So I get this question a lot….how are you able to travel and go places being a single mom?
Well, there really isn’t one short answer. It has to do with a lot of things.
-I don’t spend money on things I don’t need. There’s no reason for us to have cable, we aren’t home enough. And, when we are home the last thing I want to do is watch TV for 10 hours. I have Netflix and this works perfectly for us. I can watch shows after my son goes to bed and before I go to bed. It’s less than $10 a month and it’s convenient compared to paying $50-100 a month on cable.
-I coupon for what I buy/need. I never use a coupon on something I know I won’t use. For example if I have a coupon for .75 off a box of frozen waffles that are originally 4.75 but, I know I won’t use them then in reality I am saving 4.75 because I am not buying them at all.
-Gardening saves money. You might spend a few bucks to get the garden started but you will end up saving money not buying the produce you are growing. There are many options on what you can grown and what time of the year you can grow them. Try it out!
-Use apps for places you shop at. Kroger has a FREE FRIDAY DOWNLOAD. They let you add one coupon for a free item on Fridays. You would be surprised at the stuff that they give away. Yogurt, cereal, candy, drinks, sandwiches, and so many other things. The Kroger app also has coupons on it. So when you are browsing around the store before you buy something look it up and see if it is on sale. Wal-greens has an app that has great deals on it. Sometimes they have laundry detergent buy one get one free and it’s already on half-price sale! So you can buy two get two for free and your paying the price of one originally. Lots of stores offer apps that have coupons on them. If you can’t find a coupon through the app go to the website of the brand of the item and see if they have any coupons.
-I cook and eat at home. We go out maybe once a week or so. But, I cook the rest of the time. This saves a lot of money. I also bring my food for work that way I am not eating out multiple times during the work week. A family of two can go out for easily under $10. You just have to know what yo buy and not to buy. Don’t think you have to buy a kids meal. Most of the time regular meals are MORE than enough for two people.
-I always bring water with me. This eliminates the need to go somewhere to get something to drink. There are some places that give away free waters (McDonalds doesn’t charge for small waters here but, this isn’t true for ALL McDonalds.) but there is no need for me to go into a gas station and spend a few bucks buying a water when I already have one.
-We don’t drink cokes. Maybe a handful of times a year we drink a carbonated beverage. I drink water and hot teas. And, of course because we do live in the south I drink sweet tea, but this is usually every once in a while when we go out to eat. My son loves different juices, but I give him half juice half water. There are so many juices that just have too much sugar so I delude them with water. This also makes the bottle of juice last longer.
-I don’t buy food I know we aren’t going to eat. Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean I need to buy it so that we never even crack it open.
-I stock up when I have a chance. I love to stock up. If there are good sales and/or I have good coupons I’ll stock up on things I know I will need. Realistically I am not going to be able to go out to Wal-Mart at 4 AM because I don’t have any toilet paper. So, it makes sense to stock up. Also, I buy things when they are on sale in quantities. If shampoo is regularly 5.50 and then they have a sale for four for 12.50 you are saving money and getting stocked up at the same time.
-The clearance bins after holidays are the best time to find holiday decor. Most stores will mark holiday items off at 50% within days after the holiday is over with. Then they just keep getting lower and lower. This will save you tons of money instead of buying outright. I know some places like Wal-Mart, K-mart and Dollar General will mark down their holiday items up to 90% off within days after the holiday.
-Buy clothes after the season is over with. Places will mark down summer stuff when Fall/Winter clothes arrive. If your child grows about the same each year you will know what to expect. Obviously this isn’t true for all children some grow at random rates and of course they have growth spurts.
-Shop at Thrift stores and junk/antique stores. You can find all sorts of great deals, sometimes even brand new things. If you are looking for a piece of furniture try one of these places first. You can often find items that with a little bit of love will last longer than a cheaply made piece from the store.
-Cheap sunglasses are your BFF. Let’s be realistic, with children you can’t expect $100 pairs of sunglasses to go untouched, or not magically disappear. I lose my sunglasses like I lose pens. So I buy cheap $5 ones that way it’s not a huge loss when they go missing or I break accidentally break them.
-I budget my money out before I even have it. I am sending my son to a private school in the fall. I am saving now that way I can outright pay for it. This takes budgeting it to be able to do. I know every paycheck I will budget out X amount of dollars to go to it.
-We yard sale. Pretty much every spring we have a yard sale or two. This gets rid of toys and clothes he has grown out of and I get extra money out of it. We also learn to consign. There is a big consignment company called Rhea Lana’s that comes here twice a year. They are stationed all around the US. You can sell childrens clothes and toys, as well as other items. I had a friend that made $600 one year!
-During the spring and fall, my air is turned off. There is usually about a month in the spring and in the fall where the temperature is just right and I can leave the air or heat off for a few weeks. There is no reason to be paying for something I don’t need. If you are going out of town for a long period of time turn it off! If you are going out of town for a day or so turn it higher in the summer or lower in the winter so that it isn’t constantly kicking on. If you turn it off just for a day it ends up costing more money to get it to start back up.
-Natural light is what we use during the day. We have a great place with lots of windows. I have lived places that have small windows and don’t give a lot of natural light to rooms. But, most places have windows. So use them! There is no reason to have lights on in several rooms all throughout the day.
These are just a few examples of how I save money!
What do you do to save? Let me know!
Until next time