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Money Saving Tips


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#1 Myst

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 08:49 PM

Hi Ladies,

As the topic title suggests I am desperately looking for some good budgeting and money saving tips!

As of March 1st this year my DH is starting a new job which we are both really excited about. His current job involves him leaving the house at around 5:30am (before our DD is awake) and getting home around 5pm and this is usually 6 days a week sad.gif His new job is 9-5 Monday to Friday and Fridays he works from home, there is also no weekend work so the work/life balance will be much better and we will actaully get to spend some quality time with him that we have not had in such a long time wub.gif wub.gif

The down side (as there usually is one) is that this new position will see a $15,000 pay cut ohmy.gif unsure.gif which will bring our income to under $50,000 p/a. Add to this the fact that 5 months ago before the birth of our DD our combined income was around $90,000 - $100,000 p/a and that is the amount that we are used to working with unsure.gif

So we have gained a little person and halved our income and on top of that I initially thought that I would be ready to return to work when our DD was 6 months old. Now that is only 6 weeks away and I am just nowhere near ready. I don't want to leave our DD and I cannot bare the thought of returning to work at this stage (even for the 2 days that I was going to). DH is amazing and has said that I don't have to return to work until I'm ready but the fact is that if we cannot 'adjust' our living expenses then I will not have a choice dry.gif

At the end of the day if I have to go back then I will - we will still be happy with the decision to take the new position as it will give us more time together as a family which is important to us but ...... I really want to be a SAHM with my beautiful bub wub.gif

Before I was married I was great at budgeting but it seems these days I just am rubbish at it and before we had our DD we didn't have to so - if any of you lovely ladies has any saving/budgeting tips I would love to hear them blush.gif smile.gif
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#2 Jane Doe

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 09:20 PM

We are pretty conservative/frugal most of the time, and had to adapt when my husband did an adult apprenticeship.

The biggest thing I have found is to really think about if something is a need or a want. I would LOVE to buy a few mags each week, but when I think of what else that ~$15 could be spent on, I realise that I certainly don't 'need' them.

Just because something is $5, doesn't mean it doesn't impact on your budget. 5 things a week that are 'just' $5 = $25, which is ~$100 a month, and so on, so it does add up.

I figured out how much all our bills worked out to be, on average, per fortnight, and opened a seperate account which is solely for bills. Even if we are absolutely skint, the bills money is completely out of bounds. This really works for us, because I figure it's easy to miss one bill, then by the time you catch that up, you're behind on 2 others. This way, we are always up to date.

Do free/cheap activities on the weekend, so you aren't sitting around thinking about doing fun stuff and cursing the fact you can't afford it. We go for drives to areas we haven't been for a long time, do local tourist-y things, head to the beach, visit people - basically just try to keep busy and occupied.

Meal plan, and cook from scratch as much as possible. Buy meat at a butcher, so you can ask for the right amount of meat. On the off chance we run out and grab something from woolies/coles, we cook whatever is on the tray, which might be 600-700g of meat, when we usually have about 300g. Also, try meatless meals as often as possible. Huge savings there. I try to keep each meal around $10-15 total, so if we have a cheaper cut of meat, I'll buy some nicer vegies/salad, but if we have a nicer cut of meat, the sides will be quite basic.

Turn lights/taps off when not in use - obvious one, but something that people still don't do. Also, turn the TV off at the button/wall, not via the remote.

There are lots more, but I'll leave it there for now.

I hope things work out and you can be a SAHM for as long as you wish to.
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#3 ~Kristy~

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 12:08 AM

We live fairly frugal but its the way is has to be so i can stay home with the kids. When i was 20 weeks pregnant with K i had to leave work and was only temping so lost a fair chunk of our income but we figured it out and now its not too bad (we live off DH's wage which is low-med range and have no credit cards)

Agree with the above the main thing for us is determining if we really need something or if we just want it and also even if something is really cheap its still not a bargain if it wont get used.

I buy alot of grocery things marked down(meat/bread/rolls/fresh pasta). I got some meat from coles the other day and stocked up (silverside roast for $2.78, mince $1.34, chicken $3) because it can all be frozen even if the date is almost up. Plus i go through the catalogues and see what specials i can make use of. We also only buy what we will use to reduce wasting fruit/veg/deli meats etc

We cook & eat at home as much as possible. I try and find cheap but healthy recipes online to keep it interesting and bake/make snacks and babyfood (when K was younger and will in a few months when F starts solids). We try and use leftovers as much as possible. Also we buy a box of 24 cans drink and take a few with us when were out so we dont buy drinks. K gets her water bottle filled up and snacks packed when we go out too.

I just went through our bills and downgraded our internet/home phone and foxtel so now saving about $75 month. Turning lights/power points etc off and we now try and shower for a few minutes less to cut back which must have worked because our power bill was $160 cheaper this quater and the water bill was $100 cheaper.

We shop around alot instead of buying something at the first place we see it and also check eb@y too (Just bought F a wardrobe for $50 on eb@y and was close to getting a $200 one a week ago at a furniture shop). I also love eb@y and baby/kids market for things for the kids.

Lastly for entertainment we dont go out alot or drink etc so our "luxury" i guess is having foxtel we make do with that instead of going to the movies/hiring dvds etc). We also do alot of free things and visiting people. Were part of a family friendly car club since DH likes his commodores and 18 months ago we splurged on a fairly new one so we go on alot of drives/bbq's etc with the other families we've met through that which doesnt cost alot.
I also plan ahead for christmas/birthdays and have a box of stuff in our wardrobe for when i see something for a good price to put away.

It took some getting used to but now its normal and were all happy with how we live (i've had a few 'why dont you just go back to work and not have to be so tight' comments but meh its our choice for me to stay home so we do what we have to). We usually end up getting the things we want but it just takes a little longer then if we had more of a disposable income which were fine with. I actually really love finding bargains now laugh.gif

Hope it all works out and you can be home as long as you want to smile.gif
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#4 Rachae

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 07:03 AM

Kate S - we work much the same way, except I pay money off all of our bills each pay.

We are on a combined income of 65000, We first got our mortgage when our combined income was 45000, and we struggled big time.

Every decision we make we think do we NEED to do this? Especially if it is us wanting to go on a date night, instead of going out to the movies, we usually end up making a nice dinner at home, making some popcorn and curling up on the lounge and watching a movie at home, or if we want to get out of the house we used to go for a drive (before we got our house) now, instead of wasting petrol, we will go for a walk instead.

It's all about weighing up the things you NEED and and things you WANT.

Brett and I have a system, we get a certain amount of money allocated as our "free money" for us to do with what we please. Buy lunch, go for coffee or drinks with friends etc. Once a month, we work out how much we have left over, and we treat ourselves to something off our wishlist. (our wishlist is something we do to keep track of how many things we have wanted and not got for the sake of our budget, its great because it gives us a goal, and the bigger that list is, the prouder we are of ourselves)

I guess it was easy for us because we didnt need to adapt from a lifestyle where we didnt need to worry about money, but even now on an extra 20,000 we still live like we are on the lesser amount, and save the difference, so then we can support ourselves for the time I won't have an income when we have a bub.


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#5 Myst

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 09:29 AM

Thanks girls - these tips are great, just what I'm looking for!

please keep them coming smile.gif
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#6 *Clints-girl*

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 09:43 AM

Meal plan, meal plan, meal plan-it saves so much money as you only buy what you need and don't waste food. It does take more time as you have to plan ahead, but it means you can make recipes that use similar ingredients-eg-sour cream can be used in risotto, on taco's, boiled potatoes with other fillings etc. That way you don't buy a whole tub of something and only use it for one meal. As it can be hard to think of meals, I now write in my diary what we have each night and then I can go back and get ideas when I can't think of anything to eat.

Also, cook in bulk. Although I don't really do this, the meals I do make usually serve 4, and we will either eat the leftovers the next night or for lunch the next day.

Don't eat at food courts. They waste so much money and the food is usually pretty ordinary and unhealthy. Either go shopping first thing or after lunch or take food with you. We now make wraps with tuna, lettuce, cheese etc and pack them in a container and take them with us. We also take a bottle of water or a couple of cold soft drink cans and we are all good.

Just realised all these are about food laugh.gif

Another thing we are trying to do is to track our spending each month. I write the amount spent in my diary next to each appointment or shop we visit and then pop the receipt into a plastic pocket (I have a pocket for each month). We can then see at the end of the month what we really need to cut back on, or if we are on track with the budget.

The want versus need thing is really important. I now look at something and think about this. Most of the time it is things for Willow, and she does not need a million toys/outfits-I am pretty sure that if she could choose she would prefer more time with me at home, and it is also what she and I will remember-me, not the toys smile.gif I hope laugh.gif


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#7 RachelleK

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 12:01 PM

I agree with all the above! And really don't have much new to add!

I meal plan to within an inch of my life!! It's surprising how much you can save when you go into a supermarket with that list and STICK TO THE LIST! I purposely do our food shop during the day so DH can't come and throw all sorts of stuff into the trolley. I also try and get fruit n veg from the local markets - find it lasts longer than the usual supermarket stock and is a little cheaper.

I buy those 24 can blocks of softdrink whenever they're on special - so much cheaper to bring your own can than "just" stop at the servo and buy a drink ... we also freeze bottles of water and bring with us if we're out for the day.

Also, don't be shy about homebrand!! LOL! I buy a lot of homebrand staples - saves a bundle!

Separate bills account is fantastic way of covering your butt and making sure you have all the "must be paids" under control without worrying how much money you have in your accounts.
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#8 mango

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 01:25 PM

I agree with most of what is already said. Especially about sorting out your needs and wants. I think its important to sit down and Really look at your budget and where money goes. Make sure you include everything and see what your totals in and total outs are, and look at making adjustments accordingly. Working out how much money you need to put away each pay to cover your big bills (DH gets paid monthly so I worked out how much each month all our bills cost, I also over estimated bills just for that bit more, and that comes straight out of his pay). Set a grocery budget. Turnoff anything not in use. Avoid the shopping centre if possible. And find cheap entertainment and people that are in a similar postition, that way no peer pressure and also you will appreciate similar activites. Dinner at each others houses or BBQs ect. Cut back on junk ffod, alcohol, cigs ect. If drinking buy bottles of spirits and pour yourself (so much cheaper then premades) and also try to buy things in bulk.

#9 Daybreak

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 01:50 PM

QUOTE(Rachae @ Feb 7 2011, 08:03 AM) View Post

Brett and I have a system, we get a certain amount of money allocated as our "free money" for us to do with what we please. Buy lunch, go for coffee or drinks with friends etc. Once a month, we work out how much we have left over, and we treat ourselves to something off our wishlist. (our wishlist is something we do to keep track of how many things we have wanted and not got for the sake of our budget, its great because it gives us a goal, and the bigger that list is, the prouder we are of ourselves)

Andrew and I have a similar system - we jokingly call it our pocket money. For us, it covers stuff like books, DVDs, my craft supplies. It means that we know we can spend a little bit each month, without guilt, but we are also restricted to that amount. Friends of ours are a bit closer to Rachae's system - their pocket money has to cover buying lunch or coffee or pretty much any want.
I saw on TV a while ago (possibly while in the UK) a program about how much money you can save by buying generic brands. Even if you only drop each product you buy by one level (brand name becomes premium supermarket brand, premium becomes ordinary) you can save a huge amount.
Planning with Kids has some great ideas and information for menu planning and setting a budget
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#10 **Vanessa**

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 02:13 PM

Most of mine have already been said but I will just re-iterate haha.

* I do online grocery shopping, yes the products are slightly higher in price and I pay for delivery however I stick to my $140 a fortnight budget much easier doing that as I can keep track of the running total and will put things back that I do not really need. It also avoids trips out which cost in transport, "I will just grab a coffee and cake for me and a roll for Abbey", also stops me from going into other shops and buying other things I do not need.

* I buy fruit and veg from the fruit and veg shop. Cheaper and better quality. If something is super cheap I buy more and freeze them as soon as I get home.

* I do online surveys and with the vouchers I gain from them, I buy bulk washing powder. So really, it costs me nothing for a relatively expensive item.

* I never buy surface spray or any other expensive cleaning item. My surface spray is a sprayer bottle filled with water, vinegar and a few drops of either teatree or eucalyptus oil. Not only does it save (alot of) money but I feel a lot better spraying that around than chemicals. If things are a bit harder to shift I sprinkle bi-carb on it first then drop vinegar on it, to sizzle the stain away!

* I use cloth nappies for Abbey and cloth pads for myself. Another aisle I can completely skip.

* I cook the vast majority of things from scratch, much easier to be versatile with ingredients. I bake every couple of days some treats for us, so I am avoiding expensive treats, and I know what is in them.

* Even though it is only the 2 of us I still make the normal 4 servings of a meal and freeze the rest so if I feel like take away. I have take-away from the freezer night.

* WIth meal planning, I have heaps of Super food Idea mags sorted into months and will go through them first for the meals for that corresponding month, so the food suits the time of year and what is in season. In my plan I have one non-meat day and one designated 'easy dinner' which with either be what is in the freezer, a toastie or omlette made with vegies near the end of their life.

* I try to take Abbey to the park once a day, it is free, she loves it, it tires her out and we are normally there for a couple of hours so it means I am not tempted to go to the shops.

* $50 a fortnight goes straight on to my electricity bill. Everything not in use gets turned off at the wall, the only thing always on is the fridge.

* I get child support every 4 weeks and put it into savings so I am not spending it all in the first 2 weeks then have nothing left.

* When running the tap to do the dishes I put a jug under it whilst I am waiting for the water to warm up, this then goes on the garden, so I am never specifically running water for the garden. I only water the garden early in the morning or late at night, so the water just does not evaporate.

* `
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#11 mango

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 02:30 PM

QUOTE(**Vanessa** @ Feb 7 2011, 02:13 PM) View Post

* I do online surveys and with the vouchers I gain from them, I buy bulk washing powder. So really, it costs me nothing for a relatively expensive item.

Are you able to give more details? What site you went to. This is something I'm very interested in.

#12 Full of faith

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 02:44 PM

You girls are AMAZING!
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#13 Woodland

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 03:28 PM

Like Vanessa I do my grocery shopping online. I pay $5 delivery but I save way more by not going in there & impulse buying. By planning our meals for the week & online shopping I don't have those quick trips into the supermarket where I end up spending way more on treats etc! I almost used to use the supermarket as a trip out for DS & I when I had nothing else to do. It was costing us a fortune!

I've also joined the library instead of buying books. Some libraries have a toy section too which is great.

Good luck!
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#14 **Vanessa**

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:19 PM

Sorry got interrupted by visitors so I have more ph34r.gif

* Use half the amount of washing powder recommended. My clothes still come out as clean as if I used the full amount. Use vinegar as fabric softner, works well and your clothes do not come out smelling like vinegar

* Use the bookdepository.com for books. For some reason I have to have un-read books, then sell them on eb@y or if you are lucky like me, take them to the second hand bookshop.

* Have a present cupboard/box/drawer so when you find things on sale buy them and you always have something for people. for instance Target had photo boxes for $1.70 (RRP $15) so I got one for my mum and one for my step mum for Christmas this year, that I will fill with photos of Abbey, so a really nice, cheap gift. Mine has a list of gifts I know I will need to buy during the year and once I have a gift for that person I cross them off so I do not buy too many things for the same demographic.

*Air con is hardly on, but in summer it is set to 24 and winter at 17. Keep a nice warm blanket on your couch.

*Do not use your tv for background noise. If you like to have some noise in the house that isn't children screaming, use the radio or IPod, it is a lot cheaper to run!

*Airers are your best friend. I cannot remember the last time I used the dryer.

* Walk places over driving as much as possible.

*Buy things on clearance. Target and KMart always have clearance items timed with change of season. However remember if you don't need it, it isn't a bargain dry.gif

lol I sound like the biggest tight@rse, I'm not, I just don't like spending money on things that are not needed!
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#15 Jane Doe

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 04:33 PM

Vanessa has given lots of great advice!

With the washing - only ever wash full loads. I am pretty fussy about my washing, but I still think it's better to wait and get a full load than do 2 half loads.

We only got aircon a few years ago, and have it set to 24 summer/18 winter, and our bills hardly changed. I have friends that set theirs to 16 n summer and 30 in winter, and they wonder why their electricity bills are $800 a qtr rolleyes.gif

Softdrinks are unbelievably expensive. I paid $4 for a bottle of sprite the other day. I'll be taking water from now on.

Similarly, when we go out for dinner, we always ask for table water. We found we'd pay $50-60 for our meal, and $30-40 drinks. Takes a night out from a bit exxy, to budget-blowing.

It is a PITA, and sometimes I feel like a scrooge, but you have to keep your 'goal' in the back of your mind, and every time money leaves you wallet/bank, you need to think about how that is going to impact on that goal.

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