7 Simple Ways to Save Everyday

7 ways to save

Guest post from Sarah of Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style

When it comes to savings, we often spend a lot of time focusing on coupons, special sales, and the hottest deals of the week. However, some of us frugal moms know it goes much further than that! Saving money for your family isn’t just about hunting down the next deal, but about making small lifelong changes in your home.

Here are 7 simple ways to save money every day that are easy to implement into your daily life. While not all will work for every family, you’ll easily find some tips that are simple changes you won’t even notice or feel like you’re sacrificing.

1. Ditch Paper Towels

If you have kids in the house you know that paper towels can be a monthly investment. Between meals, cleaning spills, and wiping sticky hands you are throwing away a ton of money each year.

Instead of buying paper, invest in some nice cloth napkins for your kids to use at meal time. Grab some old hand towels and wash cloths and designate those for cleaning up spills.

Tip: Colorful bandanas make great color coded dinner time napkins for large families! Each person has their own color to use.

2. Turn Off & Unplug Electronics

This is a great way to save money. While the savings are small, they do add up over time. Turn off all electronics when not in use and make a habit of hitting light switches as you leave a room as well.

Go even further by unplugging in between uses, too. That toaster sitting out on your counter that is rarely used? Simply unplug it and save yourself some money.

3. Plan a Menu

Taking the time to make a menu plan will cut back on last-minute take out and wasted food. And don’t forget to utilize your slow cooker during the school year or a busy season!

By having a plan in place, you will use more of what you have on hand and cut back on extra spending. No more running to the store for that one ingredient you forgot!

4. Learn To Sew

This is a great tip for those with girls, especially. Old pillowcases, t-shirts, ladies’ dresses, or men’s shirts can all be easily revamped and tailored into dresses for little girls. Shopping the thrift shop for gently used clothes in different patterns and styles can also lead to fun new revamped ensembles with a bit of sewing.

If you’re not a seamstress, even something as simple as replacing a button instead of throwing an item out is helpful. Or, if you have a son like mine, when he blows out the knees in his jeans, you can easily make them into shorts for the next season!

5. Brown Bag It

Taking your own lunch consisting of healthy portions of leftovers or specific lunch items can really save you a lot of money over time. If you also learn to make your own snacks and gourmet coffee, you’ll significantly increase your savings.

Don’t have time to make your own snacks all the time? Buying a box of granola bars in store is far cheaper than buying a single bar from the gas station or vending machine.

Do your kids like Lunchables? Make your own! All it takes is Ritz crackers, some deli meat, and cheese singles, and you’re good to go.

6. Cook From Scratch

It may seem like it will take so much more time, but simple things like making soups and beans in a slow cooker can cost a fraction of what canned varieties do.

Grab dry beans for $1-$2 a pound and cook them in your crock pot all day. When cooked, a $1 bag of dried beans will often be the equivalent to 4-5 cans you would have purchased at $1each. Over a year’s time, that can add up to quite a bit of savings in your grocery budget.

7. Pay With Cash

Make a point of paying for things with cash. There is a lot to be said about the concept of not buying anything else for the month once you run out of cash on hand. It helps you stay within your means, and not rely on credit cards. It also gives you a chance to save that change in a piggy bank for rainy days, treats, or vacations.

No matter what your household budget is, you can easily put into place a few of these 7 simple ways to save money every day and increase the money in your pocket. These things can free up money to pay off debt, or simply help you stop living paycheck to paycheck.

What simple things do you do to save money every day?

Sarah is a stay-at-home mom of two wonderful children. From homeless to well-off, this single debt-free mom is most known for her ability to live well on $18k/year. Sarah loves encouraging others that dreams do come true if they are willing to consistently work for it. Follow her blog: Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style.

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5 Ways to Live Well on One Income

 photo moneysavingmombadge_zps424af520.jpg

Guest post from Liz of The Quick Journey

As a momma to four kiddos and one handsome hubby, I am always on the lookout for ways to stretch our money and still live well. Many people think that giving up the “two-income” lifestyle means that everything else goes with it.

Sure, you’ll probably need to pare down some, but life doesn’t need to be boring and stifling. I have found 5 tried and true ways to save our pennies and still enjoy a good life:

1. Set Goals

It is so important to set goals for your family. When you have goals in place, it makes it easier to save those pennies because you get to dream about the reward at the end of the journey.

Goals also add resolve when things might get tough. Remember, pennies add up to dollars and dollars to hundreds of dollars. So every penny counts toward your family goal!

2. Find Free Family Fun

Instead of spending a lot of money going on expensive family trips, find ways to enjoy each other without spending the money. Some great ways to “stay-cation” would be to gather around a campfire and roast s’mores with the fall season coming up. Or, go to the park for a family picnic.

Then, when you do get to experience a “true” family vacation, it will be well appreciated and the experience will be much sweeter.

3. Eliminate Desires

It is simple: the less I see, the less I want.

When we transitioned into a one-income family, I had to eliminate desires from our home. That meant eliminating TV so commercials didn’t create the “I want” effect for both my husband, myself, and the kids. The less we saw, the less we wanted things.

I also limit my time on Pinterest and websites that drive my desires. When I go shopping, I avoid those areas that encourage me to spend on things I don’t need.

4. Limit Shopping Trips:

The more I go to the store, the more I buy. Because of this, I only go to the store twice a month to prevent extra buying opportunities.

I also go with a list and stick closely to the list. Not only does this help with “little” purchases here and there, but it saves on gas!

5. Utilize Bargain Shopping

Aldi has been mentioned here on the blog many times. I love shopping Aldi and reaping the rewards that go along with that!

I also think a great way to purchase products is second-hand. Whether it be thrifting or garage saling, it saves money and still allows the shopper to enjoy “new” items without breaking their budget!

These are simple ways to pinch pennies and not feel too restricted.  They have worked great for our family and I hope they work for yours as well!

What would add to my list?

Liz is a stay-at-home, homeschooling momma to four precious kiddos. She finds joy in the little moments and enjoys spending her evenings snuggled up with her handsome “high school sweetheart” hubby. Liz blogs at The Quick Journey where she shares her journey through motherhood.

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This crazy journey I’ve been on the last 10 years (and yes, you CAN make money blogging!)

My Journey to Making Full-Time Income as a Blogger

In 2005, I started this thing called a “blog” — something that most people in my circle of friends and family had never heard of before. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but I had a big dream: I wanted to find a way to earn enough money from home so I can supplement our meager income to allow me to be able to stay home with our baby girl, Kathrynne.

In addition to my big dream, I also had perseverance — something I was going to need in big supply over the next few years. I was very, very determined and that determination drove me not to give up even during the many, many times when I wanted to.

That little blog had a few readers. Then a few dozen. I kept blogging. I kept commenting on other blogs. I kept writing articles for other sites and linking to that blog. I kept networking with other online entrepreneurs.

Over the course of many months, that little blog grew a tiny bit and then a tiny bit more. Pretty soon, I woke up one day and realized that I had a few hundred readers. That idea just blew my mind.

My first blogging header{My first official professionally done website header — added when I switched from Blogspot to Typepad.}

The Income Began With a Little Trickle

I started experimenting with ways to monetize that blog. I researched. I watched what other people were doing. I read many books and blog posts on monetizing a blog. And I just jumped out and began trying things.

Pretty soon, there was a little trickle of income coming in from that blog. When I say “trickle”, I truly mean it. It started with $10 per month, then $20 per month, then $50 per month.

If you would have divided my blogging income by the hours invested in blogging, I was probably making what would amount to a few nickles per hour. However, I was learning, the blog was slowly growing, and I was truly enjoying the process of writing and interacting on a blog.

Speaking at My First Blogging ConferenceSpeaking at my first blogging conference — I was a scared, insecure mess inside and I can see it written all over my face in this picture.

Starting to See the Potential

As time marched on and I kept plugging away, I found other creative ways to add additional income streams — like selling ebooks and then an online course on cutting your grocery bill. I went from making $50 a month to a few hundred dollars per month.

I started to see the potential. And I began to believe that it truly would be possible to earn a part-time income from blogging someday.

My husband and I began talking about adding a niche blog dedicated to frugal living. There was a lot of interest in the topic, it was something I was passionate about and experienced in, and I was pretty sure I could do some specific things to monetize a frugal living blog that I couldn’t do on the blog I currently had.

My Second Blogging ConferenceMy second blogging conference — I was still nervous and scared, but I felt more myself and more whole and I can see it in my face here.

How MoneySavingMom.com Began

It took about a year from the time the initial idea was birthed to when the final product, MoneySavingMom.com actually happened. But in the fall of 2007, I announced the launch of MoneySavingMom.com on the other blog I had.

I still remember the post where I let the world know MoneySavingMom.com was official. I said that I was probably going to blog on MoneySavingMom.com “about 3 times per week”. {Yes, 3 times per week. That still cracks me up!}

The first version of MoneySavingMom.com was on Blogspot. It was an all white background with capital letters at the top of the page that said MONEY SAVING MOM. {Clearly, I was very into bells and whistles. ;)}

I had spent $10 to buy the website URL and that was all I could afford. Later, I paid $25 to have a teen of a mom I knew design a header for me. But those were the very humble beginnings of something that I could have never imagined…
My first radio interviewMy first radio interview — again, this was a completely unnerving experience for shy me. I felt like just going back to my hotel room and crying when it was over because I was sure I had totally bombed it.

Rapid Growth Beyond What I Could Imagine

Since I’d already put in countless hours to build an online platform over the two previous years, knew how to run a blog, and had a pretty good grasp on what topics people were interested, jumping in with MoneySavingMom.com was much easier than it would have been had I been starting from scratch. I also was at the right place, at the right time, because the economy was beginning to tank, coupons were coming into vogue, and the media started to do a lot of coverage of money-saving ideas and frugal living topics.

My initial readers told their friends who told their friends, people found me from random searches and stuck around, and within a few months, MoneySavingMom.com had grown to 14,000 to 16,000 pageviews per day.

It. was. mind-blowing!

I didn’t really know what to do, but I knew that I needed to continue to produce good content and continue to do all I could to help people save money. I also continued to learn all I could about win-win ways to monetize the blog.

My First BookMy first book: basically an exercise in how to do everything wrong! I learned so much, and wished I could have done it all over again because there would be so much I would change!

Fulfilling My Dream — And Making So Many Mistakes

Within a few months, I was making $800 to $1200 from MoneySavingMom.com. And the income just kept increasing. By the end of the first year, I was making the equivalent of a full-time income from blogging.

All of a sudden, I woke up and realized that not only was I living my dream, it was a LOT more work than I could have ever imagined — especially as the blog continued to grow!

The Story Behind MoneySavingMom.com

The past almost 10 years have been a journey… one riddled with many ups and downs. I’ve made many mistakes. I’ve let people down. I’ve sometimes posted things before taking time to really think through what I’d written.

I’ve been arrogant. I’ve said and written hurtful things. I’ve taken on too much and stretched myself to thin. Many times, I’ve had my priorities out of whack and given my family the leftovers instead of my best.

Through it all, I’ve grown, matured, been humbled, had to ask forgiveness, and learned a great deal about my own limits. I’ve gone from a very black and white person who thought she had everything figured out and thought she should share her very legalistic, dogmatic views with everyone, to discovering this beautiful thing called “grace” and realizing that there are very few hills worth dying on.

My First TV Interview

My first TV interview — I was a complete nervous wreck. Literally shaking from head to toe!

I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve faced a lot of fears. I’ve done things I never thought I was humanly capable of. I’ve confronted many of my deep-seeded insecurities head on. And I’ve had many opportunities to work through my long-held tendencies to be a people-pleaser.

Scared of the Scrutiny

You see, as the blog took off and became something more than a little mommy blog, I struggled a lot. Part of me was so excited about the growth and the possibilities. The other part of me wanted nothing more than to just run away from it all and go back to being a stay-at-home mom.

As a normally private person, I hated having my life scrutinized by people I didn’t know. I was scared to come out and talk much about the business side of my life — the meetings, the responsibilities, the opportunities — because I knew some people wouldn’t be happy and would criticize the fact that I was making a good income, was running a thriving business, and was no longer just the frugal stay-at-home mom blogger struggling to make ends meet that I had been when I started blogging.

My Second Book

Growing Into My Own Skin

I love being a wife and mom, I love managing my home well, I love saving money, and I love freezer cooking. I am also a business woman who loves marketing, entrepreneurial ventures, and learning everything I can about strategy and monetization.

It took me awhile to be brave enough to say that I am both out loud. But once I did, it has freed me up to make decisions that were best for our family and the business — like bringing on more help, not always making everything from scratch, and eliminating some frugal practices that were not giving enough return on my investment of time in the season of life I am in.

Knowing who I am and embracing that has been so freeing for me. Yes, I still regularly get emails and comments from people who think I shouldn’t be living my life the way I am, but for the most part, this community has rallied around our family. And you have no idea how much you bless us.

allume-conference-smilebooth-0154My 4th(?) blogging conference: This time, I went with the sole desire to pour into others and look for other people to bless. Guess what? I completely forgot about my usual insecurities and ended up having a blast!

I Would Have Never Imagined This Life

As I look back over the past 10 years, I could never have imagined what my life would look like today. I would never have pictured myself running a business with multiple team members, speaking at events around the country, working with brands, consulting, doing national media interviews, or writing a book that hit the New York Times bestseller’s list.

Nor would I have pictured that this blog would be the catalyst for our family to get in a much better position financially so that were no longer living on a beans and rice budget, could pay cash for a house and a rental house, and can give generously to the needs in our community and around the world.

I also would have never pictured that, through the income from this blog and business, we’d be able to make the choice to move from Kansas to Tennessee, to slow down and simplify our lives, and get the opportunity to work together as a family from home.

So grateful I get to do life with this man!I’m so thankful for the opportunity to get to work together with my husband and best friend! While we have our disagreements and struggles, we are a definite team. I wouldn’t be who I am today without him encouraging me, supporting me, and being my biggest cheerleader.

THANK YOU For Being a Big Part of This Journey

You all have been a big part of this journey. Without you reading here, this blog would never have grown like it has nor would the doors of opportunity have opened up like they have. I am forever humbly grateful for each of you.

While the income from this blog has been a blessing, the community I’ve found in you all has been priceless. You’ve supported our family through thick and thin. You’ve loved us. You’ve prayed for us. You’ve cheered us on. You’ve forgiven me when I’ve made mistakes. And you’ve been incredibly loyal.

My three precious kiddosMy three precious kiddos. There are days when they make me want to pull my hair out (!), but I love them to pieces and am so thankful for the privilege of being their mom!

Looking Ahead to the Future

I don’t know what the next 10 years of my life will hold. Right now, I’m just focusing on living one day at a time! But I do know that I want to live each day that I’m given to the best of my ability. And as long as I’m given the privilege of blogging here, I want to use this platform to make the most impact I can and encourage and bless as many people as possible.

Blogging has broken me. Blogging has healed me. And, more than anything, blogging has taught me that perseverance pays off.

So no matter where you are in life right now, I want to encourage you: Keep on. Press forward. Keep learning. Keep experimenting. Keep holding onto hope. And most importantly: don’t give up! The best is yet to come!

Thinking Of Starting a Blog?

Um, so this post was actually supposed to be a short post with some links for those who were interested in making money blogging. Instead, it turned into one of the longest posts I’ve ever written. Oops. Brevity is not my strong point, if you can’t tell! :)

Anyway, over the years, I’ve received many requests from folks for help on how to start a blog and how to make money blogging. I’ve written on this in past years, but I wanted to let you know that I recently put together a comprehensive page on How to Make Money Blogging with updated information and links. I encourage you to check it out here if you’re interested in how to make money blogging.

For those who already have established blogs and are looking for some encouragement and inspiration to take them to the next level, my good friend, Ruth, has opened up enrollment for her brand-new course called the Elite Blog Academy.

This course will guide you through the process of creating a successful blog and show you, step by step, exactly how to grow a loyal following, generate a sustainable income, and transform your passion into a profitable business. Find out more details here. If you’re interested in purchasing, you can get $50 off by using coupon code IBLOG at checkout. Note: Course enrollment is only open for a limited time.

(Note: The links in this post are affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.)
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Homemade All Purpose Lemon Power Cleaner

Homemade Lemon Power Cleaner

I was inspired by reading the All-Natural Living ebook that I got as part of the Healthy Living Bundle to continue on in my quest to slowly make the switch to more natural alternatives for household products we regularly use.

I especially loved these simple steps the author outlined:

Ditch your fabric softener/dryer sheets – These are some of the most toxic things found in the home and really aren’t necessary. There are homemade options, plus different detergent options that may make the need for fabric softener obsolete.

Make your own detergents – Making your own laundry and dish detergent are both easy and cost effective.

Make a simple All Purpose Cleaner – Even if you aren’t convinced that this homemade stuff can really replace all your cleaners, starting with a simple APC can help ease you into the transition.

Try switching out one beauty product – Not sure if you’re up to a full commitment of diy beauty products? Just pick on that you are willing to try. Maybe it’s the homemade mascara, or the mouth wash, or shaving soap.

These seem doable — even for busy moms, don’t they? I’m all about baby steps and taking it slow, so this was perfect for me.

Homemade Lemon Power Cleaner

After reading through the ebook, I picked one recipe to try and I landed on the All Purpose Lemon Power Cleaner.

All Purpose Lemon Power Cleaner

1 cup warm distilled water
1 cup white vinegar
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
10 – 20 drops lemon essential oil (you could also use orange or tea tree oil — or just omit this)

Measure ingredients into a spray bottle and shake to mix. Shake before each use.

This recipe was very easy to make and very inexpensive (especially if you opt not to use the essential oils). It smelled very strongly of lemon and wasn’t the best all natural cleaner I’ve ever used before. But I’d say that it was fair and one that I would make again.

I love that the ingredients are things I usually have on hand, but I thought the smell was pretty strong. So if/when I make it again, I’d probably adjust the essential oil ratio down or use a different essential oil than lemon.

Homemade Lemon Power Cleaner

All in all, I enjoyed All-Natural Living ebook. The one thing I didn’t love was the author plugging her essential oils site multiple times in the space of just a few pages. Once or twice would have been great, but doing it repeatedly got a little old and sales-pitchy feeling.

However, I loved that she included so many different recipes — even one for Windshield Wiper Fluid! Some were really basic, but there was a lot of variety — including recipes for homemade makeup.

Have you tried making some of your own household products or make-up? I’d love hear about how it worked (or didn’t work!) for you.

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Why I Did a Happy Dance at Dollar Tree + My Amazon Order

My Dollar Tree Shopping Score

I ran into Dollar Tree with the kids last week to pick up a few things for Jesse’s birthday (yes, we’ re all extravagant like that! ;))

I hadn’t been in that Dollar Tree yet since we’d moved and decided to peruse the aisles to see what they had available. Imagine my absolutely delight when I rounded the corner of one aisle and saw an end cap completely stocked with Nature’s Own bread for $1 per loaf!

My family loves this bread for sandwich bread and it made me feel so very much at home to discover that Dollar Tree in TN carries Nature’s Own bread just like our Dollar Trees in Kansas did.

Our freezer is now well-stocked with sandwich bread for the next few weeks! It’s often the little things that can make a new city feel like home.

I also picked up a spray bottle for some homemade cleaner I wanted to make, some sandwich bags that were marked down to $0.50, and some brown rice.

Also pictured: my coconut flour that I ordered from Amazon using some of my Swagbucks credit. I’m excited to try it out in some new recipes.

Have any of you used Coconut Flour before? Have any recipe recommendations or tips on how to use it?

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Brigette’s $48 Grocery Shopping Trip and Menu Plan for 6

Aldi

Aldi

2 3-ct packages Romaine Hearts ($1.99 each) – $3.98

1 3-ct package Green Peppers – $0.99

1 jar (38-oz) Ketchup – $1.29

2 packages (5-lbs each) All-Purpose Flour – $3.10

1 package (12-oz) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

1 container Honey Mustard – $0.99

1 1-lb package Butter – $2.99 (Yikes!! I am hoping butter will go on sale around the holidays like it did last year at Aldi and if it does – I am seriously stockpiling for the whole year!)

4 packages Baby Carrots ($0.69 each) – $2.76

1 3-lb bag Lemons – $2.99

1 12-oz package Frozen Broccoli – $0.99

1 Cucumber – $0.49

1 2-oz container Pure Lemon Extract – $1.99

1 2-oz container Pure Almond Extract – $1.99

1 40-oz package frozen Chicken Tenderloins – $5.99

1 package 3-ct Tomatoes – $0.99

1 32-oz container Nonfat Greek Yogurt – $3.89

1 bunch Bananas ($0.44/lb) – $0.81

1 gallon Milk – $3.75

Total: $41.57

Harris Teeter

Harris Teeter

(I was planning on stockpiling the advertised $0.69/lb chicken, but they only had a couple of not-very-fresh packages left. I got a rain check and will be buying a bunch next week!)

Peaches ($0.79/lb) – $2.48

3 boxes Hamburger Helper – $3.00, used $0.75/3 printable (doubled), plus $1.00/3 Harris Teeter evic, plus receive back $1.00/3 from SavingStar – $0.50 MM after coupons and rebate

1 20-oz box Bisquick – $1.50, used $0.50/1 printable (doubled), plus $0.50/1 Harris Teeter evic, plus receive back $0.50 from SavingStar – $0.50 MM after coupons

1 Glade Scented Oil Warmer – $1.79, used $1.00/1 printable, plus $1.00/1 Harris Teeter evic – $0.21 MM after coupons

2 boxes Rice Krispies Cereal (B1G1 @ $3.89) – $3.89, used 2 $0.75/1 Kelloggs printable (doubled) – $0.89/2 after coupons

1 jar Smuckers Natural Strawberry Fruit Spread – $2.50 – used $0.75/1 Smuckers printable (doubled) – $1.00 after coupons

1 jar Smuckers Natural Grape Fruit Spread – $2.00 – used $0.75/1 Smuckers printable (doubled) – $0.50 after coupons

3 32-oz cartons So Delicious Coconut Milk ($1.50 each) – $4.50, used 3 $0.55/1 printable (doubled) – $1.20/3 after coupons

Total after all Coupons and Tax: $6.49, plus receive $1.50  back from SavingStar

Weekly Total after all Sales, Coupons, and Tax: $48.06, plus receive $1.50 back from SavingStar

Weekly Menu

Breakfasts

Oatmeal x 2, Scrambled Eggs and Toast, Smoothies (using frozen fruit and coconut milk), Cereal x 2, Pancakes

Lunches

Build-Your-Own-Salad Bar x 2, Baked Potatoes with Cheese/Bananas x 2, Tuna Sandwiches/Pepper Slices/Peaches, Macaroni and Cheese/Apples/Carrots, PB&J Sandwiches/Cucumbers

Dinners

Venison Roast in the Crockpot, Carrot Fries, Baked Potatoes

Cheesy Hamburger Potato Soup (using ground venison), Pumpkin Crescent Rolls

Spaghizza, Tossed Salad, Roasted Yellow Squash

Chicken Gravy over Brown Rice, Carrots, Homemade Applesauce

Easy Baked Chicken Nuggets, Homemade Baked French Fries, Tossed Salad, Big Daddy Biscuits

Fried Egg Sandwiches (meatless), Broccoli

Leftovers

Snacks

Popcorn, Oatmeal Cookies (for the rest of the family), Chocolate Zucchini Cake (for me – a new Trim Healthy Mama recipe)

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