Sunday, January 6, 2013

Penny pinching...

updated Feb 2013

#1-I love education but we have saved bundles in this department.  I (because of an earlier pregnancy in our marriage than expected) finished an associates degree in computer information systems and use it for photography instead of finishing my traditional four year degree.  For our family (our family) it was a wise move.  Luke has plenty of loans to pay of for medical school, so not having any myself has been delightful.  I home school the kiddos as well and have saved bundles in comparison to private education.  Not that private school is necessary, but we would have considered it if the boys weren't at home.

#2-car loans.  If at all possible, we pay cash for older cars.  Our first car loan was interest free for the whole duration.  

#3-we pay extra on our home loan each month.

#4-I buy clothes at Goodwill and mix them with things from H&M with results I am very happy with.

#5-I don't go to the mall.  Hardly ever.  I would rather spend money on experiences than clothes which helps me not feel depraved.  I do a lot of online ordering with free shipping and return if the fit's not right.  I'll hit TJ Maxx if I need jeans...goodness knows you've got to try a million of those on to find good ones.

#6 Luke and I cook together for date nights when we are in the mood once the kids are in bed.  It's delightful and much cheaper.

#7 We pay nothing for TV or internet currently.  We watch free shows online or on occasion grab a Red Box movie.  But I can count on my hand how many times I've been to the theater to watch a movie I just had to see on the big screen.  Our neighbor gave us the passcode for their cable internet since it was faster than our current connection as a nice gesture.  We swap favors since I meet their son off the bus every now and then if his mom's not home yet.  Trading baby sitting or other favors with a neighbor or friend will save a bundle longterm in my own experience at least. :)

updated again Jan 10th 2015

#8 Now that Luke is on a better paying salary, most people assume we will move into a bigger house.  Our current home is nice and cozy for eight people, but we are by no means cramped.  We plan to wait it out as long as possible in our moderate sized home with four bedrooms so we can pay off all of his med school loans in good time.  Our goal is to have them paid off 6-7 years post residency. 

#9 I'm sort of a health foodie person but not 100%.  Figure out what food are important for you to buy organic and which ones aren't.  For example, I like to buy organic potatoes and apples because I feel like they taste better.  The best place I've found for these items is trader Joe's grocery.  There may not be one close to you, but that not the point, get into a routine of where you get certain things and stick to it.  Limit impulsive buys or trendy purchases like stocking up on gallons of Agave syrup only to decide a few months later it's not healthy (or not healthier than just getting corn syrup :).  Find your regulars...find your rhythm and when you make a big pot of soup freeze half of it for later. :)

#10 Limit buying pre made frozen good like lasagna.  It's way more expensive in the long run and doesn't hit the spot to boot.  Just make a bunch and freeze it for later use yourself if possible.

#11 You don't have to good a meat for every meal to make it complete.  We eat a lot of noodles with added protein and it's much cheaper than a meat every night.

#12 We buy limited dry clean items if possible.

#13 I buy darker colored shirts for my boys to reduce stains.  I like grey and slate tones anyway so it's not like I'm settling for something I don't like.  Otherwise you'll be tossing out clothes that are ruined more often.

#14 Buying high quality shoes usually pays off if they are dress shoes.  We pass them down to the next kiddo and save a bundle in the long run.


smw said...

never leave the house. it works pretty well for me. :)

emilykate said...

Most people could probably save a lot of money in the 'entertainment' category - but that doesn't usually apply to us, we don't do lots of movies, concerts, etc. But I would say the biggest categories where we can always cut back would be clothes and food. Food being eating out or expensive groceries...but those are both pretty obvious. :)

L, Ann and boys said...

SMW (not sure you like your name posted online...I do know it ;) -you comment made me smile. I figure once we're settled a few miles outside the loop with a sixth kiddo that should be pretty easy to manage. ;)

Emily- those are the two key areas for us for sure. We don't have cable or netflix (last time I went to the theater for a movie was 3D Avatar with my sisters :), but I spent quite a bit on races (recreation) and equipment this passed year that could have gone into savings. And groceries...oh's like a hemorrhage. That is one thing I told Luke I could probably save several hundreds of dollars on the next few months if I clear out our freezer for dinners and serve salad on the side.

I whine to Luke that I can buy organic milk because I do my own nails and get my hair cut like twice a year...but groceries add up FAST... especially with organic anything in the cart. A girl must pick and choose wisely on that category.

Thanks for the tips ladies.

smw said...

i wanted to give you some really helpful little tip, but i feel like i have all these very good 'beliefs' about why i buy what i buy, and when i spend money it's usually on quality stuff that costs more. (so it really is good i don't go out much.) :)

i'm with you on groceries-it's the foundation of your health, so it seems like it's worth the extra bucks to get as real of food as possible. but when we are running tight, sometimes i make a list of simple/cheap/whole food meals that you can probably find the ingredients for anywhere. then i'll shop at save a lot or something for the bulk of my items and go to kroger for the other things that i 'have' to have. i think it does save, but i'm not awesome at maintaining the practice. best wishes!

Dmasy said...

Well, we can sell you the farm house property -- a tad farther out than you probably wish. Bargain price for a niece! River and fresh fish included in the price.

Ah, my wish....

L, Ann and boys said...

Awwww...mary Ann, don't make me sad. ;) Luke loves his job too much and we can't tear ourselves away from family just yet, otherwise...

Mindy said...

We are trying to tighten up in the finance area as well. A few things I'm going to try to do this year...

Not buy ANYTHING for the house unless I set aside money and save up for it first.

The kids will start getting clothes as part of their birthday gifts from Grandparents/us to cut down on clothing costs.

In the grocery department - if you like beef, buy part of a cow from a local meat locker. Doing this allows us to be able to eat steak but we pay hamburger price for it.

Watch for sales and stock up!

Buy in bulk. Sam's is great if you can control yourself. :) Their chicken is always $1.77/pound. So I buy a few pounds, trim them up and stick them in freezer bags to be used later.

Cook double of a recipe, eat one and put one in the freezer for nights you are tempted to eat out. (Sounds like you maybe already do this?)

Any big(ish) purchases are saving up the money first before we buy it. I think this is huge because then you can avoid buyers remorse if an unexpected bill comes up because you already saved up the money for it and it's not taken out of your budget.

Much to my dismay, I'm back to couponing this year. I don't like the time involved but I just have to do it in order to stay in our food budget. I'm sure with 6 kids you'll have all the time in the world for this as well. ;)

Be smart with your money! Have $50 to use on eating out this month? To ME it's better to get 5 pizza hut pizzas and not have to cook a few times than to spend all that money on one night out. I would LOVE to eat out nicer but right now the benefit outweighs the "sacrifice."

I'll let you know if I think of anything else...

L, Ann and boys said...

Thanks Mindy!