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How Do You Save Money?

When we moved into our house almost a year ago, we knew it was going to need cosmetic updates. We wanted to live in it first before choosing paint colors, buying a dining room set, etc. But in that year, we’ve done nothing to the house and non-cosmetic issues having to do with the plumbing and electricity have come up. We bought this house from an elderly couple and putting it through the rigors of family life with two young boys and a dog are pushing the old systems to their limits.

Saving Money

Should I sell off one of the boys to save a few pennies?

So now we find ourselves having to work home repair into an already stretched budget. We also have quite a few family weddings to attend this year, resulting in added expenses. I realize that we are luckier than some. We both have jobs, can afford food and good quality child care, and can pay our bills. We’re squirreling away money for Disney, have made our deposits on summer camp and have our kids enrolled in extra curriculars like swimming lessons and music therapy. As we do this though, I find myself wondering where we can cut corners. I know that every little bit counts so am trying to come up with ways to save a few dollars here and there so we can easily afford life’s little extras.

How do you save money? Do you clip coupons and meal plan according to what’s on sale? Did you cancel your cable and home phone using internet and mobile phones only? Do you make your own cleaning products? What about making bread or yogurt, etc.? I’d love to get a conversation started on tried and true money saving tips that are easy to follow. Will you join me over on the Bright Horizons Online Community to share what you’ve learned about saving and help me fill up my piggy bank?

2 comments

  1. Brenda April 19, 2013 at 3:39 am

    We save money by shopping at a national discount grocery chain that doesn’t even accept coupons. We’ve found in the past that using coupons wouldn’t save us money. We’d either end up buying things we wouldn’t have normally, or show up at the check-out having selected the wrong package size that doesn’t match the coupon. Not a great scenario when 2 kids are in tow.
    We only have home internet service and cell phones. We watch such limited TV (or just watch it from the internet) that not having cable isn’t an issue and we don’t miss it after 2+ years without. We haven’t had home phones for several years as well, which just started by not wanting to pay the set-up fees for multiple moves, and then we just never signed up for home phones once we got settled.
    We also do a lot of our clothes shopping at the thrift store or garage sales. My 3-year old is still in the age where kids outgrow their clothes before they wear them out. My son at 5-years old is another story, but the thrift store was the best place to buy his fancy pair of dress shoes that he was only going to wear a handful of times. Turns out the previous owner must have only worn the shoes a handful of times as well. I personally buy a lot of my clothes through thrift stores or garage sales as well. I love the recycling of clothes concept, and have saved a bundle on turtlenecks to wear under sweaters and other standard items. I have a job where i have to dress professionally every day, 5 days a week, and I was amazed when our local thrift store had a pair of $100 shoes marked at just $10. . .
    Free entertainment is also our forte. We go to the library weekly. Our library has a Saturday story-time. We also check out about 50 children’s books each Saturday. Not all of them are great, but the quiet in the house for hours after we get home from the library is amazing. Sometimes the local movie theater will have free kids movies on Saturday mornings in the winter (banking on you buying concessions), and the parks have tons of free activities going on all summer in addition to the wading pools and splash pads in the parks.
    We cook most of our meals at home as well. I’d say we probably eat out less than once a week, although I’m sure we do get a pizza for $5 regularly once a week. Cooking at home saves tons of money, and also generates leftovers to eat while at work, so I’m not spending money at the work cafeteria or going out for lunch.
    We also save money when staying in hotels by opting for one with a continental breakfast, and then usually having one other meal (lunch or supper) daily in our hotel. We have packed sandwich fixings, easy mac, or just eaten pizza leftovers to save on food costs while traveling.
    Also we try to keep in mind what our kids really want. They just want time with us and not necessarily the (expensive) vacation I’m yearning for. When I asked my 5-year old where he wanted to go on vacation, he said that he wanted to go to the local trampoline park! That put it in perspective for me. Shifting my focus from looking for airline tickets to camping sites, we are going to be saving lots having a local family vacation spending lots of time with our kids and growing precious memories.

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