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Monday, July 21, 2014

10 Ways to Save Money

Nathaniel loves his fruit! 
And Mom loves him eating free fruit ;)
After peach picking, make homemade preserves
and peach lemonade!
 1. Cut your own hair and your children's.  You can buy hair cutting scissors anywhere from super cheap to super expensive, but I've enjoyed my $10 ones.  I know this gets more complicated the shorter your hair and more layers you have, but if you already have short hair it's not going to hurt to do some tiny snips for a trim to practice as you can always go in and get it fixed. Mostly ;).  Long haired women, there's not much to it for a trim.  And your child's hair, I've done his while he sleeps and/or while watching a video.  They're not in beauty contests, so they're great for practicing on!  And you might as well learn now how to do it from the beginning.
Peppers are easy to grow in the south, and great for freezing!
2. a. Garden!  Don't have a field?  Pots work just as good if not sometimes better because you can control the weeds one by one.  I have a 10x10 garden, but it's been trial and error of what plants grow well, how to keep it weed-free, and not have to spend time every day tending to it. Still worth it though once you figure out what saves you money!  Plants that you can freeze from over-production are my favorite as that'll save you the most money in the long run.
b. Plant fruit trees and berry bushes vs any other tree/bush.  Do you research as some need at least another of the same kind to pollinate with, but the harvest is SO worth it come spring!  Strawberries late spring, then blueberries, peaches early summer, then apples...shall I keep going!?  Even better, see if you can go to a plant swap or know someone who is willing to let you dig up a couple bushes.
3. Couponing.  Now this is an area I have slacked on, but know many people who have saved 100s off making this part of their week.southernsavers.comis a great start.
4. Use self control and don't go out to eat as much!  I know this can be really hard when you want to spend time with friends, or want a night off from cooking.  Or heaven forbid you have a child, or more than one, and you're exhausted!
But get creative!  Have the friend come over to your place for spaghetti, left overs, frozen pizza, etc. (still cheaper probably for you to feed you both than pay tip somewhere, and the gas to get there!).  Exhausted?  Always have quick backup plans.  For example, every time I make lasagna or certain casseroles, I split it in half and freeze half for another day.  Or think of meals that take under 10 minutes to prepare (salads, breakfast for dinner, sandwiches, sautéing whatever vegetables and meat you have and throwing it on rice).  Rice cookers are awesome investments.

Turn an uh-oh mess into an education counting moment!
And since he licked them, use them for HIS homemade
popsicles instead of buying popsicle sticks ;)
5. Your children grow and it ain't cheap.  Once again, not in a beauty contest.  Consignment sale their clothes, and don't give in to the temptation that they always need a new toy.  Feel like they need more educational toys? Go to yard sales, take them to the library and check out books, or google educational activities for home.
6. Breastfeed and/or cloth diaper. I am aware not everyone can BF, but if you can don't give up after a couple weeks because it's painful.  Get help, and know that the pain DOES subside if you're doing it right.  It's the best for your child up to the first TWO years of their life (according to the World Health Organization), and you'll save thousands! Don't forget the time you save in not having to make bottles or clean up afterwards.
Cloth diaper cow pattern for his cow outfit on
Cow Apprecation Day= free meal!
Cloth diapering is intimidating, but by my calculations we started saving money only after  9 months of buying them and will continue to do so since I'll use them for child 2 and so forth.  Yes, you're having to deal with poop twice as much, and they're not as easy to travel with.  However, they're super cute, easy to get the hang of, and totally worth not having to run to the store for disposables.  The right kind also acts as a swim diaper, so you won't have to buy those!
7.  Make home remedies/substitutions.  Ran out of windshield wiper fluid?  Use 1/4 vinegar plus 3/4 water.  Don't have buttermilk?  1Tbs vinegar or lemon juice added to 1 cup milk-after 5 minutes gives you homemade buttermilk!  Have a small infection? Once again breast milk can save you money here as you can put it on small cuts, my earring holes got infected from using the wrong metal and breast milk cleared them up in a day, or say your baby's eyes are getting gunky...put some milk on those ducts!
8.  Ask God to reveal ways in which you could cut back or cut out money-munchers.  Maybe you could designate certain days you don't drive anywhere to save money on gas and get stuff done around the house?  Can you buy things in bulk and split with a friend?  Also, use all these ways in which you're saving to not be selfish, but wise and possibly give to others. 
9. Drink more water, or at least wait for the drinks you do like to go on sale, and be patient by drinking water until then ;).  When you go out to eat, resist the urge to order that amazing sweet tea or soda you're addicted to.  Remind yourself that it's ridiculous to pay $2 for a drink that you can buy a 2-liter for $1 at the grocery store.
10. Need a vacation? Sure, everyone needs a break/rest.  But you don't have to spend more than a few hundred dollars even for a week if you play it right and practical.  Ideas: 1. Cabin in the mountains if you have a connection with a friend or coworker who can hook you up for free 2. Drive to the beach if it's a reasonable distance and you know someone you can stay with for free not too far from the ocean 3. Watch flight price patterns and you'd be surprised the places you can go for around $100 round trip.  Wherever you go, make sure you can stay with someone for free and try not to eat out as much if possible. 4. Find a "getaway" place a short distance from where you live.  Maybe you have some good friends 45 minutes away that welcome a weekend stay-cation, or if your parents live near they could watch the kids for the day while you go to the lake/pool/whatever your idea of rest is.  Ultimately, you can make a place of rest wherever you allow your mind to rest.  Heck, your bedroom can be made an amazing stay-cation if you and your spouse set it up for each other that way (candles, music...you get the idea).
5. Count your date night as a vacation, rotate watching someone else's child(ren) so you never have to pay for a babysitter, and split a meal or make a picnic.
 
Our super cheap trip to NY (helped that N was under 2, so free to travel)