I am a stay at home mother of 4. My husband is a truck driver who is gone a lot, but makes decent money. So all the finances and budgeting fall on me. Now even though we live in a one-income household, we are actually very successful. We own our own house free and clear. We own our own vehicles free and clear. That's right, we are mortgage and car payment free.
Now I am sure most of you have heard of the man who takes 2-ply toilet paper and separates the rolls into single ply rolls. Trust me, I don't go that far. Honestly I don't have time in the day to do that. A few of my tips are not conducive to everyone's lifestyles -- especially if you live in a city setting. But there are still a lot of things that you can do that will save you money every single day.
- Always live below your means. Just because you make $50,000 a year doesn't mean you have to spend that much or more a year.
- Credit cards are a trap. Having numerous credit cards only tempts you to spend money you don't have. We only have 2 credit cards. We use them twice a month and pay them off every month just to help raise our credit scores.
- Pack your lunch for work. Eating out regularly cuts into your budget big time.
- See a penny, pick it up and all day long you will have good luck. Save your change. At the end of the day, empty your pockets of change and throw it in a jar. You would be amazed at how fast it adds up.
- Weatherize your home. Investigate and see how good your insulation really is in your home. In the winter, put plastic over the windows. Put draft guards at the doors.
- Hang your clothes to dry in the spring and summer. It helps to take a good chunk out of your energy bills.
- Coupons, coupons, coupons. They might be a pain to mess with, but they really do help. Also investigate the stores in your area to see if they have special coupon days where they will double or triple the value of the coupons you use.
- Become a freebie freak. You would be amazed at what I have gotten for absolutely free. I have gotten a box of 25 kid's toothbrushes, beach towels, t-shirts, tote bags. There are a few really good websites that will tell you where to go to get them.
- Make things you will use regularly. Throughout the year when I sit to watch TV at night, I crochet granny squares. When fall comes, I start putting the squares together and make wonderful warm blankets. Why spend tons of money for overpriced comforters? So if you are a crafty person, this is a perfect tip for you.
- Grow your own vegetables. The price of produce is getting to be ridiculous and most of it isn't even grown in this country. Seeds are a lot cheaper. It is also a fun project to do with children. You can then freeze and can these vegetables to enjoy later on in the year.
- Buy a cow or pig for meat. This is common practice for people who live in rural areas. Talk to local farmers and tell them you are interested in buying a cow or pig to have slaughtered for meat. When you find a farmer that does this for people, they will raise the animal and humanly slaughter it for you. You then have it sent to a butcher to have it cut anyway you want. This will usually will run you anywhere from $1000 to $2000. But it does say you money in the long run. The meat is usually healthier for you then what you can find in your local stores. But remember to invest in a deep chest freezer to store the meat.
- Turn your lights off! Turn things off that you are not using in your house. Also at night, turn the heat down a few notches. Get cozy under the blankets you just made. It makes a huge difference in energy bills.
- Do you really need a gas guzzling SUV? Yes, we have a large family. But we are absolutely happy with our 6 cylinder mini-van.
- Yard sales, thrift stores and clearance racks. If you have active, rowdy boys, buy their summer shorts and play clothes at a second hand store. They will get torn up anyways. I can even find practically new items that I can resell on eBay. Always look for a deal.
I know, after reading this, some of you will think I am militant about saving money. But it has saved us from some financial woes. Just give some of these things a try and see what happens.