Monday, February 16, 2015

Saving Money

Today begins a little series I'm calling the Saving Series.  So far I've planned to write on saving money, saving time, and saving space.  If any other savings topics come to mind I may write on those also.  (You can always send me your ideas.)  To start things out I thought we'd discuss saving money.  I hope you find something helpful in this series, maybe even several somethings.  Share this post with someone if you think it might be of use, and as always, I welcome your feedback.

There are several things my honey and I always talk about at the start of every year.  We talk about our schedule, our goals, and our finances.  Each and every January since we have been married we discuss these three things (and usually others).  The start of a new year is, to us, the perfect time to make changes that need to be made and to start fresh on things - especially things we'd like to do a little better on.  We recently began working on a new budget - vowing once again to become debt free.  Of all our years, this one seems to be the hardest.  We have accumulated a very large amount of medical bills and it's going to be a big mountain to climb.  We are determined to work through them all (what choice do we have, right??) and to do so we are tightening our belts, once again.  

Here are some things we have come up with that might help you find ways to save too.  

  • Do an insurance check-up and compare rates with other companies.  We just did this and we were shocked at how much we were able to save!  We called an insurance company and had them quote us the very same auto insurance policy we currently had.  We were able to save $200 a month!  We couldn't believe it!  AND,  a couple of weeks later we received a check in the mail for $180.  It was a refund on our home owner's insurance.  Because we had moved our auto insurance to the same company that already insured our home we received a multi-line discount which resulted in a refund for overpayment on our home owner's premium!  Check your policies, compare rates, and while you're at it ask yourself if you really need medical coverage on your auto insurance, or towing insurance, or rental car.  Look closely at your policy.  There may be things on there you have double coverage for or things you would prefer to self insure.  

  • Eat at home.  This one is pretty simple.  Pack lunch/dinner for whoever goes to work, pack a little sandwich for when you and the kiddos are out running errands, keep granola bars and apples in the car, etc.  Avoid restaurants as much as possible and you will definitely see savings in your budget.  Make a menu plan for your week so you won't be tempted at the last minute to order pizza.  Pack a little picnic lunch for when you and the kids have a full day away from home.  Save going to restaurants for very special occasions only.  This is one our family is going to work very hard on.  We are in our busy season now - soccer, co-op, archery, sewing lessons, music lessons, AWANA, etc. - but we are going to try really hard to plan ahead and not eat out.  A trip to McDonalds for us is easily $40 or more, and a nicer restaurant would be at least double.  If we do that even once a week, just do the math.  We are going to have to pretty much bring food everywhere we go since our kids are always hungry and I'm going to have to make sure I put something in the crock-pot for Sundays but it will be worth it since we will certainly be able to see a difference in our finances.   

Lately I've made a lot of this

and packed it up in these.

  • Eat homemade food.  If you look in my pantry and fridge right now you might say there's nothing here to eat.  Our kids sometimes say it, we've even had a house guest say it.  However, it's not true.  You won't see much in the way of chips, cookies, canned biscuits, frozen pizza, and other pre-packaged foods but there is food here!  In my fridge there are a lot of eggs.  There is plenty of flour, sugar, and oil in my pantry.  There are frozen chicken breasts in my freezer.  See, the thing is, if you want something to eat in our house you are going to have to cook it.  I'm not buying a lot of cereal.  We are boiling eggs and eating fruit.  If biscuits are on the menu we are making them.  For dessert type treats (cookies and such) we are baking from scratch.  So, at first glance one might say there's no food here, but a better way to say it is there is no pre-made food here.  We are saving money on groceries by buying ingredients and cooking ourselves.  So, if you are getting hungry grab a bag of beans out of the pantry and get them cooking on the stove.  

  • DIY.  Anything and everything you can think of, do it yourself.  I cut all of our sons' hair (with a few exceptions - when we had a new baby, etc.) until they are old enough to start paying for their own haircuts.  There are probably a lot of things you are paying for that you could do yourself for less, or possibly for nothing.  Think haircuts, oil change, manicure/pedicure, lawn care, etc.  How many things can you remove from the monthly budget and start doing yourself?  Do you have a gym membership?  Could you start walking in your subdivision?  Do you pay to have your pet's nails trimmed?  Could you learn to do it?  Does your beautician do your eye brows?  Could you?  Explore the possibilities.  

  • Shop garage sales, consignment shops, and thrift stores.  Here's a big one for me.  I buy most of our kids' clothes used.  Our grill out back on the deck came from a garage sale for $20.  Same thing with the leaf blower in the garage, our chiminea, and half of our furniture.  Our kitchen table and chairs - garage sale.  Our piano - purchased used.  A lot of my Christmas dishes, a second set of china and several other things in my kitchen have come from garage sales.  The girls have a picnic table on the deck we found at a garage sale for $10.  We've used it for years and they love it.  I have a little cabinet in the dining room I use to store school stuff, that, and our two bar stools in the kitchen came from an estate sale.  If you aren't shopping garage sales and Goodwill and the like you don't know what you are missing!  Yes, it's a little more work but it's sooo worth the savings.  I plan to do even more garage sale and consignment shopping this year.  I have a few rules for used shopping, like I don't buy undergarments and I don't buy gifts for people, but other than that the sky is the limit.  If you are looking for ways to save money, buy used.   

  • Use coupons.  I don't mean just cutting out the occasional coupon from the Sunday paper.  I mean really learn how to coupon and get good at it.  You don't ever need to buy a bunch of junk food or stuff you don't use.  You can find coupons for the things your family uses regularly and when matched up with sales you can s.a.v.e.  

  •  Barter.  Here's an idea that can save anywhere from a little to a lot.  Instead of paying to board your pet take turns with a neighbor, caring for their pet when they travel and them taking care of yours when you head out of town.  Trade other services too - piano lessons, baking, housecleaning, yard work.  Offer to do what you are good at as a trade for something you need done.  Not only does bartering save money, it can be a lot of fun.  

  • Drink more water.  This one is very simple but for our family can be a major money saver.  We have got to work on this one this year!  I'm surprised when I look at what we really spend on juice, kool aid, soda and the like.  If we drank only water we would save tons of money!  There's no excuse for us not doing this one.  We just need to train our appetites and save "special" drinks for special occasions.    

  • Get rid of cable, newspaper subscriptions, data packages, etc.  Depending on how serious you are about saving money you may want to consider getting rid of some things you could live without.  Believe me, I know it's not easy!  We've gone through some rough times and have had to strip our lives bare of any extras, but any time we've had to do that it has been worth it.  We are entering a period now where it is probably necessary to do some stripping away again.  Do you really need (fill in the blank)?  Ask yourself (and your family) some hard questions.  Take the savings from anything you get rid of and use that to pay down debt.  You won't be sorry.

That's all I have time for right now but I may write a part two later.  I'm positive if I continued to write I would continue to think of ideas.  You've surely got ideas too so please pass them along.  I would love to get a discussion started on how we can all save money in 2015.  If you would like to submit an idea for a guest post I'd be very interested to hear it.  Send your submissions to  


  1. Those are all great ideas and very doable too. Thanks for sharing them.

    1. Thank you, Jennifer. I really believe small changes can add up to big savings.

  2. love this post! something my family and I are working on as well (also if anyone looked in our cupboards they may think the same thing as well) ;)

    1. Thanks, Sarah! Getting started on something is the first and biggest step. I think once you start seeing results, even tiny ones, you are spurred on to do more. I'm hoping so anyway.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...