Every time I pray, I can’t help but give thanks for being able to stay home with my little Sam. I consider it the most amazing blessing of my life to be able to do that. I am so grateful! When Todd and I looked at our budget two years ago, staying home seemed an impossibility. God has provided in so many ways, and we have figured out more ways to save money than I ever thought we could! I am indebted to many different people and websites for some our ideas.
Here are a few easy things we do now that I should have started a long time ago!
- Home make laundry detergent, household cleaners, chicken broth and baby food (stay tuned for an entire post on this!)
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper, and stop buying paper towels, plates, cups, and toilet paper (JK on the TP!! haha).
- Coupons! Coupons are the new black. Or something. I used to think cashiers made fun of people who use coupons. Now I think they make fun of those who don’t. It’s way popular. As evidenced by the fact that it took me five visits and three stores to find my $.24 turkey bacon. What the heck people!!!?!! Who is it out there who is obsessed with bacon?? Anyways. The link that helps me the most is here. I purchase the local paper (Sunday only because I HATE the Charlotte Observer) and the rest of the coupons are printable.
- CVS shop. I am indebted to my two friends Libby and Sylvia who embedded me with enough courage to learn the “ECB” system (extra care bucks = free money) at CVS. No lie, it took me about three hours to figure out what I would buy the first visit and if it would save me money. It does though. As an example, this week I spent $8 and got two packs of diapers, toothpaste, shampoo, and a $6 ECBs. WHAT??? Crazy, right.
- consignment sales for Sam’s stuff. Hello.
- air-dry clothes. Yes, I am that tacky neighbor who drapes the sheets on the porch for a few hours. Luckily my Gestapo-like HOA has not discovered my green practices yet.
- meal plan according to the Harris Teeter specials. I signed up for EVIC and when I receive the week’s deals on Wednesday, I plan our meals for the next week.
- produce co-op – have yet to start this but can’t wait. You can get so much more produce for so much less! (Thanks Megan!)
- make a monthly and yearly budget and track purchases accordingly. Like Dave Ramsey says, budgets give freedom and not constraint. We use the program Microsoft Money, but many people I know use the free mint.com and love it.
Here are things we got rid of that we don’t even miss:
- going to the movies. That’s a lie. Todd probably does miss this. I, however, who think that theaters are germy and most movies are trash, do not miss this. (Wow, do I sound like an old person or what.) Luckily for Todd, people who feel sorry for us have given us movie money quite often.
- Magazine subscriptions, new music, new books. Whatever. There’s always the library.
- Name brand products. I have found Harris Teeter products to be satisfactory in most every category I have tried. Exceptions: baby supplies, oats and honey cereal (weird, I know) and hot dog rolls. Just FYI.
- Going out to eat a lot. You deal. And there’s always in-laws.
- Wireless internet. I mean, what did we do in the old times, people!?!?
Things we got rid of that we do miss but it’s worth it.
- cable. Todd and I both agree DVR is the biggest loss. We press the “pause” button a lot and mourn the loss. But I say, if you can still watch “The Office” and NFL, rabbit ears can’t be all that bad.
- Expensive dates. Oh for the days when you could order an appetizer (gasp) and dessert. Or wine instead of water. Or when Panera didn’t count as a restaurant. But whatever, small price.
So there’s a few of my tips. I’d love to know some of your tips or resources!