Financial Friday covers a few tricks I have found as a SAHM for cutting down on bills since my family is down an income.
I promised my husband that when I started staying home, I would save money in mysterious ways. (I also promised him that he could be included in a blog, so here you go sweetie). I tried many ways to save money and while some have worked, others not so much. Here are a few of my assignments, and in true teacher style, their grades:
Ironing shirts. (D) My husband takes his work shirts to the dry cleaner to be washed and ironed. That is about $2 a shirt. (Thought process: That is how much a can of starch costs! I can do that!) So, I washed his shirts and set out to iron them. I started off ok, but never finished the first set of shirts. I loathe ironing and my husband thinks I do a messy job, which might be true. Also, I can't iron when the kids are awake. They want to be around me and when they hang out around the ironing board, I am nervous because of the hot iron. It didn't work out and he takes them back to the cleaners. Every once in awhile when the kids are taking long naps, I wash and iron a few shirts. A few.
Cooking from scratch. (B) Staying home with fewer resources (money to buy whatever I want at the store and a lack of time to get to the grocery store) has made me a better cook. I also need to cook FAST sometimes because small stomachs empty quickly. This has left me with odds and ends at home, crying kids, and nothing but my imagination. This works most of the time and I have created dishes I didn't think I had it in me to make. A few failures: homemade bread, spinach noodles, and guacamole made from peas (I read it somewhere). It is sad to throw out the failures, but they are pretty inedible. Most of the time, we do save money from cooking at home, from scratch.
Buying in bulk. (B+) I never knew this before, but my husband taught me: grocery stores have the price broken down, like per ounce, on their products. When you look at a big box of cereal compared to a small box, the big box probably costs less per ounce than the small box, even though the big box costs more overall. If you buy in bulk, you often save money, which I knew but just didn't know how or why. Because I have more time as a SAHM, I buy in bulk and divide the food between small containers. This also makes traveling pretty easy, as I can grab a container of graham crackers as we run out the door. The only problem I had with this was a few items went bad, so be selective about what you buy in bulk. I bought peaches and divided and froze them, but defrosted they were brown and the kids wouldn't eat them.
Making cards. (A) A few months ago, I went to a bridal shower. As the bride unwrapped her presents, she handed the card to her mother along with the wrapping paper. The mom put it all in a garbage bag. It made me so happy that a complete $1 or more was not put in that bag because I make my own cards. Scrapbook paper, ribbon, glue, stamps, and stickers--I either have the ingredients or can buy them inexpensively. Look at the bins at Wal-Mart or other fabric stores for leftover ribbon, tulle, and sequins. Find out the bride's wedding colors, the mother-to-be's nursery decor, or the birthday child's favorite activities and decorate your card accordingly. My first cards were pretty plain, but they have improved and I am not an artist. Sometimes they are even passed around the party. :)
Those are four simple ways I tried to cut expenses when I became a SAHM. They might work for you or my failures may be your successes. Good luck.
In no way was I compensated for this blog entry.