10 Ways Our Family Saves Money

I would love to share some different ways that we save money. We are not always super thrifty, like some, but here is how we try:

1.   Recycle Aluminum cans and scrap metal

It is so simple to just have a separate bin for aluminum cans. After we have several bags full, David takes them to the recycling center and they pay him for them. Even if you don’t want to fool with taking them to a recycling center, maybe you know someone who will and collect the cans for them. My mom and dad collect cans for us.

2.   We use an antenna for TV signal

We can’t really get cable television out where we live, but we have had several different satellite services in the past. We really don’t watch much television, but it always seemed like most shows we did watch were on network TV anyway, so when all of our local stations went to a digital signal, the picture is just as good as satellite signal. We ditched the satellite and now watch television for free!

3.   Pay as you go cell phone cards

We have had contracts many times with several different companies in the past. It always seemed like there would be some surprise charge on there every month that we didn’t expect. It would be like, “Oh you were roaming last month outside of our network. We charge for that.” Or “You went over your limit on texting and data. We charge extra for that.” And if you want out of your contract…. Look out! They charge for that!

With the pay as you go phone card, there are no surprises. We pay a set amount every month for each phone. If something comes up and we are short on cash, we may wait a few days to renew. And that’s ok on a pay as you go plan. It works for us.

4.   No credit cards

By now, I know you are starting to see a trend. The reason we do a lot of these things to save money is because we have tried it other ways in the past that did not work. This is not an exception. We have had credit cards. Several. Oh, we would pay them off and make a pact to never use them again unless it was an emergency! They were just too convenient. I know some people are disciplined enough to pay theirs off each month, but this didn’t work well for us. We have been without credit cards for 7 years now and you know what? I really don’t miss them at all. It is just one less bill to worry about.

 

5.   Use coupons whenever possible

I have found that for the most part, at Aldi’s or other grocery stores, the store brand is just as good as the name brand… most of the time. So that is what I mainly buy, but there are those few items like laundry detergent or deodorant that we have a certain brand we really like. I specifically look for those coupons and sales on those items and stock up when I can. Also, whenever we eat out, we first look and see what restaurant coupons I happen to have.

6.   I wash and reuse plastic baggies and bread bags

First, let me just say I do not reuse a plastic baggie if it has had raw meat in it. That would just be gross! But if it has had crackers, or rolls, or raw veggies I definitely think it can be reused. I wash it in the sink along with my other dishes and drape it up to dry.

I mentioned this at work to my coworkers one day and I got that look. You know the one. The one where you think, “Oh no, they’re gonna talk about me later.” Lol I guess we all have our quirks.

The bread bags also work well if I am making a banana nut bread or a zucchini bread and I am giving it away… works great! I used to know a lady who knew how to make braided rugs from bread bags! I now wish I had asked her to show me how.

7.   Service our vehicles, home maintenance ourselves.

Now technically, I don’t do this one. My husband does. And I am so grateful that he has the knowledge to take care of these things. If we have a plumbing issue or whatever, first he will attempt to fix the problem himself and he usually can. If he can’t fix it many times he will read about how to fix something or even watch a You-tube video. If you can do it yourself, you save the service fees.

Do not get me wrong here. I truly appreciate the professionals who provide these services for people who cannot do these things themselves. I remember totally botching up my son’s hair when he was small and was so grateful for the hairdresser who uncomplainingly made things right! I am just saying if it is something simple that you can do yourself, it does save money.

8.   Use the clothesline

In our house we have had bad luck with clothes dryers, so there have been times I have had to hang clothes to dry out of necessity. Even in the wintertime, I draped clothes and sheets all along our handrail and over doors to dry. Now that we do have a dryer that seems to be working at the moment, I still try to utilize the clothesline when I can. On a nice warm day the clothes actually dry just as fast as if I had put them in the dryer. One thing I do try to do is use fabric softener if I am going to hang a load on the line so that the fabric doesn’t dry as stiff.

9.   Stock up when items are on sale or at Sam’s club

I most always pick up a copy of the local Sunday paper so I can catch all the sales going on in town. If there is something on sale that we use regularly, I may pick up several and stock up. If I happen to have a coupon for something on sale that I know we will use, again, stock up. My husband has always loved buying in bulk. We do this a lot with paper items. Every once in a while, we make a trip to Sam’s and stock up and you know… He’s right! It is good not having to worry about certain items when you do your weekly shopping.

10.   Pack a lunch for work, or take coffee from home in a to go cup

As much as my hubby and I love to eat out, we can’t afford to do this all the time. So one of the ways we save on money is by packing our lunches for work. Fortunately, for me working in a school, if I do get a lunch from the cafeteria it is pretty inexpensive, but packing a lunch for me also saves time. If I have my go cup of coffee, I don’t need to take time to stop and purchase one. I can just go to work. But for my husband, a truck driver can spend lots of money and waste a lot of time stopping to eat. He takes several items (mainly fruit) with him on his truck and he can stop and eat while he is waiting to load or unload and doesn’t need to make any extra trips to the truck stops. Doing this makes the times that we do eat out together more meaningful.

 

As I was writing this, I was also thinking there are lots of areas where we really waste money and need definite improvement. Maybe my next post should be 10 ways we waste money. Lol

How about you?

Would love to hear some ways your family saves money.

Leave a comment.

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I love this study!

One of my favorite websites I look on almost every day is Money Saving Mom. She has several posts every day of deals or good buys and much more.

One of the things I look for are free e-books available for download. She posts these often, and sometimes they are only free for a short time so one must hurry to check!

In the beginning, I was downloading every book that sounded good, but now I have begun to be a little more choosy about what books I load onto my tablet. I have lots of books on there that I haven’t even looked at yet! There is one though that I am thankful I have been reading.

Last summer I loaded He Is My All: Living in the Truth of God’s Love for Me (Design4Living) by Debbie Alsdorf.

I got about halfway through it, loved it, but began some other books and it kind of got buried under my stack. (I am so bad to begin projects and not finish). Recently, I came across my journal where I had begun this study, I started flipping through the pages of what I had written last summer, and had to get into it again. I want to finish this project!

This has been an awesome women’s Bible study about God’s love for us and who we are – children of God! It has been a great way to start my mornings. I would highly recommend this for any woman. While it is no longer free, it would still be worth the purchase.

If I see any more books by this author, I will definitely be purchasing them.

Please, Help My Brother Stay in His Home!

Today, I have a huge favor to ask anyone and everyone willing to respond.

I would like to introduce you to a member of my family.

John at 2 yrs

This is my brother, John. He was born in November of 1961. You see, my brother, John, has a form of autism. During the  1960s – 1970s not much was known about autism. Due to John’s erratic behaviors and side effects from the trial and error of many different types of medicines, Mom an Dad could not care for my brother at home. He needed to be cared for professionally. This was a very difficult decision for my parents and after much thought, prayer and consultation, in 1974, John was placed in GDC (Gallipolis Developmental Center). This was close to where we lived and my parents and I could visit him often and keep a close eye on his care.

John 1972

According to an annual report from the state of Ohio GDC was one of the largest facilities of its kind and served 2358 residents. Now, the census is down to around 99. After more residents are relocated to group homes, the census will soon be down to 59. (according to a phone call from one of GDCs administrators). This is a huge drop!

John bday

So, why do you think there was this huge drop in census? Well, that is our fear. Yes, Developmental Centers do cost our state money. Yes, our state is always trying to cut the budget. Yes, my mother and I have received phone calls from GDC administrators wanting to suggest that we allow John to be placed in a privately owned group home. (John was placed in a group home at one other time and it was not the most appropriate setting for him).

Yes, we fear of an upcoming closure of GDC!

John 1977

There are several reasons why we have this fear.

  1. The huge yet gradual drop in census.
  2. A huge drop in the workers. In October of 2013, 80 positions were cut from GDC.
  3. There is already a slated closure within the next two years for two other Developmental Centers (Montgomery and Youngstown). See article.
  4. The need for this legislation, S.B. 64 which states that no more developmental centers can be closed without members of the General Assembly reviewing and creating a Commission.
  5. Lack of communication from GDCs new administration to guardians. Administration used to keep in contact with parents and guardians of any new legislation or orders from the court or any changes. The only contact we have had lately is about these new group homes.

 

As John’s adult guardians, my mother and I received notices recently in the mail that the Supreme Court of Ohio recently passed a law that we now need to attend classes every year in order to keep our guardianship. If we don’t take the classes, we may lose our guardianship! That would mean John would become a ward of the state and we wouldn’t have any say in his placement. Is this to make it difficult on current guardians to keep their family members in developmental centers? I don’t know. I just know that so far we have had a lot of difficulty just getting registered for the only class that is located in our area and is coming up in the next two weeks! Not much notice!

100_5886

I ask you this:

Please. If you live in one of these counties in Ohio (Fayette, Pickaway, Ross, Pike, Vinton, Jackson, Athens, Meigs or Gallia) that are serviced by GDC contact your state senator or representative. Also, contact our governor. Let them know the importance of keeping our state’s developmental centers open. Group homes do not work for all residents. There needs to be the option of a Developmental Center.

If you live in any other county in Ohio, this affects you as well. All Developmental Centers in Ohio stand the chance of closure if Ohio citizens don’t stand and act!

If you do not live in Ohio, do you know the status of developmental centers in your state? Are people, like my brother, who are developmentally handicapped being offered options as to the most appropriate environment for their care?

We need to take a stand for those who cannot stand up for themselves! GDC is home to John and the other residents there.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
 Matthew 25:40 NIV