Saving Money and Mom’s Sanity

I am very passionate about saving money but even more so when it comes to helping others save a few dollars.  We try to cut costs so that I can stay home to care for our daughter but there are many reasons to save money these days, including the rising cost of food and goods.  Here are some of my top tips for saving in today’s economy, most of which I have learned from Jenny Martin at Southern Savers, a reputable savings blog for the Southeastern part of the United States:

  • Budgeting – Two years ago we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University at our church.  Although I was hesitant to take it at first, I am so thankful that we did because we learned a wealth of knowledge and even more practical ways to work on our finances.  We learned how to improve our budget and more importantly, our budget meetings.  If you haven’t taken this class, I urge you to find the class nearest you and check it out.
  • Doing Without – We choose to go without a few things in our home and lifestyle.  Some of these things include cable TV, new cars (and car payments – our cars are from the 90’s), eating out every weekend, etc.
  • Rebates – I used to be an avid couponer and then I moved away from my favorite store for a period of time.  Although I still coupon occasionally, I prefer grocery rebates.  (Perhaps I’ll return to couponing in the near future.)  You can find rebates on Ebay or sometimes at your local grocery store.  I’ll share more in depth about rebates and coupons in future posts.
  • Diapers – Before we had our baby, I thought I would cloth diaper exclusively, with the exception of travel.  The reality for me is that I use cloth diapers when I’m at home.  There were other things that were more valuable to me when it came to spending time and money so I decided to use both types of diapers for my sanity’s sake.  I save money on disposable diapers by using Southern Savers’ diaper guide.  Right now we’re in size 2 and I never pay more than 16 cents per diaper, according to this guide.  I do this by pairing coupons with the drug store sales and shopping local grocery stores when they have size 2 diapers on sale for $6.99.  I also participate in the Pampers Gifts to Grow Program and use my points to buy $5 off codes for Diapers.com, which allows me to stay within the recommended price range, as well.
  • Cloth in the Kitchen – Instead of using paper towels for everything, we use cloth napkins for meals and old rags for cleaning.  I still use a paper towel every now and then but I only buy them a few times per year.  A few months ago I realized I needed a sturdy cloth napkin in a dark color and I found a great deal on Amazon, which has made laundry a bit easier when I serve something that stains easily.
  • Thrifting – I love a good bargain for a high quality item!  I have been known to take a trip to the Lake Norman/Huntersville/Mooresville area solely to shop thrift stores, as well as take a trip around the High Country for a day of thrifting.  My favorite stores are the Goodwill stores in Wilkesboro and Boone and when we lived in Avery County I enjoyed the Blair Fraley Thrift Store at Crossnore School.  More to come in the future about thrifting!
  • Restaurant Discounts – When we do choose to eat out (we have a small budget of $75 per month), I like to use coupons and check out Restaurant.com for any local deals. Realdealsnow.com is also a great source for saving some money on local, High Country restaurants.
  • Saving on Movies – We hardly ever go to the movies and when we do, I usually use a deal that I purchased from Groupon or another similar site.  Southern Savers will usually post these deals on her blog, which makes it easy to find the deals without spending too much time it.

Although we have a few things we already do well when it comes to saving money, I have a few goals for my future.  I would love to:

  • Make my own laundry detergent
  • Make my own cleaning supplies
  • Make my own baby food

I would love to hear from you!  How do you save money in your home while saving your sanity in the process?

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