Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Cutting Cost

So I know I have been doing a LOT of baby talk on here the last few days but today all I am going to say about Baby #3 is we had our first ultra sound today & I am NOT as far a long as we thought. I was a little bummed but I am still THRILLED that even though we couldn't see much the doctor said she could see the sack growing like it should & the amniotic fluid building up. She is guessing I am around 4 weeks. So I will be heading back to the doctor on Sept. 14th to see the growth  & get some more accurate timelines & a closer due date but for now I am going with the due date of April 18th.

So one thing that I am always trying to do is make a extra dollar but also saving twice as many in the process. So I thought I would share with you some of my secrets to living comfortable without spending a lot.. especially if you have children!

First I try to stay away from named brand items. Most thing what are you crazy but you know most of the time they are no different then the store brand. So here is a list of things I ALWAYS try to buy non name brand & where I buy them at.

First lets talk Diapers.. okay I was one of those mom's who ALWAYS bought name brand, Pampers & Huges ALL the way! Then Shiloh started to leak.. so I went through a phase where I was trying every diaper on the shelve at every store. I was nervous to buy the store brand stuff & to be honest I didn't want them to give me a complex. But then I tried them & LOVED them. My leaky baby diaper days were over & I didn't care anymore what people thought.
I remember I had a friend on FB who was asking other mom's which diaper's they recommended. At first I still had the complex worry so I was so nervous to share but then I was like you know what who cares.. So I told her I buy the WinCo brand diapers.. I am having a huge brain fart right now & for the life of me I can't remember the name but I think its Cuddles. They are about $5 cheaper then the name brand & serious they DON'T LEAK!! Another brand I have buy lately is Albertsons Baby Basics they too have been wonderful for my Gabriella with zero leaking problems & they too are about $7 to $5 cheaper then the name brands.

Baby Food.. so I have always wanted to make my own baby food. I honestly have zero excuses I have a food processor & I am no dummy but I have only once. Bad mommy I know. But from here on out I am going to really try to start making my own baby food. I am not sure how much it will save but I want to compare that is for sure. But for the mom's who don't wish to spend the extra time to do so then one thing I recommend is to ALWAYS buy Organic.. it my cost a bit more but it is  way better for your family & its not that much more. So I try to find the best deals on baby food that is organic. For instance I went to the store the other night & the Earths best was on sale for 88¢ so I bought about 10. Then I went to Fred Meyer & I found this new brand that I love called Sprout & its not in a jar but in a pouch that is BPA free & recyclable as well. It is also certified organic as well. Its not bulking & heavy to take on the go & its resealable which I love too incase she doesn't eat all of it. If for some reason Baby #3 keeps me too tired to keep up with my baby food making then I will continue to purchase this brand.. well as long as the price is right. I bought 10 for $10 the other night. So weather you make it or buy it I think its what is put in it that is most important.

Grocery Shopping.. I used to shop once a month buying the same things pretty much making the same meals.. blah blah blah & honestly thought it was saving us money. Man was I wrong. Not only did I have a pantry full of unused food but we were tired of the same stuff & started spending way too much money eating out. So now before I go shopping I sit down & plan out our meals for 7 days & I go through our kitchen & see what we already so I don't double buy. Then I try to find as many coupons as I can but I am not a coupon mom & honestly I really don't even know how to be.. I have tried but I really haven't figured it out so if you have the secret that isn't going to make me have to take more then an hour of my day then do share. Another thing I do is I try to buy non name brand unless we have tried it & we just can't compare. Also I used to shop at the high end grocery stores but now I try to stick to WinCo & Walmart. If I have a good coupon for the other stores I do use it however. Also  I don't buy junk food not only is it so bad for you & your family but is so much more expensive. I stick to fruit, yogurt, rice cakes or applesauce for our snacks.

Clothing.. I will admit I could not go into a store ESPECIALLY TARGET & not buy something for the girls. But now I try to just avoid the stores that lead me to impulse buying. Another thing I try to do that my mother in laws taught me is to try to just buy off the clearance rack only. It's hard especially with girl clothes but it does save. Also I am going to try & only buy when needed.One thing that my girls do not lack is clothing. I seriously could start my own boutique. So for all you shopping mama's make a budget for your children. I have it set where I have $20 a month per child to spend on them for things like a cute outfit that is a must, movie or toy. This way you know what you are spending & are not over spending or spoiling.  This is a work in progress for my hubby & I but we have gotten better at it.

Eating out.. we are the worst when it comes to eating out especially when I am pregnant. I have now only had 15 months in the last 3 1/2 years that I was not pregnant.. crazy right so we have done WAY TOO much eating out. So now my alternative to eating out is creating new dishes that in my opinion are way better then what we are paying double for when we eat out. Plus we are eating way healthier which makes it so worth it. So go to the book store or any store that sells books & look through a few cookbooks find at least 10 meals you like & once you find that book buy it. Now make sure the book you are buying is not one that offers high end luxury meals. The book I bought I found at Ben Franklin & it's called Fast/Fix Meals & they are all so delicious! So this is something that will save you so much money, help you become a little more domesticated, give you something creative to do & honestly once you make a meal that your family loves it makes you excited. If we do eat out we try to limit it to once or twice a month but I would rather it be once if at all.

Make a Budget.. Something I have done since my first pregnancy is a budget. What I have done is taken numbers {on Mac} or excel {on PC} spread sheets & each month I write out a budget. I first put in the pay days. I write in the amount we will or should receive that week. Then I add in what bills & groceries below how much & due dates. Then I calculate what is left. Then once I have the entire month filled out I then add in what we can spend each week. Then every pay day I go in & I copy our bank ledger to match & make sure it adds up. Then I go to the next month fill in the same thing & add it all up & then add in the extra spending. I usually do a years worth of budgeting & just fill in everything as you spend & make sure it leaves enough left over for all your bills & then add in the extra fun money spending. It really does help to see what you spend & keep track so you aren't left guessing.

So these are just a few of the ways that help us as a family. I hope they help you. If you have some more tricks do share.

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