Tommy and I recently came up with a budget for the fall once the baby is here and we’re down to one income. With only about $50 of non essentials (eating out and Netflix) we came up about $250 short each month. We’re trying to save as much as we can right now while we’re both working and our expenses aren’t quite as high, so that we can afford those tight months. I am also fine tuning some money saving habits so hopefully they’ll be more natural in the fall.
I was first turned on to couponing though my first wife’s class at SWBTS via a site called The Grocery Game. You can sign up for a 4 week trial for only $1. Basically it pairs together coupons with the lowest sale prices so you can get name brand items for much cheaper than generics. I no longer use that website, but have moved on to The Coupon Mom which is very similar, not quite as thorough, but free. I also frequent the blog Money Saving Mom. She provides links to coupons you can print online and some general thrifty ideas. She also explains CVSing quite well. Though I’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities of CVS, I hear tons of stories of customers who get things there for pennies on the dollar. One of the principles behind this idea is stockpiling. Buy more than you need right now because you will use it in the future and it’s at a super low price now. Toiletries and cleaning products won’t go bad; meat can freeze and canned and bottled items have a long shelf life!
My first trip to CVS I bought 3 packs of diapers, 2 packs of wipes, 2 tubes of toothpaste, and 2 bottles of dish soap all for under $30. The diapers alone normally cost about that much, and I also got $6 in coupons to use on my next visit. Tommy’s favorite story is from the time we had to buy a Cadbury Egg at Walgreen’s so they didn’t have to pay us. At Kroger I typically save about 40% on my groceries.
Angel Food Ministries
My mom has been nice enough to sent Tommy and I some money so we can participate in The Angel Food Ministry. There are sites (churches) all across the US where you can sign up. Once a month you can pick up a ton of food, mostly meat for $30, and choose additional specials (all meat) for $20. Right now our freezer is totally packed with chicken breasts, chicken filets, chicken nuggets, beef filets, some kinda steak, pork chops, green beans, a pumpkin pie, a pizza, beef and bean burritos, and a few other items; not to mention the pork chops and beef filets we already ate, and all the other non-freezer items.
When I last filled up, gas was at $3.74. I’m sure we’ll see it over $4.00 before much longer, and many of you have. In CA gas is up over $4.20, I even saw some diesel for $5.10!! Making sure your car is tuned up and combining trips are pretty obvious, but nonetheless make a big impact. I was so blessed to have my windows tinted for Mother’s Day so that’s helping to keep my car cooler. And even though Tommy loves his truck, we pretty much take my car everywhere; it gets about twice the gas mileage. The most difficult thing to improve my gas mileage will be to slow down. Though I’m used to driving ?? on the highway, I’m going to try to bump it down to much closer to the speed limit. We totally can’t afford a ticket.
Shopping at Home
My biggest goal this summer is to cook at home more and to use what I’ve got at home, planning our meals around what’s in the pantry and freezer. So far we’ve done quite well! And eating more salad and being generally healthy because that will be cheaper than having to deal with obesity related problems like diabetes and heat disease in the future.
We’re going to try using a credit card for our expenses. Currently we use a check card and carry no balances or debt anywhere. Praise God! The one credit card we have offers points you can use to buy gift cards to places we actually shop/eat or you can get cash back. Once I figure out which is a better deal, I think we might switch over to using a credit card (which we WILL pay off each month) so we can take advantage of these offers.
What do you do to save money?