Friday, October 24, 2008

Seven Ways to Cut Everyday Costs

Considering the state of the economy and the impending holiday season, I thought this might be a good time to share some of the ways my family cuts costs year round. Some of these started as ways to be a little more eco-friendly and ended up being big money savers, some were adopted strictly to save money.
  1. Don't buy convenience food. This takes practice, I haven't perfected it yet. You have to plan your meals ahead and make sure some of them are quick and easy to prepare. My 4 year old helps me make a big batch of granola bars from scratch each week for snacks. We don't buy anything that is packaged in individual serving sizes.
  2. Buy in bulk. We have a grocery store with a huge bulk section and the prices are amazing. Some of the things I buy in bulk: Three types of flour, Three types of sugar, All spices, Pasta, Rice, Nuts, Oats, Dried fruit, Chocolate chips, Yeast, Baking soda, Waffle/pancake mix(could make my own, but it's so cheap in bulk!), Parmesan cheese. That's just what I can think of off the top of my head. Most of our time in the grocery store is spent here.
  3. Don't go to or rent movies. We do go to the $2 movie theater in our city once in a while, they usually have movies right before they go to DVD. Other than that we know our tastes pretty well and just buy the movies we want to see.
  4. Be a one car family. The obvious savings here are the basic ownership costs of a second vehicle. The bonus savings are that when the kids and I get bored we can't just jump in the car and go buy our way out of boredom. We never feel stranded at home because if we want to make plans my husband can always take the bus to work, leaving us with the car.
  5. Reward kids with playtime instead of treats. If our kids can be semi-agreeable when we are out running errands we let them play on the climbing toy at Target (our Target is at the mall). Bribing them with a chance to play on the train is just as effective as bribing them with a toy and is totally free. We do all of our errands in one day and it is a lot to ask of the kids so some kind of bribe is usually necessary.
  6. Use cloth whenever possible. We use cloth diapers and napkins. Paper towels are only used for doggy accidents; dishrags or rags are used for all other messes. We save the cost of the products and we make fewer trips to the store so fewer impulse purchases.
  7. Use less laundry detergent. I had read this tip many times but I was a little scared to do it. What if my clothes weren't clean? How would I know? In hopes of not letting detergent build up in our diapers I finally tried it. I was not looking forward to taking a big whiff of what had been a poopy diaper only an hour ago. I had used a little less than half the recommended amount and my diapers smelled fresh! I use that amount on every load of laundry now.
These are some of the changes we've made that have had the biggest impact on our monthly budget. I'd love to hear some of your cost-cutting ideas in the comments, I'm always looking for ways to save!

1 comment:

  1. there are real economies of scale with using cloth too - the more you switch to cloth, the cheaper it is, and the easier it is to keep up because you'll always have (clean!) rags/wipes on hand. use cloth wipes with cloth diapers, and those wipes are just as handy for cleaning up spills as disposable baby wipes or paper towels.