Friday, July 31, 2015

8 Ways Our Family Is Saving Money

Mr. Crunch and I recently made the decision that I needed to stop caring for other people's children because it was severely affecting my mental health. I won't go into details, and I still have things to work on, but removing that stressor has done wonders for my mood. 
(I believe strongly in removing the stigmas surrounding mental health. That is a post that I am slowly working on.)

The drawback though, is that we removed a somewhat steady income of $60 to $120 a week. Someday I want to use blogging for income, but even if I started now, it would be a very long time before I made any money, much less that amount.

There are lots of ways I could make money, in the home or out, but none of them are in line with my current need to take care of myself and my family.

That leaves us with the ever so obvious option of cutting costs. There are several ways we already do this, and many that I can be stricter about. 

1. Cloth Diapering: 
I hadn't been consistent in using them during the day. Hope has sensitive skin, so the brand we have to use is $9.99 for a package of 27 diapers. That price adds up quickly when I use them during the day, even just sometimes. But if we only use them at night, the package lasts almost a month. Major savings.

2. Minimizing Baby Wipe Use:
Mr. Crunch is absolutely against cloth wipes for poop, he tried them and won't do it anymore, and to be honest, I prefer disposable wipes most of the time too. But again, with Hope's sensitive skin requirements, we buy somewhat expensive wipes. I am now more careful to only use the wipes for poop diapers. Sure it's convenient to grab a wipe for grubby toddler fingers, but wetting a washcloth saves money in the long run. Those pennies add up!

3. Cloth Napkins:
I prefer cloth napkins now, so I have no desire to return to paper. We store them in a basket on the back of our dining room bench and I wash them with our kitchen towels. My napkins were given to me as a gift, but buying them doesn't cost a ton up-front, so still very worth it!

4. No Paper Towels:
I bought a couple packages of inexpensive barmop towels a little while back, we haven't looked back. I do keep a roll or two of paper towels hidden in a cabinet for microwaving bacon or cleaning up during stomach bugs.

5. Mama Cloth
This one is more...controversial? Not really the word I'm looking for, but it works. I know this isn't for everyone, I thought it was gross when I first heard of it. Mama cloth are simply reusable menstrual pads (TMI yet?). I have always hated tampons, so a menstrual cup doesn't appeal to me, but I have several friends who use and love them if pads really aren't your thing. I find them super easy though, I just wash them with Hope's cloth diapers every couple of days. I also made several of mine to save even more money, but honestly, I much prefer the ones I bought.

6. Money Saving Grocery Apps
This is a combination of immediate and long term savings. For immediate saving I use the Target Cartwheel app during our monthly trip to Target. I use Ibotta and Walmart Savings Catcher for long term saving. These rebates are not counted towards our monthly grocery budget since I only use them for things we would already buy. Instead, I'm saving those rebates for Christmas shopping. I'm hoping to avoid using any of our normal budget for Christmas gifts.
(I know there are other apps that can be used, but I didn't find them to be worth my already limited time. I am always open to suggestions!).

7. Limit Gas Use
We are a 2 car family, it's not necessary per se, but it keeps me sane. In order to afford this, we have minimal insurance coverage, and I limit my gas use. I only fill my car once a month. If I run out of gas, I don't go anywhere. I can of course save some spending money for gas if I really want to go somewhere at the end of the month. Fortunately, I get great gas milage and don't usually go far. It's also common for me to go places with my mom and sisters, meaning we take their van because we need the extra seats.

8. Freeze Our Debit Cards - Literally
We have never used credit cards, so that is not an issue. But Mr. Crunch and I both have difficulty with impulse buys, usually small amounts of money, but we all know how quickly those add up. In order to curb this spending, we froze our debit cards in cups of water, labeled them with the date, and challenged each other to see who could keep theirs frozen the longest. Winner gets to choose a location for date night (within our date budget of course), while the loser has to scrub every inch of the bathroom.
In order to prevent 'budget resentment' we both get a small amount of cash each week to spend or save however we want. When it's gone, it's gone, and the only person who 'suffers' is the spender.

Mr. Crunch gets his paycheck on Thursday night. He leaves it out for me to deposit on Friday morning. Hope and I take a walk down to the bank, deposit his check, and take out cash for spending, groceries, and gas. It gets us out for a walk and keeps us on budget!

These are only a few of the ways we save money. I pray that some of these suggestions can help you stick to your budget or reach your saving/debt payoff goals!

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