Thursday, February 17, 2011

Part 1 of some money saving ideas... :-)

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:
Is not helping our budget right now, lol. As some of you may remember reading he also chewed through a dual plastic child gate. Can you say separation anxiety??? Oh, and did I mention he weighs like 7 lbs?

Yup, this adorable little guy is the culprit! :-)
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!

Blessings,
Jill

10 comments:

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Jill, I'll come back and comment more later..but yay to this post. I LOVE money saving tips and strategies. I found a really neat website/blog called The Grocery Shrink with cool money saving ideas too. It should be on my blogroll somewhere. Let me know if you can't find it, and I'll send you the link...but I thought of you, because the lady who writes this blog is a mom like you, too :) :)

I talked a little bit about money on my most recent blog post...just giving an intro in to some mistakes I made when I was younger. More to come later this week or next week :) :) This is so neat. Thank you :) :)

Oh, your little dog...so sweet and innocent looking and chews through plastic :) :) :) Extra love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

Julie Harward said...

Lots of good ideas here today...and I cannot believe that little angel face could do that to a kennel! What a stinker! ;D

Heather's Blog-o-rama said...

Hi Jill, okay, I'm back now :) :) Yes, I agree on the credit cards for sure :) :) I only pay cash or use my debit card, which is tied to my checking account. At first it was difficult, but it's so easy now :) :) I also can't agree enough with paying yourself first for savings, even if it's just $5. :) :)

Anyways,these tips are fabulous ;) :) My father and I turn all lights off if we'r enot in the room. We also unplug appliances when not in use, including some of the lamplights, the TV!!!..yes I said tv...even if you just try it overnight, it makes a difference. We don't watch tv while we sleep :) :) Every bit counts. Our air condition is a wall unit with a plug in...and that is permanently unplugged until summer comes arounds.

My father and I noticed Our utility bill go down when we started d oing that ;) :)

Yeah, I'm glad I'm n ot the only one who cares about living without financial means :) :) I'm not married or a mommy, but I LOVE SAHM's..Stay at Home Moms :) :) I'm sorry people aren't always kind... but I think those choices deserve respect ;) :) I can't wait to see what you share tomorrow :)

Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

Camille said...

Great tips and ideas Jill! How important it is to stay away from credit card debt...treat it like cash, and if you can't don't have one at all! Great advice! :)

Many blessings to you!
Camille

P.S. I also noticed that the Dr. thinks your girl has outgrown her egg allergy...what a blessing it would be if that is the case! :)

SonyaAnn said...

Grrr I hate the times when people question me about being a stay at home mom. It makes me so mad.
And you have an adorable dog!

Flying Giggles and Lollipops said...

Great post! Our family makes a lot of sacrifices so that I can stay at home with my daughters. I have friends who complain they wish they can afford to stay at home with their children, but are constantly out shopping, going to dinners and on vacation. Drives me nuts!

Wendi said...

I feel that being a SAHM is the most important job. Megan goes to kindergarten next year and I have heard several comments about how I must be excited so I can go back to work. They looked shocked when I tell them that no I am not going to work when she goes to school. I plan to take care of my home, be involved in school and be available when my family needs me.

I can't wait to hear your money saving tips. I am always trying to stretch the budget further.

Gorges Smythe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jill said...

@ Heather... thanks for stopping by and sharing :-)

@ Julie...Thank you! I know isn't it crazy how something so small can have that much strength to eat through hard plastic? Breaks my heart that he has so much anxiety.

Camille... thank you and yes she has!! We are so happy!! :-)

SonyaAnn...thank you!

Michelle, I know what you mean...thanks for stopping by!

Wendi, my little one starts this Fall and I will be doing the same. She only has half days and there's still a lot of parenting I am looking forward to! :-)

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

There's nothing better than being a sahm. I was so blessed to have the chance to spend time with my daughters as well. I am now seeing it come back to me one hundred fold and you will too. Phooey on people who don't understand how tough it is to be there 24/7 year round. It's a tough but wonderful role.