We are not millionaires.
We are not even hundred thousand-aires.
But we are debt-free, saving growing, single-steady income-aires… with an infant.
This is culturally the year we are supposed to be overwhelmed financially; it is the year of having our first child. Yet, we are working less and saving more… What sets us apart from the newlywed couple we USED to be? Self discipline, greater goals, and smarter work. Open communication and judgement-free conversations that lead to feeling good about our choices and not hiding receipts. Here are my tips on how you can save more for your family for FREE.
We all want a savings but think, “I’ll save next paycheck.” The time to save is NOW. Let this spring – no TODAY- will be the start of your joyful finances! Grab a warm mug, and lets get uncomfortable.
Businesses know when payday is around the corner. You’ll notice more going on, and e-mails flooding in for “YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS THIS…” and boom, you’re suckered into buying toxic candles to last you the rest of the year. Start your spring cleaning by unsubscribing from everything. Including notifications from Amazon Prime! Money for out of season candles or money for vacation? That’s a lot of margaritas on the beach in Mexico that you’re missing out on, just because “well, it was on sale.”
Look at everything with DIY googles. Making your own coffee at home cost less money and time then going to a Starbucks. Doing your own nails cost less money and time then going to the nail salon. Doing your own wall art cost less then the Pottery Barn must-haves. Upcycling furniture cost less money and takes less time then going out for new items. This is a great way to learn new skills! This year I learned to cut my husband’s hair, tone my own hair, and sew baby items for Anakin. The little things add up, which is how we were able to afford a recent trip to Texas for a friend’s wedding!
If you have friends that are only available to meet for brunch, lunch, coffee, dinner, drinks, movies, etc – invite them over. Make a pot of coffee, have a BBQ and jump on Vudu. This can save on food, drinks, entertainment tickets, parking fees, toll fees, baby sitters, and unfortunately more. I am the biggest fan of brunch occasionally, but a bigger fan of authentic and real friendships. Friends want you to succeed, and will be understanding to a change of scenery!
Never Pay Full Price
Shopping consignment and thrift stores saved us big time with baby items and furniture. If you are in a store and want something, try seeing if there is a coupon online. My favorite brand Free People can be found in Marshall’s for nearly 40% – 60% cheaper! Today, I got $80 worth of Too Faced make-up for under $35 at Macy’s (two full sized products, and three freebies!) Shop smart and save. I try to make sure that if I am coupon-less, I am at least supporting locals. Buying bulk and using the calculator app on your phone is also a great tip for groceries! Keep your eyes out on unit pricing and adding up your items so check out isn’t uncomfortable if you’re out of budget.
Overall, we have to have strict black and white goals. What are our wants? What are our needs? And what are we spending our money on that is neither a want or a need? For us, it was easy to cut out cable TV, the bulls-eye section at Target, and presliced fruit. It turns out I also don’t need to have a high maintenance hair color and my husband doesn’t need more video games… that is until Anakin can be his Player #2.
And like always, you get what you pay for. I may have a cheaper hair appointment, but I still get it trimmed by someone I trust. Forever 21 may have the cheaper price tags, but I want to invest in pieces that don’t shred in the dryer and can handle baby fluids. We want to make sure our bodies are well fed with healthy food, and that we have a mindset of investing in our future. There is no authentic, genuine, and joyful future in impressing anyone with things we can’t truly afford.
I hope these tips are both encouraging and helpful towards being mindful and confident in your spending this year! If you have any other changes others can make for free, feel free to leave them in the comments!