Thursday, June 9, 2011

The more you save, the more you can GIVE!

Just thought I would put this out there for those of you who are trying to live on a tight budget. Now that Ryan and I are living off of one income we have to be intentional about our spending and saving habits. Here are a couple things we do:
#1. Cheap Diapers- The cheapest diapers I have found are about $.14 each (Sam's Club Member's Mark Brand). The key with buying diapers is to ALWAYS price them out PER diaper. It doesn't matter if they are on sale or if you have coupons. Simply divide the amount per box by the number of diapers to find out how much your paying for each individual diaper. If you can find them for less than $.20 your doing good. Honestly, I'm on my second box of Sam's Club diapers and I haven't had a single leak!!

#2. Cloth Diapers-Even better than $.14 =) I use Bum Genius diapers for Preston~ Every time I use them I am saving $.14-So, if I use them 10 times a day for 1 week I save $9.80. That would be a savings over $500 for the year!! Not too shabby huh?

#3. Buying Food- well, I'm not into couponing and here's why: *I'm not a hoarder *Most things we buy and eat don't have coupons *I simply don't have time. I do participate in our grocery store's buy one, get one free sales. I keep our shopping and eating pretty simple. I purchase Salmon, Tilapia, Chicken Breast, and Meatballs or Ground Beef at Sam's club each month. I use these staple meats for all kinds of dishes, including Raspberry Balsamic Salmon, Chicken Cordon Bleu and Lemon Coconut Tilapia filets.
To save money I am VERY selective with my fruit and vegetable purchases. Literally, we were throwing away money when a fruit or veggie would spoil. It was happening ALL the time!! I would throw away a rotten peach or clean out the crisper drawer and toss unused lettuce and carrots. I'm curious, does this happen to other families?
So now I only buy the following produce items because they are guaranteed to be consumed:
*Bananas-I buy 2 green ones and 3 yellow ones, just to give us a little time.

*Avocado-Easton LOVES avocado and they are super healthy and yummy!
*Blueberries-The magical fruit!!! We never waste a blueberrie! Easton adores them and if there are any getting too soggy they are perfect for blueberry pancakes on Sunday morning!

Ofcourse I'll buy salad, potatoes or squash when I am planning a meal. For the most part I stick with my grocery list, knowing that we won't waste money!
#4. Consume Less- Before spending 2 months in Ethiopia I didn't give much thought to my personal consumption. One time in Ethiopia I remember throwing away a small bottle of orange Metamucil (it wasn't helping me and I was mad at it). Later that week, I saw the bottle in the kitchen of our guest house by the sink. I'm not exactly sure what happened but I believe the housekeeper found it in my trash and basically recycled it. Maybe they thought it was to flavor water, I'll never know! Again this happened when I threw away a plastic diaper wipe container. I saw one of the workers with it and inside was her lunch! She was using my trash as a lunch box! This has had a lasting impression on my lifestyle. I want to consume less, so I can give more! Before Ethiopia, I would use several pumps of shampoo for my hair, now only 2 pumps will do. Before Ethiopia I would spray windex abundantly, now I try to use 1 or 2 sprays. Before Ethiopia, I would use bottle waters for my convenience, now I'm happy to fill my Tervis Tumbler up with ice water from our Brita. One pump of hand soap, one drop of dial dish soap, one square of paper towel. All of these simple lifestyle changes help save us money!!

#5. CANCELLED CABLE! Just do it!!! Honestly, we have a digital antenna that gets all of the broadcast shows and we use Hulu to see any shows we missed. We have the basic Netflix package, for our movie night and we utilize the "instant watch" movies and shows through our Blueray. We can totally live without cable and we save every month!

Ways to save money that I'm ready to try:
1. Homemade Laundry Detergent! Please don't judge me =) You have to check out this site! It's AWESOME!! It makes me want to head to Walmart right now to buy the ingredients! Definitely look at her experiment with the mustard stain! She used her homemade laundry detergent and Tide with Bleach-The results are almost identical:
The Simple Dollar

Please let me know your best money saving ideas!


Shannon said...

Hi Ashlie! I loved all your tips:) I'll have to try the laundry detergent! We also have had a habit in the past of throwing out fruits and veggies. One thing I've done for our health is switched to eating almost entirely organic fruits and veggies. Because organic is expensive I wait until it is local/in season (which makes it way cheaper). It limits the variety and I've found that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" and we waste less:)

Liz said...

Ive made the laundry detergent before! It really works great. I also throw a box of baking soda in too. Ive gotten lazy lately though, so I probably should start again. We also do netflix/hulu in leiu of cable. Great practical tips!
Liz Horn (DTE 12-24-10 for a 0-12 month old from Ethiopia though AWAA...and hoping to see some movement soon!)