Finding new money challenges and budgeting tips for how to save money can seem impossible, especially if you feel like you've tried everything! Here are six clever ways to save money that might be a little out of the box - but they really do work!
Nine years ago we become a one income family. We knew that our family was finally expanding beyond just the two of us, and that I was going to stay home with the baby... what we didn't count on was my husband losing his job only 4 months after I quit mine!
As a result, we also knew that we needed to drastically change our spending habits. So we dug into our budget and cut out everything that wasn't essential.
We even took our food budget from $1000 a month to less than $200 a month!
Once we had cut everything we could think of, we started digging into a few additional ways to save money that would cut out the disposable items we used every day.
Clever Ways to Save Money
While there are some incredibly sane ways to save money, like creating a meal plan, buying in bulk, and cutting your household budget with my worksheet system, there are also some pretty intense ways to save money too!
If you've done everything you can think of to slash your budget, and you need to trim a little more, here are six things to consider for your family!
1. Reusable Period Supplies
There are several options for getting rid of disposable period supplies. This is a great way to save money and cut down on toxicity often associated with disposable feminine products.
- Mama Cloth - Mama cloth replaces disposable feminine products. Not only does it save money, but it also cuts down on the toxicity that comes along with using the disposable kind of feminine products. For most women, this would save about $300 a year. This practice is becoming more and more common and will help you avoid any issues with product availability (like we've seen in recent years).
You can make your own mama cloth or buy pre-made mama cloth in a ton of fun colors and patterns!
- Period Cups - If you're not comfortable with mama cloth, you can use a period cup instead. For me, that's not an option due to my anatomy shape, but it might be perfect for you! A period cup is a silicone piece that is inserted like a tampon and is easily emptied and washed. The Sunny Period Cup is highly recommended if you want to try it!
2. Family Cloth
Just like mama cloth, family cloth is a replacement for disposable toilet paper. Not only is it better for the environment, it's a great savings over time.
My dad tells stories of his grandfather (a Texas Ranger) who never liked toilet paper and refused to use it - continuing to use washcloths instead.
This practice has gone out of style in favor of the more convenient disposable toilet paper, but perhaps it's time to bring it back.
For most families, using family cloth would save around $500 for the first year. And then even more savings would be seen in the following years.
Most people use washcloths for this purpose, I've heard good things about using these washcloths for family cloth!
3. Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are nothing new, but many families think of them as old-fashioned in a time of disposable diapers. However, when you're trying to save money, sometimes you have to get a little old-fashioned.
We originally wanted to do cloth diapers with our little guy. My mom got us all stocked up on the sweetest little patterns and I was so excited to use them! But he ended up being a premie so the diapers didn't fit right away. And by the time they did fit, we were already sold on Honest Company diapers (which are ah-mazing by the way).
However, if we had made the switch it would have saved us $1080 a year!
You can buy cloth diapers in a variety of patterns and styles, or you can make them yourself!
4. Cloth Wipes
This goes right along with cloth diapers of course. Even though we weren't able to get into the cloth diaper groove, I had thought about cloth wipes for our son as he has very sensitive skin. We originally started with these Burt's Bees Baby Wipes and loved them!
However, they are not cheap! Switching to cloth wipes saved us $640 a year!
You can grab these super soft cloths made specifically for cloth wipes here, or of course, you can make your own baby wipes from whatever cloth you'd like!
5. No-Poo (No Shampoo) Method
No, this isn't a method for learning how to not go to the bathroom anymore! It's the slang term for cutting shampoo out of your routine.
All you do is get your hair wet and rub some baking soda (just a bit) into your hair. Then, take a spray bottle with ACV and water at a 1:4 ratio and spritz out the baking soda. Then rinse well and style as you normally would.
While it may take your hair a few weeks to adjust to the new method (and your hair might over-produce oil during that time) it's worth it to make the switch!
Not only are you using more natural methods for cleansing your hair, but you're also saving a bunch of money in the process!
Cutting out shampoo and conditioner would save most families $450 a year!
6. Enjoy A No-Spend Day/Week/Month
A no-spend day/week/month is exactly what it sounds like. A period of time during which you spend NO money.
Here are some things we completely avoid during our no-spend months:
- Dining out
- Buying food (eat creatively from the pantry)
- Spending money on Amazon or other online stores
- Buying books
- Buying DVDs
- Going to the movies
- Spending money on phone app purchases
- Buying clothes/shoes
That's not to say you can't spend money on these items. But we have found that drawing a line in the sand and saying NO to everything ends up saving us a LOT of money.
One note: If you have a no-spend month, don't go crazy the next month and spend all the money you just saved!
This typically saves us $1500-2000 a month each time!
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In total, if you did everything on this list you would save about $4000 a year.
Of course, not everything on this list will apply to every family, but it's a great place to start!
Even More Frugal Living Ideas
If you want to try a few more ways to save money, here are some of our favorites!