Thursday, April 10, 2008

Saving Money & Cutting Costs

Yesterday’s post seemed to resonate with many people so I thought I would continue with the theme. I loved that people started providing ideas for saving money and cutting costs, maybe others can provide their suggestions.  I’m all about saving a dollar and getting the best for less, so spill it! Tell us all your tricks! Tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine. Once I get everyone’s then I will keep an updated list on the right in my favorite posts. Okay here some of the things I do:

  • Shop off-season – buy summer stuff in winter, etc.
  • Make nice with salespeople – they will call you with big sales and give you extra discounts.
  • Consignment Stores – there are high-end consignment stores that sell only designer merchandise for a fraction of the cost. I find them in every city I visit. I have even gotten Gucci sandals for $30. There are even kid’s consignment stores. 
  • Vintage Stores – everything old is new again. Where do you think the designers get their ideas? Again, I visit in every city. I have one of a kind clothing and always get compliments. Try dresses from Lily Pullitzer, Pucci or vintage Neiman Marcus $30.
  • E-bay or Craiglist – you can buy everything on eBay or Craigslist! Clothing, kids stuff, expensive strollers, everything!
  • Estate Sales – Furniture
  • Auction Houses– clothing, furniture. I used to do this weekly and became addicted to it so I had to stop cold turkey so I haven’t been in over a year. I may start up again when I redo my house…but it is worth it.
  • Thrift stores – Furniture if you are in to redoing furniture or love the thrill of the find. 
  • Outlets
  • Shop sale racks only! 
  • Freecylce – people give away lots of things
  • Single Mothers by Choice – we share items and tips.
  • Trash or Treasure parties with friends – we all bring our stuff we don’t want and swap. We end up with stuff we want and get to socialize. 
What was said yesterday in the comments section:
  • Planned ALL meals 
  • Stopped buying ANY pre packaged food (this basically cut my grocery bill by 30% at least) 
  • Used cloth diapers (a saving of about $1500 per child) 
  • Used baby face cloths instead of baby wipes (a saving of about $200 per child over 2 years) 
  • Made all my own baby food and snacks
  • Remembered that our parents raised children without every gadget known to man, and apart from a safe crib, car seat, highchair and stroller (and maybe sling if you are adopting a baby) how many other things do you need? 
  • Started growing some of our own veggies 
  • Stopped buying gifts for people, instead made gifts or bulk purchased small unique items 
  • Asked friends and family to buy activity passes (zoo pass, swim lessons) instead of toys or clothes that aren't needed
  • Joined a toy library and public library to borrow toys and books each week 
  • Stopped eating out and getting coffee's out - even $25 a week works out to $1200 a year, after tax that's probably 10 weeks of only working 4 days a week right there! 
  • Joined a house swap vacation program, so we can do a yearly vacation by swapping houses with another family instead of having to pay for hotels etc.
  • I swapped to a very small, but safe car, the saving on gas and insurance alone made me see a difference instantly. 
  • Also pre fostering and adoption I rented out a room in my apartment, putting all the money in my adoption account,
  • I did yard sales, 
  • I got an extra job tutoring 2 nights a week. 
  • You could also look for other mom's in your area who'd switch 1 day free daycare with you, so let's say you are home Fridays, you take care of her child Friday and she takes care of yours another day, meaning you only have to pay for 3 days a week childcare, again this makes it much easier. My cousin does this with 2 ladies and basically her daughter has the consistency of 2 other playmates 2 days a week and then goes to daycare 2 days a week. 
  • I'm now looking at housing options, seeing if it would be possible to sell and purchase into a duplex with other single mom's by choice. 


Anonymous said...

lol that was funny to read my comment in your post! It looked good up there!
I had lunch (we each brought a dish) with 2 friends today. I mentioned my commenting on this topic last night and one, who was unexpectedly left to care for her 2nephews a few year ago told us how she was bringing home $3200 a month at the time (after tax) she said that she pretty much spend $3000 a month and saved about $200 pre kids. When she took custody of her two nephews, she basically had to find $700 a month in her budget for daycare and about $200 a month for the extra costs involved - one needed speech therapy, they had swimming lessons etc. She said she basically would cry at night thinking it wasn't possible and then she did the "magical thing", she stopped buying.

She basically told us that if you think about it, you don't really "need" new clothes or purses or jewlery or shoes. She said she stopped eating out, she started budgeting about $200 a month for food, she started getting all her magazines at the library instead of buying them, she sold things she didn't need going from 3 TV's to 1, she stopped using the car at the weekend and they spend weekends walking to parks, exploring their community etc. She said not only was she able to pay for childcare, but she was able to continue to save $200 a month and actually save another $50 a month in each of the boys accounts.

She then went on to explain that once they were in school and her daycare bill was more than halved (only having to pay for before school care) she cut her hours to 8am to 2:30pm 5 days a week bringing her income down by about $300 a month.
Today the boys are 9 and 14, she continues to work shorter hours so that she is with them every day after school to supervise homework, cheer on games etc.She told us until her eldest went to highschool she saw the teacher every single day as she picked up the boys to hear how their day was. She told us, she now brings home $3000 a month ($200 less than she did 6 years ago as a single woman) saves a total of $400 a month, which is double what she did as a single and continues to put $50 a month in each of the boys accounts, meaning she is actually saving $500a month. She said they eat well, have a yearly trip every May for a week visiting different cities and/or rent a cottage for a week and they spend the last week of the summer holidays camping by the ocean. They are each allowed to do 1 hobby at a time plus scouts. One does soccer the other basketball. She is there for every game. She said over the years she has seen a many friends with 1 income much higher than hers spend on so many things their kids haven't needed and run big lifestyles like big SUV's and vans, buying furniture and new TV's and computers on credit and yet she has never regretted her time with her nephews (who are really like her son's although her brother hasn't allowed her to legally adopt them) and today they are top of their class, respectful, polite boys, with boundaries, who enjoy nothing more than playing board games with her, actually look grown ups in the eye and can carry on a conversation with them. The oldest has a part time job on Saturdays and she said the boss has said he is unlike other teenagers who basically after school spend hours infront of video games and don't know how to actually carry out a proper conversation.
It was amazing what I found out about this co-worker just by talking about how to make finances work as a single parent. She really recommended the envelope system, with your weekly budget in an envelope and once it is spent, it is gone.
I think how I see it is that while I work and of course us singles have to, I doubt most of us have to work full time (especially married couples). Some do, due to lack of insurance or children's dissabilities etc, but if you can get rid of debt and limit your outgoings I think most could do with less income.
My old neighbours both work full time as teachers and have 3 kids. They spend thousands on Christmas and Birthdays, the kids in the summer break go to every amusement park, ball game, archade are in about 5 activities each. They have every video game under the sun! All I see is tired, grumpy, ill behaved kids who never really spend quality time with their parents and are bought things they don't appreciate. One day they took them to an amusement park in the morning, to a movie in the afternoon and swimming in the evening and when they got home the kids were complaining that tomorrow they were only going ice skating,my old neighbour looked at me and said "I just spend $350 on them today and they're complaining" and then rolled her eyes. My old neighbours often say how much they wish they could afford for the wife to stay home and yet in the same breath admit they spend her whole income on their SUV and "stuff".
I always think of that silly saying on you're death bed you'll never regret how much time you spent with your loved ones, but you may regret how much time you didn't.
Where there's a will there's a way, right?

Tracey said...

I work part-time (4 days a week). Believe me, it is hard to take a 20% paycut at the same time that my costs increased because of paying for daycare. But, I intend to work part-time as long as my boss allows it. She worked part-time until teh third of her three kids was in high school so I am hoping to keep this schedule for years to come. I found it all but impossible to find a daycare with a 4 day a week option. To reduce daycare costs, I would have to either work only 3 days a week or only half days. so, working 4 days a week requires paying for full-time daycare. I use the Fridays to do my life stuff - doctor's appointments, hair appts, grocery shopping, home repairs, etc. So my weekends are all about Amara. And I have her home with me at least one Friday a month.
Here is a lsit of thigns I wish I had saved money on before adopting. I hate thinking of what I could be using that money for now: 1. Lots of cute clothes that I will not be wearing for several years. As a single mom with a baby/toddler, I just don't go out enough to need all those outfits, even if they were on sale. 2. $12 martinis - that is an hour of babysitting 3. I used to spend $60 twice a week on a pesonal trainer - for two years. I have never been able to let myself do the math of how much I spent, especially since I am now chubby again anyway.

On the other hand, I never regret any money I spent on travel or charitable donations. Those things are part of who I am and how I want to live my life,even with a child.
One thing I would recommend is that you open an account for all the things you do to save money. it is all tod easy to cut back on spending on one thing, but just use the money for something else now, rathe than save it for a longer maternity leave.

haze said...

There were some really good comments yesterday. Thanks to Anonymous for her list!

For baby/kid's gear, my suggestion is to keep an eye out for 'Twins & Triplets' sales and the like. I am going to a Used Toy & Clothing Sale on Saturday. I went to one last year and you get great deals. My friend got a great stroller for $30 - regular a few hundred!

The stuff is gently used, and in many cases you can't really tell it's second hand. You can get great deals on books too.

Jocelyn said...

Great list!! Kerri and I are going to start planning meals together a few nights a week to save money!! That is an idea too!!

Tracey said...

Another thing I do to save money - I never buy amara's clothes anywhere other than Target or consignment sales. She outgrows them too quickly to make it worth spending a lot of money. I went to a kids/babies consignment shop today. I got 2 pairs of shoes (one stride rite!), three pairs of pants and 2 tops for Amara, all for $40. One thing I never actually did, but I did consider it, is to sell at consignment some of the fancy, expensive clothes you will get as gifts. If you find yourself strapped for cash, it is an option, even if it seems rude or ungrateful.

Tasha said...

I'm trying to go without Starbucks. I'm already a month out!! woohoo. I figured that I was spending $4/day. So times 30 days, that's $120 saved already.

Here's my challenge to Miss Tami. I know you are a stylish gal... but I challenge you to go one month without purchasing any clothing or accessories for yourself.


Tami said...

Tracey- I buy myself stuff at consignment stores all the time so why wouldn't I buy Baby I stuff there? Of course I will. I just believe in quality regardless if it is consignment or not, but I don't believe in paying full price for anything and try to get it as inexpensive as I can. I love Target also. I do TJMaxx and the other stores. She will be a vintage baby too! LOL Like Mommy like Baby I! LOL I'll have to get the consignment stores from you later.

Tami said...

Tasha- That's funny. Yes, I'm stylish and like but, I don't shop that often so your challenge is really no challenge at all.

Anne said...


It was so great to meet in person last night. I am really glad that you came. I hope that you are able to figure out daycare arrangements soon; keep me updated. I hope that you are feeling encouraged (and not bummed anymore) about your progress. It's all great and all in perfect timing, even if it feels frustrating at times or slow. Remember, this is a huge thing and you are so brave to do it all on your own. I really respect your decision. I am sure that it is taking longer than you hoped originallt it is just because YOUR baby wasn't ready yet and everything will feel so right once you have her. I really cannot wait to meet her. :)
Hopefully we can meet again soon. That place was GREAT food and I had such a nice time with all the other Gladney fams. SO happy that there are more in this area now!!

Oh, and, I know about the stress of job schedule, etc... with kids. Even though I am not a single mom; I have worked crazy schedules for the past 4 years since we started a fam: part time, and now full time again with some time at home. Because I refuse to work a job that won't let me work from home some days, I am constantly battling thoughts like the knowledge that I could be more advanced in my career, bringing home a lot more money, etc.... but like Tracey said I DO NOT regret it, those little kiddos are MORE than worth whatever sacrifices you make. :)
Take Care & We'll Talk Soon -
(PS- keep shaming me into more blog posts when you don't see one from me for a while, kay?)

Anna said...

Here's another situation to consider....
When I had my daughter I quit my full time job and started working (single mommy) as a private nanny. This way I had my daughter with me all the time, but was also able to make money. Since Im not all that fond of my job now, I am considering doing this again when my son comes home. Why not consider a stay at home mom with similar values?

Also, I am a huge fan of craigslist. I bought a really beautiful, all wood, used crib on there for $100. I actually don't really understand why everybody buys so much new stuff. If your trying to save money for the adoption, stop buying stuff the kids probably wont care about anyway!