My mom and I were having a conversation the other day about children. I have heard some people say that they don’t want more children because they cost too much. I, personally, think that is a poor reason to not have any more kids. However, each person has to make his or her own decisions on matters such as how many kids to have, and I would never presume to tell someone else how many kids they should or shouldn’t have. I know first hand how hurtful such conversations can be. I would like to disprove this whole “kids are too expensive to have” theory though by sharing how we save money and have our “big” family. Since Elijah and Joshua have joined the family, and are now both eating table food, our budget has not changed, we have just found ways to cut back on things and save money. Here are some tips on how we do it.
1. Buy meat on clearance. I never buy meat full price. At most grocery stores if you go early in the morning on certain days they mark down the meat and you can get some significant discounts on meat. You can ask the butcher at your store what days to come on.
2. Eat more chicken, with bones. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are great, but expensive and not necessary. You can feed a family much cheaper if you buy whole chickens. Especially if you can buy them on sale. I never pay more than .79 per pound for whole chickens. When they are on sale, I stock up.
3. Buy a chest freezer. I love my chest freezer! When chicken is on sale, I stock up and freeze them. Saves me a lot of money because I always have meat on hand and never have to pay full price for it.
4. Plan ahead. This is the mantra for any larger family. I plan meals for the week so that I don’t run into that “I am tired and don’t want to think about cooking, so we will just go out” situation. I always have one quick meal on hand to make on days like that. Something like frozen pizza or hot dogs. Eating out is the antithesis to saving money. Just say no to eating out! We eat out once a month at the most.
5. Cloth diapers. Did she just say cloth diapers? Yes, I did. Do I really use them? EWW! Yes, I do. Is it because I love the environment and want to save the planet? Nope. It’s because it’s cheaper. Some would argue this point with me, but I have to say it really is cheaper to use cloth, despite the fact that you have to do more laundry, than it is to buy even Walmart brand disposables. I don’t use cloth all the time. I use disposables for going out places and at night, but other than that I use cloth. It really isn’t that gross, I promise.
6. Hand me downs and Goodwill. Buy it used, if possible. I love Goodwill and stores like it. You can save a lot of money shopping there, especially for kids clothes. And having four boys we do hand me downs a lot! And really, kids do not need as many clothes as you might think. For example, my kids have one pair of Sunday dress pants and three shirts each. Really, you don’t need more than that. You will not be making any fashion statements, but with four kids to get dressed each Sunday, I am not worried about fashion. (That will most likely change when we add a girl to the mix, I will be eating my words, I know)
7. Make it homemade. Whatever you can make homemade will usually be cheaper and better for you than processed stuff in packages. I make homemade granola bars, cookies, cakes and other goodies. It saves money and it’s good!
8. Homemade laundry detergent. I use 1 cup grated Ivory bar soap, 1/2 cup Borax and 1/2 cup Washing Soda all mixed together. You only need 3 tablespoons per load. It saves a lot of money because laundry detergent is expensive.
9. Make a casserole and use 1/2 the meat. You don’t need as much meat as most casseroles call for. You can cut it in half and save the rest for another meal. Most Americans eat way to much meat, much more than any other country in the world. Just don’t tell my husband that.
10. Avoid excessive stuff. Your kids don’t need all the stuff they want. We really try to limit how much “stuff” comes into our house. It just causes discontentment because they get this latest new thing and then they want something else. If they do get stuff at our house, they must do chores to earn it.
11. Can you say antenna? We don’t have cable TV. What?! No, we don’t live in the stone age. We have an antenna to get the major networks and we do have a Wii on which we have Netflix. But really, I don’t miss all the stuff on cable. You get used to it and you save a lot!
12. I have a prepaid cell phone that I only use for emergencies. I know, you all think I am crazy because I don’t have a cell phone, but really you don’t need it. I pay $10.00 every three months for my cell phone. If I had a basic cell phone service for $40.00 per month, I would be saving $110.00 by switching to my plan. That’s a lot of money!
13. Drive less. Can you consolidate your errands? Do you really need to go to X place? Think about how much you drive and try to stay home more to save money on gas. The little things can add up.
14. Pay off debt!!! The more you have in debt the more interest you are paying on that debt. That is free money, if you pay off that debt. Until recently we were paying $600 per month in debt. We have now worked really hard to pay that all off and we have $600 more per month to spend on whatever we want, I mean save. 🙂
15. Tithe. What, pay God money that you could use on something important like rent? Yes, that is what I said. We tithe faithfully and we have never had money issues that weren’t of our own making. I think of tithing as my insurance policy. God says clearly in the Bible that He blesses those who tithe faithfully. Don’t I want God’s blessings? Um, yeah! So, I am obedient. I think it’s risky to not tithe. It is the only place in the Bible that God says to test Him in this. I take that seriously. I am faithful to tithing and I know God is going to take care of my needs. I didn’t say I would have everything I want, but we have never gone hungry. I go to the bank on that.
Those are a few of the things we do to save money. Do you have stuff you do to save money? Leave a comment and tell us about it.
Okay-I’m digging the home-made granola bars (need the recipe) and the laundry detergent (do you hand grate it!?).
Not buying the bone-in, skin-on chicken. Just can’t do it!
But I can do and do do (no pun intended) the cloth diapers and wipes. Yeah-HUGE savings. Paid for it by working at the florist for Valentines. Now I only buy disposables for the same times Ruth does.
Lots of other GREAT ideas here that we also use.
Really good blog!
I get Glenn to grate the soap, but you could use a food processor grater if you have one. The granola bars:
1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup corn syrup, 1 egg, 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 cup chocolate chips (optional), 1/2 cup peanut butter (optional), 3 1/2 cups quick oatmeal. Beat butter, sugar and syrup. Add egg and vanilla. Add everything else. Put into 9×13 pan and pat down. Bake 350 for 20-23 min. Cut into bars.
Sometimes people say whatever they think is the easiest explanation for out loud conversations (as opposed to the ones inside your head or in your house).
Good savings ideas!
I totally agree
Awesome tips, Ruth! I try to never buy meat full price either and I have a chest freezer as well…so that helps a lot! I do seem to run out of ground beef before it goes on a really good sale again. I honestly haven’t thought of cutting the meat I use in a casserole in half. I will definitely try that one. I have found a place where you can buy meat and chicken in bulk and I’ve been considering doing this with my sisters-in-law and my mom. It’s called Zaycon foods..add a dot com and that’s there website. They basically sell chicken, beef, some pork and in certain areas fish or fruits in bulk straight from the farm or the processing plant. They schedule events in cities and states and you order online and on the scheduled pick up day you pick it up. It is cheapier than any grocery store price I have ever found and sounds like high quality.
For a long time I was so good at planning my meals in advance and then I got lazy and stopped doing except sporadically. And I have also heard that making things homemade is cheaper and healthier since you can control what is going into it. One of the big things I want to do is to start cooking common things we purchase, like beans for instance, and freezing them to be used in a recipe or as a side at a later date. Thank goodness for that chest freezer! 🙂
I really need to try Goodwill out. I bought my boys some new jeans in the fall of last year from Children’s Place…they were on clearance at least. 🙂 Several pairs of them are already wearing out in the knees and behind…and David has already grown too tall for his!! Is there a good day to go to Goodwill, Ruth? And how do you shop for that stuff with kids…I think of Goodwill like a scavenger hunt and it could take hours to find just one thing that will work!! lol!
Thanks so much for all these tips, but you forgot a very important one!!! Coupons!! 🙂
yes Leisa I could do a whole post on just coupons! lol As for shopping at Goodwill, it’s hit or miss. I don’t think there is a particularly good day. I do know that right after christmas is a good time because people are cleaning out their stuff to make room for the new stuff they got for Christmas. Goodwill does take some time to shop in, but not really any more than shopping at any other store. Everything is grouped by type of items and then you just go through the rack and you can tell in general by looking at something quickly if it will maybe fit your kids or not and then you can check the size and whether or not it’s in good shape or not and try it on. It’s really not that bad. I know it seems overwhelming, but just try it, and you will be surprised at how easy it is and cheap too! I buy 90% of my clothes there. I got myself a pair of $100 designer jeans with tags still on for $3.95! Totally worth a small amount of shuffling through other stuff to find, I would say.
I will check out the website you mentioned. I am always looking for cheaper ways to buy meat since I live with a bunch of males who think meat is a necessity!
Thanks Ruth! I will just have dig in and try it out! 🙂
Leisa, I went in Goodwill with both kids and found 8 pairs of jeans for Caleb, tried them all on him and left all inside 30 mins. $20 total and he has ralph lauren, old navy, and some store brands for playing in (if brands matter). It isn’t hard. I’ve heard someone ask the store if they have a big output day, but they said they are just putting stuff out all the time.
Thanks Amy! I don’t care that much about brand…except where quality is concerned. I want jeans that are going to last until they are outgrown…not wear out with holes before they are even 6 months old! I’ll just have to scope it out and try it! 🙂
I’m with Leisa. I don’t usually do good at Goodwill but maybe I’ll try again. Too bad I don’t live close to one. I’d have to make a special trip…to risk not getting what I need.
Good luck and happy shopping!