It’s no secret that babies cost money! Have twins? We’re planning on twice the diapers. So when we decided that I’ll be leaving my job at the end of this month, we realized we needed to do a total budget overhaul, and look at other ways to save!
We aren’t rolling in the dough, by any means. But with two salaries for 4 years now, and relatively low expenses, we’ve been pretty safe financially. With a little room for spending on treats. But, this is all about to change.
Aside from the mound of student loans, we’ve done a pretty good job of setting ourselves up for living on one salary. We bought less house than we could have afforded, have one car payment (which is thankfully affordable and fuel efficient) and eliminated unnecessary bills like cable. But, after re-doing our budget for two kids, and one salary, we realized we still need to find ways to save more.
So what did I do? I searched high and low on all my favorite blogs for practical ways to save around the house. So I thought I’d share with you a few things we already do, along with a few things that don’t seem unreasonable, that we might try! Take a look!
WHAT HAVE WE ALREADY DONE?
Drink more water! We don’t buy extra beverages at the store. There’s no sodas, lemonades, and rarely is there a beer in the fridge! Instead we keep only the basics, which is milk . Every few weeks I’ll buy a small orange juice to use in making one of our favorite breakfasts. But otherwise, if we’re thirsty, we drink water!
Cut back on heating! This won’t be an issue for a few months, but we spend so much cooling the house in the summer (we live in the south, on the coast) that I try to make up for it in the winter by not heating. Granted, we do heat a little bit, but it’s usually just at night. Otherwise, if you’re cold in our house, put some socks on. Why pay to heat when you can add layers for free?
Lower the water heater. Marshall just did this. When you shower, do you turn the temperature the whole way up? If not, you’re wasting money! Your water heater heats to whatever temperature you set. So if you are heating it more than you use, and add cold water to cool it off, you’re wasting the energy to heat it! So M lowered ours about half way. However, we still notice that the water is hotter than we need, so we’re about to lower it the rest of the way.
Shop Costco – Or Not! We had a Costco membership for one year, and while we got our money’s worth in fuel savings, over all, we were not really saving any money. Only needing to feed two people, shopping at Costco is often wasted in our house. We just couldn’t use everything we would buy – even when we would buy the smallest packages. We also noticed that the quality of the produce was no where near as good as our local grocery store. So, for now we ditched the membership. Maybe when the twins are eating normal foods, we will re-think the membership!
Cancel unused memberships! To continue on the Costco train, we also ditched our Gold’s Gym membership. For many reasons, we won’t be joining Gold’s again. But mainly, why spend $40 / month when you can work out at home? There’s things as simple as walking / running and weightlifting with your own bodyweight, or programs like my good friend Stevie has started. Either way, working out at home is easy, and cheap!
Shop for used clothes. Especially for kids! I recently got a bag FULL of newborn through 6 month clothes for $50. There were at least 50 pieces in there, and all of them were in great condition. Find your nearest kid-to-kid resale shop and take a look. You might be surprised!!
Do your own nails! Let me nutshell this one for you. Even if you only get a manicure/pedicure once a month, that’s about $540 / year. So, while I still get pedicures every other month or so (y’all, pregnant women need a good pedicure now and then) I have switched my manicures to Jamberry! I spent $60 on their gel system, and do my nails at home. That $60 goes a long way!
Eat less meat! And the husbands all die a little… Ok but seriously, you don’t need meat in every single meal. And you sure don’t need to be eating steak and shrimp on the daily. We eat chicken (1.99 / lb) and ground beef (rarely – if we make a pasta dish). They are cheap, and we only eat them about 4x a week. When I see people buying fancy seafood and steaks I think alllllll the money they could be saving. Sure, it’s an adjustment. But we spend about $5-$8 a week on meat.
Grocery Store Rewards / Weekly Sales Harris Teeter has a pretty awesome member program. Not only do you get great deals, but there are rewards too. Example: Buy 5 subs, get one free. So, if we do subs for dinner once a week, we get free dinner about once a month. This is easy, because their subs (while delish!) are only $4.99. That’s pretty cheap for not having to cook dinner! Our Harris Teeter has also recently opened a gas station where we get 3 cents off per gallon. Another win!
WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO?
OK, so maybe some of these are a bit far fetched. But could you do it? Here are a few other ways I’m considering to save money!
Stop using paper towels. At $1.53 a roll (on Amazon Subscribe & Save) that’s just shy of $80 per year if you use a roll a week. I know some families that use a roll or two a day. WHICH IS NUTS. So maybe that’s not a huge expense to you, but if every penny counts… there’s also an environmental impact here. And we do live at the beach… But I’ve come across many people that choose not to use paper towels, and instead find reusable ones (like these) on etsy, or just use washable cloth napkins.
Hang dry your clothes. There’s a caveat to this one – it may not save you any money! Older machines tend to use a ton more electricity to dry each load. These days, high efficiency machines are popular, and cost pennies to use. So, if you have an HE machine, I say – dry away! The pennies, to me, are worth the convenience. If you have an older machine that is running the power bill up, consider a clothesline. Sure it’s a bit more work. But there’s something about the smell of air dried clothing – and it won’t add to the heat of the house in the summer!
Negotiate the internet! I’ve done it before, I’m just curious to see if it’s too soon to do it again. If you call and talk to the internet company, let them look into your account to see that you are a loyal customer. Mention that the bills are just too high, and you want to see what you can do. More times than not, we’ve been able to claim a current deal that is for “new accounts” but they will apply is to us as a courtesy. The price is usually good for a year. It’s never all that much, but an extra $10 a month is totally worth it!
Sell the junk. Ok, so maybe its not all junk. But, surplus! We’ve definitely got things lying around that we don’t need. We happened to have an extra changing table (we were using as a TV stand) that I sold for $50. We’ve also decided that we have a ton of DVD’s and books that we don’t want to keep. Paired with extra picture frames, and other things we once used but now won’t (styles change!) – it’s fair to assume we could make a few hundred bucks, and declutter at the same time. My friend has a good rule. If you haven’t touched it in 6+ months, and it isn’t sentimental, let it go.
Make your own laundry detergent! This one, I’m definitely going to try!! From a B1G1 sale at Harris Teeter recently, I actually have quite the stock of Method + Tide Free & Clear saved up. But, I’ve been doing some digging into DIY Detergent recipes, and I finally found one that doesn’t look like the end of the world complicated. The upside to this is mostly cost. For $20, this blogger made a detergent that has lasted over a year (for a family of 5!). But there’s another bonus! The product is way more natural – which is better for your skin, babies included. Not to mention how much less waste you will create…
Shop at the dollar store. I’ve heard this one before and I don’t know why I haven’t tried it yet. I’m told that things like cleaning supplies, kitchen storage, and common household dry goods are all available at the Dollar Store! I’d be curious to see what’s available regularly, and whether or not this is a hit or miss trip. I like the consistency of Harris Teeter, they always have what I need. But if I can stock up on some things at the Dollar Store, I might as well!
Combine a trash bill. In college we did this with internet. One apartment would get internet and share with the apartment next door. Everyone’s bill was cut in half – Win Win! So I wonder if we could do this with our trash bill. Unfortunately we have no option besides weekly pick up. But with only creating 1-2 bags of trash per week, there’s no reason we couldn’t share a can/bill with a neighbor. My only hesitation to this is that with twins on the way, I see us producing more trash in the near future. Diapers alone could probably fill a weekly pick up! But, is this something you could do!?
Wow – that’s a long post! If you made it this far, comment below with some ways that you are already saving money at home, or plan to try! Don’t forget to share this post on Facebook + Pinterest!