I was recently asked by a friend for any money saving tips that we used in our home. While I am in no way a guru for money, however I would like to think that I pinch the pennies here and there around the house to try and save that little bit more each time we receive a new pay into our bank account.
Since going on one wage I have sat down and had a hard look at where the money is going and how we can better our out going expenses. More money in the bank is always a plus. So here's my top 10 Money saving ideas.
10. Throw out the junk mail or place a sticker on your letter box saying "No Junk Mail".
Now I know we all love to read the junk mail but this is the easiest way to get sucked into buying things you really didn't need but you did because they were on special. Ever since we moved out of town 2 years ago we stopped receiving junk mail because we were in an areas where it couldn't be delivered. This stopped me pouring over the pages of the specials thinking I needed to go out and buy a particular item because it was half price. Mind you I LOVED reading the junk mail and went into with drawls from it for the first few months we lived here. The down side to not receiving any junk mail is when you have something in mind you want to see on sale you never know when it is.
9. Don't go to the shops because you are bored.
This is one of the easiest ways to spend money mindlessly. As a stay at home mumma it is so easy to pack your child up into the car and head to the shops when you need a break from being at home. I have fallen into this trap a million times over the last 5 months. You end up walking up and down the shopping center buying things you don't really need just because you need a little fulfillment in your life at that moment. Instead of heading to the shops why not pack a picnic morning tea or lunch and spend some time in the outdoors, go for a walk, visit a friend or visit your local library. They are all free things to do which will get you out of the house but not spending money.
8. Limit shops to grocery store.
I got into a rut of doing my fortnightly grocery shop but still ended up dropping into the grocery store twice a week to pick up little things here and there. These all added up on top of our fortnightly grocery shop and I ended up buying things that I really didn't need but did because I was there at the time. This point follows on to my my next tip .....
7. Make a fortnightly or monthly meal plan.
Not only will this help you be more organised in the kitchen but it will also help you save money on your grocery shopping bill. You will be buying more efficiently and will not be wasting food by buying unnecessary items. I know it may seem like a lot of effort but it takes me literally 30 - 45 minutes out of my day to sit down and plan a months worth of meals plus do up my grocery list. We have started buying groceries on a monthly basis . It is still in the trial stages of this but it has saved me from going to the grocery store every fortnight with a baby. See below for a sneak peak of my latest monthly meal plan.
6. Buy in Bulk
When you shop - whether it be weekly, fortnightly or monthly make sure you buy in bulk where possible. Staple items like rice, flours, canned goods, toilet paper etc that will not spoil and will last a long time. Saving are made in the long term by buying this way. If you look at the cost at buying a 1kg bag of rice versus buying a 5kg bag of rice you will be amazed at the little price difference. I think it something like $4-$5. Now I know you will be thinking what the heck am I going to go with 5 kg of rice. Well plan your meals around it so that a little bit is used each week and before you know it you will be through it. If kept in a dark and dry place it should last for months.
5. Buy Meat in Bulk.
This is a over flow from the last tip. We buy a half a beast (cow) between 3 families every 3-4 months, which gives us about 15-18kg of meat. By doing this you make HUGE savings in the long term with buying meat this way. The total cost per kilogram generally works out to be $9 -$10/kg which includes prime cuts of meat such as T-bones, eye and rib fillet plus top quality mince and sausages. I generally order my meat with my local butcher the week before and the beast is prepared the day before I have to pick it up. By doing it this way you know that you meat is fresh, it has not been pumped with any chemicals to maintain its shelf life and if you know your butcher well you will know how the animal has been raised and fed. The down side to this is you need the money up front to buy a bulk amount of meat like this. This generally costs us about $220 -$250 which works out to be about $20/week for beef over 3 months.
4. Buy Second Hand
We have saved a lot of money by buying items second hand. Trawl your local OP shops for household or clothing items. We will be surprised at what you can find hidden away in these shops. Do you research before buying though as some OP shops can charge exorbitant prices for things you could buy cheaper new. That being said though it is generally better to buy second hand than new. I have picked up some great brand name pieces of clothing such as Cue, Sportsgirl, Tokito and some still with the tags on them. Follow groups in Facebook that are selling items in your local area. This is a great spot to pick up second hand baby items, toys and clothes. Check out Ebay as well for any second hand deals on things that you may be looking for. Another great way to buy second hand is going to Garage Sales. This is one of hubby and I's favourite past times as we LOVE to see what bargains we can pick up. Sometimes you will have all the luck and the next time you go you will find nothing.
However don't get stuck in the online/second hand bargain shopping trap of buying things just because you are bored. Only research items that you are in NEED of not things that you just want for the sake of having it!
3. Ask for a Discount or a Deal.
Anytime you go to make a purchase on a big ticket item always, always ask for a deal or discount off the item. I always ask "Is that the best price you can do for me?" preferably following by a bat of the eyelash if its a male! HA. Don't be afraid to ask because more times often than not they will be willing to cut 10 -15% off an item to get it out the door. I would say do this for any purchase really!
2. Budget, Budget Budget
I cannot stress how important it is to have a budget in place for your houshold finances. I wrote a post on it HERE . I would highly recommend doing a budget up if you don't have one in place. A budget helps keep your spending in check and keeps the stress and worry off your back! I honestly could not function without one!
1. Be CONTENT!
Yes that's my number one tip to give you to save money. Be content with what you have and what you own. Don't look at what Johnny or Sally has that is better than yours. Look at what you have and be thankful for it. Don't get caught in the bigger, better, best mentality because that will only get you into trouble. Be happy with what you have been blessed with and be thankful that you have a roof over your head, a bed to sleep on, clothes to wear and food to eat! I have to check myself every now and again to stop evaluate myself and be thankful and content in what we have.
I hope these tips help you in some way to evaluate your money saving and inspire you to shop differently and think differently!