Mama Jessica // How to Stretch a Dollar: Tips from an Accidental Penny Pincher

Monday, February 17, 2014

When Erin asked us to contribute mommy topics to her blog, I, at first, thought to myself, “I’m a new mom just learning as I go.” And it’s true. I learn new info every day, not only from other moms but from my little guy as well. But if there is one thing I know how to do, its saving money. When my husband, Chris, and I decided I would stay home with our new bundle of joy, it became very clear that living on one income would change us. So in an effort to make our family dollars stretch, I became an accidental penny pincher.

I started with a simple Excel spreadsheet to figure out the difference between how much money we had coming in versus how much we spent. Having a true understanding of this really helped us decide where we could cut back and where money was needed, like not needing an extensive cable package but needing gas and electric. I kept track of everything: from bills to food to entertainment and even those energy drinks that Chris likes to buy…. It all adds up.

Soon after our baby boy was born, I found we were struggling financially. Let’s face it, babies are expensive. From the pregnancy to my C-section to buying essentials after he arrived, they are expensive. So I did my research and found out several ways to save money.

I know there are TONS of ways to save money but here are just a few that have worked for my family...

  • Keep record of your household expenses and live within your means 
  • Do it yourself home improvements-as much as I wanted to hire a professional painter to paint our house and install my kitchen backsplash, we saved a ton doing it ourselves
  • Make use of your resources- babies grow so fast and I’ve found that using consignment stores, rummage sales, or craigslist can really help…even Pinterest offers unique ideas 
  • Coupon, coupon, coupon- you don’t have to become an extreme couponer, but do check out your local grocery stores to see if they offer double coupon days and shop with a list on those days (the most I have ever saved in one transaction was $51.24 and I paid $91.76)
    • Also, department stores offer coupons or discounts as well. Kohl’s practically gives their stuff away when you find the right deals. Hobby Lobby offers a 40% off daily, Shopko sends out their flyers with $10 off when you spend $40, and Target has store coupons that can be used with manufacture coupons and will give you $10, $15, or $20 gift cards when you buy a certain amount of diapers, wipes, or formula 
    • Coupons are not just needed for groceries… They can be used on oil changes, haircuts and even movie theaters. NEVER pay full retail!!
  • Other tips- avoid ATM fees, program house temperature, find what is free in your area, locate kids eat free restaurants, cancel magazine subscriptions, use apps to find the lowest cost of gas prices

1 comment:

  1. I'm trying so hard to get into couponing!!! I know how much you can save, I just never allot the time to do it right. Great tips! :)

    Diary of a Debutante


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