When I got pregnant with Amelia two years ago I knew I wanted to cut back on my work week. I also wanted to take some unpaid maternity leave. So I went through our expenses and tried to cut as much as possible. I won’t lie to you, people. I am SO good at spending money. Really, I could be paid to be a professional spender of money. Your money. My money. Your mama’s money. Send it on. I’ll spend your hard-earned cash in lightning speed. But we did live on a tight budget last year, aka TYOAB. (The Year Of Amelia’s Birth).
Mir at Woulda Coulda Shoulda has a great new blog,Want Not, which focuses on ways to save money. Several bloggers blogged about it and you, too, should check it out. Mir is not advocating radical spendthrift type advice, like making deodorant by melting shards of Speedstick in a saucepan. It’s good, practical advice for people who like nice things. And really, who doesn’t like nice things?
So, here are some money-saving steps we made:
* Switched to Vonage. For $24.99 a month (not including tax) we have unlimited local and long distance calls in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and some European countries. We have experienced some bad/under-the-water reception, but for the most part it’s fine. We are not big on phone chatting, though.
* Cancelled our family YMCA membership, which was $80 a month (although we are rejoining as we’re getting a brand spankin’ new YMCA in our neck of the woods…yee haw!)
* Started buying many household cleaning supplies and other items, such as garbage bags, at Dollar General. They have great cheap snacks, too, like cereal bars or graham crackers for a big fat crispy dollah! Forget Wallyworld. Too huge, too scary, too many people on the verge of going Wallyworld at Wallyworld.
* Buy generic diapers (I particuarly like Publix brand). I still love Huggies, though, and will buy them when they are on sale and I have a coupon. Something about Pampers’ smell bugs me. It’s like the talcum powder scented car spray you see at the car wash. I’m sorry, I just don’t want my baby’s bottom smelling like Luvs Baby Soft.
*Registered our credit cards and debit cards through UPromise (which will pay off later when the girls head off for college and we start living on our boat in the Florida Keys…of course we don’t have a boat yet).
* Shopped around for cheaper car insurance. We changed carriers and our new premium is $60 cheaper a month.
*Cancelled our Sunday paper…we read it online and my mom passes along her coupons. (I am not good with coupons, however. I do buy generic store products whenever possible, although I draw the line at certain items such as ketchup.)
One of my favorite time saving techniques, and we all know time is money, is doing most of our holiday shopping online. Check out the Current Codes website for the most recent savings codes for all the online retailers. And although I have not used these websites, I’ve heard great things about Woot and Wine Woot.
I was able to cut about $200 from our monthly spending by making a few simple changes. We still eat out way too much (we may need to build a toy chest just to hold all of our Happy Meal items) and I am the queen of impulse purchases. But every little bit helps.
Do you have any money saving tips or websites you’d like to share? Do you clip coupons or do you feel they are a waste of time? Do you shop at Sam’s Club or Costco?