What is the best way to save money when getting your first apartment?

Chelayne - posted on 05/12/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I'm a 25 year old single mom of two girls, 2 and 1, and I am about to get my first apartment. I need to know how can I save money so that I won't be living pay check to pay check. I don't get help from their dad and I don't want to go back on what they call "wellfare". Even though the food stamps would be a great help, I just don't know.

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Mihaela - posted on 06/19/2012

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I don't live in the US but these are my tricks and I think they are suiteable just about everywhere:

1. don't cook too much ( only what you will definetly eat), don't try new recipes if you or the girls don't like the ingredients, don't throw away food - try to change it's aspect and eat it ( example: mashed potatoes can be mixed with some flour and cheese and spices and fried like ...let's say meatballs - the same shape and size - and they go just great for a snack or along a piece of steak, or whatever you feel like) get inventive!!!

2. pay attention to clothes: if not dirty or smelly let them catch some air over the night and wear them again. it will save on washing

3. re-use the plastic things. or guard them away for a time and then have a good time with your daughters:example: a plastic jar+ some paint/drawings/etc+some little holes goes perfect for a flower pot.

4. do some math: discounts may not always mean a real discount. Not if you don't need that thing at the moment and you can invest the money into something else. Don't get too attached to a brand. You can buy something else instead of your regular shampoo if you find a cupoon for some other (good or recommended) brand.

5. save on bills, as much as possible. don't use more water or gas or energy than what you really need.

6.with the planning food point may go another one: check out for food that is about to get out of the period "best before...". if you buy something like that and eat it right away there is no problem and usually it's less expensive, doesn't matter the brand ( or at least in Spain - where I live - this is a good advise)

7.think. a lot. about many things. and write down your ideas, all of them. maybe they'll prove to be useful. and you never know when you can find a bright solution to your problems :)

8 and smile, try to be as happy as possible, for your daughters and for you. It will help

Bonnie - posted on 06/09/2012

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I'm on the opposite end of the journey, but I understand where you are at now. My husband hasn't had a job for 3 years and I'm handling everything on my check alone and hoping to save enough to retire in 10 years. When we were first married we didn't have any money, but we had fun finding ways to spend wisely. That's really the key. Ask yourself, do I really need that latte or can I make chocolate milk when I get home? Do I really NEED or do I WANT to buy. Make saving money a game of trying to find the best thing for the least amount of money. Buy used (clothing, household items, a car). I've heard of a site called Freezone or something like that where people swap. I used to babysit for my friend in exchange for her sewing prowess (buttons and hems is the extent of my ability). Cook from scratch and be creative. (You'll find cookbooks at yard sales and recipes online.) Preprocessed foods aren't as healthy anyway. Have the girls help you make homemade noodles and bread. If you're meat eaters make it stretch by adding it to sauces (pasta, beans, rice...) instead of just meat with a veggie side. Avoid sodas, chips, desserts, except for special occasions. Junk food is way expensive and there's no nutritional value. It's all about choices and planning. In Wichita a friend of mind has a website service called Wichita on the Cheap. It's national, so see if there's one in your city. They'll help you find discounts, free events to take the girls to and ways to save. Be patient and have fun furnishing over time and fixing things up with slip covers or paint. Our first bookshelves were way cool and made of plastic milk cartons. Check out Pinterest, there are people there with great recipes, home and craft ideas, re-purposing so you don't waste anything. Make it your goal to save $X every month and stick to it. But don't forget to set aside $X for a little fun. Go to a drive in and make your own popcorn. Just start thinking outside of the box. You're just starting out so you won't have everything you may want, but you can have a lot of fun with what you have. Enjoy the journey, it's the best part.

[deleted account]

Worth going round and seeing what furniture you can get second hand and/or at reduced prices.

What I do is I set a budget and stick to it (yes occasionally I go over, but then the following week I make sure that I go under). I put the coins into a money box and save them up till it's full - then banking them. When I have money paid into my main bank account, I put the 'lose change' into my savings account and take the change down to the nearest £10.00 in my main bank account. The 'change' adds up over time - it may only be a few pence or pound at a time, but it all adds up.

Also worth cooking from scratch as in the long run it'll save you money and electricity. I try and do a batch cook of something on a regular basis - eat what we need that night, then when it's cooled down portion off and freeze the rest.

It's worth seeing what activities you can do at low cost and/or free. That way you can have a good day out with minimal expense.

Another way that I've saved is my girls have had clothes passed on to them, by family and friends, which has saved me a lot of money in the long run. Also I pass on clothes to the charity shops/other families when my girls have outgrown their clothes. My girls will also pass down to their youngest sister, until my youngest has outgrown them. Once she's outgrown them, then they either get put in the bin (if to warn out) or passed onto someone else.

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Rachel - posted on 05/12/2012

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Ok a few Ideas I have are go to the salvation army for furniture if you dont have everything you need. Also try to go to discount stores for food and other times whenever possible. Do not get cable since it is not necessary. Try to make a budget and stick to it. Also I would say if you really need the food stamps then go for them. it is not saying you failed or anything like that it is just saying you could use some help for right now. it is a way to make sure your children have healthy meals to eat. Good luck I hope everything works out for you.

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