Being teen parents with a toddler and a house can get expensive!! Josh and I try our best to be smart with our money and save it when we can. So since saving money is something that everyone wants to do I thought I would share 10 tips that we use that work for us.
1. Plan your meals out! The day before I go to the store I look and see what I can make from what we have and think about what meals I’ve been wanting to make. From there I make a weekly meal plan for dinners. Then I make the grocery list.
2. Budget your groceries out beforehand! Groceries are a big part of our monthly expenses! We have a monthly budget that I break in half because I go grocery shopping every 2 weeks. I know exactly how much I can spend and try to use ingredients I buy for more than 1 meal.
3. Open blinds instead of turning lights on! Our house is around 2700 square feet so it’s very easy for our house bills to get pricey. We hate spending money that we don’t need to so instead of turning all the lights on we always have the blinds open. The nice part about Tennessee is that it’s sunny a lot!
4. Consign kids clothes and get money in return! I save a lot of Avery’s stuff she outgrows because I want it for our future kids but if there’s things that she didn’t wear a lot I’ll consign it. I even consign my clothes that I don’t like anymore. It’s nice to get that extra cash for stuff we don’t want!
5. Spend what you make in a month and don’t dip into what you have saved. This rule helps us to keep our savings exactly that, savings. The only reason we would get into that money is if it was an emergency. Our savings is going toward Avery’s college and our retirement.
6. Remembering our kids don’t need everything they see that they want. This is probably where I struggle sometimes because I want Avery to have the best childhood ever and I sometimes forget she doesn’t need to have every toy she sees. The other day at Costco is a perfect example. Avery saw this huge play set and started freaking out and getting excited. I took a picture and sent it to Josh and say “look what Avery found”. I didn’t say “let’s buy this” but of course I wanted to. Avery loved it and it was really cool! But it was expensive! It was $1,000 and you have to put it all together. Josh sweetly replied it’s either that or the puppy. He reminded me that we were already planning on buying a puppy and Avery would live without this play set for now.
7. Buy clothes in off seasons. I love love love sweaters and this is the best time for me to buy them. A lot of them are on sale because it’s already in the high 70s every day here and it’s a score for me! I just don’t wear them unless is an unusually cold night or save them until the fall time. I get the same clothes I would have wanted but for cheaper!
8. Have a set amount of money to spend on whatever you want. Josh and I have set it where we have $150 of leisure money. $50 for Josh, $50 for me, $20 for Avery, and $30 for house stuff. This doesn’t include clothes or necessities but it helps us to be able to enjoy the money we make but still stay on a budget.
9. Eat before errands and pack snacks! This is a big one for us! Especially because Avery is a huge snacker and is hungry every hour! I take Avery everywhere with me so whenever we are out of the house I make sure to be prepared. A treat, drink or snack out and about can add up quick! I try to always have a water bottle, 2-3 snacks for Avery, granola bar for me and a little treat in my purse. This saves us lots of money!
And last but not least!
10. Make a monthly expenses spreadsheet. At the end of each month I get all our receipts together and check to make sure that all our credit card charges are right. Then I add up what we spent that month into different categories (house bills, insurance, groceries, eating out, gas, clothes, necessities, and miscellaneous). Then I put each amount into an excel spreadsheet along with the amount of money we made that month. That way I always know if we are spending more or less of what we are making.
This was a little bit of a different blog for me but I hope you liked it and found it helpful!