Best way to cut costs?

Bridgette - posted on 04/15/2011 ( 104 moms have responded )

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Looking for thoughts and ideas on how to cut costs in the household so I can continue to stay home with my baby. Has anyone done anything that did/didn't work you can share? Looking for anything from bills, groceries, or anything else that people have cut back on.

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√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 04/16/2011

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One of my friends said when she finally sat down and looked at how much she was spending between daycare, being exhausted and not cooking and planning meals as well (eating out more, or buying easy to cook foods) she was actually losing money working. She ended up saving $50 dollars a month by staying home. She was less stressed, and was free to spend her day taking care of her house and playing with her kid. You may want to look into this alone, as it might not be worth it for you to work.
We don't have cable. We have Netflix which lets us stream some movies live, otherwise we get movies in the mail and watch ones we already own. I love it, because I HATE commercials. Netflix is about $8 a month for us.
We don't have a house phone, we use our cell phones which being on the same plan for two phones is actually the same as just paying for one, almost. Our phone bill is about the same $100 a month for two phones. If you want to be really cheap, you can look into Boost mobile, which has free internet, unlimited hours, and basically everything that adds up costs on a phone for ONLY 50 a month, I used this for a while when I was on my own. It was wonderful knowing the bill would always be the same.
We don't have a new car, no new car payments, nor such high insurance costs to keep up with the new car.
I buy 1 or 2 things in bulk each week and plan cooking around it. It's working out pretty well so far. Like 5 pounds of pepperoni or shredded cheese. We'll then make quesadillas, lasagna, spaghetti, grilled cheese sandwhiches, and anything else we can think of for the cheese. The pepperoni can even be frozen to be pulled out later after we've made sandwhiches, mini pizzas and bakes with them all week.
Plan meals, vacations, and down to the last dime everything you're going to need so you have more money to do what you want. My mom for a while would round her checkbook up to the dollar, and saved all the excess change for her savings. Therefore at the end of the month, she had some money to play with.
Buy all our clothes at Ross, Marshalls, or on clearance. Saves a million.
There are usually 1 or 2 local programs which help mothers with kids things. They work by you dropping off the crib your not using anymore, swings, blankets, clothes, etc and then give you things in good condition for cheap. Actually, the one by us even has older women sew a quilt for new mommies which is really really nice and they give it to you free. Beautiful :)
And I know this is going to sound odd but I've been downsizing lately. Minimalizing, organizting, purging, giving away to Goodwill and all else I can to make my house in better running order......... it's made me not want to buy ANYTHING when I just dropped off 4 bags to Goodwill of random knicknacks I just parted with, old clothes and shoes... Which helps when you see that $5 'pretty' you can't live without that tends to add up.
So maybe read a few sites on minimizing! It's helped me alot :D

Lia - posted on 04/15/2011

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Just about every expense has a way to save. Start getting quotes on insurnace, even medical can be cheaper than what the hubby gets at work. I work with a company that pays me to watch ads so I bring in extra income for 10 minutes of watching ads. We also changed our phone plan since we had cell phones. Got $500 cheaper car insurance. There are so many ways! Go over each expense in your checkbook that you wrote down in the last 6 months!

Tiffany - posted on 04/21/2011

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1. Cancel cable TV
2. No eating out
3. Use coupons at grocery store, buy generic everything if you don't have a coupon
4. Use cloth diapers instead of disposable
5. Make your own laundry soap
6. Line dry your clothing instead of using the dryer
7. Buy clothing/shoes at thrift stores or ask for second hand clothes from friends/family members
8. Do not use credit for anything. If you cannot pay cash/debit for it, do not buy it.

[deleted account]

We cut out cable TV, it was $180/month and we rarely watched it anyway. We replaced it with Netflix though our PS3 which is only $9 /month.

Most people can loose the housekeeper and landscapers, but it does take some time to learn the ropes. Don't give up, you eventually get the hang of it. Even if you can't give them up completely, you can cut back on them a good bit.

[deleted account]

I've never had much luck with coupons and being "frugal" -- I guess I'm not organized enough -- but we end up not spending a lot of money just by trying to live a simpler life.



No car (good public transport where we live though, and we take taxis from time to time -- still cheaper than having a car), no TV or cable (just high speed Internet), no dishwasher, no tumble dryer (line-dry everything), no landline (use Skype and cheap pay-as-you-go mobile phone plans). We live in a small flat and use energy saving light bulbs.



Lots of hand-me-down clothes and clothes from thrift shops for our baby (he's a baby; he doesn't care! he dresses pretty cute despite this anyway). Rather than buying expensive flashy toys, make toys from household items -- he loves them!



Dressing warmly in the winter instead of running the heat. No AC at all, just strategically placed fans/shades.



Just realizing 99% of the stuff out there is unnecessary crap.

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104 Comments

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Katrina - posted on 06/08/2011

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First thing i would suggest is log onto your home phone, internet, mobile phone, account/s and have a look at whether you're using all you're entitled on your plan/s, as you may be able to go onto a lower plan. Not sure what country you're from, but here in Australia, we have a few organisations, that have sort-of a shop setup, for a fraction of the price you'd normally spend. They sell anything from formula to packets of chips and softdrink. They also have free bread/rolls, and fruit/veg. Saves me alot of money. I chose one day a week to do baking. Cakes, bisuits, etc. Saves me about $15 a week. I buy the cheapest bread, and I shop at cheap stores as they have some food items like treats and coffee. Shop around, because the extra petrol is worth it if you can save a bundle on your grocery bill. Hope it's helped. :)

Kimberly - posted on 06/07/2011

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We only eat out on the weekends. I have a weekly $100 budget for groceries and try to use coupons when I can, I plan meals and I don't buy junk food. I purchase store brands where I can. I rarely shop for myself. I do my own hair coloring, mani/pedis most of the time. I'm in Texas but turn the a/c up when I am not home or during early morning while it is still somewhat "cool". I try to use as much natural light as possible during the day. I open all the blinds first thing in the morning. I wash in cold water. We compared prices and switched satellite companies. I have just a basic cell phone plan, I don't even have texting capability (no love lost there- hate texting). And I just took on a 7 year old to watch during the week to add some income. You can do it. It's rather easy.

Bella - posted on 06/05/2011

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Just bought cloth diapers for my sister's baby shower, that saves her close to $1000 a year and we use concentrated eco-friendly detergent that saves us another $30 a month!
Yes, we love Pizza but the frozen kind is just as delicious, find the one you love! Most of our shopping we do online and save 30% to 40% and also get instant rebates! The diapers I bought I shopped online and got free shipping and a rebate check too!

Audra - posted on 05/20/2011

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It's no fun, but it's about the cold, hard math...list your major household expenses, and then attack one at a time. I'd focus on the large numbers first and look for wiggle room. But don't discount how small charges here and there and everywhere add up. $1 here, and $3 there...those daily drinks/checkout aisle treats add up like you wouldn't think they would. After you have reviewed the list, give some thought to wants vs. needs ... certain things might feel like a good investment, but when cash flow is limited, a 'good investment' still requires cash up front...

Tiara - posted on 05/19/2011

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Hi everyone, my bf is a finance craze and his suggestions to me were to cut up the debit card and only use cash, unplug everything in the house you are not using and does not need to run to save on electric, having netflixs and internet for cable is cheaper by far, and planning your meals every month before shopping can help with the grocery bill. Coupons were always bad for me but they work as well. I never knew about Bank Of Americas free museum days. That is awesome for the kids and me. Some restaurants have free meals for kids when you get a adult meal. There are many ways to save.

OhJessie - posted on 04/30/2011

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Once-a-month cooking, food co-ops, secondhand clothes, one or two pairs of shoes (for you), breastfeeding, never mind baby food; bulk shopping - there's tons of ways to save money. Good luck!

Claire - posted on 04/30/2011

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My mom gave me this really helpful book - "Miserly Moms" by Jonni McCoy. It has tons of tips and money-savers!

Candyce - posted on 04/30/2011

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Go over your cable, phone, internet, trash, etc. Literally look at every service you have and see if you can either find it cheaper or find a discount. Simplest way is to ask. Instead of a traditional phone, we have magicJack. It was about $50 for five years. FIVE YEARS!!!! Trim down your cable. Use coupons. Buy online for certain things. For most things, you can buy used and haggle. Don't eat out. Use vinegar, baking soda, and water for most of your cleaning (it's better for the environment, your kids, your health, AND your wallet!), learn to sew for minor repairs, head to the library instead of Blockbuster, get the cheapest brand of everything, learn how to make a pound of rice last a week, use up all the leftovers, start a garden (also great to teach your kids about responsible stewardship and honest work), talk to your mortgage company and negotiate a lower interest rate - same thing with credit cards and insurance (the worst they can say is no). Also check out Swagbucks.com if you're online much. I've earned enough for a few amazon.com gift cards. These are all things that I've done and they've helped tremendously!

Blessed Be

NICOLE - posted on 04/28/2011

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Hi what we have done is price matching at grocery stores walmart does it, and i look on craigslist and kijiji for formula that ppl are selling, hope that helps

[deleted account]

Pay for your groceries (and other major shopping) by buying gift vouchers upfront (we have a website via my husbands work where you can get supermarket vouchers at 4% off but I think there are others out there too).
Grow fruit in the garden, my kids love all the berries which are very pricey in the shops but are very easy to grow at home - we've even had a blueberry bush in a pot on the patio so it doesn't have to take up much room - we then freeze any excess we get (we also buy things like that when on special at the supermarket and freeze them).
Buy in bulk - even things like meat we buy in big packs and then split down into the quantities we need for meals - we sometimes even cook double quantities and then freeze the results in smaller portions to use later on. Have been known to buy whole chickens and joint them ourselves, can get a much better grade chicken for the same price that way but it's all down to getting into the habit.
I bought a decent sewing machine and visit a factory shop where they sell off fabric very cheaply, we've recently moved into a house and needed all new curtains etc. and I've got some very good quality ones that I've made myself (with very little know how!) for a fraction of the cost of buying them. I then used a lot of the fabric left over to make presents for people (especially kids) at christmas - a large number this year were home made - if I see a nice fabric toy or clothing item for a child I work out how to make my own from what I have around or by buying very little extra, you can get lots of nice free patterns off the internet too.
My kids love second hand toys - just give them a quick wipe over and they love them. Get them from charity shops, ebay or car boot sales.

Wendy - posted on 04/27/2011

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I am a SAHM and I love to SAVE! It may sound crazy, but I garden! I plant lots of veggies and herbs. Takes some patience and time but the grocery bill will thank you! I went from having a yard 2 yrs ago to an apartment, so now I do container gardening! Kids LOVE to help plant and pick and fresh veggies in the store are high. Clip coupons like crazy! At first I felt like I was an crazy woman standing there hlding up the line in the store, but now I am so fast ppl dont even realize I used coupons.And I save on avg about $30 large trip and sometimes more! Practice makes perfect lol I use the accordion style coupon holder orginized by the month that coupon expires. After the end of the month, throw the remaining ones away.Throw a half gallon jug of water in the back of your toilet tank to save water. Teach the kids : Don't let the water run while you brush your teeth, turn off the lights when leaving the room and use natural sunlight when possible to light the room. ( tell them why we do it too and eventually they start telling you to " turn off the light mom, it's a sunny day" lol) I use the dryer at night when it is cooler to save energy. Use an old fashion clothes line on beautiful days and when you bring them in throw them in the dryer for like 10 min to get some of the stiffness out and wa-la. you cut back on the horrible dryer sucking up the energy. Cook some meals using the crockpot verses the stove. I guess every little bit could make a difference. I just try to make myself aware of everthing I do in hopes that I can find a way to save. Best of luck and happy savings!!!!!!

Harmony - posted on 04/27/2011

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I am not sure how old your little one is but I find that the biggest baby costs are baby food and diapers. We use cloth diapers and I make my own baby food. To cut costs even more I made the diapers myself. But you can get some really good deals online for cloth diapers. If you hang them up to dry as opposed to using the dryer you cut costs there as well. Here is a site on making your own baby food http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/ It takes more time than opening a jar, but if you are staying at home you will have more time. We also do the netflix thing and don't have cable. I also am a avid shopper of the clearance section and thrift stores. Coupons can also save a ton of money. I find a lot of coupons online. Good luck. I really hope you can make it work to stay home with your little one. Here is a goos site for general household saving tips.
http://financialplan.about.com/cs/frugal...

Jayde - posted on 04/27/2011

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We also cut out cable, we use netflix, hulu and gamefly for our intertainment. We are looking into apple tv since we buy alot of tv shows and movies. We use cloth diapers which save me a ton. I cook almost all my meals at home, make baby food at home, and signed up with a co op for fruits and veg. Next year we are going to try a garden and when I say we I mean my husband. We went to a different cell provider and we use a mobile hotspot from that provider for our internet....its cheaper and allows me to take my laptop everywhere.

Erin - posted on 04/27/2011

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My family seems to get by on around $100/week (in saskatchewan canada) for groceries. Sometimes I can get it down to around $60, and this is a family of four. Not including personal care products. We try to make things from scratch and eat out very little (lately we've been eating out more :( ) We have our own chickens for eggs. We got rid of our satellite which saves us around $65 a month ($780 / year). We got rid of our cell phone plans and only pay around $27/mo for prepaid unlimited text for both our phones. We pretty much get all of our kids clothes second hand or on clearance. We try to buy clothes only as we need them and then only on clearance. I was just thinking today that I needed some capris or shorts for the summer and saw that a couple of my jeans are torn and really weared on the bottom hems. So I'll be altering those to make my "new" capris. Bake bread! it saves so much! Especially when I have to pay $3.50/loaf at the store when I can make a loaf for around $.50. If you go through a loaf a week, you're easily saving $150 a year just on bread! Make a weekly menu plan. The reason I keep talking about groceries is because it is the easiest variable expense to cut down on. By no name or generic. THey're made in the same plants as others are most of the time. Try not to buy prepackaged things, it's a waste of hard earned money. Garden in the summer, it's good exercise and the veggies are way better tasting. This winter I'm going to garden indoors so I don't have to buy a lot at the store. Do your own cleaning. Learn how to service your own vehicles. An oil change here costs around $50, you can do your own for the cost of supplies. I'm quitting smoking this friday. That will save around $150/mo for us. Cut back on drinking, even socially. My husband goes through a bottle of rum every two months. If he didn't that would free up around $250/year. Don't use your credit card. If you don't have the money, you obviously can't afford it. Our grandparents saved and saved to get anything back then. We need to follow suit. Dye your hair at home and go to a cheaper place to get your hair cut, and learn how to cut your husband's and kid's hair.It's not that hard, just pick up clippers for around $25 and you're good. Try not to buy anything new. You can find lots of things at garage sales in excellent almost new condition that people just need to get rid of. Don't go shopping for entertainment. learn how to sew and knit. Don't be extravagant for birthdays. A child doesn't need anything more then cake, a card, a present and their friends having fun. I try to have them after lunch so you don't have to feed 10+ kids food. Make your own cake too along with icing. homemade icing is always better. OH there are so many other things! But I'll stop here. You can always message me. I had to go back to work casually, working nights and weekends until we get ourself into a good grove. But I'll be a f/t sahm when my daughter turns two :)

Karen - posted on 04/27/2011

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I plan a whole months menu's and bulk buy what i need.
Always buy products on offer, and use own brands too.
will buy short dated food that can be frozen great savings to be had there and nothing wrong with the food.
down sized tv package and changed phone companies.
only buy clothes that are needed they cant wear it all and most of the time stuff was staying in their closets untouched.

Tiffany - posted on 04/27/2011

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I make my own laundry soap it cost me about 63 cents per gallon and you can buy the kit from lehmans.com and it's about 40 dollars and it has everthing you need to make 10 batchs at 4 gallons a batch know you will need to save one of you old laundry soap containers from a previous purchase or a gallon size tea jar with a spricket or something like that it is safe for all washing machines and it only takes 1/2 cup per load and it smell great without have to and any extracts any Question just ask

Amy - posted on 04/27/2011

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Something that has helped cut our costs is that I started actually planning meals about a year ago. Once I've planned what we're eating for the coming week or two, I look through the cupboards to see what actually needs to be bought & write up a list. Then I stick to the list at the store. With a lot of products, you can get the store brand at a significant savings without it affecting the flavor of your food - but some things you really can't substitute with & it's something you have to decide on for yourself.

As other people have pointed out, you can probably save a lot on your various monthly bills too. In our household, the only bills are car insurance, cell phones, internet, power and gas. We made a decision to go without cable of any sort - we still get pbs, ion television, fox, and several other channels without any sort of cable (digital bunny ears and a hd tv).

If you are concerned about making ends meet and want to continue staying home, you can also look into part time work that you can do around your s.o.'s schedule or that you can take your baby along with you. Secret shopping, homecrafts that you then sell, babysitting other people's kids, etc.

Ericka - posted on 04/27/2011

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ok so i didnt read everyones response but get 2 sunday papers for twice as many coupons. check with your local grocery stores to find out their coupon policy i am able to use multiple coupons on one item since my store honors all competitor and manufacturer coupons and has their own! i saved almost 50$ last week on groceries. i am still learning a friend of mine does this and she saves over 100$ on groceries just by "stacking coupons" plus the more things you make yourself ie waffles, biscuits, etc instead of buying the premade can save since you pay for the extra work put in. i think the website she gave me to look at was www.funfrugalfortune.com or frugalfortunefun.com it is a great site that tells you how to get started :)

[deleted account]

This may be repeating some of the wonderful ideas above, but they work for me:

1. I sit down with the Sunday supplements and compare my grocery store sale flyer and bounce it off of that weeks coupons. You often find double savings. By not trying too hard, I can save at least $25 a week.
2. Shop thrift stores (especially when the kids are young). I have found some GREAT deals on kids clothes. Thrift stores are also a great place to find Halloween costumes.
3. If you need to go out for dinner for an event like mother's day, how about going out to lunch. Usually a better deal.

Laura - posted on 04/27/2011

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Coupons would help you save a lot. I just started like in October or November of 2010 and I have already saved over $1500 I try to use a coupon for everything! Also use store coupons with a manufacture coupon it doubles your savings since a lot of stores don't double coupons, check your area for that. I also like to rummage sale for clothing a great way to save! I save at least half on my bill. Today I went shopping and spent 65 dollars and saved 76 dollars.

Eillim - posted on 04/26/2011

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This is a process becuase in my experience, in order to save money long term you will have to spend some money, not what you want to hear but follow me.....
A little background first: our family is composed of 5 and 2 dogs and I live in a 3k sq ft and a yard closnig 1/4 of an acre. There is something in my home that we just (shamefully) can't live without, technology. This being said, getting rid of the internet, cable, dvr, and cell phones for everyone was not an option. We have to find other places to save.
We started about two years ago with switching just a package at a time (the package usually brings 4) to energy efficient light bulbs and not placing light bulbs at all in strategic places, for example: my kitchen, formal living, family and home theatre rooms all have 4-6 lights for some reason, we only left 1-2 bulbs in those areas. Think about it, there is no need for all of them at the same time. I make sure to unplug anything that is not being use. Our electric bill went from $300 to $190 per month. We also changed all the faucets and shower heads in all 3 bathrooms to control water flow and I am always checking to make sure there are no leaks anywhere. I also make sure that my 3 girls do not wash their hairs more than twice per week. Water bill went from $240 to $130. I never go shopping if there are no coupons to go along with the sales for that week. I stack up whenever I can, as long as the item will not expire in a few months. Right now my pantry has over 10 boxes of cereal. I also "recycle" food, this means that for example today I had some rose sauce in the fridge from dinner on sunday (mixture of red pasta sauce with cheese and heavy cream and some italian spices) so I made a different pasta today again and mixed that sauce into a new sauce. Our food bill went from $1000 a month to $400 a month and that includes dog's food, cleaning supplies and toilettries.
It has taken me a while but I have brought down pretty much all expenses in the house. Very important is that all members of the family need to be on board and to learn the difference between need and want. Hope this helps!

Meg - posted on 04/26/2011

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Do you take your kids to a favorite museum or zoo? Get a membership. This allows you to go often for free. Look to see if some places have free or discount times. I take my son to the Museum fo Fine Arts in Boston on there community days that are free. Bank of America card holders can get in to museums for free once a month. There are other deals like this in many communities. If going out with your child brown bag lunch. Go for a hike and picnic.

Loni - posted on 04/26/2011

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Don't go out to eat. maybe even walk not drive. It was heard for me but with the families help we made it throw.

Sara - posted on 04/26/2011

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A couple of other things I forgot to mention:

1. We take full advantage of "kids eat free" offers if we have in our area. Eating out with 5 kids can get rather expensive.

2. Drinking water is free most places so we save about $10 to $15 off our tab when we eat at a restaurant.

3. We use a prepaid credit card instead of one that charges crazy interest.

4. My kids and I keep our bookshelves stocked up with books I find for a steal at half price books or a thrift store.

5. We paid for a yearly family membership to our local zoo so instead of paying about $70 each visit to the zoo (not including the price of rides or parking) we paid $160 for a year and it more than pays for itself in two visits.

6. The membership also gives us discounts on other things for the family to do so we became members at the aquarium too. The discount was $30 so that helps A LOT!

7. There are also plenty of places that will give you annual and birthday discounts or freebies when you sign up with them.

Sara - posted on 04/26/2011

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My family has done away with cable. That saves a bundle. Netflix and Hulu are great alternatives. I snip coupons here and there but not as maniacal about it as the Extreme Coupon crew. I only keep the ones I know will come in handy. I save tons of money by going through weekly ads and making a list then going over to Walmart or Target and price matching the ads. This one stop shopping helps a lot since I can get most of the stuff I need for cheaper there instead of driving around aimlessly store to store for the sales. That would just be a waste of time and gas. There are tons of blogs and websites that can help you start saving. Another thing that helps me out are consignment sales that happen twice a year. You can consign your kids old clothes and score some really good deals on more clothing for them at the same time. I hope this helps.

Melanie - posted on 04/26/2011

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I really like this question. I don't know how you'll find the time to read all the helpful posts you've gotten. lol
One thing that I have found is bar soaps, even really nice goat milk soaps will last longer than liquid soaps do.
Baking your own goodies and bread will leave you with a little extra cash and it doesn't have all those icky preservatives. Plus, my daughter enjoys helping me so it's something to bond over.
Planning meals and buying according to the recipe has saved us $150-$300 a month, at least.
Another fun way to save money is to do fun projects with your kids. (I don't know their ages, but..) I wanted a jewelry stand and my daughter had a stomach bug. So we made a fun hand jewelry holder from her tiny hand and some cardboard. It saved me from having to buy one and gave her something fun to do. We have done this with many things, from popsicle beds for the doll houses to felt tea cakes and cookies.
Good luck.

Mary - posted on 04/26/2011

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I started making my laundry soap. The stuff to make it is also used for other cleaning ideas. You can find the recipe online. It also saves a ton of money to make it instead of buying it. It costs five or six dollars for the supplies. you can also make fabric softener to. I hoped this has helped.

Cindy - posted on 04/26/2011

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Put the whole family on a diet, and shop the specials, making your meals from the menu of specials. One trip to the grocery store a week. Budget your time, too, for preparation; add exercise.Extreme discipline. Everybody benefits :)

Melanie - posted on 04/26/2011

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One thing my husband and I did was switch to a cell phone plan with T-mobile that is only $10 per year for 100 minutes because we really don't use them that much. We don't have internet on our cell phones either. With the T-mobile plan, if you don't use your prepaid minutes by the end of the year, you have the opportunity to roll over the minutes to the next year. It sounds like you've gotten a lot of good ideas already. Good luck!

Patty Ann - posted on 04/26/2011

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go to the library, you can get books, magazines, videos, plus most have an area for children with puzzles, etc

clip coupons and watch for sales

don't eat out, only as a special treat

cook your own food, don't buy pre-packaged items, most usually cost more

if you can live without cell phones....do it

cut out internet, you can also go to library for it

make the most of your shopping day, don't go more than once a week to buy groceries and other items, saves alot on gas

keep some of the packages, tubs, bowls, etc. use these for crayons, and other items to store out of your way

I stayed at home until my daughter started school, then I started as a substitute teacher, when my second daughter came along, I again quit work and stayed with her....it was worth it both times.

[deleted account]

We totally downsized our home and moved into something affordable. It felt like a step back and yet a huge step forward so I could be home with the kids. We found out we were having twins and so we went from a house to a condo/townhouse with some greenspace for 2 years. We knew we wouldn't have much time the first year to worry about gardens so it worked out well. When the kids were 2 and our 3rd little guy was born we moved to a house again but a smaller 4 bed home with a nice size yard knowing we would stay there until they were school age and I could begin working again if I wanted. Perhaps at that time we will consider upsizing but for now we are content.



Also to help we took the course called "Financial Peace University" by Dave Ramsey he has a radio talk show and specializes in finances (you can get it in a video series and it's phenominal!!!) The phrase we have around our home is that we are living on beans and rice. lol --- Funny actually because we live mostly vegetarian and we honestly eat a lot of beans and rice and they are cheap and go a long way.

I am also a flyer queen and love to shop and so do the kids so we'll often have a day where we go from grocery store to grocery store getting the best bargains we can. I love to strategize and make my lists.



We cut out cable and ordered netflix instead. It's under $10/month and lots of great stuff to watch and NO commercials. Better than paying almost $85/month for cable. We took away our cell phones and really we lived for years and years without them before and honestly I love it because my husband isn't constantly on his phone surfing the internet. We kept our internet but changed to a cheaper provider with zero limits on how much usage. That was perfect!!

We shop for clothes for the kids and sometimes for ourselves at the second hand store or consignment shops. Great deals!



It's all a season and it's so worth it. Look at what you are gaining by making some sacrifices and later you will see that what feels like a sacrifice isn't really,... it's a blessing and so full of rewards and benefits. I love talking about this. If you ever want to connect or anyone else I would love to chat : )

Timora - posted on 04/26/2011

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Another option with the cable/internet is to manage to constantly get promotional prices. My cable and internet are bundled through the same company and every 6 months or so the price goes up because our promotion will end. So I'll call and say my bill can't be more than X (whatever their new customer promotion rates are) and that I want to cancel cable. They always find a way to put me on another promotion to prevent me from canceling. You have to be willing to do without the extra's like HBO, high def and things like that, but it keeps our cable/internet together to about $75 a month. Internet by itself would be about $60, so it's not bad. We also don't have a landline phone and our cell phones are on my in-law's plan so we get the family rate.

Jennifer - posted on 04/26/2011

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Do you coupon? Check out southernsavers.com. It helped a BUNCH!!
We went to cells only and no cable. We have used cars that are paid off. Do not eat out. You can check out theromantic.com for good CHEAP date ideas. No need for sports. The kids get enough social time at school and church.(I homeschool)

Constance - posted on 04/25/2011

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I do several things every month to save money. I love staying home but both my husband and I are in school full time, my oldest goes to an elite private high school, My youngest daughter has 17 specialist and sees at least two a week plus PT and OT. It gets rather costly to pay all the bills. I can give you some wonderful tips to help save and cut cost. Just contact me privately only because I am not supposta solicate anything publicly but it is all free promise.

Olivia - posted on 04/25/2011

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We don't eat out often, Red Robin a few times a year and only because 2 of our 3 kids get free meal coupons from their dentist; grocery-wise, we don't buy instant or ready-made foods and very rarely canned stuff which can be expensive too, same for name-brands, there are very few name-brand items we will splurge on and we use coupons all the time. We buy our meat in bulk & freeze it. Entertainment-wise, we cut out our dish service because we hardly ever watched it; i had Netflix afterwards but recently cancelled that & now we get a movie or 2 from Redbox every month or so. For the kids we go to the library a lot, they have free internet and DVD rentals. You might also consider cutting out your home phone, if you have one. Trash service costs can be reduced greatly if you recycle, granted you have to make a little effort to sort your recycle stuff & then find out where your local recycle center drop-off is at.
Another thing to consider is actually get price estimates for where you'd be leaving your baby while you are at work and consider what you'd be making at your job. A lot of the times unless you are in the professional wage bracket, the costs just don't make sense. Good luck & I really hope you can find the way to stay home with your baby.

SHENG - posted on 04/25/2011

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I auction my baby's grown items on ebay and other things. Sometimes I buy and sell online.

Christina - posted on 04/25/2011

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I'm not sure how old your little ones are but if they're still in diapers, consider cloth diapering. We've cloth diapered both of ours since birth & that has saved TONS. especially in the spring & summer when I can hang the diapers out to dry instead of using the dryer. That's another thing, hang dry your clothes when weather permits to cut down on the electric bill. You wouldn't believe how much electricity a dryer uses!

I also coupon shop but I agree with those above. Don't buy things with coupons that you wouldn't normally buy, otherwise you'll end up just eating a bunch of junk or buying a bunch of food that won't be eaten. Match coupons to all the ads & take that to Walmart to grocery shop. They match ad prices as long as there is an actual price for the item in the ad.

I'm not sure if you have this in your town or not but we have different sized garbage bins given by the city. The smaller the bin, the cheaper our water/disposal bill is. We have the smallest trash can they give & recycle Everything we can. The recycle bin is free.

Another thing we did was change the insurance on my car to "recreational use" vehicle. If you don't commute to & from work, a lot of companies (we're with Progressive) will slash your insurance cost.

Use a rain barrel to collect rain water & condensation from the AC & use that water for the yard & plants. You wouldn't believe how much water your AC produces in the summer!

Jennifer - posted on 04/25/2011

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We have switched to all Shaklee products for our household cleaners. They are super concentrated (you dilute them yourself depending on what type of cleaner you want - windows, all-purpose, degreaser, etc.) so they last much longer than your average cleaners from Walmart. My window cleaner costs about a penny a bottle now; my all-purpose cleaner is about 21 cents a bottle; my disinfectant is about 26 cents a bottle; and my laundry soap costs about 10 cents less per load that any brand I could find in the store. Plus, they are 100% natural, and I do not fear having them around my kids (I have 3 under the age of 5). Let me know if you want more information about these as I know that sometimes they are not that well-known since you can't buy them in stores.

P.S. I like the Packer blanket - we are members and residents of the Packer nation ourselves. Go Pack!

Tiffiny - posted on 04/25/2011

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Some of these are probably covered already...
-get on a budget - live only on what you make - don't use credit cards
-we cancelled netflix and get movies from the library
-we bought a used car and our payment is low
-we refinanced our mortgage to a lower interest rate/payment
-I started ironing my husband's business clothes so we saved about $50 plus on drycleaning each month
-we buy used clothes, trade with friends or shop clearance sales
-we don't buy our son toys - if he wants them he has to save up or wait for his birthday
-shop around for insurance
-work from home - my husband works from home and saves hundreds in car expenses - I have a small business from home as well
-save up for things you need and want - even $1 a week adds up eventually
Good luck! It's worth the sacrifices you make. = )

Jessica - posted on 04/25/2011

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we got rid of our checking account and went with a walmart money card works the same as a debit card and you can even get direct deposit. we also moved to a trailor park where we own our own trailor and only pay 190 mo when we were paying 900 for our mortgage and we have a way bigger yard for our girls to play in. we like doing out door things with our kids like fishing, swimming at the lake or family members house so it doesnt cost much at all. in the winter well play board games or do puzzels instead of going to somewhere like chuck e cheese. i do a lot of second hand shopping at once apon a child for the girls and platos closet for myself.

Karin - posted on 04/25/2011

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We started looking into this. When i moved in with my husband after college we were extremely strapped. It took about a year to finally get everything we needed for our home together and get our budget under control. Some tips i have are bag lunches and make coffee for you SO in the morning. We live in ak and everything is a third more expensive up here. Try also planning your meals. If you do that it can help avoid buying extra things that you dont need in the meantime. Coupons help, try looking through your local grocers adds. Also try discount grocery stores like Aldi's or Food 4 less. Their quality of food might not be for the best but it will help cut down costs. Also try avoiding going out to eat more than once a month. Cable/cell phone/internet- See what you dont need or use. Or even try cutting out/ downgrading till you know you can afford it. My last tip only use a credit card in the case of an emergency, i know how hard it is to use it when you want something but avoid it. Some have very high interest rates. Good lucck

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You probably have more responses then you know what to do with but here are my few thoughts: write down where every penny goes for at least 1 month, 3 is preferred; write a list of things you want vs. what you need (want Spring pretty rugs vs need new tires on car - yes I realize that's a big spread on money but you get the point!); what can you make from scratch that you normally buy at the store (bread, pasta, snacks, box dinner); only go to the store once a week or every 2 weeks and write out a grocery list; visit flylady.net for ideas & tools on keeping your house chaos free; use rags/towels instead of paper towels (easily washed & reused!); use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, cloth diapers instead of disposable (they really aren't that hard and they are washable). Do you have any talents - sewing/alterations, see if any neighbors need help going to the store (elderly who can't drive or just need help pushing the cart - they may be willing to pay you to help them out). Coupons work too, but only print/cut what you buy, just b/c there is a coupon it doesn't mean you have to buy it if it's not something you normally buy.
The biggest thing is to write your list: track your expenses, wants vs. needs, grocery list.
Check out this site to for more useful information: moneysavingmom.com
Hope it helps and just knowing that you want to cut expenses will help you stick to making it work. Good luck!

Sally - posted on 04/25/2011

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For dropping the utility bills--the basics like turn off the lights when you're not in the room; only run the washer or dishwasher when they are full (and only wash the clothes when they really are dirty); do you really "need" cable or the best phone plan or that fast of an internet connection; etc. A clothesline costs about $100 and a weekend of work. It takes $50 per month off my electric bill spring through fall (year round if your winters are mild).
The biggest price saver for groceries is cooking from scratch instead of convenience foods (It's a lot healthier too.). Next biggest is making a menu and only buying what you need every week. Next is get the Sunday paper, look through the ads and clip coupons. Base your menu on what's on sale that week. If you have storage space stock up on the non-perishables you use most whenever they're on a good sale. A garden can drop the grocery bill in the summer. It's also good gentle exercise in the fresh air, a good biology and nutrition lesson, and home grown veggies are far tastier and more nutritious than the ones at the store.
If you have the storage space, buy your family's next year wardrobe at this year's sesonal clearance sales. Target and Walmart have just as trendy and almost as high quality kids clothes as the "name-brand" stores at half the price or less. Resist the urge to buy more than a couple cute outfits in each of the baby sizes. They grow so fast and leak so often and they really don't care what they wear for at least a couple years. Comfort and durabllity are far more important.
Good luck

Eileen - posted on 04/25/2011

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- go for second hand for the kids whenever possible. not on socks and underwear, but shorts, shirts pants dresses .etc you can save a bundle! they just outwgrow and ruin mst things anyway. buy new for ocassions like first day at school, birthdays etc.
- grow it if you can... grow your veggies. save a bundle, as well as improve the health of your family
- keep it simple. if it comes in abox, think ... how much would the ingredients cost on their own, and how many more can you get for it. its almost always better to make food and snacks from scratch!
- clean with cheap, but also heathier alternatives, like vinegar and baking soda.
- make your own laundry soap
- make your bread if you can, takes time but saves a ton! for example, a loaf is now average $2 here... i can make a loaf for less than a quarter!! time? we`re all busy, itas about timing! if you re hanging on the patio or watching a movie, that`s a great time to let it rise!
-plan your meals, plan your shopping and be a flyer shopper. compare pricing,a nd only buy what you know you need! resist impluse purchases, if possible, shop without the children, trust me, that alone can save you a bundle in just one trip!
-toy share/swap
- to cut on bills, you need to cut your usage. use fewer lights at night, dial down the heat or the a/ a degree or two.. program the thermostat if you can
-do the laundry at night, or early in the morning (you know, yourè up for that 3 o 5 am feeding.anyway, why not switch the load?)
drive less, bike, walk, take the bus?

i`ve stayed home with my children since day one. four children. 11 years. one income. (well...kindof..i do get child support for three of them...) i`v learned the biggest thing you can do to cut back, is PLAN AHEAD!! be organized, be prepared. plan your spending.

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Oh yeah...forgot about gardening. This is our first year to have a vegetable and herb garden. It hasn't saved us money yet...but it should pay for itself by next year.

And line drying saves a ton too. You wouldn't believe how much energy it takes to run a dryer. I've never calculated it, but a friend of mine claims to have saved $500 in 3 months just by line drying. She has five kids so she has a ton of laundry to do. My savings would likely be much smaller...but still.

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We live on a cash basis. Believe it or not, this saves a ton of money! Each payday, I take out a pre-determined amount of money from our checking account. The amount is what we can afford after bills have been paid. This is the amount we have to spend on groceries, clothes, eating out, gifts...basically everything...until the next payday. Once the money is gone, it's gone. This makes us very conscience oh how we spend our money. For example, if payday is 2 days away and I only have $20 left in my wallet, we'll skip ordering pizza and cook at home instead. Cash is very visual. With a card, it's so easy to swipe and go and not think about what you are spending.

To cut costs on groceries...I use coupons. The drugstore game is another way to cut costs. Shop at more than one grocery store so you pay the lowest on each item. Menu planning based on what is on sale that week (do you get grocery store circulars in your mailbox?) then sticking to a specific list based on that menu is a great money saver.
Here is a great resource for saving on groceries...http://moneysavingmom.com/31-days-to-a-b...

I shop second hand stores first for clothes. If I can't find everything we need there, then I'll go to department stores second. (And I will typically shop the sale racks or use coupons, I rarely pay full price).

Also, I make my own cleaner. Half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle is a very cheap, much healthier all-purpose cleaner.

And lastly, we use clothe diapers. I'll admit, it's not for everyone. But think of this...with my first daughter we spent about $2,000 on diapers and wipes before she was potty trained (this was using coupons and shopping sales). We bought clothe diapers for my second daughter that she will be able to use until she's potty trained. We spent less than $400 on all the diapers and supplies.

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