1. Make a monthly plan/budget.
2. Categorize everything you pay for (the more detailed the better). If you’re just starting, it’s okay to start broad and become detailed later.
3. Always UNDER budget (have a MISC. category)
4. Find a way to get rid of your car payments, at least one of them if you have more than one car.
5. Read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, as well as Financial Peace. Trust me! I, in no way, get compensated for referring that book.
6. Tithe if you’re a Believer in Christ!
7. Research ways to save on electricity.
8. Do some research on medical insurance. ACA is screwing a lot of us and our budgets, but we found alternative insurance through Samaritan Ministries.
9. Breast feed if you can. There are now tax deductions for women who choose to breastfeed. I couldn’t bf after 4 months, so I pumped 4 times a day till my son was 1 years old! I didn’t want to, but it saved us tons of money and he is super healthy! Just MY experience though…I know not everyone is able.
10. Make sure your budget has money for RETIREMENT, a SAVINGS ACCOUNT (3 months worth or more), and COLLEGE FUND.
11. Get rid of cable. Alternatives are Netflix and Hulu Plus. You shouldn’t pay over $90/month unless you can afford it. We pay $70 for internet/cable TV.
12. Minimize your toll expenses if you can. Find alternative routes or what entrances are cheaper.
13. Groceries – Meal plan!
14. Groceries – Look through the sale ads BEFORE you shop to find the best prices, even if it’s just for meat and produce.
15. Groceries – A good rule of thumb is “$100 per family member/month.” For reference, we budget $400/month…we have 3 family members and one on the way. I know this will increase as our family gets bigger and older (teenagers…yikes)!
16. Drink water when you dine out.
17. Go to restaurants that provide cheap/free kids meals.
18. Use coupons to dine out…9 out of 10 times we use a coupon. We eat out A LOT…and budget $140/month. For special occasion experiences, we categorize that under that section (i.e. birthday, anniversary, etc).
19. Shop consignment sales for kids clothing. They go through them too fast. We buy consignment, Walmart, and sales elsewhere (Gap, Target, Kohl’s).
20. Live in a house you can afford. Your mortgage (amount you owe) should be no more than twice your household’s total income. For example, if your net household income is $50,000/year, you shouldn’t take out a loan that is more than $100,000! This tip comes from the book, The Millionaire Next Door.
For more tips, visit the Finance tab above. There are a ton more. Click HERE and HERE for more details!
Morgan Lewis says
I stumbled on your blog recently via Pinterest, and have really enjoyed following. THANK YOU for these posts. It is so encouraging to see a younger couple in financial freedom. My husband and I have been married just over a year and a half, and are really working to pay off our debts (cars, student loans, mortgage). I really hope to be able to stay home when we have kids, and some days it seems like it just won't happen! I know we cannot see God's plans for us, but if it's His will, that is my hope. I love your tips and encouragement – please keep posting! (and congratulations on baby 2! What a blessing). 🙂
Morgan, I totally understand your feelings. I thought it would never be over and we would always have money going somewhere "boring" but you're exactly right about God's will. Keep working at it and God will bless your family. Even now I still wonder if we will ever get ahead…if it's not a mortgage payment, it's retirement. Or a college fund. 🙂
Ashley Burns says
I also found your blog on pinterest and now I'm an avid follower and I look forward to every post! I never thought my husband and I would be able to afford me being a stay at home, but by the grace of God we've been making it work. I'm also preggo with number 2 (due in March) and our health insurance is breaking the bank (we're self-interest). It just went up 200/month at the start of this year due to the ACA, and when our second child arrives it will go up another 200. I just looked up Samaritan ministries. Such a great recommendation! It couldn't have come at a better time. Do you and your family use them? It seems like such a great program, but I'm nervous to go outside the box. Not that I'm getting much out of my current insurance now, but I'm a creature of comfort, and I'm curious to hear some real world stories. Congrats on number two!!
Hi Ashley…I know another Ashley Burns…how funny. ACA is making insurance not affordable for many (ironically)…I'm sorry your insurance is going up so much. Yes, we do use Samaritan! We have had 2 incidents since joining (ER visit for my son's head injury) and my pregnancy. Both, since over $300, are fully covered. It was nervous to go outside the box, but we simply did not have a choice. I would have had to go back to a benefits job so we could have had insurance and even then it's a money sucker since you have to pay so much of a deductible before you get some of it covered. We told ourselves if something bad happens with SM, we can always go back to money sucking insurance through my husband's job. It's been a blessing so far. You do more of the paperwork, which is how you get the discounts from Dr.'s offices. It's cheaper for a cash paying customer than an insurance customer. Hope that helps and congrats with Baby #2…sounds like we have a lot in common.
Good tips, and congratulations on the upcoming addition!
Brendon Wayne says
Thanks for sharing these insightful money saving tips.
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Laura Moore says
Hi Olivia! I always love your money-saving posts. I would LOVE a post about ways to save money on a wedding/honeymoon! I'm sure you have some great ideas 🙂
I would like to add that I have recently noticed that buying in bulk is NOT always cheaper! Recently at the grocery store, it was cheaper to buy 2 small Clorox wipes containers adding up to 70 wipes, rather than 1 big container with 75 wipes. On the same trip, it was cheaper to buy 2 small bags of chocolate chips rather than 1 big bag (AND I got more chocolate chips out of it!). Just wanted to note this since I used to always just buy the bigger size, assuming it would save money!
Totally agree with you on the bulk shopping. And tips for saving money on a wedding is a great idea! I planned my entire wedding (with mom) and had a pretty tight budget. I will work on this and create a post.