Here are the facts: kids are expensive and being a stay at home mom doesn’t earn a living (shocking, I know!). Additionally for my family, my husband’s compensation is commission based and we never know what our income will be month to month which can be a scary way to live. Several months ago, we made the decision to be more responsible with our spending and make some major changes. It truly has been one of the most beautiful seasons in life for us. Yes, I really do mean that! Why, you ask? Through making several changes with our finances, we’ve found ourselves relying on God in ways we haven’t before. And let me tell you… God is GOOD! Through focusing on prayer and being more responsible, God has provided for us in some really cool ways. I want to share with you all some tips and tricks that have saved us money as we embrace this new lifestyle.
It sounds like a simple concept and it is if you stick to it! A budget isn’t something you can loosely follow and end up being successful. Follow that baby to a T! View following the budget as a lifestyle rather than an optional choice. Here are some tips to use when living that budget life:
1. Set up your budget through a tool called Mint. This tool is awesome because a). It’s free and b). it connects with your bank account so you can track if you are getting close to your hitting your budget for a category (i.e. groceries, gas, eating out, etc.). Download the app on your phone today!
2. Check in with your spouse frequently to stay on track with your budget. It really helps to hold each other accountable.
3. Use cash/debit card if (cash back on a credit card is free money if you pay the card off every month) having a credit card creates too much temptation to overspend. Each week you can fill an envelope with the amount of cash you have budgeted to spend for the week. This is a really helpful way to know exactly where you’re at in regards to the budget.
4. Remember that your money isn’t really your money; it’s God’s money. When you think of it that way, you might think twice about how much you really need that cute pair of shoes! Additionally, with this mindset during the seasons that are more dry with your income, giving is still a priority.
Money Saving Tips and Tricks
1. Shop used, not new!
- We absolutely love to buy clothes and other baby/kid products at Once Upon A Child. These stores have an amazing selection of items in awesome condition. Each time I go there I’m literally gasping out loud at the prices for clothes that look brand new. Everything is super organized and clean as well. Come shop with us at the Maple Grove location!
- Use Facebook Marketplace for large purchases. It’s basically an online garage sale that isn’t sketchy!
2. Meal plan! Start each week with a meal plan so you know exactly which meals you’ll be making each day. If you have a plan in place, you’re less likely to end up going out to eat (which is a huge money sucker!). See my blog post called ‘Meal Planning 101’ for some helpful tricks and tips.
3. Get a Costco membership and buy in bulk. Yes, it can be inconvenient storing 100 rolls of toilet paper, BUT you really do end up saving a lot this way! We also buy fresh produce and meat at Costco even though we won’t use it before it goes bad. The trick? We freeze it all (and yes, it works!). We also get our gas at Costco which is a reason to get a membership alone!
4. Shop for other groceries at Aldi. I’ve never actually shopped at Aldi, but I have several friends that highly recommend it!
5. Don’t buy name brand. Sure it may seem like the 10 cent difference between the Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and the Market Pantry brand isn’t a big deal, but heck, those cents really add up!
6. Buy next season’s clothes the year before when things are on sale.
7. If you are a Target shopper:
- Get the Target REDcard! I always thought it was a credit card, but I recently learned there’s also a debit card option that connects to your account and you automatically get 5% off everything. Why wouldn’t you get one?!
- Up&Up diaper subscription. I don’t know about you, but I’m all about Up&Up diapers and wipes because duh, they are the cheapest. With a subscription, you get diapers and wipes delivered to you on a schedule you set, so basically you will never run out again! ALSO, free shipping AND 5% off in addition to the 5% off with the REDcard!
I’m always looking for new ways to save money. What are your tips and tricks?!