Hi! I have a goal to post something at least 2 times a week and I promise, I will get there! Working full-time outside the home is no excuse here because I do all of my blogging and tweeting on my iPhone. But 8 hours a day are kind of tied up.
Money is probably the major stressor in my life as I’m sure it is for most people. Saving money is not a hobby, it’s a necessity. I am constantly adjusting my spending habits due to new ideas and lessons learned. Here are some of my favorites:
Don’t shop at the major chain grocery stores
I think back to the days when the grocery stores were the only places I knew of to get food. I thought that all the smaller stores like Trader Joes were supposed to be more expensive. I will admit there are times when items are on a good sale at grocery stores. But my general rule is to avoid them. I get most of our food at Trader Joes and some at another store that is known for its low prices. I watch every single price like I watch ingredient labels. Trader Joes has high quality and some of the lowest prices for most everyday items. I have not shopped at Costco in years although I will go with someone once in a while to see if things have changed. I do not buy pre-made, mass-produced, processed or frozen foods so it doesn’t impress me at all. I don’t have time to go to more than 2 stores each week. It takes planning but it is necessary to keep a list and plan your meals. There is no more of a budget killer than to have to go to the store every day.
Don’t eat out
I know a lot of people enjoy this but we became unable to afford it. It started with getting the feeling of being ripped off every time we spent the money to eat out, combined with not knowing what is in the food, and hearing of food poisoning stories. When you can make an incredible home-cooked meal for 6 plus leftovers for under $20 we just can’t bring ourselves to get lower quality for close to $100. Not to mention we can’t afford it. And $20 is the most expensive meal I ever make at home!
Use half of normal of certain items
I know it sounds ridiculous but I only use half dryer sheets and chew half pieces of gum. Half a dryer sheet does exactly what a full one does. They rip right apart easily. I also cut a roll of paper towels in half and place in a large can to use as table napkins. One of my daycare providers showed me this and even gave me an old empty formula can to use. I have been lazy to decorate it.
Eliminate paper plates and bowls
When we did this we started noticing that it does not cause many more dishes at all. The majority of dishes that pile up are dishes used to cook meals, dishes for stored foods and cups. We just deal with it an wash them which saves money by not buying all the extra paper products. And I have never had a dishwasher. We also now have less in our trash can and may be able to downgrade the size can we have to save money as soon as we get more settled in and everything is unpacked.
Shop around for auto insurance
Yes, it takes time but can be worth it.
Shop for clothes at thrift stores
Especially for young children, you can find some amazing clothes for $1-2 each. We also love hand-me-downs. And we get compliments on how nicely my toddler is dressed all the time.
Craigslist for furniture
We have the nicest dining room table and chairs and a beautiful outdoor patio set that we got for free on Craigslist. Just take standard, simple safety precautions and bring extra people and you are fine.
Keep your house at 61 degrees
I know some people can’t handle this but we have become used to it and have incredibly low utility bills compared to most people we know in the area. Sometimes we turn it up when we wake up in a weekend but not often.
These tips aren’t for everyone and this is not a complete list of what we do to save money but I will add more when I think of them.
Have a great day!
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