1. Babies are expensive. When Margs was first born and we were living in the apartment I bought everything new. I was a first time mom to a rainbow baby (baby born after pregnancy loss) so I had this intense need to get her the “best” of everything. Soon enough, I realized that baby items – clothes and toys especially are an enormous waste of money. This idea that I needed to get her the “best” of everything was my own issue and not at all related to my parenting (Intense mommy guilt with a whole lot of post partum depression and anxiety mixed in). As soon as I accepted that it was okay to buy used I started working with a local consignment shop and boom everything sort of fell into place. Now, I buy anything and everything I can used assuming that the items are in good condition and safe for Margs and we are all okay about it – happier even.
I started off by dropping off a few items that we no longer used. Namely, a breast pump, floor play mat and a high chair. Soon enough I had enough store credit that I could replenish her wardrobe and toy needs without spending any money at all. Now, I drop off bags of Margs clothing and toys when she outgrows them and continue to build my store credit. When Margs needs something whether it be clothing, toys or other accessories I pass by the shop and have a good look around. Often, I can find exactly what I’m looking for – if I really can’t find it there I will buy at other stores but more often than not the consignment store satisfies our needs.
Margs’ new shoes. Picked up yesterday along with a bunch of new outfits pictured above using my store credit.
2. Selling our clothing and things we don’t wear online. Mer works in an office setting so he needs a pretty substantial wardrobe so that he can look presentable on a day to day basis. I tend to wear the same things day in and day out (stay at home mom life anyone?) but do like to replace certain items from time to time. We used to hoard our clothes assuming (hoping?) that at some point we’d start wearing certain items again. When it came time to pack we realized just how much clothing we actually had but more importantly how much of that clothing we never wore. We brought it all with us and slowly I’m sorting and selling it online. It helps earn us a couple of extra bucks every week that I use towards grocery or stocking up on essentials. I would have started a consignment system with our stuff if there was a local one that dealt with adult clothing – but, no such luck.
Doing this does take a little effort since you’ve got to photograph everything. I’ve joined some local online garage sale sites via facebook where I post lots of our clothing for sale on a weekly basis. Some weeks we sell more other weeks less but every little bit helps.
Here’s a recent lot I posted for 20$.
3. Stockpiling essentials.
This might sound counter intuitive because you’re essentially spending money to save money but we’ve discovered that it really does save us a ton of money in the long run. We’re pretty picky about our laundry detergent but hate paying full price for it. When it goes on sale we stock up. Usually, this involves visiting multiple locations of the same store to stock pile the sale since in this area most stores put a limit on how many items you can buy. Those Tide detergents for example were 50% off costing us 4.99 per box/jug instead of 9.99$ last week.
Other essentials that we keep an eye on regularly are : toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex, fabric softner and dish soap
4. Saving /clipping coupons.
I went through a phase when we first moved where I was obsessed with coupons. I’d literally scour the internet looking for coupons which not only drove me crazy but made the whole experience really really stressful. Half the online links don’t work and a good portion of coupons are not available to us Canadians. So, I stopped couponing that way and just stick to manufacturer coupons that come with products we buy or coupons that come by mail with our weekly bundle of store flyers. I know I can do more but honestly couponing isn’t easy. It requires an enormous investment of your time and often it’s for products we don’t even use. My system is pretty simple. I’ve got a zip lock on top of our microwave where I put my clipped coupons. Most are for baby hygiene items like diapers and wipes but from time to time some coupons for other household essentials make their way in.
5. Growing our own produce.
This is a really big one for us. We’re very fortunate to have a substantial piece of land where we can grow our own vegetables in the summer. We share the work with Mer’s parents and ultimately stock up our freezers with a ton of fresh produce that sustains us pretty much through the winter. I’m not sure if the situation is similar elsewhere but since moving further outside the city the cost of fresh vegetables and fruit has really gone up. We were shocked to find out that apples can cost anywhere from 2$ to 4$ per pound only 20 minutes further from the area we used to live. We clearly have to fill in the gaps because you can’t preserve things like lettuce or fresh fruit but we do a pretty good job of sustaining ourselves with tomatoes, squash, beans, peas, corn, spinach, peppers and broccoli which is a huge help to our grocery budget every week.
Our freezer is currently overflowing with frozen veggies. On our current wish list is a chest freezer. We’ve got a little cash stashed away to buy one but we’re waiting until a second hand one in decent condition pops up for sale locally.
So these are a few of the things we’re doing to help us save a little extra cash every month. They may not be suitable options for everyone but it works out quite well for us.
What things do you do to save some cash? I love reading about how other people work their budgets.