Last Week I got onto a roll and came up with so many more ideas for cutting expenses that I had to break it into another post. I probably could have broke these down even smaller but I knew you would be anxious to get onto the next subject. There are just a few more in the expense category that I want to share.
- Extreme Couponing/Refunding: There are coupons for everything! There is big money savings as illustrated on the Extreme Couponing Show. There is big money to be gained back with refunding. It isn't as well known as couponing but it can net some huge money returned. This requires a huge amount of time, excellent organization, and storage space but it is something to consider because it is possible to get a storehouse full of groceries at little to no cost. These can be used to barter with for other goods and/or services you need.
- Repair Costs: DIY! Do it yourself. This is a way to cut huge expenses for repair and or building and still get some of the nice things you desire. You can learn to do anything on the Internet for free. Just Google It!
- Replacement Costs: Upcycle, Reuse, Make Due You will be surprised what you can live without for a short amount of time. You will also be surprised what you can upcycle and reuse in a different or even the same way. Check out my Upcycle It Pinterest Board.
- Shopping: Shop garage sales, estate sales, thrift stores, goodwill, sales. and even dumpsters. I have a beautiful home that I receive lots of compliments on. I furnished and decorated it primarily from these sources. You will be amazed what you can find for very little money. People get rid of really nice things at very little cost. Yes, I have been known to dumpster dive. Once a whole group of friends and I went right into a dumpster (Sunday clothes and all). We found out the church had thrown away all the old fashioned chalkboards. What a treasure! It hangs in my kitchen now. Construction or house flipping going on in your neighborhood? Ask the foreman and/or owner if it is OK for you to have the scraps or old items being removed. Many are glad to not have to pay for removal costs. Important!!! Be sure to ask first! You don't want to be arrested for stealing from a construction sight because someone misinterpreted what you were doing.
- Clothing: Have you considered sewing your own? Patterns and Fabric can be expensive so be thrifty about it. Buy on sale, and in the above shopping places. Look online for patterns. An initial investment into a pattern making system can have you making your own patterns in any style of clothes you want for anyone. There is an entire blog where someone takes an old piece of clothing and upcycles it into a stylish updated piece that looks like something from Anthropology. There are lots of places on the Internet where you can find instruction videos and tutorials on doing this. Look for a 2nd hand machine or get one at a Superstore at first then if you like it you can upgrade later when money isn't so tight. You really only need the machine to sew straight backwards, forwards and zigzag. The fancy stitches are nice but in all my years of sewing, I really didn't use them much.
- Linens: Here is another area where you can make it yourself to stretch the budget. Quilts and blankets can be made out of cotton fabrics gleaned from old clothing. Dish Towels, and Napkins table cloths, bedspreads, bed skirts, curtains, shower curtains, and many other items can be made. Again, be thrifty about your fabric. Never buy it at full price unless it is so beautiful that you absolutely must and even then wait, let it go on sale or wait till you get a coupon. Fabric stores almost always offer coupons. A frugal tip for large amounts of fabric is to buy sheets at a discounted price. Check the discount tables for fabric often. Check out the fabrics, fringes, and decorations of linens, rugs, curtains, tablecloths, & clothing at garage sales or estate sales, thrift stores, & goodwill stores. Many times you can get a huge amount for 1 small price just because you are willing to tote all of it away. I will tell you what you can do with the extras later.
- Electricity/Gas: Change to the money saving light bulbs, an initial investment but there are people who have put this to pen and paper. They say it does save money. Turn lights off. Turn the temperature down a bit in winter and wear more clothes (reason to snuggle more). Turn it up a bit in the summer and use fans. You can also use an old fashioned swamp cooler rather than the more expensive AC Systems. Take proper care of your systems if you do go that way,by changing filters and cleaning so they run more efficiently
- Water: In some parts of our country, water is a premium resource. We are experiencing drought here in Texas and so water costs have sky rocketed. I saved $200 a month in this area alone by changing out 3 toilets. Yes, you read right. We had old fashioned toilets that were apparently running from time to time because they would lose water level due to a slow leak from the tank to the bowl. The new toilets cost me a bit over $300 to purchase and then about $100 to set the new ones (this could have been a DIY). The new ones have already paid for themselves over and over. One more spot in this area, is bottled water. Stop buying it! Drink from the faucet (OMG you say?) It has been tested and approved safe. If you don't like the taste of it then purchase some filters. They do wonders and the overall savings will be large in the long run. Save those old water bottles and refill them to put in the fridge. Capture your shower water with buckets around you for watering outside. Add a water capture system to your home for watering outside (initial cost but huge savings of money and resource over the years). Attach a hose to your washer drain system and capture the gray water. It can be used for watering the lawn.
All these areas of expense cutting can add up quick. Have you seen how you can do it yet? Still not convinced? Next week I will discuss the income category. It is much more fun. There are ways to bring income in and still be a Stay at home mom or dad. In the meantime, look at the expense cuts discussed here and add them up. You might be surprised how much it would actually cut. Compare it + the expenses from the last 2 weeks to your present income. Is it worth it to go to work everyday and let someone else raise your family?
If anyone out there has other areas of expense cutting, we would love to hear them in the comments. I am sure this is an area where there are many more creative ways to save than I have even dreamed of. Let's hear what your ideas are. Who knows, who you might help convince, that they too, can achieve the dream of being a SAHM!
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