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For many years after I got married we were a household with two incomes and no kids. While we had a budget it was pretty generous and we were able to eat out, go on vacation and go to the spa (well, at least I did that one). However, when we had our daughter we made the decision that I would stay home with her after my year of maternity leave was up. During that maternity leave, we also had the opportunity to purchase a house which we did. Those two lifestyle changes, along with the addition of another child, have turned our financial situation upsides down.
I do work from home doing direct affiliate marketing on Pinterest but currently, my husband is the primary breadwinner in our household.
The adjustment from being a couple with two incomes and no kids to our current situation of one income and two kids hasn’t been without its growing pains. Along the way, I’ve had to learn to adjust our spending habits to become more in line with our new lifestyle and have found creative ways to save money.
Here are ten things I’ve stopped buying to save money
1. New Books
I love books especially cookbooks. However, our budget no longer allows for my book buying habit. Instead, it’s been replaced by regular trips to the library. If I fall in love with a cookbook then it gets added to a list as a suggestion for a birthday or Christmas present for me. I also keep an eye on Amazon’s Kindle deals and will let myself indulge in a $0.99 book. My Kindle is a lifesaver for when I’m travelling as it means I can always bring a large selection of books with me. There’s also a free Kindle app which means that you don’t need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of the Kindle deals. You can download the FREE Kindle Reading App here. I’m also not buying new books for the kids which I had a tendency to do. Instead, my daughter has enjoyed the ever-changing selection of stories we get from the library. For an added bonus in our city children never pay late fees on library books!
2. Chicken and Vegetable Stock
So many of the recipes I make call for stock and buying the pre-made stuff can get expensive. So, I’ve started making my own. Anytime I cook a chicken with bones I throw those bones in the freezer and when I have the time I make a batch of stock in my instant pot (an appliance which has changed my life). The same goes for vegetables. There’s a bag in the freezer for vegetable trimmings destined to become stock.
3. Coffee Out
I was never much of a coffee drinker but since having kids my coffee consumption has shot up drastically. I’m sure there must be a correlation somewhere. I’ve invested in a coffee machine at home and the money I spent up front has been more than repaid by the money I’m not spending buying coffee during the day.
My kids love hummus so we could go through two tubs in a week. At $5 a tub, it added up. Now make my own from scratch using my instant pot and dried chickpeas.
Again, with the arrival of children, our bread consumption has skyrocketed. I’m picky about the bread I like to buy (multigrain and sturdy so it can handle cold peanut butter) and the type I like to buy is expensive. Like $5.50 a loaf expensive. Years ago I bought a bread machine and it’s been used sporadically throughout the years. However, now I seem to be using it at least twice a week. It appears that no one in our family can resist warm bread.
6. Toiletries not on sale
With a relatively small place storage space is at a premium. That being said I now will only buy our toiletries when on sale. I’m picky and just can’t seem to move away from some of my brand names. My compromise is now making sure that when I do find my preferred product on sale I buy enough of it to last until the next sale.
7. Toilet paper, paper towel and tissues not on sale
Recently my husband did our grocery shop and came home with a new (no-name brand) of tissues. They were horrible – super thin and scratchy. Unfortunately, everyone in our family came down with colds this winter and we all had to blow our noses with scratchy tissues. The problem is that brand name toilet paper, paper towel and tissues can be expensive. So, once again, I’ve committed myself to only buying them when on sale.
8. Dryer Sheets
While I hate getting shocked when pulling the sheets out of the dryer this is one item I’ve stopped buying. Instead, I’ve bought these woollen dryer balls which are amazing. No static shocks and as I’m not throwing anything away each time, much better for the environment. I use mine unscented but if you think you would miss having scented dryer sheets you could just add a drop of essential oil to them. I prefer to use the woollen ones as they have the added benefit of drying my clothes faster (saving me time and money). However, if you’re allergic to wool it’s possible to use the plastic reusable dryer balls instead.
9. Cooking Herbs
Herbs are super expensive at the grocery store but fresh herbs can make all the difference in a dish. We’re lucky that we have room on our deck for a small container garden. I’ve planted sage, rosemary, oregano and thyme. In summer we’ll add basil and chives to the mix as well as cilantro and parsley. It’s also possible to grow herbs just in your kitchen (here’s a kit to get you started) and I think I might try it next year as I really miss fresh basil during the winter.
Related Post: How to Spend Less Money On Groceries
10. Buying things on sale, only because they are on sale
In the past, I’ve been guilty of this one especially when it came to kids clothing. It’s far too easy to justify a purchase by focussing on the money you’ve saved rather than the money you’re actually spending. I’ve had to retrain my shopping habits so that rather than just buying an item because it’s a great deal it’s because I actually need that item. Making a grocery list and then sticking to it has really helped; I’ve also stopped window shopping in stores. You can’t become tempted to buy something if you don’t go to the store in the first place.
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