Jenn over at *The Thrifty Home* is hosting her very first Penny Pinching Party! I just love this idea as everyone seems to be tightening their belts these days. I love hearing what other people are doing to save money. As soon as we found out baby #2 was on the way we decided it was time for me to stay home once he arrives. So I quit my full time job and have been home for almost a year as I was put on bed rest for 2 months. We have had to really change our habits and the way we think about spending. Here are just a few ideas on what we did to ease our financial strains:
1. We got rid of cable. I thought that I would miss it, but I really haven't. Sure there are certain shows that I miss watching, but if you go to Hulu.com you can view almost every single TV show out there on your computer. So for nap time I sometimes catch up on my Ghost Hunters and sometimes the shows that I missed that week.
2. Comfort Level Billing. Check with your gas and electric company. Most all of them do this where your bill is the same every month. So the winter months are not so hard on the bank, it all evens out in the end.
3. Coupons! I'm not as good as some, but I enjoy getting things at a discount. I use Couponmom.com but there are so many out there that will help.
4. Refinanced our home. In March we looked into maybe refinancing our house and it was great. It dropped our payments down a little over $100!
5. Dining In. We used to eat out at least 4 times a week, as I was working full time and didn't get off until 5:30 everyday, meals were hard to make and eat at a decent hour. So we ate out a lot! Now, I make dinner almost every single night, unless the husband cooks. We maybe eat out once or twice a month now. I thought that I would miss this too, but I haven't.
6. Make-a-Mix Cook Book! This cook book is the greatest book ever created! Its saved us so much money. I make my own spaghetti sauce, muffin mix, corn bread mix, cake mix, dressings, rolls, soups. You name it, its in here! And if you can get the ingredients on sale, it makes it so much better. Make it and freeze it. Its the best!
7. Making/repurposing clothing. I have been making my own clothes lately as we don't have the money to spend on clothes right now. I would much rather spend it on something for the kids. So I have been getting creative with my fabrics. If you can find a flat sheet in any color, that is a big piece of fabric that can be found at Ross or TJ- Maxx for dirt cheap. I have taken buttons off of coats to add to shirts. For the kids, I have made pants and shirts out of old shirts and sweats of mine. I took an old t-shirt and made it into a library bag for my daughter. Here is the tutorial.
This is a picture of my sheet shirt! (Simplicity Pattern #2646 for $2.50)
8. Trips to the library. We have not had a chance to go yet, but you can get books, movies, music, and internet! You can load a cd on your computer and load it onto your ipod, FOR FREE! They have craft books, pattern books, kid craft books. Everything! I can't wait to go soon.
9. Make my own baby food. This has saved us a ton of money! For all the little things I bought my daughter, its amazing how much we spent on the prepackaged stuff. Here is the tutorial.
10. Keep present costs down for birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, and Christmas. This year, we are opting for an entire homemade Christmas. I am so looking forward to it! I feel there is more thought and love put into something you created for that one person. Here are a few links to my "Gifts for Under $5" series.
Those are just a few of the things you can make. The possibilities are endless! But you don't have to spend a fortune to have a great gift!
There are so many other things that can be done and I can't wait to see what everyone else is doing posting for this party! Who doesn't love saving money?!