One topic I have discussed many times before is budgeting and finances. My family of four lives on just one income. Our decision to do this, while difficult at times, just made the most sense for our family. I have been able to focus on my children, my household, and most of all, my husband. Living on one income in a two income society takes a lot of financial planning and budgeting on my part. I dedicate hours every week to working on my budget alone. This includes financial goals, plans to pay off certain debts, grocery lists, and building our savings and college funds. Here is a list of some of the things that my family does to save money.
- Have a garage sale! Most of us have so much clutter it's not even funny! If you haven't used an item in over a year, unless it a cherished family heirloom or holiday decor, you probably don't need it!
- Necessities must come first! Put your wants on hold! When paying bills, home, transportation, insurance, and utilities are first! Contact your cable, internet, cell, and credit card companies to see if there is any discount or rewards program you can take advantage of! Sometimes if you are in good standing they will let you skip a month or two if you are having financial hardships.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle! So basic, yet so important! Find ways to reuse items in your house that you may think are trash! I reuse lots of different things, like milk jugs for water, plastic planters for next year's seedlings, toilet paper rolls for Girl Scout crafts, etc.
- Cook in bulk! Instead of buying prepackaged foods liked mashed potatoes, buy a big bag of potatoes, cook them, mash them, and freeze them into small containers. Not only are you saving money, but you are giving your family food that is better for them! When you reheat, feel free to flavor them any way you'd like!
- Skip the meat! By omitting meat from your dinner plans 2-3 days per week, you will be saving a nice chunk of change. Plus, read meats are meant to bulk you up, so you will also be watching your waist line without even trying! Try different pasta and rice dishes, or one pot meals. We try to make meat an addition to a meal, versus the main star (like cheesy chicken and rice casserole).
- Every 3 months, review your cell phone contract, cable contract, and auto insurance. You should always be shopping around for a better rate. Also, if you mention to your current company that you found a better rate, sometimes they'll compete to keep you and lower your rate!
- Trim your dryer hose. A longer hose can become obstructed causing your dryer to work harder. A shorter, unobstructed hose will save you about $25 per year on your electric bill!
- Laundry detergent is super powerful! Use half the recommended amount unless you have some serious stains! Also, try making your own detergent!
- Check out your cart once more before you check out. Maybe that box of cookies or case of soda was an impulse purchase? Cut out $10 per week of impulse purchases and put that money into savings! Save money and your figure!
- Shop at the end of season! You can take advantage of clearance items such as seasonal/holiday decor, and seasonal clothes for next year.
- Shop clearance racks! Most of the time you'll find shirts that were part of an outfit but have lost their bottoms. Take advantage of some serious savings! (My favorite clearance racks are at Target and Babies R' Us).
Make sure to check out how I make a few extra bucks from the comfort of my own home!