Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Few Ways to Save

I've been wanting to write something up on this topic for a few weeks and I'm just finally getting to it. Since we are a one-income family, we have found a few different ways to save some money and live a little more simply with what we have. Hopefully there's some things here that might be helpful for anyone reading.

- Instead of buying napkins and paper towels we use cloth napkins/paper towels.

- We buy our meat in bulk. We purchase 1/8th of a cow and make it last for a year and we buy chicken in 40 pound increments from Zaycon Foods. The beef (grass fed and organic) ends up costing a little over $2 per pound and the chicken (natural, no hormones/etc. added) is $1.69 per pound.

- Use black beans in place of ground beef for certain recipes. This doesn't work for every recipe, but we've found it to work for us on numerous occasions.

- Meal plan. I decide what meals I want to make for two weeks ahead of time (we do 3-4 new dishes each week) and then shop accordingly. I find that if I have a plan then I don't waste food as much and we end up with exactly what we need.

- We mostly use water and Norwex cloths for cleaning around the house. I make a few cleaning sprays with baking soda, vinegar, water, and Borax for cleaning heavy duty messes.

- I make a grocery list and do my best to stick to it every time I grocery shop (with a little leeway). This way I don't buy things that just look good in the moment and spend more than we have.

- Use cash whenever possible. It's more painful to hand over bills than a card.

- Make meals in large portions. I try to use my crock pot often and make large batches of soups, pastas, or whatever just so we'll have leftovers to eat the next day or to freeze for a later date.

- Use coupons or sites like

- We make our own deodorant, lip balm, and moisturizer.

- We bought all of our soap (laundry, dish soap, hand soap, shampoo, dishwasher, bar soap, windex-like, and all-purpose cleaner) in bulk (a 4-year supply) when we purchased our water treatment system. It doesn't contain any harsh chemicals and is made for our soft water system and it was a really good deal.

- Buy in bulk from Amazon using the Subscribe & Save feature. We buy gluten free flour, macaroni and cheese, tea, and a few other things this way.

- Cloth diapers. We used them for Emery and now for Declan and have saved thousands, literally. The initial investment of our time and money was well worth it. I can post about what we use and how they're used later.

- Thrift stores, garage sales, and craigslist. We've found so many great deals on clothes, shoes, toys, large items (furniture, outdoor toys, etc.) from these sources. We almost always check craigslist first before purchasing something slightly more costly.

- Make our own salad dressings, marinades, pizza sauce, and bread.

- We don't have smart phones. We have the cheapest plans and most basic phones except Dustin has a smart phone for at work that's provided for him.

- No cable. We have never had cable and really don't regret the decision.

- Pack our own lunches. Dustin doesn't have the ability to heat anything up at work so I make him cold lunches to take to work everyday. He takes a cooler, some snacks, and a lunch I pack in one of these. This saves us quite a bit.

- Eat at home as much as possible. We go out to eat or order from a take out place only about once a month so it's more of a special treat when we do.

- Repurpose things like food containers, bags, old clothes, etc.

- Wash really large loads of laundry instead of lots of small ones to save on the water bill.

That's all I can think of for now. Let me know if you have any other ideas to save!

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