In my last post, I talked about how I stopped teaching four years ago to stay at home with our kids. It hasn't been easy and I shared a few things to consider before making that jump. Now, I want to share some practical things we've learned in the way of spending/saving and just plain getting by.
I think the main goal and objective mentally is to learn to be content which is super hard for me. On two incomes, even two teacher incomes, we could pretty much buy whatever we really wanted with having to save little ahead.
Now, we feel like we've been through the grid-iron of becoming more money wise and heart wise in the process. We've learned a lot about what we really don't need and even things we had that now don't mean all that much. It's very freeing, actually! Here are some ways we have survived and are now paying off credit card debt and putting money in savings, slow but steady.
5 ways we save money on one income:
1. Don't buy in bulk. (If you're living from month to month or pay check to pay check, it doesn't do you any good this month to overspend to save money on the next month. It only puts you in a crunch for now. Instead, make a grocery menu for the month (repeating two weeks) of things you will actually eat. That helps you use the same ingredients and doesn't drive you to pinterest to figure out some one else's miracle menu. We keep it to 4 snacks (we have 2 little kids) and simple meals that don't include a lot of ingredients. Eating more whole foods and not purchasing a lot of boxed things also saves money at the store. We shop 98% at Aldi too. We don't even coupon! WASTE OF MY TIME to save .50! It doesn't work for me. Buy fruit and veggies that are in season; they're cheaper!
2. Run appliances only in the morning. Okay, that may seem strange to you, but I've found it works. Running the washer/dryer and dishwasher in the early morning uses energy outside of peak time and doesn't cost you as much on your electric bill. Tada!
3. Sell it. I've sold tons of stuff out of our little house in the last 4 years. I usually make a habit of selling 2 times a year. FB group pages in your area help you do this like a charm. Yard sales make a bit of money too. Then don't buy anything new to replace what you sold. Our couch, we got from a neighbor that threw it out who was moving. We cleaned it, and covered it. You can make a sofa cover here with just a drop cloth from home depot! Hello! Our lazy boy recliners were given to us as well when they weren't wanted.
4. Keep used cars. I didn't used to think used cars saved money, but they do. We both have vehicles that are over 10 years old, talking '99 and '02. Putting money in once a year on a repair here or there is still tons cheaper than a car payment. PLUS, most of the time older cars have already had many of the major repairs done by the previous owner who then decides to chunk them. You can find some pretty reliable vehicles that are way above 100k. Check here for a helpful graph about a car before you buy so you'll know what to expect mechanically.
5. Buy Consignment This is something I've learned to do and for most of our clothes and our kids clothes we visit a resale store or a seasonal sale. We get all we can there. We buy the minimum clothing needed to get by before the season begins. Really, no one can tell! Buying used is in!
How do you save money? Do you do any of these 5 things already?
More to come in my next post on ways we're saving money on one income, specifically, how we budget and put money in savings. It's worth checking it out!