If you are reading this, you were probably looking up ways to save money. You most likely have read dozens of articles giving tips like,
“Stop spending $5 a day on coffee, make it at home.”
“Skip getting your nails done, do them yourself.”
“Stop spending so much eating out, cook at home.”
“Don’t go to the bar every weekend, invites friends to your house.”
“Carpool, coupon, yada yada”
If you are anything like me, you probably laughed and laughed at these thinking “who did they write this for?” because you have probably never do any of these things listed. Being a stay at home mom of 2 living on my husbands little more than minimum wage(NY) income, I am always looking for the best of the best deals and tips on how to have money at the end of the week just to save. I have written out a LONG list of things that have helped me save money here and there. I have even included a few ways you can make a little extra money in your spare time.
-You probably knew I was going to say this. I am a stay at home mom so of course I coupon. (Haha) I got started couponing 3 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest. It was a lot of trial and error before I figured things out. Mostly because instead of doing any reading on how it worked, I just watched Extreme Couponers on TV. Once I started reading on how to properly coupon, I was on a roll. I havent bought toothpaste in 3 years, honestly. I got 14 tubes of tooth paste for free thanks to coupons. Coupons come in Sunday papers, but can be found online. If you are serious about couponing I suggest doing lots of reading, there are tons of websites that have all the information you will need. There are even FaceBook groups deticated to couponing at specific stores and helping others out to find deals. These are a great resource for anyone looking to get started.
2. Bulk Buy.
-This kind of goes with the couponing, but it doesnt have to. There have been a few months were I didnt do any couponing and needed to buy something. Lets say toilet paper is on sale, keep in mind I am throwing out random numbers, but lets say 32 rolls are normally priced at $13.99 but this week they are on sale for $9.99. Buy them. That might not seem like much of a deal, but it’s $4 that you saved. It is even more if you have a coupon that you can use.
3. Buy Store Brand.
-We currently live in a world where we are pressued to buy buy buy. Especially brand name. We see advertisements on TV, billboards, hear them on the radio, etc and we think that we should buy it because of the brand. We really don’t have to. I mean, sure I like it when I open my cupboard and see name brands jumping out at me, but I also like knowing that by buying store/off brand I saved $2 on an item.
4. Write out meals.
-Write out weekly meal plans and stick to it. I can not tell you how much this has helped me saving money. Before I would wander around the store thinking to myself “I could make this or this, eh, Ill just grab it all.” and it always turns out badly for my budget. Once I started planning out meals I could navigate my pantry and fridge to see what I would need to buy for this week and what I was getting low on. If planning for 7 days seems a bit over whelming, only plan for 3 or 4 days at a time.
5. Go Meatless.
-Now I am not saying all of the time, but maybe once a week, maybe twice. There are a ton of amazing dishes out there that you can pass on the meat with. This will also help you stretch what you do have because lets face it, unless you have your own source like a farm, meat is expensive to buy at the store. Don’t get me wrong, so is running a farm (my grandparents had one my whole life) Anyway, going meatless will also help you on the days you just dont feel like cooking, we all have those days.
6. Farmers Markets.
-As I stated previously, my grandparents had a huge farm. 90% of my diet came from them. Meat, milk, veggies, nothing was store bought unless we went out of I was with a different relative. Farmers markets are great because a lot of the time you can find good deals on fresh items. One year my husband and I were out walking, decided to stop at the local farmers market and scored peaches 3 for $1. Not only are there great deals, but your are supporting locally grown busineses.
-Do you have the space and motivation? If you do, start a garden. It doesn’t need to be anything big and fancy, start out small and if it goes well, expand. Much like the couponing, there are dozens and dozens of resources for people looking to get into growing their own. Ask friends, families, even some of those farmers you see for tips and advice on how to get started. Do your reading and research and get started. You can same so much money by growing your own. Plus, this is something I perosnally feel everyone should know how to do for so many reasons. Mostly because food is importsnt.
8. Make Your Own.
-Wether is be your own soap or a cake for a party, do it yourself. Pretty much anything you can think of, there is a tutorial on how to do it yourself. I have dabbled in making my own soap and honestly it was not only a lot of fun, but I knew what was going on my body which is important to me. Think about the items you use on a daily or semi-daily basis and see if it something that would save you money in the long run by doign yourself.
9. Cloth Diaper.
-Do you have kids? If so, have you ever though about cloth diapers? I wish I had clothed my oldest when he was a baby. Mostly I wish I had thought about it so I could have done the proper research and had time do to so. Cloth diapers can be pricey to start with. Especially if you buy brand new, but in the logn run you will have $30 a month or more due to not having to buy disposable diapers. There can be a lot of care that goes into cloth diapering but the benifits are worth it. And much like everything else I have stated, there are support groups of men and women who have advice and can teach you how to use and care for your cloth diapers. There are also sales sites diticated to cloth diapers that can save you money if buying brand new is too expensive for you.
10. Cloth wipes.
-This goes with the cloth diapers. Cloth wipes are another great investment that you really dont even have to buy. If you have old shirts, wash cloths, hankies, whatever laying around, use those are wipes! Go out, buy burpcloths and use those as wipes. Wipe solution is easy as well, either use just water or water and baby soap. Get online, look up or ask what others are doing and try it out. Baby wipes are another expenisve part of being a parent, save where you can.
11. Baby Food.
-I could go on and on about making baby food, but I am only going to give you the basics. Babys have to eat as well and baby food costs a bit of money. For that 4oz jar that costs you .99-1.45 depending on brand/store/even state, you can be buying bulk veggies and making more bang for your buck. I once spent $3.50 on 5 large sweet potatos and go almost 70oz in baby food. It lasted us a long while as we froze it and only brought it out as needed. Making baby food is so easy and so many parents are doing it more and more. Next time you are in the store, compair the price of a sweet potato to a jar and see which will offer you more for less.
12. Have a skill?
-Maybe you are a great baker, maybe you know how to fix minor car repairs (or even some major like my husband does) maybe you are great with computer repair. Your skill could make you some side money, unless you do it for your daytime job and if that is the case, do you have another skill that can make you side money? If you do, use these. There are always people out there looking for someone to help them with something for a deal. Well that deal could be a little extra pocket money for you. I have baked mass amounts of cookies for people at the Holiday time because they were too busy with work and shopping. I either charged a small price if they bought their own supplies or I would have a set rate for the type of cookie and how many they required.
-That is right, candles. Eletric can be costly, and even though we all have been told to turn lights off when we are not in a room, how many of us have though about useing candle light. Now I am not talking about setting ourselves back to the 1700’s but I am saying have a candle lit dinner, even if you are eating alone, candle lit baths, even watching Netflix by candle light is relaxing.
Some other things that you can do to save money or make a little money are:
-Use cloths instead of sponges for cleaning and dishes.
-If you do use a sponge, cut it in half.
-Bike/walk/carpool places when you can.
-Pack lunches/snacks from home when working out going on a trip.
-Sign up for apps that let you redem items you bought.
-Sign up for member cards at stores.
-Hang dry your clothes.
-be organised with your budget.
-Buy gently used.
-Sell things you no longer need or use.
-Get a roommate or 2 if possible.
-Take online surverys.
-Do some baby sitting/pet sitting/ house watching/ cleaning/ errend running.
Most importantly, be creative and flexible with your spending and savings. I really hope these will help you as much as they have helped me these past 3 years. Best of luck.