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Monday, September 19, 2011

Making Every Penny Count!

For years now our church leaders have been heeding us to stay out of debt. As our nation’s economy continues to worsen, it becomes even more apparent that we need to maintain a healthy financial status. Certain costs of living are unavoidable; therefore we need to make cuts where we can. I’ve brain stormed some ideas, many of which I have already been doing, some I have recently begun and others which are on my ‘to do’ list.  It’s up to you to decide what can work for you. 
A penny saved is a penny earned, every cut you make is more money used towards eliminating debt, building up food storage or putting aside for a ‘rainy day’.

Pay tithing - when we put the Lord first he overwhelming blesses us.  Read  Tithing:  A Test of Faith with Eternal Blessings from October 2002 Conference.  I have a great testimony of tithing, if you don’t have one, you can…but you have to pay tithing first.
Cancel your cable (or cut back on the cost of your cable package) – There are many other cheaper alternatives these days such as Hulu, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Redbox and Blockbuster Express
*Beware of bundle deals and limited time offers! It’s not saving money if you are paying more for something you don’t need or can get cheaper elsewhere!
Get a prepaid cell phone – we were paying $80 a month for cell phones (nothing fancy, this was pre smart phones), and had more roll over minutes than we could use. We switched to prepaid cell phones; there are several companies to choose from. The initial cost for 2 phones and 1,000 minutes each was $260. This saved us $700+ a year. I’ll admit I sometimes have smart phone envy, but I know I don’t NEED it.
Ditch the landline – If you have a cell phone, you might not have a land line anyway, but if you switch to a prepaid cell phone, you may want to get an inexpensive house phone. The cheapest switch being Magic Jack, the first year it costs $50 and $20 each additional year, saving you over $200/yr. Other alternatives are Skype and Vonage. (Notice with the prepaid cell phone and magic jack combo you are still saving largely above an ordinary cell phone bill).  Keep in mind these alternative phones will not work if there is no electricity or internet, if you feel the need to keep the landline strip it down to the most basic package. 
Meal plan – Plan your menu, make a grocery list and stick to it! Get even more savings by planning based on sales ads and using coupons. Buy in bulk and freeze when prices are good!

Transport your own trash – Where we live now we are lucky to have trash and recycle pick up for free (well it’s in the city taxes, which our landlord pays). But, at our previous home we had to pay for trash pick up. It was ~$26/month. For ~$120/yr we were able to buy a dump pass and take our own trash, which saved us ~$192/yr.

Go Green!

Make your own cleaners/detergents – what you spend on cleaners may not seem like much, but it adds up over time. By making your own laundry detergent you can save ~$65/yr, and ~$40/yr by making other household cleaners. Here are a few sites that are helpful (there are many out there):Nontoxic Cleaning Solutions, Fabric Softener Sheets, Homemade Oxyclean, Homemade Laundry Soap Powder or Liquid, Homemade Dishwasher Soap
Go Solar – Many solar companies are now offering solar panels on lease, you only pay for the power you use, as opposed to financing the solar panels yourself. If you are a home owner, this is definitely something to look into. If we owned our home, we would definitely do it! Here is an article on solar panel leasing
Recycle – This goes along with the trash savings mentioned earlier, by recycling (which at the time we had to take our own recyclables), and cloth diapering we cut back our trash output so much! This is enabled us to only take trash to the dump about once a month. In some areas you can even receive money for recycling!
Grow your own garden (or shop local) – If you can’t have a garden of your own, check out local Crop Shares and/or farmer’s markets, if you cut out the middle man, you save money! It’s also typically a better product and healthier! I recently found a little roadside stand by a local farm here in Hawaii, it saves me a lot on produce, and things are NOT cheap here.
Make your own baby food – I’ll admit I had friends that made their own baby food when my oldest was just a baby, and I thought they were crazy…what a pain! But with my second I had given into the cloth diapering, and figured I’d give the baby food a try too. It’s really so simple and you can save on average ~$0.25 an ounce. Remember every penny counts, it adds up over time. Here is a great site for making baby food.
Cloth diaper – For about $300-$500 you can buy all the diapers you need for one child, which will still last you for a 2nd and a 3rd and even a 4th child. It is estimated that you could save $2000+ a year, and more with each subsequent child by using cloth diapers.
Go reusable – There are many reusable products on the market that can save you tons!
  • Use cloth instead of paper towels(I bought the industrial pack of white washcloths at Costco)
  • Feminine hygiene products like Luna Pads or The Diva Cup can save you ~$150-200/yr
  • Water Bottles instead of bottled water
  • Reusable shopping bags instead of plastic or paper (not always a money saver, but some grocery stores will credit a small amount to your bill for each reusable bag you use)
  • We already mentioned diapers, but you can also use cloth wipes!
Organize/attend tot or clothing swaps- My ward does clothing and keiki (tot) swaps, it’s a great way to get rid of old (but still good) things you no longer need and get new things for you or your kids without spending a penny!
Some additional reading:  Living Happily Within Our Means from the January 2008 Ensign.

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1 comment:

  1. Wow! Love, love, love these practical ideas and your heart for living within your means and being a good steward.
    Thanks for sharing!
    ~Kara @ The Chuppies/NOBH


Thank you for leaving a comment, I love to hear from my readers!


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