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How to save money

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I am trying to find a way to not go back to work.  I know I won't be able to compensate for the loss of my salary by finding change in the couch or buying generic at the store, but I would love ideas of how to save money.

 

I buy a lot of organic food.  Do you think I should just buy organic for the Dirty Dozen?  I would say food is my biggest expense and I can't tell you how often I throw food out.  If I could stop throwing food out, that alone would save a bunch.  Do you just buy food for the next couple days?  How do I avoid wasting it?

 

We had our electricity from wind power which costs a lot more.  I just switched it back.  I feel bad because I'm always trying to do good things for the environment, but it costs substantially more.  I try to turn off lights when we aren't using them.

 

We own our cars with no loans.

 

We have no credit card debt.

 

We have cable (well, dish) and internet, but we have to have those.  I don't need the dish, but I committed to a couple years so I'm stuck and DH lives on the internet.

 

I don't spend much on fuel for the car. 

 

As for heating, I'm not sure how to lower the gas bill much, but I'm open to suggestions.

 

I use cloth diapers and wash them myself and they are just prefolds and covers.

 

I buy all of Elliott's stuff used (i.e. clothes, toys, exersaucers, etc).

 

Any other ideas?  Or any ideas how to make a little money from home? 

 

Thanks guys.

post #2 of 15

It sounds like you are living pretty frugally already.  I would suggest buying less produce so you don't waste it.  I hate wasting food but it happens more than I care to admit.  Try not washing it until before you eat it.  Might cut down on the waste as well.  I know berries will mold quicker if you wash them all before eating.  You could get out of your DISH contract.  You may have to pay the early termination fee but $175 is cheaper than paying for 2 years of it.  We did that.  Some people just can't live without TV though but with the internet,  you can download just about anything and watch it on the computer if necessary. 

 

You could try to poll the WAHM moms to see what they are doing.  Are you crafty?  Maybe something there...selling on Etsy or somewhere like that.  I know a lot of people who have Ebay businesses.  Go out to yard sales, sell people's extra stuff or buy from wholesalers on the net then re-sell for a profit on Ebay.  My friend made $4.5K a month doing this while he was out of work with a broken wrist. 

 

I don't know where you live but maybe you can grow your own produce in the summer to cut down on the expense.  It's amazing what you can grow in just a few raised beds. 

 

Just a few ideas to get you started. 

post #3 of 15
For food waste- we clean out the fridge once a week. I also have a basket of things that need to be used soon and place things in there to give them a better chance of getting used before it goes bad.

For working at home, I second Becky's suggestion of selling on Etsy or eBay. I used to sell on eBay regularly and made several hundred a month with little effort. I would go to GW and buy things I knew I could make more money off of and resell on eBay. That was with very little effort. I plan on starting back once Magnolia is a bit older. You just have to have an "eye" for picking out good items- I bought a bundle of vintage fabric for $5 at an estate sale and resold it on Etsy (they have a vintage category) for $60. All those small sales add up- it would probably never be enough to replace your salary, but it would be at least some income.
post #4 of 15

I'm not good at advice about selling stuff, I always intend on selling some on e-bay and that never happens. For groceries, I probably spend monthly now for a family of 6 what I used to spend on 2-3 of us. No organic at all anymore except milk and any produce that is dirt cheap. Our local store does organic berries 4 for 5 bucks once in a blue moon and I will buy crate after crate of berries and freeze them. I budget and shop around the sales pages. Coupons are not big here so I can't do that but I stock up and feed the pantry every week rather then shopping for random things. The only things I buy weekly are produce, everything I buy when it is on sale and I stock up. For example I will buy 25 cans of good tuna when it is a buck a can which happen about every 5 months at my store, if we run out before the next big sale comes then no more tuna.  I only shop once a week after I have meal planned. I spend way more money if I make a trip to the store for 1-2 things, that always end up being 5+ items and more money so I do not go just for one thing. 

 

Until the kids get older, you can get almost every used. Once they start wearing clothes longer it gets harder to find certain things used, they often get worn out before the child outgrows them. Babies are cheap, it is the older kids that are bottomless money pits! 

post #5 of 15

To save money we got rid of our second vehicle.

 

I also bake my own bread, cookies etc. I even make our own tortillas and am about to try bagels.

 

I also make our own laundry detergent, which costs less than 10c a gallon.

 

I menu plan and we shop around that, as well as buying wholesale when possible.

 

Fit low flow aerators on all water outlets, it'll reduce your water bills.

 

Switch to energy efficient light bulbs.

 

Drop the thermostat on your hot water tank to 120f

 

Check insurance deductibles, it might reduce your payments to raise them by just a small amount (for car, house etc)

 

Check for cheaper cell phone options. (We have 1 contract cell & 1 pay as you go cell as that is the cheapest option for us and how we use them.)

 

Join Freecycle

 

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynann View Post

To save money we got rid of our second vehicle.

 

I also bake my own bread, cookies etc. I even make our own tortillas and am about to try bagels.

 

I also make our own laundry detergent, which costs less than 10c a gallon.

 

I menu plan and we shop around that, as well as buying wholesale when possible.

 

Fit low flow aerators on all water outlets, it'll reduce your water bills.

 

Switch to energy efficient light bulbs.

 

Drop the thermostat on your hot water tank to 120f

 

Check insurance deductibles, it might reduce your payments to raise them by just a small amount (for car, house etc)

 

Check for cheaper cell phone options. (We have 1 contract cell & 1 pay as you go cell as that is the cheapest option for us and how we use them.)

 

Join Freecycle

 




What's your tortilla recipe? I haven't found a good one.

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckily View Post

What's your tortilla recipe? I haven't found a good one.



Flour & water.

 

Add enough water to make a firm dough. Knead for a few minutes until smooth and silky. Form into small balls, roll out as thin as you can. Cook in a warm dry pan (ie no oil).

 

Corn tortillas is more complicated, so I usually just stick to this flour recipe.

post #8 of 15

You can save money by eating less meat and other animal products.

 

http://www.cookingmanager.com/save-money-eating-meat/

 

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/home-garden/save-money-by-eating-more-vegg.html

 

http://frugaldad.com/2009/04/03/triple-play-eating-less-meat/

 

Our food bill for the week, minus specialty items like my coconut milks/creamers that I purchase at whole foods about 2 X a month, is about $75-$100. 

post #9 of 15
We survive on $1800 a month. We own our home and have four kids. It's tight, but we live a pretty awesome life, and don't live without tons.

Food is a HUGE thing. Buy in bulk, buy in season only (meaning, if oranges are in season, we eat pretty exclusively oranges lol!) Invest in a deep freezer so you can freeze a lot (we bought ours used or dented floor models) We eat a lot of vegetarian meals (and dh hunts, so we get very very healthy venison) so we don't really buy meat. If you are wasting a lot, cut your recipe in half. easier to eat extra sides than waste half a main dish if you won't eat it. We preserve our produce seasonally by either freezing or canning. This gives us great organic fruit during the winter. It's really really really not that hard (and we don't add ANY sugar to ours) Oh, and we do one BIG shopping trip a month, at the beginning of the month. We buy everything we think we'll need then just live with it. If you find a good sale on something, stock up bigtime. Look for the good deals, read the coupon/frugal friendly mom blogs. I don't really coupon anymore *my free coupon source ran out* but I still find killer deals on those blogs.
Don't go out to eat. We do maybe twice a month, and it's usually something light and cheap.

The internet, can you downgrade a bit? We currently are at 512k (I know the darkages!) but it's perfectly comfortable for us. And we pay much much less.
As for making money from home, good luck. i used to make a lot for spending money, but with the recent economic disaster, everyone is desperate to try it.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys.  Good ideas. 

 

We can't cut the internet as DH lives on it and playing video games with his buddies back home is one of his only social things.  We don't own our home, but the mortgage isn't bad.  We switched to a 15 yr one a few years back so we'll own it relatively soon. 

 

I think I will focus on doing better with food for now as I really do think that's my biggest monthly expense that can be controlled.  I don't think I can change the gas or water bill much and my student loan is fixed.  I have a deep freezer.  We buy 1/2 a grass fed cow which lasts us over a year and it was less than $5 a pound which included filet mignons and roasts and steaks.  I have been buying organic chicken, but it's really expensive so I think I'll get it from the local market instead.  It's not organic, but the chickens are free range and they aren't fed antibiotics and stuff.  I do grow veggies in the summer and have canned and frozen them, but I didn't get around to it this year with the baby.  The tomatoes are still growing so maybe I should go pick 'em now and at least have a few bags of them.  I have a food saver and I freeze them.  Great for sauces and chili.

 

Thanks everyone.

post #11 of 15
Quote:

Originally Posted by SoonToBe View Post
I buy a lot of organic food.  Do you think I should just buy organic for the Dirty Dozen?  I would say food is my biggest expense and I can't tell you how often I throw food out.  If I could stop throwing food out, that alone would save a bunch.  Do you just buy food for the next couple days?  How do I avoid wasting it?

...

 

We have cable (well, dish) and internet, but we have to have those.  I don't need the dish, but I committed to a couple years so I'm stuck and DH lives on the internet.

...

 

Any other ideas?  Or any ideas how to make a little money from home?


I do not buy any organic fresh produce, it's insanely expensive. I WILL buy small amounts of organic produce once Cate starts eating food ... babies get organic produce in my house, until they are about 2yo.

When possible, I buy at the market, or local produce from the small independant grocer nearby. Walking to the grocery store also cuts the food bill ...knowing you have to carry it home (or push a much heavier stroller),reduces teh extras.

I do buy frozen organic vegetables & fruit. They last longer, b/c they are frozen, and there is much less waste, as I only thaw the portion we'll use right away.

 

For TV, we have an HD Antenna, that was a one time cost to purchase it & the little box/receiver that goes with it. For more info, including what channels you might be able toget with an antenna (you enter your location), try tvfool.com.

 

For making money at home -- make sure you take your former income, deduct the cost of childcare, then you'll have a more accurate goal. If you do not need to pay for childcare you're effectively saving that amount right away. In my area, with a very low cost of living, it'd be about 8000$ a year. Where I used to live, for a child under 12mths, it'd be over 10 000$. Think about what skills you have that you could share. Jumping into the over saturated home crafter marker isn't easy w/o a good size following locally already, a niche product, or a really great network of potential customers via facebook or other venues. Sharing a skill set is valuable, can't often be shared online, so you have less competition -- teaching classes -- baking/cooking/sewing/crafting/fitness ...  providing childcare, pet care, eldercare .... things where you can take baby with you or do the work while your DH is available to be the primary care giving parent. If your skills are computer/admin/writing -- then explore those venues -- many 'big' bloggers have virtual personal assistants doing a lot of their work :)

 

post #12 of 15

If you spend a lot of money on food and groceries (like I do) it is good idea to start using coupons and to make a list of the things you need, and to avoid things which aren't so necessary.

When shopping I also use one very cool on my cellphone. This [url=http://snyer.com/snyer-best-price-in-play-google]SnyervBPrice1.0 Scanner[/url] allows you to scan the product's barcode and shows you all the information about the product, including where you can find the same product for a better price. When trying to save money it is also good occasion for example to cut off smoking (if you smoke) . In that case your are not only saving money - you are also making your health better. This is the same with junk food.

 

If you are willing to do work at home, there are many possibilities. You can have a look at freelancer.com, to get some extra money while working from home :)

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynann View Post



Flour & water.

 

Add enough water to make a firm dough. Knead for a few minutes until smooth and silky. Form into small balls, roll out as thin as you can. Cook in a warm dry pan (ie no oil).

 

Corn tortillas is more complicated, so I usually just stick to this flour recipe.

Have  you tried whole wheat flour and does it work as well as white flour? Many thanks!

post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by PoetryLover View Post

Have  you tried whole wheat flour and does it work as well as white flour? Many thanks!


I haven't tried wholewheat yet, but once I do I'll let you know.

post #15 of 15

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