I was never really given a choice, my fatigue leaves me unable to work an 8 hour day. I thought there is no way I’m just going to sit all day and do nothing, so I decided to have kids. We always knew either way, that we would both have to do our part to survive on one wage.
In today’s economy, living off on wage is hard. Scratch that, it’s fucking hard with a capital F! I can’t remember the last time I bought myself anything! – wait, yes I do, three weeks ago I had to buy a new pair of sandshoes while I was walking because mine fell apart mid-walk – that was definitely not in the budget and I’m still feeling it three weeks later, things are VERY tight. I’ve considered putting both boys in daycare and work but there’s a shortage of home daycares in Ingham. My husband reassures me that we will be ok but because of the way I grew up (with money), I’m scared. If anything happens I want to be able to support my boys, in any case. If it was just me I wouldn’t care but they’re my babies! I want the best for them.
These days, my shopping activity is considerably different to what it has been in the past. I’ve embraced the art of budgeting. Any purchases that don’t involve food or other necessities are carefully considered – and usually pushed as far back as possible.
There is always a way of being able to reduce your bills so that you have a bigger bank balance. It’s all about changing your habbits to create a better life for you and your family.
Things like taking a water bottle from home when your going on a trip rather than buying drinks from the servo (service station) etc. Make lunch at home rather than buying lunch – Say you spend $15 a day on lunch, if you made lunch at home it would save you $65 a week! If you have a credit card, don’t carry it on your person at all times, leave it at home so that you either use cash, or you go without. Set a limit for birthday, Easter, Christmas presents or make homemade gifts.
When I need to go shopping, I do a few hours of planning beforehand so I’m able to save as much money as I possibly can. I understand this is far from possible for some, but it really does save you money. A shop that I’ve planned will come to somewhere around $120.00 where as a shop I haven’t planned for can cost anywhere in excess of $200.00.
When I say I plan a shop I don’t just mean groceries, I mean the works! So for anything I need in the kitchen I order from Kitchen Warehouse. There products are always exactly what I ordered and they have some awesome discounts – at the time of writing this they had 40% off rrp as well as if you spend $200.00 get $50.00 off your purchase. BUT – you need to be careful with any deals that say if you spend so much you will get so much off. You need to work out exactly how much you will save.
With two babies, it’s hard to go buy a birthday present. I love Ebay! I can sit on the couch and shop from the comfort of my home and the bonus is if you learn how to use Ebay to your advantage it can be a wonderful tool to hide up your sleeve!
Here we come to my favourite, if I won the lotto i’d still buy everything and anything from Kmart! There is honestly nothing better than losing yourself in the mist of….yeah sex is pretty good, but sometimes, for a mum of 2 boys under 2 Kmart is so much better! You know the old saying? My wife hates snakes, but if Kmart sold snakes, we’d probably have a few.
Don’t get caught out thinking you are actually saving money at places like Prices Plus, Solly’s, The Reject Shop etc. Sometimes your brain will tell you your saving money because it’s a cheap shop but I went in for fabric softener, it was the same brand that I get from woolworths, Solly’s had the item listed for $5.00 and Woolworths had the exact same product listed for $2.25 so just be aware that some items are definitely cheaper at these shops whereas others are not.
Here are some tips to really squeeze out every cent you can:-
Track your expenditure. Use a diary or if you have a smartphone find an app that best suits you that can do this for you.
Use tax returns to pay off debt such as credit cards and minimise the interest you have to pay.
Make your own cleaning products, vinegar and eucalyptus are great household cleaners.
Cook and freeze your own biscuits, slices and cakes. Not only is it cheaper – it tastes way better!
Never shop hungry, this prevents impulse buying.
Switch to generic brands. They are often made from the same ingredients in the same factory, with a different label.
Buy in bulk and save. Cook larger portions and freeze for later.
Make homemade baby food. Buying two jars a day can cost in excess of $1000 per year.
Put all your $2 coins into a coin tin or a 2 litre empty coke bottle and use the money as a school holiday fund or save for a family holiday – use your imagination.
Shop at clearance centres and factory outlets. Also don’t forget discount stores like The Reject Shop and Dimmies – they often have discount dishwasher tablets and spaghetti sauces at cheaper prices than the supermarket – But as discussed above, BE CAREFUL.
Plan to shop during sale periods. Most supermarkets have a ‘8 Week Sale Cycle’ – so buy the more expensive products like bottled coffee during the sale period, and try and make it last until the next cycle – if you can!
Swap to energy efficient globes and water saving showerheads.
Consider purchasing second-hand white goods or display models which come with a discount if you need to purchase white goods. Also consider getting rid of old whitegoods, often they are energy in-efficient – so they cost you more in electricity than they would to replace (over the course of a year). Ditch the old chest freezer and grab a new upright instead!
Wash in cold water and dry clothes on the clothes line rather than in the dryer.
Wash your own car – let the kids help, it can be fun – This is an extremely hard task when you have a car wash 500m up the road!
During the School Holidays – consider a ‘Staycation’ rather than a holiday. Sleep in your own bed every night, but still go out and do something fun during the day! Also jump on your towns events page on facebook, usually there will be activities you didn’t even know about happening.
Join a local playgroup (or host your own!) – a fun and inexpensive way to entertain your toddler. Also check out what programs you local library has for the little ones – they often have a free baby and toddler activity group during the week.
Establish a babysitting circle and trade services with trusted friends.
Organise a toy exchange. Swap toys your children no longer use.
Barter with friends and family e.g. a basket of ironing for some home cooking.
Save on Christmas wrap, use brown paper and dress with ribbon or let the kids decorate it. Also make homemade christmas gifts, jump on pinterest for inspiration and set a spend limit. Secret Santa is a good option for large families.
– easier said than done right?
Every once in a while, I look back on my carefree (and budget-free) days of spending, and you know what? I don’t miss it. All I have to show for it is a closet full of shoes that have barely been worn. It’s not as if I never buy anything for myself anymore; I just give it more thought, and I end up appreciating it more.
So now I want to know – what tips and tricks for saving money do you have to share? I’d love to hear them!