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Whether you want to save for a new home, a new car, or for your child’s education, you know how difficult it can be to pinch pennies and start saving up. With just a bit of pre-planning and physical effort you can start to save money while providing the best foods and activities for your child or children.
1. Make Food From Scratch
The initial investment in basic ingredients may seem expensive, at first, but when you learn how to bake your own breads and goodies, you will find out quickly how much money you are actually saving. You can bake your own breads for less than a dollar a loaf. Home baked cookies are much cheaper than pre-made, store bought cookies. Besides reducing food costs, making your own foods helps you control the ingredients that go into your food and into your kids.
2. Cook in Bulk
Make your own tv dinners by cooking in bulk. Make large batches of casseroles and freeze leftovers in serving size containers to reheat later. Bake breads and muffins in bulk and freeze them for later. Plan your large bake days on the days you have off. Call it a feast day and have your child help with the preparations. Cook and bake for the week.
3. Visit Free Places
Sure, the movies are fun, but so is the library where you can borrow movies for free and read all sorts of books. Many libraries have special, free activities for children, as well. Also check out your local paper for community events. Many of these are free. Local state parks also host events, walks, and other activities for free. You can provide entertainment, education, and family days for your child with no extra expense.
4. Make Your Own Cleaners
Store bought cleaners are expensive and, in my opinion, aren’t as good as homemade cleaners. Learn to clean with vinegar, baking soda, and, on rare occasion, bleach. There are recipes all over the internet for natural cleaners. Test them out. You’ll not only be saving money, but you will be providing your child with a healthier environment.
5. Hand Washing
Catching colds and flus can be money draining experiences. The best way to deal with the cold and flu is to take measures to avoid it. Create hand washing habits. Whenever you go to the store, use the free wipes provided at the store to wipe down the handle of the cart. If your child sits in the cart, wipe down the entire area before sitting her down. Wash hands immediately after going to the store - any store. Wash hands before eating. Make hand washing easy by keeping a stool by the sink for smaller children.
6. Only Shop With a List
Before you go grocery shopping, make a list. I keep a list tablet in the kitchen. When we run out of something or find a need for something, it gets written down. When you go to the grocery store, only buy what is on that list. Avoid impulse buying and buying anything you can make yourself.
7. Cut the Cable
If you are already paying for internet, cut your cable and subscribe to Netflix or Hulu Plus. Both are cheaper than cable and your kids will quickly adapt to the new format. If you are living in an area where internet usage is expensive (especially if you have satellite internet), ditch cable altogether and borrow free movies from the library. I did this for many years and never missed the commercials.
8. Buy Clothing Out of Season
Always buy your clothing and children's clothing after the season is over. For example, when last winter was over, I went out and bought my youngest daughter brand new coats for the next 3 years at $10 a coat. These coats were originally being sold at a much higher price but because the store wanted to make room for their summer wear, I was able to stock up on great children's coats at a bargain price. I do this with all of my youngest's clothes. I also shop for myself at the end of season because turtlenecks and t-shirts aren't going out of style anytime soon.
9. Create a Second Income
If you are still falling short on saving, consider creating a second income. There are many opportunities online for moms who want to stay home and work. You can start a blog, write for websites such as HubPages, do close captioning in your free time, and provide customer service for different companies. Put away all of your extra income for your money saving goal.