Unless you have been living under a rock the past few years, you know how our economy has affected people all across the country. You have probably had conversations with your friends, read articles in the papers and well, probably looked at your own lives and re-evaluated your finances. I know my family has been thinking about and adjusting how we spend our own money for the past year or so.
Actually a few days ago, I read an article from yahoo finance here that basically just talks about how most of America, even those who haven't really lost much or fear of losing much, are finding ways to cut back, readjusting their owns lives so that they are not so dependant on money. What a beautiful, freedom-inspiring idea! If only ONE good thing comes out of this recession, may it be our reflection and redirection of our own lives. What is really important? What can we give up? How can we make the most of the least?
So, I wanted to share a few ways we are saving money and I hope that you will also share your ideas with me. It feels DEEPLY satisfying to save money. And I promise you, this is a new thing for me. I haven't always valued frugality in my life. But I have a deeper appreciation for it in the last year or so. Its not even about saving just to make ends meet. Its about being a good steward of our finances. It is about being in control of what God has given us, using it the best way. Its really what its about.
Anyway, here are things I find helpful in the process:
1. Turning off lights. Okay, not just turning off lights. But using those energy efficient lightbulbs, have the energy star appliances, using wood burning stove in winter- this stuff WORKS. Maybe the initial investment is higher, but I am a witness to this- our electric bill is 1/3 less than what it used to be.
2. Buying off season for clothes. I try to buy as many of Adler and Hazel's seasonal clothes at the end of the season, meaning January for next winter's clothes and July for next summer's clothes. I usually get them 40-80% off.
3. I buy a lot of stuff online because it is way easier than taking two little ones shopping. Before I buy ANYTHING online, I google the store and "coupon codes" to find out if there are any discount codes I can apply to the store, even the small online stores. I save a TON of money this way.
4. www.shortcuts.com - online coupon site that automatically loads coupons to your grocery discount card.
5. cloth diapers- I use the flip system- super affordable, super effective, and super easy! I only use them part-time, and cut my diaper cost in half. It feels so good to save money on diapers.
6. We just don't eat out. I would have much more of a problem with this one if I didn't have two children who made eating out the most miserable experience ever (sorry, kids, I love you both, but its true).
So, that's all I have right now. I was thinking I was being way more frugal before I started this post. So, how do you save?
Next blog post, "How I Don't Save" and there will be only one on this list- can you guess what?