Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Basics of Spending Less

There are not too many of us who can spend money frivolously and not care how much we spend at the store. Budgeting and monitoring spending habits is stressful, but I have found that it doesn't have to be so hard. There are many things that we pay way too much for and don't have to. If you are a stay-at-home parent, it is easier to plan and find the best deals. Look at it as your job. Once I realized that I was not going to look for another job after I lost my last one, I realized that saving money was now my job. I had to figure out what I could do to supplement my income, and this including saving money. Things like daycare, lunches and coffee out, and picking up a few things here and there on the way to or home from work were actually costing me money, and I figured that I could find a way to recover the lost money in my budget.  Here are some great things that I have learned:

1. Limit Shopping to One Day A Week - I learned this from my great grandmother. I remember every Wednesday (the first day of the new sales ad went into effect) we should spend most of the day traveling from store to store to get the best bargains. We lived in a relatively small town, so this didn't burn up a lot of gas. If you feel really ambitious, grab a three ring binder to organize your shopping day. This can be use to plan out your route, keep shopping lists, coupons, and sales ads all in one place. I prefer not to shop with children because I actually end up purchasing far more than I would alone. I do my shopping while they are in school, but if you have to bring your children, make sure to bring snacks or something that can distract your little ones.

2. Make Sure to Consider Store Brands - Typically these are nearly identical to name brands, but sometimes they are not. Dollar stores often have some good deals as well, but not on everything! Just because it's cheap, doesn't not make it effective. I have been very disappointed by many of the products sold there, but there are a few that are worth the trip. I have found that their brand of Fabric Refresher works just as well as Febreze and smells the same as well.

3. Freecycle and Craigslist - I cannot tell you how much I love Freecycle. It is a fabulous way to get rid of clutter and find things that you need, but cannot afford to purchase new and perhaps not even used. I have received large appliances such as a washing machine and a refrigerator. furniture such as a dining room table, a book case, dressers, and so much more. Please be considerate when using Freecycle and Craigslist. Only take what you need (I'm sure you don't need the clutter) and make sure to give back. Each time I receive clothes for myself or my children, I make sure to go through out old clothes and give away what we don't need or use. Clutter is not only unsightly, but is damaging to your mental wellbeing. Don't get carried away getting free stuff. This is a two-way road, but it is a very useful resource.

4. Make it at Home - Making homemade cleaners and fun stuff for your kids gets your kids involved in the creative process and makes your home a healthier place (not to mention it is easier on you financially). There are so many things that you can make a home for a fraction of the cost of buying it in the store, and many are very easy. Kids love to get in on the fun too. Here is another link for more homemade fun for kids. There are plenty more resources on the internet for even more recipes and ideas. Try a quick Google search and see what you can find.

No comments:

Post a Comment