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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

7 Simple Budget Cuts That Make A Big Difference from Clean Mama

Hi! I'm Becky - also known as Clean Mama. I'm a clean-freak trapped in an artist's body, a stay/work-at-home mom to two little ones and former art teacher. In my "spare" time I look for new ways to simplify, organize, create, and clean.  The Clean Mama blog is where I talk about safe, green cleaning, spiffing up my home, and other fun to me (and hopefully fun to my readers) projects.  I also have a little Etsy shop called Clean Mama Printables and I am a Shaklee Distributor.  I'd love for you to stop by my little cyber spot, have a look around and stay awhile.

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Trimming the fat.  Cutting corners.  Budgets.  Clipping coupons.  Frugal living.

Any of these phrases ring true in your house?  Want to save some money around the house and use it for something else or to pay something else?  I'm going to share seven cuts and changes - beyond the typical changing your cell phone plan and clipping coupon cuts - that I've made in our home in the past couple of years that have made a BIG difference in our budget.  Hopefully there's something new to you that you can try in your home and save too.

1.  Meal Plan - limit take-out and eating out - we go out for a special ice cream treat every few weeks instead.  Take time one day a week to sit down and PLAN dinners for the week.  Try to make each meal stretch for the next night - you'll cook less and enjoy eating more.  (Spoiler alert - I'm going into detail about meal planning soon.)

Approximate money saved - $30/week for a family of 4 = $120/month or $1440/year

2.  Use a concentrated All-Purpose/Multi-Purpose Cleaner - not a big surprise, I use Basic H2, and think it's the best, but I love that it eliminated trips down "that" aisle at the big box store.  No impulse cleaning supply purchases, no half-empty spray bottles.  I am still on the same bottle of H2 concentrate that I bought over two years ago and I'd venture a guess that I used to spend at least $10/month on cleaning supplies (window cleaner, various bathroom cleaners, kitchen cleaners, oven cleaners, spot cleaners, carpet cleaners.....)

Approximate money saved - at least $10/month or $120/year.

3.  Drink Water Instead of Soda and Juice - Soda isn't good for you, so we limit it to special occasions and drink water instead.  I find that if I have good tasting ice water with sliced lemons in it, I don't miss the sweet soda taste.  I gave up Diet Coke in college, so it's more of the pizza and pop thing that I struggle with and root beer floats.  

Approximate money saved - Let's just say you bought two cases of soda every month for $5.99 that would be $11.98/month or $143.76/year.

4.  Eliminate Paper in the Kitchen - read the post here - this is a very popular topic and I love that there is so much interest in how I did this.  Truly, even my family can't believe that I don't have paper towels in the house - if I can do it, ANYONE can!

Approximate money saved - at least $20/month or $240/year.

5.  Trade/Share/Borrow Kids' Clothes - Find someone that you know (friend, family, neighbor) that you can do this with.  Swap bins back and forth and it's all FREE!  We buy a couple special occasion outfits and some good basics.  If I have to buy separates, I buy on sale at my favorite big box store.  

Approximate money saved - $100 every season or $400/year per kid or $800/year for two kids.

6.  DIY Haircuts - Buy a clipper and scissors and do your own hair cutting.  My hair dresser gave me a few tips on cutting kids' hair - luckily my daughter has curls so mistakes don't show.  My son gets the #3 or #4 clipper cut all over his hair and it's almost-perfect every time. I trim my own bangs (using tips from my hairdresser) and stopped coloring my hair.  I have long hair so I can easily go four months before getting a haircut.

Approximate money saved - $40 every three months (2 kids hair cuts/ 4 times a year) = $160/year

7.  Utilize craigslist.com, The Freecycle Network and local garage sales.  Sell what you don't need, buy what you do.  If we're looking for a "new" bike for someone, I check craigslist and freecycle first and if I don't find anything, I'll drive by local garage sales and look for a bike.  If I see one, then I stop.  I find that if I actually get out of the car and go to all the garage sales I end up with a lot of things and stuff that I didn't really need and will probably end up selling at my next garage sale. 

Approximate money saved - varies.

Doing these seven simple budget cuts has saved us right around $3000 during this past year!  Do you have a favorite budget cut to share?  I'd love to hear about it!

1 comment:

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