Friday, March 30, 2012

5 Ways We Save Money on a Single Income

Just over 7 months ago we went down from being a dual income family (even though I was only working part time, and studying) to a single income family. It is a bit of a shock to the system because we were finally in a pretty comfortable place. I really don't want to go back to work, I love being a stay at home Mum, but it just means we have had to make some sacrifices and think a bit smarter in the way we do things. I really wanted to share some money saving tips we use, or try to use, that makes a massive difference in our day to day expenses!

#1. Plant a Herb garden: 
You don't need a lot of space just a few pots with your favourite, most used herbs. At the grocery store a back of herbs will set you back around $3, a live herb plant will cost you about the same. Just a little extra money for soil and a pot, but then you constantly have herbs at your disposal. So easy and this probably saves us about $10-$15 a week.

#2. Make Your own Beer: In Perth your lucky if you can get a carton of beer for about $40. If your buying a carton a week or every two weeks, that gets pretty pricey. You can get a basic home-brew set up for about $100. And then each 'kit' to make the beer sets you back around $33. This beer can last about 3 months you make so much of it. You can bottle it in recycled bottles and then cap them with new caps, or spend a lot of money on a beer fridge with kegs.  Not only does Joel's love of Home-brewing save us a heap of money, it is also an awesome hobby that he loves!

#3. Make your own baby food: The only time I have bought pre made baby food was a few times when we were camping. Other than that, I make everything that Ezra eats. At first I was pureeing everything and freezing it in ice cube trays, then putting them in labelled plastic baggys. I often stop in the baby food isle to see if there is anything I feel like buying for emergencies, and I walk away empty handed. Most of it is so simple to make, and is so much cheaper and more beneficial to babies if you make it yourself. If you don't know what to make, buy a baby cookbook. I just got a great one called Baby Tastes (www.baby tastes.com.au). If you integrate baby food with food you are already buying for the week, you have just saved a whole lot of cash.

#4. Plan your meals: Personally I think this is one of the hardest things to do. You can go to a recipe book and pick 5 different recipes, with completely different ingredients and end up spending a FORTUNE. Or you can try to integrate your meals so you are using many of the same ingredients multiple times in a week, it prevents a lot of wastage and saves money. For example maybe you buy a larger portion of mince (ground beef), use it once for Spaghetti, freeze the rest, then use it later in the week for Tacos or Burritos.

#5. Ride your bike to work: I know this isn't practical for a lot of people, but it is also possible for a lot of people who just drive due to convenience. Because Joel rides his bike to work, we are able to have just one car. I couldn't even tell you how much money that is saving us, hundreds of dollars. When we first moved back to Perth from the USA, we didn't have a lot of money, and had just bought a house, so we lived with one car that Joel got as a part of his job. I found a job teaching swimming, and invested in a nice road bike, and rode to work everyday. When Joel changed jobs, we bought ourselves a car, and then he started riding to work. The best thing about it is, you don't have to spend extra time going to the gym after work, your workout is done for the day and he loves it, he feels a lot of the days stresses are worked out in the ride home!

These are just some of the ways we try to save, I would love to hear the areas where you save money. I am always looking for new things to do to help the bank account out a little bit!!


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