Thursday, January 27, 2011

Penny pinching & Centavo cinching

I know a lot of people these days are trying to save money. Some people like to indulge in simple pleasures but with the way the world is now many people are getting to be a bit smarter about how they spend their money.
God has always taken great care of me and my family and He gives me no reason to not trust Him. But Clint and I have taken some steps lately to try to trim the budget down a bit. It's especially important now considering we have another baby on the way and our budget is already tight as is. I thought I might share some of our money saving techniques with you. It's nothing ground breaking.

In no particular order...

1. We have this ongoing thing where we DO NOT SPEND anything on entertainment for a month. That means no going to movies, no buying movies, cds, songs, etc. We tried it several months ago and it kinda stuck as a semi-permanent long term thing.

2. Limit the number of times you eat out each week. This is a lot easier to do when you consider what you pay for your food and try to figure out what it would cost to make the same thing at home. It kinda shocks you into creativity with meals. The only thing hindering us from doing even better at this is our schedule and not having time or opportunity to go and get groceries as often as we might like.

3. Decide NOT TO BUY anything that you don't absolutely need. This is another thing that we tried for a month and it went well but it's a lot harder to stick to because I have a little man who doesn't necessarily NEED certain things but I want him to have.

4. DON'T BUY premade greeting/birthday cards. Seriously, they cost a fortune! You can make a cute home made card with craft stuff you already have at home and while some people think it is tacky to make a homemade card, I happen to think that it shows a lot more forethought and effort. You can even make a card on the computer and print it up.

5. Try your darndest to NOT FORGET your left overs. I am an airhead when it comes to remembering what food is in my fridge. I forget everything from yesterdays super yummy stirfry to a delicious chocolate bar. The more leftovers you eat the less you spend. I mean throwing away food and leftovers is like throwing away money.

6. Think of things that your family can do that don't cost anything. Watch a DVD you already own, listen to some CDs you have, go to the park. I know in America there are a ton of things and places you can go for FREE entertainment. One day we wanted to go to the pool but were tight on money so we set up the sprinkler in the yard and had a blast that way.

7. Drink more water. It's that simple. Soft drinks might be cheaper than fresh juices but they still cost a lot more than water.

8. Ditch Starbucks! Clint and I are not coffee people but we do enjoy a coffee drink here and there. Why not try making your own at home? All you need is a blender, some ice, coffee, chocolate syrup or caramel flavor etc. Play around with it and you are bound to find something yummy.

9. DO NOT BROWSE through the store! If you need something then get it and get out. You will find you only want what you see! You will be more content with what you have when you are not out in the malls/department stores looking at all the pretty things you do not have!

10. Make home made gifts. Get crafty! Think of something that is along the lines of your interests and see if there is a way to make a gift out of it. Like my hand painted box or bottles.

11. Figure out things that you need or want that you can do/make for yourself. For example, I was able to spend just a couple dollars on supplies to make a backpack for Andrew that would have cost a lot more to buy. There are tons of websites with great tutorials on how to do many crafts and other types of projects.

12. Get rid of cable. We did this early last year mostly because we hardly ever had time to sit and watch TV or we preferred to do other things. We now just watch videos we own or borrow from family. We still end up watching Winnie the Pooh or Blue's Clues with Andrew most of the time anyway. My dashingly handsome informant, Clint, tells me that in the US you can (legally) watch pretty much anything online for free. So who needs cable?

13. Use powdered milk instead of fresh (at least for cooking)

14.Dry your clothes on a line instead of the dryer.

15. Wear your clothes more than once before washing (you will need to use your common sense and sense of smell to do this one effectively)

16. Downgrade from kleenex or charmin TP... seriously... do you really need 20 ply toilet paper?

17. Try generic/store brand products. Store brand antibacterial hand soap still gets the job done.

18. Make your own coloring books for kids with FREE coloring pages online.

19. If you like to pamper yourself with a manicure or leg waxing, why not try doing them yourself at home?

20. Buy shampoo, lotion or soap in big bottles and use them to refill smaller bottles. 

21.Cloth diaper and breastfeed! It is amazing how much money you can save even if you don't/can't do it exclusively.

22. Never pay for babysitting. I am fortunate enough to have family close by that can help when I need a break or a night out with my hubby. Chances are, even if you don't have family close by, you know someone that has kids that you can trade baby sitting nights with. ;)

Well, like I said, it is nothing groundbreaking but just a few tips I thought I would share as I have been brainstorming a lot to see how to trim down the budget. I did not include some things that are obvious things like using coupons and taking advantage of online sales/clearances because we don't have those here but you definitely should look into it if you have that available to you!

When I think about money I am always reminded of Jesus words...

Matt 6:25-34 - 25 Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? 26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? 27  And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? 28  And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29  yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30  But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31  Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32  For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33  But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34  Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Not even Solomon in all his gory was clothed like one of these!

God is so awesome!

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