Like most moms, I worry a lot. About my work, my daughter, my relationships, what I’m going to make for dinner and especially finances. If you think about it, so many things are tied up in your household finances, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Deciding what to do on a boring afternoon turns into weighing the pros and cons of spending money on a paid (but exciting) activity. Should you add meat to your dinner? Because meat costs more. Do you sign your kids up for the activity they’ve been wanting, even though it will cut into your checking account buffer?
While many of these scenarios seem to be luxury items, they are just life. As moms, we want to provide the best experience for our kids but it comes at a financial cost. Lately, I’ve been tired of constantly fretting over every penny I spend and save so I decided to do something about it. Despite being a two income household, I felt like there were places I could cut back on spending so we had more wiggle room in our budget. In the course of an afternoon, I made some small changes that means I will have an extra $1100 in my pocket every year. Here’s what I did.
1. I Got Rid Of The Extras
The easiest way to make room in your budget is to ditch your non-essential items. For our house, that was paying $25 a month for a water service. Living in Southern California means we don’t drink the tap water, and we have an older fridge that doesn’t have a handy water dispenser. When I signed up to get bottled water a few years ago, it worked for our family. As I look back, it was definitely a convenience factor that helped me avoid lugging home gallons of water from the store. But over the same amount of time, the price continued to rise from $19, up to $29 per month! After some negotiating, we settled on $25. In the end, it still wasn’t worth paying the $300 per year when I could buy generic water from the grocery store at a quarter of the cost. All it took was a call to my vendor and I started saving in 1 afternoon. In your family, extras may come in the form of TV subscriptions, housecleaners (p.s. I’m jealous), massages or regular blowouts (things I’ve also had to get rid of over the last year). If you’re trying to save money, consider letting some of them go. My guess is, you won’t miss them all that much and when you do get to indulge, they’ll be much more special.
Money Saved Per Year: $300
2. I Asked For A Discount
You never know what kind of discounts may be lurking in things you already pay for. For me, it was a gym membership. And no- I didn’t cancel it to save money. I actually USE my gym a TON. Four times a week in fact and it’s part of what keeps me sane. However, I also pay for kids care to the tune of $26.99 a month. With some digging, I found out that they were offering a new price of $17.99 per month. That saves me $9 a month and while that doesn’t seem like a lot, it adds up over time. It never hurts to check into the current things you pay for and ask if there’s a way to save money. It pays off!
Money Saved Per Year: $108
3. I Downgraded Some Services
As a work from home mom, there are certain amenities I have to have- and internet is one of them. But after seeing my cable and internet bill continue to rise, I had enough. Yes, I need internet and I do enjoy having a nice cable package, but it’s not a necessity that I have every channel known to man. I called my cable and internet provider and honestly, they weren’t helpful at first. Their initial offer was to downgrade my cable package and I would save a whopping $7 a month. When I told them I may have to leave them as a customer, they offered me an alternative- switching to satellite. This change would save me over $40 a month, which is HUGE.
Now, I know you’re probably going to say- you don’t NEED television, just cancel it! And no, nobody needs television. But we aren’t in dire straights and as a family we enjoy watching sports and our favorite shows. Until it’s completely out of budget, I’m going to keep it. Sitting down after a long day and catching up on my favorite shows is my “me time.”
If you’re trying to save some cash, it wouldn’t hurt to call your cell phone, cable, internet and even your utility providers and see if there is a way to downgrade your services. You never know what your options are!
Money Saved Per Year: $504
4. I Had A Little Luck
I’ve been paying my cell phone bill for several years and it’s always the same amount. However, this last bill I noticed it was $20 cheaper. Turns out, when my husband upgraded his phone, they prorated his payments on our bill. I had no idea! That $20 adds up, saving me over $200 a year now. Yes, I didn’t intentionally save that money but it’s going in my pocket all the same. I think if you’re keep your eyes open, you can find easy or “lucky” ways to save money. Instead of spending that $20 you found in your old jeans, save it! When there’s a sale at the grocery store, don’t buy 10 items when you only need one- actually save the money from not paying full price.
Money Saved Per Year: $240
Everyone’s financial situation is different and some of you may be looking to save some serious cash. I hope my experiences have helped you in some way, but if you are hoping for more ideas on finances, budgeting and debt we have some great articles that you can find below.
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