Friday, September 30, 2011

Penny Pinching

After a summer filled with new babies and last minute trips, I realized our spending had become more "knee jerk" than mindfully motivated.  Over the past couple of weeks, my husband and I have been discussing future financial goals and casting a critical eye on our current habits.  As a result, we're doing an overhaul in the areas of our lives that we let slide the most often.

Penny pinching can sound like the least fun a person can have, but  it truly can be fun! It is incredibly freeing to make strong decisions about where you want your money to go instead of wondering where it all went.  Its also fun to get creative with where and how you save up!

This month, I'm tackling the food budget, one of the areas where I am most likely to slip up.  I find that, without adequate planning, we can end up having to make several grocery trips a week.  The problem with this is that it allows for spending on things that are not necessary - as in "run to the store for milk, somehow spend $30 on random nonsense."

In planning correctly, we cut down on those last minute store purchases.  I'm also limiting instant gratification by allowing for one meal out per week - usually pizza night.  We already had pizza one night this week, so that means I better have a plan for the rest of it!  I'm enjoying going off what we have on hand - sometimes having to search for new recipes with whatever I have available.  This is giving us more variety in our meals and avoiding the dreaded "dinner rut."

The second way I'm focusing on saving this month is by getting serious with cloth diapering.  While there is always debate on whether or not cloth is indeed cheaper than disposable, it is absolutely more frugal to use diapers you already have over running out and buying more.  We plan to keep on with  disposables at night simply because the baby wakes more often if we use cloth, but that is it - cloth all day long, disposables at night.  Since we spend most days here at home, an extra load of laundry here and there is no problem.  I believe we will end up saving around $30/month.

What are some of your favorite ways to save money?
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  1. Because we only have one salary, we also do not eat out a lot. like...hardly ever. If we do go out, we will usually do breakfast, since it tends to be less expensive. But our tradition is Friday Movie Pizza nights. Sometimes we make our own, sometimes we will order, and sometimes it is frozen (if it was on sale). This way the kids look forward to something special to start the weekend....and mama doesn't to cook. In having this special tradition, we are less likely to use fast food options - which with 3 kids, even Happy Meals can get expensive!

  2. We have a store called Other Mothers. It's a second hand resale that actually sells the clothes CHEAP. (We have another second hand store that sells clothes as new prices ugh). I have been keeping Natalie's clothes that she outgrows incase we have another girl, but she has been blessed with SO MUCH that I take out what didn't get worn a lot, what the next one wouldn't really need, etc. (usually a trash bag full). Other Mothers will give you in store credit for half of what they would sell your clothes for. I usually get $50+ for a bag of clothes I bring in ($50 in credit) and then I can buy whatever Natalie needs for the next season FREE. I hardly ever buy anything for her as far as clothes. I like the trade in method and get in store credit.

  3. oh dear... we have had troubled waters that have resulted in SO many money saving tricks! here are a few of mine:

    1. breakfast for dinner night (soooooo cheap to whip up a batch of pancakes or eggs and kiddos LOVE it)

    2. go Vegetarian nights.... meat is SO expensive... cutting it out once a week HELPS

    3. giving freely to other (this one may seem oxymoronic BUT I find the more freely I give the more freely I am given and hand-me-down clothes, furniture, etc are WELCOME around this household)

    Enjoyed your post! Thanks.

  4. Using cloth diapers and cloth diaper wipes have saved us a ton of money. They are even more expensive here (and for worse quality) than in America. There have been weeks recently where I needed to tighten up the grocery budget some, and I was so thankful that I didn't have to worry about trying to squeeze buying diapers and wipes in too.

  5. Great tips everyone! We have been implementing the meatless dinners idea and the once a week pizza/take out night. So far its working well! I'm doing our pizza/take out night on the busiest day of our week which is actually Tuesday instead of Friday - but so far it is working well!


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