If you’ve read my post here on how to save money… well, you probably know I’ve got more than few tricks up my sleeve when it comes to saving money.
One of the best ways to save money is to stop spending it.
Ok, I know it seems like a no-brainer.
But, once I really seriously decided that I was NOT going to go back to work after maternity leave, I needed to do two things:
- Cut our expenses to the bone.
- Find a way to earn at least a little bit of extra income each month before our savings ran out.
The first step I took was examining my expenses.
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What I learned examining my expenses
For about a month I tracked every purchase that was going out of our accounts.
What I learned was this: after essential bills that we couldn’t really change, the bulk of our money was going on food. Ugh.
So here’s what I did about it:
1. We Stopped Eating Out (As Much)
I’ll admit it. I like eating out. I like not having to cook. I like not having to clean up the mess. I like having tasty food delivered right to my table without my knowing exactly what’s in it and just how much sugar/fat/carbs/whatever-food-substance-is-the-new-evil is in it.
2. I stopped buying almond milk for my smoothies
I love a breakfast smoothie in the morning. And I use almond milk because I’m not supposed to eat dairy (it does funky things to my hormones and makes me break out, among other things).
I have a high powered blender like this one… one day I forgot to buy almond milk and I just threw in a handful of almonds. Couldn’t tell the difference! It worked perfectly.
Then I realised that I could make almond milk in my blender! Gamechanger! Especially for cups of tea…
3. I Stopped Buying Expensive Tea Bags
I have a tea habit. I’ve tried to break it, but sometimes I just need a cup of tea.
I used to always buy the relatively expensive kind – Twinings, English Breakfast (I know, it’s not that expensive really.) But, the thing is, I basically dip my tea bag in for about 30 seconds… so I should probably be using them twice. *shrugs*
Instead, I stopped buying the $11 box of tea bags and started buying the $3 box instead. #Savings!
4. I Stopped Buying Free Range Eggs (for a little while)
While I was really putting the pinch on our grocery budget I stopped buying free range eggs. I know. I hate caged eggs and the cruelty to chickens. But the savings were pretty big, about $4 a box difference between free range and non-free range.
Now that the pressures off a little, I buy the free range eggs again.
5. I Stopped Buying Floor Cleaner
Ok, I know that makes me sound gross… but it’s not that bad, honest!
I’ve only occasionally used a commercial floor cleaner. Most of our married life, my husband and I have used a few drops of eucalyptus oil in our mop bucket of boiling water and it does the trick.
These days, we’ve given up even using the eucalyptus oil – now we just use white vinegar. It’s just as good, it’s easy, it’s super cheap and we’ve always got it around.
6. I Stopped Buying Soda
I used to have the biggest Coke Zero habit. My husband and I would buy bottles and bottles of it every week. We were easily spending $10-20 a week on flavored (fake) sugar water. That’s not good for the wallet OR health.
So, we decided to quit. It was tough to break the habit. What we did instead was have soda water, it was way cheaper and better for our health.
7. I Stopped Buying Water/Soda on the Go
I didn’t realise just how expensive it is to buy drinks when out and about, or at a restaurant… but once I crunched the numbers it was plain to see. I could buy a 2L bottle of soda for a couple of dollars… or I could buy a can or a glass out for the same price. Crazy markup batman!
So, I stopped buying packaged drinks on the go and started bringing my own water bottle with me. My main water bottle at home is huge though and it’s really heavy to lug about (plus, let’s face it… we’re already carrying enough stuff for the little ones) soooo I bought myself a super cute mini-water bottle like this one. It fits into my bag nicely, doesn’t take up too much space and doesn’t weigh me down too much.
8. I Stopped Buying Baby Wipes
You know, baby wipes can be a bit harsh on a newborn’s skin. What’s the alternative? Well, I simply bought a whole bunch of these soft face cloths to use. Dampen with warm water before use and they work just as well as wipes.
(Pro Tip: you’ll need to buy a few – think 2 or 3 sets of 10 packs so you don’t have to wash every 5 minutes.)
9. I Stopped Buying Liquid Stock/Broth
I can’t believe the amount of money I used to spend on liquid stock… and how annoying it was if I ran out of it unexpectedly.
Here’s what I do instead:
- I make my own vegetable stock paste in my Thermomix.
- And, I keep a stock of bouillon powder as a back up.
10. I Stopped Buying Books
I’m terrible when it comes to books I want to read. I just go buy them from Amazon. Or, I did.
These days, I see if I can get the book from my local library instead.
I’m also seriously considering getting a Kindle Unlimited membership… at least a free trial to test it out. But, then I might not be saving money any more…