Monday, December 1, 2008
Part Two of
Less Money Leaving your House
Now that you have cut out all those extra memberships, you can start to look more at your day to day activities that can be trimmed.
Eating Out: Food seems to be the number one expense for most families. So why would you pay to eat out? You can make the same yummy foods at home for a fraction of the price. And they are probably better for your health at the same time. Do you have a favorite restaurant dish that you love, try web sites like Copy Kat to see if you can make it yourself. I have used tons of their recipes successfully. Also make a large portion for dinner, and take the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Movies: I seriously can't remember that last movie I went to see in the theater. I think it was this summer at the $1 movie day with the kids. Our family just doesn't watch a lot lot movies. We pick up free movies at the library to watch at home, or pick up new movies for free at the Red Box rentals. You can find tons of codes here to get your free too. Make your own popcorn, load it up with butter, turn down the lights, and you are good to go. Bonus, you can even pause the movie when you need to use the restroom!
Coffee: A few years ago you would have been nuts to spend $4.00 on a single cup of coffee. Now people spend that easily, and maybe even a couple cups every day. Personally, I do not drink coffee. My very first job I served coffee at a Bingo Hall. The smell of coffee still turns my stomach. But my husband loves the stuff. He was the type to hit the coffee shop every morning on his way to work. Now, when I have a coffee coupon, I will get him fancy flavors for his travel mug he takes every morning. I have also got him some flavored creamers. He doesn't mind just as long as he gets some coffee every morning.
Pop: I don't have many addictions, but I am addicted to Diet Coke. This was a hard one for me to give up, and I am still in the weaning process. A few years ago I could easily go through 4 - 5 cans a day. Not only was this horrible for my teeth, it was hard on the wallet. I am now down to just one a day, and drink water the rest of the day. Tap water, not bottled water! I try to only buy one case of pop at a time, that way I won't be tempted to drink more.
Clothes: I do enjoy shopping for clothes...for my kids. I am a bigger gal, and don't really enjoy clothes shopping for me. It is just another reminder that I need to lose weight. But I do enjoy shopping for the kids. We made the switch to shopping at thrift stores almost a year and a half ago, and we haven't looked back. Almost all the kids clothes are second hand. I do buy new underclothes and socks and anything that goes on their heads. But we have had great luck finding name brand clothes for them. My daughter loves digging through to find Aeropostale and Abercrombie shirts for under $3.00. When they are that cheap, she can get a few, if we were at the mall, she would be only getting one. She may not be the best at math, but she knows a good deal when she sees it.
Driving: I think most people have adjusted their driving habits when gas hit the $4.00 mark. Suddenly driving across town to their favorite store could wait until they were over their anyway. Fitting all your shopping into one day and planning out your route it the easiest thing to do. You can get all the shopping done in one day and be done with it for the week. And carpool the kids anytime you can. This has saved myself and my friends gas and time over the years, especially when we are all driving half an hour to dance five times a week.
Extra activities: My three kids are in dance, and yes it is very expensive. But that is the only sport they do. Is your child in a sport they don't even enjoy? Take them out. My son got out of football this fall, he wasn't really enjoying it anymore. No questions, we pulled him out. We saved time, gas and money and the headache of telling him he had to go to practice. All he wanted to do was hang out with his friends more after school.
Cable TV: This one is a touchy subject with my husband. I keep telling him we don't need cable TV, especially with high-def and the DVR. Yes, I enjoy it, but I don't really NEED it. We have been going back and forth about cable for a year now. He is still winning for now. But with how many shows you can watch online, do we even really need it anymore?
Think about the things in your life that you can cut out of your budget. This is just a tiny list of what can be cut. This is just the few things that we have cut. Every family is different, and every family has different priorities. Make sure the things that nobody really cares about get taken off the list. A lot of little things can add up to a lot of money saved.
What have you cut from your household? Leave a comment and help other think of things they can live without too!
A blog about living within your means in todays world, while being married, raising three kids, working full-time, and trying not to go crazy in the process.