Since we decided to live on one income with effect the end of this month, I have been researching and wracking my brain to see how we could save money in as many ways as possible. The problem I found was that almost all the things suggested are things we do already, so I have compiled a list, of things we are doing and will start doing to save money and hopefully be better stewards.
- Stretch our meat with things like lentils and beans – this is a trick I learnt from my mom. As my husband likes his meat, its hard to no eat meat at all, and this is a way to save.
- Stop buying magazines – I used to buy magazines all the time, about 2 or 3 a month, but today I realised that I have a pile of them that I read once or twice and then they lie there.
- Buy only what is necessary for baby – not all the gadgets that the baby industry tries to make us think we need. We live in a teeny flat (the size of a double garage) and a baby monitor is unnecessary as baby will be close to us almost all the time. Similarly, I have decided a pram is unnecessary until later (when I will use gumtree to find one) as I am planning to try baby-wearing. We are also so blessed with gifts and handmedowns from friends, that so far for the first 4 months we don’t need clothes for him.
- Cloth nappies – this decision I made for two reasons – 1) the money you save using cloth as opposed to disposables and 2) the effect it will have on the enviroment. My gran graciously gifted us with 30 towelling nappies which is such an amazing blessing!
- Pick up samples and freebies instead of buying tons of things that are luxuries – you can get samples of perfume and lotions from Edgars and pharmacies. I used to work for a company that sold perfume, so I still have alot of perfume, but once its finished I will be back to samples.
- Live in a smaller place – as I mentioned, our flat is the size of a double garage, and its above my parents garage. Often it seems like its far too small, but when I realise that we save SO much on rent, AND we’re helping pay my parents bond as opposed to a random strangers, its a blessing. Its a 2 bedroom flat with a shower, kitchen and lounge and a huge deck outside where we can sit in summer. Its an awesome little place, and with some spring cleaning and ruthless chucking out – i will soon transform it into something seemingly bigger.
- Give homemade – people seem to like homemade presents, like cookies, scrubs and hot chocolate mixes, as well as sewed items. Last year almost all the Christmas presents I gave were homemade. The internet is a fountain of great ideas and tutorials of how to make the nicest and most frugal gifts. Just go look 🙂
- Eat out less – we try this each month and thus far we fail too often… but thats mostly because I have been very tired in my pregnancy and been a bit lazy to cook some nights. However, as I will be home soon, I will be making dinner earlier in the day so as to avoid this. We will be restricting eating out (including take out) to special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
- Visit the library or a second hand book store – We love reading, and we love buying books, but brand new books are so expensive, that we have had to curb this. So we will be visiting the library and second hand stores to get books for free/cheap.
- Eat more fresh produce – we used to eat alot of “convenience” foods, like “just-add-water” things, but from now I will be buying weekly fresh veg and fruit and using this to base our meals on.
- Meal planning and freezer filling – I have set up a meal planner in order to structure our budget a bit better so we don’t overspend and end up with odd bits of food. Also plan to have a baking day per month or so, to fill the freezer and save electricity.
- One car only – we have one car only, and my husband has a motorbike which he uses to dodge traffic and save alot of petrol. I intend to drive as little as possible when I am home, and plan my errands and make lists to make sure I can do everything in one trip. (I’m hoping)
- Hair cuts and beauty treatments – I cut Chris’s hair myself, thankfully its curly so if I cut skew its not noticeable. I also have a friend who is a hair stylist who charges very little to cut hair, and since my hair is getting super long, I don’t need it cut so often. As for waxes and massages (Chris gets bad stress knots), my friend, Nikki has a salon (where I plan to do my make up), and she gives us treatments for free or cheap as we help her with marketing and stuff.
- Try and exchange services – like we do with Nikki, we try to exchange what we can do for other people’s skills or products. For example, my dad needs to have his business’s websites redone and optimised, so Chris is going to offer to do them in exchange for a month or so’s rent. I did a friend of mine’s wedding make up in exchange for her playing piano at our wedding. When I start to make things, like sewing and baking,I intend to barter that with friends.
- Buying clothing and items from Hospice – my mom has done this for years,some people just donate brand new items to Hospice shops here, and then they sell them for next to nothing. I have bought a few things there, and its actually an awesome place to get things to repurpose, as you can refashion clothes that might not be perfect into something you like. Its also a great place to take all your unwanted items – we frequently take tons of things to them. I have also bought many books there for about R5 a piece…
These are just a few of the steps I have come up with so far… Will hopefully update or add more posts as we go. Let me know in the comments if you have any other ideas 🙂