Monday, March 12, 2012

Money Saving Ideas/Tips

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Hello wonderful people! I hope you all are doing well.  I am looking forward to a fun week with my boys.  I am also excited to be consigning and shopping at a big kid's sale this week!

I thought I would share with you some money saving tips that I use to save our family money.  Most of these are well known tips and others may be some that I just do but either way I way I wanted to share. Having to be frugal isn't always fun but it is doable and you can make it fun.

-Create a budget.  This is the first thing you should do.  I would suggest that you, and your spouse or room mate, do this together so that you are on the same page.  Set time aside when you have no anything pressing so that you can fully focus on your budget.  There are multiple sources of help online so do some research before you begin and see which one you want to try.
   A few things that go with this subject:
   ---Stick to your budget.  This is very important to maintain a stable home.  It's amazing how fast your money can dissapear and your bills get behind if your budget isn't maintained by all persons in the home.
   ---Evaluate your expenses and see what can be cut out completely or done cheaper.  You may want to do this before you create your budget so you can see what needs to be adjusted.  Once you see what money you have to spend on what, you may notice that you use way to much in one area and not enought in another. 

-Accept hand-me-downs of anything and everything.  Because of many friends and family passing on hand-me-down clothes to us we have not had to buy one single piece of clothing for our boys.  I cannot tell you how much this has helped us out!
Our dining room table that was a hand-me-down.  Tucker's high chair was also a hand-me-down.

Some of the hand-me-downs we were blessed with this week! The black grocery bags are full of material for me to sew with and the laundry basket is clothes for the boys. 

-Shop thrift stores, yard sales, kids consignment sales and any other second hand store.  Before I buy new things, I always check thrift stores before I buy whatever we need.  Sometimes we go to the thrift store just to go and see what they have and we usually always find cool stuff cheap! My latest find was a brand new looking Krups icecream maker for $4.50! I have also found some awesome pairs of shoes for my boys and lots of kitchen bowls and cups.  Also many states have big kids consignment sale where you can consign your gently used baby/kid items/clothes to make money and also shop for pretty cheap things.  When I was pregnant with Jonah, the only big item we had was a crib.  We were able to get a pack-n-play, stroller with car seat, and many other things for $300.  Everything we go would have cost around $1500 if we bought it new! That is incredible savings and all the items looked new.  I have consigned at every sale since then making us some money plus been able to shop. 

The stuff I am consigning at the kids sale this week.  It will be so nice to have this stuff gone and make some money!

-Make everything you can from scratch. It's amazing what you can find on the internet! You can pretty much find a recipe or instructions to make anything online.  Of course my favorite website for crafts, cleaners, recipes, and pretty much anything is Pinterest.  We have saved so much money since I discovered Pinterest.
Here are a few examples of tips/recipes I have found on there:
These are my cleaning rags.  I cut up old t-shirts and other random materials.  These are all mosty square or rectangle.  Best part is they were free!
Ready to bake yellow cake mix, brownie mix, and baking mix.  These were super cheap and quick to put together.  Just put them together and place them in your pantry for quick use.(The baking mix does need to be refrigerated since its made with margarine.)
Cleaners are amazingly easy  to make and so much cheaper than the store-bought versions.Pictured here are Febreeze, dishwashing powder, and clorox clean-up.  I also make my own fabric softener, laundry detergent, and anti-bacterial spray. 

-Meal plan.  Since money is tight, we don't eat out but about once maybe twice a week.  This means that I stay in the kitchen alot! lol Seriously I do.  I make most of our snacks and 90% of our meals from scratch. I do still but some stuff at the store but I try hard to find a homemade version and make it myself.  It does take more time to make things from scratch but it saves an amazing amount and you know what is going in your snacks/meals. 
My February meal plan

-Become a 1 car family.  This is not for the faint of heart I assure you.  This is a very hard commitment and its not easy at all.  We  had to be a 1 car family for about 4 months due to our family car's transmission going out and not having the extra cash to fix it.  My husband drives his dad's 2 seater S10 to work so that became our only car from November of last year until about 3 weeks ago.  Being stuck at home by yourself with two little very hyper boys is not fun! I can laugh at it now since we have another vehicle (:)!!!!!!!) but I was not laughing or having a good time most of those months.  But I will say it definitely saved us money.

-Buy in bulk.I love going to Sam's with my mother-in-law! Not only do we have a blast but they have some great prices.  I don't buy everything there but there are some things like yeast, brown sugar, powdered sugar, and flour that you can get much cheaper there.  I would suggest before you buy anything to use a calculater and figure out if its a good deal or not. 
Some of my groceries from my last trip.  I got a 25 lb bag of flour for under $7!! All of the things listed here last longer than a month for us sometimes they last two.

-Freeze leftovers. Most of the time when I cook dinner I have leftovers.  We usually eat those for lunch the next day.  If there's anymore left after lunch the next day, I usually will freeze the rest for a later meal. I will usually use those meals for the weekends or week nights when I don't feel like cooking.  It's so nice to have a few choices already cooked and ready to heat up.  I keep an inventory on our fridge so I know what all is available. 

-Cloth diaper.  This is of course for the babies. ;)  I am sure most of you have heard about cloth diapering and how it saves you money.  You can find tons of different types of diapers online ranging in prices.  Cloth diapering by itself can save you monwy but it saves you even more money if you sew your own.  I sewed all of mine using old t-shirts and cotton bedsheets from Goodwill.  I made some pocket style diapers and I use old fashioned cloth diapers to stuff the pocket diapers.  I did buy some covers off of E-bay since that material needed to be waterproof.  All in all I love cloth diapering! 
Some of my pocket diapers.  I love that I made all of them! They may not be the cutest but they work and that's all that matters!

-Sew/make gifts.  Since I began teaching myself to sew last April, I have been making the majority of the gifts for the various celebrations I attend.  This truly saved us a ton at Christmas since we only had to buy a small handful of gifts.  There are also many gifts you can make that don't require any sewing at  all.  Just go on Pinterest!
Candle holders I made my In-laws and my parents for Christmas.  I simply printed some pictures of my boys on vellum paper, cut it out, glued it on, and put a sealer on them.  No sewing involved and they loved them!
A messanger bag I made for Jonah for Christmas.  This was made from an old bedsheet, jeans, and felt. 
-Look for sales or use coupons.  Before my second son, Tucker, was born I used coupons like crazy.  I had a huge coupon binder.  I was obsessed with finding the best deal but it was so time consuming and never ending I got overwhelmed and just quit.  I stopped using coupons completely and just shopped at Wal-mart and Aldi.  I recently started shopping the B1G1 free sales that I can use printable coupons on. lays it all out so you can easily make your own lists and print coupons.

That's all I can think of right now.  I hope this helps someone.  If you have any questions please feel free to comment below. 

Have a great night!

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