Once our oldest daughter was born, I quit work and stayed home with our children. It was reducing to one income that forced us to pinch pennies. We had mouths to feed and only so much money to buy that food. I’ve listed some ways that we have implemented to bring down our costs.
- Get out of debt; interest should be the first expense to go.
- Pay your bills on time; late fees should not be a budget item.
- Have your paycheck direct deposited; many times banks will waive a monthly service charge if you do this.
- Raise your insurance deductibles as high as you can comfortably go; this will bring down your premiums. Then make sure you have the deductible in savings.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room, unplug appliances after use, and turn off computers at night. Use extra freezers or refrigerators only when entertaining.
- Shop at discount stores and warehouses. Split large quantities with friends.
- Go without meat a couple of nights a week for dinner. Have pasta with marinara or salads or soups. Rice and beans are a great supper with complete protein and no expensive cuts of meat.
- Buy juice from a can and mix in your own water. You can save as much as 150 percent on the cost.
- You would be surprised at the beautiful clothes you can find at thrift shops. I have several friends who dress beautifully from thrift shop deals. You’d never know.
- If you’re an avid reader, borrow fiction from the library or friends or buy used books. Only buy books new that you will refer to again (like this book).
- Cut back on newspapers and magazine subscriptions. Renew only those you read regularly. Listen to news on the radio; you can multitask, and it’s free!
- Make your own coffee. Buy the good stuff: it’s still cheaper to make.
- Make your own lunch. Buy the good deli meat: it’s still cheaper to make.
- Make sure you don’t buy extra roadside assistance if your auto insurance already offers this. You’d be surprised how many people do this!
- Grow a garden. Nowadays gardens can even be grown in pots on the patio.
- Do indoor dates with homemade popcorn, a video, and a glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed. You’ll save a small fortune and won’t drink and drive.
- Use coupons for restaurants!
- Rather than eat in, take it to go. You save on drinks and tip. Have the kids share entrees to cut down on waste.
- Do your shopping on the Internet; there are always better prices. Watch for waived shipping costs and sales to get the best possible deal. Brent pays a yearly fee for two-day shipping through Amazon.com, and they don’t charge tax. Saves us plenty.
- Look for bundle packages on media. Cell phone service, cable, and landline service companies will sometimes work together to reduce your monthly bills.
- If you have teenagers, pay the monthly flat rate for texting. It’ll save you money, guaranteed. And it’ll save on your minutes.
- Always ask your husband if he knows coworkers with side businesses. Cops will many times give cops a good deal. It’s kind of a co-op thing.
- Inquire whether your union has concierge services. You can save money on vacations and amusement parks among other things.
These are some of the savings I have found when trying to balance the budget. They are tried and true.
Money is a huge issue for marriages, and the financial times we are currently enduring have taken their toll on many families. But we can take control of this area of our marriages and make it what it needs to be. When we make the choice to keep spending under control, everyone benefits, including our children.