I feel it is extremely important for me as a wife, a stay at home wife, and mother to help save money whenever and wherever I can. I have gotten so much better over the years and thought maybe you all would love to hear some of my secrets, so here we go!
Laundry: This is a big money guzzler in our home. With 7 people to keep clothed, we can spend a small fortune each month on laundry supplies.
#1 I make my own detergent. The powder kind. I tried the liquid kind with the same ingredients but my daughters skin broke out. So now we use the powdered version and it works well. If I have an extremely soiled load I add a scoop of oxy-clean just as a boost. Here is the recipe:
1 bar Fels-Naptha bar soap grated
1 cup of washing soda(in a yellow box in the laundry aisle)
1/2 cup of borax (also in the laundry aisle)
after grating soap finely, mix all ingredients with a spoon or in your mixer for
about 10 minutes. Must be mixed thoroughly. Use one to two tablespoons
tip: put in machine before adding clothes:)
It cost only 2 cents per load!
#2 I use softener in the form of distilled white vinegar right into the softener dispenser in the washing machine. It works well to soften the clothes, and takes out most odors.
#3 I do use the store bought fabric softener in a tupperware pickle container with sponges. I cut the sponges in half and dilute the softener 1/2 and 1/2 with water. I fill the container this way. Then when we switch clothes over the the dryer we squeeze out a sponge and throw it in the dryer with the wet clothes. Takes away the static and gives a great smell.
#4 If for some reason we are out of softener, I always keep a box of fabric sheets in the cabinet. I cut the sheets in half and use only one half per load. Works just as well, and you get double for the money.
Food/ Groceries: it seems like this is one area lately that the prices just keep rising and rising. I used to feed our family of 7 for about $100 a week! That included such things as diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, and pet supplies! Now, we make our own cleaners, use more baking soda when cleaning, and are out of the diaper stage and I still can’t seem to get it under $150 a week. My freezer isn’t big (a standard side by side fridge and freezer) so we shop once a week.
#1 I use coupons! I use digital as well as paper to get the most bang for my buck. Kroger recently stopped allowing both digital and paper but I use digital when I can and other times paper. I try to use the most coupons as I can. Kroger also sends me coupons via mail for products I buy most often so this helps.
#2 I try to shop just at Kroger and Aldi. Aldi is a big money saver on most can goods and milk and eggs always seem to be cheaper there, as well as snacks for the kids.
Kroger rewards me with fuel points when I shop there. Every $100 gets me 10cents off per gallon. I save these all month and usually get 40-60 cents off a fill up once a month. Sometimes even 80cents – $1.00 off.
#3 My cell phone is through Kroger as well. It is a smart phone that I got through the I-Wireless website for about $50. The monthly plan cost me only $25 a month and with every $100 I spend I get 20 free minutes. I even have internet, email, games, coupon apps, unlimited messaging, and maps/gps so I can find my way to places I’ve never been. I was with at&t before and spent nearly $100 a month on just one line. This is quite a super saver!
#4 I try to only buy the marked down/ clearance meat. It is deeply discounted and I usually come home and cook up at least the ground meat or immediately freeze it. It’s just as good when cooked up properly and I can usually save $20-$50 a month this way.
#5 We try to eat fresh fruits and veggies as snacks and canned fruit when we run out of fresh. We spend the bulk of our grocery money on produce. It is healthier and when looking at price per unit it is a lot cheaper than packaged snacks with high sugar and preservatives!
#6 This year we have started a garden. It was a lot of work to begin with but I’m hoping it will save a ton on produce come harvest time:) I have decided to plant what we eat most, Tomatoes, strawberries, and onions. It is not a huge garden but this is the first year and I’m hoping for great success.
Clothing/shoes…… A huge expense around here. We go through socks more than milk it seems! And we go through A LOT of milk 🙂 here are some ways I reduce our cost.
#1 YARD SALES! I go to them from spring to fall always looking for the next size up in clothing for all the kids. I try to pick out classic pieces that won’t look too outdated If they wear them the next year. You can find articles of clothing for some change most of the time.
I also stock up on good sheets, bathing suits, and shoes if they are in good condition.
#2 Thrift stores are a treasure to a family of our size. Most have sales once a month for as much as 50% off store wide. I try to shop on those days to get the deepest discounts.
#3 Hand me downs… And not just for the kids! I will take hand me downs for everyone in the house! Including myself. Hubby on the other hand is a big man so his stuff mostly gets bought new online and with coupons.
#4 CLEARANCE, CLEARANCE, CLEARANCE !!! I can get good shoes for 70-90% off at most retail stores at the end of the season and save the for the next season! I’ve gotten brand name shoes for less than $5 a pair. Not bad for a little waiting!
Pet supplies….. I usually buy dog food when it’s on sale & I have a coupon. I use old stuffed animals from the kids or get them for 10cents at yard sales for chew toys. Ruler loves to play with an unstuffed bear that we cut a slit in the bottom of, then shoved an empty water bottle inside of. He loves the feel and the noise it makes. We also use holy socks and old dish rags and towels tied in knots for tug of war. I reuse grocery sacks for pooh duty clean up as well. I will soon, after watching tutorials, be clipping his nails on my own. I already bathe him with a mild hand soap and vinegar mix. It works well and leaves his coat super shiny!
School supplies… We homeschool and shiny curriculum catalogs come as often as daily this time of year. I am often tempted to give into the “promises” they describe. Here are ways we make it work without breaking the bank!
#1 LIBRARY CARD! If you know me, you know I can’t seem to walk out of the library without a large utility tote full of books, CDs, movies and audio tapes. The library is a huge money saver and right now we enjoy using five in a row & hearts for his glory. We do a lot of lap books and note-booking and anything we can find to study we can usually supplement with library resources.
#2 Online math games and printables. You can use a scope and sequence from online and just use free resources online to put together your own curriculum. We do a ton of “living” math, baking, measuring, adding and subtracting and so forth and I feel the children are moving right along.
#3 Science is not my favorite subject so we tend to lean to cool experiments and exploring science through life in general. You can find tons of science experiments to do online for free or through library books.
#4 History we do through reading about it. Not much more can be said there. We talk about current events as well as what the older times were like. We read, read, read about people, places, wars, and different religion and talk about or write reports on what we’ve learned.
Utilities: Here is one are where I wish all my lights were on a remote control that I could turn off anywhere in the house! Turn your light off is a favorite phrase of mine. Not really, but I’m constantly saying it. I do have some tips though.
#1 Flip the switch. Yep, pretty simple but helps alot!
#2 Turn down the water heater to a minimal setting and it will help reduce how much gas it takes to warm your tank back up.
#3 I do ALL the laundry in cold water. YEP! Even the whites get washed in cold and I couldn’t tell a difference but my gas bill sees a difference as I have a gas water heater.
#4 I installed a slow flow shower head. Helps reduce water waste, and I don’t really notice a difference either.
unplug electronics am getting better about unplugging cords and such when they are not being used. I try to unplug things I know I won’t use for awhile. IE….. sewing machine, laminator, shredder, old laptop that doesn’t get used much, and so on.
#6 We don’t have a home phone. With cell phones being so reliable it’s another expense we don’t need.
#7 I switched out almost all the light bulbs with the cfl or led lights. Saves a ton over time!
#8 I use the crock pot more often and when I can convert a recipe to the crock pot I do. There are a ton of recipe books at the library to help if you need some ideas of what to cook.
I think I’ve covered just about
all most of how I save money for our family to be used somewhere else we feel important! I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and I hope you can also find ways to save at your home. It’s the little things that add up to big things!
Linking to :
we are that family
Deep roots at home
our simple farm
wednesday in the word
ginger snap crafts
my daily walk in his grace
day to day joys
slightly indulgent tuesday
tackle it tuesday