I’m dippin’ into the reader mailbag for today’s post. I have one of those? Why yes. Yes I do. In this day-late (but not a dollar short) post on savings and money, I wanted to share a few tips readers sent me after last week’s post on 5 things that have helped us save about 10 percent of our take-home income.
I got distracted yesterday and strayed from Monday
morning money madness — with errands and Dancing with the Stars…Amber Riley for the win…
Mark and I are continuing to save. We’re also targeting waste in food and supplies. It’s hard. We feel like we’re already living minimally, down to the nitty gritty. But are we…really? I slipped up and threw down almost $5 on a pumpkin spice latte the other day. Busted! Savings fail. That’s the kind of stuff we’ve been trying to cut out. Things are stretched. We’ve got two young children, all the fees and extras that come with two young children, plus a pile of medical bills relate to Eli’s cystic fibrosis and two hospital stays and surgeries. So stuff like lunches out and coffees, which were no-brainer “I deserve it” purchases before we started taking a little time each week to think money, have *mostly* gone by the wayside in favor of more savings, with the occasional slip-up. I totally busted Mark for Taco Bell. HAHAHA. After September, I want to see if we *actually* improved our habits or if I’ve just been blowin’ smoke.
“What else might we try to save cash,?” I asked readers. Here are some of their responses:
Thrifting, I’d forgotten about thrifting! Christina from Seattle wrote in to suggest it.
I live in hipster/”green” Seattle, so there is really no stigma here about thrift shopping. Macklemore does his thrift shopping here. Baby and kid stuff is usually in great shape. The challenge is not getting more than I need just because it’s so cheap.
Oh, hipsters. I hate to admit it, but the hipsters are onto something. This is a great idea. I used to do a lot more second hand shopping. I agree that it’s lost the stigma, especially since the scarce days of downturn began. I used to shop at a great kids’ consignment shop in Ann Arbor called Grow with Me. Here, we have Once Upon a Child, which I’ve yet to try. There are other thrift stores throughout the OKC metro. In fact, I was so excited about Christina’s suggestion I asked our fashionable fashion editor at the paper about the best stores in the area — ya know, the ones where the Junior Leaguers unload barely-worn gems. It does pay to be living amid the socialite set, if you’re a lowly crime reporter-slash-teacher’s wife like me! Yeah, I’ll take those cast-offs, thx gals! It’s “vintage,” not used, btw! Since I’ve got my first ‘gala’ type event coming up next month, I’m going to see what area thrift stores offer.
2. Don’t step foot in Bass Pro.
You might be able to hit 20 percent just saying out of Bass Pro alone!
3. Consider washable diapers
From Christina, who is a foster parent:
Comment: It might sound gross to some, but a big cost savings for me is…. cloth diapers. And most of them I got (*gasp*) second-hand. I figured if you wash and sanitize them, right? This is a huge cost savings for me as a foster parent, as the new wave of cloth diaper are size-adjustable, so they can grow with a kid and fit any baby bum that happens to be staying with me at the moment (day/week/month). Lucky for me, my utilities are covered in my rent, so I don’t have to pay for the water from the washer either. Super easy for me, all around.
Mark and I can’t keep up with laundry as it is, but I *might* be willing to try this…for a week. Time is money, and I’m not sure what the extra time might entail. I’m not afraid of poo, as I dipped my hands in my son’s leaky ostemy bags every day for two months earlier in the year. Our water bill is also an issue, but this may warrant an experiment, if nothing else!
I dunno, what do you readers think of re-usable diapes? This was how it was done back in the day. When I was in China, little ones had bare butts and split pants.
4. Grow a veggie garden
More from Christina, Seattle savings savvy foster parent:
Do you guys have any space to do some gardening (container or “traditional”)? It cuts down on produce costs and is a fun preschooler activity.
I actually tried to grow plants in containers earlier this year, an experiment that failed! Every last plant died. I kid you not. I killed two packets of basil. Yeah.
We had better luck throwing down wildflower seeds when the weather got consistently hot. It was fun for Laila to water these and watch our garden grow all summer. Plus, the garden attracted hummingbirds…and you know I like birds. So, I’d be willing to throw down food seeds outside next season and see what happens. My sister and brother-in-law can every year.
Thanks for the tips!
If anyone else has food and supply savings tips, I’d be happy to hear them!