When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter I knew I needed to save money so I could afford to be off on maternity leave for 12 weeks. As time went on our situations changed and my husband changed jobs 3 times in my daughter’s first year. Along with the fact that I became a stay at home mom and only worked once or twice a month at the hospital, there were time we struggled and I wondered how we were going to make it through. This led me to find different ways to save money and I was surprised at all the ways I was able to save money.
I want to start by saying my husband and I are proud people. We hate asking for help, it is just how we are. We didn’t apply for government help and we didn’t ask family for help. I am not judging those who have asked for help or received help, it was just something my husband and I didn’t feel right doing because I have a nursing degree and there was no reason I couldn’t work, other than the fact that my position only guarantees that I work once a month.
With that being said, here are some ways I saved money last year.
- We switched to cloth diapers. I never had intentions to use cloth diapers. I thought they would be difficult and gross. But, after my daughter has severe diaper rash I decided to try cloth diapers, and I love them! I was spending over $40 a week just for diapers, now I can save that money. There was an upfront cost, but the cloth diapers have already paid for themselves in just a couple of months.
- I made more meals at home. When you go grocery shopping your bill will make you wonder how you could be saving money, but when you add it up you will save a significant amount of money. For example, I spend about $250 every 2 weeks on groceries. That gets me 2 weeks worth of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with leftovers usually for lunches for 3 people, myself, my husband, and my daughter. If we go out to eat it is a minimum of $20 for just one meal. If we go to McDonalds every night for supper that is $280 for 2 weeks, no breakfast or lunch. I still have to make trips to the store for perishables (milk, eggs, bread), but for the most part one large trip every 2 weeks works great. Not to mention anything you make at home is healthier for you.
- Started making a meal plan. I make a meal plan for 2 weeks before I go to the grocery store. This keeps me from buying half the things I need for a meal, not buying enough, or buying too much when I am shopping. I have saved a lot of money this way because no there is a purpose to everything I buy before I buy it. I also shopu my pantry before I make my list so I don’t buy anything I already have.
- We bought a deep freezer. So this is another one that has an upfront cost, but has helped save some money because I can buy things in bulk and freeze them or buy things that are on sale. I can also buy frozen bread dough and make homemade bread instead of purchasing it and pay $1 or less per loaf, plus it tastes so much better. Plus, now I can make meals ahead of time and freeze them!
- Take advantage of clearance. I love a great sale and kids outgrow clothes so fast, especially in the first couple of years. If I see clothes on clearance I will snatch them up and buy a large size. This works best with summer clothes because you can change a summer outfit into a winter outfit with leggings and a long sleeve shirt. Garage sales are also great for saving money on clothes. I have some outfits for my daughter that I paid $1 or less for!
- Netflix. I don’t need to say much about this, but cable and satellite are so expensive! I was spending $100 a month just to watch a couple of channels. I downgraded and only have local channels. I can watch almost anything on Netflix, and Hulu has this seasons episodes. Both are about $8 a month saving you a lot of money.
- I stopped using coupons. WHAT?? Coupons work great for some people but I found that I was actually spending more money with coupons because I bought things I didn’t need just because I had a coupon. Even if it was something like soap that I would need eventually, it wasn’t worth it for me because I wasn’t couponing enough to get anything for free.
- I started working from home. When my husband started changing jobs we decided that it would be best for me to stay home since all my money would be going to daycare anyway. I then found a work at home job to make a little extra money for our emergency fund. I don’t eat out for lunch since I am home and I don’t have to pay for gas or daycare.
I have always wanted to build a house and I need to save money to be able to do this. This is my motivation for saving as much money as possible.
How do you save money? Have you ever tried any of these? What are your goals and why do you want to save money?