Today in our financial series, we are going to be looking at ways you can save money. Woot! Who doesn’t want more money to save towards those bills and your debt. With so many people living paycheck to paycheck, it’s important to discuss ways to save money in order to put that saved money towards your debt.
To be honest, we have had some not-so-fun bills pop up that we weren’t expecting, so our family is needing to find ways to save save save! Some of these ideas may sound extreme, but as Dave Ramsey says, “Live like no one else today, so you can live like no one else tomorrow.” This is just a cool way of saying, “Take away the pleasantries of life now, so in the future you have the cash to buy whatever you want.” Sounds great, right?
Well, it can be difficult to find ways to cut corners sometimes. We may find ourselves in seasons of life that are naturally a little tighter on our wallets than other seasons. You may be reading this saying, “We don’t spend our money on luxuries, and we hardly have enough to pay our bills. Where do we cut from our budget?” Well, there are two ways to solve this problem. The first is to save money where you can. Hopefully this list of ways to save will give you an idea of any places to cut corners. Next week, we will be talking about the second option: making some extra money.
So let me be upfront and honest right away. Our family has done many of the things on this list, and some of the options can be hard. It is worth it though. You may think that canceling your Hulu account of $8 a month won’t do much, but that $8 will be money you didn’t have before. You could buy $8 worth of items at dollar tree for gifts this season. Get creative with the money you earn from taking these shortcuts! You may think that sewing clothes instead of buying new is a little extreme, but baby, do what you have to do to pay your bills and get out of debt. It will be worth it in the end.
Try some of the options below. I’m going to assume that you have already researched the cheapest options for your bills so we won’t be talking about how to lower your car insurance bill. We will be looking into the extras that you can do to get the bills you already have down even lower by changing your lifestyle a little!
Let’s have a discussion about these. Do you know more ways to save? Add them in the comments below. Talk about which options are difficult, which are easy, which are worth it, and which are not. Let’s support each other on our money-saving journey!
Let’s Start Saving List
Save on Shopping!
- Make as many meals as you can. Before you tell me that McDonald’s is cheaper, consider two things. 1) Is a three ingredient casserole with 8 servings really more expensive than McD’s? 2) Eating healthier can and will lower your monthly health care costs.
- Grow your own fruits and veggies! Do some research. Start small with spices in your window, or grow easy fruits and veggies. If you love it and you have the space, grow it all! You may discover that gardening is a gift of yours.
- Make your own bread, pizza dough, spices, and freezer recipes. This is the easiest one yet! Find items in your pantry that you tend to buy that are expensive and research how to make them yourself.
- Buy stuff at Dollar Tree and Aldi’s. Even cheaper stores like Walmart and Meijer cost us about 2-3x as much on groceries for the week than Aldi’s and Dollar Tree. Do we really need name-brand? When you have to go to another store, choose Walmart and use their Savings Catcher App. They give you money back if you bought items that are cheaper at any of the other stores in your area.
- Make your own laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, and cleaning supplies. It’s not only cheaper, but it’s safer without all of the extra chemicals!
- Make meals with few ingredients. Weight watchers has some great recipes, and 5 Ingredients or Less (Everyday Cookbook Collection) by Gooseberry Patch is a great cookbook I have found, too!
- Use towels and washcloths in place of napkins and paper towels. We haven’t bought napkins for awhile because we just choose to wash our hands and faces with a washcloth.
- Stop buying soda and flavored drinks! I am desperately trying to get our household to jump on board with this one. Water and milk are much healthier and a heck of a lot cheaper!
- Who needs candles this time of year when you can sweeten the smell of your house with apples and cinnamon steaming on your stove?
- Sign up for pinchme.com for fun and free samples you can get in the mail!
- Make Christmas gifts this year. There are so many ideas on Pinterest that really look amazing. Don’t feel embarrassed. Get your creative groove on and make a little something for friends and family. A handmade gift is so much more meaningful than a $20 gift at a convenience store!
- Decorate using decorations from the Dollar Tree! This could be my favorite store on the planet because you can get a lot for $1!
- Shop for items at garage sales, thrift stores, and even Facebook! Find out which days are discount days, and buy your items then! There are so many options from these places, and you can get barely-used or brand new items for cheap!
- Shop Groupon.com. Get subscriptions to magazines, products, and even date night vouchers for cheap!
- Can what you can! Go to your local farmers market, and buy things that are cheaper or on sale. Freeze or can your new, healthy produce to save money year round.
- Check out the Flipp app for local sales on your favorite items. They also have ads from your fave stores so you don’t have to keep the newspaper ads lying around the house.
- Make your own yoghurt, butter, and cheese! There are so many techniques out there to check out that can save you tons of money!
- Make a budget for grocery shopping, and take that calculator. If you go over your budget, decide what items you can live without!
- Borrow items from friends, especially if you don’t use something enough to buy it.
- Organize a meal swap with friends where you each bring a different frozen meal for each person. Make your meals using items that are on sale at the grocery store. This way each friend can walk away with a few new freezer meals to try without having to buy all of those ingredients!
Save on the kids!
- Make your own baby food. Purees are super easy to make and end up costing less than the baby food you buy! There are recipes everywhere. Basically, steam your fruits and veggies, puree them, and freeze some in silicone ice cube trays for later!
- Make plans with friends to watch each other’s kids for date night.
- Make your own diaper wipes. Fewer chemicals and they tend to work better than the one’s you buy. Here is the recipe I have used for making my own disposable wipes. Here is another great recipe for you cloth diapering mommas out there!
- Cloth diapers (make your own or buy some). Yes some can be expensive, but if you do your research you can actually save a ton of money. If you go for the All-In-2 diapers or flip diapers, you don’t need as many diapers. The bulk of your cost will be buying the cloth diapers for the inside of the cover. If you are completely lost, this is a great article about the various ways to cloth diaper for the newbie. I have even read an article from a frugal mom that used old shirts to save on the cloth diaper part. Hey, save where you can! I am actually prepping to start cloth diapering! I am so excited to see the money we can save!
- Wash clothes with a hand-crank washer and hang dry clothes. Ok, so this is like the Amish a bit. You can buy a manual washer with a hand crank that fits in your bathtub for $50. It saves you tons of money, gives you a good arm workout, and cleans your clothes a bit better than the traditional washer. Baby clothes are super easy to wash in these! We have a washer and dryer now, but I do still bring it out on occasion to save on money here and there. Those dollars add up!
- Coupon, coupon, coupon for those baby items. Look for sales in your local grocery and pair it with a coupon!
- Pair down on the toys and clothes you buy….not many are actually needed. Make fun crafts out of items around the house instead!
- Have a lot of birthdays to go to this month? Those presents can really add up! Try looking through your kiddo’s toys and seeing if there are any gently used or even brand new items in there before you buy a gift. Some people may think this is cheap, but when you don’t have the money, it’s better than not bringing a gift.
- Entertain at home or find local parks and indoor playgrounds that are free. Check with your local churches.
- Organize a kids swap with other moms to trade out clothes and toys!
- Learn to cut your child and your hubby’s hair (if he will let you). I learned how to use an electric razor combined with shears on top to cut my hubby’s hair and my two-year-old boy’s hair. We have saved tons of money because neither one has to go to the hairdresser’s every month
- Make your own dog bed. We haven’t tried this, but I am definitely intrigued. Here is one idea we are looking into.
- Make doggie treats! They are healthier for your little pup! This one is our fave.
- Make toys for your doggies. There are soooo many ideas of Pinterest! Check this one out!
- Find dog food on chewy.com, use subscription services online, or use coupons and wait for sales!
Lower those bills
- Get rid of your stuff and spend less time/money washing and cleaning it. I swear, I cut our water bill in half when I got rid of clothes that we didn’t want. We also got a lot of our space back! Now we don’t have a cluttered closet and we have a clean floor!
- Keep that heat on low this winter. Bundle up, using sweaters, socks, and blankets before turning on that heat!
- Nix the cable, get internet, and enjoy netflix, hulu, or shows readily available on the internet!
- Say no no to late fees! Stop losing money for not paying bills on time! That $3 for each bill per month is costing you! Input reminders on your phone, set-up automatic payments, or write it in your calendar!
- Try out a No Electricity day a few times a month! Make it a fun experience. Tell your kids you are going back to the olden days. Read books or play games in a fort. Light your house with a hand crank or solar-powered lantern. Listen to some music with a hand crank radio. Make it fun! You can still do a lot without electricity. Plus, you will teach your kiddos to get creative when they lose power.
- Buy from Ebay, Amazon, and Facebook sellers! First of all, many sellers are selling new and barely-used items for a fraction of the price as is being sold in stores or online. You can subscribe on Amazon to buy certain groceries that you tend to buy every month, and you can usually save money by using the subscribe option. Go to Ebay for gifts this season. Don’t forget to look for items that typically cost a lot that are sold for a fraction of the price on Ebay. We typically buy ink for our printer on Ebay. Take advantage of this, save money, and help out your small business owners!
- Wash your own clothes with a hand crank washer and line dry! It may be hard work, but it will save on a lot of energy used!
- Wash your dishes by hand in the sink. Again, this can be time consuming and difficult if you have little ones running around all day, but it saves on a lot of electricity. Every dollar counts!
- If you still want to use that dishwasher, open the dishwasher after it is done washing and air dry your dishes rather than letting your dishwasher do that for you.
- Winter-proof your doors and windows! We did this before we got a dog, and it really did save us a good amount!
- Cut down on the amount of gas your car uses by carpooling or combining outings. If you have to go shopping, try to hit the store on the way to or back from your next outing. Combine all of your errands into one and plan your trip so that you begin at the furthest store and end at the nearest store to your house so you aren’t backtracking or traveling further than you need to go.
- Also, find an app for gas that lets you know the cheapest gas in your area. Don’t wait until you are completely out. Fill up when you have the option for super cheap gas!
- Turn off those lights during the day. Open some curtains and fill your rooms with natural light!
- Make blankets or quilts out of old clothes.
- Learn to sew your own clothes, or just sew rips and tears before replacing your clothes.
- Watch Youtube for exercise videos. Use cans or water bottles in place of weights. If you must pay, research a cheap on-demand service where you can watch your workout videos online.
- Also, use Youtube to learn something new! Watch tutorials.
- Are you paying a lot to fill your car up each week? Consider biking, taking the bus to work, or just using one car (if you have 2) the majority of the time.
- Date nights are so important for your relationship with your partner, but it can be so hard to find things to do when you don’t have money. Check this post out for some great date night ideas that are free!
- Make your own Christmas ornaments this year! This is a great way to get your kids involved in a new family tradition while also saving some money!
- The library is such a wonderful place for books, movies, and more! They even have books that you can download online to save yourself from having to travel to the library.
- Learn to sew, knit, and crochet. These are great skills for creating clothes and toys, but working with patterns creates a calm while increasing brain power. Woot!
- If you are going to school or are paying for your students books, look into renting! Bookrenter.com is a great resource for renting books. You can even sell some of your textbooks to them if they are in relatively good condition and current editions. Amazon.com has also jumped on the renting bandwagon. The thing I love about Amazon though is that you may have options. You can buyer newer, used, or typically rent your textbooks from them.
Some of these tips may seem extreme, but remember, you don’t have to jump all in at once. Try a few methods, and decide what you like. If some of these techniques are too time consuming, try practicing them once a month or once a week. Make it work for your schedule. Make it a habit so you won’t even realize that you are doing anything extra to save a little dough!
All of these skills help us get more involved in life and become more thankful for what we have. There is a sense of pride when you are helping provide for your family by taking some extra time to help save your household money. Many of these techniques may have you seeing blood, sweat, and tears along the way, but remember, working with your hands is good! Hard work does pay off! It teaches us to be creative and use different skills, and it helps us pay the bills. Jump in today, and let me know how it goes in the comments below!