In our previous articles, we have been going through the steps we had taken to go from drowning in debt to breathing free again. When we first started this transition, we decided to save our receipts for a few months and put them in an old crock in our kitchen. Before this, we would always throw them away as soon as we came home from any store.
One evening we both sat down to create our budget. We looked at what we had spent with all the receipts and added them up for over the previous months. We started to list out all of our expenses and the number of purchases of that particular item. We soon discovered one of the biggest expenses in our budget was for regular household/personal hygiene items. These items included groceries, laundry detergents, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, make-up and more. This was kind of a shocker to us, because we never realized just how much we were spending on these needed items, they never seemed to be that big of an expense. After this discovery, we knew we had to do something soon if we wanted to get out of debt and start building an emergency fund. I have to admit, I was really starting to scratch my head a lot and pulling all nighters reading and doing research on how to save on our household needs. I grabbed my pen and notepad and started jotting down suggestions and tips from what information I had gathered. I was feeling very overwhelmed, but I knew in order for us to be out of debt and wanting our bank account to grow we had to change our bad habits. In the first few weeks of starting our budget we were in the middle of moving, so it was a very stressful few months until we started to have our routine back. This time, our routine was different from the newly-wed couple we were. This time we had our home and our own repairs ahead of us, which was the final push we needed to start working harder to save money.
When we first got married, Jason and I both prayed about me working from home and being a stay-at-home wife and some day future mother. We wanted to try this for the first year or so to see if this could be an option for us. Our first year was looking grim for this option. We couldn’t seem to save any money, and we were both very stressed out. We had to change our way of living completely if we were ever going to see our future dreams come to fruition.
Jason had a great saying he “borrowed” from Dave Ramsey when we both decided to change our lifestyle of spending. One day Jason came home from work and said “Honey, we are going to go scorched earth on these bills and destroy them.” Hearing his positive excitement and watching him read every night book after book about finances encouraged me to keep going. My husband was being the man he needed to be for our home and it was time for me to be the wife he needed me to be for our home. I found the paper I wrote all the ideas on and started to apply these ideas to our life. Each and every day I am learning more ways to save us money and make some spending money on the side. Below I have a list of things you can do that have helped us tremendously to go “scorched earth” on our debts and build up our bank accounts once again.
War on Debt: Fighting on the HomeFront – Saving Dollars to Go to War Against Your Debt
- Eat at Home
- – Start making homemade dinners (your crock pot is your best friend).
- – Make breakfast and pack your own lunch before work.
- – Stop hitting up the drive-thru’s
(Having an occasional date night is fantastic! Just don’t allow drive-thru’s to be a habit)
- Stop spending unnecessarily for necessities.
- – Know the difference between a “want” and a “need”.
- – Generic or store-brand items often are just as good (if not better).
- – Wait for sales, watch the store ads and know the prices of items you use.
- Couponing – It’s like printing money.
- – Krazy Coupon Lady
- – Local News Circulars (Red Plum, P&G, SmartScource)
- – FreebieMom
- – Groupon
- Sign up for Name Brand Company Newsletters
- Email Companies on their CONTACT US tab and tell them about why you love their products
(I will give more details on this later. Some companies will send you free product coupons for taking the time to writing them a positive email about their company and products)
4. Legit Survey sites to make money!
- – Crowdtap
- – OneOpinon
- – ShopYourWay
- – InstaGC
- – ProOpinion
5. Do Side Work
- – Seasonal Work: Mowing Lawns/Landscaping, Shoveling Snow, Walking Dogs
- – Use your talents, skills and training to work for others for trade or cash.
- – Check out local newspaper classifieds & craigslist for those looking for help.
6. Create Gifts Instead of Purchasing Gifts
- – If you excel at this, check out selling your products on Etsy for even more extra $.
- – Use your talents and resources to create a gift instead of just going out and buying.
Holidays and birthdays can be expensive (especially when they all hit at once).
7. Yard Sales & Yard Sale Websites
- – Yard sales are awesome because you can both make some extra cash and save some.
- – When selling, be flexible but reasonable on your price so you can move items quicker.
- – When buying, know the full retail price and don’t just buy “spur of the moment” to save.
- Do your own Maintenance and KNOWING when to call a professional!
- – Knowing how to turn a wrench and not being afraid to try will save a lot of money!
- – Youtube, Google, Haynes/Chilton Manuals and online forums are your best friends.
- – Sometimes, you don’t have the tools you need for a 1-time job, so get help or borrow.
- – Other times, the benefit of fixing it yourself doesn’t outweigh the risk if you screw it up.
- Plant a Garden
- – There is often an upfront expense for this to do it on a large scale.
- – On a small scale, you can grow many vegetables in a 5-gallon bucket on a porch.
- – Growing your own food is both gratifying, nutritious and cost-effective.
- – Supplementing your diet with homegrown food drastically lowers grocery bills.
- Make lists and plan ahead for trips to town.
- – When grocery shopping, keep a running list on the refrigerator and update it all week.
- – Take the list to the store on the shopping day, and stick to the list.
- – By not forgetting items (since you kept the list), you save money on return trips.
Over the next few weeks I will be going into each of these in more detail and how you can apply them to your busy schedules. Following these steps has helped save money, make money and even earn free full size products for our home making our money go further!