D.H. asks from Largo, FL on October 24, 2007
How to Cut Corners on Monthly Expenses
I would love to stay home but need to cut corners, except for using coupons on food what are some other ways you have cut corners on bills and other monthly expenses. We rent and have credit card debt and I have two infants (3 week old twins). Any ideas.
M.B. answers from Orlando on December 05, 2007
Just another idea that I didn't see here yet. There is a great thrift store just called Community Thrift Store. One is on south Orange Avenue and the other is on north Edgewater Drive. They have a great sale on Wednesdays - buy one get 2 free! I have picked up some great stuff for my son there. You can't beat getting Gymboree clothes for $1! Anyway, I hope that helps. I know that they grow so fast, so saving on clothes for twins should be a big help!
Also, take all of the hand-me-downs you can get! :)
M.R. answers from Tampa on October 26, 2007
There's a ton of great advice here. I'd like to reiterate the comment about breastfeeding. It will SAVE SO MUCH MONEY. If you are having problems, call the hospital and ask to speak to the lactation consultation. Or go to a La Leche League meeting for free. (You can find a local meeting here: http://www.lllusa.org/groups.php ) 95% of women can breastfeed, but most need some sort of help, so don't feel bad about that.
If you breastfeed exclusively for 6 months, think of all the money you will save on formula! Plus children that are breastfeed will save you a lot of money on doctor's bills ... they are far less likely to have ear infections, asthma, allergies, and lots of other nasties.
J.P. answers from Orlando on October 25, 2007
Plan your dinners two weeks at a time: use recipes with the same ingredients and only go shopping once every two weeks. (It stinks sometimes but you learn how non-essential what you're eating is when you simply just can't afford too.) Also, the little trips is what adds up to big money so other than emergency runs for milk and diapers.. make do.
Use the microwave, it saves on electric.
Cut your drive time down. I am fortunate to be renting in Avalon Park which we chose because we only had one car. I can ride my bike to publix for emergencies (with the kids ages 2 and 3 in tow), and we bike/walk/run/skip/ hop/ stroller to the playground. It's kinda far, but it works and they're ready for a nap when they get home.
Honestly, you really don't need two cars. Many may say, "yea right, where's she from?" but my husband is a firefighter, meaning he works for 24 hours home for 48, (and has long worked 48 hours and only home for 24) and we made due just fine even before our move here.
There is a book called the "two income trap" I highly reccomend checking out from the library.
Also, use one debit card. If your husband has one cut up yours or vice versa. Don't write checks without his knowledge or vice versa.
Something that worked even better for us is setting aside half the rent/mortgage per paycheck into a seperate account, and then having second bills account, and a spending account. Sounds like a lot, but most banks allow you to link them and transfer funds if neccessary. Doing it that way keeps everyone in check. I got my husband an account and told him whatever was in it was all the money in the world he had for eating at work, gas, and anything fun he wanted to buy. When it's gone it's gone and that's a strict policy! No if ands or buts.
We plan all of our activities in advance and just recently realized that we don't even have enough money to eat out at the parks when we go (i.e. seaworld). So, we bring a loaf of bread and peanut butter and fill the sippy cups before we go.
All in all, when you look at what you have, and then realize what you don't actually need, you begin to see all the blessings in your life and that even though you don't have much now, God always blesses Humble begginings. I can't wait for the day we buy this house! It's not as big as I wanted, but I can hardly clean what I've got!
p.s. Shop your meats in bulk at Sam's or costco, bj's and same with diapers. We buy 9 thick porkchops for $12 and cut them in half. That's 18 pork chops! Same with chicken. Don't buy from the grocery store. they're $1.67- $1.97 at sams. Freeze your meat. It tastes the same and won't go bad. I cut all the fats off chicken and any little pieces that got cut off with it I put in a bag labeled chopped chicken and use that for a seperate dinner.
It all works out. We found it was actually less expensive for me to stay at home when I was pregnant with my second. Gas, lunches, business attire, daycare and most importantly your time all add up! We would have been in the hole $100 per month had I gone to work. Yikes! How many of us don't take the time to do the math.
Yea for you for understanding your children need you and they come first!
To those who have yet to learn the lessons of sacrifice, Everything comes with a price tag, choose wisely.
The price for staying at home is humble beginings. The reward is happy children and relationships that count.
3 moms found this helpful
K.L. answers from Jacksonville on October 24, 2007
I can make a couple of suggestions that really worked for me. First, if you have ANY credit card debt at all, get rid of it as quickly as possible. If you can't afford to do it on your own... check out American Financial Solutions, their Web address used to be at www.debtfixers.org. They are a non-profit that charges no fees to enter their program, then they negotiate with your credit card companies to get rid of late/overlimit fees and reduce your interest rate while paying it off. They do a complete budget analysis to come up with how much you are paying now and how much you can afford to pay going forward. They are WONDERFUL. I am 1 payment away from finishing off $20,000 worth of debt and it only took 4 years... believe me, the time passes either way and this way provides much less stress! I won't say it's not challenging but it's WAY worth it in the end.
Second... try to buy diapers and wipes in bulk and have them shipped to your home, to save trips out... they are usually cheaper than store bought per unit and with two little ones, you'll need lots of them! Diapers.com usually has very fast, reliable service.
Sign up for the baby clubs at Publix and Winn-Dixie to you get free stuff and coupons for lots of other items each month, not just baby stuff.
Shop for clothes online and take advantage of big sales without going to a store! Gymboree runs 50% off several times a year and their stuff is very durable and well made. Carters can be found on babycenter.org, and they also run great sales.
Another hint I love... when shopping online, use Upromise if you've joined to get free money put into a college account for your kiddos... just register your credit card. Also register your Publix card and when you pay for groceries with your credit card, all qualifying purchases earn you money! When shopping online, don't forget to check www.couponcreep.com or couponcabin.com to make sure there are no offers out there for the Web sites you're using, such as free shipping or percent off promotion codes. You can find any store they list all in one spot.
Hope this helps and good luck!
2 moms found this helpful
S.A. answers from Tallahassee on October 25, 2007
A good way to lower costs. Use one car if you have two. Turn off the A/C and open the windows. Let the sun shine in and turn off the lights. If you are still warm, use the fan (fans cool people, not rooms-turn the fan off if you're not in that room). Turn off appliances that you are not really using (TV/Computer/lamps) when you're not in that particular part of the house. Just make sure to turn all lights off as you leave the rooms.
I cut my electric bill in half by doing all of this.
If you don't care to watch TV/as you may not have much time anyway. Let the cable go! if you still like your movies, use netflix 15.99/mo unlimited movie rentals-its great
do your laundry in the evenings-peek hours raise the energy levels and causes higher electric bills. dish washer is the same.
see about WIC to help with milk/juice/formula because that all does add up. you may or may not qualify depending on the total household income...just a suggestion
when we did qualify it was very helpful...now that we don't our formula is a fortune
1 mom found this helpful
D.R. answers from Tampa on November 05, 2007
Wow, twins, congratutlations!! Well, it looks like you got some really good advice. I don't think I can add much to the suggestions. However, one thing is for sure, impulse buying will really cause you to spend more than you think you are spending. So keep impulse buying to a minimum or eliminate it alltogether if you can. That's about all I could tell you, because everyone has touched on the things that I would have suggested and much more too.
I like the idea of making your own baby food and breastfeeing. These are excellent suggestions and as was already said, breastmilk is free. Of course it goes without saying that this was how God designed us.
So, have fun with the babies and best wishes to you and yours. Kindest regards, D.
1 mom found this helpful
J.L. answers from Tampa on November 15, 2007
You can do it.Cut from going to the cleaners. Stop eating out , don't visit any store at all. Stay focuss on your dreams. Read a lot, listen to music, pray, go to church often, meditate, fast. Keep your mind off your needs and on God. I have been married for 19 years to the same man. Whether he is working or not, I pay my bills and keep my home.We are always happy, peaceful and in love.
1 mom found this helpful
L.M. answers from Honolulu on October 25, 2007
Well beans and rice are supper cheap, that is 90% of what we eat.
1 mom found this helpful
M.H. answers from Sarasota on October 25, 2007
Menu planning has been huge with me. Not only should you look for coupons and plan what stores you go to for what, but try to only go once for the week! If you aren't there, you are spending, so plan ahead and make very thorough shopping lists. I too love Sams because we can go there and get what we need once a month and it keeps me out of Walmart. Walmart is great, but impulse buying gets me every time and sales are great, but not when they are for items you were never going to buy anyway.
We are switching our cell phone to a prepaid T-mobile phone. I refuse to be without a phone, but I don't need thousands of minutes and another monthly bill to worry about. It is working great for us and the minutes don't expire for a full year.
Everyonw has given great advice. The biggest difference I see is staying out of the stores, ANY stores, as much as possible.
1 mom found this helpful
K. answers from Tampa on October 25, 2007
Some quick advice. First thing is to elminate debit. Call your credit card companies, tell them you just had twins and are struggling. Ask them to lower your interest rates, or find a credit card that will allow transfers with a lower interest rate. Sometimes, the first six months is interest free! Log onto www.oprah.com and look at Jean Chatzsky (sp?) section. She has lots of great money tips and a great debit diet. Create a money club in your apt. complex. Women with kids whom you can trade clothes, sitting, services, etc.. And taking work in, like babysitting helps with $$. Good luck and god bless!