I get asked this and sometimes even ask myself:
Family of 4 living on one income and you still stay home, how do you do it?
First I want to give a big huge thank you to God, for placing the 4 of us together. Without Him we just couldn’t do it. He is a mighty, wonderful God who blesses us in so many ways. Second a big huge thank you to my husband. I appreciate him waking up each morning and going to work for us. I know he enjoys his job, and that helps all of us live happier. He is a godly man who is very involved with his family. And a third thank you to everyone who has shared their tips with me.
Okay here it is, Money Saving tips, by room:
Starting with the Laundry Room:
Wash clothing using the appropriate water level, on cold. I’ve been doing this for years now and have found the clothes get just as clean on cold as they do on hot. No special soaps needed.
Speaking of laundry soap, use only about half of what the package tells you to use. It will be easier on your clothing, and save you a bundle on the soap.
Easy Step: Shorten your drying time (stop the dryer before it gets to the cool down).
Next Step: Hang clothes on hangers and hook them on the shower curtain bar to dry in the bathroom.
Advanced Step: Line dry your clothes outside. I’ve found this to actually be quite therapeutic.
Also- Quit buying dryer sheets. They’re dangerous in terms of build up on your lint screen and causing house fires, but also loaded with chemicals your precious family would be better off without. If you do need something to make your clothes a little softer use vinegar in your washing machine. It works, promise.
This is a money and time saver; cook a double batch of whatever you’re making. Save the leftovers for another day.
Buy in bulk; especially beef if you like it.
Eat less… I’m not really joking here. How often do you go for the second burger that you really don’t “need”. If you could have that one for lunch the next day and still be satisfied you’ll be saving.
I save left overs, even when it’s literally only 3 bites. Because that 3 bites will satisfy my toddler just fine. Or I chop whatever it is up small and add it to our Friday night pizza.
Yes… We do Pizza almost every Friday. I clean out the fridge… Sometimes it’s carrots and parmesan because we don’t have mozzarella on hand (which we’ve found is actually a combination we love) other times we can add more to it.
Soap dispenser: I use a foaming soap dispenser. 1 part soap 5 parts water. I just refill it when needed. This has cut our soap use by SO much! I’m also pretty sensitive to soaps, so my hands look like I’m 70 after washing in straight soap; the foaming soap has helped this.
The next step took me awhile, but I eventually threw out pretty much all household cleaners and sprays. We now use just a spray bottle of vinegar/water mix. For tough things that need to be scrubbed I use baking soda. Vinegar is a natural disinfector, and come on people, the smell does NOT stay around, so get over buying your expensive products that are attacking your body and pick up a gallon of vinegar & a cute $1 spray bottle. Everything is getting just as clean if not cleaner than it was using the toxic sprays. And yes… I wipe up raw meat using this spray, or soap and water. No problemO’.
Paper towels/napkins: We were a little crazy with our paper towels, going through about 2 rolls a week… I do not know anyone else who has ever used that much, but we did. And at about $1 a roll, we cut just over $100 out of our yearly spending by using dish towels instead. For napkins we bought wash clothes from Ikea that have a cute colored loop on them. This way I know they don’t belong with the bathroom wash clothes. I store them in a basket in the cupboard. They’re much more absorbent and can be used more than once.
Turn off your oven about 5-10 minutes before the timer goes off. You’re using less energy and the oven is still hot inside. In the winter, (if you don’t have little ones that might get hurt) leave the oven door open for a bit to let the heat into your home.
You can use this same concept on the stove top for most things. I turn the burner off before it’s done (unless it’s rice.. that stuff is pretty picky!), my husband sometimes leaves it on even after the food is on the table…So, I think we balance each other out here? 😉
Okay enough of the kitchen… On to THE LIVING ROOM:
Watch less TV! Spend more time playing board games, cards, and reading. Our TV is on a power strip that I sometimes will turn off for a week or better. Most commonly though, it’s only off for a couple of days at a time. It’s not hard, no one misses the TV and to be honest, it’s pretty fun to go without it.
We have a big TV and when I say big I’m not talking about the screen. Our TV is almost 10 years old. Sure we could go buy a new big screen, but then we’d need a new entertainment center too, and frankly I like the one I have, it serves its purpose well. I do enjoy watching TV at friends and relatives houses though, as corny as it sounds, I feel like it’s a real treat.
Over all tips:
Thanks to my daddy, this has been drilled into my head: If you leave a room, TURN OFF THE LIGHT!!!
Along with that don’t use a light unless you need it.
Don’t turn on the water full blast when doing anything (showering, brushing teeth, washing hands, etc).
Take quicker showers using warm water instead of hot.
I think you will find these things are easier to implement than you think. Oh & I’m not a professional, so use your own discretion when trying these. But they do work for us.
What other easy money savers can you share? Leave your thoughts in the comments.