September 16, 2013

How to Save $$$$ as a SAHM (stay at home mom)

20+ ways to save $!

1. You need to be able to plan some what. Listed below are many ideas on how to save money being a SAHM, but being able to plan (as well as being patient, which I'm not good at), is very helpful. Having the patience and planning for sales using specific strategies etc. will help save you $ in the long run. For example, I love using Shutterfly to create digital photo books, but, I will not purchase them for full price. I wait until I get a discount (around the holidays is a good time), or even better a free book code. To make sure I catch the deals and they don't pass me buy, I have to have my Shutterfly account ready with books made and ready to order (ideally) or at least half way finished. That way I can order them quickly and almost effortlessly during the sale!

2. Shop sales (& stock up). This might sound easy, but this is one that takes planning (like the example I used above). Make lists of all the things you NEED (baby clothes of a certain size, diapers ete.) and shop using coupons and coupon codes. Search the internet for coupon codes that others share. Also shop sales such as Labor Day sales, Back to School sales, Fourth of July sales etc. for birthdays, Christmas gifts, or just random family moments such as picnics. Many items found can also be turned and repurposed into daily home items for you or others as gifts. For example I stocked up on crayons during the back to school sale so I could use them as a party favor for C's birthday party! I also stock up on food when there is a sale such as buy one, get one. Most recently, I bought boxes of pasta because they were $1/box!

Another great time to purchase is right AFTER a holiday like Halloween and Christmas or towards the end of a season like summer! It might be picked over, but most times you'll be able to find something to use that season or the next. 
Also check this site out for how to use multiple coupons and competitor coupons in a single purchase at Michael's, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's Fabric. JoAnn's Fabric also lets you use multiple coupons at once from their different sources. In one purchase you can use a coupon code from a snail mail coupon, an internet coupon, an app coupon AND their flyer coupon, which is in the store. Cha-ching! Great savings!!! 

Another tip: keep in mind when it's best to buy seasonal food and most everything else (airfare, appliances, electronics, tires etc).

3. Shop sites that have great rewards. These are sites that have a good rewards program as well as a good satisfactory policy. Kelly's Closet is a great example of this. They are always running promos and have a system in place to earn points for your purchases. Their return policy on cloth diapers is 30 days risk free! You can return your diapers (washed, used etc.) within 30 days if you're not satisfied with the product! That's says a lot: they have a lot of faith in their products, and they value their customers' happiness.

Ebates and ShopAtHome are also sites that give you cash back for just ordering online through their links! For example, if you want to purchase something from Old Navy, go to Ebates, search for Old Navy in the search bar, see what cash back deal they are running (maybe 3% for kid clothes), click the link and it'll take you to Old Navy's site and you can order! A check will come in the mail for the cash back amount! Easy!

4. Utilize your birthday. Tons of places give you discounts or free items during your birthday month. Here's a great freebie list, to scan and plan so that you're ready come your birthday month. :o) You can do this for the whole family and each of their birthday months!

5. Get into Pinterest. If you have not discovered the amazing benefits of Pinterest, I'd suggest you get into it. Dive in head first! You'll soon become an addict, but if you keep yourself on a time limit and keep yourself organized (by making "boards" to categorize your finds), you'll save money quickly. This is a great site to use to find ideas for almost anything, quickly and cheaply. There are so many DIYs and step by step tutorials that it'll spin your head... at first. Check out my Pinterest boards (linked at the top right of my blog with a "P") and see what I've collected over the years. You will have so many ideas and tutorials at your finger tips, that you won't have to rack your brain on how to come up with an inexpensive way to make baby crib railing covers, for example.

6. Shop resale. I'm a frequenter of my local Good Will and baby resale shop. I buy most of my books from Good Will and I have purchased many baby items from our baby resale shop like C's jumperoo, swing and some clothes. I also hit up garage sales hard! I have purchased SO MANY things through garage sales and for cheap, it's hard to keep track. My favorites have been: C's splash pad, many Melissa & Doug wooden toys (we are big fans!), a wooden activity cube, tons of links, a travel hook on chair and more. I also love shopping on facebook resale groups. It's quick, easy access and there are good deals. PLUS, you can also try to make a little $  by selling items on these sites too! Look for one in your area by searching "Facebook garage (or yard) sale of ______" (insert your county or town).

7. Re-purpose and reuse items. Not creative? No problem, you can find so many ideas on Pinterest on how to re-purpose or reuse certain items like toilet paper rolls, milk jugs, boxes etc. One item that we reuse and repurpose in my house is our deli meat containers. We reuse those as our tupperware!

8. Find a deal? Take it!  When I find a deal on something I know I'll use in the future, either in my house, as a gift, for my baby etc. I buy it. Come the time I need to use that item, I know where I've stored it and it's already handy, and bonus, I didn't have to pay full price or make an extra run out of the house! I think it's worth it to store something for a few months for someone's birthday, and then have it ready to go at a moments notice!

9. Don't be afraid of hand-me-downs.  I love it when a friend or family member has something that they are getting rid of and asks if I could use whatever it is. This is how we scored on our Dr. Brown bottles, some baby clothes, furniture etc. There's nothing better than free!

10. Cut back on home technology/electronics. We saved a lot of money when we cut back on cable, our cell phones, and electricity. What did we do? 
  • discontinued our Xbox streaming service 
  • discountinued our Netflix (their streaming didn't seem to be all that great any way!)
  • scaled back on our cable package (besides, we can use Redbox) 
  • looked into an employer reimbursement program for our cell phones through my husbands company
  • asked Verizon about company discount programs (they have discounts for certain certain companies. My husbands company is very small, so yours could be one too! Look into it!)
  • cut back on our cell phone package (since I stay at home, I can use my home wifi all the time, which is free, and hubby can use his work's wifi. Our data package is very small. We share only 1GB of data!)
  • use our families and close friend's wifi. They don't mind us asking for their wifi code, especially if we are there a lot (it's like using their laptop). Now every time we are at homes where we have connected through the wifi, our phones automatically connect, done!
  • are conscious of the electricity we use (turn off lights/fans when we're not in the room, keep appliances unplugged etc.)
Watch Naturally Thrifty Mom's video of how to cut back more on electricity! She's also a great gal with a nice family that is fun to watch. She talks a lot about natural products, cloth diapering and odds and ends about being a SAHM! Love her!

11. The Dollar Tree is your friend. I can't tell you how much stuff I have found at my local Dollar Tree! They have everything! Cards, gift bags, seasonal gear like Halloween costumes and fall decor, pens, sharpies, notebooks, school supplies, teacher supplies, office supplies, coloring books, markers, poster boards, dog and cat supplies and food, books, nightlights, mattress covers, socks, toothpaste and brushes, cotton balls, shaving cream, liquid soaps, shampoo, baby products like lotions, candy, Arizona iced tea, dishes, contact paper, mugs, chips, canned products like corn and kidney beans, cleaners like Comet, sponges, mops, dish soap, hand mitts, cookie sheets, aluminum foil.... the list goes on!! (Yes I made notes as I walked through once.) This is a great place to buy basics for your home as well as gear for birthday parties! I found mostly all of Christian's birthday party supplies here like plates & silverware, plastic table covers, streamers, happy birthday sign etc. My Dollar Tree store even has a helium station! I don't know the specifics about it, but it looked like you could blow up your own balloons (for a little bit of an extra cost I believe).
Our heavy duty Dollar Tree mug! Michael loves it!
12. Don't buy every toy under the sun. There is something to be said about leading a life that is SIMPLE.... hence the name of this blog. You and your family will be more happy when you learn that less really is more. You'll spend more of your time with what really matters, your family and make memories. Christian finds more happiness in empty water bottles, pots and pans and wooden spoons than he does it all those over the top, light up ring-a-ding toys. We intentionally purchase only a few toys for him for certain holidays like Christmas and his birthday, and ask that of our family too. He will enjoy his toys more, and appreciate what he does have. Plus it's fun creating memories of finding things around the house to play with. :o)
Christian playing with tupperware

We made our own toy! Bottle filled with rice and odds and ends. Super glued shut.

13. Utilize your local resources. Find activities in your area that are free and fun! We always page through the local flyer for our park district that comes to our home. Our park district is always putting on events to get the community together, such as holiday activities, walks etc. We scope out their web page too and find when activities are free. A lot of times, a business will have a time for families to enjoy their facility for free. It usually occurs on a week day night, between certain hours. They do this for our pool, splash pad, and children's museum. We also utilize other park districts around us that have free activities too. Our neighboring town has a splash pad this is always free! 

Another great place to look for free activities are the local libraries. They will have story times, social hours, movie showings with popcorn (we are lucky!) and other activities. It's always fun to bring Christian to our library because he loves looking at their books, and playing with their toys in the youth section.
Library toys are fun!
Library fish are fun to watch!
Yea for toddler library bins!
14. Ask other mothers. There's no shame in asking other mother's how they cut corners in order to save money. Mothers have been saving by cutting corners for ages, and no one likes to find out how, last. Most SAHM will be willing to share everything they know, like me! I've never understood those that keep this sort of thing to themselves... why when others could benefit? The same goes with crafts, projects etc. The more sharing, the merrier, right?

15. Sell what you don't need or use. Garage sales are not the only way to do this. (This kind of goes with #6-Shopping resale.) Facebook is a great place to list your items for sale. I've sold and purchased this way many times. I would suggest meeting in a public place for any exchanging of items/$. There are also other places on Facebook that sell specific things. For example, I'm part of a Facebook group for cloth diapering swap. This is a group of moms that are always listing cloth diapers and accessories to purchase, sell, or trade. My local baby resale shop also purchases items that are gently used and have not been recalled.

16. Try cloth diapering. I know that it is a completely different world than disposables, but you will save a TON of $ doing this. Naturally Thrifty Mom has an awesome video on the cost comparison for cloth diapers vs disposables (plus tons of other very informative cloth diapers videos. Check out her channel!) She estimated in her video, using Kelly's Closet as her price source, that regular Bum Genius pocket cloth diapers cost about $450 (for 24) compared to disposables that cost $2,000-$3,000! (She has a video that describes all the types of cloth diapers too. Link above. :o)

17. Join research mom groups. I found out about this through an email I received. They were looking for mom's to participate in their website surveys for products. I have been participating ever since Christian was born, maybe even a little before, and I have received multiple Amazon credits for simply completely surveys! I used those credits to purchase things we needed for the home that I found deals on like cloth laundry soda.
18. Do your own taxes. This might sound really hard, but we have used TurboTax always, and it's pretty easy. It takes you through step by step, and if you have all of your paper work handy, you just punch in the numbers and away you go. Now you've only spent about $50 for the annual TurboTax computer program instead of hundreds going to an accountant. Plus, at the end of the program you can file your Federal papers through the program online, so that's quick, easy and done. Plus you can also insert your bank account info and your return money will be directed there. You do have to print out the state tax forms (they are filled in though through the program), but then all you do is mail them in. I think they also have a TurboTax program that allows you hand in both Federal and your state taxes online, but that's an additional cost. I save myself the extra $30 or whatever it is, and just mail it in. (The version we purchase is the one shown, TurboTax Deluxe.)

19. Make your own baby purees. This one I was not able to do since I was still working when Christian was getting a majority of his purees, so I didn't have the time. But if you stay at home and your baby is still eating purees for solids, then I encourage you to make your own, especially since you have the time! You can buy avocados, sweet potatoes, butternut squash etc. and puree them with a food processor after baking them, and you'll have a ton left over!

20. Network. Network to save $? SURE! Networking for SAHMs means making friends. :o) Meet other moms through baby groups, the library, the splash pad, other moms etc. It's a great opportunity to meet new people and to set up more free activities for your kids. Play dates are a thing, and going to the park or someones house doesn't require an entry fee. 

21. Call your car insurance company. If you are now staying home you need to update your car insurance company! Since you are now spending less time on the road due to no longer commuting to and from work, this will change your coverage and the amount of money you pay. Our amount we have to pay decreased by $54 every 6 months. Only $9 a month, but that's something! We also received a refund for $44 since we recently paid our insurance but our coverage decreased.

1 comment:

  1. I made $20 for each 20 minute survey!

    Guess what? This is exactly what big companies are paying for. They need to know what their average customer needs and wants. So big companies pay millions of dollars every month to the average person. In return, the average person, myself included, answers some questions and gives them their opinion.


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