Saturday, July 7, 2012

10 Ways We Are Pinching Pennies

Living on one income while being a homeschool family can be somewhat challenging, financially speaking.  Add to that the irregular income from a home based business and it becomes even more challenging.   Many opportunities to trust in the Lord!

We have a home based carpet cleaning business.  The Hubs has been doing carpets for 15+ years.  He has run his own business for about 11 years.  We do mostly turn over cleans for apartment complexes but we also do residential. 

Lately, because of several reasons, we've had to learn to live on less and be frugal where we can.  I know that many others have had to cut expenses so I thought I would share some of the things that we are doing to cut costs here in the LSG house.

1) Keeping it basic - we dropped ALL of our pay channels and now only have basic cable.  We had Netflix, which we loved, but for this season in life we stopped that too.  We love to watch movies so when we have a hankering for movie night we either dip into our collection or borrow some from our wonderful library - for free.

2) Eat in - I am sure this is a no brainer, right?  We aren't ordering pizza every Friday night anymore.  Instead I pick up two $.99 bags of pizza dough, mozzarella and sauce each week from Trader Joe's.  We make two large square pizzas for about $7.  Not only is it less money, it is all natural.

3) Spending less on groceries - not only do we eat in but I make most of my own food.  I do not buy a lot of convenience foods, I do buy a few but not many.  I will buy TJ's mac and cheese, bread for sandwiches and cereal.  For our dinners though I pretty much make everything.  This not only helps us save on groceries but it is better for us. 

I do try to buy all natural or organic on things that are important to me like lettuce, tomatoes, berries, apples, chicken, ground beef, hotdogs and luch meat.  Basically things that we eat the skin of I try to buy organic.  I can not afford organic meat but I do try to get all natural and nitrite free foods.

Then there are other things that I am not so worried about like bananas, oranges, noodles, bread, milk and eggs.  I would LOVE to buy organic milk and eggs but there are just too expensive - I have learned to be content with hormone free milk and cage free eggs. 

I really want to get to the point of making all my own bread, I know this would be much more cost effective and better for us.  I just have not found a sandwich bread that I like, any suggestions?

Another thing I do is have a plan, I have a grocery list and a menu plan and I don't leave home with out them!

4) I no longer buy laundry soap or shampoo -  Can I just say, FREEDOM!!  Count less times I have thanked the Lord for my homemade laundry soap.  I love, love, love it!!  I am no longer spending big bucks on laundry suds, it works great, it's inexpensive, plus it is easy peasy to make.  So easy that my 11 year old cheerfully makes it for me when I am running low.

We are also making our own shampoo, the reason for this is actually two fold.  I know that I could go to the dollar store and scoop up several bottles of shampoo for just a few bucks.  However, the ingredients in these shampoos are not something I want to be applying to my head day after day.   The shampoo that I prefer would cost about $4-5 per bottle. {I will post this recipe soon!}

A while back a friend of mine had mentioned that the Oatmeal Soap from Trader Joe's was like a 0 for harmful chemicals {meaning it is a safe soap, so scrub up!}.  That was the day we both tried this soap on our hair just to see what we thought.  We both really liked it.  Fast forward to last weekend, The Little Chef and I were making laundry soap and hand soap when we decided to search for homemade shampoo.  Can I just tell ya that we made like 5 bottles of it from 1 bar of our oatmeal bar soap.  While we don't mind using the bar soap we really like the creamy homemade shampoo.  Whoop! Whoop!  Did I mention that this soap comes in a bag of 2 for less than $2.00! 

5) I stay out of the stores -  I no longer just run to Target for whatever.  If I have a real need then I will go or better yet I will send The Hubs.  He is great at zipping in and out with my list and not adding 50 things he had to have to it, unless it's Little Debbie snacks {smile}.  I on the other hand tend to need things as I see them.  I know that I have this weakness so I just stay away : )

6) Just say no to paper products, well mostly - Can't even tell you the last time I bought paper towels.  We have a big bucket of rags under the kitchen sink that holds wash clothes to wipe little hands and faces as well as cut up t-shirts for cleaning mirrors and glass.  I will occasionally buy a big pack of paper plates to use for breakfasts and lunches but this has also become rare.  I just realized that we spent a lot of money on unneeded paper products. 

7) Buy used - Yardsales, consignment shops and Goodwill are my friends!  I have always loved getting a good deal.  I can remember back in high school some friends and I would go from thrift store to thrift store finding all kinds of neat clothes - for pennies compared to the retail cost.  Nothing new under the sun, I still love to shop thrift stores for clothes.  I feel like you can usually find better quality clothing for much less than you would at retail stores.

Even when I need something like a new colander, the first place I look is Goodwill.  Found a perfect one for $2.  I wanted to get the The Hubs one of those plastic insulated thermos take to work with him, found one for $1. 

If your kids accidentally throw your spoons and forks away or they get lost in the yard because they were used as mini yard tools, no worries they are 4 for $1 at the Goodwill : )

8) Hand-me-downs?  Yes, please!  - For kids clothes, hand me down are great!  The Lord has really blessed us through the years with family and friends that have given us next to new clothes, and we are so grateful!  When I am given clothes or find them at yardsales they go into the garage and get sorted by size and gender.  I pull them out as needed.  This year I did not have to purchase one item of clothing for either of my boys! 

9)We do it ourselves - We cut our own grass, pull our own weeds {well theoretically}, do our own car repairs and change our own oil.  Whenever possible we do it ourselves.  The Hubs is pretty handy with cars, thankfully.  So unless it is something major he can usually fix it himself. 

10) Hair cuts at home - I think I can count on my one hand how many times my kids have gone to the salon for a haircut.  I am able {thank the Lord} to do a pretty decent job on the boys hair.  I can kinda cut a straight line for the girls hair and I have learned a great way to do layered cuts.  The Hubs shaves his hair and so that only leaves me.  I go for a hair cut once or twice a year so it's not too bad on the pockie purse. 

What are you doing to pinch pennies at home??


Julie said...

This is a great post that I totally relate to. We try doing many of those things as well but I could always do a little better.

Catherine said...

I love reading how people find ways to save money.

With our new financial year, hubby and I have made some new goals. We discussed what's been working so far to save money and what we need to do better.

One thing I recently started doing was making our own laundry detergent. Isn't it great! It's very similar to yours. :)

I'd love to hear how you will make your own shampoo!!

Brandi said...

Julie - Thanks! : ) You know what, I could write a 10 Ways I Could Do Better Saving Money Post, LOL! Stay tuned I just might!

Catherine - Don't you just LOVE it! So many peeps don't know what they are missing. I will post the shampoo recipe this week.

Brandi said...

Fellow Crew mate stopping by and now following. :) I can totally relate to this post!!! After my hubby lost his job a few years ago, I learned how to make some mean refried beans for cheap! We aren't as strapped as we were then, but my family still requests those yummy bean burritos.

Brandi said...

Thanks for following. Glad to hear that things got betterfor you guys and umm can you share the recipe?


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