Being a one income family (of almost 4), means that a budget is essential. I find that when we budget, we have way more money left at the end of the month, and everyone is happy! We are currently in Financial Peace University by David Ramsey, and I highly recommend the class! We each have an allowance (so we don’t overspend) and we balance each other out. We talk about our finances and goals and are able to put more and more aside each month. Plus the Personal Services Center’s offer many classes on budgeting and finances. Check out your local branch to see what they have to offer!
Fast food kills. Your bank account at least. As a newlywed, we ate out so much that I think most of my paycheck went to the exotic restaurants we were eating at. Can’t change the past but I can change the future! I cook almost everyday or usually 6x a week. I have recently started freezing foods too, so when I need a quick meal I can take whatever out to thaw at breakfast and reheat by dinner time. I pack my husbands cooler every night and send him to work with breakfast, lunch, and a water bottle. (Mio or Crystal Light can be included for flavor enhancers). Are you aware of how much you can save when you cook? If you can stockpile enough simple ingredients, you can make a number of meals, sweets, and specialty drinks!
Cloth Diapers and Nursing
I paid about $400 for a collection of BumGenius, Charlie Banana, Gro-Via and FuzziBunz when my son was about 3 months old. Guess what is on his butt at 21 months….the same diapers. I’m not going to lie. There was a disposable spurt when we moved into a Japanese house with a small (all the buttons in kanji) washing machine. I stopped cloth diapering because I couldn’t figure out the settings and I couldn’t change the water temperature. But to have the same set of about 25 diapers last that long = serious savings. I also plan on using them with my next child so that is a ton of money saved. If you aren’t familiar with cloth, it’s not your mothers prefolds I’m using. Cloth diapers of today are amazing and super easy to use. I’ll delve more into that subject on another post! I also nursed to save money. 4 cans of formula a month with bottles, liners, bottle cleaners, and bottle brushes add up. Being able to nurse for almost a year and then transition to milk was a huge blessing. I think the last time I looked at formula it was about $23 a can so you can do the math!
Find Free Fun
I love going on adventures. I love taking pictures. I love free adventures where I can take pictures even more. It might be hard to find new things to do every weekend for free, but that is what you have the week to do. I like to look at blogs in this area, lonely planet, and google to see what is going on. If you plan it right, you can go to parks, festivals, historical sites, or museums free. None of the above your thing? Find something you like, but remember not to knock it until you try it. You never know what you will truly like until you have first hand experience.
Used Items for Kids
I have saved so much money using my good friend the internet. Where I am, many people do online yard sales and that is how I bought a gently used $60 Chicco stroller, $40 graco pack and play, $30 bassinet, $40 indoor toddler slide, 4 lots of new books for about $50 and a million toys usually ranging in the $5-$10 category and I scored a free toddler bed. Of course be wary of craigslist people, but look at yard sales your neighbors are throwing, or bring company when meeting up with people you meet online. If you are by a large military community, look up the yard sales sites (okinawayardsales.com for example). They are legit and military people move so much we have plenty of things to get rid of!
What are your saving tips?