Will and I started Dave Ramsay's "Financial Peace University" a few weeks ago. It has been a really fun course so far, and we have been challenged to name every dollar and make sure we are setting ourselves up financially for goals that we have. We'd love to buy a house one day and adopt again if possible, but we need to be in the right financial position first.
Will and I are not financial wizards by any means, but I feel like we are pretty frugal in general. We don't eat out often, we don't go shopping ever, and we don't waste money on cable or extravagant things. Here are a few things that work for us:
1. Utilize FREE resources. We love the library for movie rentals and books! We go to the park with the kids and try to limit the amount of things we bring INTO our house. We go on a date every 2-3 months, when we have free babysitting! We do have the upside that our kids go to bed around 7pm every night, and so we do have plenty of quality time at home together. We try to make date nights in special and will make sure to set the phones/technology down during "date night" time if we have a special movie or game we are playing.
2. Invite People Over. Community is really important to us, and we love eating with friends and students. It is cheaper to eat in than eat out, so we will have people over - splitting responsibilities over the cost of food (pot luck style). Also, it's always FREE to have playdates in your own home!
3. Declutter and Purge. Last year I read "Clutterfree with Kids" and it was really insightful into living with less while having kids. I love following "minimalism" blogs like Becoming Minimalist and The Art of Simple. I think it is important to have a good mindset in relation to stuff and a reason WHY you are going to live with less and save money, or else you won't stick with your guns. I'm always trying to get rid of things in a donate pile or by selling online.
4. Consignment. I love consignment for several reasons. First, I love to SELL on consignment - either my clothes on Twice or my kids clothes at a local consignment sale or online yard sale sites. I've decided to keep the bare essentials for my kids, but not EVERYTHING because we may not even have any more tiny babies, and they may not be in the same size/season anyways.
>>>> More on Twice. Have you heard of it? I have seriously bought an entire winter wardrobe for FREE! Here's how. First, sign up using this link and you (and I) will receive $10 for signing up! Then, download the "Twice" app on up to 3 apple devices (can be your spouse's!) and log in, and you will receive $10 credit per app. If you share YOUR unique referral code with friends, you can get $10 per referral. Also, if you sell clothes, you can get money back in store credit or cash. You'll also get a $10 bonus the first time you sell. The first time you buy clothes on twice you can use a 50% off code for your first purchase (just google for it because it changes). So you can put $80 worth of clothes in your cart and get them all for FREE if you use the link, and download up to 3 apps. It's a lot of fun and there's always new stuff on the site.
>>>> I recently tried to sell stuff on swap.com, and although I like purchasing kids clothes off of the site, I didn't really have a good experience selling items. It was more work than it was worth in my opinion.
>>>>>I haven't used ThredUp yet, but I've heard good things.
5. Menu Plan. Use grocery items that can stretch among recipes and buy items when they are on sale and in season. There are so many blogs out there with menu plans and free resources on eating well and inexpensively.
What other saving money ideas do you have? I think the best thing is to make a plan, set goals, and stick to it!