Being a mother of 3 kids and a very slim income is rough. I am also a college student, but no I refuse to eat Top Roman! I never wanted to be an employed woman HA! My ultimate goal all through life was to get married and have babies. I wanted to be Mrs. Clever's mom and have a cool kid like Beaver. I never though that it couldn't happen or that it wouldn't. I remember my first serious boyfriend's parents telling me that it was unrealistic and that I needed to be willing to work to until we got to the point that one day we maybe able for me to quit. This came from a couple that his mom never worked a day in her life! So yea needless to say I didn't end up with him. Down the road I did find a man while I was already employed and we got married. I worked for about 2 weeks into our marriage and we decided it would be best for me to become a house wife. So I did and then started having my babies. Life was good, we had money, a home, couple cars, and life was good. I did end up going to Cosmetology school after my last child was about 8 months old. However I ended up getting a divorce for several different reasons and I found getting back into the work force was a lot harder than I though. I was straight out of high school when I got married and only had a couple piddle jobs during that time. So at this point it was sink or swim; I picked swim hard! My family had to make choices on what we could do with out. Many times people look at their life and come into a rough spot when money is tight but they cannot overcome the shadow that life has put on us about what we "need". So here is a list of the biggest cuts we made ...
- We cut off TV all together. At this point we don't even have basic channels because we never want to spend the extra money on an antenna. I had a huge DVD stock before my divorce so that we what we watch. Once in awhile we will have a treat of a Redbox rental for something we really want to see. Also when my dad buys a new DVD he gets the combo pack and gives me the blue-ray disk out of it.
- I coupon! I am no coupon hoarder though. We only buy what we NEED and will USE. I collect my coupons (ask friends and neighbors to give you theirs too if they are not using them) and I use the site A Full Cup to see what kind of deals are going on at area stores.
- I buy my meats when they are on clearance or on sale and divide it into family servings and freeze it. I set a food budget, generally no more than $50 a week. With that money I may buy all meat one week if it is a good deal, next week it maybe veggies. That way I always have a variation of foods and only have to buy a few things each week at retail. Also always check for local farmers, many will sell you fresh produce cheap during growing seasons.
- Now for clothes, thrift shop central! We love hand me downs and thrift stores. With three kids that love the outdoors our clothes get worn out quick. Why spend so much money on new clothes when you can get them cheaper and most still look new at a thrift store.
- Now gas is a big one. I live out in the middle of no where and going to the store is a trip. I always make sure I need several things and that I can do several errands on my way so that I do not waste gas for simple small trips. Living out in the middle of no where has its perks though, as my rent is super cheap.
- There are always small things you can do as well to help along the way. I am a member of Buzz Agent and get to try things out for free. This helps me get a perk once in awhile. I also LOVE SWAG BUCKS as I take a few minutes a day to ear points and I in turn use them for Amazon gift cards. This helps buy my home school books or gifts for holidays. I could spend more time on the site and make even more points but the little I do really helps. You should really check it out if you haven't already. It is free to sign up and you do not get spammed with mail like survey sites do.
- One more thing I do is make my own products. It is far cheaper for me to make things like my laundry soap, dish soap, fabric softener, kitchen cleaner, deodorant, and etc. It is not for everyone, but I think the things work excellent and it does give me extra money saved in my pocket.
- Internet! I have to have internet because of my school. I save this buy ditching my home phone and got a cell phone. I tether my internet off of my phone with no issues. I have done this for about 4 years now and love it. It did not cost me more and I am able to have my unlimited internet and at a good speed as well. This also allows me and the kiddos watch some movies and such on Hulu and Netflix when we want a lazy day.
This is not all of the things I do by far but it gives you an idea. Hopefully it may give you some ideas to change in areas of your life.
What do you do to save money?