Do you ever get tired of the money running out before the end of the month? Have you gone over your budget countless times to see where you could possibly save more but it just seems impossible? We’ve been there. It’s hard-especially when you have a growing family to take care of. Here are some tested ideas that we’ve used to cut down even more on expenses!
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1. Stop buying paper towels
My hubby goes through the paper towels like nobody’s business. And those things aren’t cheap! For a while we bought them in bulk at Sam’s. No more! I’ve found that if you just purchase some cheap washcloths like these and put them in a cute basket on your counter or just store them under the sink, they work just as well as paper towels and you can just throw them in the wash-cheap!
2. Save money by growing your own fruit and vegetables
We didn’t actually start out with this venture thinking about how much money we could save. We just wanted our kids to see how food grows. Over spring break my hubby took our kids to the store and they bought seeds, planters, and soil and my mother-in-law helped them plant them. She kept them in her greenhouse (but you could keep them in a sunny spot indoors) until it got a little warmer and then we planted them in our backyard. We now have tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers, okra, cucumber and watermelon that we grew ourselves (which we found to be very satisfying!) and it’s saving us a ton of money not having to buy produce!
3. Clean out your closet
Do you have a closet full of clothes but end up wearing the same thing over and over? A couple of years ago I started getting into the habit of sifting through my closet and getting rid of clothes I didn’t wear anymore. I would either sell it (extra cash!) or donate it. Then I would look at what I had left and see how I could piece things together in different ways to create new outfits. I found that I could buy a cute jacket or sweater or piece of jewelry to mix and match with other pieces I already had to make them go farther and this meant I didn’t need to go shopping as often or have clothes collecting dust in my closet.
Do the same thing with your kids’ clothes (they sell great!) and shop thrift and discount stores. They grow out of clothes so fast there’s no need to pay a lot!
Go through every nook and cranny of your house. Every closet, every cabinet, the garage – EVERYTHING. If you haven’t used it recently, get rid of it. Sell it online or have a garage sale and save the money you make for something else you need or for an emergency. My daughter and I just recently cleaned out our game cabinets and got rid of games we didn’t play anymore. You can read about that and organizing your newly cleaned out cabinets here.
5. Always make sure you have the best deal on your insurance policies
Be sure to shop around and make sure you’re getting the best coverage for the least amount of money. The best way to do this is to go through an independent agent. They’re qualified to sell insurance from multiple companies so you get the best deal. We did this when both our auto and home insurance went up and we saved a ton. We were paying $250/mo. for auto insurance on both of our vehicles through Liberty Mutual. Safeco (who is owned by Liberty Mutual-go figure) gave us a quote from an independent agent that dropped it down to $175 and then they took another 10% off for passing their safe driver test so we now pay $159/mo. A savings of $90/mo.! Another way to save is if your car is older but you’re still paying for full coverage. Drop it down to liability to save some cash!
6. Get off of that expensive cell phone plan
When our contract was up with our cell phone provider a few years ago we opted to purchase our phones outright instead of continuing to lease. We decided paying less money per month was more beneficial than keeping up with the newest iPhone, so we switched to a monthly prepaid plan using our current paid-for phones and saved $50/mo.
7. Sell your gas guzzler
Have a truck or SUV that you’re constantly having to fill up because it chugs the gas? Do you NEED it or could you get by with a car that gets better gas mileage and is less expensive to maintain? Let’s face it-when you have to buy tires or really anything for a larger vehicle it can get expensive. And where we live the roads are terrible so we feel like we’re buying tires ALL the time! Maybe it’s time to downsize the car and save some money on gas and probably your insurance policy, too!
8. Don’t eat out
This is an obvious one but still worth mentioning because a lot of money is spent on eating out! What’s your reason for eating out? You just really love that pasta dish at your favorite Italian place? Check out Pinterest-there are tons of copycat recipes and you can most likely find it and make it at home for cheaper! Convenience? Throw some ingredients in the crock pot before you leave for work or your daily activities and it’s ready when you get home! Forgot to put it in the crockpot? Grab your pressure cooker and it’s still done in a jiffy. Just don’t feel like cooking? Keep some easy stuff on hand like steam-in-the-bag veggies, some pasta and your favorite sauce. Sometimes I make enough food for two or three meals so I don’t have to cook the next night.
9. Use the energy efficient setting on your appliances
We run our dishwasher on the “Turbo” cycle and turn off the “Heated dry” option. It takes 33 minutes and we just wipe them down with a towel before putting them away. We also hang dry a lot of our clothes so we don’t have to run the dryer as much. You’d be amazed at how much energy it takes to use these conveniences! Skip it when you can to save money on your utility bills.
10. Cut your family’s hair
People spend a lot of money each month on haircuts. My grandma encouraged me years ago to learn how to cut my hubby’s hair. She bought me a grooming set and I’ve been cutting his hair and now both of my son’s hair for years. I trim my daughter’s hair when she needs it, too, saving us tons of money. UPDATE: I cut my own hair for the first time last weekend! I just needed a trim and didn’t want to pay $25-30 for it so I decided to give it a shot. Aside from needing a little help making sure the back was even, it turned out great! If I want something drastic I’ll still go somewhere to have it done, but for a quick trim it was good.
Do you have any ideas that have worked for your family when it comes stretching your budget? Please comment below!
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