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Ways you cut costs
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bethmac182 posted:
I'm working out a plan to become a SAHM and I need ideas on ways to save money. I already have a few things worked out in my head, but I'd like to have a list ready to discuss with my husband.

Thanks Ladies!
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kristinrayerootes responded:
If you read the simplifying your life post, I mentioned once a month cooking. I think that it would be a great way to cut back on the grocery budget because you can buy in bulk and you know what you need, so you aren't buying unncessary itemes.
 
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bethmac182 replied to kristinrayerootes's response:
Thanks! Sorry I just noticed the other post, but I got a lot of ideas from it.
 
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jlcohen78 responded:
When I dropped down to part-time, we cut out extra necessities. For instance, we had FIOS in every room in our house and dropped it down the 2 rooms that we typically watch tv in. We also stopped eating out as much. Instead of ordering pizza on a Friday night, I'll make it from scratch using my bread machine. Food shopping with a list was also key along with meal planning. I found that we would typically eat out on nights that I hadn't thought ahead on. We also only make what we will eat. And if we have leftovers, I try to incorporate them into another meal or will have them for lunch the following day. We make as much as we can from scratch. I don't buy junk food or soda. I have no issues with buying store brand foods. Most of them taste the same. Cutting our food bill was a *huge* thing.

We also shopped around for car and home owners insurance and increaased our deductibles for lower premiums. I keep our thermostat at lower settings during the winter and higher settings in the summer (65 and 76 degres). We have ceiling fans in the bed rooms to help circulate the air.

We no longer give extravagent gifts to friends and family or each other for birthdays and holidays. Many times we try to make gifts instead --- although I'm far from crafty.

Budget, budget, budget. And stick to it. I'm a CPA so finances are my life. We keep track of every single penny spent using Quicken. I highly recommend doing that --- you might be surprised at how much you spend in certain areas.
 
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MontanaMama2009 responded:
So let me think of some ways in which I would work at getting rid of debt in order to be a SAHM, and maybe those would help you?

1. Sell our Victorian home and move into something much smaller.

2. Sell off two of our 4 vehicles. (They're all currently paid for, just that we pay insurance/coverage on them all.)

3. Create a budget and stick to it.

4. Make a weekly/monthly meal plan and grocery list based on that. Only eat out once a month, if even that.

5. Get rid of health club membership.

6. Buy used clothing (except for shoes. I just can't buy used shoes, for some reason.)

7. Cut your energy bills down by reducing your electricity usage, heating bills, cooling bills.

8. Cut your gas consumption down.

9. Cut out some extra-curricular activities for the older kids.

10. Find something I could do at home to earn $$$, like handmaking items or learning pottery so I could sell it, or maybe cleaning offices in the evenings or weekends.

11. If you have RV, sell it.

12. If you have cable/satellite, get rid of it.

13. Quit buying books/magazines. go to local library.

14. Find a hairstyle that doesn't need as much maintenance/upkeep/salon costs.

15. If you have your nails done (acrylic), quit doing your nails.
 
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jlynnpaine replied to jlcohen78's response:
Just this past week we have started unplugging appliances that we're not using or using power strips and turning them off. I've read that 75% of your electricity is used when things are turned off but still plugged in. It takes a bit of getting used to but it's going well so far. We turn off the power strip for the tv when we go to bed (but leave the satellite plugged in so we don't miss our shows that record late at night), leave the computer and all it's add ons unplugged unless we need it, etc. I hope to see a $10-15/month drop in our electric bill.
Have you considered either dropping your land line or getting prepaid cell phones? That can save quite a bit each month.
I do our grocery shopping once a month and plan meals out a month at a time. I always use a list and try very hard not to deviate from it.
We eat out maybe once every two months and by that I mean fast food when we go buy groceries.
I bake goodies for DH's lunches from scratch and make a double batch and throw some in the freezer in case we have a hectic weekend and I don't get the chance to bake again.
We use Up & Up brand diapers and wipes for DD as well. I buy store brand whenever possible too.
I also budget and use Quickbooks to track our spending so I can see where everything goes.
 
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jlcohen78 replied to jlynnpaine's response:
I've heard the same thing about the appliances. I think it was about how things that use remote controls always have power in them to pick up the remote signal. And I've noticed that some plugs feel warm to the touch even hours after they've been turned off. That will be interesting to see. Give us an update when you get your bill! I think we'll have to try it too!
 
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NicoleCoy01 replied to jlcohen78's response:
Just wondering what is FIOS?
 
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jlcohen78 replied to NicoleCoy01's response:
It's our cable/internet/phone service. (ie. fiber optic cable.)
 
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magsnemma replied to jlynnpaine's response:
I think it's called the phantom load when appliances still use energy when turned off. I read something about it and the appliances that use more of a phantom load are the ones that perform a function even when you're not using them. Like coffee makers that also have a clock.
 
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cheeezie25 responded:
I'm not a SAHM, but our family income took quite a dip once DS was born because we taylored our work schedules so we could avoid putting DS in daycare for his first year. Now, the economy just sucks, so we are finding it hard to get more hours or find better paying positions :(

I think for us, alot of our budgeting revolved around what we felt we could cut out of our lives without feeling deprived, and finding ways to pay less for the stuff we cannot live without. For instance, we still have cable with a good number of channels at our house, but we feel like that is a better investment in our entertainment than going out to a movie. I also try to make one "fancy" meal (like nice seafood, meals with more exotic ingredients) like every other week. It is like having a really nice restaurant meal (something we rarely do anymore) at a fraction of the cost, and it allows us (or me at least) to avoid those cravings to go out to a nice place, given that our taste buds can be satisfied to the same level at home. Also, I will pack my lunch on most days, but I still find it hard to completely avoid Starbucks. I've cut back alot, but I find that it is just one of those pleasures in life that I just don't want to do without... to some extent, I view it as an investment in my productivity, so if you think about it, it's not that bad, right? lol

However, we do do alot of basic things to cut expenses as well...
- Keep the freezer well stocked with meal food for those days when you just feel too lazy to cook. Then you can avoid doing takeout.
- I know alot of people think Whole Foods expensive, but I've found that buying from their bulk grains section saves alot of money. You can make a nutritious side of rice or other grains for the entire family for under a dollar per meal. I think I am going to start cooking rice and other grains in bulk so we can use them for a few meals in a row...
- Eat less meat! I have recently been trying to go vegetarian/vegan in the past few weeks for health reasons (although, I can't say I'm always that successful lol), but I have noticed that spirals into cost savings on meat products. And did you know tofu is $1.50/lb? I didn't until I started eating more of it. Compare that to the average price of meat per pound and, well, I think it is pretty obvious. I still buy meat for the boys, but going vege for myself totally and for a couple family meals per week actually saves a good amount of money, even considering that you will probably spend a little more money on fresh veggies for those meals.
- Look for sales. This, also pretty obvious. We stock up on items that we use frequently when we see one of the stores in our area is having a good sale. DH also scans the little coupon books that come in the Sunday paper... those coupons more than pay for the cost of getting the Sunday paper delivered, so it's a good investment.

I am sure we do other stuff, but that is what I can think of off the top of my head. Maybe next step will be to take the advice to unplug more stuff around the house when not in use... I've actually been meaning to do that, but I always forget :/ That would be something really easy to do and will have zero negaitve impact on our current lifestyle, so I should get on that lol
 
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RunninMama responded:
I like this post! There are some great ideas here that I need to try to follow.

Unfortunately, I don't have ideas of my own to share. I don't do a very good job with budgeting. I just keep track of what we spend, and I know to the penny what is in our account at all times. That way I know what I can still spend. I am more liberal with our food bill than anything else. And I never use a credit card unless it's for something that is best paid that way (hotel for ex.) or unless I can pay the card off with the next (NEXT!) paycheck. Most of the other things I do have been mentioned, including dropping a land line and using cell phones only and not eating out as much.

One tiny thing I do that I forgot to list on the simplifying your life post is that I pay all my bills online through my bank website. This saves the cost of stamps (along with saving all that paper). I get many of my bills sent to me electronically as well. I also send birthday and anniversary wishes in a nicely created email rather than buy cards to send in the mail. (I still do Christmas cards, but we've tailored back our list quite a bit this past year.) Guess I had an idea to share after all!
 
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cheeezie25 replied to RunninMama's response:
Runninmama, you reminded me of something that we do, that might be helpful... I actually use my credit card to buy everything and anything! However, I always make sure to pay it off in full each month. The reason I do this is because I get a point for every dollar I spend, and when you reach a certain number of points, you can get money and gift cards! I always take the deal where you get an $80 check in turn for 10,000 points, which actually takes alot less time to accummulate than you would think :( My cc company also has a promotion for the next month or so that you will get triple the points on any purchases you make. I've never used quickbooks or anything, but I also find that this is a good way to loosely keep track of where you spend money instead of just using cash for all your purchases. I'm also in love with online bill pay too... so much easier than snailmail.
 
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katieb426 responded:
Lots of good stuff mentioned already, so some of this might be a repeat.

We don't have cable. We would get rid of internet in a heartbeat if we needed to.

Unplug appliances. Run the dishwasher or dryer after 9pm. The rates are cheaper through the middle of the night. In warm months, we actually hang out our laundry to dry. Also, shut off the sprinklers any time it rains. No need to double water.

We use coupons to eat out. Lots of buy one get one free stuff. Although, we rarely eat out anymore since there's six of us and it's just too expensive. But ya, we're "that family" that uses coupons at McDonalds.

Every payday, DH and I sit down with the bills and the calendar and budget EVERYTHING. This way we aren't thrown off by a birthday gift or doctor's appointment or something like that. Plan, plan, and plan some more.

Look at second hand stores for clothes for the kids. They are going to outgrow them fast. We have a store here that we can get clothes for 79cents a piece. Yes, it's hit or miss, but it's great.

We look through our city's publications and museum websites for all our entertainment. There are so many free activities. Our local library also offers lots of great activities.

Walk or ride your bike whenever you can. It really does save a ton in gas.

I always look at it this way....My husband's job is to make money. My job is to SAVE money!


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