Like I said before, we've had to be creative lately when it comes to saving money. If you don't care to read about our attempts at frugality, feel free to skip this post. But for those of you curious, here are some of the things we've done:
- Stick to a cash envelope system. The reason we save money by doing this is when an envelope for a certain category (i.e. grocery, baby) is empty, we don't spend anymore money! It really makes us consider and reconsider a purchase before we buy. We've tried this a few times throughout our marriage but it always fell through. This time, though, it's been much better (I think we weren't motivated enough before when we had 2 full incomes!). I've changed up the amounts several times, depending on what's going on in life. Like, I had to up the "baby" budget once we started giving Landon formula, and once we started cloth diapering (see next bullet!), I was able to drop it back down again. I do have to say, though, our "gifts" budget blew up in our face from attending 5 weddings within a month - on top of Christmas shopping. Planning on getting back on track next month! I have already figured out how to budget for Christmas next year after totally screwing up this year. You live and you learn, I suppose.
- Switched to cloth diapers (except at night and long trips). This one is a miracle in itself. Cleaning poopy diapers and doing more laundry was just not on my wish list (as much as I wanted to want to cloth diaper), especially since keeping up with laundry is a weakness of mine. BUT I had a change of heart and I actually like cloth diapering! Well, for the most part. It's definitely been a learning process. The fact that we will be able to use the cloth diapers for multiple children makes it totally worth it though. And if I'm honest, the whole "environmentally friendly" aspect of it wasn't a concern of mine before, but now that I'm in the midst of cloth diapering, I feel much better that we're creating less waste.
- Bake/cook more things from scratch. This is what I love to do, but it's currently very difficult to do with a baby who only takes 30-minute naps. Hopefully I will have more time soon! I have managed to make enough bread/muffins/other goodies to take care of breakfast and snacks some weeks, so that's a start.
- Make our own laundry detergent. I've been wanting to do this for awhile and finally did it! So simple and SO CHEAP. After spending less than $10 on supplies, I made 2 gallons of detergent and can make at least 4 more! I don't think I could go back to buying store detergent now...
- Make our own cleaning supplies. I do most of my cleaning now with a vinegar and water mixture. Not only is it cheap, it's much safer to use with a baby around! And it's easy to get rid of the vinegar smell by adding some essential oil or lemon juice or something in the spray bottle. My dad came across my massive container of vinegar one day and thought I was crazy, so I had to inform him that it was used more for cleaning than cooking. :)
- Make our own baby food. I spent less than $2 on sweet potatoes and now I have a nice little stash of baby food in our freezer. With the way Landon likes to eat some days, we could easily spend $30 a month if buying from the store. No thanks! I'm hoping this will also motivate me to buy more fresh produce for Logan and myself, since we can easily eat some and then make some baby food for Landon with the rest.
- Have a family member take our Christmas pictures FOR FREE. As much as I loved Landon's newborn pictures, spending that kind of money right now just isn't an option. Besides, I thought our Christmas ones came out pretty darn good!
- Send out Christmas postcards. They're cheaper than regular cards and you save money on postage too! Plus I saved time not having to deal with envelopes. I know Christmas cards aren't a necessity, but I wanted to do them with it being Landon's 1st Christmas. And although I most definitely did not pay full price for the postcards, I would have saved even more money if I had waited/procrastinated until Black Friday to order them. Oh well.
That's all I can think of for now...and of course I have some other ideas to try next year. (Next year?? Yes. It's less than 2 weeks away! :))