Since being a stay a home mom I’ve looked into as many ways as possible to save $$$ around here. With a move (and higher rent/mortgage) imminent it’s on my mind yet again. I’ve been scouring the internet for weeks and complied a list of things we do, things I’m going back to doing and some other ideas I ran across in my search!
1) House stuff:
– Cool/Effective showering, shaving, brushing your teeth. Turn the water temp down a bit and shut the water off while you shampoo, shave and brush.
– Laundry: wash it on cold, hang it to dry, wear some clothing more than one day, use 1/2c vinegar in your rinse cycle as fabric softener! Your clothing will last longer and you’ll save quite a bit on the electricity/gas used to heat water, dry clothing! If you’re brave enough try making your own laundry detergent. 🙂
– Get rid of your tv…or at least your cable/dish. We will only be streaming Netflix, Hulu and such soon. Much cheaper and there is a variety of educational and entertaining programs.
– Programmable thermostat, you’ll never forget to turn it down again! In the summer 78 degrees is a great point to start when awake. Most people turn it up at night too…I can’t, I’d never sleep. In winter 76 when awake, 74 when asleep.
– Use drained (cooled) pasta water to water house plants.
– Make/buy cloth napkins, hand towels, dish washing rags, rags for cleaning, etc. This has saved us SOOOOOOOOO much money. Between napkins/paper towels and disinfecting wipes we no longer buy I’m saving a small fortune. Not to mention some trees too. 😉
– Use vinegar/water mix to clean up instead of windex, lysol etc. The smell dissipates quickly and it is antiviral, bacterial, fungal, and so much more.
– Get rid of your landline and go to minimum on cell 🙂
2) Start loving hand me downs, thrift stores and resale shops. You can find some amazing clothing, toys, books etc. for dirt cheap prices. AND watch back to school time too! The Salvation Army near us offers a huge discount on clothing around August so we plan ahead for fall/spring!
3) Borrow one time use items. IE: wedding attire (that’s not wedding party related), snow suits, holiday outfits/shoes.
4) Start watching clearance section of kids toys and purchase gender neutral, multiple age appropriate toys to keep on a “gift shelf” at home. When a kids birthday arrives you’ll be prepared!
5) Buy extra school supplies at back to school time. You’ll be prepared if teacher asks for more paper mid year. If you homeschool it’s just a great time to stock up period. 😉
6) Before making any purchases (that go outside your normal budget) wait 48hrs. Is it a need or a want? Usually most impulse buy desires dissipate in a few hours. Can you buy it used? Borrow it? Freecycle/Booko it? Save for it at full price?
7) Start saving or shopping for Christmas NOW. If you’re not the shop now type save and put it into a Christmas club account. If you break up Christmas purchases now you might be done by Thanksgiving and will probably save $$ on the impulse buys that happen when we get caught up in “great deals”.
8) Health wise:
– Stop practicing unhealthy habits.
– Start practicing healthy ones.
– Cancel your gym membership and hit the streets/basement/dvd/podcasts instead. Play It Again Sports (I think that’s the name of the chain) has gently used weights, kettle bells etc for a fraction of the cost and you won’t have to spend the gas to get to the gym or for the membership.
– Oh, and if meds are needed try generic meds. They are almost always cheaper and usually work just as well, sometimes better.
9) Think about your driving habits and try to consolidate. Look at your week. Is there a way to avoid running out for one item here and there, instead find closer stores that you can purchase items at the same time.
10) Kids stuff:
– Cut their hair!
– If you have a little one look into Baby Led Weaning or just make your own purees. It’ll save you so much $$$.
– Cloth diaper! Or, at least make your own wipes! 🙂
– ALWAYS carry snacks. It will make it easier to forgo the temptation to stop for food b/c the kids are hungry/whinny.
– Shop around park districts for the best $. This sounds crazy, but there are two park districts near us where the non resident fee is actually less than our resident fee and the $$ it costs in gas is negligible because of how close they are to us.
11) Car stuff:
– Rotate your tires and get cars serviced regularly. You’ll save on gas & parts (should) last longer.
– Fill up @ 1/4 tank of gas. You won’t be stuck paying a higher price because you’re running on empty.
– Use gassbuddy.com to find the cheapest gas near you/on your way/while you’re out & about. With the 1/4 tank rule this shouldn’t be too problematic.
12) Garden stuff:
– If you have a garden/outside plants that require watering look into getting rain barrels.
13) Make your own deodorant! Or use a crystal stick. Probably a little TMI here but since using homemade coconut oil, baking soda, essential oil deodorant I hardly ever smell. Even on 90 degree days while walking around the farmers market baby wearing our 17mth old.
14) NO eating out or movies unless you have gift card. Watch for local movies/concerts in the parks instead. Find free date night ideas. Cook each other food! If you MUST watch a newer movie, Redbox it! Oh, and ask for gift cards. Our family knows that we love gift cards to certain restaurants and theaters so those are often gifts for birthdays and holidays. 🙂
– Along the gift card lines, take the credit card off your iTunes/Google Play account and use a gift card. Ask for them for birthdays & holidays. Only refill them when you have the $$ in budget.
– Cook from scratch.
– Grow a garden.
– Shop local! Farmers markets & CSA’s are awesome.
– Have “stock meals” you rotate and only try new/expensive recipes every now and then.
– Streamline your pantry/fridge staples. Know what snacks, fruits, veggies, sauces, oils your family uses regularly and eats often. Keep those around. Avoid the other stuff. Predictability and food can save you so much money in the long run. We also stopped buying so many oils (corn, vegetable, olive, etc) & only buy olive and coconut oil from Costco. Cheaper, works for everything.
– Make a price list of your stock meals & pantry staples costs so you can anticipate how much your grocery trip will be.
– One word: Costco
– Buy sides of beef or pig, bulk chicken etc from a local butcher/farm. Cheaper and probably better quality meat.
– GIVE UP JUNK FOOD and shop only the outer sections of your grocery store (IE avoid processed stuff in isles).
– Figure out if crockpot cooking or freezer meal prep can make your life more predictable so there aren’t as many 5pm “There is nothing to eat” nights. Menu planning saves our grocery budget when I remember to do so.
– Shop/Cook seasonal. Seasonal foods are usually cheaper!
– Plan for a weekly soup night to use up leftover produce, spoiled food is wasted money.
Do you have any others I missed?