SAHMs: Where Do You Cut Back Financially?! - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-14-2005, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am having a REALLY tough time financially being a SAHM. I just don't even know where I can cut back even more than I already am. I don't have any debt except my house...and I can't refinance that as rates are up. BTW - I dont' have a hugely expensive house, $181, but that is a little less than average for this area. I do my hair and nails at home. We go out to a nice restaurant about once or twice a month (by "nice" I mean Outback...or something similar that will end up running about $50-60...my standards have dropped considerably since being a SAHM). We eat out at junky restaurants (like McDonalds) about 2-3 times a month. I never go to movies...but I will rent about 3-4 times a month. DH doesn't go out drinking...but will buy a case of beer a month. We hardly buy DD toys (maybe once every month or two) and clothes are bought in bulk seasonal...but I am starting to buy thrift. I rarely buy clothes for myself or DH. Makeup I buy Mac...but I only buy about once every 3 months. I buy cheaper hair products (like shampoo) and not salon. I don't buy perfume and that stuff. And I don't buy a lot of gifts for people.

Stuff I consider "extravagant" that we spend money on is: groceries - I admit that I can't cook from basics. I really can't. So I tend to buy some prepackaged foods...and they are vegetarian (more $). Fruit and veggies are a must...but tend to go bad as they don't all get used (ie, a bag of grapes we will use about 1/2...or a bag of carrots we will use about 1/2). Gas - can't help that..but I do stay pretty local...DH on the other hand has a job where he commutes a lot. BJs - I spend a TON of money here...but I priced out the stuff I buy (like paper towels) and they are all cheaper here and the stuff all gets used eventually. Home Depot - it seems like we are contstantly at this store for home improvement stuff...nails, paint, etc.

What else: There are some things that I can justify that you gals might not, for example, I just bought DD $70 in bed rails. I couldn't find them used and she keeps falling off the mattress. I bought a door mat today. I bought $30 in Halloween decorations as eye candy for DD. I know some of these things I can cut back on...somehow...but that would be like living in a jail.

Any advice??? Anything you gals do? I could really use some help on this one...
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Old 09-17-2005, 04:16 PM
 
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It's really hard to scale back. Especially when you're first trying. Things we do to save $$$:

~ Use a calling card from Sam's Club instead of a long distance plan. The price is 2 cents/min, opposed to 7-10 cents on every other plan I could find. We programmed our phone so you hit "1" to dial the number on the card, "2" to dial the pin on the card, and the just dial your number as usual.

~ Stop throwing produce away! This is a hard one. I've really gotten into freezing things. Grapes actually freeze really well. Just pop them in your mouth frozen. Also, I find by prepping all the veggies, washing fruit, etc when I get home from the store things don't go bad because we actually eat them. DH watches dd while I make celery & carrot sticks, was fruit, etc. You can chop most veggies up too, then freeze in a layer on a cookie sheet, and transfer to a freezer baggie. Cooking is SOOO much quicker and easier when that kind of stuff is already done!

~ We only have 1 car. I know that's not feasible for everyone, but it's at least something to think about. Especially with the cost of gas right now, plus maintence, registrations, inspections, etc it's a pretty big savings.

~ Get rid of or downgrade your cable.

~ We really struggle with going out to eat too. It's one of our biggest budget busters. I try to have a coupon if possible. Also, skip ordering drinks & dessert. You'll easily chop $10 off a meal just by doing that. Another option is eat dinner at home, then just go out for dessert. Watch or read "Supersize Me". You'll never want to walk into a McD's again.

~ Buy toys & clothes for your dc at garge sales & thrift shops. Do you have a "Once Upon A Child" shop near you? If so, they are a great resource for used toys. Almost all my dd's toys come from there.

~ Reduce the number of disposable items in your house. Use towels instead of papertowel, cloth wipes instead of TP, cloth dipes instead of sposies, cloth napkins instead of paper ones, a microfiber towel on a Swiffer mop, things like that.

~ Also, reduce the number of cleaning products you buy. Baking soda, vinegar, borax, and washing soda will get most things clean. There are lots of great websites with tips on making your own cleaners. I'm sure you'd come up with a ton of stuff if you did a search here as well.

~ Think out of the box. For example, rather than buying bed rails for my dd I would have just put her bed on the floor.

~ Find free things to do for entertainment. Go to the library for movies, books on tape, & to check the paper for free events in your area. Some libraries even have kids toys you can check out. While you're there get a copy of Amy Dacyczyn's "The Tightwad Gazette" and "Your Money or Your Life" (can't remember the authors of that second one -- Joe & Vicki somebody). Go to the park. Ask for family passes to local zoos & museums as presents.

Cutting back is hard, but you can do it! Just choose one thing at a time to work on. Most importantly, try not to focus on what you're missing (ie: fancy dinners or clothes). Instead, focus on what you're gaining -- time with your family. Good luck!

Holly
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Old 09-17-2005, 04:26 PM
 
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also, check out the frugal living boards on MDC> They have helped me a lot.
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Old 09-17-2005, 08:34 PM
 
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You have to start small, do one thing at a time..eventually you won't notice anything, but at first it may seem like you're suffering, lol.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Aziah
I do my hair and nails at home.
Do you have to do your nails? Those plastic ones still cost some money...I don't do my nails at all and "doing" my hair consists of brushing it.



Quote:
We go out to a nice restaurant about once or twice a month (by "nice" I mean Outback...or something similar that will end up running about $50-60...my standards have dropped considerably since being a SAHM). We eat out at junky restaurants (like McDonalds) about 2-3 times a month.
I would only go to a sit-down restaraunt for special occasions - bdays and anniversary. So maybe 3-4 times a year, some people do less. Fast food we used to do once or twice a month...we've been doing more with a baby in the house, but now that he's getting older I'm able to cook more often.


Quote:
I never go to movies...but I will rent about 3-4 times a month.
Don't rent at all. Watch what you own, work out a trade with friends where you borrow movies you haven't seen for a weekend. Play board games instead. Read a book.


Quote:
DH doesn't go out drinking...but will buy a case of beer a month.
we only buy alcohol when we really get a craving, maybe a couple times a summer



Quote:
Stuff I consider "extravagant" that we spend money on is: groceries - I admit that I can't cook from basics. I really can't. So I tend to buy some prepackaged foods...and they are vegetarian (more $). Fruit and veggies are a must...but tend to go bad as they don't all get used (ie, a bag of grapes we will use about 1/2...or a bag of carrots we will use about 1/2).
you can freeze grapes, they actually make a yummy snack frozen, then they would last longer. If the carrots are for cooking you can cut/grate them and freeze. This works for most veggies. I feel like groceries are the easiest place to cut back. Maybe read a book like The Tightwad Gazette (my favorite, but a little extreme if you're new to frugality) or Miserly Moms


Quote:
BJs - I spend a TON of money here...but I priced out the stuff I buy (like paper towels) and they are all cheaper here and the stuff all gets used eventually. Home Depot - it seems like we are contstantly at this store for home improvement stuff...nails, paint, etc.
I don't buy paper towels, plates, napkins or cups. We also use very little foil, plastice wrap, and plastic bags. Is there anywhere else you could buy the home improvement stuff? They probably sell it at Wal-Mart (if you shop there) Or maybe designate a monthly amount for home costs and once it's spent that's it, you'll have to wait until the next month...this might encourage you to spend the $$ more carefully.

Quote:
I bought $30 in Halloween decorations as eye candy for DD.
you could make decorations with your dd from construction paper and other craft stuff. Often dollar stores have some really great craft supplies.

HTH!

Genie, mama to T (4/02), I (10/04) and T (7/09)
 
 
 

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Old 09-17-2005, 11:00 PM
 
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And cooking from scratch dosn't have to be that hard. Try adding a new recipe every week. Vegitarian cooking can be very cheep but think lentil cassarol rather than store bought veggi burger.

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Old 09-18-2005, 05:56 AM
 
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We buy frozen veggies because you can use as much as you need and the rest doesn't go bad (because we had that issue too). Grapes and other fruit make great frozen treats as others have mentioned.
We use store brands a lot and have saved money with that. On a lot of things we found they were just as good as the more expensive brands.
I check grocery store ads as I am making my list to see if things we need are on sale.
I think going to the store only every 2 weeks saves us money. We stick to our list more. I plan our meals. Each family member gets to pick one treat item. I think that cuts down on impulse buys. We try to buy less disposable stuff.
I think it is cheaper to get veggies and fruits at a farmer's market... you could try that or try growing some on your own in future.

We buy the big bag of cat food because it is a little cheaper that way.

We like to buy things without batteries to cut down on that expense.
We use our digital camera most of the time so are not buying film or paying for processing every picture we take.

Have you looked at movies at your library instead of renting them? We have checked out some good movies there and it is free. We got rid of cable because we couldn't afford it. We watch videos and dvd's. Sometimes we borrow/lend them with friends.

We get our news off the internet/radio instead of buying a newspaper.

Could you make decorations instead of buying them? That is what we do. We get the fun of making them and usually are recycling something in the process.

We do free or low cost activities when we can.
When we lived near the zoo a family membership was a money saver because we would pay for it in just a few visits. That might be the case for you at someplace you go frequently. We also have a discount card at the bookstore which is good because books are our weakness.

We don't eat out very often. I think we save nicer restaurants for special occasions or days when I don't feel good.

We only have one car.

Before we buy something I think about how long we will use it, if we really need it or we can do something else, research prices to see if we can get it cheaper somewhere else.

We buy dd clothes from the thrift store. We have gotten some really nice things that were hardly worn there for very cheap. I find it difficult to find my size there but have gotten a few things.

You could join a freecycle group... http://www.freecycle.org/

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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Old 09-18-2005, 02:01 PM
 
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avoid 'costco goggles' (or warehouse stoe of your locality) by using a list and avoiding the books, dvds, clothes and electronics enless you needs something. this would also work for home depot, target, etc.

sometimes staying loyal to the grocery store that you find generally cheaper saves you money because you don't spend extra money on more expensive staples.

we go out to breakfast almost every saturday before running errands. breakfast is the cheapest meal to eat out. you can get your fix and it's a really fun weekend family tradition.

the movie rental place closest to us offers a punch card so buying ahead saves money. they also offered an umlimited summer rental program if you paid in advance which we might do next year. i would sugest netflix or similar if you rent a lot of movies and have trouble with late fees since it's a flat fee each month.

dp cooks from scratch and in big amounts which really helps.

we are members at the zoo and when dd gets older will join the science center and art museum. (i can't wait )

we have a family cell phone plan that covers long distance instead of a land line. it might not save money every month but it's a set monthly bill which helps me a lot .

making your own holiday decorations is cheaper but is also an fun activity and you get to remember each year when you get them out how your dcs have grown.

we only have one car.

dp and i get an allowance each week to cover our 'fun' money, lunchs, clothes (kind of), and other things we don't need. i tend to save for big things. dp does not, but i don't have to obsess about him nickel and diming us into the poor house.

i live for the hand-me-down bags and consignment shop. dd doesn't really just get toys for no reason. maybe a book. (this will be enforced more and more as she grows up.)

that's all i cn think of right now. i'll post more if i think of anything. good luck.

a couple more:

produce departments and meat departments will frequently cut things down to the size you need. ask!

i budget (sometimes in a way that seems arbitrary) a head of time. liek we have x for christmas or y for vacation next month. i also make as many gifts as possible, especially for children's b-day parties.
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Old 09-18-2005, 02:46 PM
 
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If you really want to save more money, you need to learn to cook. There is a super board on healthy eating (though some of it is a bit radical for me). I love to use my crock pot -- it is easy and inexpensive. Because the food is ready ahead of time, it keeps us from eating out on busy days. We eat meat so I'm not a great source of recipes for you, but if you post on the healthy eating board for vegetarian recipes, I'm sure you'll get a ton. Cooking in the crock pot is very easy -- you just chop, measure, dump it in, and turn the thing on. You can learn to do this.

If you make enough in the crock pot for 2 meals, you can freeze the half and create your own frozen dinners. I really think that learning to cook is how you could save the most money.

Rather than renting movies, check them out of the library. If your local branch doesn't have a good selection, use the on-line card catalogue to request DVDs from other branches. It's free.

We use rags rather than paper towels for most clean up jobs. I do keep paper towels on hand for some things (like when one of the pets makes a mess and want to be able to throw everything away) but a roll last us a long time. I use vinegar to clean most things. A mixture of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water in a spray bottle will clean everything from windows and mirrors to sinks and counter tops. I also use vinegar as a floor cleaner. I just pour some in a bucket a water. Vinegar is very cheap. You can get a huge thing of vinegar for less than $2.

We seldom buy our kids new toys. We take them to the library, the parks, etc. We take advantage of free things to do in our city. Kids really don't need tons of toys and they have as much fun taking a water bottle from the frig and heading to the play ground with mom and dad as they do if you spend money. It is really about the time together. A picnic is a wonderful family outing.

We bought a different house this summer and are also working on decorating. We have a monthly budget and that is all we can do each month. Things will just have to happen gradually. We would rather pace ourselves and pay cash as we go.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 09-18-2005, 03:20 PM
 
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My dh takes lunch from home and only eats out if it's his bday or something special.

He takes the bus to work to save miles/gas on the car.

We all shop at Goodwill for our clothes, esp. the kids and my casual SAHM "uniform." My dh buys new clothes b/c his appearance is important for his job. I will sometimes buy clothes at Target if they are a very good price (clearance, to wear next season).

Cloth diaper the kids. Sell the diapers that don't work out for us and get at last 50% back from them.

Sell most baby gear that has been outgrown.

Line dry clothes (my dd1 just broke the clothesline by hanging on it. Last month I only line dried and it was $40 off our electric bill.

Keep the a/c and heat a little warmer or cooler than normal. Our a/c is at 84.

Read mags at the library rather than subscribing. The exception is National Geographic. That was dh's holiday gift last year.

Gift shop way ahead of time. I finish the holiday shopping by Thanksgiving. I keep a small notepad in my diaper bag of gift ideas for people, and when I see something on sale or clearance I buy it. I just bought something for my grandma that was normally $20 and it was marked down to $7!

Shop the sales for food and build the dinner menu around it. If it's something we use and it's $10 for $10 I will buy 10 of them. We have about 20 boxes of cereal stored up right now, all of it favorite cereal that is normally $4/box. I got it on sale for $1.50/box. I just got some All Free and Clear on sale 1/2 price and stocked up on that, too.

Make a lot of stew and soup. It's a great way to clean out the fridge of all the produce that didn't get used during the week. Freeze if you have room in your freezer and made more than you can eat in 2 days.

7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
 
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Old 09-18-2005, 03:38 PM
 
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We shop around for the best car ins every 6 months to make sure we are getting the lowest price. Our cars are 10 years old and we paid cash so we don't have any car payments. We take steps to make sure that the energy costs are kept down. Save clothes after the seasons and wear them the next year, only buy clothes at the thrift stores or childrens consignment shop (i trade in my old for new) a lot of stuff i get off freecycle (I jsut got a newish pair of vans that would have cost me $35) I

I buy the stuff I need but rarely the stuff that I want. I buy foods for meals and not a bunch of junk. I comparison shop, coupon and plan my meals around what is on sale that week. and always buy extras of stuff that I know I will use when it goes on sale. I freeze left overs. Buy my fruit for smoothies frozen. We don't have cable (why when I can watch the basic channels for free with bunny ears?) and I rent movies at this store where i get 2 (a new release and a free kids movie) for $1 (maybe twice a week)

We can't really avoid the cost of gas because we own a house that is 35 miles away and DH has to drive out there on the weekends ton work on it. We have decided though that we won't take my FIL's van (gas hog) out there unless we have a few hundred to buy building materials at once.

We only have a cell phone instead of a home phone. DH takes it with him on the weekends and calls my MIL in case of an emergency or if he needs something.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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Old 09-18-2005, 04:08 PM
 
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Alot of the suggestions that have been mentioned so far are excellent but I will go ahead and tell you what we do.

We don't have cable instead we do Netflix for $9.99. Unlimited DVD rentals for the whole month. (2 at a time)

Dh takes public transportation to work so we save on gas
I only drive when I absolutly have to. I fill up maybe every 2-3 weeks
We get gas at a half a tank. After your car reaches half your gas goes faster.
Also if you fill at half you are not spending $40 a a shot to fill your tank.

We use tons of coupons. Most web sites offer downloadable coupons. Like Stoneyfield Farms for example. (I am totally addicted to coupons.)
Shop at a grocery store that double manufacture coupons.

We do not eat out at all. My Dh set up an account with Microsoft Money using our checking account, at the end of every year you can actually see how much you spent on certain things like take-out, alcohol, clothes. Take-out was the first thing to go. We spent almost $1000 one year on eating out. When you look at it that way...that is quite a few mortgage payments.
It's hard at first but you find other ways to have fun! Make a picnic and avoid the crowds at a restaurant...eat in the woods or by the ocean!

Join a co-op. You can buy bulk grains and food for a few hours of your time a month. Helping unload trucks or sorting food.

Instead of buying something I just "want" I ask myself if I really need it. Sometimes I can talk myself out of it. Then I put the money I would have spent in savings. Every dollar counts even if it is just $5.

My last bit is....don't deprive yourself of everything...you have to treat yourself and your family once and a while (just not 4 times a month) you also really learn to appreciate going out to eat when you do it only on special occassions.

HTH and you will figure out ways that will work for your family!!
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Old 09-19-2005, 01:22 AM
 
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You've gotten a lot of really great ideas here. I'll not add any more, but did want to make some suggestions for managing money that have helped me. I'm new to SAH after working for 24 years. I've always had a budget, but never really TRACKED what I spent. Now, we have a monthly budget based on dh's income and each item has its own line, even savings and investing. It's an Excel spreadsheet. Every time we spend money - let's say when I go to the grocery - I track the amount spent against the budget in the spreadsheet. I have a line item and then an actual spending and then the difference. It's really easy to set up. I enter my receipts EVERY DAY. This way, I feel really on top of things and I can tell you at any time how much is left in each line item for the month. Then I know if I'm really saving in groceries, I can decrease that line item and increase somewhere else. Using this system, I've never really felt deprived, and I always feel in control too. That's the best part - I always know what I'm spending and how much is left and I feel so responsible! It's a great system that works for us. The bonus is that my eight year old dd helps me enter my receipts and is learning so much about budgeting and money managment. Also, I get to feel like I'm really contributing, even if it's not money. HTH

Me : living with and loving papa and the kids: Dd1 8/97 , dd2 8/04 and my sweet baby ds 5/09 : :
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Old 09-19-2005, 03:05 PM
 
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We rent movies at the library for free!

I've been doing considerably less driving since all this craziness with the gas prices started.

I have one day a week where I do errands and don't go in stores on other days of the week.

We do eat out too often, but at places like Chipotle, where we spend $15 for the whole family to eat (and it's decent food). My goal for next month is to cut down on the eating out.

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
14yo ds   11yo dd  9yo ds and 7yo ds and 2yo ds  
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Old 09-19-2005, 03:23 PM
 
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-we buy almost all clothing secondhand and most toys from yard sales
-we only eat out once a week
-I hang almost all of our clothes to dry
-I buy in bulk and watch for sales.
-we only shop for groceries once every second week and use our freezer, we do stop on the alternate week for fresh fruit and veggies
-we grow many of our vegetables
-I like to educate my children about advertising and steer them away from fads
-we do not drink pop or juice and do not use many prepackaged convenience foods.
-cloth diapers
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Old 09-19-2005, 04:35 PM
 
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  1. We never eat out.
  2. I cook from scratch, never buy packaged foods. (If I were you, I"d take a cooking class from a community college. It will save tons and you can have really amazing food cheaply!
  3. We don't rent movies; we borrow from library.
  4. I sell Dd's old clothes and buy them from that $
  5. We buy toys from Goodwill or ask for specific items for holiday gifts.
  6. Babysitting co-op makes it possible to go out for free.
  7. Dd and I make homemade decorations.
  8. I have a body pillow rather than a rail.

Basically, if there's something extra I want, I either go without it or find a way to make it more cheaply.

We do a lot of things for free:
  1. Library for books, CDs, DVDS, storytime, puppet shows...
  2. Play at toy store
  3. Browse books and music at bookstore & take notes for library trips.
  4. Play in the fountain at the waterfront.
  5. Have a picnic.
  6. Ride bike or walk to park.
  7. Visit with friends.


It's not really hard after a while. I don't feel deprived other than that I can't travel like I like, but we do own kayaks from our money days and we get out to do that or to hike or visit family.
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Old 09-19-2005, 04:47 PM
 
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Instead of renting movies, borrow them from the library. Stop going out to eat, get takeout instead every other week. You will still stay under $60. I can feed the whole family on $20 of Chinese takeout, often for more than a day. I do that at most 2x a month.

Stop fast food completely. It ads up to more than you think and is so bad for you, anyway. If you want to go out, go out to a free place like the park or the library and bring snacks.

Stop buying seasonal decorations, period. Most holidays are a scam to get you to spend money.

If you are throwing away food, buy less, or stop buying the things you don't finish. Only buy foods everyone in the family likes, so leftovers are sure to get eaten.

To cut back on groceries you might have to learn to do some cooking from scratch. Invest in a kitchenaid mixer so you can make your own bread and cookies easily. I cannot pay $3 for a loaf of tasteless bread at the grocery store when I can make my own for 50 cents that is very delicious (and easy to make).

Do you have a cell phone plan? Switch to prepaid. Do you have a regular phone line? Switch to Voip.

Join an oil coop if you need heating oil.

Stop using paper towel, use rags.

if I think of more I'll post again.
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Old 09-19-2005, 05:22 PM
 
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Yep, ater 100 loaves of bread, the kitchenaid will have paid for itself.

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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Old 09-19-2005, 06:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharlla
Yep, ater 100 loaves of bread, the kitchenaid will have paid for itself.
now, i feel like it's my duty to get one for dp for christmas.
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Old 09-19-2005, 08:59 PM
 
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Cooking from scratch is so easy--you don't need to take a class. Go to www.allrecipes.com and browse around. Start small and try one recipe a week. They tell you step by step how to cook things--there is nothing to it. If you can read, you can learn to cook basic things. I love that website because people "rate" how good the recipes are and give reviews. Often the reviews will give you hints on how better to cook things.
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Old 09-19-2005, 09:29 PM
 
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http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...47231?v=glance

Start there!

Make that your last "non-essential" purchase.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette is really helpful and inspirational. Yes, it's wacky in certain places, but, it really shows that it CAN be done!

You're going to have to learn to cook from scratch though.

If you can read, you can learn to cook!

Good luck!

Trin.
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Old 09-19-2005, 09:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisainCalifornia
Cooking from scratch is so easy--you don't need to take a class. Go to www.allrecipes.com and browse around. Start small and try one recipe a week. They tell you step by step how to cook things--there is nothing to it. If you can read, you can learn to cook basic things. I love that website because people "rate" how good the recipes are and give reviews. Often the reviews will give you hints on how better to cook things.
Yep, I made the cha cha chili from there and it was excellent (needed a little adjustment due to spicyness though)

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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Old 09-20-2005, 01:39 PM
 
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[QUOTE=baby*by*the*sea]

We do not eat out at all. My Dh set up an account with Microsoft Money using our checking account, at the end of every year you can actually see how much you spent on certain things like take-out, alcohol, clothes. Take-out was the first thing to go. We spent almost $1000 one year on eating out. When you look at it that way...that is quite a few mortgage payments.
It's hard at first but you find other ways to have fun! QUOTE]

My dh did this as well, and I have to say it was very surprising! I would definitely recommend it. As frugal as I thought we were being, this was like a smack in the face. It was really helpful in breaking down exactly where you need to cut back though.
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Old 09-20-2005, 01:56 PM
 
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[QUOTE=KyleAnn]
Quote:
Originally Posted by baby*by*the*sea

We spent almost $1000 one year on eating out. When you look at it that way...that is quite a few mortgage payments.
.
You obviously don't live in the Bay Area in California! To even have a thousand dollars cover HALF your mortgage for the month would be incredible!
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Old 09-20-2005, 02:27 PM
 
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If you want to learn to cook, "Cooking for Dummies" worked for my dad. My "instead of a dinner bell it is a smoke detector" dad. My "I can cook three things: hamburgers, kraft dinner and take out" dad.

If he can learn to cook at 55 (he retired and started a home business, my mom works for a high school), almost anyone can.

We cut back by:
*keeping the heat off
*washing on cold and drying outside (except diapers)
*cloth diapering
*not ordering in
*making our own beer
*grocery shopping locally
*not driving as much
*not carrying credit card debt
*not going to big wherehouse stores (some things are cheaper, but we overbuy way too often
*stocking up on sale items
*making pots of things and freezing extras. This gives us quick easy meals so when I don't want to cook on Friday, we have chili or stew instead of take out.
*caselot sales
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Old 09-20-2005, 02:36 PM
 
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[QUOTE=LisainCalifornia]
Quote:
Originally Posted by KyleAnn
You obviously don't live in the Bay Area in California! To even have a thousand dollars cover HALF your mortgage for the month would be incredible!
LMAO---oh so true! So sad but so true...

Jen, former attorney and now SAHM to 11 yo ds and 8 yo ds

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Old 09-20-2005, 04:50 PM
 
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I recently became a SAHM myself & thought I'd chime in!! If I do go back to work it will only be PT (1-2 days a week) because I am an esthetician (facialist/waxer/ect) & I don't need to work lots of hours thank goodness.

Here is how I am cutting back so far...

* Don't go out for dinner hardly ever & if we do it is somewhere in expensive like Panera Bread or Noodles n' Company.

* See movies very seldom (unless its something I absolutely have to see), we rent about 1x a week though.

* No more fancy salons...I'll get a trim at the $9 haircut place

* I slimmed down my makeup purchasing habit & exclusively only use Bare Minerals (when there is a good deal on QVC) & Burts Bees...I cut out every other brand because they are not natural plus I want to exclusively use those lines ONLY.

* Coupons!!

* Clothes are bought seasonal & in BULK at the OUTLET MALL only.

* I clean with baking soda, borox, ect..

* I plan to CD when he gets big enough to fit into them (hes only 7 pounds still)

* We use Nature's Gate (natural) shampoos..they are almost $6 a bottle but the bottles are huge & last forever!

* I keep lights turned off a lot.

* I started to do my own nails/pedicures...one luxury I hate to give up but $25 + tip every two months for my pedicure is a lot when it adds up.

* I don't BUY a book anymore unless its some I REALLY want & can't get at the library.

* We are planning on giving one of our cats (we have 2) to my IL's to take care of...with having a baby now the cost of cat food, litter & not to mention cleaning the box is out of hand.

* I make my own dipe wipes solution & use cotton pads or cloth.

***My one luxury thing I can NOT give up on is ORGANIC FOOD, NATURAL CLEANING PRODUCTS, POST-CONSUMER PAPER TOWELS (I DON'T BUY IN BULK)...I ALSO SPEND THE $ ON NATURAL BODY CARE LIKE SOAPS, ECT..

This was a very helpful thread, TY for posting it!!
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Old 09-20-2005, 05:23 PM
 
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[QUOTE=LisainCalifornia]
Quote:
Originally Posted by KyleAnn
You obviously don't live in the Bay Area in California! To even have a thousand dollars cover HALF your mortgage for the month would be incredible!

I was commenting on the OP morrtgage of $181. In Massachusetts the mortgages are more like where you are. We are spending $1165 just on rent!!
UGGGHH! The median home price around where I live is about $500,000. That is why we rent...can't afford to buy a home. Not having money stinks
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Old 09-20-2005, 09:56 PM
 
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To save money, we get hand me down clothes for the girl, go to payless to buy their shoes, and buy panties, socks, etc, at Walmart. A neighbor is even going to give us more clothes for the girls. We haven't bought too many clothes because mil's best friend, has two granddaughters, and we get all of their clothes each year. Their dad and I rarely, if ever buy clothes, and shop at Goodwill, Gabriel Brothers, and have received old clothes from my granny(prior to her death).

We only go out to eat(say Applebees or Texas Roadhouse), maybe twice a year. If fast food, it's the dollar menu at Mcdonalds. We try not to turn on the central air, unless absolutely necessary, and just use the ceiling fans, and keep the windows open. I never get my hair done, (which isn't a good thing), and just do my own twisties. I do get my hair done, once a year, braided, after income tax, and that's it. But mostly we've saved from the hand me downs, and toys(most of which was bought by family, etc.) We are taking our first vacation as a family together, next Thursday, to Ocean City, but dp worked a lot of overtime to save for it. It also helped that I found a really cheap condo, and splitting the cost with mil, since she's going to watch the kids a couple of nights so we can go out w/out the kids.
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Old 09-20-2005, 10:35 PM
 
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I've
- cut off the cable TV. dh has enough videos.
- no cell phones
- basic phone service. Long distance calls or overseas can be made on internet phone or I use email.
- basic dialup internet service - cut off the cable internet (that was hard) but saved us a fortune each month.
- try to go to FREE community outings rather than events that cost money
- all dd's and mine clothes come from thrift shops (I actually like this)
- no makeup
- gone from salon haircare to Walmart's cheapest brands (that did hurt)
- sorry but we have to cook a lot from scratch. I make spaghetti sauce in bulk and freeze it. Use lots of grains and beans to stretch meals out.
- no unnecessary foods like soda.
- only buy expensive foods like cheese, butter, OJ etc on sale. If it's not on sale, I don't buy it. dh finds this hard to take but it hasn't killed him yet.
- really take advantage of food sales in general. Though this means I have to do the shopping cause I do the cooking. It's hard for dh to know what to buy as I often depart from my shopping list to buy something on special.
- get dh to make his lunch instead of buying it. Not every day because it's a pain but at least half the time. It's amazing what you can waste buying lunch every day.
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Old 10-11-2005, 09:09 PM
 
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We moved and I had to quite my job and with it we lost 2/3 of our income. We found that by focusing on the simple things we have gotten a lot more out of living. But, here is the one tip that we have found works wonders. You will feel more in control and free from money issues than you have ever felt....just try it for a couple months. I promise it works wonders!


-Use the envelope system. Each week we take a certain amount from our paycheck and divide it into envelopes, the envelopes all depend on your current needs. We always have a grocery, spending money, and vacation envelope and we add other envelopes as we want to save for something.

The trick is to put the actual CASH into the envelope that is budgeted for each item ie 100 a week for groceries, 50 a week for spending and so on...then only use the cash from those envelopes to pay for the specific things. It is really hard at first, but it becomes very rewarding too. I never feel guilty anymore about spending money and I can see our savings grow each week.

Thus, we pay for all groceries in cash from the grocery envelope. We pay for all entertainment or eating out from the spending money envelope. We try never to debit things or charge them anymore. We found that having the actual cash in your hand makes things more real somehow and gives you a huge sense of freedom. If we decide to spend all of our money in the envelope on a fancy dinner out then we do not feel bad. The money is there for us to spend any way we want. But, we also do not spend anymore than what we have in the envelope (emergencies aside). Also this way you are never spending money you haven't earned yet (like with a credit card) and you are never caught spending the same money twice (which we would do sometimes with the debit card).

This doesn't work with everything, we tried it with gas and it just was a hassle and not worth it. We also do not put all of the paycheck in the envelopes because we know we will have a certain amount each week that needs to go to bills we pay by check. And we never charge anything anymore (again baring a real emergency as in the car has to get fixed, not I really want those new shoes).

Start small and try it with the groceries or you fun spending money first. It also is a great way to save because every week you add a little to the envelope and count out the money and see your progress and you want to meet that goal so you are motivated to save more each week.

This has helped us stay on track and live the same basic lifestyle on only 1/3 of the income while living in an area that has a huge cost of living.
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