Nearly everyone is out to save money these days, and I think having kids is even more motivation. I know I'd rather be able to save money on groceries so I can spend more on my little man or on fun together as a family. Here are some ideas I've collected over the past year or so. I hope some of them help you, and please feel free to add your ideas in the comments!
~ Shop at consignment or thrift stores. I love consignment stores for baby stuff!
~ Alternate dry cleaning with Dryel.
~ Think about alterations. If you have items in your closet that just don't fit quite right, spend $10 to have them altered rather than investing in an entirely new piece.
~ Get the heels on your shoes repaired for $8-10 instead of buying a new pair.
Food and Cooking
~ Use coupons! Definitely worth buying the Sunday paper. Find one or two blogs to follow that share deals for stores you shop at frequently.
~ Make coffee at home. Buy a coffee maker with an automatic timer and prep it the night before. Nothing beats waking up to the smell of coffee! :-)
~ Make lunches at home. I cannot even imagine spending $5 on lunch every day.
~ Borrow cookbooks from the library. It is a free and easy way to try out some new recipes.
~ If you only need a small amount of a spice you don't normally keep in the house, try to buy it from a bulk section, where you can buy just what you need.
~ Make your own cleaning supplies. A spray bottle of half water/half vinegar can be used on all sorts of surfaces and is super-cheap. Baking soda is another effective cleaning and scrubbing agent.
~ Use coupons and play the drugstore game. I now regularly get deodorant for $.99 and toothbrushes for free. I suggest following Money Saving Mom for deals at CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.
~ Alternate brands with generics. Generics are often a near-identical alternative to brands. When they're not, take turns between the two. Try generic shampoos, face wash, and lotions. Alternate daily with a brand name to save some money.
~ Use the library - how often do you re-read books? If you're like me and you don't, definitely borrow books from the library rather than buying them. This is great for kids too, as you can get a variety of books for them to read for free!
~ Check yard sales for board games for family game nights.
~ Make a budget and stick to it. Be realistic and adapt. We've had a budget since we got married 6 years ago, and it's changed so many times depending on our circumstances.
~ Cash is your friend, but if you are responsible, credit cards can be beneficial. We pay ours off every month, and earn points on every purchase. These points will really help us take a vacation next year.
~ Double-check your EOBs from the insurance company. Approximately 80% of these have errors on them. I know I have saved over $100 this year by questioning the statements insurance sent to me.
~ When you can, do it yourself. Refinish frames to match your decor, bake the cake for your child's birthday party, hem your own pants.
~ Mail in those rebates!
~ Take advantage of loyalty cards - many give gift certificates when you rack up enough points, and nearly all of them have birthday bonuses.
~ Plan ahead - the best advice I've seen online is "buy what you'll use, not what you need". It might seem strange to buy a Christmas gift in August, but I've done it! Buy things at the end of this season in preparation for next year.