J.S. asks from Gulf Shores, AL on March 30, 2008
Money Saving Ideas - Ballwin,MO
OK, moms, I'm looking for some of your best money-saving ideas. My hubbie's business isn't going well, so our income is less than half than it was last year, so I'm looking for ways to save money on anything and everything! I have 3 young boys and have started babysitting to earn some extra money, but things are still really tight. Also, how do you talk to your kids about why they can't have all the things their friends are getting. Not to mention, why we don't eat out anymore, no more McDonald's runs, movie rentals, chuckie cheese trips, etc. We've always been tight with our money, but recently, the kids have started noticing things getting even tighter. Thanks for any advice you have.
1 mom found this helpful
H.E. answers from Wichita on April 01, 2008
I have been couponing for about a year now and you wouldn't belive the savings!!
I signed up at thegrocerygame.com and I get a list for Walgreen and Dillons and then I sit down with my coupons to find the best deals. Just last week I went to dillons and bought $250 worth of groceries for $140. I saved $110!!
I have also started stockpiling when there is a really really good deal. I haven't bought shampoo, body wash, toothpaste, or deorderant for a year now!
I love clipping coupons and goign to the store to see how much I can save! I think it is something worth looking into and if you sign up at www.thegrocerygame.com it is only $1 to try it out and see if you like it!!
M.I. answers from St. Louis on March 31, 2008
We live on about $2,000 a month. Basically we just don't buy anything. We use coupons for just about everything we buy, we shop on Coupon Thursday at Shop N Save and our almost 3 year old daughter knows the word NO.
When we go to the grocery store/Target/Toys R Us, she gets to play with the toys there and remembers to leave it at the store so that it will be there when she goes back.....she's still really young so ask me in 2 years how this approach works.
We drink tap water, we don't have cable and the cell is an extention on my parents plan...they live far away and it's cheaper to call them cell to cell. On the Internet service we were just picking up the AOL 'free' CD and just canceling the service every 3 months and then getting a new CD with more free service. We now have ATT DSL....but we figured out the 'secret' $10 a month deal. If you're not already a subscriber, I'll try to talk you though it.
We live in a house that is only 800 square feet and keep the thermostat set at a chilly temp during the winter and a almost too warm temp during the summer. It saves money. I only go to the salon 3 times a year, and sometimes I don't go at all. The clothing I wear is either clothing I bought in high school or they were gifts for birthdays and Christmas (HS was 15 years ago) I don't wear or buy jewlery, I hardly ever buy make up and rarely wear it.
All of the little purchases really add up.
Good luck, I hope I've helped at least a little.
To earn a little extra money look up Peters Marketing and Deleve Marketing, and there is another one at the Mills Mall C&C Marketing??. They pay you to take surveys and test products. Peters paid me about $100 and gave me about a month supply of diapers. I had to fill out forms and save the diapers, they wanted them back...dirty.
1 mom found this helpful
B.S. answers from Kansas City on March 31, 2008
M.G. answers from St. Louis on March 31, 2008
Not sure this will help but I have always cut the hair of the men in our house, that includes my husband(which quite honestly he doesn't have much hair left) and my son who is now almost 23. I"m not sure over their lifetime how much money this has freed up in the budget but at just $5.00 a haircut which good luck finding someone to do a haircut for anything less than $10.00 these days for a guy and you're doing well, I'd say this has saved us a considerable amount. Also - no cable tv or cell phones, hardly any prepackaged pre-prepared foods - make most everything from scratch - drive less - avoid the stores - I know I always spent(d) more when I shop, buying things we don't really need,make a list before shopping and stick to it, shop the sales, we have sevearl gorcery store chains within a 5 mile radius of our house so I do it in one trip, in my younger years of family life I know I spent way too much money on the lastest and greatest cleaning products - go to a website for environmently friendly cleaning supplies you make yourself with simple ingredients. They work great and cost pennies to make and use.
One splurge - that new shower cleaner that you push a button and it sprays the entire shower area after you take a shower, keeping it clean from day one if you start with a clean shower or it'll clean up a dirty shower in a matter of about a week. It is a splurge though but free times up for other things.
I can't imagine our income being cut in half however with my husbands retirement coming in just a few short years I can see that happenings to us.
We don't eat out much but I do splurge on foods items we would order out at a restaurant from time to time, like steak, shrimp (but only when it's on sale) - things that cost plenty out but you can feed a whole family of 4 for what one person's dinner would cost at a restaurant when doing it at home. Have family dining out night at home, set the table fancy, turn off the tv, put some light background music on, make a special dinner maybe a choose of whoever's birthday it is. I took cake decorating classes and make all my kids birthday cakes from the time my daughter turned 2 - I know this saved us and they always had fun picking out how they wanted their cake to look like from the wilton cake books available at Michaels so it's not like you have to come up with ideas but that can work if you're the creative type too.
Good luck I've rambles on here but I feel for you, when we were a young family we moved into a house with a mortgage twice as much as what our previous home was - wow we didn't know what we were doing but we survived taking inexpensive fun family vacations, there's always a way to figure out something and my kids aren't picky eaters and have eaten healthly, they didn't have the latest and greatest as most other kids did but they have turned out well, both in graduate school working on their PH.D. and my husband and I are basically blue collar workers. Love them, tell them why you can't afford something, you can even show them how the money is spent, keep explanations simple but truthful. Keep it matter of factly, hope this helps. Have them save for something special and give them an allowance or encourage them to get little jobs around the neighborhood. Even your youngest can be helpful and earn some pennies for something he's wanting. Good luck.
J.S. answers from St. Louis on March 31, 2008
I have recently become an ALDI grocery shopper and am saving at least $100 to $125 a week on our groceries. I have been very pleased with everything I have tried. What about $1 movie rentals and the REDBOX, only place we ever get movies anymore. Also, if you have a Lion's Choice they have 10 cent ice cream cones and 25 cent chocolate dipped cones. I can take the kids out for a little treat for 30-75 cents. That makes everyone happy. Good Luck!
R.H. answers from St. Louis on March 31, 2008
Try the library for free movie rentals, they have a special storytime once a week also & sometimes guest speakers. We would go to the parks, the recreation center, museums are often free. At home we still have game night where we all play some kind of game - we have a blast. Have a block party where everyone brings a snack. Garage sales are often an inexpensive place to get toys. Check out the Family Fun magazine at the library - we got great ideas out of there. (They have stuff online also I believe.) Hang in there!
K.S. answers from St. Louis on April 16, 2008
One thing that helps us is planning ahead of time what we'll need. You can find some really good sales and clearance prices on children's clothes at the end of the season, so I buy almost all of my kids clothes a year in advance. This may not work as well with older children but works great for the younger ones. For grocery shopping create menu ahead of time and then when you go shopping stick to your grocery list, this helps limit impulse buying. We just tell our daughter that those extra things are for special occations. The library is a great source for movies, they are usually free to check out and most kids don't mind watching movies more than once.
S.P. answers from Kansas City on March 31, 2008
This isn't a money saving idea, but it's a good work-from-home idea, since you've got three little ones and you're SAHM.
My cousin was in the same boat when her husband left his salaried job to try to start a business. Their income plummetted, but she did not want to leave her two little girls and go off to work. She began working for a company that trains customer service reps who work from home, by phone and/or computer. She has been at it a long time, and brings in about $3000 a month, working about 25 hours a week while the kids are in school.
In case you're interested, here's the info she sent me about it:
There are two reputable companies, Alpine Access and Live Ops. You can find out about working for them by going to their websites:
Here's what my cousin said about working for LiveOps: "Thing is, you have to work your way up. Money isn't instantaneous. I work 5-6 hrs daily, and I'm, after 4 yrs., in one of the top groups. We pay our own taxes, etc. I make on avg $3k/ Mo, which is pretax dollars.
I have a couple of friends working Alpine. They just work for a single client, like GE, or AAA or an airline. This is much easier for most people, cause you don't have to sell and be very familiar with a host of different products."
I don't know if this is for you, but from the sound of it, even if you can only work 15 hours a week or so, and start out earning slowly, having an extra $1000 a month could be really helpful. Good luck.
A.S. answers from St. Louis on March 31, 2008
I can relate. I am in the same boat right now and I feel like it is sinking. My husband lost his job 6 weeks ago and the savings is running pretty low and I only work part time so I can be home with the kids when they get home from school. I too am looking into babysiting after school and this summer if things don't get any better soon. I have learned to grocery shop cheaply lately. I think I cried the whole way through Aldi's and put many things in the cart and then took them back out for fear of not having enough money to purchase the items with. I don't have much advise for you about saving money but I can tell you this has been a changing time for my 6 and 8 year old girls. They didn't hear the word no very often when we went out to eat or shopping. They now have a greater respect for what we have and what it takes to get the things we need and want through alot of talking. We were very open with them and they are now saving money they have gotten from easter, valentines and coins from the grandparents. In 6 weeks they have both saved $25 each.
Things will get better and a positive attitude will help. I know that is hard to maintain sometimes. I often find myself falling into the self pity and woe is me attitude. Good luck to you.