Make your own kefir. We spent a fortune on yogurt until we started making our own, which can be done for basically the cost of milk. We made yogurt until I discovered kefir, which is much quicker and easier to make than yogurt. It can be used in baked goods recipes in place of yogurt, buttermilk, and sour cream. And the kids are glad that we can afford to make them delicious smoothies every day!
Keep an eye on Staples ads delivered by e-mail. Every few weeks, they send a rebate coupon for purchasing a ream of printer paper, FREE. As a homeschool family, and perpetual students, we go through a lot of paper. You pay the cost of the paper, submit the rebate online, and in a few weeks, you get your money back.
Also, we keep a pile of "scratch paper" for the kids to use however they like, paper airplanes, scoresheets, whatever-basically any paper that comes in which has one white side goes in this pile, such as the backs of worksheets, backs of business mail, etc.
Tips for frugal homeschooling:
Use Paperbackswap.com. For the books our library does not carry, I make a wishlist on paperbackswap of books we will need/want in our homeschool. This is cheaper than buying used through a site like amazon.com, and I have received at least 10 of our items this way.
Also, homeschoolclassifieds.com is a great way to find homeschool materials a great price. If you know what you need and can plan in advance, you can often find great deals.
Another way to save money on homeschool materials is to share materials with other families who may use the material one year, but have another child who will use the materials a few years later. If your kids are staggered in ages, this sometimes works very well.
Another source for materials is librivox.org. Many public domain classic stories are available for free download. My children love to listen to these.
We save a lot of money for hand soap and dish soap by doing the following:
-Buy 1 bottle Method foaming hand soap (or any foaming hand soap that you like the look of), and one large refill jug of regular liquid hand soap (NOT the diluted foaming kind)
-When that bottle is empty, pour enough regular liquid hand soap in just to cover the bottom of the container.
-Fill it the remainder of the way with hot tap water, put the cover on and shake to dissolve. Voila!
-You may have to adjust your ratio slightly to get the best foam consistency, but it is not difficult to do.
-One refill jug of liquid hand soap lasts FOREVER this way-I think on average 3-4 years for us.
For dish soap, the principle is similar. A foaming dispenser would probably last longest, for all those little things that just need a tiny bit of soap. However, I fill an empty dish soap bottle with about 1/16 to 1/8 dish soap, and the rest with hot water, shake and use. It seriously cuts down on the amount of soap the man,, who thinks everything needs a half dollar sized dollop, uses.
What it took for her to survive all the financial pressure of all this was the joy she took in spending her time with us, and she cultivated that. Many parents today work so hard and have too little time with their kids and oft times i see them attempt to make up for it with excessive toys, after school activities, elaborate vacations and shopping trips, which over a few years can amount to thousands of dollars. That my mom simply enjoyed us is a lesson I will bring to my own upcoming parenthood. Today, my husband and I have a moderately higher income than she did, but having a child is going to be hard still. Nevertheless, we are choosing to spend what economic opportunity we have on maximizing the quality and quantity of our time with our son, who is due in March, and to remember that all we need is food, shelter and a whole lotta love to make it work!
My best frugal tip is to spend your monthly income on paper ( in pencil so you can make changes) before the month begins. Include all your bills, expenses, savings, emergency fund contributions and spending money.
- Slot in any income on the calendar day you'll receive it and then what needs to be paid and when.
- I like to use a big desk calendar but any will do.
- I always round down the income (if it fluctuates) and round up any bills/expenses that way there will usually be a little extra each month. You'll know exactly what you have to work with every month.
- If you do a few months at a time then you'll have a really great financial picture, I find it makes it easier to deal with unexpected expenses and to stay on track financially.
Another frugal tip is to make your own play dough, clay, paints and glue. Search online for recipes - I find play dough recipes that use cream of tartar work best and last longest (usually calls for a very small amount). Also taking your children on nature walks to collect craft materials is a lot of fun:)
If you can sew just a little, my frugal tip is to sew your own diapers. I bought fabric from Joann but I also bought t-shirts from thrift stores and used them to make prefolds, They also make good fitted pocket diapers. OR better yet take hubby's old t-shirts and use them for fabric. I used a free online pattern called Rita Rump Cover and watched a tutorial of it on YouTube. You can buy diaper covers at consignment shops for less than half the price you'd pay for new ones. Or you can even buy wool sweaters at a thrift store and felt them in your washer and dryer and lanolize them to ensure waterproofing. It's quite a fun project, especially when the 'nesting' urge takes over.
That would be one of suggestions, love reading all of these tips and hope to apply some of them.
For all household cleaning I use white vinegar and baking soda, which can both be purchased in bulk. Vinegar kills germs and baking soda whites and scrubs. Although the smell of vinegar might bother some, it leaves no smell once it dries.
Another frugal tip I have is to get rid of your TV. There goes the cable bill, most shows are available online if you can't live without them, otherwise it really allows for a lot more family time (beware of those laptops, tablets, and smart phones taking away from real family interaction, though). Also it probably saves a little on electricity as well. And avoiding all those commercials that influence buying and create false materialistic needs in both children and adults can save as well. I love not having a TV.
I love frugal tips, here's another.
Spend money on exercise - this may be expensive on the front end, but then we always have ready activities for "free" when the kids want to do something, are bored, or just driving us crazy :-)
We relocated to the Pacific NW last year and invested in some starter kayaks.
Also joined the YMCA of course (shout out to the Y - yay!).
A few of the kids trained over the spring and summer for sprint triathlons, were so proud when they finished!
I was proud of them for working together and supporting each other.
We spend time together working out or doing active things, which will save us tons of money in the long run in the form of good health and are hopefully helping the kids to build a framework for healthy living as adults.
Here is a shot of a couple of the kids out in the kayaks.
My frugal tip is to save your old used dryer sheets to scrub the toilet! They are just abrasive enough to get even the most stubborn ring off your potty, (or your tub) and they don't scratch the porcelain. I am able to get my bathroom sparkling without having to use any heavy duty (and maybe toxic cleaners). Also, you aren't dumping half a bottle of toilet cleaner in the toilet just to flush it, and forget having to sanitize the grimy toilet brush, because who KNOWS what grows on that. Lets face it, we ALL deal with grime in the bathroom eventually. Here in the FL heat, and with hard water it's inevitable that after a few days this happens. Now you won't be tempted to buy those throwaway toilet brushes either :) I just use a reusable rubber glove, grab a used dyer sheet and scrub away.
I snapped some quick pictures, but my daughter was waking up as I snagged the After shot, so it wasn't quite finished yet. You can still see the results, and feel free to try it yourself. It's free!
When I first read this thread's title, I thought I'd be posting at least a dozen replies with all the tips and tricks I know on how to save money.
But then I realized that I could consolidate almost all of them with just the one word: community
Building community is a huge way to save money. Our modern culture has evolved in such a way to alienate us from one another, so that we pay for goods and services that we could otherwise get for free from the people around us through interdependence. For example, childcare used to be a given since, as the old adage goes, "it takes a village". But when we devote less time to knowing our neighbors (because we're working all the time and think the world is a terrible place because the news says so) we turn to impersonal monetized systems to take care of our needs.
As we return to true community, in which people rely on one another again, we can put less money toward these systems (that also deplete our ecosystems, morale, and wallets), and can foster things of true, sustainable value.
Be it through bartering or even this online community of mothering.com, we can reclaim community by caring more about one another as we share not only our physical possessions, but our knowledge and time. When you have friends who can teach you how to knit, can, make soap, or work a sewing machine, you don't have to purchase so many things pre-made.
One example of reclaiming community in this way, is through a Gift Economy.
(For those unfamiliar with what a Gift Economy is, this article says it all: http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/to-build-community-an-economy-of-gifts)
I spearheaded such a Gift Economy Circle with a network of mama friends in my town that is slowly but surely growing.
Now, instead of running out to the store for things I might need (candy thermometer for making yogurt, for example), I make a shout-out to the Circle to see if someone has one I could borrow or have for keeps. The response is usually always enormous as people realize they have so many things just lying around that others have a much more immediate need for.
It's also a great avenue for getting rid of excess possessions and finding people who will honestly need and appreciate those things.
So people get what they need and give what they don't, all with no money involved.
We also have a running list of items that people are willing to share communally like sewing machines or wheelbarrows -- because when these big items can sit unused for so long, why do we all need to purchase our very own? Lawnmowers are a great example of this: does every household on the block really need their own, when they get used for only a couple of hours each month? We can share these things easily and at no sacrifice.
Another list we keep is of skills we can share -- from the avid breadmaker to the seasoned seamstress, when we share our skills, we cut back on spending and build huge community.
We also hold a biannual Mama & Kiddo Clothing Swap in which we borrow space at a local church, bring clothing we no longer want/don't fit/etc, categorize (as best we can), and just have at it. It's a great way to declutter the wardrobe and bring "new" pieces home too, be it for yourself or the ever-growing kiddos. No dollars spent, no clothing thrown out, no child-labor industry supported, and all the families having a wonderful time as they get to know each other as well.
~ So many baby clothes, so little time ~
So in my final words, I would reiterate that you please go out there and find and make your community. It's easier on the wallet and on the environment too.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html?_r=0 My frugal tip would be to bake your own bread. I follow the "no knead bread" method and find it delicious and easy. This gives you an artisan bread quality. In the store this bread cost 4 dollars at least! All you do is put the dough in a bowl the night before and cover it. In the morning you roll it into a ball and then let it sit for 2 hours and then bake it. I have tried whole wheat, rye and white loafs and all were good. The NY times as a great article and video, I tried to attach it above.
Okay a frugal tip I used with my daughter was to make my own diaper covers. I bought PUL fabric, elastic and velcro and sewed up diaper covers to go over prefold and fitted diapers. I made some plain but also made some with cute fabric on the outside as well. This allowed me to have 7 covers for each size she went through without spending the 11 or so dollars a pop that they cost. (I would still love to win the bummis kit though!)
I definitely am not the most frugal person in the world, but I try my best :) I make my own laundry booster(was making my own laundry soap, but my son developed allergies to every bar soap we added to the mix), shop 2nd hand or on clearance, I don't think I've ever paid full price for something in my life, coupon clip, buy off Craigslist for baby items, breastfeed, and cloth diaper :)
Proud momma of 3!
Licensed Massage Therapist and birth doula in the state of Alaska!
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