How do you contribute to your household? I’m guessing you can think up a million and one ways right now. You cook, clean, take care of the kids in every way imaginable, and you may even run an at home business or blog… but you can do more!
In this hot mess series we’ve already talked about routines, health, productivity and more, but now it’s time to get serious. It’s time to learn how to be less of a hot mess and rock your savings. It’s time to step up and contribute to the financial welfare of the family in even more ways than what you are already doing.
Let’s kick it up a notch so that you can feel like more of a contributor, more of a financial participant, and more in control of the family finances.
Frugality is a virtue that I wish to share with you because in raising a family, no matter what your income, every penny counts. And an added benefit is that the more you save, the more you can give. You can give more to your family and to your community. You can give to the less fortunate or to a cause that you hold dear.
Let’s rock our savings, shall we?
(This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small compensation.)
I can hear the groans already, but couponing (all the rage in 2010 and a bit passé now) is still totally worth doing. You really can save a fortune! It is what I credit for allowing me to stay home with my kids for the past 7 years. We’ve definitely changed our habits and lifestyle, but we never could have done it without the savings we made with couponing.
Although there are a few different methods to choose from, I use a version of the filing system. It is the simplest and most time-saving way to use coupons.
The general theory is that you should get a newspaper that contains all the coupon books for however many people are in your family. So, for example, a family of three would get three Sunday papers. In your weekly paper, you will find three different coupon books, the Red Plum, the Smart Source, and the P&G. Separate these books and file them by date so that you can easily refer back to them. Then, hop over to Grocerysmarts.com, a free coupon site that lists the sales for you. Pick your state, store, and then create your list right there on the site. This system is great because it lists all sale items in the circular and also indicates whether or not the item is an extreme deal or free.
By combining sale prices and coupons, you maximize your savings. Once you have your list, you can head over to your file and find only the coupons you need. Easy peasy. You can get more detailed info on the best couponing method at 5 Simple Steps for Couponing Success.
Another great way to round off your couponing ventures is to join mailing lists. Join at least 5 mailing lists for stores that you frequent. Definitely include your favorite grocery stores, but also include other retail stores as well. You will find that many stores will send you store coupons that you can then stack with manufacturer coupons to get even better deals.
SAVING WITHOUT COUPONS
There are really so many ways to save without coupons it’s scary. You can cut expenses by ditching your cable and switching to Amazon Fire (which I LOVE). You pay for the box only once and have access to thousands of movies and programs.
Also, you can buy second-hand clothes for the kids and for yourself. I recycle all the kids’ toys and clothes, take them to the local second-hand store and receive credit for the items. I then use the credit to purchase more toys and clothes. Saves me tons! And the kids look great. You’d never know that the clothes are second-hand. Get over it.
Another great way to save without using coupons is to buy your produce from local farmers. One great resource is Bountiful Baskets. This is a co-op in which you can get about $50 worth of conventional produce for $15 or $17.50 with tax. The basket offerings are always different, but always in season and purchased from local farmers. Co-ops and local farmers markets are wonderful ways to save and support your local growers.
Lastly, Craiglist, and other for sale by owner (fsbo) sites are a goldmine. Before you buy anything retail, furniture, tools, whatever, always search the fsbo sites first. We have made some incredible buys this way and saved SO much. Our most recent find was a loft bed for my daughter, complete with slide and ladder for only $80! After selling her old bed, we will have actually made a profit on this deal 😉
WAHM (WORK-AT-HOME MOM)
So I know this edition is supposed to be about savings, but why not earn a little extra by having a side hustle too? After a few years of being a SAHM (stay-at-home mom), after I had everything else under my belt, I decided to do more. I earned my certificate for medical transcription, started freelancing from home, and worked while the kids were napping or after they went to bed at night. I haven’t worked in a while because my daughter’s nap schedule is all over the place and it’s hard to schedule work around that, but it’s there when I need it. And the extra money is great!
Do you have a creative hobby? Why not turn your passion into your profit? I sew and have thought about opening an Etsy shop. Or maybe you can take your prize jam to the local farmer’s market. You can sell your crocheted items in a consignment shop. The sky’s the limit with this! Be creative and find something you can turn into extra cash.
There are also online opportunities to do search engine evaluation, which I think is a fantastic way to earn a little extra cash. You can sew cloth diapers, become a virtual assistant, take surveys. Again, get creative.
Why not start a blog? It’s not the easiest way to make extra money, but it’s loads of fun and the ways to earn from a blog are endless. To learn more about how to start your own blog, see How to Start a Blog the Easy Way.
ROCK YOUR SAVINGS
Below are some random money-saving ideas to get you thinking about what you can do to achieve some control over your savings.
- Ditch cable
- Make your own pizza for pizza night
- Create a budget (and stick with it)
- Free activities with the kids (we love outdoor movie night)
- Exercise at home
- Pack a lunch
- Plant a garden for your veggies
- Make your own cleaning products with essential oils or buy concentrates
The point I really want to stress to you is that there is always a less expensive and more frugal alternative. Get creative. Get a buddy. Compare notes and ideas for ways to save. This frugality thing can be quite fun if you make it into a game. Challenge yourself to see how much you can save this week. Have fun learning how to be less of a hot mess and rock your savings.
Have I sparked your imagination on ways that you can contribute with savings? Let me know in the comments!
Other posts in the Hot Mess series:
PS: If you are a blogger or aspiring blogger and would like to join a community of like-minded mom bloggers, please join the Life Unplanned Community. I’d love to see you in there!