These past few months Cody and I have realized we spend way too much and save way too little. Our debt is starting to build up from having babies, daily living and random odds and ends. I finally decided that just stressing about it wasn’t going to solve our problem, so I did hours of research on frugal living.
I learned some tips when we first moved out on our own, but slowly I stopped. Convenience and feeling secure when Cody got a higher paying job made being frugal very low on my list. I’ve made a game plan to start saving as much as possible and paying off all our debt in the next 3 years. Once Finn is a year old I will be joining the work force again and hopefully make this process go even faster. Here are some frugal living tricks and tips that I think will work well with my family.
Cutting Food Cost
At the store
- planning meal around sales and coupons- I shop Fred Myers and they have all their coupons online and you can just add them to your rewards card, then I look at their online sales ads and our meals around both of those factors.
- Pick your own farms- since I didn’t plant much this year I’m going to a couple farms where I can pick my own fruit for much cheaper then store prices. I plan to make jams, sauces, and freeze anything left for smoothies. Also since we’re a small house hold we never finish all our fruit and veggies before they go bad so I plan to freeze any left overs to add to my baking and smoothie stash.
- Buy meat in bulk when on sale- We tend to go through chicken like no tomorrow and I regularly see it on sale, but rarely buy extra. I want to start stocking up when ever the prices are dirt cheap. That goes for ground beef, chuck roast (can be made into ground beef as well), fish and sea food. I also am going to stop buying for conveniences, I’m going to buy a whole chicken and cut it up and use the bones to make broth.
- Meatless meals- at one point we we’re vegetarians and our grocery bill was fairly cheaper. This week I added in bean and cheese burritos to our meal plan, so I don’t have to use as much meat.
- 6 ways to save money as a stay at home mom
- 3 tips to save money on clothes
- How to live simply as a stay at home mom
- Frugal minimalist
- Eating at home and eating left overs- My down fall is grabbing fast food. I have planned out every lunch and snack for the next two weeks. That way I don’t feel the “I don’t know what to make” blahs. I’m going to pack the lunch or snacks with me if we leave the house for any reason.
- Doubling meals and freezing them – i’m going to cook the first week after grocery shopping and freeze the leftovers. That way I don’t have to buy a bunch of ingredients and less food will go bad.
- growing my own garden- let me tell you, I kill more plants/flowers then I should, but this year I actually have managed to grow spinach, kale and have some corn stocks coming up. Then I have some parsley, dill, and basil growing in my kitchen window. I was so scared I wouldn’t get anything to grow I didn’t plant much and now I regret it. I did research on fertilizer and needs for each plant and have worked really hard to keep consistent and it paid off. Next year I’ll grown as much as I can fit into my gardening area (which is huge) and freeze, can or make jelly and sauces out of everything for winter.
- making things from scratch- I’m pretty good about this one any way, but I really want to try to make everything I can from scratch (as long as it’s cheaper then the convenient item). It can save me money, be healthier with our all the additives and I have the time to do things like that if I actually use my time wisely. Though I don’t know if i’ll ever be able to make bread from scratch. I never seem to get it as tasty as my in-laws bread.
- Sew River’s and Finn’s clothes- I am pretty handy with a sewing machine and have piles of fabric and patterns waiting to be used. I just am terrible about taking the time to do it. I can also alter some of my normal clothes into maternity clothes.
- thrift store shopping- with me and River out growing all our clothes at a rapid rate, we could use some summer outfits. Then there is cody who only get’s new clothes at Christmas because of his mom. I’m going to browse the local thrift stores and see what I can find or search the Good Will website. They usually have name brands and really affordable prices.
- Mend or sale- I’m constantly mending Cody’s clothes, so that isn’t really a new thing. We do tend to hold onto clothes we don’t wear anymore when we could actually profit from getting rid of them.
Energy and Water
- unplug and turn off items/lights not in use- I discovered that even when a item is turned off it still pulls power if plugged in. It’s simple to unplug things when you’re done and turning off the lights when not in use is always a good habit.
- wash dishes by hand- this will save on water, dish soap, and electricity used to power the dishwasher. I’m not going to like this task at all but in the long run it will even save us a pretty penny.
- Running the washer on cold and line drying clothes- For some reason my husband things the water level needs to be as high and hot as possible when drying clothes.. A new rule we have is using the least amount of water, detergent and having the water as cold as possible. Cody is handy with wood work, so I plan on having him make me a clothes line to dry our clothes.
- half full baths for River, shorter showers and less baths for me and Cody. I like to take long showers. Then me and Cody like to take baths to relax our muscles almost daily.
- closing blinds and curtains- This will help block out the heat from in the summer and keep in the heat in the winter. We also close vents to rooms that are rarely used.
These are a few of the things I’ll be doing to save us money. I’ll give it a couple months and see how it’s affecting our budget before deciding to add or take away some tips. I want us to live a little more stress free and really enjoy the life we have. If you have any useful tips let me know in the comments!