Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘living within your means’

Wasting money and saving money

A very big part of Joy on a Shoestring is supposed to be recording ways to economise on life. The idea is that we can and should live more frugally in every way: saving time, money, the environment etc. It just makes cents. (See what I did there?). MyfriendJane has promised to email me her Frightfully Frugal meal plans, which seem to comprise lentils and love and not much else, yet keep her family happy, healthy and in the black. Obviously I will share those here as soon as she sends them. Until she does, I found this article semi-useful. I already do pretty much all of these things, but I didn’t in the past and they have made a difference since I started. Also, not all of these apply all over the world (do we even have cooupons in SA?), but they are still good ideas, by and large.

Top 10 Wastes of Money Families Can Avoid

By The Circle of Moms Editors – Aug 1, 2011

What is the biggest waste of money every family could easily avoid? We asked our Top 25 Money-Saving Tips Bloggers and they divulged over 60 smart ways to trim family expenses. Here, we reveal the 10 most popular tips. Time to stop these money-wasting habits, and start saving!

#10 Buying Things You Don’t Need

“Buying things you don’t need or can’t afford is the biggest waste of money. This is true for grocery, drugstore, household, big-ticket items, things for your kids — anything and everything. You really have to ask yourself, is this something I (we) REALLY need?” –Michelle HovestadtWicked Cool Deals

#9 Eating Junk Food While Traveling

“It is amazing how much money you can waste just by stopping at fast food places and convenience stores. Make sure to pack a cooler with snacks, sandwiches and drinks for the driver and all passengers!…If you wait until you are on the road, not only will you pay full price, you will normally pay an inflated price for the convenience.” –Mommy’s Money-Saving Obsession

#8 Paying Full Price for Toothpaste

“There are plenty of coupons in the Sunday inserts for a variety of toothpaste…every family can find one or many that suits their needs…Smaller sizes combined with coupons will have the biggest savings.” –Rebecca Autry,Moms Saving Money

#7 Eating Out

“Many families are on busy schedules and trying to fit in a sit down meal at the dinner table is hectic. One of the quick answers is to hit the drive through, or order a pizza. These ‘quick fixes’ add up to major money! … A little planning can go a long way and save a lot of money!” –Wendy PesceSaving With Wendy

#6 Skipping Meal-Planning

“By creating a meal plan you not only save money at the grocery store, but you save money by not eating out as much. If you already have a plan for dinner that night you are less likely to deviate from it.” –Lauren GreutmanI am THAT lady

#5 Residential Phone Bill

“Many people have already deleted their home phone bill through the use of cell phones…but what if your plan isn’t unlimited? Ooma is VOIP that has very little cost after you buy it. It costs around $200 and then you only pay about $3.50 per month thereafter. Ooma gives you unlimited local and long-distance calling, caller ID, call waiting, and voice-mail.” –King Dealio

#4 “Now” Thinking

“Black Eyed Peas talk about being a “Now Generation.” We don’t have to get things now unless we can afford them! How many people get things now and pay for them later? The only thing is…[then] people really pay for them! –Enza’s Bargains

#3 Not Using Coupons

“There are so many great high value coupons and ways to ‘stack’ and ‘double’ your coupon savings, that it is a waste of money to pay full price for just about anything! You can shop according to the weekly sales and match them up with available coupons to get the most savings power! There are many items that you can get for free or very close to it when you use this method!” –Adventures of a Couponista

#2 Being a Brand Snob

“Do not rely on certain brands. Do not only buy a brand you think your family loves…Different brands will have sales and coupons at different times. This means that even the most expensive brand may be free or close to it at a certain time….Once you start getting the brands that are on sale or have coupons, you will really save a LOT MORE MONEY!” –SarahRaining Hot Coupons

#1 Your Family’s Personal Money Waster

“I believe the biggest money waster a family can avoid resides right inside each of our heads. Changing your habits, planning ahead and vowing to work together as a family will make all the difference. Everyone is different and must find their shortcomings and resolutions…You have to find out what’s costing you, and take steps to change your habits.” –Wendy S.Gimmie Freebies 


Feeling better.

Today we got back into the swing of things. Since Friday the 9th of December I’ve had my nose firmly attached to yon grindstone. As a result, I finished (nearly) all my work for the year! – AND all the billing that goes with it. This is all very good news and rather rare for this frantic time of year. It means that I can chill out a bit, and spend my time chasing debts, rather than earning an income.

Actually, it means I can spend time with my girls.

The side effect of all that work is slight neglect of the children, and by last night I was feeling rather panic-stricken about the poor job I’m doing at being a home school mom. That’s why it was such a  relief to sit down this morning and assess. First of all, while I was working so hard, the kids had a holiday. All their friends are now doing the same, while they’re back at school, so that balances things out. Secondly, it only amounts to 6 days of actual school that they’ve missed, which is not a lot. During that time they played educational computer games, read (a tiny amount), drew, painted, cut, coloured, pasted and played (together and with friends). They swam and went to see a live show. They helped with meal preparation and took care of their pets. And every night I read at least one chapter of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” to them. We looked stuff up and answered questions and they made dolls’ clothes and house and plans for rocket ships. So all-in-all, it’s not as if they’ve gone wild in the last week, is it?

I’ve also taken charge.

I’m reading a great book at the moment (well, three great books, but one in particular applies here). It’s called “12 Great Choices Smart Moms Make”. I’m only on the introduction and it’s already helping me. Step one is to take charge, and it means deciding what matters to your family (and what doesn’t), and using that as the basis of your family decisions. And making it clear to all involved that that is how it works.

So, yes, I am frustrated in this small space, and yes, I do wish I could give my kids horse-riding lessons AND ballet AND gymnastics AND Spanish dancing AND drama AND new clothes/toys/shoes/adventures. But I can’t. Our goal is to get debt free. It will take time. We have to make the most of the time so we will go for walks in the nature reserve down the road. (This doubles as exercise time and I’ve said the girls can both climb the trees and swim in the river). The girls will do drama next year, because the drama programme includes dance. Ballet/Spanish dancing & gymnastics will have to wait. And I’m very sad about horse-riding but it can’t be helped. Maybe later. And we’ll move when we can afford to move, and to a place that doesn’t bankrupt us. That may take some time.

*Deep breath*.

Now that I’ve made some clear plans, I feel much better about it all. The funny thing is: so does everyone else. I guess we all need to be told where we stand once in a while.

(We did some school today, which also helped. Just reading and maths, but those are the main things, right?)

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