Monday, November 12, 2007

25 Tips to Save Money

When child care took a turn last summer and knocked us down, the choices were difficult -- all leading back to stay home, stay home, stay home.

It all came down to selling one car. That was the difference.

Despite all the Go Green! headlines today, rarely do you see much on how to live with just one car. Never do you see how having just one car with a major commute involved impacts a family. (More on this tomorrow.)

One month after we sold the car, and used the extra money to pay off the other one, we felt very good about our decision to take Jadyn and Liana out of child care. But then the news came -- another tax hike in this Glorious City of ours. Our mortgage went up by another $100 a month.

What looked like it would be pretty easy, wasn't and ever since it's been a very tight squeeze of living month-to-month. Despite the pressures, and the tears some weeks, it's worth it, and I'm grateful. After all, I have my girls all to myself all week instead of passing them off to caregivers. I guess in the end, it was a priceless decision.

And, it's been a very green living decision as well. Now, we wait our turn to downsize and reduce the commute, which are our only other chances to trim our very lean budget.

We are awaiting the next tax bill, and we know it won't be pretty.

Here are 25 ways we have saved money in the last year -- please share your own as well.

1. sold one car
2. paid off the other vehicle
3. cut down or turned off cable (unless there are specials)
4. buy fresh, local meats and produce and walkable farmer's markets
5. meal plan for every meal, every week (I've slacked on this)
6. buy in bulk for items we use a lot to save on trips to the store
7. stopped mis-using paper towels and started using cloth instead
8. cut out most unnecessary items like eating out
9. walk to the closest grocery store in good weather (roughly 10 blocks)
10. clip coupons and use them ONLY with store sales
11. stopped clipping useless coupons
12. stopped subscribing to newspapers and only read online
13. sell unneeded items on eBay or Craigslist or for extra cash
14. buy used toys at yard sales and thrift stores
15. use the library for books
16. blogging has helped me win me free books, a free Netflix subscription and now gift certificates for Amazon.
17. we rarely go out so we avoid babysitting costs.
18. we avoid professional photographers and just use our own (more fun)
19. Da! takes a commuter bus to work and he walks to catch that bus
20. i avoid buying too many beauty products and just stick to the necessary
21. we have bought bread at a bread outlet when they are open and make our own pizza
22. we have used mostly vinegar and water to clean (not doing this while selling)
23. we've started changing all light bulbs to CFL
24. we avoid touristy destinations and stick to more cultural, less expensive events
25. we are in the process of going paperless with our bills to save stamps and time.

Thank you for visiting today.

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LauraC said...

One tip you forgot in your situation - work from home if possible to cut down clothing costs, eating out costs, commuting costs, and TIME cost.

Love this post. Jon and I both telecommute and we are able to survive with just one Toyota Corolla with twins. IT CAN BE DONE!

Other things we do to save money:
* Take advantage of sales for necessities - diapers, TP, paper towels

* Tracking every penny we spend forces us to think about every purchase

* Use hand-me-downs where possible (for kids and adults) and shop at second-hand stores

* Sign up for free benefit programs - Upromise, a credit card with miles, etc.

Shelli said...

Boy I can relate to this. We are on a tight, tight budget too. I stock up on the groceries we use most when they are on sale. We rarely go out. For fun, we have a Blockbuster subscription, and we rent our favorite T.V. programs & movies. (Skip the commercials - saves a lot of time - and it makes us watch more quality T.V.) If we do go out, we usually do Mexican, which is very cheap. We take walks and go to the park for fun too. I try not to waste anything. Unfortunately, we live in the country, and our grocery store is a 20 minute drive, so we have to have two cars. But we do buy reliable, economical cars and drive them for as long as we can. Simply put, we do without many new clothes, vacations, expensive food. I don't have any decent furniture either. But it's all worth it to stay home with my son.

InTheFastLane said...

coupons drive me nuts. Sometimes they are useful and other times they are just gimmicks to get you to buy something that you wouldn't otherwise.

Bastet said...

Great tips.

We car pool into work, thankfully we work close. It can be tough sometimes, but we manage.