I’ve been thinking today about some of the things that make me unique and how life’s circumstances have actually created these in me in the past few years. My husband would say that one of those things is some of the ways I save money.
The reason why this is unique is because I didn’t grow up in a family that “needed” to save money. My dad has done well in his career and let’s just say that I could (or rather my parents could)…
..BUY me most anything I wanted…. within reason 😉
Then.. Michael and I got married when I was 20 (almost 21).. we were still in college and well, let’s just say that marrying an aspiring pastor and now church planter has completely changed that ability 😉
And, in all honesty, I am actually very grateful that I have been forced to learn money saving techniques in my daily life. I think my friends who knew me prior to now would be surprised at the very different approach I take to money, but, if one day, Michael and I are able to spend more in the future, I still have no desire to spend what I don’t have to.
Anyways, here’s some ways we save money (though we’re learning more everyday and I’ll take any advice anyone wants to offer):
1. I shop at Aldi (I used to coupon and I have some great advice for those who want to- it’s definitely not the long process most people think it is. I also have a few friends who do an excellent job with it~ I’ll write more about that in the future. Once Gabe wasborn, we realized we were eating more and more fresh produceand I can find it for the cheapest prices at Aldi so, if you have one in your area… GO THERE! No questions asked. If you don’t have an Aldi, the best idea is a farmer’s market. It’s fresh produce for cheaper than the average grocery store for the most part.
2. I buy Target brand (Up&Up) diapers (This may seem small to some of you, but the price difference is incredible and these are the best diapers that compare to the brand names in quality. Incredible diapers! HIGHLY recommended.
3. My kids wear second hand clothes (First of all, I can’t take full credit for this because we have been so, so blessed by friends who have given us so many clothes that I’ve rarely had to buy clothes, but when I do, the best ways I purchase them are at consignment sales (we have a huge one at our state fairgrounds twice a year- I get clothes for $1 each), second hand shops (i.e. Once Upon a Child, etc.), yard sales, Craigslist, church consignment sales, and Goodwill.)
Here’s an example of matching outfits I found for my boys both at a consignment shop and passed on from friends.
4. I buy second hand clothes for myself (I know I know… I can hear it… the shock from my friends from the past. Yes, thisformer Miss Virginia contestant buys second hand clothes. Where do I buy them you ask? Well, second hand shops for the most part~ Plato’s Closet, local ones, etc., but I have also bought some at yard sales and thrift stores.) Don’t get me wrong, I do get new clothes too (when my mom or Michael decide to treat me to a shopping trip ;).
Here’s a cute maternity outfit I found at a yard sale.
5. I make my own baby food (Oh yes… one of my favorite decisions because you can save an INSANE amount of money and it can be fun. Just be sure to get “The Magic Bullet”. Believe me, it will make your life easier!) I even made some delicious yogurt drops a few days ago that I’ll post about later.
6. We do free or cheap activities (The park, the library, church 😉 open gyms, walks/walking the mall, playgroups at friends’ houses, indoor playgrounds, and barnes and noble (see https://mrsprojectfreedom.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/get-out-with-your-kids/ for some of these ideas)
7. I work from home (I’m still making money, but my boys do not need daycare. I realize that my situation is unique in that my job has specific qualifications, but I have friends that work from home as small business owners who sell on Etsy, craft fairs, etc., home daycare owners, writers, and teachers of their specific skill sets.)
8. And finally, and very obviously, the most important::: DRUMROLL:::
….We have a budget… Gasp! 🙂
But yes, we went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University: http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu. Seriously, if you haven’t taken this class before, this is a MUST! We learned so much and have only made it through the past few financially ROUGH years because of following his plan, definitely not the way we should, but we have tried.
So I hope this helps someone out. Let me know if you have any more ideas!
Have a great Wednesday!