As a mom on a budget, sitting down and looking at my income vs expenses recently was an eye opening experience. It made me realize how my bills have reached a daunting monthly number and that I am not putting NEARLY enough away for savings/emergencies/etc. It had me looking at every bill trying to figure out what I could get rid of or cut, then panicking when I realized I didn’t have any areas that could really be cut right away.
Once again I turn to Google for help.
Now, as a single mom I am ALWAYS looking for ways I can save a little extra each month. And as a working mom, I am also always looking for ways to save and maximize quality time with my kids.
(I am not always willing to sacrifice my time outside of the office to save minimal amounts of money)
So not everything I researched was a good fit for me. Here are some of the ways to save that I have found that work for me and my schedule.
1.Air Drying Clothes
I do A LOT of laundry you guys. Like 2-3 loads a day on average. So for years I gawked at the idea of hang drying my clothes even though the idea intrigued me.
But one day I got the inkling to try it, and I fell in love with the way my clothes felt, smelled, everything! I have yet to hang a clothes line outside, but I have a small shelf in my laundry room to I am literally able to pull the clothes from the washer and hang directly onto hanger to dry. You can literally hang clothes anywhere.
It does not seem to take more time for the whole process because when it’s time to put the clothes away, it’s already sorted and half of the stuff stays on hangers anyways.
I bought my washer and dryer used so the dryer takes up a hefty amount of time to dry and runs me about $0.50 per load. By air drying my clothes, I am saving about $30 a month on my electric bill and it does not take any extra time in the long run.
Fun Fact: dryers are actually pretty harsh on our clothes, so air drying could extend the lives of your favorite pieces!
(Another Fun Fact: Save even more by hand washing clothes. Hoping to give this a try soon!)
2.Start a garden
I spend an astronomical amount on red peppers, green peppers, green beans, broccoli and zucchini every month. I use these staples in a lot of things I cook and the price on average that I spend monthly is around $25-35 just on these vegetables. As you can see, I used stick I found lying in my yard as markers.
I started my garden with a variety of peppers, zucchini, broccoli, tomatoes and green beans. I made mine kind big because my mom and sisters asked to plant some things along with me and split the cost, BUT you can do a much smaller one depending on your family size/needs. Soil and seeds (and a cage for the tomatoes) are in my opinion the only things you NEED to buy for a garden, so you can really start one for around $20 and enjoy fresh veggies/ fruit throughout summer and into fall and winter if you learn to use a food saver.
My kids love helping me tend to and water our plants, plus, fresh veggies are much healthier and taste better than store bought!
3. Invest in window treatments
I held out on purchasing legit black out curtains, but now that I have them, I regret not doing it sooner! I have old drafty windows, and these curtains make a HUGE difference. My A/C could not keep up in the hot summers without them.
Before I invested in these curtains, you could literally feel a draft in the winter time.
Before I broke down and bought them, I tacked blankets between my blinds and curtains for a little extra (you gotta do what you gotta do) and this worked well too. The curtains are just so much more convenient and less tacky.
4. Shop out of season
One of the perks of being a #girlmom is all of the cute clothes you get to buy for your kids.
This is dangerous. This adds up FAST.
One of my favorite things to do is browse clearance items ahead of time at the end of a season. I have snagged name brand outfits for as low as $2.94. I bought a coat for my youngest last year marked down to $10 from $70 at Old navy (she’ll be fitting into it this year finally).
Bargain shopping is one of my very favorite things.
5.Tend your own lawn
Last year, I was paying $40 A WEEK for someone to come and cut my grass and weed eat. (Not even to landscape)
That’s $172 a month.
I didn’t see how I could cut this expense because my landlord requires that I keep my lawn tidy, and I do not own a mower nor did I have the money to buy one. I am lucky enough that my parents own a push mower that they let me use (and if we’re being honest since my mom decided to leave the workforce to stay home with the grandkids, she has offered to mow for me for free)
but BEFORE that luxury was available, it pays to shop around! I was able to found a guy who cut other yards on my street and was going to charge $20 a week if I prepped the yard first (pick up stick, chairs, etc.)
I’ve found that by asking around, someone usually knows a teenager willing to do a much crappier job for a much lower price and a bottle of Gatorade (kidding… kind of).
For those keeping track, that’s around $100 a month in savings without any inconvenience. Around $1,200 a year.
How do you cut costs at your family? I would love to hear from you! Contact me!
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