These money saving tips will show you how to save $1k MORE every year! They’ve worked for our family for years!
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Our family tries to be pretty thrifty and save as much as we can. We have found several things that work great for us to save money, so I decided to share some of them with you all today. Some are money saving ideas, others are things that have helped us in handling our finances so far. All of these things might not work for every family, but you might find some things that could help you pinch some pennies.
—Bonus tip – get cashback when you shop online by using Ebates!–
1. Make a monthly budget – It is really not as hard as you might think, and you can get as detailed as you want, or leave it simple with just bills/food/gas money on there. Budgeting things out on paper helps to keep you accountable to what you are spending and where, and it can give you lots of peace of mind knowing that you do have money for each bill, or food for the rest of the month etc.
2. No tv – We don’t even own one, but we aren’t really missing out on anything (other than the bill). I often go to our local library and pick up movies or even full seasons of shows on DVD for FREE. We then watch those on our laptop. Sure, we may be “behind” a little on all the shows, but it is worth it to us to save the money! To keep up with more recent shows we mainly use hulu.com, though I know that there are other websites that do it(nbc.com and other channels’ websites). Hulu is free and 100% legal and you can watch the most recent episodes of most shows, they usually go on the site the day after the show airs on TV. So all you have to do is wait 1 day and then you can catch up on the show! More recently we’ve purchased a Hulu plus membership for $8 a month, still a LARGE savings! If you sign up through that link you will get 2 free weeks!
Average monthly saving – $30 (depending on what you bundle etc.)
Savings over 1 year – $360
3. Baking bread – My husband and my baby LOVE bread. So they end up eating it a lot. Hubby will just walk into the kitchen and grab a couple slices of bread to snack on. We were easily spending $15 on bread a month with just 3 of us at home! When I evaluated our food bill I saw that this was one area that could easily bring in some savings. Now I bake my own bread for around 35 cents a loaf. (my husband calculated it out one day, but I don’t remember his exact total) I use this recipe right now and it is SO simple! I usually bake 3 loaves at a time and then freeze two. So I end up baking twice a month usually. Not only do you save money, but you know exactly what you are feeding your family, and can even pronounce all the ingredients! The recipe I use only has four.
Average monthly savings $13
Average savings over one year – $156 (can you believe it? it is like being paid $156 to bake bread for my family!!!)
4. Breakfast for Dinner – this one is simple and kinda fun! Once a week or so I make breakfast tacos for dinner instead of a “normal” meal. eggs are SO cheap, and tortillas aren’t too expensive either. I can feed all three of us for approximately $1.50 Doing a super cheap meal like this once a week or so can really cut back on your dinner spending and save a few extra pennies. You could even do this more often by incorporating other cheap things like 40 cent frozen pot pies etc. How much you will save doing this depends on how much an average dinner at your house costs. But let’s just say it’s a normal meal is around $5 and you do this 4 times a month…
Average monthly savings $ 14
Average savings over 1 year -$168
5. Make your own laundry soap – There are so many recipes for laundry soap floating around the internet, I found one and was really surprised at how easy it was! We were spending a LOT on laundry soap each month because of cloth diapers and having to wash them with “special” expensive soap. I switched to making my own, and it has been great! If you visit this site you can see the recipe I use, and also all of her calculations about how much money it saves. Making your own soap equals out to costing a PENNY a load. or 71 cents for 2 gallons vs. $12 or so for 2 gallons of store bought
Average savings per month – $11
Average savings over 1 year – $132
6. Once a month cooking – This is something new I just started this month, so I am still working out the kinks. The basic idea behind it is to prepare your dinner meal plan for the entire month ahead of time, then go shopping, buy all the ingredients and then take 1 day to cook and freeze ALL the meals. I am loving the convenience of this method, but also the savings! it is amazing how many extra things you will grab every time you are at the store because something is on sale, or looks yummy etc. Using this method you end up going to the store WAY less so you cut back on those extra purchases, and you always have meals in the freezer so you don’t end up stopping for fast food or ordering take out because you forgot to buy anything for dinner. You can save a lot of time and money this way if you can find a way to make it work for your family. I have heard of some people doing it weekly instead of monthly, but the same idea is in place, less shopping = less spending!
Average savings varies family to family
7. Unplug – Such a simple concept, remembering to do it is the trick! Simply unplug the things you are not using. Phone chargers, laptops, microwaves even! Statistics show that 10% or more of your electric bill is from appliances that are plugged in but not in use. That’s crazy!!! So simply turn lights off when you leave the room, and unplug what you are not using and you can slice your electric bill down by 10% – obviously a lot of appliances cannot be unplugged, but go ahead and make the extra effort to unplug the rest and you can save a lot over a year. And really, all it is costing you is minor inconvenience to bend down and unplug something, or having to replug it when you want to use it. At first it is irritating, but eventually you get used to it.
Average savings varies depending on your home and electricity prices in your area but for us:
Average monthly savings $8
Average savings over 1 year $ 96
8. Date night – I know that dates are typically looked at as expensive, but it is possible to do fun cheap dates! We work it in to our budget so that we are sure to have good intentional time together! There are several ways to have a cheap date night. For starters, you could try doing something at home instead of going out. I created a list of 10 home-dates that don’t involve the TV.
If you are able to go on a date outside of the home there are several ways to save money that way too. Share your meal, don’t order drinks, or consider going to a deli instead of a fancy restaurant! Swap babysitting nights with a friend to get free childcare when you go out… With a little effort and creativity you could have an affordable date night several times a month!
9. “Fun money” – have a special ‘savings’ areas with the labels “wifey fun money” and “hubby fun money”. We started doing this a couple months ago and so far it has worked great. At the end of each month I will set aside a small percentage of whatever extra money we have left over to each of our “fun” savings’. Knowing that I have that fund keeps me from buying things on a whim because I know it will come out of my “fun” money. It also is great because then I can choose what I want from my area and he can choose what he wants. When we want bigger things we can put our money together and get it, or we can keep buying things that we each want. (I usually buy clothes and decorations, while he is more interested in books & games).
Average savings varies…
But it has helped me save TONS because I don’t buy things on a whim anymore, I really have to think through my purchases because I know they are coming from “my” fun money.
***Bonus!*** A fun way to get extra spending money is using Swagbucks! You can earn points by watching videos, searching the web, answering surveys and more! I’ve used them for a couple years now and love changing my points in for gift cards for a bit of extra spending money!
10. Evaluate your spending – I think this is important to do every so often with your spouse. Sit down together and really look at where your money is going each month and discuss together what changes need to be made if any. It is amazing what you can figure out when you put your heads together! It can also serve to relieve the stress of the spouse who does not handle the finances. I handle the finances in our family, but every so often hubby and I will talk through our budget together, or I will just update him that “everything is good” or what corners I’m cutting this month to make things work etc. I think it helps relieve stress on his end to know what is going on, without having to figure it out himself. communication can solve so many problems, even problems that have not surfaced yet!
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Adding together the things that I could calculate the average monthly savings:
$76 saved per month or
$912 per year!
Add in the date night savings, monthly meal savings and cutting back those spur of the moment purchases this will be well over $1k savings every year!
There is so much that could be done with that money. We originally had to implement some of these things so I could quit my job and stay home with our kids, but then kept it up and added in a few things to buy a house!
Some ideas of what to do with the extra money you could save… Start saving for something you will need soon (car repairs/new car), paying off debt, college funds for the kids, or even support missions organizations. For example 2 children from compassion international could be supported for just $78 a month.
So, what about you? what are some things your family does to save money?
We do a ALOT of these!! :) They are great ideas and just plain smart too. We also use the Dave Ramsey program. I recommend it to everyone, but basically he promotes using a cash system instead of cards. Less credit card debt, less spending, and more saving! Basically, you try to get $1,000. for an emergency fund, you also take out everything you need in cash and budget it. So you know how much is in each fund say, Tithe, groceries, gas. We actually leave everything in our account that is for bills and it gets automatically taken out, then everything left over we add up and take out in cash, and we put it in our envelopes. Jon gets a paycheck twice a month so we do it twice. I blogged about it before, but it is awesome! :) Great post girl!!!
Great idea Kathryn thanks for sharing!!! :) I don’t do the cash program because it makes me nervous lol. But we don’t have credit cards only a debit card so it is a similar idea. I have never read any of dave ramseys books or anything but I want to, everything I hear about him is so great!!
Excellent post. Thank you for the encouragement and sharing your source links :)
This is a fantastic post! We do many of the things on here (#1, 2, 7,8, 9, 10) but several are new. Great ideas! Thanks a bunch.
Rhonda Neely says
I just came across your blog and love this post. You share some great money saving ideas. I’m heading over to learn how to make my own laundry detergent. The Fun Money is a great idea because, like you said, it encourages you not to buy on impulse. I’ll have to share this with my readers! Thanks so much!
Great post! We do a lot of the things you listed! Thanks so much for linking up at Consider the Lilies :)
Great list, Paula! I especially love the idea for making your own laundry detergent and breakfast for dinner. :)
Bread RECIPE!!?? :)
sorry! here it is ;)
Great tips!n I wish I could bake bread, I have tried several recipes, but to no avail! I think yeast hates me!
These are awesome ideas! I had never even considered the difference cost for baking bread vs. buying it! Are you willing to share recipes and tips for the monthly freezer meals you prepare? I would LOVE to learn more about that! Thanks again for the great ideas…my wallet thanks you. Stopping by from Hoyby Crafts
Taylor-Made Ranch says
I love these tips. I’ve never been able to do OAMC, it just seemed to be too much planning and too long in the kitchen at one time. BUT, I do use the ‘Cook-Once, Eat-Twice’ method where I simply make multiples of the main dish I’m cooking. I’ll make 4 meatloaves at a time, eat meatloaf for supper and divide the remainder into meal-sized servings & freeze. That oven only had to be fired up once (a big plus in the heat & humidity of NE Texas!) and the ingredients pulled out once, dishes cleaned up once, etc. Future meals are easy – pull them out of the freezer the night before to thaw in the fridge, heat in the microwave for supper the next day. A couple of side dishes and homemade dinner is on the table fast! I use this method with stuffed peppers, homemade ravioli, almost any main dish we enjoy. (visiting from Wonderful Wednesday hop)
Wolfe City, Texas
Great tips. If I were to get rid of our tv I would save $1008 a year. There would be a mutiny though so it stays :)
Just found your blog today through Saving for Six. Can’t wait to read back through.
We love tips and appreciate that you shared on the BeBetsy BRAG ABOUT IT. We’d love it if you would link back to us! Have a wonderful weekend!
Sharon and Denise
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Paula…those are great ideas. We love breakfast for dinner, too. One thing we do is buy used items and save the difference. For instance, my daughter and I shop second stores for clothes or clearance racks marked 70% or more off. I also have decorated my home with items I’ve re-purposed instead of buying it new. Thank you for sharing fabulous ideas to encourage saving costs at WJIM. Have a blessed week.
Katie Adams says
Thank you for sharing on Blog Stalking Thursday! I have featured your project on Blog Stalking Thursday Features YOU! The post is going live later tonight. I would love for you to stop by and grab a feature button. Thanks again for sharing!
Sarah Bailey says
I have such a problem in summer where I seem to go a little spending crazy – in the winter I’m fine I don’t want to do much so it’s all ok so these tips are most definitely needed at the moment thank you :)
Life in a Break Down
Jo Booth says
I will definitely try some of these out – thank you !
Alicia Franks Gibson says
Great tips………I found some I want to try for sure like making my own laundry soap. I am over from the Marvelous Mondays link party. :-)
Alicia Franks Gibson says
Great tips, thanks!
Thanks for the ideas- it’s funny how you forgot about things like unplugging electronics! We love breakfast for dinner too- usually french toast, or pancakes or even a breakfast casserole. I forgot about breakfast burritos- we always have tortillas, eggs & cheese on hand!
Ricki @ The Questionable Homesteader says
OMG I love so many of these tips!!! And yes I do them. It is amazing how much the savings add up.
I’ve never done the Breakfast for Dinner thing (will have to add that in…) but I do at least one meal every week without meat, the savings with that really do add up, also, I use the bare minimum of meat in recipes when I do cook. If the recipe calls for 4 chicken breasts sliced into pieces, try one chicken breast cut into smaller pieces, and add extra vegetables. I personally don’t miss the extra meet, and have never had a compliant on the lack of meet.
I love batch cooking! I participate in a monthly food co-op, which I love as it’s only $15 a month and you get close to $50 worth of fruit and vegetables. I spend the weekend that I get it making it into meals, and end up only having to cook once or twice a week. Huge savings, and I’m not entering any stores to buy stuff. I’m also a stickler for the “if it’s not on the list, it’s not in the basket” rule.
As for the Date Night one, I’ve never understood why people think that you have to eat for it to be a date. We have lots of hiking trails in my area that I love walking on for “Dates” (not a valid option for first dates, but great if you’ve been together for a while), we also have farmer’s markets and parks that we can wonder around. I personally love to move on a date, even if it is just a slow walk while you visit. I have a jar of ideas that we have both contributed to, we like free, so whenever we think of something that might be fun, or that we want to do/try we write it down and put it in the jar. We pull from the jar once a week, and if we enjoyed the idea we put it back in the jar. We try to have fun with it and only restrict the ideas to free (and things that the person writing the idea would like to do…)
Evaluate Your Spending! This to me is my biggest money saver!!! and the hardest thing for me to do. I try to write everything that I purchased down (along with what I spent) and go over it every month to see what I could cut out, or make myself to save money. I like to include the month/year that I bought the idem(s) as sometimes it’s something that I only buy once every couple of months, or once a year.
Kendra @ AProverbs 31 Wife says
The fun money is great!!!
If hubby picks up a side job, or I babysit for an evening, that money goes into what we call our “fun fund”. By doing that, we are able to take trips to see long distance family!
Great tips. We cut the cord on cable a couple years ago and have never looked back. I love hulu and netflix and of course the library. Just started, last week, making bread on a regular basis too. If I can keep up with the demands of my family this will definitely save us money.
Thanks for sharing.
The Prudent Homemaker says
I baked 4 loaves of bread yesterday and we ate 3 :) So it looks like I am baking bread again today!
I don’t do once a month cooking, but our dates are at home, and are average dinners are $1.50 for 9 of us. I love eggs and only buy them on sale for .99 a dozen, and then I spread them out to use in baking; we have eggs less often than I would like, but our budget is super tight.
I’m actually doing a series on my blog right now on eating for .40 a day. You may want to come check it out!
Dear Paula and Prudent Homemaker,
These are great money saving tips. (I’m already doing most of them.) One thing I have to disagree with though is the eggs. There are many egg replacements that are much cheaper on the internet. For example cornstarch can be used in baking. This is MUCH cheaper! Do you ever wonder how it is possible to get eggs so cheap? I do eat eggs but only cage-free ones. I’ve heard there are no laws about labeling “cage free”, so I get them from the traveling farmers market that comes to my neighborhood and other parts of the city. They are only a dollar or so more than the store ones, and I know that the hens got to live in healthy conditions. This has a direct impact on your health too. The drugs used on factory farm hens are also a real problem
If this reply doesn’t go to the top, I’ll probably make a new comment so others can see.
Kristin @ Kit's Crafts says
Seriously Paula. You are killing me with the fabulous posts! This is the third one I clicked to as a result of the Whatever Goes Wednesday link party. I always look at at least 10 different posts, but rarely more then one from the same blogger. Well done! (although, I can’t say I’m surprised…) Oh, and to answer your question, we started doing a cash budget for at least groceries and eating out. We also called and changed our student loan repayment plan, which helped A TON!
You are so sweet! Glad you are enjoying the posts!!! :)
You’ve got some great tips. I love the suggestion to turn off the TV. I’ve found another savings associated with the TV — my family usually wants what they’re advertising. It’s usually stuff we don’t need, food that’s not good for us, or a media diet that we certainly don’t want to watch. Keeping the TV off solves all these problems, and saves lots of money, too. Thanks for sharing your ideas :)
Antionette Blake says
WOW…that no TV thing would never work in our house – lol!
Our library card saves us thousands of $$ every year. Not only do we have access to all the new books, but also magazines, DVD’s and music discs. I came home with 2 best sellers the other day that would have cost us $75 to buy. Our membership also gives us on-line access to daily newspapers from around the world and genealogy data bases like Ancestry. Another money saver is a garden. Someone once said that growing vegetables is like printing your own money. I would have to agree, especially if you can freeze them for the winter.
Krista Low says
I think everyone can re-evaluate their spending habits and should to do so! This is a timely post with school starting and I know it has been on my mind lately to revamp our family budget. Thanks for the great suggestions! This is being featured @ Great Idea Thursday’s :) Krista @ A Handful of Everything
Jann Olson says
I remember doing so many things to save money as a young mother. Not nearly as careful now that it’s just hubby and I. It’s nice to help our kids out now and then. Not so much to make them not learn to live within their own means. But hubby just suggested we give each grandchild $50 to put towards their school clothes. It was so appreciated by them and their parents. Still putting money away is always a necessity. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
Crystal & Co says
What a great list of ways to save. Some of these I have never considered the savings!
This was one of the most click posts last week at The Mommy Club linky party! Thank you so much for sharing. You can see your feature here: http://www.crystalandcomp.com/2013/08/best-mom-advice-82713/.
Gosh, these are some great ideas! We started to get serious with budgeting after reading Dave Ramsey. We have no cable-just too much money. Instead we bought a Roku at Best Buy and hooked it up to our TV. If you have internet, you can run a Roku box on your TV. (Best Buy can tell you all the “guy” stuff). Then for $8.99 (a month for Netflick) we went on the internet and ordered Netflick. WOW! There’s so much to see you will never run out of movies, hulu, documentary shows, news, weather, sports, TV shows, you name it. You can watch it on your computer or TV. I haven’t watched regular TV in several years…we just use the big screen on ours to watch movies, science documentary’s and a host of other educational shows, etc. Another way to save is shop consignment shops in well-to-do neighborhoods. Great purse choices, and shoes, some brand new, never worn. Gap children cloths and men’s shirts and slacks for business or Sunday. Designer jeans for us ladies at a fraction of the original cost. Last savings tips: put a timer on your hot water heater and a insulated blanket around it. You’ll see a difference in your electric bill especially in winter. Plenty of insulation in the attic, too.
Suzie King says
Here in Africa we braai a lot( barbecue)
Instead of using expensive fire starters
I dry out used tea bags and put them in a very large
Jar and pour parifin over them, it works really well.
I have just seen on Veronia Howard’s site on Facebook
Cotton swabs dipped in wax, are also great fire starters.
Another tip I have not used yet, before using a candle
Put it in the freezer for a couple of hours before use
And it will last a lot longer.
Thanks for all the info
We do a lot of these! Breakfast for dinner is one of my favorite go-to’s when money is tight. I”ve tried making my won bread before but haven’t been thrilled with it, I’ll have to ttry your recipe!
Kat Hart says
Great ideas! We have tried number 7. It does actually save some money. You wouldn’t think it would make a big difference, but it does. Our family started using a low-flow/water conservation shower head called the Shower Manager and it has saved us hundreds over the past year.
Thanks for sharing!
Cara @ Fashionably Frugal says
Great tips! I got rid of our cable and instead just stream movies through Netflix now. It saves so much and we don’t miss a thing, besides that I think it makes us save even more. Since there are no annoying commercials, I don’t get fixated on something that I “can’t live without, but somehow did before I saw it on TV”.
Thank you for sharing, I enjoyed reading your post.
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Denial Smith says
Thank you very much for your recommendations. I use my three favorite rules to save my money.
1. It is constantly put off % of their earnings.
2. It use all possible coupons and discount hours in shops or restaurants.
3. This is to monitor the exchange rate on https://usd.mconvert.net/ and to exchange their savings in profitable currency!
Ethan Brad says
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