Saturday, July 23, 2011

Counting Pennies

Living on a fairly limited income as we are at the moment, I'm always trying to think of ways to save money. My efforts tend to fall into these categories: deals, reducing, making things myself & reusing.

I'm always on the lookout for deals on things we need. I've signed up for tons of deal websites that sell things at deep discounts, like Baby Half Off, Baby Steals, Stitch Steals, etc. I've also joined a couple of group buying voucher sites: Groupon & Social Shopper. We also make good use of the Green Zebra coupon book--it's got tons of great coupons for grocery stores around here, children's stores & there's also the $50 usage credit for Modo. When I do buy clothes for Sprout, I try to buy used at stores like Wee Ones Reruns, which is conveniently located around the corner from our house.

Sometimes it's not a sale that makes something cheap, but an 'off-label' use, like the wood stove pellets we use for kitty litter. $6 for a 40-pound bag! Made from sawdust that would be a waste product in mills, they're flushable too.

Reducing is all about trying to ask myself, "Do we really need this right now?" before I buy anything. Avoiding unnecessary purchases & putting things off until later is a way to save money sometimes. I also try to get things that will have multiple uses. For example, rather than buying a change table for Sprout, we just bought a low, wide dresser that we could put a change pad on top of. When Sprout's out of diapers, we won't have a useless piece of furniture to get rid of. Cutting out unnecessary purchases like shampoo, conditioner & cleaning products, replacing them with cheap (& green!) alternatives like baking soda or vinegar. We try to walk, bike or use transit (I've got a U-Pass, so it's already paid for) as much as possible, rather than Modo vehicles.

Reusing has many facets for me. A lot of Sprout's clothes, particularly his sleepers, are hand-me-downs from his cousins. Using cloth diapers is reusing & will save us money in the long run. My latest repurposing project is a lingerie laundry bag now used for storing & drying bath toys. (see photo) The suction hooks to hang the toys are also something I had lying around. When I sew, I try to use fabric or clothing that I already have.

I've always loved to make things from the time I could hold a crayon. Sewing, besides being a hobby that I love, is a way to save money too. I made my own ring sling & baby wrap carrier, quite a few clothes for Sprout, sheets & blankets, wipes, bibs, curtains for our bedroom, clothes for myself & many birthday gifts. Recently we made a 'guillotine' style baby gate (at the suggestion of Kirsten) to keep Sprout out of the cat litter. Materials consisted of some cove molding & plywood, plus a length of webbing for a handle, all of which we had on hand.

How do you save money? Do you have any interesting tactics to share?

1 comment:

  1. We buy very little in terms of prepared food. It's almost all 'ingredients'. And I have sworn off my some groceries like whole foods and spud. I loved spud for so long, but they mark up so many of our staples (brown rice pasta) that it destroys my budget for food. Same with whole foods. They carry my yogurt for cheaper than anyone, but who leaves whole foods with only yogurt! And I don't buy my produce at the cheapest place I used to because I found it rotted too fast. So I have a great place where it is reasonable priced (even for organics) but in good condition so it will last up to a week.

    Other than that we live in a way that would make Gail Vaz Oxlade proud. Everything is budgeted.


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