I'll be the first to admit that these days are flat out tough financial wise for pretty much everybody. In our household things have been no cake walk either, but I'm one super determined stay-at-home mom and I want to keep it that way. For the last few years I've been open to any way to save a buck or two, if you have any ideas or suggestions, please share the wealth (pun intended)... Cause here's some of my penny pinching strategies.
1. Newest Discovery: Diapers.comLets face it, diapers are just flat out expensive. I did a little math on how much money we blew on Kaylie's diapers over the course of her first two years and ....I don't recommend it cause it'll just depress you. Most people recommend cloth diapers, but in my case time is money. So I heard about this website diapers.com. They guarantee to have the cheapest diapers around, and I sat down and did the math (wasted way too much time) but they are right. On average they are at least 5 cents cheaper per diaper than what you can get in stores. That can really add up fast, I figure I'm saving about $25 a month. Best of all, it comes the next day (if you order before 6 pm) and I got a big enough box to last Aaron an entire month! On your first order you can get $10 off. So if you're interested try it out, it's great...and don't forget my referral code: FLAM3859.
2. If you're not using it, unplug it!I heard about some lady on Opera who unplugged everything in her house that she wasn't using and she saved hundreds of dollars a month (note, she had a lot of electronics)...and I thought I'll try it. I did and I noticed on average that I save at very least $20-$30 a month on my electric bill, Just by unplugging the computer while it's off, the microwave, toaster, TV, DVD player, and especially cell phone chargers (those suckers suck you dry.) Only problem with this one, my husband calls me the "electricity Nazi" cause it drives him crazy to have to plug and unplug everything all the time, but after a while you just get use to it.
3. Make a Meal Plan
I hate the grocery store more than anything in the world, I just don't like going. I feel like I'm always wasting all my money on food. But I've found a way to make it much more bearable, a meal plan. All you do is come up with 14 meals, one per night for the next two weeks. You figure out all the ingredients you'll need to purchase and write it all down (don't forget to add lunch and breakfast items too, and always add extra milk and snack foods, so you don't have to make extra trips.) Then you only have to go to the grocery store twice a month, plus you don't have to fret about what to make for dinner every night, just pick something off your list. With just the meal plan alone we save about $100-$150 a month on groceries. Also another money drainer with food, your hubby's daily lunch (my sis brought this to my attention), if he's eating out everyday that can cost you an extra $200 a month (at least). So make him a lunch the night before, or pack leftovers. And another big saver, resist the urge to eat out, it's not healthy anyway, it can save you a big chunk of change too.
4. Window shop online before you shop in the store.
Who doesn't love shopping? I love shopping, especially window shopping but with two kids it's just not practical. So I've found that I can save time, money and my nerves if I just window shop online. Plus I can compare prices, which...duh! Do this before you go to the mall, that way you know what you want and where to get it. When shopping online (or offline for that matter) always search for coupons and coupon codes before you purchase, you'd be shocked how much you can save with a little effort. And don't be afraid of coupons, coupons are a girls best friend, literally!
5. Pay bills online.
Did you know that every time you send a check to pay a bill, you get charged a hidden fee, plus you've paid for the stamp as well and that can really add up.
Well, this may not be helpful to everyone but hopefully this helps someone out. Again any other ideas are welcome here!