I’m cheap, I admit it. Living on one income and having 4 growing children make it hard to keep the bills down. They need to eat, wear clothes, and be warm in the house. There are some things you just can’t avoid that cost money, but it’s all in how we go about meeting those needs that make it possible to still live cheaply. I’m one of those people who kind of rolled their eyes when someone said they just didn’t have enough money for the bare necessities. After all, those same people ate out more than we do (that would be 2 or 3 times a year for us and a couple times a month for them), they bought chips and pop and other treats, they had a second vehicle, a cell phone, satellite TV, paid for child care, had call display and everything else going on the phone, had new clothes more than we do (that would be a couple shirts a year for me & the kids and a couple shirts, pants, coat etc, a month for them). Oh yeah, I knew what their problem was!!!
Now all my wisdom has come back on me. We are needing to be much more careful as the kids get older and grocery bills go up, they grow out of their clothes, and need glasses replaced and stuff, and school books don’t grow on trees for the home schooled family ya know! Also the money from the government starts dropping just when the kids are up-ing their costs. I could sit around and bemoan the fact that we aren’t living high off the hog, or I could get serious about it and start doing all those things I would have loved to suggest to all those poor poor people who owned cell phones and a couple cars and new clothes……
So here is what we’ve done. Slowly we’ve been working away at cutting costs and I’m giving the list of things to you. I would LOVE to hear any suggestions of yours to add to these. If it wasn’t for doing all these things we just couldn’t afford to live as we do.
* We do not use the Visa anymore.
* Using wood for heat. It really is the cheapest. Hubby even ordered the logs (they are much cheaper than having it split for you) and cut them up and chopped them by hand to save some money.
* I cook mostly from scratch. The more processed it is, the less likely it is that I will buy it. Hubby has been known to come home with 16 litres of ice cream from time to time though. I’m serious. :) I also go over all my flyers and shop around to get things a few cents cheaper.
* Our garden has produced lots of good stuff for us that is now in our freezer and will help with the grocery bill all winter.
* We cut down our gas bill by not going out very much. This bill is still crazy high but I don’t see how we could cut it down much more.
* I cut all of our hair. My kids don’t know what it is like to go to a hair salon. That’s a lot of money saved if you can live with how you make yourself look. By me not going to my regular salon for a trim once a month I am saving $396 a year! (But there’s still a chance I might get desperate soon). :)
* We don’t eat out. We get a pizza maybe twice a year and go for Chinese food once or twice a year for a very special treat. My how the kids think it’s cool to go out like that!
* Vacations are non-existent for awhile. At least until we are in a better position financially. All of our vacation-y kind of fun will have to happen close to home and we’ll just hope people are able to come see us.
* I don’t go shopping. I don’t even bother looking at things unless they are in a grocery store or I know exactly what I am looking for elsewhere. If I go I’ll just be too tempted to bring home everything I love, and I usually love everything!
* Hubby cancelled his cell phone.
* Hubby cancelled all of our extra features on our home phone. I thought I would die without call display but I’m fine. I don’t answer the phone during school hours and let the answering machine do it’s job.
By just cancelling those last two things we are saving over $500 a year!!!!!!
* We use those energy saving light bulbs.
* We use a cash system. I have envelopes for groceries, gas, diabetic supplies etc.. and it’s easier to keep track of how much you have. You always know whether you have the money for something or not because you can see just how many 20’s are at your disposal.
* This one made me sad. I cancelled my Typepad blog and saved myself a few dollars by going with Blogger which is free.
* I love this one. We buy all the kids clothing from Frenchy’s. We really cannot afford to buy their clothes anywhere else. I can’t remember the last time I bought something brand new. (actually I did buy Katie a pair of shoes a couple months ago at Zellers, whoops!) And (gasp!) I even buy presents at Frenchy’s on occasion. I found a great Father’s Day gift for last year and both of my niece’s b-day presents. I got all three of them for less than $5!!
Well, that’s all I can think of for now. Now it’s your turn to roll your eyes at me because you know exactly what my problem is, and give me your ideas, I will be very grateful!