Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This years money saving solutions.

I manage the finances for our family (pay the bills, keep the budget, etc), mostly because I have worked for a financial advisor for the last 5 years and so am skilled in this area and I like to be organized and know what is going on with our income. This year I have a goal to add $10,000 to our current savings. To do this I have made some changes, not only for the purpose of saving dollars, but also to become more self-sufficient, frugal, safe & smart. Here are the things I am now doing to accomplish this goal:
  • Started using cloth diapers & wipes - to my surprise & delight - very easy and extremely cost effective. I haven't bought disposable diapers in weeks! :) I already use reusable cotton breast pads and haven't had to buy any disposables since Gemma was 2 months old.
  • Eating in - we usually eat in anyway but are making an extra special effort to make all meals at home instead of going out for pizza or something. Eating in means it costs much less and almost always tastes better!
  • Making weekly snacks - instead of buying muesli bars or other packaged snacks I dedicate some time each Thursday to making a healthy snack to last us a week. It's usually a protein/energy bar of some sort incorporating puffed brown rice, oats, LSA, flaxseed, chia, craisins, toasted coconut, almond butter, coconut oil, honey & protein powder. Really yummy and full of good stuff! :) 
  • I now make my own household cleaning products & laundry powder - it is INCREDIBLY cost effective AND in my experience work much better than bought cleaning products AND safer for using around baby AND very satisfying. I make my own spray & wipe, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner and laundry powder. They cost next to nothing compared to the shop bought stuff. My clothes smell and feel cleaner and don't have any sticky soapy residue on them, the laundry powder is great on the dirty diapers & for the price of one container of laundry liquid I used to buy I can make 12 times as much! It's amazing! The floor cleaner I used to use always left sticky streaks on my tiles, the first time I used my homemade floor cleaner I couldn't believe my eyes - NO STREAKS! No stickiness and brilliantly cleaned tiles! Yay! 
  • I make all Gemma's baby food from scratch. Dirt cheap and far healthier. I spend some time steaming and pureeing fruit & veggies, freeze it in cubes, once frozen I turn out into a big zip-lock bag that stays in the freezer and I get out what I need each day. I can't even work out how few cents each serving costs it is that cheap! Think, a jar of baby food costs about $1, a kilo bag of carrots from the fruit shop costs 69c and makes at least 20+ servings of food.
  • I walk everywhere, where possible. Instead of waiting for Marshall to get home with the car I walk to the grocery store with Gemma in the stroller almost daily, burning calories & saving money at the same time :)
  • Recently started washing dishes instead of using the dishwasher- now I'm not 100% sure about this one yet, but my recent electricity bill was higher than I had anticipated and my neighbors bill was lower and she said that she always washes her dishes so I thought just maybe this may factor in, so as long as I wash the dishes immediately and not let them pile up it is pretty easy work. In fact, I have enjoyed washing them early each morning when it is nice and cool, looking out the window, it is quite therapeutic and there is a feeling of satisfaction after having washed them.
  • We quit the gym and now exercise at home. We used to spend $120 a month on gym memberships for the both of us. At the time it was great as I would go every day, but since having Gemma, being without a car, breastfeeding etc.. I just can't get there like I used to. SO, we canceled our memberships and bought a couple of benches, a bar & a heap of free weights & dumbbells. Essentially we now have an at home gym in the garage. Also our complex has a small gym including bike, elliptical & treadmill & all in one weights station and we have a lap pool so there is really no excuse :) We workout together in the morning before Marshall leaves for work and then I walk 3.5km with Gemma each morning and do a workout in the afternoon. It's great! I'm in shape and we're saving $120 a month :)
  • Cooking in bulk and freezing meals - I am trying to utilize the space in our big freezer in the garage by making meals I can freeze. It makes it easier especially when I don't feel like cooking or if we have run out of oatmeal or something for breakfast, previously Marshall has bought breakfast on the way to work but now we will always have something at home. I love making a bulk lot of healthy wholewheat & oat buttermilk pancakes and freezing them, then we just pull a couple out as we need them, heat them up and enjoy! This week I'm making a heap of breakfast burritos to freeze, tortillas filled with egg, potato, bacon & chorizo. Yum!
Well, that's about all I could think of for now. I'm sure there are many more things I could do but I'm just taking it one day at a time. I'm feeling good about all these changes and excited to watch our savings increase!


  1. Hey Talz, Do you have the recipes you use for your own cleaning products? Have you tried making your own baby wipes? I like your ideas!

  2. I have saved water and toilet paper by making my husband and all the kids do our toilet business at work and at school.

    We have saved at least $25 on toilet paper and reduced our water bill by $10.