Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What I Save Money On, What's Not Worth Saving Money On and How I Earn a Little Extra Money

When I scroll through pinterest, I find so many posts about how to save money or what we are wasting money on.  Although I know how frugal we try to be, and I know that most of the things on the list are things we don't ever buy or are already doing to save money, I always get sucked in.  I think it's kind of a game for me. How many of these things am I doing even though it says  "that you haven't thought of" in the title?

After seeing several different lists, a lot of them with the same ideas on them, I started to notice how many things that people think I'm wasting money on that are actually way better for me to use at this time in my life.  So today I'm sharing with all of you the things that I do to save money, the things that aren't worth my saving money for, and a few ways that I earn money doing.

Here are some of the things that I save money on:

- Buying off brand. Most of the time off brand labels taste and work just as good as the brand label. Kirkland diapers, for example. Unless Huggies are on sale, and cheaper than the Kirkland brand at Costco, I buy the Kirkland. Did you know that Huggies actually make the Kirkland diaper? They are the same thing, they just have animals on them instead of Mickey Mouse.  Costco has a lot of other Kirkland products that are actually big name brand products, just with the Kirkland label, so this is one really great way to save money.

- Netfix. We don't have it. And at some point we probably will look into getting it. But for now, we live in an HOA community and as part of that, we get cable. So what's the point in spending that extra $8/month on the same shows I can watch when they are on TV?  That being said. When we move and no longer have cable, this will be the other way around. There is no reason to have both, and Netflix is way cheaper than cable if it's not already provided.

- Coffee. Because I don't drink coffee at all. But how do I function ever day? Oh, easy. I get up, I eat a good breakfast, drink some apple or orange juice and I start working on my to do list. Then I exercise. Exercise gives you more energy than anything else. I also go to bed at a decent time. 10:30 is usually the latest. So it's possible. Stop spending money on coffee and other caffeinated drinks that are bad for you, and start living a healthy life that allows you to use your own, natural energy instead of caffeine.

- Organic food. I'm the first to admit that I don't understand all of that organic food and what the difference between an apple and an organic apple is.  But here's my thoughts, an apple that I buy at a regular grocery store for 79 cents a pound is just the same as an organic apple that will cost my double that just because it wasn't sprayed with pesticides.  Do you know how to make a normal apple organic? Take it home and wash it or peal it before you eat it.  Now, I will say again that I don't know all that much about organic food. But, if I grew up healthy because I ate that apple that I had to wash instead of one that wasn't sprayed at all, or that was grown with miricle grow and all those "chemicals" instead of horse manure, which is also chemicals, just different ones, why can't I eat that now and be just as healthy?

- We water down our juice. I almost always water my kids juice down so it's half juice and half water. They should be drinking more water anyway and this helps us not go through juice as fast.

- I cook at home. Every night.  We hardly ever do the picking something up on the way home or going out to eat thing. And while I'd love a break once in a while from making dinner, it saves us a lot of money to just stay home and eat.

- I eat left overs for lunch.  That's the best part of having any leftovers, I don't have to think about what I'm eating for lunch the next day and hope that it will hold me over for dinner.

- Trevon makes his lunch and takes it to work. He never goes out to lunch.

There are a lot more things that we save money with, but I think that gives a good idea. Now for things that aren't worth me saving money on.

- Making my own pasta sauce instead of using store bought.  Here's the thing. I grew up with home made sauces and they taste way way better. But they take way way more time. And time is not something I have when I'm at home with two (almost three) kids to take care of. I know people think that means I should have more time. To them I say, you've never tried it.  The amount of time and energy is not worth me saving 50 cents on a bottle of sauce. Instead, i buy the cheapest one (at our store that is Hunts traditional sauce in a can, not a bottle) and I use as much as I need and save the rest for later in the week.  I also need to say, this is only for red sauce, I make my own Alfredo sauce and it only takes about 5-10 minutes.

- Cloth diapers. But wait, that's supposed to save a lot of money right? Well, if you think about it, that's doing an extra load of dirty, smelly, nasty laundry a day. And that extra load of laundry uses more water, soap, and heat to get them all clean, all of which costs money. Plus cloth diapers cost way more money in the first place. I don't feel bad at all that I'm blessed to live in a time with disposable diapers. For us, clothe diapering is not worth the time or work to replace disposable.

- Making my own laundry soap. I tried this for a year. Do you know what? despite all the blogs out there saying that it works just as well as store bought soap, it didn't. I ended up having to wash most of the loads twice because the soap didn't dissolve all the way the first time. More water, more time.  It didn't leave our clothes as soft or clean and they didn't last as long that way. More money on new clothes. I also found that it made my washing machine really dirty. The soap would get piled up and clumps were always found in the fabric softener cup.  Not worth it. Plus the store bought stuff smells better, works better, and you can use a little less than their recommended cup and be just fine.

- Buttermilk, brown sugar, cream of chicken soup, all the other staples that people think are easier to make on their own. In order to make them on my own, I have to buy the other stuff that goes into them, and if I do that, I'm spending more money on them. And it makes my life harder when it comes to cooking and baking.

-Baby food.  It might save money to make your own, but it doesn't save time or energy. And that's what I need when I have a baby.  When that little person is hungry, they are hungry right now and they are not going to wait for me to boil the vegetables, and blend them up just for them. So, I do buy the bottled baby food and I don't feel bad about it.

There are deffinetly things out there that are not needed. There are things you can, and should cut back on. But in order to find those things, you need to think of what you're willing to sacrifice for them.

There are a few ways that I earn a little extra money for our family. Notice I said a little. This isn't money that will pay the bills, it's not going to sustain us if we lost a job, but a little bit helps here and there when it comes to doing fun things, giving gifts, and extra spending or saving money.

- Swagbucks. This is a website that allows you to earn points to exchange in for giftcards and other things. It is 100% legit, not a scam. I've used it for 5 years now and have been able to help pay for Christmas and birthdays for those last 5 years, some times it's paid for all of Christmas and birthdays.  The easiest way to earn swagbucks is through their search engine. For the most part it works exactly like google, except it randomly pays you for searches. There are several other ways you can earn on their website as well. To sign up for swagbucks click HERE.

- Ibotta App. This is a great little app that lets you get rebates on certain items on your grocery list. They have stores like Target, Walmart and Costco on their list, but they have recently added others. They just added Maceys, which happens to be my regular grocery store. All you do is  download the app, make an account and link it to your grocery store accounts. Then you start unlocking rebates, which is super easy and takes two seconds, and then you redeem the rebates by verifying your purchases and taking a picture of your reciept. Once you get up to $20 in your account you can withdraw your money and have it sent to you paypal account or get giftcards with it. When you sign up for the app, you automatically get $10 to your account. To sign up now, go HERE.

What do you spend money on that others save on?


  1. Wow you have a really impressive list!! I should definitely work on not spending money on coffee. Some days I go without it, but other days I feel like I need that boost. And my coffee maker at home completely sucks so that's why I buy it. I also always cook at home for all my meals except on weekends I'll pick up a few things. You mentioned many things that I had never thought of before like watering down juice. Though I rarely drink juice that's something to keep in mind for me as a future mom.

  2. I love all your money saving tips Jenny. I am with you on everything from no coffee (I do drink hot peppermint tea during winter, which I make at home of course) to eating/cooking at home. I make all my kids school lunches and my husband's also. We don't have cable but stream via Netflix. I get our books from the library and cut our kids hair, just to add a few to your list. I also do my own pedis. What I do spend money on, that others don't, is running gear and race entry fees. :)

  3. I always wonder if cloth diapers are really saving anybody any money. I know people who love them and say "I only spent $110 on diapers and that's it for the kid's whole life!" but when I ask they've never done the breakdown of how much they're spending in water and soap to do an extra load of laundry every day. Plus, there's the intangible cost of having to scrub human waste out of diapers and dry them all, which for me would be approximately 1.7 million dollars.

    1. I'm the same way. I asked a friend how they like it and when they started telling me about it I immediately decided it was not for me. Smells, scrubbing, extra load of