Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How Do You Save Money?

Okay, so we have been told that we Americans have pulled out of a recession, but yet the jobless rate is still high and architectural billings are still low. Frankly, my husband and I are just thankful to have a job these days. Many people have lost a job and have had to be creative with bringing in a family income.
As you work with less income or only have one family member bring in the dough, what sacrifices have you had to make? How do you save money? How do you make ends meet? Have you had to change your spending habits? Do you shop differently or now cut out coupons?

The year 2009 was difficult financially for many. My husband and I both had to take a cut in pay, but we were able to make ends meet because we had a roommate for extra income and we went down to a one-car family. The year 2010 seemed to bring some promise for the next year and we went back to full salary, bought a second car, and our roommate moved out. Then 2011 hit. Both my husband and I had to take another cut in pay, but we also had a new car payment and no assistance in our mortgage payments now without a roommate. Needless to say, money got tight quick.

We have tried to be creative on how to make additionally money and we both considered picking up side jobs. My husband considered going back as a waiter and we both submitted applications for an early morning paper route. Neither of those options panned out. I responded to a photographer's request for assistance on photo editing as well as to some other part-time jobs opportunities I saw on Craigslist. Nothing fared out. If it did turn out that either one of us did pick up second job, life would have been hectic and a an additional challenge with keeping the house clean, the lawn manicured, a busy family's schedule, up with kids, and sane. So, without selling our house and moving out of town, we had to buckle down and change our way of spending.

One way we started saving money is by switching from me to my husband doing the grocery shopping. I used to shop Henry's and Trader Joes, but bulk is less expensive so my husband does all the grocery shopping by visiting Costco weekly. Okay, so I'm kind of getting tired of the same-o-same-o, but it is what it is.

I buy clothes from second hand stores, look for off season deals for 50-75% off back-to-school clothes, wait in the lines at WalMart, visit the small boutiques that often offer items at such a huge discount, and try to be creative with the items I already have. I don't get a manicure, or a pedicure, or color my hair (but I don't have grey hair either so it isn't a must). We don't have anyone coming to clean our house, or mow our lawn, or walk our dog (not that we ever had that, I'm just say'n). We also slowed down on house improvement projects. In addition to all that, we never eat out unless we have a coupon or for a summer treat at Mr. Frosties (a local ice cream place). We do, although, rent quite a few movies for $1 at Red Box.

The most recent discovery in our lives are all those sites out there that offer great deals such as Groupon, Living Social, Daily Deals, Hookup, and BuyWithMe. I love these sites and I have signed up with every one of them. I know, it clutters up my inbox, but for a savings it is worth it. One thing is one has to be careful to take a deal that benefits ones family not a deal that creates extra spending.

So what do you and your family do to save money or make ends meet during this time of economic hardship?

No comments:

Post a Comment