For many people, money is tight right now and especially for those families on a single income. When our family grew and we needed a new car, I found that we were living paycheck to paycheck with not a single dime extra. My husband couldn’t work more as he was a full time student, and with 3 young kids it would not have made us any more money for me to return to work as the childcare for 3 kids is crazy expensive. So I began to look at how we could save money each month. You actually have lots of ways to do this and it can add up to quite a bit of money over time! First and foremost, make a budget and stick with it!!!
This was where most our money went each month. We were spending about $250 per week for a family of 5, plus eating out at least once a week. My goal was to reduce this down to about $400 per month giving us a savings of $600. Here is how I did it.
*I planned out our meals for the entire month, wrote them all down on a notepad on the fridge
*I made sure that we had a veggie night at least twice a week (meat is expensive, but you can get protein in the form of beans)
*We had a leftovers night once a week to clear out our fridge and pantry
*I switched up where I was grocery shopping. We have an Aldi’s about 25 minutes away and I go there twice a month. I save a lot this way!
*Freezing foods! I buy cheese and meat in bulk and freeze it.
*I stick with canned and frozen veggies
*I always buy the generic brands of foods
*I cook from scratch things like spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, biscuits, muffins etc
*For my kids, I make a huge batch of muffins for them for breakfast and keep them in the freezer
*Fruits are either bags of apples and bananas or canned fruit
*For seafood, we go with frozen swai. Very cheap and delicious.
*Make a list for the grocery store and stick with it. If its not a necessity, don’t buy it.
*Use cash!!! We take our grocery money out of savings each month and put it in an envelope. When that money is gone, we are out of luck. This helps us stick to our budget!!!
Where we live the price of water is VERY expensive. It is 5 times the price of at our previous home so this took some getting use to. Here are tips to cut your water bill
*Take showers not baths
*Only run the dishwasher when it is full
*Do not hand wash dishes, that uses more water
*Never leave the water running
*Make sure your washer is full when you do a load of clothes.
Electricity is where many people spend a lot of money. Here are some ways to reduce your bill.
*Unplug your appliances such as computers, TV’s, coffee pots, toasters, etc when they are not be used
*Only keep the lights on in the room you are in.
* Add weather stripping to any doors that aren’t sealed tight.
*Use natural light from the windows whenever possible
*Turn your air off during the summer and open the doors and windows
*If you have a fireplace, use that as often as possible during the winter
*Skip all the Christmas lights during winter and go with non electricity using decorations. Use battery powered lights in your windows for a classic Christmas look without the high bill
*Use curtains and blinds. Keep them shut to help cool the room down, and keep them open to allow the sun to warm it up.
*Use your washing machine on the cold mode as it uses less energy
*Dry your clothes, towels, blankets on a clothes line during the summer instead of using the dryer
*For small meals, use your toaster oven or microwave instead of your oven as this will consume about half the power
Cut the cord on cable! You can spend less than $20 a month by subscribing to Hulu and Netflix. Netflix provides ton of shows for kids plus full seasons of shows for adults. If you want to watch current shows, Hulu posts them the day after they air on TV. Great way to still watch your favorite shows but save money each month.
Check out different internet providers in your area for the BEST deal. Sometimes switching a provider can save you a lot of money. If you don’t use internet daily, consider cutting that all together and instead visiting the library or an internet café when you need to.
Phone bills are very expensive, especially if you don’t look at the fine print. Many providers charge you insurance and other fees you did not agree too. Make sure you are using all your minutes, if not reduce your plan or consider switching to a provider with a cheaper plan. Check into cutting your data usage too as that can save a lot. Many plans charge one price for the entire month.
Consider shopping for your kids clothes twice a year at Consignment Sales. Most large cities have them and you can also sell your used clothing and toys there too. Another option is online yard sales. I use this for selling my kids clothes and usually will put one size in a giant trash bag and sell the bag for $20. That gets someone an entire season of clothing for $20!!! We usually buy all our clothes new from Kohls, with two boys we pass them down. I always look online for a 30% off and free shipping coupon. Using those allows me to spend about $100 for all 3 kids each season.
For toys make sure to check out local consignment shops. We have quite a few in our town and most the toys in there are still in boxes totally unused! It’s a great deal and then we just donate the toys after they are done with them or re-sell them
The truth of the matter is, cars cost a lot of money! You have gas, insurance, plus upkeep on your vehicles!
*For insurance, make sure to check out all the different providers for the best deal. Pay your payments twice a year vs monthly to save money.
*Don’t buy a new car! Always go with used and instead of trading yours in, sell it outright as that gets you more money. If you can get by with using one car, downgrade! That will save you a lot of money each month.
More Ideas To Help You Save
*Start a garden
*Grow your own herbs
*If you family has land and enjoys eggs, consider having chickens
*Skip going to the movies and use Redbox
*Sell extra books and clothes on ebay
*Cut your families hair yourself (I do this for my husband and three kids!)
*Use dish soap and vinegar for cleaning instead of expensive products
*Make your own soaps, cleaners, and detergents
*Use up items in your pantry and fridge
*Order items like diapers, wipes, toilet paper, and paper towels from Amazon
*Have money from your check put into your savings account automatically each month
*Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page
*Don’t use credit cards
*Make one extra house payment a year and reduce your mortgage by 8 years