I have been saying I was going to get these posts together for awhile now, but school and life have been keeping me quite busy. I wanted to start and continue in several parts. As we are all well aware this economy is not the greatest and at times it seems each time we take a step forward something can knock us back. I think being frugal is largely a state of mind. Finding money in places we haven't thought to look before. Learning to live within our means.
Tight budgets don't just affect stay at home moms, they affect all of us at one time or another. Some of us may be a paycheck away from disaster, but not one of us is immune from hard times. We pray they won't happen, but sometimes they are out of our control. Yet many times we don't realize how very fortunate we are compared to so many others.
When my husband and I made the decision to have children we both firmly believed that I would stay home to raise them. In this we are blessed.... we agreed that whatever salary he made would be what we considered what both of us were making if we both worked. It also saves a tremendous amount of money by me staying home. Not having family near us, I am the rock that keeps this family running. There would be times it was hurtful to be put down or disregarded as a stay at home mom, or hear when are you going to work? Sorry? The question would more appropriately be, when will you get a break? 24/7 I am taking care of my family, and to me there is no other job more important. However, this is my family's choice. I respect Moms who are unable to be at home, but want to be. I have the highest regard for single moms and dads....to me that is one of the hardest jobs in the world.I know that to continue to stay at home I had to follow a tight budget, and there are months it squeaks and squeals! LOL. But as I tuck my girls in at night I know it's completely worth it.
Here is a beginning list of ways to save money. Some I'm sure you may know, some are common sense and others may be a new idea for you. Whatever the case may be I hope it will help. :-)
One very important factor for budgeting money is to pay yourself first for savings. Even if it's $5.00 a week. Start somewhere to grow an emergency fund. Some is better than none. Ideally 10% of your salary should be put into your savings weekly. I know this may not be a reality to everyone, so start small and the weeks you may have more, add that to it.
Buy what you NEED! Yes, that dress is absolutely amazing.... but is it necessary? Will it benefit your family to drop $150.00 on a dress? Food, shelter, sensible clothing, shoes, these are necessities.
Be open to bargain shopping. Goodwills, Salvation Army, yard sales, there is even a great resource called freecycle.
To check out a location in your area go to freecycle.com :-). You can get rid of unwanted items and benefit others, and enjoy items others may no longer need.
Avoid credit card debt! Cannot stress this enough. We've all been there, but this is definitely a road to destruction. If you can't pay cash, don't buy it! If you can't make ends meet without charging...you are living beyond your means. A budget makeover is in order.
To avoid temptation to buy, recycle catalogues and advertisements as they come in the mail.
Take time to shop around on larger purchases and negotiate prices. For example with your cable provider or dish network call occasionally and have your account reviewed. Find out if you are receiving the best deal currently running. They will reduce your payments or offer benefits such as free channels to keep you as a customer. This is also important to do with your cell plans. Even buying a cell phone that you pay for the minutes you need saves a lot.
Keep an expense journal!! So important to keep track of your spending, whether it's a coffee one morning or a shirt on clearance, gas, etc. This is a great way to track your spending and be more aware of where your money is going. A great start for a fabulous budget! ;-)
When not in a room, turn off the lights. (I know this brings back childhood memories for many... as my Dad would say" until you are paying the electric bills..." :-) Now I understand :-) This goes for your computer monitors, t.vs etc. Also unplugging appliances saves a great deal of money.
If you have a gas fireplace, be sure to turn off the pilot light in the warmer weather, you'll be amazed at what you save. :-)
Have a yard sale (we do this every year and can really make good $) Also sell on ebay or run an ad in the local paper. Regularly purge items, and if donating to local charities be sure to get receipts for your taxes.
I will be posting more ideas tomorrow as I have quite a few to share in more detail.
Having a dog that keeps doing this:
Needless to say we have purchased a metal crate this time, which he is only in when we are not at home.
Our weather finally got to 60 plus degrees today! Yeah! So I'm off to enjoy it with Kathleen.
Have a great day!