I browsed through and got excited. Although none of the tips was quite right for my personal situation, a few great strategies emerged from the reader stories -- strategies that you, too, can apply to spending on big ticket items, run-of-the-mill bills and the costs of every day life.