How to: Save Money!

Hey everybody! I posted this to my friend’s blog a few months ago and I thought I would share it today to change pace a bit! If you know me well in real life, you’ll know I’m pretty thrifty. I’m just sharing this a bit in hopes it might help someone who’s trying to save a little money!

If you’re a new reader, you might not know that my husband and I went through a really hard financial time.  I lost my job in the Dallas area about 3 years ago …two weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Long story short, we had to move back to Oklahoma to stay with family and try to get back on our feet. We lived in a 5th wheel – the winter of all the blizzards! – and often times my parents would have to buy our groceries so we could eat!

It was during that time, however, that I learned what it meant to be thrifty and to be creative! I learned to make bows, sew diaper bags, (you can see some on my Facebook page!), and sew all the baby essentials.  I wanted all the cute boutique styles, but I couldn’t afford it.

I have been determined to be able to stay home with my daughter, so my job in our family is to save money. I’ve been lucky to be able to do that. We have lived in less than the nicest places, and we’ve done some crazy things in order to save, but I don’t regret it one bit!

In this economy, I think we are all looking for ways to save money here or there.

My thought is that I will tell you about some ways I learned to save money and many practices I still do today!

  1. Never pay full retail. I coupon for my toiletries. I find that I don’t get a ton of coupons for food. We don’t do a lot of Hamburger Helper (although you can usually get a good deal for those!), and so most of our food purchases are staple items like milk, eggs, etc.  Toiletries, however, are a different story. I’m not picky about toothpaste or my husband’s shampoo, and we just buy a little in advance and stock up.  I have a little plastic tub that has all our oversupply in it. I don’t take more than I think we’ll need, but it helps to have a little sitting around — especially on those “tight” weeks! Also – if you’re like me, and you don’t want to do the math or take the time, find a couponing website like Coupon Mom to do the work for you! I look up the store (like Target, Walmart, etc) and see how much savings I would get and I go only for those items! I don’t call it lazy, I call it efficient time management. 🙂
  2. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. If someone calls you and says they have a bunch of peaches or an old table or something equally useful — take it. If you can redo the table and use it for yourself – yay! Or, you can resell it later.  Peaches? Freeze them. Make preserves. Make a pie. Last month, I noticed my aunt had a pear tree that she was just letting the pears go to waste. I called her up and went over there and bagged a ton of them! I made some spiced pear preserves. (I really don’t even like pears to eat otherwise!)
  3. Use Pinterest to YOUR advantage. Pinterest came about after I learned much of this stuff, so I don’t use it compulsively, but when I need to learn how to do stuff and I don’t have a website I already trust, I go there to look for ideas.  The key to Pinterest is this: make it work to your advantage.  Don’t go and spend a ton of money on recreating something. Use the ideas that help you to repurpose something you already have!  The key is to NOT spend your entire paycheck at Hobby Lobby! (Although I do. Too much.)
  4. This goes along with #3 — If you really want something, and you don’t have the money to buy it, see if you can make it! This was how the diaper bags got started.  I saw one almost identical to the one I use now, but she was charging $135 for it. I couldn’t afford that! So, with coupons and smart shopping, we spent about $30 making a copy!  Wipes cases cost VERY little to make if you have most of the supplies on hand. Same with tutus.  Hair bows.  My Bluebelle always looked like a princess – but for a fraction of the cost!  Below is a pic of B her first Christmas: I made the onesie decor, the hair bow, and the tutu for dirt cheap! I used a onesie that someone had given me.  It was an outfit for practically nothing!
  5. Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. This is a phrase that was common in the Great Depression. My great grandparents and grandparents make this their life’s motto, and I’ll admit it’s my mantra now too. This is how I save so much money! I make my own laundry detergent. I make a lot of stuff, honestly. It’s helped us save hundreds – at least! Also, if you learn you can make it, you can sell it to others who may want it but don’t have the time to do it themselves!

I could talk about this FOREVER, but now you have enough to get started! If you have any questions – please feel free to contact me. I love to talk – just ask my friends! 🙂 This literally kept us from starving some months, and even though we can breathe a little more, I still do most of these practices.  I’ve been making my own detergent for a year, and I’ve spent about 30 dollars on a YEAR’s worth of laundry detergent! I really hope that some of these help.

What do you do to save money? Let me know!

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