When Ryan & I found out we were expecting our second child we were both working full time jobs. As the time got closer to my due date we made the decision that I would stay home with the kids. This decision was not made lightly, it was prayed about often & only when we felt God's guiding hand did we make the decision. It was definitely one of the best decisions we have ever made - being able to watch my kids every single day is so rewarding.
This decision wasn't made until about 3 months before my due date - at that point we went through every bill we had & tried to find every way we could to reduce unnecessary expenses. Right off the bat we would be saving money by not needing childcare - for us that was $150/week. Also - the savings in gas money from me not really going anywhere during the week.
One of our first decisions was simply get rid of cable television. Some may say they couldn't do that, but why not? Do you really need to flip through hundreds of channels and watch commercial after commercial just to occupy your time? You say you don't watch commercials - you have a DVR. Well lucky you - you are the perfect candidate to get rid of cable! You see, we got rid of our cable bill and switched over to watching our shows on Hulu through our PS3 (which we got half price off Craig's List). We pay $10/month for Hulu Plus & $9/month for Netflix. Our "entertainment" bill was cut down to 1/3 of what we were paying. Not only are we saving money this way, but we now don't use the TV to occupy our time. We have 2 kids to do that!!! They are the only entertainment we really need anyway :)
Our next decision was to switch from disposable diapers to cloth diapers. Yes, I know..."ewww, gross, how can you do that? What about the poop?" blah blah blah! We have spent about $500 (on the high end) for cloth diapers & accessories (wet bags, diaper sprayer) & that is pretty much all I am going to need to spend on cloth diapers for the time my kids are in them. How much do you spend on disposables each month? And, about the poop thing...no matter what kind of diapers you use you still have to wipe a poopy butt! I don't have to swish it around in the toilet because I have a sprayer attached to it! Makes it so much easier :) And the cloth diapers these days are super easy - they make them with snaps or velcro now and there is no need for the "rubber pants". There are a lot of options now when it comes to cloth diapering - just google it! The other great thing about cloth diapers is you can re-sell them. Yes, people buy used cloth diapers. They are clean & if they are in good condition you can make about half or more back on what you spent. Can't do that with disposables can you? Probably one of the best decisions we ever made. We also recently switched over to cloth wipes - so after we wipe their little butts we can just throw the wipe right in with the diapers and wash them all together. Saving money there too!
We rarely buy anything "full price" - unless its food. Clothes for us we only buy with Christmas or Birthday money - for the kids they are either hand-me-downs, on a major discount or from Once Upon a Child. We search on Craig's List or Ebay for deals before we will go to the store and buy something off the shelf. You can almost always find something you want/need for cheaper than what you think. If you found a great deal - search a little more, you might surprise yourself!
We refinanced our house. That brought our mortgage down almost $200/month - HUGE savings for us!
I made the decision to start watching 1 more child once Averley reached 4 months. Whether they need me to watch their child 1 day or 5 days a week - its extra money we didn't originally have. INCOME
I also decided to start selling Scentsy Wickless (www.scentsy.com/hworl). I looked around at many different direct sales companies - I hadn't even heard about Scentsy until I attended a home party a friend of mine was hosting. That night I chose Scentsy. It is an amazing company to work for & has many great opportunities for advancement & incentive trips. It hasn't even been 2 months since I started selling & I've made back almost 3 times what I paid for the starter kit.
We started buying our meat in bulk. We have a group of about 8 families and we split a whole cow or pig. You can get a lot of meat for a great price if you do it that way.
I'm breastfeeding. I can't believe how much money that has saved us this time around. I made it about 5 weeks with Declan before I gave up. I hated myself for doing this - I just didn't feel like I could do it, I wasn't enjoying it like everybody who nurses says they do. It was a very selfish decision on my part & I am determined to not make the same decision this time with Averley. I have made it 4 months now & I still don't "enjoy" it like most mother's do but I feel good knowing its the best thing I can be doing for my child & its saving us money by not needing to purchase formula.
Eventually I will be making Averley's baby food as I did with Declan. I can buy fresh fruits & veggies, cook what I need to, throw it in a blender with some water if necessary, pour into ice cube trays, freeze, pop out & put in ziplock baggies. Each cube is about 1 oz of food so I know how much she will be eating & its homemade! This saves money if you have the time to do it.
Hopefully I can find the time to "coupon" - that can be a major money saver. Some can even say its a way to have an income when you leave stores with them owing you money! I just need to find the time to actually sit & right everything out and find what I need for some good deals. I have a hard time buying things when I am not in an immediate need for them even if it is a super good deal. I don't like having 5 of something on my shelf even if I only really paid for 1 of them. Its something I need to get over if I want to continue to find ways to save us money!
I know there are more ways to save - what are your ways you save money?