Pinching Pennies Part II

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Last month I wrote about financial stress and the toll it can take on a family. Read Part I here. This month I would like to share some specific money saving tips I have employed this week. For the sake of time and convenience, I am simply listing these suggestions.

* Pack your own food. Whether is is going to the mall, zoo, or park, packing your own food saves money. If you aren’t a fan of packing your lunch/dinner, it still would be a good idea to pack food for your kids. The two of my 14 month olds, eat as much together as one adult. The more kids you have, the more expensive it is to eat out. Simple as that. I can buy a lot of groceries for $30-$40, which is a rough estimate of how much it would cost the 4 of us to go some place other than the Pita Pit or Bob Evans!

* Choose outdoor activities. Parks, picnic areas, walking paths, pools, farms, outdoor concerts and festivals are all great activities that cost very little money. Search your counties website for weekend activities or festivals. We are planning on trying out a Greekfood festival this month, and a movie-in-the-park night.

* Invite people over to your house. As a SAHM, the fastest way to crazy-town is to be isolated with few social contacts. Make friends with your neighbors, invite them over, blow up the kiddie pool, pass out iced tea and enjoy another adults company while the kids run and play.  Being social doesn’t have to mean fancy dinner parties or expensive restaurant meals.

* REDBOX. Have you heard of this wonderful gem? Perhaps not if you live in a more rural area, but I bet it will be coming your way soon! Redbox is just that, a red box in various locations (ie grocery store). You use your email address and debit card to rent a new release movie…for $1! If you don’t return it by 9pm the next night, they charge you another $1, but still, it is a great deal. Reserve your selection online and you can be confident that the movie you want is in the box.

* Shop around for car insurance. When our rates went up (again), I started shopping around. Would you believe I found a reputable company that will cost us 50% less!? Many car insurance companies factor in your credit rating, so if you have less than perfect credit, shopping around could be especially helpful for you. Bundling your homeowners insurance can increase your savings.

* Save your leftover coffee. Making your coffee at home has been splashed all over the news as a great way to cut costs. So much so, that the coffee giant, Starbucks, is now offering incentive programs! I love my morning cups of coffee, but if I only have time to drink one, I pour the leftover coffee into a pitcher in the refrigerator. Voila! Instant iced coffee for MoM in the afternoon when I am hot, tired and am in need of a treat!

Okay, I know those were random tips, but I employed all of them in the past week. Which means I am not going to feel too guilty when I go get a pedicure tonight with my new mom friend/neighbor!

Feel free to post your best money saving tips in the comments section! We love hearing what you have to say!

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14 thoughts on “Pinching Pennies Part II”

  1. Here are some of my family’s tips:
    * create a budget and really stick to it. (this takes a lot of work, but so far we have really padded our savings account by sticking to our budget)

    * cook a big meal that will last several days (hubby and I have been known to make a pot of chili last all week. We start out with cornbread as a side and then later in the week top noodles with chili). it really saves a lot of $$

    * I make my own oatmeal packets instead of buying the instant ones. it takes about five minutes and is much less expensive.
    (Put 1 C. of instant oats into a food processor. Add 2 Tbsp of the power to a small ziploc bag and then add the following: 1/4 instant oats, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp raisins, 1/8 tsp salt. The powdered oats should be enough for 8 instant packets). I’ve started cutting back the sugar to 3/4 Tbsp and will eventually cut back to 1/2.
    These make a great, filling, breakfast!

  2. I happen to run a bargain hunting website, We were traditionally focused on electronics, but now that I have twins on the way, more and more baby&kids products seem to be showing up on there. In addition we also post some great deals on home and apparel items.

    I should note that visiting our site may result in unplanned purchases, which of course aren’t budget-friendly. But if you have a particular item you’re in search of, checking our current deal listings may save you some dough.

  3. Great tips Krissy!

    Kind of obvious but… buy things used. Through craigslist and the online version of our local paper’s classifeds, I bought all of our big plastic outdoor toys, plus a mini table and chairs and some other toys. Also, try freecycle in your area ( I have given away 2 years’ worth of baby clothes, maternity clothes, and all kinds of gear there, and there are tons of other offers every day in our local network, plus people can make “wanted” requests and it seems they almost always find it.

  4. I think that this is great!!! I’m a working mom of twins and with gas prices, food prices, daycare and practicially everything in the world going up (but my pay) it’s getting harder and harder to get bills paid. Thanks for the great advise for our moms out here! :)

  5. I’ll second Craiglist. Just found a very nice, practically new double stroller for less than half the price new. I’ve also found lots of gently used baby stuff at my local twins club sale. All other tips very welcome – it’s tough right now!

  6. Don’t forget to turn around and sell your used things on Craigslist too! This post inspired me to post my first item, and I have an attic full that I’ve been meaning to sell.

    Now if I can just decide whether it’s too early to sell my maternity clothes or not . . .

  7. We try to buy used stuff through our twin listserv, and sell baby stuff there when we’re done. It’s great for the big stuff, like an exersaucer or jumperoo.

    Also, shop around for diaper prices. Around us, BJ’s has the best pampers price that we have found. Totally worth the membership price.

  8. I could sure use some power in my oatmeal! 😀

    I second craigslist and freecycle. So far, I’ve received some swimmy diapers, baby clothes, baby gates. I’ve also been able to give away some of my crap, uh I mean items that I’m no longer using. Instead of going out and buying a step ladder at Target for $20, I posted on the local freecycle board and got one for free. I’ve also received some really nice IKEA furniture from a generous family on freecycle.

    Other things to remember are that some companies offer serious discounts for families with multiples. I know pampers offers up some coupons, and BRU offers 10% off for major purchases.

    Oh and don’t forget: Skip the expensive toys. Kids find plenty of entertainment in boxes, laundry baskets, pots and pans, wrapping paper tubes, etc.

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