Almost 2 years ago, my husband and I decided that I would stay home with the children so we didn't have to send them to daycare. Let me tell you this was a huge decision that we didn't take lightly. We prayed and talked about it so much. We decided to take the leap and put our trust in God.
I am happy to say that things are working out for us. Sure I am not just sitting at home with my children, I do have to supplement my income. (small farming just doesn't pay all the bills) I run a daycare out of my house, this allows me to be home with my children and still make an income.
We also have done the following to help reduce the amount we spend.
1) Shop at Garage Sale or Thrift Stores. I can't tell you how fun it is to go to garage sales and thrift shops. There are so many treasures just waiting to be found there. There are so many great deals as well. I recently found Disney movies for my children for $0.50 each. I can't beat that. Sure they are videos and not DVDs, but I don't mind and my children sure don't mind. One of the local thrift shops have 1/2 off on Friday, making some sweet deals. You can get clothes for $0.13!!!
2) Have a garage sale. I not only love to go to garage sales, but I love to have garage sales myself. It may be a lot of work to set up, but it is worth it. I can clean out my house every Summer and still find more items for next Summer's garage sale.
3) Eat out Less. I know that it is hard sometimes when you work 40 plus hours a week to find the desire to cook. Trust me I know, I am not too fond of cooking. I am making every attempt to find ways to simplify cooking. I look for easy recipes on line and am trying to start to batch cook and freezing meals for the days I really don't feel like cooking, which is rather often.
4) Take your lunch to Work. Just like eating out for supper, you can save money by taking your lunch to work with you. Just make a little extra at supper time and eat it for lunch the next day.
5) Stop paying for TV. We decided to drop cable/satellite and go with just the free channels you can get through the air. Sure it takes a little time to adjust, but actually we were watching most of the prime time shows anyway that you can get FREE. We have a public television channel that provides educational cartoons throughout the day for the children when they get to watch TV. When you stop paying for TV, you find you have extra time for family time, because you all aren't glued to the TV!
6) Car pool to work or use public transportation. When I used to commute to work, I would carpool with others from my town. It sure saved a lot of money and wear and tear on my car. It also allowed me to make new friends and it was a way for me to unwind on the drive home. I had the option when I wasn't driving to either just sit quietly or to talk with other adults about my day and problems. It was so nice to unwind that way, when I got home I was more relaxed and ready to enjoy time with the family.
7) Stop Smoking/Drinking. I know this is probably easier said than done. I am lucky that I don't smoke and since I am breastfeeding I don't drink. I never really drank before breastfeeding either though. I do know people who do both and it is so expensive. I can't believe how much a pack of cigarettes cost! If you do smoke, you may want to talk to your doctor or employer and your insurance may cover the cost to help you quit smoking!
8) Stay Home. I know it might not sound all that fun, but you can save money by just staying home and having fun. If you do want to get out, which of course you should every once in awhile, then find free entertainment. The local news channel post weekend events in our area and they generally have free events listed. You can always go on a hike/bike ride, go fishing, have a picnic, camp in the backyard or at a friends house, have a cookout with friends, invite friends to a movie night. The possibilities are endless, just do some searching on the Internet and you would be amaze.
9) Sun dry clothes. In the summertime I love to hang my clothes out on the line. It may take a little extra time, but it is so worth it. Not only does it save energy, which saves money, but they smell so good too. In the winter time I have some indoor clothes lines that I set up to dry clothes on. I also did invest in a energy efficient front load washing machine to help save money.
10) Clip coupons. Check out my site to see how you can save with coupons as I post deals at the local stores. Many people think that clipping coupons isn't worth it. They couldn't be more wrong. I know that it does take some time, but once you have a system set up and get used to using them, you can be amazed at the deals you can get and how you can reduce your grocery bill.
11) Have a garden. I look forward to our garden every year. I love the fresh vegetables we are able to get from it. I am even more thankful that my children seem to like the vegetables as well, unlike me when I was their age. We are lucky to have fresh vegetables every night for supper and we are able to freeze/can the extra to use later in the winter months. This helps with the grocery bill as well.
12) Purchase your meat/eggs from a local farmer. This might not always save you money, but you will at least know where your meat/eggs are coming from. Farm fresh eggs from free range chickens are so good, you can notice the difference from the store bought eggs when you crack them open. I am so lucky to have the farm for fresh meat and eggs.
These are just some examples of things you can do to cut back on expenses and start living frugal. Please share what you and your family have done to live more frugal.