On this one, I think I'm my mom's girl through and through. I learned to shop at Mom and Grandma's heels. "Sale" is a word I learned at a very young age. I remember my mom used to make my clothes. I remember a pair of nickers that I had to have. They were corduroy. I don't remember the color, but my mom made them for me. I remember her cursing that "Next time I'll just buy them." Because she broke so many needles while sewing them.
Well, I'm not much of a seamstress, and fabric is not so cheap, but I do have a few things that I do to save money.
First, though I am not as good as I would like to be, and this one goes up and down on my to do list, but I will often make a menu. I hate shopping at Wal-mart, so I stick to my favorite grocery store and plan around the meats or veggies that are on sale. When I make a menu, I usually spend 35% less on food than without one.
Next, I take out a certain amount of $ each paycheck in cash for food and other things that I buy a lot. When it's gone, it's gone. Even though we had the same budget for each pay period, when I used the debit card instead of cash, I almost always went over.
One of the ways I save, is when I take out that cash, I will "hide" $20, or $50, or even $100 away so I don't have it with me in my purse, so I can't spend it. This is what we use (first) when we go on vacation. Also, that 35% that I save with the menu, I hide.
I love, well, not love, but I like to go to garage sales, sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I get stuff that I don't need and don't even want after I get it home. But, then there is the times when I feel like I made up for that with some great finds. I get a lot of clothes from garage sales. I feel fine about washing them and I spend a ton less $ on kids clothes that way. I felt like I found one of those "finds" about a month ago. There was a sale that had exactly Cedar's size clothes. I totally outfitted him, in name brand clothes for the summer, for $13.00! And I have already lamented about dresses for Aspen. Yesterday I got her 3 really cute dresses for $2.00 each. I don't get all of their clothes that way, but if it's in good shape, I love it!
Another thing. This doesn't seem like it would work, but it does. I have always saved Aspen's clothes (that aren't destroyed) for Olive. Then we will go "box shopping" before each season. Some day, Olive may have a complex about this, but until then... Anyway, a few years ago, one of the families that Jonathon home teaches fell on hard times. They have 4 little girls (now) 6 and under and 2 step sons. One visit Jonathon made he asked the normal, "Is there anything that we can help you with? Any thing that you need?" They said that if we had any hand-me-down clothes that their girls are all growing out of their stuff. When Jonathon got home and told me I thought that I could probably part with some. Maybe my least favorite things. As I got going through the stuff, my least favorite things didn't add up to much, and it looked really pathetic. I was being selfish and stingy. I had already saved a lot of money with clothes this way and I hated to think of what I would do in 6 months or a year when I needed those clothes. But, I have been taught better than that. Nobody in my family, or Jonathon's are selfish or stingy, so I decided that I didn't want to be either. I packed up everything except a few sentimental pieces and we ended up giving them many large bags of clothes and shoes. The mom of the family was really grateful and I felt good too. The part that is amazing to me though, that makes me feel like I am being taken care of, especially without being selfish with my stuff is that ever since I have started doing that, each season giving the kids clothes that they outgrow to either that family or another one with a little boy. We have never had to worry about clothes. It's like our little ward out here started, without even realizing it, a hand-me-down circle. I give to these families, but these other families give to us. Just last week, a friend of mine who has a 10 year old daughter gave Aspen a huge bag of clothes, some of them barely worn. Not to mention that they moved their daughter from a twin bunk beds to a full or queen bed, so they sent all of these really cute linens and pottery barn quilts and duvet covers. Olive keeps getting hand-me-downs from about 5 of my friends. She has so much that when my mom called to ask her size for something, I had to tell her not to get it, her closet is overflowing! So my suggestion for saving $$ is to be generous. We all know someone who has a child littler than ours. Ask them if they want your hand-me-down clothes, toys, whatever you are getting rid of. I don't know how many computers Jonathon has fixed up and then given away. But someone probably needs what you don't want.
Lastly. (Are you relieved that I am almost done?) Plant a garden! Even a little one in a swimming pool!Peas, fresh from the garden this morning. They make a yummy breakfast for my excited little farmers!