Since I became a stay at home mom almost 3 years ago, it’s become my job to monitor our finances closely and try to save money as much as I can since I don’t have an income to contribute. We have 2 little boys and soon my stepdaughter will be here too! We save so much just from not having to pay others to watch and care for our children, but times still get a little tight. Therefore I’m going to list a few ways I stretch our money and other methods I plan on starting!
1.) Cut out eating out.
This one should go without saying, but our lives are so hectic anymore it’s so simple to grab a greasy brown bag on the way home. The solution? Have meals prepared beforehand so you have the convenience right there plus it’s a much healthier option. I’m a habitual list writer, so if I have what we SHOULD be eating that night written on the fridge, I feel a sense of duty to get it on the table! Which leads me to my next tip…
2.) Meal prep
There is nothing like basking in the glory of a months worth of dinners in the freezer ready to rock n roll! If you’ve ever stepped foot into the wonderful world of Pinterest, you are sure to have seen posts on freezer meals. Take a few, or more, hours on a day off, lots of freezer bags, and a permanent marker and you are ready to create some cheap, homemade, delicious meals! I love utilizing my crockpot for these which makes them even easier. One of my favorites is Lauren Greutmans Aldis freezer meal plan. She does all the work for us! I also snag a few frozen pizzas when they’re on sale for the super lazy nights or for a movie night. https://www.laurengreutman.com/25-meals-for-under-150-at-aldi/
Now, no need to strive for the “extreme-ness” you see on that TLC show where a shopper will snag a few hundred of one item, not very realistic. Each store has a policy and once you learn you favorite stores policy, you can start to utilize coupons! I have a small stockpile which includes detergent, cleaning products, personal hygiene, diapers, etc. Joining a good coupon with a good sale, more often than not you can get name brand items cheaper than generic! Why stockpile? Well most sales are on a cycle, around 6 weeks, so you want enough of that product to get you through until the next sale. Also, hard times hit unexpectedly, hence the reason I started doing this. I no longer pay for toothpaste, hair care products, or soaps. And I pay little to nothing for detergent and cleaning supplies. I recommend http://www.krazycouponlady.com. She has fabulous tips and will lay out the deals for you. So start buying those Sunday papers y’all!
4.) Wait for it!!!!
Eyeing up that new vacuum? Dreaming about that new cookware that matches your kitchen? Yeah we all want these splurge items but if you WAIT say, 6 months to a year, I’ll bet there will be a sale, promotion, or coupon for it. Or if you get really lucky, all 3! Enter my favorite money saving story and best deal to date! So, I have 2 kids under 3 y’all. I NEED coffee, it’s non-negotiatable. So I realllllly wanted a Keurig. Problem? That bad boy is $130! No thanks. So one day I’m flipping through good old facebook and see Keurigs are on sale at my local store. Well, there was also a summer spending promotion, a manufacturer coupon, and a store coupon. GUYS….. I got my Keurig for…….$18! All because I sat back, and waited.
5.) Meal plan plan plan
This is not to be confused with meal prep…though they are similar. Do not go shopping without a set list, EVER. I meal plan on a weekly basis when I’m not doing freezer meals. It’s actually fun. Monday- Stir Fry with rice Tuesday- Tacos with beans etc. It keeps you focused and takes the stress out of dinnertime as in, what am I going to make tonight at 5:30 pm. Throwing goldfish at the toddler only lasts so long before you end up with a pint size hangry terrorist. I try to add at least one new recipe per week to my meal plans as well so we don’t get tired of the same things in rotation. Get the kids involved too, it’ll be fun for them.
So there are my main tips on saving money I have implemented as of now. Once the dang Indiana ground isn’t frozen, we’re putting in some fruit trees, berry bushes, and a garden with all kinds of good stuff! Which will then lead to canning (so excited to try this and document the process!)
So, how do y’all pinch your pennies?