5 Ways We Save Money on a Single Income

Friday, March 30, 2012
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!!

I'm back and I'm having a BIG SALE!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
In honour of being back in action, and starting to stitch again, I have decided to kick it off with a big SALE in my Etsy Shop. By big, I mean for two days only you can get 40% any item. Just fill in the Coupon Code: IMBACK at the checkout to receive the discount.

Pass it on to your friends!

My Most Useful Baby items

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Life has been a little busy! I have good news though, in the last couple of weeks my little man has started sleeping through the night! Whooo Hooo. I feel like a new woman, even though his wake up time is usually about 5.45am, I can handle that!

I thought I would do a post on some of the most USEFUL items I have relied on in the last 7 months. I'm not including obvious things like a cot and pram, I figure most people realise those are pretty helpful items to have. I know when you are shopping around for baby stuff it can be so overwhelming. I always found tips from real Mums, who are in the midst of raising babies really helpful. So now that I am one of them, I thought I would contribute.

USEFUL item #1
Bumbo Chair
Once Ezra was old enough to hold his head up this chair was awesome. He loved being in it, and because it is so light you can take it anywhere. It was also recommended by the physio because no matter what I did he was only sleeping on the right side of his head. So this gave him some time to reduce the pressure on the back of his head and helped reduce his flat spot and strengthen his neck.

USEFUL item #2
Tommee Tippee Mesh sucker thingy (not its official name)
This item has really been so helpful, when his gums are hurting I put some ice blocks in it and he happily sucks away. When he is a little cranky or just in the afternoon "unsettled period" I give him some fruit in it and it keeps him entertained while I get stuff done in the kitchen. Such a great invention, they just suck the food through the mesh.

USEFUL item #3
Baby Carriers: Sleepy Wrap and Ergo baby 
In the early days I loved the sleepy wrap. It was so comfortable and easy to use, but once he started getting a bit heavier the Ergo baby carrier has been amazing. I did a lot of research about carriers because I have a messed up lower back and neck, and I heard some carriers were just terrible for back problems. I can wear my huge 7 month old in the Ergo without any pain or pressure, it is awesome. It is easy to put on and most importantly comfortable.

USEFUL item #4
Tummy Tub
We have a small bathroom with no bench space, and our bath is so deep and big it was just impossible for us to have any other kinds of baby bath. I thought these tubs were ingenious. You only have to put a small amount of water in them, so I can carry it, no drama. I can put it in the lounge room, near the heater to keep the but from getting chilly in winter, and we even took it camping to make the easiest way to bath a babe outside at the campsite. We used it until Ezra was about 5 months old, and then he moved to the big bath.

USEFUL item #5
Grocery home delivery
 I like this so much that I still have my shopping delivered. The other day I went to the store, thinking it was about time I started actually going in again. It was terrible, I forgot like five items, and spent ages going back and forth to different isles trying to find things. It took me so long, I had a cranky baby in the end, and an even crankier Mummy. I had to go back out later and get the items I forgot, and so I decided it isn't really any more expensive to get it delivered and the convenience is so worthwhile.

I am in no way being paid or benefiting from recommending these products, they are just things I have bought myself and found to be really great products. All photos are my own.
I may have to do part two of this because there really are some awesome products that make life so much easier!

Karen xx

A little time at Creche

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Today I took a big step in motherhood. It was quite scary. It may not be a big deal to some, but it was to me. I have been feeling pretty limited (as I'm sure most Mums do) in my exercise options, really when you have a baby in your care it comes down to walking or running with the pram.  I have always been a terrible runner, and quite frankly, I hate it. SO I made a decision to get a membership at the pool. I love swimming and doing laps is actually a great way for me to clear my mind and think! The great thing is, that with the pool membership you can use the Creche for free.

Ezra will be seven months old in a few days, and is definitely way more aware of me, and when I'm gone. I think a few months ago he would be happy with anyone who smiled at him. These days, he is a bit  pickier. So I was kinda scared that he would hate me leaving him with strangers for half an hour. Only half an hour, I know. I think I was more freaked out than he was. He did great, played with toys, crawled around, and when I came back they were pushing him around in a stroller keeping him happy.

Before I was a Mum I didn't get how hard it was to leave them. You would think you would feel a sense of freedom when someone else is caring for them. You don't, at least I don't. You just think about them the whole time and wait for one of the Creche employees to come and find you and tell you your child is inconsolable.  Despite this, it felt soooo good to get a good swim in and start working on my fitness again!