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.
Sarah Hunter says
Don’t forget to have the spare change for bags and a cart at Aldi’s.. We live in the next town over and I literally had to miss out on shopping there on Sunday 🙁
What if your income doesn’t meet your bills expectations? How do you do it then? I was let go from a job and without income so was depending on inheritance which is now all used up so there is nothing in savings to turn to.
becca h says
Thank you so much for all these great suggestions which are very true to life for my family. I have a part time commission-based job but my paychecks are very few and far between, so we fall into the 1 income household in my opinion. I think when we set this example for our kids, it shows them that they can survive well on one income as they grow up and marry, if that is what they desire. The only things I would add that have been such blessings to us is 1) find and spend time with like-minded people and 2) find local giveaways to enter. When you live life with others that have similar tastes and standards and values, it doesn’t become an issue when everyone gets together for a potluck or game night instead of spending more money someplace else. You all tend to be on the same page when it comes to socializing and how to do that. As far as giveaways, I’ve found 2 really great local moms groups where I live in Phoenix and they have awesome giveaways all the time to local restaurants/events/vendors, etc. I know it totally random who wins, but if there aren’t many entries in a contest, then someone has to win! I’ve been blessed with several wonderful restaurant experiences that we would have never been able to afford had I not entered these local giveaways. I actually just got a notice this morning that I won a $50 gift certificate to a restaurant here in a contest I entered, so my hubby always appreciates this as well!
Thanks so much for such a great info!
Sometimes when I get the “I wants”, I consider how much time it takes for my hubby to earn the amount for that item. It really puts into perspective the value of my purchases, especially when they benefit only me. Certainly we budget for some fun money for each of us, but it still makes me appreciate the item (or reconsider the purchase) when I know he had to work x amount of time for me to have it.
Thank you so much for he coupon code for the elite blogging academy! I’ve been wanting to purchase it and this gave me the push to do so!
One thing that helps me with battling the “I want” mentality is to remember what I am gaining by living on less. More family time, being able to stay home with your kids, working a lower-paying job that you really love, etc., are all good trade-offs even if it means less income. There are still days I wish I had gone to law school and were making a big paycheck like I imagined when I was in college, but overall I’m glad of my choices even though it means I am living on a tight budget.
Yes! Plus, pot lucks are usually so much tastier! 🙂
Frugal friends help us quite a bit. When your circle of friends loves potluck dinners at each others’ houses, your social life becomes much less expensive.
Crystal Paine says
Yes, I SO agree with this!
Yes! Plus, pot lucks are usually so much tastier! 🙂
sometimes you can do these things and not be able to live on 1. This post was so very kindly written with a sweet intent but I often don’t take these posts that way and her well written comments are things I do by second nature. Sometimes though, hey come as starting the mommy wars again as if staying home is the only option. It is not and working parents are equally involved and loving parents. My DH has a good salary but we cant live on that to maintain both retrement savings, health care needs, therapy for a special needs child as well as a few things every now and again. Granted our nanny costs around 20 k a year but my earning outweighs that so that is a small cost.
I love this site, I utilize the tools but I think simplistic thinking like getting rid of deires is not the concern. We dont have a home phone or cable for years. We bargain shop and buy things for the kids at Consignment stores. we are debt free except for a home. We are fine as these are choices for us.
I am also a professional and quitting work wold severly limit my long term earning potential as well as our retirement savings. Plus my DH job is not secure and I carry benefits. I am blessed to work part time which has been an amazing balance and blessing to be home 2 days a week.
The purpose of my comment is simply to add that there are others that do work and think the same way but please think of these moms when talking to them or writing because often saying “i do this so I can stay home” implies moms that don’t are making the wrong choice. I do some of these things so I can continue to work part time but I also realize most of my colleagues all work full time so I have to be mindful of them as well.
Crystal Paine says
Yes, I very much agree that it’s not always possible for families to live on one income no matter how much they cut. I just wanted to share this post to encourage and inspire those who are trying to live on one income or who would really like to make living on one income a reality.
I appreciate your graciousness in bringing a different perspective!
I’m a full time working Mom. (I carry health insurance. Husband’s job is not secure, but at this time a benefit for his mental health if nothing else.) I don’t take offense to the “stay at home” thing. I use what I can from your web site. We all have to do what works for each of us in the current season of life that we happen to be in. If I can learn or be reminded of one positive thing it is worth the read to me. I very much look forward to your blog.
Crystal Paine says
Thanks so much for your kind encouragement and for being a reader here!
Jennifer, Thank you so much for your perspective. I couldn’t agree more that working moms love their kiddos as much as stay-at-home mommas do. Staying-at-home is all I have known (since my eldest was 6 months), so that is what I write about. I only have my personal experience to go off of and I would never want my post to be offensive or degrading. My hope was that you would see this post as an encouragement as that was what it was intended to be.
Thank you for this comment. I too am a working mom and I read these posts and blogs because I find the mommy struggles to be the same. I just self edit in my head and omit the things don’t apply to me and take the stuff that does and is helpful.
Great post! I love the part about eliminating desires. That’s such a simple act but I don’t think people realize the power that seeing things–on commercials and such has. I noticed a big difference in our “desires” when we got rid of cable tv and thus its barrage of commercials. We still see the occasional commercial when we watch something on Hulu Plus but its much more limited.
I would add to the list meal planning, but you probably already doing that 🙂
And resale shops are the best. Just this week I got a pair of new Calvin Klein long underwear (I’m in Maine and really need lots of long underwear) for $2 at a local thrift shop. I also found a ski jacket for $6 and a pair of velvet slacks (so nice for fall) for $5 🙂
Thank you so much for reading and sharing your encouragement. Meal planning is such a good tool, too!!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
I find that Pinterest helps me save money – if I have the urge to buy something, especially a holiday decoration for my home, I can search Pinterest for ideas to use things I already have.
That is so true!
I never worked outside our home so we did not have to transition but we did have to watch our spending on everything. Our kids are all grown now and somehow we paid for it all and are totally debt free. All five of our children have a bachelor’s degree, too! We have always done the saving pennies for a goal, even now that the kids are grown and we have room in our budget. It is fun to watch the savings grow! Last fall we got new kitchen appliances from a saved pennies account and now we are saving for a small, used motor home.
WOW! That is such a great testimony on how to make your income work for your family. I hope that we can be completely debt free one day, too!
Eat In: So many times friends want us to go out to eat with them, its a social event for kids and adults but it cost sooooo much for a full meal out. Often I will suggest just going out for dessert instead, the price is much better and we still get all the social time.
Yes! That is such a great compromise! Plus… I love dessert! 🙂
I miss eating out, but cooking up our favorite meals at home’s so much more rewarding and less expensive! Great idea to go out for dessert… I’m so cheap I make that too, haha!